About These Book Dedications

Something snaps in the marketing mind of an Indie author as she careens through the social media maze and the website, uh, web. She sits at her desk one fine morning and realizes that her efforts at anonymity have been crushed. Personal information is blowing on the wind like leftover party confetti and could land any-ol’-where and how am I going to protect the children?

For heaven’s sake, I only refer to my husband as “Hubby” so that some crazed Jolie Tunnell fan won’t find out his true identity and try to kidnap him on his way to Costco and hold him for ransom.

You didn’t read that here.

Hand frozen half-way to my mouth with a crispy piece of bacon just out of reach, my brain declares that all these years of blogging, referring to “Kid 1” or “Kid 4” were absolutely wasted the minute my books came out with their names right in the front dedication page.

Oh, girl.

It’s not my fault.

The first book was Kid 2’s idea, hands down. The pandemic was ruining our lives and she and I sat in the park by the lake and came up with the time, the place, and the first villain in a casual conversation.

She likely would’ve come after me with a sharp stick if I hadn’t acknowledged her efforts up front.

It was all downhill from there, and in no logical numbered order. What I could never have foreseen was the serendipitous way that each book, as it was birthed, seemed to be a perfect match to another child.

Book 2 matched Kid 3, right down to her button-top boots.

Book 3 was such an obvious fit to Kid 5 that we laughed. Poor kid.

The dedications, for me, are a last minute thought after the book is already edited and I realize the front matter has to be thrown together. And the fact that I was running out of kids had nothing to do with the subject matter and characters I chose as I went along.

They just happened.

So, Book 4, about a storm and train robbers and mountain legends, became the perfect match for my Kid 1 when I realized in afterthought how much it spoke about his heart.

Kid 1 has not—and likely will never—read this book. (My family treats my books the way they treat my blogs. They know I’m talking about them, but they just don’t care enough to look up the details.)

Book 5, as you know, is about a summer wedding in Idyllwild. The last kid standing, the one without a book dedication so far, Kid 4, went and got himself engaged this summer.

This makes my heart happy on many levels, but two amazing things transpired: a Kid 6 stepped up to share his dedication.

And they want to be married in Idyllwild. No. True to form, they knew nothing about my book at the time. And…maybe they still don’t.


But how perfect is that?

Who will get the dedication for Book 6? Now there’s a puzzler. I’m out of Kids.

But the Books are only beginning.

2019 Christmas Newsletter

2019 has been quite a year, let me catch you up!

Child Five just came into my writing lair to get the keys to my car in order to go to his day job that is usually a night job because BJs Brew House loves him. He schmoozes old ladies and brings ginormous pazookies to people and generally makes this world a better place, which is something a mother can get behind. He graduated high school in June. Like everything the kid has ever done, I celebrated with tears of joy and vowed, “We aren’t ever doing that again.”

It never gets old.

Child Five hangs out with Child Four, the two bachelors living in – let’s call it what it is – our basement. They like to style it “Man Cave” and I like to call it “The Pit of Despair” and if a cave woman ever walks by, she will agree that if a mastodon dies in the hallway, no one will ever notice. We are, neither one of us, going in there to investigate.

The two boys attend community college with lofty visions (rim shot: they are both 6’ 5”) of transferring to SDSU as Engineer majors. They sit around the table making up words for their calculus classes, like “Rolles theorem” and “left, right, Rieman sum” and “integrals”. I tell them to watch their language at the table but they don’t listen to me anymore because they are adulting now.

Adulting. This is The Way.

Did you see that coming? Quick side note that I did not see Baby Yoda coming, either, and now he must never leave and I need one for Christmas because he makes me laugh but also want to throw things and this sounds just like grand-parenting but, none of my kids are dating at the moment, so….Yoda!

Where was I?

The Middle. Child Three trains dogs. Among other career-type things. Shameless plug. Her dog is more obedient than any of my five kids ever were. It lies on a towel and won’t budge, even when you wave hotdogs under his nose. I mean, not like I tried when my daughter wasn’t looking or anything. I was happy if my kids stayed in the backyard when the ice cream truck drove by. On the other hand, her dog will also rip your face off if she says the magic word, so, pros n cons.

Child Three and Child Two, my beautiful girls, lived together in a Shoe in Ramona this year. A sweet little penny loafer that they enjoyed but will give up in a couple of weeks for closer pasture and that makes my heart happy. Child Two is sneakily educating children through the use of science and creativity (ie: fun), both on the job and through personal tutoring, and may take her talents into the school district next year. So long as she avoids calculus, we can hang out.

Child One has been orbiting our universe for so long that we think of him like Santa Claus. Maybe he’s real. Maybe he’ll show up if we leave out cookies. He’s not a holiday human, which is okay, but if he decides to pay us a visit, just know that a trap has been laid and we are ready for “Operation Santa Snatch”.

Hubby built a wall this year. Out of eighty pound blocks of cement. Then he built a deck. Out of PVC planks that are fire-proof , termite-proof, water-proof, and walking-on proof. Don’t ask. Hubby thinks retirement sounds fabulous until it occurs to him that he will be subjected to my sarcasm 24/7 and then he goes to work whistling. Which makes him both strong and wise.

Who, me?

I’ve been very patient and responsible and went to writing classes for a year to learn how to write a novel. Now I have a novel but it has to be REWRITTEN and EDITED and subjected to further SCRUTINY before it’s allowed to be born and the temptation to go rogue and self publish exactly what I think about that is dancing through my head.


I love my actual job. I provided excellent service to my freelance clients this year and they let me make glorious words for them. They are the warm steady glow in an office filled with strobe lights and laser beams. And a chicken.

And a wardrobe with Narnia inside.

I sit in my closet, wardrobe thrown open wide, and magic pours out. With it, I spin the straw from my emptying nest into the gold of new dreams. And everything sort of sparkles.

Merry Christmas to each one of you, and a very Sparkly New 2020.

Vaping, School, and Your Kid

You know what I hate? Feeling naive.

If my girlfriend knows something I don’t know, she fills me in so that I can be as cool as she is.

If my kid knows something I don’t know, he hides behind a bowl of cereal, hoping no questions are asked before he runs off to school. Or in the case of my own brilliant and sarcastic child, he puts it in plain view and laughs at me for being naive.

Which, let me repeat myself, I hate.

Today I am advocating, once again, family conversation. The kind where the parent has to open a door, yank technology away from little Johnny, and ask some hard questions while remaining a calm, open-minded good listener. Like Ghandi. Or maybe Don Corleone.

He isn’t going to volunteer to have this conversation. Your education will be inadequate and you will glance into his room one day and notice the sweet little plants in his windowsill and think to yourself what a great parent you are that your kid knows about gardening and ambiance.

Little Johnny is growing pot. In his room. It’s so much cheaper than the dealer down the street, and organic, too.

Mom won’t figure it out. She is busy chasing toddlers. Or paychecks. Whichever.

As a parent, I died just a little when it was voted “legal” here in California because everyone interpreted that to mean “safe”. Pot shops opened up, serving a glamorous variety of goods.  Smoking a joint or a cigarette is just so pedestrian now…what’s a kid to do?

Enter vaping.

My contacts tell me that vaping has been the cool experience of choice in the school lavatories for the last year or two. Most kids are vaping socially, meaning there’s a party in the bathroom, and these kids are not really engaging their brains at the time – which, I suppose, is the whole point.

  1. It is illegal to have marijuana or nicotine in any form if you are under the age of 21
  2. but it’s the easiest form of both for kids to access
  3. and, the kids are pretty comfortable trying it and feel that a puff won’t hurt them.

Not the way popping a pill might, or drinking a shot of liquor might. And here’s why: because the industry says so, that’s why.

As you will notice during the picture time of this presentation, vaping is marketed to youth. Although the packaging is clear about what is in the product you are buying, this is the first thing thrown into the nearest trashcan. The vape pens are sleek little packages or covered in cute cartoon figures and the cartridges that you put into them come in fun flavors from bubble gum to gummy bear.

You won’t see this kind of marketing on prescription medication or alcohol. Not even on cigarettes. The potent thc content now on the market is scientifically engineered. This is not your mama’s pot. But the industry is going to make sure it’s your child’s.

Getting the rechargeable battery-powered pens is not too difficult. But this doesn’t matter because you can walk into the school bathroom during lunch and help yourself to the party pen being passed around. If I saw one in my kid’s room, it might register as another random piece of technology or a charger pack of some kind. It could be a pen or a highlighter. The different cartridges (“carts”) full of flavorful fillings can be purchased for $20 in the store, or conveniently at school for $30. I can see myself now, spotting some vape juice, “Oh, look, little Johnny is into essential oils!”

Vaping leaves a faint scent around you for only a few minutes as it dissipates. (“Wait, little Johnny likes scented candles now?”) Kids sometimes exhale into empty gatorade bottles and cap them tightly to contain the tell-tale smoke. Either way, you can walk into a classroom ten minutes later and no one will smell it on you. My kid can get high at school all day long and not be noticed.

“Why?” I asked certain knowledgable high schoolers, “Why would you want to smoke at all?”

They hadn’t really thought about that question. I had plenty more. Why would you pass around a communal anything and put it in your mouth? Do you know which product is inside it? Or what strength?

“Hey!” calls a friend from the little group huddled in the bathroom, “Try this! You just press the button and inhale.” Many kids caught vaping are just trying it.

“But I didn’t know what it was. It was just one puff. They’re my friends. It didn’t look like it was hurting them. What’s the big deal?

Well, for originality, ask the group if anyone there wishes they could quit.

There’s one who might be brave enough to confide in you. Nicotine is addictive. Sometimes they will tell you that they began vaping in order to stop smoking cigarettes. Ask how that plan is going. And the kid vaping alone in the bathroom stall? He’s not going to share.

(And this is where you might one-up your kid and mention you know that “dabbing” is not just a dance move.)

From the time a student leaves his house until the time a student returns home, the school has a certain level of responsibility for behavior. Whether my kid sells carts off campus or just delivered money from the sales, whether he took one puff at a friend’s house or bragged about it on social media, there are civic consequences. There are words like “suspended” “expelled” or “police” involved.

The burden on school staff to maintain “a safe and secure environment” for students is heavy and unsung. Next week we go further into it.

Our kids are in over their heads. They’re being advertised to and presented with something they know little about and understand even less. Vaping is touted as “safe smoking” and it’s clearly not. We need to have some conversations.

So I am here to fill you in and start you off. And you and I will be cool together.

(Resources are included via text links. Click em.)

Picture Time:

Sunset Sherbert. Delish.

Because you always wanted to smoke a strawberry. Admit it.

Now you know how to spell “Shwifty Sticks”. You’re welcome.


The Forgetful Files is a safe, supportive space exploring different life challenges and big questions with courage, kindness, humor, and practicality. Please join the conversation by offering your unique perspective!

July. Again.

Good morning everyone. I’m doing a daring thing right now: blogging without an editor. Not even second-guessing. July is crazy. That’s my excuse. July rivals December in the ability to bring me this close to the edge, so here we go.

Things you can depend upon in July:

Ants. Have we said enough about them yet? I’ve soaked them with poison for the entire month and they are multiplying. There are ants in Blythe, right now, hearing about a promised land that is my house, and they are packing up their wagon to move west.

Heat. Your mom’s yearly manic speech about moving to Oregon where life is lush and green and wet and breezy, not dry and barren and bleak and soul-sucking. It was 119* on her patio but she was pretty sure that a fan and a spritz bottle would handle it.

Kids. Look, I don’t want to hear your speech about how mine are older now and how hard can it be, with only one left in high school. The diaper days were filled with educationally stimulating interactive projects that included creating booger art on the bathroom walls, but seeing these same man-children acting like vegetables in front of the internet makes me question every reason I had about having them in the first place.

School. They need to go back. I will shop the Target sales, just to speed up the process. I will – for the LAST TIME – fill out these massive documents in triplicate so that they will be forced off of the man-cave bean bag chairs and back into common sense booger art.

Guests. Hello vacay! At my house! Y’all come! My day job held this one at bay for a couple of years, and now I wonder whether I’ve still “got it”. There are kiwis sleeping one room over as we speak, and the beds were freshly made but I didn’t have time to prepare anything fabulous for breakfast, and here I am sitting at my desk writing instead, so there’s been a priority shift obviously and I only hope they like cold cereal.

Bible School. The last full week of July. Always. And of course, you have volunteered to do a thing. No matter what job you raised your hand for, it always looks like a yard sale in the living room for two full weeks ahead of time, because you need to make sure you remember everything because you are not driving all the way back home on a Tuesday night to fetch a lesson plan. The kids suddenly don’t have any pants that fit or enough underwear to last for seven days and you visit Target every day of July until management gives you a raise and a new red shirt.

Writing. I’ve been working on websites and newsletters, and making custom MadLibs which are probably funnier than my blog, so I should include a couple for you.    ( A Tour of Camp )    I also worked on a short story series that is super-hero themed and feels a little comic book-ish, so it may not land in the blog. This is because my sons decided my education needed an update and forced me to watch both “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies and I just have to believe…if raccoons and trees and complete poppycock can make it onto the big screen…there is hope for us little people.

Oh, and Italy. Our research includes watching movies made in or about Italy while stuffing Boom Chicka Pop into our mouth and trying to not fall asleep on the couch. The language is basically exaggerated Spanglish. So long as I am very passionate about the subject, I think Italy will understand me.

But for now, July has taken it all. The ants, the kids, the guests, and the Hubby can have the hot house covered in suitcases, boxes, and cereal bowls. I almost shanked an innocent Aussie with a hole punch for attempting to hug me yesterday. I’m not proud of this. I offered a free piercing for whatever he had handy. On the house.

If you need me, I’ll be in Target, sorting the ice cream case.

Lego Wars

Occasionally, I receive questions from my delightful readers seeking advice.

Much like Dear Abby, I am asked about relationships “My husband insists on leaving his dirty socks just outside of the hamper. Should I pick them up for him, or put them all under his pillow?” and job etiquette “My coworkers found my breast-pumping equipment under my desk; now what?” and shady conduct “My teenaged son and his friend were rummaging through the kitchen asking if we had any sulfur in the house; should I worry?”

I’m eager to help.

“Not to worry,” I replied, “unless his grades are falling drastically, this is only a 9th grade phase. Remind him that – whatever it is – it’s an outside activity.”

I attached an internet connection for the best deal on sulfur (Costco).

Recently, an avid reader was having troubles with her only child.

The trouble: her only child loves Lego.

“I’ve been trying to figure out how to organize and manage all our Legos. Any advice?”

Only Child has approximately a million little Lego pieces that mom has been trying to corral for years, Pinterest style, into tubs, cubbies, bags and bins.

She saved all the boxed sets together and kept all the boxes.

I have five kids.

I’ve had Legos in my house plants for over 20 years.

My over-six-foot-tall kids still beg for more.

“Yes,” I answered, “we keep them all in a closet and if the door shuts, we win! Seriously, just put a bed sheet out on the floor, dump the Legos on it to play, and when you’re done, dump them back into the tub and put them away.”

I considered the girlfriend I was talking to and added, “Most of the fun of Legos is digging through the heaps and discovering little bits of treasure.”

I didn’t mention that some of the treasure is actually fuzzy lollipop sticks and Barbie shoes and old melty Jolly Ranchers and occasional toenails.

I could feel her frowning in disbelief that I, the Queen of Chaos Control, would recommend such reckless abandon.

So I sent her a real-time photo. Straight out of my den.

“I think I like your bed sheet idea,” she said after a moment.

“I kept them in sets but Only Child keeps pulling out various pieces to make her own thing. I guess that’s what it’s all about – getting creative.”

I wanted to tell her that The Hokey Pokey is what it’s all about, but instead I replied, “Exactly so. Kiss all the money you spent on sets goodbye and embrace the total mayhem.”

And I sent her another picture.

“Obviously ours aren’t even in the closet, so at present…we aren’t even winning that.”

“You’re very very liberating!” she said, “I think I’m going to go for it! Trying to organize them all is just making me nutso.”

“I’m very sure you’re entertaining when you’re nutso,” said I, “I want a picture if it happens.”

“Many have witnessed it,” said she, “but rarely is it documented.”

I could feel her courage building.

Then she found all the boxes.

“Take a photo, it’ll last longer.”

“I still have the booklets for assembly. Maybe I’ll just save those and recycle these dumb boxes.”

I just love purging parties.

She got a large tub.

And one by one, dumped the household Legos into it.

“Stiff upper lip!” she declared, as she found more and more Legos in hiding.

Slowly the tub filled. The sets dissolved into one large teeming mass of colored bits.

“I’m way out of my comfort zone,” she said, starting to hyperventilate.

“Learn to get comfy. Stick your hands in and swirl it up. Feel the freedom! You’ve got to embrace your inner slob!”

“I just freed up 50 ziplock baggies!” she cried in victory.

“You could gently release them into the wild, or save them for the next compulsive organization project. Your call.”

“Truth be told, this is so much easier,” she sighed, “Only Child is totally on board, and Hubby will be the most grateful to you! I save everything, so this is a big step. Feels great! Thank you Jolie!”

“You’re welcome. The therapy bill is in the mail.”

I really shouldn’t get the credit, though.

We live a short drive from the best theme park in the world: Legoland.

You know how they store the play area pieces?

Giant mosh pits.

Only factory robots can put the right pieces together into the right sets.

But then they permanently seal them and make people pay to open them.

So clever.

Cemetery Summers

When I was little, my family moved into a tiny little house in a tiny little neighborhood.

Our neighbors were tiny little elderly folks who kept dusty ribbon candy in glass dishes by the door for small children who may or may not ever have worked up the courage to visit them.

There was old Dorothy across the street. She kept rows of cages filled with rabbits in her back yard. If you were brave enough to chat with her, she smiled at you and gave you a pet guinea pig.

But you had to work your head around the fact that she chain-smoked directly through her tracheal tube.

There was old Mr Jurdo three houses down. He took his morning constitutional around our tiny block and always wore a neon red jacket and a brown cap. He didn’t chat. He grunted at you and cleared his throat forcefully by way of greeting.

We steered our red wagon the other way.

Old Virgil lived uphill by a house or two. He never left it. When you were forced into a polite visit, his dim house smelled of old person and aged furniture and musty carpet. He never moved from his chair – perhaps he had melted into it – so we felt comfortable lingering in the doorway and hollering the morning news towards his good ear.

Only one – and there are many – of the interesting facts of where we lived was that our street ran along the border of a large cemetery.

Four houses down on the opposite side of our street lived a little girl who was besties with my sister and we frequently played there.

She had a little pool and a calico cat and an elevated veranda running along the back of her house.

During the summer, we would sit on this veranda and watch funerals.

We had never attended a funeral ourselves. We had no personal relationship with death.

So we were free to imagine any number of scenarios below us.

Most of the time, we could figure out who the preacher was. We decided whether the deceased was famous based upon how many people were in attendance. If awnings and chairs were set up, you knew it was going to be a long sermon. If flowers completely covered the grave, then the deceased must be female.

We watched the long procession of cars and the long procession of mourners. They would huddle like penguins, then gradually fade away until only the coffin remained, and a lone gentleman standing aloof near the hill.

The curtain dropped on Act 1, but there was more to see from our balcony seats.

We could see the tractor waiting behind the hill. We could see the crematorium, tucked away in another area from the road, hidden far from the burial plots.

Cemetery workers stepped forward and slowly lowered the coffin with wenches. They used the tractor to fill in the grave and put the flowers back into place on the slightly mounded earth.

And then everyone was gone.

The silent movie ended.

Sometimes in the evening when dad came home, our family walked in the cemetery, enjoying the distant ocean breeze. We traced names on tombstones and ran along the edge of the small pond and smelled flowers wilting over the newcomers.

It always felt like a place of peace. Oddly, like a place of welcome.

Like everyone had been snugly tucked in for the night.

And I wonder now, all these years later, what our elderly neighbors felt about it?

Did they ever turn around to peer past their own backyards into the cemetery or did they keep their eyes fixed firmly on the small children wandering through their tiny front gardens?

Did they wait patiently for those rare moments of interaction, however brief, knowing a final welcome waited even more patiently, right around the corner?

And what, then, when those glimpses of the future merged?

The DMV and The Power of One

The DMV is to Disneyland what a vegan diet is to a cruise ship buffet.

It’s just not anybody’s happy place.

I do everything possible with the DMV online. Don’t try to phone them. There are people who have been lost in that maze since 1951. The website is only slightly less confusing.

I had to get my license renewed and for once I had to show up in person. I would have mailed them any amount of money to not go in person. Their loss.

I made an appointment online.

For two months away.

In a DMV 50 minutes away.

That’s efficiency.

When my sister found out where I was heading, she immediately sat me down for an impromptu coaching session.

“Arrive at least an hour early,” she started.

“But I have an appointment.”

“This DMV takes forever just to find a parking spot. Everyone parks on the red curbs. Even the cops. Do what you have to do. Just park.”

I raised an eyebrow. She continued.

“When you get there, the line of sweating, sunburning people will be around the building. Don’t get in line. Go up to the doorway and tell the security guard you have an appointment. He will escort you to the right place, and no one will mob you for cutting the line.”

So I did.

And it worked.

These lines were exactly like Disneyland. You think you’re getting somewhere when you finally cross the threshold, and there’s another whole line snaking around inside.

This DMV was the worst one I’ve ever been in. They had maybe 300 people in a 1,000 square foot room. One quarter of that area was partitioned off so people could stand and take computerized driving tests. Mathematically, the big orange bag I brought along was a mistake.

Every plastic chair was taken. Standing room only, and beer-bellied unshaven tattoo artists were politely allowing me into their personal space. I stood there clutching my bag, waiting for my number to be called with laser beam focus. Who knows how long everyone had been in here.

There wasn’t a smile in the building.

Suddenly over the droning white noise, there rose a petulant shriek from aisle B, seat 25.

We all looked over at a young disheveled mother, wrestling with an 18 month old who was melting down into the filthy green linoleum. The little girl had had enough, and was voicing in decibels what the rest of us were thinking.

You tell em, kid.

After a moment or two, it was obvious the mom was losing the battle. We all shifted uncomfortably in our two inches of airspace. The security guard moved into the huddled chairs and motioned for the mother to take the child outside.

That’s when the large woman sitting next to her got involved.

“What are you saying?” she stood up and hollered at him. “Why should she have to give up her seat after all this time? It took us two hours to park! The kid’s just tired! She can cry if she wants to! Go back to your doorway and leave us alone!”

She had the attention of the entire DMV, the line outside, and the cars circling in the lot.

The security guard was at a loss. I felt sorry for him, too, since he had recently saved my life.

It took me a minute to realize that I had the power to save his in return.

I apologized my way through the crowd, and wormed my way into the standoff.

I rummaged into the bottom of my big orange bag and brought out: a plastic bunny rabbit.

It was part of the stash I carry when I watch my little 18 month old charge.

“Here,” I said, handing it over to the limp mama, “Will this help?”

The look on her face was priceless.

I rummaged some more while the large woman sat down and said, “Well, isn’t that nice! Isn’t that just so sweet? What a nice thing to do!”

The security guard disappeared into the masses and the little girl became silent as the new distraction appeared. I handed the mom a backup (because, you know, I know about 18 month olds): three puff balls.

Never underestimate a little colored ball of fluff.

“The pink one’s the favorite,” I told her, as my number was called.

I walked up to window 12 and gave them my thumbprint.

The lady there was all smiles and the silent room behind me went back into quiet buzzing.

When I left fifteen minutes later, you could feel the changed atmosphere.

Maybe not Disneyland.

But a little happier place.

Would You Rather…The Toddler Version

My kids have a card game called “Would You Rather”.

The premise is that you have to choose between two pretty ridiculous things.

For example: Would you rather wear a tuxedo to school/work every day…or clothes three sizes too small?

Would you rather post all your report cards on Facebook…or all your love letters?

Would you rather be able to camouflage yourself like a chameleon…or puff up your body like a blowfish?

They love it.

Because they haven’t lived long enough.

So tell me, parents in the toddler trenches…would you rather…

“Sleep in” till 6am while your kid gets the butter out of the fridge and butters the entire kitchen and himself…or fall asleep at lunchtime and forget to pick up your kindergartner from school?

Pretend the toddler is still taking his nap so you can finish the chapter of the book you’re reading…or walk in before he decides to finger paint the walls around the crib with the contents of his diaper?

Force your kids to swallow “chew forever steak”…or look the other way so they can spit it into their napkins?

Eat a nice dinner of fettucini alfredo with roasted chicken and a side of acorn squash….or make spaghetti for the ten zillionth time in a row because that is all the kids will eat?

Potty train ‘early’, cleaning the floor, doing the laundry and tolerating six months of ‘relapses’…or wait until the summer they turn three and turn them loose buck naked in the backyard with a never-ending sippy cup and a potty chair?

See the inside of every bathroom in your community, suspending the tot above the sleaze…or keep a permanent line item in your budget labelled: “diapers and wipes”?

Step on Legos, Jacks, and Slinkys in the middle of the night while running into the kids’ bedroom…or let them throw up over it all and toss it out the next morning as “collateral damage”?

Let the flotsam of a year’s worth of meals build up to the point where you can no longer tell what color your high chair is…or put a pile of Cheerios in the middle of the floor and let the kid have at it?

Give them a pacifier that they drop out of the crib every single night at 2am and shriek madly…or let them suck their thumb until they’re 20?

Spend 15 minutes strapping your baby to your chest and your toddler to your waist while making a two minute stop to pick up your kindergartner…or spend a half hour waiting for Hubby to show up with a spare car key because the kindergartner climbed in and accidentally locked the car from the inside and is attempting to drive away?

Give your little one a pet fish that refuses to die (unless, of course, you pet and cuddle it)…or give her a hamster that refuses to live (and especially loathes petting and cuddling)?

Have the child who hates swim lessons and refuses to get into the water…or have the child who loves swim lessons and refuses to surface from below the water?

These are important choices to ponder, and I think I speak for us all when I say, “To Toddle or not to Toddle…that is the question.”

I’ll be making different versions of this game, as I find it rather cathartic.

And when you’re standing in the kitchen and have to choose between washing the dishes or drinking your bevmo from a sippy cup…well, we all know the answer to that one.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

We have a winner for yesterday’s Father’s Day drawing!

Congratulations to Ms Lyn, who checked in to my website at 7am and was brave enough to mention her similar memories with always-awesome Soap-on-a-Rope.

A tremendous THANK YOU to everyone who took the extra ten seconds to enter by either Subscribing or Commenting. Not everyone is familiar with blog bits, and it’s good to practice, eh?

Here’s a photo of the drawing in progress:


Kid number four helped out this morning, as kid number five is down at his new high school helping with an art project. Kid number four agrees with me that we should’ve sent a sleeping bag with him, hint hint.

But we can’t.

Because we also have basketball practice, simultaneous dental appointments, Bible class, and dinner to make. Mini BBQ Meatloaves, if you’re interested. Somewhere in there we’ll swing by the pharmacy, the bank, and visit Grampy in the skilled nursing facility.

The front door handle broke. I just remembered. It broke in the locked position.

Well, we’re just going down the chimney guys. Life’s too short to fix stuff.

Oh, and don’t forget kid number four is also practicing his driving. Yeah. Got his permit last week. Oh, you’re going to hear a lot about that in the near-ish future.

All part of this relaxing, spa-like experience called “Summer Vacation”.


Your names went into the cookie jar and we put Hubby’s new socks next to it, because, well, he got new socks and I just think maybe we should have sprung for a new mountain bike instead.

I’m pretty hopeless at gift giving. Just make a note of it and cut me some slack. It is what it is.

Lyn, your delightful Memories-on-a-Rope are headed your way.

Shower in bliss.

Thanks, everyone, for reminding me I’m not alone in the trenches.

And that my cookie jar is empty.

Put it on the list.