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Notes from the Trenches — fighting the war on tantrums since 1994

A Mum By Any Other Name Would Be a Corsage

October 2, 2012

Everything is bigger in Texas. Even corsages. But these Homecoming corsages are not called corsages. They are called Mums.


For those of you who do not live in the South, or perhaps it is just Texas I am not really sure, that gigantic thing pinned to by daughter’s shoulder is a Mum. A Homecoming Mum. A gigantic piece of tackiness that is somehow a status symbol. Of what, I do not understand.

The one my daughter is wearing is very understated. A plain, almost boring mum, in spite of the bells, glitter, beads and curly sparkling ribbon.

When we first moved to Texas one of my neighbors was talking about Homecoming and that her son had to get his girlfriend a Mum.

A mum? I had questioned. Because I was thinking of the potted mum variety that you use to decorate your front porch in the Fall.

Yes, a Mum. It’s a tradition. The bigger the better.

Huh, I had said. Imagining a high school girl carrying around an enormous potted Mum, which seemed ridiculous.

And then I was schooled on what a Mum is. And it still seemed ridiculous. And ridiculously expensive. There are girls who wear several of these. Girls who have Mums that light up or have stuffed animals pinned to them. Girls who have Mums so heavy their back aches. Texans take their corsages seriously.

I made the Mum (assembled the mum?) my daughter is wearing. She was little wary when I said Hell, no I am too cheap to spend $25+ on an already made Mum that you will wear for five minutes and then complain about and toss aside please oh, please let me make it for you! But I won her over with my threats of you will have nothing then! crafting and glue gunning skillz.

And for the record it cost me $6 in supplies and she wore it for about 6 minutes before she complained that it was weighing her down.

Posted by Chris @ 1:19 pm | Comments are closed.  

The Parenting Club

October 1, 2012

Over at AlphaMom we are starting something new. A book club! I am so excited about this opportunity to read some parenting books and discuss them. I usually read a couple of parenting related books a year and usually wish that I had someone to talk about them with me. Often I push the books on friends so I can have someone to bounce ideas off or hear what they thought.

Over at AlphaMom we are voting on which book will be our first to read together. The only one that I have already read is the Five Love Languages of Children. I included it on the list because it completely revolutionized the way I thought about my children and parenting. The others are all book thatt I have heard good things about and have been on my to read list for awhile.

So go on over and vote, you have until tonight, and join me on this new venture.

Posted by Chris @ 11:46 am | Comments are closed.  

Yes, again

September 19, 2012

They really should give out punch cards at the ER, like they do at Subway.

Every third visit complimentary xanax for the mother. Every fifth visit free. Ten visits gets you a vacation without children. Something like that.


Luckily it is just a bad sprain. But those hurt. ALOT. Or so I am told. It is against my personal religion to do anything which might result in injury of any kind.

And how did this sprain happen? He slipped on the muddy field during practice. They weren’t even doing full contact since it was the day before a game. Just one of those things. On the bright side, we already own crutches!

On the way out of the ER we passed someone my son knows who was heading in with a broken arm that happened during a game. And we passed another young man in the parking lot who was heading in with what appeared to be a broken leg. The other mothers and I wearily nodded our heads at each other, acknowledging that we are in the same place in our parenting journey. I imagine that the mothers of girls do this too, over bra shopping perhaps. I don’t know. My daughter is still too young.

“Mom, you know what is so weird?”


“Every time we go to the Emergency room it is filled with boys who are hurt. I’ve never really seen any girls. Why is that?”

“Because y’all are dumb.”

My son laughed. “I know you’re joking, Mom. Except I think it is kind of true!”

There is always some truth in jokes.

Posted by Chris @ 10:53 am | Comments are closed.  

A New School Year

September 13, 2012


And so it happened that the shiny yellow bus came once again to pick up the small people and bring them to school. Hallelujah! The children and the mother both rejoiced.

Now, three weeks into the school year and three weeks into homework and sleep deprivation, the rejoicing sounds more like whining and yelling than heavenly angels singing.


Don’t be fooled. They are not excitedly running to see me and tell me all about their day. No they ran right past me.


It was the puppy they missed.

Once again this year I have taken the time to write a list of New School Year Resolutions. You should go read it and then tell me what yours are.

Not on the list, exercise while the children are at school. Because let me tell you watching your children run track all summer long is not the same as running it yourself. Sitting in the hot sun sweating your butt off does not, in fact, sweat your butt right off. Who knew??!!

Posted by Chris @ 9:05 am | Comments are closed.  

Children Are Helpful Critics

September 12, 2012

Scene: Driving in the Car

Child 1: “Mom, my teacher asked why you aren’t blogging.”

Me: “What? Really?”

Child 1: “Yes. So why aren’t you?”

Child 2: “My friend’s mom asked me, too.”

Me: “Uh, hmmmmm. I guess I have writer’s block.”

Child 3: “What is that?”

Me: “That is when you just don’t know what to write about, I guess.”

Child 1: “But you write about us. And we are awesome and funny.”

Child 3: “Ohhhh. I know. Write about Beef Jerky.

Me: “Beef jerky???”

Child 3: ” Yes! BEEF JERKY! Everyone loves beef jerky.”

Other children enthusiastically agree.

Child 3: “Write that on your blog. That we love beef jerky!”

Child 1: “You know what else you should do? Stop at the store right now and buy us some beef jerky. The you could take a photo of us eating it and put that on your blog too!”

Me: “I’m not stopping at the store.”

Child 1: “Well, it wont be as good without a picture. But you might as well write it anyway.”

Me: “It sounds kind of boring.”

Child 3: “Beef jerky is not boring.”

Child 1: “Everyone will love it.”

Child 2: “Or you could write about how you were fixing the broken leg on the coffee table and how you glued that clamp thing right to the leg. Because that was funny.”

Annnnnnd scene.

Posted by Chris @ 11:35 am | Comments are closed.  

The Photos of Summer: Day Twenty Five

July 16, 2012


Her first bath. Thank God, because she was smelly.

I have now become a person who takes photos of their dog in a bath tub.
And posts the photo on the Internet.

Not to mention a person that gives their dog a bath with bath toys.

It’s like I don’t even know myself anymore.

Posted by Chris @ 6:05 pm | Comments are closed.  

The Photos of Summer: Day Twenty-Four

July 15, 2012


A break in the rain and with it the realization that the rainbow ends at your house.

Posted by Chris @ 4:40 pm | Comments are closed.  

The Photos of Summer: Day Twenty Three

July 14, 2012


The kids jumping on the trampoline in the pouring rain.

Last summer it never rained.

This summer I think we may need to build an ark.

Posted by Chris @ 11:23 pm | Comments are closed.  

The Photos of Summer: Day Twenty Two

July 13, 2012


I remember cutting out their faces from photographs. They were both under two and in diapers and I was heavy pregnant with my third son. This was a cheap locket and it broke not that long after I bought it. I had put it aside, meaning to replace it soon. But time has a way of passing. I haven’t thought about it much in the past sixteen years.

But last week while decluttering I came
across the locket and opened it. There, in the palm of my hand, were the baby faces of my two oldest sons staring back at me.

Faces I only recognize in my memories.

Posted by Chris @ 3:41 pm | Comments are closed.  

The Photos of Summer: Day Twenty One

July 12, 2012


Yes. Hell has frozen over. The years of begging have paid off.

We have a little dog we got from the animal shelter. She is the sweetest little dog ever and the kids are beyond thrilled. I assume one day the excitemt will wear off and they won’t constantly argue over who is going to walk her or sit near her.

Posted by Chris @ 12:30 pm | Comments are closed.