Mother’s Day 2011 Revisited

This is a bit late –  I’ve been busy! We have had to be somewhere every night this week for one reason or another. My life is truly not my own anymore. When it was my own, I didn’t take advantage of it (why didn’t someone tell me?).

Anyhoo, I had a nice Mother’s Day, but it only lasted until for about 3 hours and then it was back to real life. We had a soccer game, family Mother’s Day/Birthday cookout and then a basketball game. Somewhere in there I had to make mac & cheese for the family gathering and pick up a cake. It was non-stop crazy, but we got it done.

I told Mike that we should celebrate Mother’s Day on the sunday after the real Mother’s Day so they can actually serve and pamper me properly all day long! I deserve at least one whole day (instead of 3 hours), right?

Mother’s Day did start out awesome! I got a homemade breakfast made by Maddie and Mike – french toast, fancy bacon, strawberries and coffee. This is my favorite breakfast.

I also received very thoughtful gifts – my family is really good at this. Among the CSA cookbook, Sketchers Shape-ups and hand-crafted coffee cups, my favorite gift was my handmade T-shirt ala Modern Family (if you don’t watch this show, you are missing the funniest show on TV!). Did I wear it? You bet!

However, the best gift I receive each year are the latest entries in my Mother’s Day Journal.  In 2004, Mike started this wonderful tradition of having the kids write something in this journal each year. It’s a snapshot of my kids over the years – I love this journal.

In the journal this year is a Top 10 List in David Letterman style written by my son:

Top 10 Reasons I Love Mommy

10. Laundry

9.  Driving

8. You’d watch sports with me

7. You let me watch what I want

6. Reciting the schedule

5. Cooking

4. You think I’m awesome

3. You love me

2. Fun

And, the #1 reason I love my mommy:  You’re awesome!

Isn’t that sweet? I do want to interject that regarding item #7, please interpret this as that  I suffer through yet another episode of SpongeBob Squarepants or iCarly! I have to say that #6 cracks me up too!

One of Maddie’s contributions:


Definition according to Webster:  [muTH’ er] n. A female parent.

Definition according to Kids:  [Mommy] n. A person that teaches you how to manage time; always brings you things you forgot; loves you forever; NOT your best friend!

I would include one of Rachel’s entries, but she expressed herself with drawings and not poems or lists. She expressed herself in a very artsy, cool way.

It’s nice to know how the kids really feel at least once a year! Thanks to my awesome hubby, I have it documented 🙂

I hope all of the Moms out there had a lovely, memorable day! I know that I did 🙂


The 2011 Poetry Cafe – Oh, Snap!

Can I say that kids are amazing? They are really quite capable of doing more than we give them credit for.

This morning I attended the 2011 Poetry Cafe held by my son’s class. Each of the students worked in a group of 2 to 5 kids to perform an established work and then each student individually read an original work. As in the tradition of Poetry Cafes of the 60s, we snapped in appreciation instead of clapping after each performance. Very cool and hip.

By the way, the poetry created by these kids was really, really good (they are 10 & 11 yrs old!) and they deserved all of the snaps!

The following work is an original poem by Jack.  He did not perform this particular work this morning, but it is my favorite from his poetry book (see above) that he has been keeping since 4th Grade (all of the students in his class do this).

Self Poem

by Jack / Sep 22, 2010

My skin is like a ghost, pale and drifting.

My eyes are like the ocean, calm, blue and green.

My eyelashes are thick and ink black like a crow’s feathers.

My smile is like a daisy, it brightens people up.

My heart holds a happiness that burns inside me like a roaring fire.

I live in a steakhouse and eat everything. 


I don’t remember doing cool stuff like this when I was in grade school! Do you?

I’m really glad I was able to attend this morning. It was a real treat.

Inappropriate Dinner Topics for Children

Well, well, well. We had an interesting dinner tonight – it was just 4 of us ’cause Rachel had to work (we decided that this conversation would have taken a completely different turn had she been present. A lot of “Oh My God-ing! This is not appropriate! I’m leaving!”)

We were just shootin’ the breeze about my husband’s work  and I was joking with him that the only reason he invites me to work social functions is because I can talk to anyone (I mean it. If I can’t get you talking about something, then, well, you just might be boring and hopeless). I’m the uber-social side of our twosome. 

Then, Maddie (14 yo) chimed in with, “Mommy, he invites you because you’re his trophy wife.”  Awe, isn’t she sweet? After Mike and I stopped laughing, we explained that I’m not really a trophy wife.

Maybe you’re wondering, “What is the definition of a trophy wife?” Mike shared with the table that, according to ESPN (apparently experts on trophy wives), the age of a trophy wife equals half of the age of the husband plus 5 years.

Thus, AofTW = AofH/2 + 5

I thought to myself,“Okay, I’ll buy that.”

Are you “Modern Family” fans? We are! Maddie, starting to get the gist of a trophy wife, wondered if Gloria counted as a trophy wife. Mike reflected that Gloria was probably 35 years old and Jay was likely 6o years old, so the math would work. Maddie nodded her head like, “A-ha”.

Then, the kids started calculating the age of Mike’s actual trophy wife. Daddy confirmed with the kids that he was indeed, 46. So the kids started doing the math….”Hmmm…half of 46 is 23 plus 5 equals 28. Daddy’s trophy wife would be 28 years old!”.

Thus, confirming that I’m not daddy’s trophy wife.

Then, the kids started calculating how old my husband would be if I were the trophy wife.  Whoa, the head calculators were humming!  Jack was talking through the math process aloud along with Maddie and came to the conclusion that my got-rocks hubs would be 80 years old (I’m 45).

We were all giggling and laughing about my “old hubs” and then Jack (11 yo), while snorting and guffawing, asks, “What are we talking about?”

Then, we all started laughing!!!

We, again explained the concept of the trophy wife to Jack. And, then he says, “Mommy, are you going to blog about this?” I was already two steps ahead of that boy!

Mike told the kids that they will likely never encounter a story problem like this one on their math tests. So, true.

But, we did come up with a story problem for all of you based on the premise that the age of the Trophy Wife equals half of the age of the Husband plus 5 years. Here it is:

Hubby and Wifey divorce and both are age 45. Wifey remarries and becomes a trophy wife to her New Love. The Hubby remarries a Trophy Wife of his own. What is the difference in the ages of the New Love and the New Trophy Wife?

The person with the right answer gets a free subscription to The Engledow Chronicles!

By the way, my son came up with the title of this post. Kinda sad, right?

Mommy, I Already Looked in There!

Yesterday was one of those days. Yep, it was my monthly “What if I just ran away?” day. Does everyone have these days, or is it just me? If it’s just me, don’t tell me. I’d like to think I’m not alone. I just picture myself getting in Mike’s Sporty Acura (leaving him the Minivan) and driving off into the sunset….

I’d been on the run from the time I got up until the time I got home from work. I usually get home about two minutes before Jack gets off of the bus, but some days he beats me home.  When this happens, he’s supposed to call me. I got a call yesterday:

Me & Jack:  ‘Hey, Bud!” “Hey, Mommy.”

Me:  “I’ll be home in 4 minutes. What’s your homework like?”

Jack:  “The obvious project (reading journal), math and spelling. Uh, mommy?”

Me:  “Yeah, Bud.”

Jack:  “Uh, well, I lost my reading journal. I got to the bus stop and my backpack was unzipped. It might have fallen out.”

Side Note: Ah, the reading journal. It’s our twice-a-quarter torture. He is required to read two books a quarter and write about them in a particular composition notebook (there are rules and a required structure). He has to write almost 3 pages each time. He LOVES reading and HATES writing. So, he usually waits until the last minute (like this time) and it’s about a 3 hour ordeal. BTW, the due dates are stated at the beginning of the school year – these are not surprise assignments.

Me:  “What??? You walked out of the house with a completely unzipped backpack on your back, and you think that the composition notebook fell out?”

Side Note: Really?  How in the hell do you not notice that your backpack is unzipped and splayed open while you’re putting it on your back!?

Jack:  “Yeah, but I noticed it was open when I got to the bus stop (it’s two houses down).”

Me:  “You zipped it up then, right?” {Please say, ‘yes.’}

Jack:  “Yes.”

Me:  “Well, it couldn’t have gone far. It has to be in the garage or somewhere between the house and the bus stop. When I get home, you can go hunt for it.”

Jack:  “Okay, Mommy.”

When I got home, the Great Composition Notebook Hunt was on! While he searched outside, I searched the backpack (even though it had already been searched “thoroughly”). OMG – that backpack looked like a bomb had gone off in it. I’ve been trying to take a somewhat hands off approach this year to try to ease both him and me into his first year of junior high next year. If you haven’t read my prior posts, I can be somewhat of micro-manager. In this spirit of being “hands off” I haven’t been checking his backpack (this is HUGE for me). He needs to learn be responsible, right?

How’s that hands-offy-thingy working out for us? Apparently, not well! There were lots of papers in there – some graded (all A’s – darn good thing) and some informational items for the parents (that are past due). {Silent Scream} Guess what else was in there? Yep, the reading journal aka composition notebook. When he said he looked in the backpack, who’s backpack did he look in? Did he even really look? I guess we need to go over the definition of a “thorough search”.

Crisis averted. Jack began working on his journal entry.

Then, I had to pay the bills. Ugh. It always makes me grumpy. I’m getting into the groove and then….everyone else started coming home. “Mommy, can I go workout at the Monon? Mommy, when’s dinner because I’m going to walk the dog. Mommy, what’s for dinner? Mommy, what time do we need to leave for my band meeting?”

The hubs came home early to save me (okay, not really). It was just my good fortune. Could he please take Jack to the band meeting? Yes, he will. It’s a damn good thing because I’m on Mommy overload and he just brought home my get-a-way car. I could have been gone in a blink, but I had decided to scrubbed the escape plan for the time being.

Since I decided to stick around, I made Jack and Mike scrambled eggs and toast for dinner so they could skedaddle (you don’t hear that word very often do you?). Then Rachel came home from working out and Maddie walked in the door with Jasper. “When’s dinner?” “What’s for dinner?”

Before I could answer, they took one look at their poor mother and volunteered to make their own dinners (smart girls). Sometimes it takes awhile, but eventually their Spidy-senses kick in.

Tomorrow is always another day 🙂

Lost Flowers and Life Plans

Talking with my kids can be so very entertaining. Have I said that before? It seems that the funniest conversations occur mostly in the car (sometimes at the dinner table). I guess it’s because we spend a lot of time driving the kids hither and yon.

Here are snippets of some recent car talks.

Allegory & Virginity

All five of us are in the car on the way to one of Jack’s Orff concerts when Rachel starts telling a funny story about her fashion teacher (whom she loves, by the way) – Mrs. Fashion shared with them an allegory (or parable – a symbolic narrative) before they left on spring break. This particular parable was intended to communicate to the girls (there are no boys in her class) that they should value their virginity and not to give it away to just anyone. {Something about a girl handing out flowers to anyone and everyone – I can’t quite recall the whole thing.}

When she finished telling us the “story”, I asked her, “She’s talking about virginity, right?” I wanted to confirm with Ray that her fashion teacher was actually talking to the class about virginity. That’s a little unusual, right? I don’t remember my high school teachers talking to me about that, but, then again, I didn’t take sewing class (oops! I mean, fashion).  

I couldn’t really argue with the point that Mrs. Fashion was trying to make.

Anyway, back to the car. . . . . .Rachel, now embarrassed by my inquiry, answered in true teenage fashion, “Oh My God, Mommy! Yes, that’s what it means. Why do you always do that?”  It was something like that.  She knows me pretty well by now, so why did she risk it? It must be her immature frontal lobe (as she repeatedly reminds us).

Jack, sitting patiently throughout this whole discussion, asks, “What is virginity?”.

Now, I’m not one to shy away from a question. I’d rather the kids hear the answers from me or Mike than someone else.  And, “they” say that when kids ask the questions, parents need to provide them with thoughtful, age-appropriate, honest answers. Right?

However, Rachel and Maddie immediately put the kibosh on the impromptu sex talk with excessive “Oh My God-ing” and ” Mommy, not NOW-ing”.  It’s almost become a game now. You know, the game known as How Quickly Can I Get My Girls to Say, “OMG”?  It’s really almost too easy, but still fun.

I told Jack that daddy would talk to him later about it (I can’t verify that this ever happened).

The Life Plan

Last Friday, Jack and I were in the car going to the doctor about his allergies (allergy season sucks!). He is an uber talker especially when his sisters are MIA. I usually just have to nod my head or say, “uh-huh” and he can keep on talking and talking and ……..

On this  particular day, I got a peek into that 11-yr-old brain of his. He has his whole life planned out and it revolves around basketball, Hoop Dreams, if you will. My 4 foot 10 inch boy, told me:

“First, I have to make the Junior High team.  Mommy, do you think I can make the Junior High team?”

“Then, I’m going to make the High School team, play for some college and then get picked up by the Pacers.”

Mike repeatedly tells me to quit asking him what Plan B is – a kid needs to have his dreams. I’m just supposed to listen.  Okay, he’s right.

 So instead, I just asked Jack , “What are you  going to study in college, buddy?”  (that doesn’t sounds dream-squashing, does it?)

“I think I’m going to study quantum physics. [huh?]  I’m not sure what that is but I really like physics. Physics is cool.”

He really makes me smile. I don’t know about you, but when I was 11 I’m not sure I even knew the word “physics”, let alone “quantum physics”! Of course, with the internet, the History Channel and Mythbusters the world is much bigger place now.


I hope you enjoyed this installment of  The Engledow Chats!

My Hoarder in Training

I have a confession to make, I think we have a hoarder in training (HiT) in our house. Yeah, I know. Scary.

Is there any hope? What can we do? Anything?

It began at early age, and I when I look back to her early years,  I know I ignored the early warning signs. Both of us did. And, these red flags continue today, but now it’s too late. There’s no goin’ back.

Sign #1

The HiT was a toddler, maybe 2 years old and it was a typical weekday morning. I was in a hurry, as usual, because my morning routine involved dropping her off at daycare and then driving in rush hour traffic 30 minutes to get to my downtown office. Argghhh, this was not the morning to misplace my keys. Frick! Where could they be? (Our house was about 900 square feet – there weren’t a lot of hiding places for keys in our first house.)

I was racing around like a mad-woman looking for my keys and beginning to panic, getting the cold sweats, panting (my boss at the time was not that understanding). If I remember correctly, the hubs hadn’t left yet, so I took his key to my car and his house key because I usually got home first.

Off I went (without my keys), tried to get something done at work (while being distracted by my key dilemma), picked up the HiT from daycare , went home and probably started dinner. I don’t know if it was that night or a couple of days from that fateful day, but eventually we did find my keys. Where?

Well, in my daughter’s little pink Fisher-Price plastic purse. Of course! Why didn’t I look there first :)?

What made me finally open her purse? I really have no idea. But, Mike and I found a random assortment of items in that purse – my keys, a coaster, some of her small toys. Things that she just picked up as she strolled through the house like a bag lady.

After that, when anything went missing, we looked in all of her bags, backpacks and purses.

Sign #2

When she was a little older, maybe 7 ish, I bought her a package of gummy Life Savers. Have you ever seen one of these packages? The gummies come in a plastic tray which holds them individually (kind of like an egg carton).

This is a reconstruction of the conversation that occurred later in her bedroom (I think we were cleaning it up or going through her clothes):

Me: “HiT, when you’re done with your candy, you need to  throw the this away (holding the tray and wrapper). It’s trash.”

HiT: “Mommy, it’s not trash!  I think the tray is cool.  I may need it for something later like for a project.”

Me: “Honey, this is trash.  I really don’t think you should keep it. Will you keep every tray?”

HiT: “Mommy! No, I won’t. I promise. Just this one.”

I walked out of her bedroom shaking my head and thinking, “Oh, no!”

Other hoarding evidence as she has gotten older:

She loves, loves, loves antique stores (can’t leave a store without buying something – last purchase, which was yesterday, was a ceramic owl (huh?). “Mommy, it was only a dollar!”)

She is a shopaholic (shoes, clothes, scarves, fingernail polish (even though she has no nails to speak of), purses, etc.) 

She buys about 5 pairs of sunglasses each summer

I bet she has a purse for every other day of year (I may be exaggerating a bit.)

She says that when she is older, she wants to live on a farm (chuckle!) so she can own multiple dogs, and other barnyard animals

She loves watching the following shows: American Pickers, Extreme Couponing (on TLC). I will admit that she hasn’t started watching Hoarding: Buried Alive (on TLC). On second thought,. . . . maybe she should.

Um, she “cleaned” out her room and produced four grocery bags of stuff for Goodwill. I was thrilled…..until I looked in her room. It. Looked. Exactly. The. Same. (Oh, Powers That Be, help us!)

Now, I will tell you that I think it runs in her genetic code (NOT from my side). My husband is a reformed hoarder (like a 2 on a scale of 1-10). I, as you might imagine, don’t hold on to much (I totally get this from my dad). I keep what is necessary and toss the rest (I do keep some keepsakes – I’m not completely dead inside). 

My favorite “hoarder” story on the hubs: The hubs graduated from college in the Spring of 1988 and we got married in February of 1991. When we moved into our apartment and merged our stuff, it was a revelation for both of us.  We rented a 2-bedroom apartment and used the extra bedroom for stuff we didn’t know what to do with.  One day, we started going through the room in preparation for the move into our FIRST HOUSE and there, sitting innocently, was his backpack.

It still looked full. Wait, it was still heavy. What was in there? (Mine was cleaned out the day after graduation and has remained empty since). I hurry and open it wondering what awaited me . . . .there are textbooks, notebooks and something that is round, black and hard.  What the hell is it? It rattled when I shook it. Maybe some ancient Indian musical instrument?

I show Mike his backpack and apparently it’s a time capsule of his last day of school, literally. On the last day of college, he just moved his backpack “as is” to his first apartment shared with his BFF, Jud, and then this backpack moved (undisturbed) to his second apartment (where he lived alone) and then it moved to its final destination – our first apartment. The round, dark, black thing that rattles? An orange. Yep, an orange that petrified in his backpack.

Oh, my. Our HiT comes by it honestly.

I do love that girl so much and she cracks me up when she talks about all of the dogs, and possibly the cow, she is going to own on her farm, etc. She promises us that her dorm room and subsequent apartment won’t be buried in ceramic owls when she is on her own – Mike and I just laugh to ourselves especially when we see the trail of evidence  that she leaves throughout the house……..

Both Mike and I have told her that we just don’t want to find her literally buried in her farmhouse under piles of stuff! She has assured us that she won’t bury herself alive.

We’ll just have to see 🙂

Welcome Back, Mommy!

Tuesday night, both Mike and I were so happy to be home and we really missed the kids. But, the annual anniversary trip is a must for us (I think every marriage could benefit from it).

It’s such a great opportunity to re-connect, to flirt, be silly, be spontaneous, and be relaxed with your spouse. We started these trips on our first anniversary (instead of buying each other gifts) and have not missed one in twenty years. They haven’t always been elaborate, but they have all been adventures. I’m glad we started this tradition – they have become more meaningful as our lives have become more complicated and busy.

I do want to give a shout out to my parents and my in-laws because we could not go on these trips without them! They are in charge of the monkeys when we are gone which (I hope) has gotten a little easier since the monkeys can mostly take care of themselves now. It’s also a great time for our kids to get to spend some intense time with their grandparents (I am always reminding my kids how lucky they are to see their grandparents on a regular basis – not all kids get to develop this relationship.)

But, after the “welcome home”, reality began to set in. After being in airports/planes for 14 hours on Tuesday and coming home to the greetings, hugs and kisses (at 9pm), real life started invading already. I didn’t even have time to enjoy the after-glow of my awesome wine country vacation.

“Mommy, we need to go shopping for my trip. When are we going to go?”

“Mommy, you need to read this booklet about my trip.”

“Mommy, when are we going to AT&T to get my new phone?”

“Mommy, you need to complete my medical form by tomorrow.”

“Mommy, blah, blah, ……….”

Yikes! Then I start thinking,“Why aren’t you people in bed yet?” I was very tired and starting to get grumpy. I mean, I had only been home for about 45 minutes!! Then, I started feeling like a bad parent for wishing I was still in California. (Is it just me, or does anyone else experience this?)

I wanted to go back in time when I was longing to see my munchkins and envisioning them running toward me greeting me with big smiles, hugs and kisses.  . . . . . . ..  And, then the kids would go straight up to bed (with smiles) because it was a school night…… And, the house would be sparkling and straightened up because my children would have anticipated how tired I would be.  Aaaahh…. Oh, wait, did I start daydreaming again? Sorry about that!

I think I’m suffering from PVRL (post vacation real life). For some reason, I’m having a lot of trouble making the transition from this vacation back to real life.  It was so relaxing – we didn’t have to be anywhere at any time. We were livin’ free and easy and acting like we had money to spend. It was so fun! Mike and I were even speculating about retiring in Sausalito (and we are die-hard mid-westerners)!

Now, it’s back to work, schedules, taxi duty, etc.  There has been no time to ease into it. We both had to work the next day, my daughter had a piano lesson and soccer practice and my son had an Orff concert.

Laundry has been calling, bills need paying, the house needs straightening. . . . . . .I’m coming! I’M COMING!


Fear & Manipulation: A Mother’s Trade Secret

My kids bought me a book for Christmas and I love it. I love it so much that I feel the need to share it with you.

It makes me laugh aloud when I’m reading it (if your child takes piano lessons at that place on Old Meridian on Wednesdays, then,”yes”, I’m the nut that sits there by myself reading and laughing). I can’t control it. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that made me lose control like this. It’s weird.

The book is Raising the Perfect Child through Guilt and Manipulation by Elizabeth Beckwith. I wish I was part of a book club that was reading it so I could discuss it with people. She has already prepared some interesting discussion questions for us at the end of each chapter! (Sample discussion question from Chapter 3: “What are some fears that are healthy to impose upon your own child?”)

You may be thinking that I should be a little pissed that my kids thought of me when they saw the title of the book, but I’m not. They know their mommy (they all still call me this, even my junior) pretty well.

I’m only on Chapter 8 (out of 11), but I’ve already decided that Elizabeth and I could be close friends if we lived in the same area. I love her sense of humor.

So far, my favorite Chapter is #3:  How to Scare the Crap Out of Your Child (in a Positive Way). I read this chapter and was nodding my head throughout the whole thing (while laughing, of course).

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 3. She has a chart in the book of a scenario, the typical parent response, and the recommended alternative.

Sample from the chart:

Scenario:  “I’m thinking of getting a tattoo.”

Popular Response: “You’re not getting a tattoo and that’s final!”

Alternative Response: “A tattoo is forever, you know. You want to be ninety years old with a sun on your lower back? Remember what happened to Gary up the block? He got a tattoo, and next thing you know the poor kid’s got hepatitis.”

Then, she follows the chart with, “All roads lead to death. That was my mantra as a child.”

I can relate to this a lot. Not so much with my own parents, but with my maternal grandma (right, Beth?). Elizabeth’s mom reminds me a little bit of my grandma Helen. She didn’t have the hard edge of the author’s mother, but she had Chapter 3 down pat but in a softer way.

My sister and I used to stay with my grandparents for two weeks out of every summer.  They lived two states away (in WV) and it was a way for us to get to hang with them more. I remember one time I was running out of the house barefoot (I never wore shoes as kid) with my WV-friends and as I was leaving the house I grabbed a Coke. This is back in day when Cokes were still in glass bottles. 

I could hear my grandma yelling after me, “Jennifer, should you take that coke bottle with you? Be careful with that! Maybe you should put some shoes on! You’ll drop that bottle and then step on the glass and slice your foot open!!!”

I will say that I ignored her advice that day and still ran with the killer coke bottle while remaining shoeless, BUT, I was always mindful of NOT dropping the coke bottle so they wouldn’t have to amputate my useless foot later.

Grandma Helen was definitely a trendsetter. Back in the ’70s, she was already scaring the crap out of her grandchildren in positive way. Still to this day, I can’t look at a glass container of any sort without thinking about impending doom and an emergency room visit.

You can ask my kids – I’ve taken on Grandma Helen’s tactics that way. They will attest to the fact that I can link any activity to serious danger or death if given enough time. I do try to control myself a bit because I don’t want them to be completely neurotic. Fortunately, they also have a father that is the complete opposite and can balance me out a bit.

Well, I need to get back to my book. Won’t someone else pick up a copy so I have someone to laugh with? Surely, someone else out there can read this book with a knowing nod thinking (and laughing), “Yep, I already do that!” -or- “Wow, I need to try that.” -or- “Whoa, Elizabeth’s mom could have been mine!”.

A Boy and His Hair

My son thought I should write a blog post about his big transformation that occurred yesterday. So, here it is. He went from a pre-teen-Bieber-look back to the little-boy-look.




Haircuts these days are getting tough on me. Why in the world would haircuts be tough? Because of my worrier personality, my brain is constantly spiraling out of control (I know I’m not the only one out there). Watching Jack sit in the big chair getting his hair buzzed allowed me to drift off into my own little world (which can be a scary place sometimes!). My mind starts the usual rambling, one thought leading to another (kind of like the book, If You Give a Moose a Muffin. Do you know that book?).

It went something like this…, look at all that hair, I’m glad he’s getting it buzzed, how long will he let me make his hair decisions?, will this be the last haircut where I have a say?, I can’t believe he will be in junior high next year, whoa Maddie will be a freshman and Rachel will be a senior, when will my boy stop holding my hand in public?, who am I kidding – that will stop this year, will he stay the same sweet, loving boy?, will he be as challenging as the girls were in junior high?, will he be okay in junior high?, where did the time go?, I’m glad he still looks little boyish with the buzz cut, how long will that last?, when will Jack get his growth spurt?, how will Jack handle Rachel going to college?, how will Maddie handle it?, how will I handle it?, what am I going to do when the kids are slowly leaving the house?, what am I going to do with myself and my bigass family-schedule wall calendar when I have no one to organize?, …….

And, then, gratefully, the haircut was over. He hopped out of the chair, I paid the barber and then gave my boy a B-I-G hug like he was leaving for college the next day. He looked at me like, “huh?”. Then two seconds later, I got the super big grin (love that grin).

Whew! I exhaust myself.  

He will be turning 11 soon and will be entering junior high as a 6th grader. He’s my baby and I will probably cry harder the first day of school in August 2011 than any other 1st day of school (even harder than when I drove my oldest to school on her first day of 1st grade – back then I thought that was the beginning of the end of the “baby” years.).

I was wrong. The 2011-2012 school year will be the official end of the “baby” years for the Engledows. My youngest will be entering junior high, my middle one will be a freshman at the high school and my oldest will be a senior in high school.  – waaaahhhhh!-

I know that these are just more milestones in our lives that can’t be avoided (like turning 40). They just need to be embraced. For me these milestones will be harder to embrace than the typical ones we encounter at the beginning of our lives – getting a driver’s license, graduating from high school, turning 21, graduating from college, getting your first job, getting your first apartment, getting married, buying your first house, starting a family….

All of these early milestones are about adding to our lives in some way (gaining freedom, independence, adding family) and I chased those down as fast as time would allow – I couldn’t wait!

The ones I’m beginning to experience now seem to be about letting go and that’s a weird feeling. I’m definitely not running toward these dang things – these milestones will be dragging me by my hair, while I’m kicking and screaming the entire way.

But, as people will tell me, “It’s a part of life and there’s no reason to dwell on it and make yourself crazy.”

Of course, they (dad) are absolutely right and I’ll get to work on that straight away. It’s always a work in progress for me.

Good-bye, baby years….

Are You Talking to Me?

So, what do the Engledows talk about? I”m telling you, there are always interesting topics flying around our house.

My 5th grade son has been asking some unexpected questions lately. These are just a few –

What is cleavage?

Poor thing. With two older sisters in the house, sometimes he is forced to watch shows that other boys his age wouldn’t dream of watching. He’s a trooper! He does it in the name of family time.  So, the girls were watching “Say Yes to the Dress” and a mother/daughter combo were having a “disagreement” about cleavage and were hoping to reach a “cleavage compromise” with the wedding dress. [side note: cleavage compromise? That could be used in other contexts. I may have to save that one for later.]

The question was a logical one since we don’t use cleavage in every day conversation at the E-house. And, I’m slightly relieved, that at 10 yrs old, he didn’t know enough to realize this could be a somewhat embarrassing question! It’s just a matter of time, folks. Next year he’ll be in junior high and then all bets are off!

Back to the question – Since I was not present for this inquiry, the hubby had to address it. How did he describe it?  According to a witness, Mike, while rubbing his high chest area with his hand, told Jack that a little bit of boobs can be seen in this area. Hmm…. I’m wondering what image was left in his head?

What is a bookie?

Huh? Where is he getting this stuff? We asked him what he was reading. It’s a book for his class (The Westing Game). Hmmm…. I had him read me the particular passage from the book. Apparently, in this mystery book, there are quite a few ruffian-types (bookies, thieves, etc.). So, we explained what a bookie was and that it was illegal.

It’s only Monday, people!

Dinner time!!!

What about dinner table talk?

I love it when we all can sit down together for dinner. It’s really very important to both me and Mike and we try to make it a priority. How often do all five of us get to eat together? Probably 3-4 times a week. But, pretty soon it will be just four of us – Rachel will be in her senior year next year and then she will be in college (um….I’m getting teary-eyed thinking about it). I think that’s why cooking and the family dinner has become so important to me.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah….meal time chats with the Engledows.

Um…..before I go any further, I have to explain something to you. Our kids kind of fall into the nerdy category (cute, but nerdy). They are good students, do very well on standardized tests, watch the history channel (along with TLC), love to read, etc. Thus, heated debates sometimes do occur amidst the funny stories and daily humdrum tales. What was the big debate tonight? If you think you can handle it, read on.

Maddie was telling a story about her school day: The lunch lady apparently took longer than normal to ring up her lunch. Maddie told Best Friend (who is also a lovable geek) that the lunch lady seemed nonplussed. “Tee hee hee” and then BF told Maddie that she pronounced ‘nonplussed’ wrong! Another “Tee hee hee”.

– aahhhh, nerd humor –

Then, Jack interrupted Maddie’s rivoting, not-really-that-funny school story by saying that BF pronounced it incorrectly and that Maddie was actually right.

Meanwhile, Hubby and I are both like, “What does this word mean?” AND, all three of our children chimed in with the same meaning (geeks!), but was it correct?

Mike and I needed convinced. AND, the debate was still raging on the pronunciation. So, of course, Maddie immediately drops her fork and rushes to obtain a dictionary and we all await with bated breath to listen to the correct definition and pronunciation! Who was right?????

The kids were all correct on the definition and Jack was correct on the pronunciation.  Mystery solved!

BTW, for those of you that don’t use this word in every day conversation,  it means confused / perplexed / to put at a loss as to what to think, say, or do. Criminetly! I do crossword puzzles about 4 days a week and didn’t know what it meant.

Should I continue with more tales from the table? Nah,….. I won’t do that to you. You’ve held in there this long and, surely, you get the idea. There were also some silly stories and bad jokes thrown in to cap off the dinner this evening.

I find talking with my children very challenging (the questions are getting harder), informative (I learned a new word) and entertaining (they do make me laugh!).

I’m looking forward to tomorrow and to more Engledow chats and challenging questions!