Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Like Father Like Son(s)

If you had asked me 24 years ago what ONE thing I would want my boys to learn during their childhood from their father, I would probably say loyalty.

No, commitment.

Wait, integrity.

Hang on - dedication.

Ah hell... I suppose I wouldn't have been able to sum it up in one word.  Maybe it would have taken a paragraph.  That is how I speak, as you know.  One word responses are not really my style.

I witnessed little guy display them all last night.  I was beaming with pride.  Let's be honest - it's not everyday that our 12 year old kiddos excel.  Oh sure, each of us have the smartest, cutest, most perfect children in the world (until our front door closes).

Our football season has been a tough one.  Once again we have found ourselves improperly placed in the wrong division (for whatever reason).  Basically... we are playing up.  It shows.  We have had some really rough games.  Little guy not only looks like a football player this year, he could easily fit in with the Jax and the MC if only he knew how to ride a Harley.

We are facing massive adversity.  We have many players on IR.  We barely have enough left to get on the field.  We are facing our largest competitor (meaning they have beaten us by the most points this season).  It's fairly safe to say we will most likely go down... by a lot.

A question was posed to the team:  should we play?  I admit I was hot immediately.  Never have my boys been allowed to quit anything.

And no, my dear naysayers, that has nothing to do with MY pride.  It has everything to do with my childhood.  I was allowed to start and quit everything, mostly because my parents really didn't want to take the time to take me anywhere for "activities".  Childhood was meant to be played outside, not at sanctioned events.  I suppose it was because I was the last child over a long parenting span.  Or maybe they were just super tired.  I'll never really know at this point.

I vowed when I had children I would not ever push them, nor would I allow them to quit.  I wanted them to develop their own desires, their own sense of pride, their own accountability and dedication.

Stage Left - Mr. Davis.

I had no idea how my boys would learn any of those words listed at the top of my page, quite frankly.  My Scorpion ways lean me to be fiercely loyal and protective but I'm not totally convinced I could teach the level of commitment and dedication I wanted my boys to grow up with to become MEN.

I became a spectator and quickly learned how they were going to get it.  Hubs dedicated tireless hours to Bubba and little guy's activities.  He showed them commitment by being by their side at every practice and every game.  They discussed every night over dinner not only how to improve but how to celebrate successes.  They did it together, step in step.  He listened to them, gave them respect and in turn, taught them to appreciate and grow their love for their sports.

And then it happened.  One day, they woke up and it seemed to click.  Both of my boys have amazing loyalty.  They illustrate great sense of team.  They display commitment without flaw.  And they both have an incredible sense of what is right, not for themselves, but for the teams they support.

That is probably why Bubba is in the military.  Although he wouldn't define it that way necessarily, he is incredibly loyal.  Loyal to his country.  Committed completely to his wife.  Dedicated to his team.

And little guy?  Faced with possibly not finishing his season, he gave us one simple answer.

"We finish our season mom because we can't quit.  We may lose by 50 but at least we will know we tried.  I will never, ever quit on my team."

As always, I will pray before his game Saturday.  Pray he is safe.  Pray his teammates are safe.  Pray the coaches lead the boys as best as they can.  Pray they have fun and feel good when they walk off the field, regardless of the scoreboard.

He knows the risk.  He has buckled that chin strap for 6 years knowing that every snap is potential harm.  180 lbs of young men hit him every single down of a game that he plays.  Especially now knowing that he may be playing new positions on the field for our final games, he knows that even if he makes mistakes he wants to give it his all.

I couldn't ask for more.

One last thing though - thank God my boys learned modesty from their father as well.  I would be screaming from the rooftops if my boy's successes had been my own (mostly because I was not nearly as self secure as they are).  But not my boys.  They are selfless in their endeavors.  They celebrate as a TEAM, not as an individual.

That has to be what I love about them the most.

Final week of football.  Seems to be the longest season of little guy's life but now that it is coming to an end, it's bittersweet.  He does love it so.

Have a great Tuesday, friends.


Friday, October 25, 2013


As I stared at my Halloween decorations neatly tucked on a shelf in the basement this week, I realized this is probably it:  the last trick or treat.  I remember Bub's like it was yesterday.  It was the first year he didn't want Hubs and I to walk with him... or anywhere near him.  He wanted to go alone with his friends.

It was different 12 years ago.  And we lived in a very small, tight knit community.

Halloween in our 'hood where we live now is INSANE.  There are a zillion kids running everywhere.  Parents line every sidewalk with wagons and strollers, stopping at every other house to catch up with friends.

And it takes 3 hours... or something like that.

I learned a long time ago the best solution to freezing cold standing all night is a warm cup of apple cider... and a 5 gallon cooler of it to come along.  With maybe a little hooch in it.  Maybe.

So I guess I better drag out the black decorations this weekend and throw them up.  Little guy has already asked if I'm going to.  He's such a stickler for "traditions".

All I see is more stuff to put away in ONE WEEK.  Oh well... the things we do for the kiddos.

Enjoy my fave spookies from around the web and have a fantastic haunting day next week, friends!


Yep - here it is!  My friend Kim gave me this recipe 5 years ago when I first moved into our 'hood and I have faithfully made it every year since.  WAY YUMMY!  Be careful though... it's powerful!

It was that time of Year again for the Hot Apple Pie Shots! 1 gallon Apple Cider, 1 gallon Apple Juice, 3 cups sugar, 8 cinnamon sticks and 1 750ml bottle of everclear. I modified it this year and cut the recipe in half so I would end up with a little over one gallon. I also substituted some of the sugar with brown sugar instead.


For years I have slathered on Dracula, camo and skull looking paint on my boys.  NEVER has it turned out this incredibly cool.  I totally gave up but wish I could accomplish this level of work.  This is COOL!


In ode to my grandfurbaby.  Here's to you, Hank.  Hope you get some extra lovin' on haunting day!  Nana loves ya!


This gem goes out to Sassy's momma.  She makes the BEST chocolate covered strawberries on the PLANET!  How cute are these, Julie?


I love me some porch pics.  This one screams to me (although I could do without the cat, no offense to my cat lovin' friends).  I love the idea of the white punkins!


Seriously creepy.  CREEPY.  AHHHHH!!!


I can't make lots of things but I can totally make these.  Pretzel sticks, marshmallows and white chocolate.  Sign me up!


My boys LOVE the weekend before Halloween, as we have traditions.  Usually it is my first official batch of chili for the year.  We carve pumpkins and drink mulled cider (no, not the Apple Pie Shots shown above!)  We usually throw on a funny Halloween movie and giggle all night long.

This year will be different.  The west coast kids are, well, on the west coast (snuggling their own little new bug!)  Little guy has 5 games this weekend.  YES, FIVE.  How in the world we can fit this in I have no idea. 

But I'll die trying!


Did anyone else already know this?  Every year we work HOURS tirelessly on cool pumpkin carvings to watch them wither away the very next day.

We can preserve them!  WOO HOO!!

“After you scoop out and carve your pumpkin, dip it in a large container of bleach and water (use a 1 tsp:1 gal mix). The bleach will kill bacteria and help your pumpkin stay fresh longer. Once completely dry, (drain upside down), add 2 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to a quart of water. Brush this solution onto your pumpkin to keep it looking fresh for weeks.”


Why wouldn't this be the easiest thing ever?  My little nugget absolutely LOVES his cakes... cupcakes, that is!  I wish I was with him to give him a few of these.  For breakfast, of course.


Happy Haunting next week, friends!!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Throwing the Lifeline

I am at an impasse.  Whenever I find myself in this position, I turn inward and try to resolve my end of the conflict.  When that doesn't work, I turn to others.

This is where you come in.

I need help, friends.  I'm angry, disappointed and frustrated.  I can't see the appropriate reaction any longer. In short order I fear I will find myself irrational, which nobody wants to see.

I consider myself free.  Free from judgement.  Free from prejudice.  Yes, I have my opinions (as all of us do).  Yes, I have my own preconceived notions that I have learned to dispel while educating myself. 

It hasn't been easy.

I was raised in a prejudiced family.  I often heard words that now I find absolutely appalling... and not just from my grandparents.  From my parents, too.  It was hard to understand.  As I was trying to learn more about people that were different from me those not so kind words were flying around my young girl head.

My first introduction to a person of a different color was thankfully provided by NBC and one fantastic show I watched faithfully... Different Strokes.  I was fascinated to try to identify with teens that were different than me.  I grew up in a community with one Native American family of which I befriended them as if they were my own (and practically lived in their house!)  I went through primary and secondary schools with extremely limited exposure to people different than me.

But I thought about it often.  I vowed to raise my children in a home that would be NOT see or feel difference.  I was convinced if I raised my boys the right way it would never, ever be of concern to them.

Sure we had the "why does Frankie have chocolate skin, momma?" conversations.  But both of my boys I am proud to say have NEVER heard the words that easily fell from my momma's lips.  

Until now.

My little guy is caught smack dab in the middle of what I say is none other than discrimination.  He and his friends are being called a "white boy" or "white bread".  Well - we are, is what I tell him.

But that's far from the worst.

He is hearing that dreaded word - the one I swore and vowed would NEVER enter my home.  And I'm fairly certain you may be surprised to hear by whom.

A boy moved into our 'hood last year with a fairly identifiable track record of causing a bit of chaos.  I don't blame him... as I rarely do.  It typically falls squarely upon the shoulders of the parents in my eyes.

I'm sure in an attempt to find his own group of friends he has befriended mostly boys at our school that look just like him.  I see no issue with that - that is probably would my little guy would do truth be told if thrown into a new environment.

The new group of boys are not behaving kindly.  They follow others around school calling them names.  They tease them at recess for being different.

And the worst.... they use that word.  THE N WORD.  I refuse to even type it, it generates absolute disgust down in the pit of my stomach.

And for some reason, when they call my son and his friends that word, it's okay.  

IT'S NOT OKAY.  Not with me.  It's never okay.

I can't for the life of me understand the context.  I can't understand why it's okay.  I can't understand how it could be cool to use a word that for generations was used in slang to be hurtful, to be disrespectful.  

I'm devastated, quite frankly.  The very word I have never let into my home has pranced across my door.  My son and his friends are asking some of us what it means, why they are being called this (verbally and in social media such as Instagram).  They are asking what the word "racist" means as they are being told that they are.  Boys that they have been friends with since first grade are no longer talking to them because they are a different color.

I'm at a complete standstill.  I have no idea what to do.  I have no idea how to respond.  I fear I don't have enough reassurance to prove to my son that he is not nor has he ever been a racist.  I fear the very opposite of all of the work I have done as a parent to teach equality has just flown out the window.  The actions of these boys may very well teach my son to not want to befriend a person of color.

Hubs encouraged me last night that this will not happen.  Our son is smart, he is inherently good and he will see that just as there are bad white people that sometimes there are bad people in all walks of life.  

I pray he is right.  I pray this experience will not change my son and who he really is.  And I pray I gain the strength to find the appropriate way to support him.

Comments on my blog are always welcomed.  If you have advice, please leave it for me.  Sometimes a girl just has to throw a lifeline to others for help.

Now is one of those times.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Faves.... Ainsley Style!

I tossed and turned all night, knowing it was just a case of the jitters.  Deep breaths.  I'd only been with my daughter for just over 24 hours but my body ached for hers.  She was so uncomfortable, stretched significantly beyond the space of her small frame.  I took note of how incredible the human body is - completely adaptable to change.

We should be that skilled.  You know, us humans.

I couldn't help but wince at each contraction.  She was so brave.  Always has been, actually.  She is strength for her family.  It's one of the million things that I love about that girl.  She can talk through any situation until she has surfaced a logical path.

As I entered the kitchen, Bubba was quiet.  Not particularly unusual as he typically isn't a chatty Cathy in the morning.  But this morning, he was somberly quiet.  

I'd seen it a thousand times, that face.  He was being strong.  Batting down his fears.  Being the brave one.  Keeping the faith.  It's one of the million things I love about him.

They were us - Hubs and I.  Quiet and strong, confident problem solver.  Their similarities to us always make me smile. I let out a little giggle as I reached around to grab my camera.

"Smile you two!  It's the BABY day!"

My son's glare could have cut my body in two.

"Mom.  It's 5:30 in the morning.  Do NOT take our picture."

I snapped it anyway.  I've learned to ignore his irrational morning words many years ago.

As the kids pulled out of the driveway, the house sat eerily quiet.  Nugget was still sound asleep.  Even Hank had fallen back to sleep on the couch.

I was alone to wait.  Wait for the news of our littlest one's arrival.  And I must admit, I was a bit scared.  I tried to busy myself.  I couldn't keep focus reading.  Facebook wasn't buzzing yet with my friends so no fun updates.  Instagram was silent.  Even twitter had few new feeds (that I cared about, anyway).

I think it may have been the longest 4 1/2 hours of my life.  And then, just like that, she was here.

She is amazing.  She has the sweetest little squeaky cry.  She is so soft and vulnerable.  And she is so incredibly loved.

In honor of our sweetest thing, below are my faves for the week!

Welcome to this big world, Ainsley Isla!

Wowzers!  8 lbs, 5 oz, 20 1/2 inches long!

Sleeping is her fave thing to do right now.


Meet Eli, your big brother and Master Protector!

"I hold the Baby?"  But of course!

"I love the Baby!"  Yes buddy, we do too!

So awesome to see him look at her...

My beautiful family.  So incredibly proud!

Yep.  Even I did it.  The big bow.  Girls ROCK!

My cup runneth over.

Have a fantastic weekend, friends!