Memo to My Strong-Willed Son: You’re in My Sight


rhonda franz

I see you.

Many days, I’m ashamed to say, I see your disobedience and your grimaced face and the look on your face when you’re in “not” mode. The mode when you absolutely are not going to do what you’re asked, or go along with whatever we’re doing that moment as a family.

I see you just before a transition of any kind—getting in the car, dropping you off to preschool, picking you up from preschool, ending a book – and I’m tense. What will happen this time? Am I prepared for it? Are you?

I see your mouth tighten with stubbornness, your hands reach for things you’re not supposed to have, and your fingers destroy everything from books to toys to childproof locks.

I see your frequent states of sad and mad and frustrated, visible from the top of your head to the tip of your toes.

I see your contorted face when textures and sounds and the world in general around bother you and you’re in a cycle of confusion and discomfort.

And other days, thankfully, and not without God’s blessings and ultimate example of love and mercy, I see other things.

The most kissable cheeks in the universe.

One of the best smiles I’ve ever witnessed.

A husky laugh, distinctively all your own.

A head filled with a mind that comes up with the most interesting thoughts, solutions, and questions.

I see your happy, excited moments, visible from the top of your head to the tip of your toes.

I see a strong, vivacious, boy whose spirit is a force to be reckoned with. And whose mama must choose, in all the other pained moments, to see the good.


What do you see today? Join Lisa-Jo Baker and Five Minute Friday.

Coffee House Mom

Snow Day Activities for Parents (Not Kids)

We’re on infinity snow days, house mom

I have honestly enjoyed fun times with my boys, but this long stretch of anti-routine days is going to do us all in if we’re not careful. We’ve done crafts, clay, crayons, cars, blocks, games, play dough, books, Lincoln Logs, indoor football,  indoor tag, and other things that should not ever be played indoors.

We’ve removed holiday decorations and put away laundry and perfected the art of the perfect fire. We’ve made snow candy and snow cones and lots and lots of popcorn.

And we’ve not even scratched the surface of all that Pinterest and mom blogs and parent sites have to offer.

We’ve even kept up on school skills at home in an attempt to try and right the wrongs caused by these ice-packed streets. Writing, math facts, spelling words, and sight words. Check, check, check, and check.

Moms and Dads, don’t get lost in keeping kids educated and entertained and out of each other’s personal space. There are easy ways to entertain and take care of yourself during this time.

1. Add Kahlua to your hot chocolate. Every day. You’re not driving anyway.

2. Don’t let your young kids know that school isn’t closed (social media makes this impossible with older ones). Send them to bed each night at their normal time, and take some time for yourself. Inform them of the snow day in the morning.

3. During the sub zero wind chills, announce that the consequence for inappropriate behavior is playing outside.

4. After they’ve gone to bed, remove all the noise-making toys from the house. After the fifth snow day and two weeks of Christmas break, you’re gonna need all the quiet you can muster.

5. Institute Snow Day drills. They must don all winter clothes – extra layers and accessories included – by themselves. Twice. Sip on your hot chocolate + liquor during this time.


yummy photo of hot chocolate courtesy of stock.xchng and timbec.

Bad Diet Quotes and Advice From Celebrities in 2012

It doesn’t matter which star sold the lines, or that they were said last year. We’ve heard them all before. Seasoned moms aren’t buying it, but teenagers might be. We love to see you at your best and healthiest, celebrity – sisters, but if you’re going to talk about your fitness, at least be honest about personal trainers, personal home gyms, and a drastic slash in carbohydrate intake.

1. “I don’t deprive myself of things I want.” You don’t? I do. Handcut fries, white queso dip, Mexican Coke, sausage balls when it’s not Christmas. Don’t lie to us. Of course you deprive. Otherwise, your waist wouldn’t be, you know, so very, very small. Tell us what you eat: a grapefruit for breakfast, maybe an egg for lunch. So we know. And you at least make sense.

2. “I just keep up with my kids.” So do I. So do millions of other moms. Without a nanny or a housekeeper or a personal assistant. Running, yelling, dirt-hill-climbing, stick-fighting, princess-playing, Lego-building kids. My lower tummy feels like a wad of dough, and my thighs still need just the right denim wash to camouflage their buoyancy. If just keeping up with kids was all it took to look that svelte – or starved – moms everywhere would be shopping for odd-numbered clothing. As it turns out, we’re not.

3. “I really have no idea how I keep losing weight.” So said Rihanna, according to US Weekly. Yeah, okay. Take it from me, girl. You should know your body better than that. Unexplained weight-loss? Go see your doctor, or stop lying to your fans. Young girls are listening. And watching.

4. “It’s just daily small steps.” Um-hum. Daily small steps amounts to good, healthy weight loss over time. Drastic weight loss in a few months, resulting size 0 clothes hanging off a skeletal body is the result of something drastic. And unhealthy.

stock.xchng photo by african fi

11 Things I Learned After Finally Getting My First Smartphone

The iPhone 5 was my first, I mean my VERY first phone with photos and texting and the internet. Though my girlfriends chided me for my lack of technological advancement, I held out to the bitter end.

Now, I’m no techy expert. For technology trends, go see Evolved Mommy. For real blogging & website assistance? Follow Blogging With Amy.

But I still have a VCR  and a landline phone, so my perspective isn’t one you’ll hear every day. What I’ve discovered about this ridiculous little contraption:

1. Up until now, I have saved quite a bit of money.

2. Best feature so far: I can make a grocery list, and never, ever leave it at home. Bonus: I can send it to my husband, who can go shopping on his way home.

3. Taking photos, and sharing them, is waaay too easy. I’m in danger of becoming one of those parents who over-shares their children’s cute moments/accomplishments/faces full of pasta sauce on Facebook. Sorry.

4. Being able to answer emails in the car line at my son’s school is the greatest thing in the world. Yay for productivity and time management.

5. Texting is cool and all, but fiddling with all those little buttons makes me feel like an old person.

6. I’m really glad for the little spell-check text feature that changes, “mert” to “meet.”

7. On the other hand, it can change the word “friend” to “grieve,” so I still have to proofread.

8. iTunes is better than a mixtape. I’m old enough to remember those. Are you?

9. On that note, iTunes is probably where I’m going to lose my life savings.

10. Siri isn’t all that impressive. She won’t obey commands to cook supper, fold laundry, or sort mail. Seriously, that chick needs to take on some chores.

11. The best tech support for a smartphone? Tweens. Those 14, 13, 11-year-olds are better than an online tutorial, and handier than an app.

What’s the best thing for you about your phone? 


stock xchng photo by Loraw2000 (because I don’t yet know how to take a photo of my iPhone, with my iPhone)

I Highly Recommend This Office Away From Home


Ok, I think I covered this topic, but doing work of any kind in a coffee shop is getting quite the buzz these days. So, let’s cover it again.

Does Working in a Coffee Shop Make Your Writing Better?

Well, it does for me, because I get to actually do it  for a while – hours, even. And the writer friends I meet there are all about business, let me tell you. We catch up, check up on one another’s work and progress, giggle a bit about our kids and our hilarious lives, and exchange advice – the whole time clicking away on our laptops.

After a few minutes, we aim our eyes at our screens and get down to work.

Destination: Laptopistan.

Um, yes. This is what I’ve been saying: There’s no laundry lurking in the bookstore or coffee shop. None that I have to do, anyway.

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Coffee Shop Etiquette.

I especially agree with suggesting that phone-users step outside. Common courtesy, I say. But oh, not-so-common.

Do you have an out-of-office workplace? How does a coffee shop – or someplace similar – work for you?


 Flickr photo by Carbon NYC