What Happened to Advent?

Whoa, there!  Slow down, everyone.  It’s not the Christmas season yet.  It’s Advent.  Don’t rush things!  The Christmas season doesn’t officially start until December 25, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Christmas then continues for 12 more days (THE Twelve Days of Christmas, sound familiar?) until Epiphany, the celebration of when the Magi visited the baby Jesus.  We are now in Advent, not Christmas!

Please don’t think I am anti-Christmas.  Far from it!  I LOVE Christmas, and all of the traditions that go along with it (well, maybe not ALL… that elf that moves around at night is kind of creepy).  But please don’t skip over Advent.  It is a beautiful season, too.  Use this time to prepare for the celebration of the Savior’s birth.  What were people expecting in a Messiah?  What signs and prophesies were fulfilled?  Why do we even need a Savior?  Advent should be a time of focusing on our faith journey.  It’s not a crime to deck the halls, but don’t let it overshadow this special season.

Use this Advent season wisely.  Pray more.  Go to Church.  Explore the Bible.  Feed the hungry and clothe the needy.  Visit the homebound and elderly.  Live out your faith.  I’m not a Bible scholar, but I don’t think Jesus ever said, “Good prices on electronics come to those whose who wait in a line for 20 hours.”

I once heard some wonderful advice with regards to the crazy pre-Christmas rush:  “If what you are doing doesn’t bring you closer to Jesus, then don’t do it.”  Pray for me, friends, as I try to follow those wise words, and know that I will be praying for you, too.



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From 0 to 100 in Six Seconds

It stared out as a typical Monday morning.  Shuffle the kids out the door and into the van for the morning school drop-off routine.  Shortly before we reached the first stop, the high school, I noticed something rather odd.  It was quiet.  Is this for real? I asked myself.  There was no chatter, squabbling, complaining.  The kids were just quiet.  I almost pointed out how quiet it was and then I realized that’s a stupid thing to do.  Instead, I just savored this rare moment, wondering how long it would last.

Not too long.

After the Oldest had exited the van and I had driven a few blocks, the silence was broken.  And, oh, how it was broken!  The noise level jumped 100 decibel in six seconds.  Think about how much noise a motorcycle would make while driving around inside of your van.

“I’m going to make up a song about Thanksgiving!”  (commence song about turkeys)
“They don’t have Thanksgiving in Canada.  Or other countries.”

a loud laugh that sounds like a horse

“That laugh is obnoxious.”
“Your laugh sounds like a horse!”

more horse-laugh

more laughing at the horse-laugh

“Mom, don’t forget I have choir practice after school.  Please don’t be late!”
“Stop making fun of me!”

continued horse-laugh

“Rosie and I were playing this game at recess…”
“Mom, should I go to band today?”
“…and now Willie is chasing us at recess, too…”
“Hey, look!  It’s Emma’s mom!  HI EMMA’S MOM!!!!!!!!!!!”
“You can quit laughing like a horse now.”
“Can I get unbuckled now?  We’re almost at the door.”
“Make sure no trash falls out of the van when you get out!”

And just as quickly as the noise started, it stopped.  The door to the van slammed shut as the last kid trotted into school.  I let out a big sigh as I turned the van homeward, shaking off the slight headache that developed from the last 30 seconds of chaos.

I spent the rest of the morning, enjoying the quiet of an empty house, smiling to myself when I remembered the crazy morning ride and the randomness of the conversations (or rather, the separate simultaneous monologues).  How quickly things can escalate!  My quiet peace will be ending soon as it is almost time for the afternoon pick-up.  I’m sure the silent spell this morning was just a fluke.  I expect the van to be another lively spot of conversation, complaining, and miscellaneous noises.  New topics, new things to laugh about, and hopefully nothing to cry about.  Maybe another new song or game.  When and if their chaos quiets down enough for me to be heard, I might just explain to my little Blessings that, yes, Canada does have a Thanksgiving.


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Organizing Halloween Candy Revisited

Halloween candy

If you are a longtime reader of I’m Working On It, you might remember my post from last year about Organizing Halloween Candy.

Last year was a trial run so I didn’t know what to expect.  The system actually worked quite well.  I gave each kid baggies labeled with a day of the week.  He or she could fill each baggie with whatever Halloween candy he or she had.  The kids sorted their candy, carefully chose which pieces went into each bag, and didn’t complain one bit about not being able to gorge themselves at their own will.  The even had some leftover, even the good kind!

Now, here is the real surprise.  THEY FORGOT ABOUT IT.  After maybe a day or two, they simply forgot about their candy.  After it sat on the shelf for a few weeks, I simply threw it away (minus the chocolate, of course, which was consumed by yours truly).  My theory is that because it was put away and not out in plain sight, it was out of mind.

In conclusion, I feel like this method of candy control worked well for our family and I think we will do it again this year.  The kids felt some control over what they could have, yet the quantity was limited.  Give it a try at your house and let me know what you think.

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Life’s Lovely When You’re a Woman

Guess what I did today!  I’ll give you a clue:


Yes, that is a ceiling.  Not sure yet?  Here’s another clue:

paper gown selfie

Yes, that is a paper gown selfie.  If you haven’t guessed, I was at the doctor.  Today was my annual wellness check complete with pap (hence the view of the ceiling).  Now, now…settle down…don’t be jealous.  You, too, can (and should) have a yearly exam.  If you are a she, that is.  (Guys, your exam is a bit different, but also important.)  If you haven’t had a check-up in a while, please make that appointment.  Even if you don’t suspect any problems, there might be something there that the doctor can detect that you can’t.  Annual checks also build up a good medical documentation so if something does need extra attention, your doctor can check your charts for your history.

Guess what I did a couple of days ago!  Here’s a hint:


Yes, that is the famous “breast cancer awareness” pink ribbon.  I got squished!  No, it’s not really fun, but it isn’t too bad, either.  Having annual mammograms is very important, too.  Again, having past images to compare is very helpful to the doctor.  I admit I am not a regular self-checker, but I do make sure I get my yearly mammo.  Remember that guys aren’t exempt from breast cancer.  While annual mammograms aren’t recommended for men, guys, be aware of your body and report any changes, lumps, bumps, or abnormalities to your doctor.

So there you have it.  I had my yearly girly exams this week.  Why am I telling you this?  I am telling you because I know so many people overlook this, forget about it, are too nervous or are just plain scared.  I want to remind you to schedule your exams if you haven’t already and I want to reassure you that although you might endure a bit of discomfort, it is temporary and worth it in the long run.  Don’t deny yourself the fun of donning a paper gown!  Pretend that being weighed in front of another person doesn’t bother you!  Pee in a cup (you can even practice at home if you’d like)!  You never know, you might just find yourself walking out of the doctor’s office with a new pink pen!

pink pen (640x363)

This has been a public service announcement brought to you by karenthemommy.com.

And don’t forget to poop, too.







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Nighttime Workout

Dear Princess,

I love our snuggle and cuddle time.  Holding you close, hugging, loving, tickling, giggling, talking…these are special times I will always cherish.  You are a beautiful, loving, intelligent girl, growing smarter every day.

sleeping princess

Your brilliance astounds me.  Who thought that you could combine sleeping with exercise?  Sleeping with you provides me with a workout.  As I struggle to push you back to your side of the bed, I can feel my muscles work.  When you were younger, it didn’t take much to reclaim my space.  However, now that you are six years old, your bigger body requires me to use more force.  And if that weren’t enough, now you provide resistance to really challenge me as you struggle to maintain your monopoly over the bed.  Whether I am dislodging your foot from my throat or removing your knee from my ribs, I am building my muscles.  With the way you make me keep my body tensed up, I should have a flat tummy and buns of steel in just a few nights.

Although this Sleepercise regimen of yours is a wonderful concept, there is room for improvement.  First, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for punching you in the face.  It wasn’t out of frustration and anger toward you, my trainer.  I was simply turning over and stretching out my arm, not expecting your face to be RIGHT THERE.  Hopefully the bruising will subside before you return to school.  Second, while combining sleep and exercise sounds like a great idea, there is one, tiny problem.  I do the exercise and you do the sleeping.  My body requires sleep, too.  Unfortunately, after a night of sharing a bed with you, I find myself grumpy and tired in the morning, and throughout the day.  Popping mini-Snickers bars in my mouth all day for the sugar rush seems counter-productive to the previous night’s workout.  However, once we can tweak the program to get past these issues, I’m sure I will be fit in no time!

In the meanwhile, in order for me to get a good night’s sleep so I can be a good, well-rested mommy the next day, I think maybe we should limit the time we share a bed.  I love you very much.  I know sleeping arrangements are a bit confusing while we are visiting Grandpa and Grandma.  I admire your ingenuity and creativity in developing this new sleep/exercise program and I thank you for trying it out on me.  But tomorrow night, I think you should sleep with your sister.

Love always,


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When You Gotta Go…Go!

Warning:  this blog post is full of crap.  Well, it’s about being full of crap.  If this talk offends you or grosses you out, you might want to quit reading now.  Come back in a day or two and I will have something less wasteful to talk about.toilet small

This is actually a serious subject:  constipation.  More specifically, teen constipation.  Recently, my friend’s daughter, Katie (oh yeah, I changed her name to prevent her from being mortified and horrified by the sensitive nature of this subject) went to the ER with severe stomach pain.  After an examination and x-ray, it was determined that she was severely constipated.  She was given a laxative to help clean her out and sent home to wait for the inevitable.

Only, it didn’t happen.  There were some loose stools, but not nearly what needed to happen.  She had some bleeding from the straining, probably from fissures or hemorrhoids.  It go to the point that it was so painful to try that she didn’t want to go.

It was a horrible waiting game, full of misery and pain and doctors.  The pediatrician referred her to a specialist who tested her for bacteria.  Negative.  Katie had an enema.  No luck.  Drinking lots and lots of fluid.  Nothing much. Finally, 2-3 days after drinking a mixture of Miralax (laxative) and Gatorade, Katie had success!   Lots and lots of success!  All day long success.  Along with that came more tummy aches, probably from all the movement and cramping going on inside.

So why am I sharing this poor girl’s unfortunate story?  Katie’s pediatrician said she was constipated because she wasn’t going when her body was telling her to.  She was holding it in.  Katie readily admitted that she refused to poop at school.  Even though she needed to go, she wouldn’t let herself poop in the school restrooms.  According to the pediatrician, this is common among girls.  Not only do poor diet choices (common in teens) lead to constipation, but some girls just refuse to use public restrooms.  I had never heard of this before, but I wanted to share Katie’s story to encourage others, especially pre-teen and teen girls, to not fight the urge and go when your body tells you.  If not, it can lead to big problems.  Katie ended up having two x-rays, an emergency room visit, three trips to her pediatrician, a visit to a pediatric gastroenterologist, two sets of lab work, an enema, a couple of different kinds of laxatives, and lots of tears and pain.  Because of her situation, she missed 4 days of school and her parents missed work. Not only is all of that a pain in the gut, but a pain in the pocket-book, too.

I have tried carefully to maintain a serious tone to this serious topic butt it was hard!.  The pun-creating area of my brain is getting constipated and I need to let it all out.  Talking about constipation is an uncomfortable subject.  We just need to open up and not be ashamed.  I’m not trying to be a pain in the ass, but please, show your concern by encouraging your loved ones to poop!

This has been a public service announcement brought to you by www.karenthemommy.com.


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A New Military Strategy

Legos and Joseph

My youngest son, Mr. Dude, loves Legos, as did his older brother, and most boys at some point in their lives. My girls also enjoyed them, but not quite to the extent as the boys. In this house, it seems to be a guy thing. The boys could spend hours with a bunch of Legos. Not necessarily making a huge construction, but just doing simple machines/vehicles/buildings/robots and using their imaginations to play, then take it apart and start all over again. I love it when Mr. Dude brings me one of his creations and goes into an in-depth description of what it is and what it does. His stories are far more interesting and entertaining than his Lego architectural abilities. Legos are a wonderful, creative tool, and for that, I am thankful.


Legos have an evil side. What, you may ask? How can an innocent, little piece of plastic be evil? OK, so maybe ‘evil’ is the wrong word. Dangerous. Dangerous is a more accurate description. I’m not talking about the obscure chance that a Lego can put your eye out, but something much more serious.

Legos have the ability to transform from innocent little blocks into small, tiny, thorny objects capable of inducing piercing, sharp, shooting pain of paralyzing capabilities when stepped on with bare feet. No one knows exactly how this happens, but many have experienced this phenomenon. I, too, have fallen victim to this agony on more than one occasion. Physical descriptions of these pain-producing protrusions vary greatly as they are seldom seen.  Most occurrences happen late at night in the dark. There are some witnesses (of unreliable credence) who claim the Legos have fangs or talons, and are capable of spewing out a litany of obscenities when stepped on. I have also heard of video evidence, but it is of extremely poor quality and experts say it is most likely not a Lego but merely a puffer fish out of water. And the obscenities, of course, are from the mouths of the steppers, not that which is stepped upon.

I honestly believe that if our military can harness the awesome, crippling defense mechanism of the Lego, we could all feel safer.  Who knows?  Maybe the government is already working on it.

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Fun Flashback Friday

This morning I heard “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” on the radio.  Mr. Dude was in the room with me.  Every time Cyndi Lauper sang “girls just wanna have fun,” he chimed in, “and boys!”  He was cracking me up!

I decided to post the video today. It’s a happy, fun, carefree song that has become an anthem for girls. But every time you hear the lyrics today, think of my sweet 7-year-old boy and remember that boys want to have fun, too!

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Season of Change

Jonathan's permit


See that paper my son is holding? That paper will change his life. That paper is his driving learner’s permit. After nearly a month of drivers education, and several attempts to get his permit (we ran into trouble with not having current identification and the DMV’s office hours) he got it. He many now legally drive with my husband or I. On real roads. With other cars. Other moving cars. No more practicing in the K-mart or high school parking lot. It is time to take the driving lessons to the streets.

Many kids these days don’t need to be taught how to drive. For example, take farm kids. They have been driving tractors since they were three. Or golf cart kids. It seems to be a big thing lately to have a golf cart if you have enough land and these kids race around and become expert drivers by the time they are ten. Quads, go-karts, Gators…nope, none of those in our family. The only driving experience my son has had is his bike.

With a deep breath and moral support from the dog, I took the Oldest to a state park for his first real drive. The state park was a good option because the roads were decent and there was little traffic and few pedestrians. The boy sat in the driver’s seat and I sat in the passenger’s seat with the dog on my lap. They say that pets can help reduce stress, and I think that’s true. Mr. K sat patiently on my lap while I continuously stroked his back from head to tail. It’s a wonder he didn’t develop a bald spot. I’m not saying that my son’s driving stressed me out, I’m just saying…well…there is room for improvement. I prefer staying on the road and he needs to work on his turns a bit. Only one oncoming vehicle had to swerve out-of-the-way, so I think that’s good. I managed to keep my calm and offer suggestion and corrections in a helpful, nurturing tone (I think). In defense of my child, I must point out that he was driving our big, 12-passenger van, which is not known for its maneuverability.

After logging an hour of driving time, it was time for me to take the wheel again to get us home through the busy, Saturday traffic. He has several months to go before he can get his real driver’s license and many hours of driving practice ahead of him. I am confident that he will do well on his exam when the time comes.

It’s a new season of life for him as well as for me. Some parents lament that their children are suddenly old enough to drive. Others are eager to have another driver in the house to help run errands. For me, it’s a bit of both. It will be great to have help picking up kids from school and letting him drive to his own activities.  Yet after he gets his driver’s license, the next big milestone is high school graduation then off to college and I’m not ready for that. But for now, we will take it one day at a time and practice those turns and parking and road rules. Each day he will become more comfortable and more confident with his driving abilities, and I will become prouder of the young man he is.

Thank you, Lord, for a wonderful son!

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Happy Fall!

fall picture
Happy first day of Autumn!

Happy apple time!

Happy pumpkin time!

Happy harvest time!

Happy sweatshirt time!

Happy pretty leaves time!

Happy football time!

Happy bonfires!

Happy I-don’t-have-to-shave-my-legs-as-often time!

Happy Fall!

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