Parenting, Sweet girls

Blood and guts

The Artist may end up as a doctor…or the next Stephen King.

Earlier this month, Kyle had a minor surgery. I say minor, but he did have 12 staples and was home a couple of days recovering. So minor – but it was still surgery.

We let TA know about the surgery, that Daddy would not be able to play around for a while, etc. Especially that first day, even though he would be home with us, TA, her sister, and I needed to let him rest. Then we would see how things progressed throughout the week. TA was relieved that Kyle wouldn’t have to spend the night in the hospital, and the first day she was gentle and kind, and every morning she would ask, “How are you feeling today, Daddy?” Kyle quickly recovered and started walking around the house, and we took his gauze off, revealing 12 staples. Because we know how TA loves blood, guts, and gore, we decided to show her.

His staples absolutely fascinated her.

But then – she wanted to take them out.

As in – she wanted to be at the doctor’s office when they were removed so she could take them out herself. Because what 5-year-old wouldn’t want to do that?

This is nothing new for TA, though. Kyle is a Type I diabetic, and he has an insulin pump and a sensor to track his blood sugar. TA loves to watch him put in new pumps and sensors. She loves watching him check his blood sugar with a stick, when that occasionally occurs. When her baby sister has a cut or a scrape, she wants to check it out, wipe it down with alcohol, and slap a band-aid on it.

So, again – her desire to take the staples out – it was just her.

The day Kyle got his staples out, I picked TA up from school, and she asked, “Did Daddy get his staples out today?”

“Well…he should be at the doctor’s office now.”

“CALL HIM! CALL HIM CALL HIM!” she urged. “I want him to bring them home!”

“Bring what home?!”

“The staples!”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. My dainty fairy artist wanted her father to bring his post-surgery staples home.

I called Kyle up and told him her request.

“Yeah, she told me about that this morning,” he said, laughing. “Tell her I will do what I can.”

And, of course, you know he brought those staples home to her.

That evening, right before dinner, Kyle handed the staples in a plastic bag to TA.

Her eyes lit up like it was Christmas all over again. She jumped up and down, squealed, and then ran to her room. In a couple of moments, she came back and said, “Come here! Come here! I have to show you something!”

We went in her room and saw her accomplishment. TA has a “special things” section in her room, on top of her dresser.

Right beside a covered red rose toy from “Beauty and the Beast” and a photo of her and Disney princess Belle, she had placed the plastic bag of staples.


Jesus, Parenting

10 seconds to start

“Attention…present Bibles…start.”

From fourth grade throughout high school, I participated in Bible Drill. I learned Scriptures, learned relevant answers to basic theological questions (i.e. “What does the Bible teach us about sin?”) and knew key passages in the Bible, such as Jesus’ birth. I could find Ecclesiastes, the Gospels, Ephesians – any book – in ten seconds or less. From fourth grade to high school, I hid God’s word in my heart.

Bible Drill is so important for these young kids – every year they memorize 25 Scriptures, compete in front of their peers and family members, and every year they do the same – they learn and start to comprehend God’s word. Even now, over two decades since I was in Bible Drill, I remember verses I memorized when I was 10 years old.

My church – the church where my babies were dedicated – also participates in Bible Drill. I have served as a Bible Drill teacher for five years now, going on my sixth. We are led by wise, dedicated Bible Drill leaders who give their hearts to this ministry each spring. And every year, it keeps getting better.

This year, I have my same girls that I’ve had since they were fourth graders. This is their last year of children’s Bible Drill before they become youth. I met them as 10-year-olds, spent four months out of the year with them, teaching them the rules and procedures, praying with them, and teaching them Scripture. It is a weighty, precious blessing that I know I took too lightly when I first started. Now, though, especially as The Artist is only four years away from her own Bible Drill participation, my heart leaps to see my girls returning for their “senior” year.

It’s not just these kids, either – it’s their parents, the ones who bring them every Sunday and who go over verses with them. These are the parents who have prioritized learning God’s word, and I am so grateful for them. I am able to teach them for 90 minutes once a week – but they have to have parental support at home.

The Artist comes with me on occasion to Bible Drill. She sees these big kids and sees how well they know Scripture and how quickly they can find passages in the Bible. She knows her books of the Bible – sort of – and she knows that come every January, Mommy helps with Bible Drill.

One day, she’ll participate in Bible Drill. She’ll be 10 – ten!! I can’t even fathom our life in four years. It changes so much now, from season to season, and I can’t picture The Artist as a 10-year-old. What will she be doing in school? Will she still be interested in art? Will she be in piano lessons then? Will she be playing tennis?

Our options seem almost endless in activities in which for her to participate – and I am so thankful to live in a city that offers her so many possibilities. And while that is such a benefit to our family – I also want to remember what is lasting and eternal. I want her to be smart. I want her to be athletic. I want her to be musical. I want her to be artistic.

But, most importantly, I want her to be kind and to know God.

Parenting, Reading

Look at that — a new year

Hello, 2019!

Sorry for the neglect of the blog the last few weeks. I took a Christmas hiatus and it was delightful. A lot of family time, a lot of friends, and way too much food. Have y’all seen this meme?


I get it. I get it soooo much.

So naturally, with probably 99.99 percent of Americans, I am resolving to eat better this new year. I just want to fit back into my running sweatpants. It’s bad when even sweatpants are tight.

I don’t really do NY resolutions or goals. I make them and then forget them before Jan. 31. But this year, I have some new habits I want to adopt.

1) Instead of reading a set number of books, I just want to read. One of my favorite books is “Les Misérables.” Victor Hugo writes so beautifully, including the main characters and the world around them, and it’s magnificent. It’s so good, but it is about 1,400 pages. I read it when I was pregnant with The Artist, which was back in 2012. I haven’t read it since then, and I have missed the book. I need to read it again. However, if I endeavor to read it (and “The Devil’s Redemption,” which I ordered with Christmas money – it, too, is about 1,400 pages, but I cannot wait to explore the history and future of universalism), I may seriously only read those two books during the first six months of 2019. And that is okay. Instead of setting a goal to read x number of books, I just want to make sure I read at some point every day. Most days I meet this goal, but I want to enjoy the process of reading and not feel pressured to read a set number of books.

2) Be confident in my decisions, especially parenting ones. I’m the world’s worst in taking other people’s opinion as gospel when it’s an opinion – often not even fact. I worry that I’m not doing the right thing, especially by my kids. But I don’t want to focus on that this year. I know my kids. I may seek out advice, but I want to be confident in my decisions regarding their upbringing. Also – my kids have their moments – don’t ever hear me say they are perfect – but I want to remember that they’re kids. They’re young. They’re little. They’re not perfect. And I want to give them grace when they mess up, especially in public. That’s always so embarrassing – all parents know that feeling – but I want to remember that both The Artist and The Engineer are good kids. And I want them to know that about themselves.

And, as I mentioned before, of course, I want to drink more water, exercise more, sleep more hours – all the things that are good for our bodies. Because I’ve got to go to work again next week – and it’s going to be real embarrassing if I can’t fit into any clothes.


celebrations, Parenting

Milk & cookies

When I was a kid, every Christmas Eve we had epic Christmas parties with families and friends. Those nights are some of the highlights of my childhood. The adults would stay inside, eating and drinking hot cider, and the kids would be running around like wild heathens outside, playing hide and seek and chase. Often, we’d have visits from Santa during the parties, too.

In fact, one of my first realizations that I did not want to be a newspaper reporter my entire life was working my first Christmas Eve after college graduation and knowing I was missing my family’s party. I was so irritated, because I absolutely loved those parties.

Since then, with my own kids, I thought about starting our own Christmas Eve parties to keep up the tradition – but it didn’t work for our family. Our church hosts a beautiful, memorable Christmas Eve service every year – and I did not want to miss that or ask others to miss out, either.

So, instead, we host Milk & Cookies parties for the kids one morning before Christmas. It’s wild and chaotic and filled with sprinkles and sugar. And while I call it a Milk & Cookies party, it’s really more of a Milk-and-cookies-and-pjs-and-watch-The-Grinch party. Because that’s what we do. The kids (and I) wear Christmas pajamas and eat way too many cookies (most of the time guests are sent home with a bag of cookies as well) and we have the old Grinch cartoon playing in the background. I say in the background because, in our four years of hosting this party, I’m not sure if the kids have ever finished the movie. Did I mention the cookies? Yeah. Usually they’re all sugared up, running around and playing in the kids’ rooms. And it is wonderful. It’s beautiful and lovely because the parents and I are watching our kids with these new traditions, growing up together.

This year, for the first time, The Artist asked if we would have the Grinch party this year. She’s remembering it now, and those memories are good. They are grand. She knows her friends will come over and play and I won’t tell her one time to stop eating all the cookies she wants (She and The Engineer managed to eat quite a lot last year by sneaking cookies off of peoples’ plates).

When I was first married, I thought we needed to have certain traditions that first year – but all the traditions I tried to form never worked. We tried to go to Natchitoches every New Year’s Eve. Nope. Worked for three years and that was it. We tried to go certain places for Christmas. That didn’t work.

The best holiday traditions we have now are the ones that just started naturally. I hosted the first Milk & Cookies party when The Artist was almost two, and our group of friends had maybe 5 kids among 5 families. Now – now, we have about 20 kids who come in about 8 or 9 families.

We somehow started a Christmas tradition without even realizing it. And that one is one I’ll treasure forever.

That and lying in bed on Christmas Eve and laughing as Kyle irritably puts together way too complicated Christmas toys while watching “Christmas Vacation.”

Hey, I never said I was a saint.


Pine cone surprise

Christmas, in Louisiana, is generally a hot, humid celebration. We don’t don Christmas sweaters or fuzzy boots or scarves – unless you want to sweat to death. Granted, this doesn’t happen every year, and every now and then the temperature will dip to the high 30s – but in my 30+ years of life, I have never experienced a Louisiana white Christmas.

But we still participate in Christmas activities – looking at Christmas lights, drinking hot chocolate, making snowflakes out of coffee filters (since we don’t have real snow). Last year, I thought it would be fun to make pine cone birdseed ornaments. We live on the edge of the woods, and we frequently have an assortment of animals besides birds and squirrels – deer, raccoons, possums (which is how I spell and pronounce “opossum”). In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, I had a raccoon hanging from my door – no joke. And the wildlife has never bothered me; I enjoy seeing the little animals outside, as do my kiddos.

So, anyway – these pine cone feeders. By the grace of God, the person who built our house also determined that pine trees are evil and removed every single one of them off of our four-acre property.  I literally live in the “Piney Hills,” and I have no pine trees. So to acquire pine cones, the girls and I headed to Tech, where I teach, to collect pine cones.

We grabbed about 12 and placed them in paper bags in the back of the car. We drove home and went outside to work on our sweet feeders. I grabbed the birdseed and peanut butter and placed it on our outdoor table with the kids, then I grabbed the pine cones. I handed one to The Engineer and one to The Artist. The kids giggled and had peanut butter and birdseed everywhere. It was a hot mess, but it was sweet and precious.

They finished their first pine cone ornament feeder, and I tied a red string around it to hang outside. I was thinking how picturesque the day was — nice temps in the upper 60s, my girls placing peanut butter to help feed the animals this winter. The kids did a few more pine cones and then we got to the last one. I took it out of the paper bag.

There was a wasp in it.


It was dadgum middle of December, and there was a LIVE WASP HIDING IN ONE OF OUR PINE CONES. I mean, WHAT THE HECK???? Those things are supposed to be dead or hiding (okay, maybe it was hiding, but I digress) in the winter. And I had brought that wasp home with me IN MY CAR.

I fight wasps all summer in our backyard – and often in our house. They’re everywhere. They should be our state bird because THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. But I do not expect to see them in the winter. It’s like mosquitoes (which are our state bird). If we have to deal with a snowless winter, we shouldn’t have to see mosquitoes – or wasps.

But that day last December, we did.

Suffice to say, we did not do any more pine cone feeders.

Also, truth be told, I may not let them create the feeders this year, either. I’m not all for holding wasps in my hand like that. Granted, maybe that was a fluke experience, but I’d rather not repeat the experience.

We’ll just stick to our snowflake coffee filters this year.