I Must Wash My Hands

i must wash my handsI must wash my hands. You must also wash your hands. Seems simple enough, right? We teach our kids how to do it and gradually over time they get better and better at it. They even start to remember to do it without being told, so I’ve heard.

It’s a funny thing how our society is so competitive. Over everything. Every. Thing. So what does this have to do with washing your hands. Funny you should ask. This seemingly simple activity has become (at least from my perspective) a competition in the ladies room. Guys, I’m sure y’all have better things to do than to critique each other’s hand-washing ability and quality.

Ladies? Come on! Does every single thing have to be a competition?

So at work, we have a rather large multi-stall women’s restroom and it’s usually got a few ladies coming and going throughout the day. No big deal…it’s a big office. But here’s the thing. No longer is hand-washing just something you do when you’re finished using the restroom.

i must wash my handsSide bar: Let me just say a huge thank you to all who actually do wash their hands. I know it’s not required and usually the rest of us suffer at the dirty hands of those who choose to skip the ceramic basin and Dial so thank you for those who actually do wash their hands…much appreciated!

Here’s where it gets odd. The germaphobia that seems to have taken a strong hold on the women in this particular office is remarkable. We aren’t a dirty group of people, we are generally healthy and yet some ladies seem to think they are scrubbing down from a shift working with patients in a Tubuculosis ward or some yet-to-be diagnosed virus the CDC is trying to isolate.

Here’s how it usually goes:

  • Leave the stall and head toward an available sink
  • Stop first at the paper towel dispenser and grab two sets of paper towels
  • Lay the paper towel sets on the counter beside the sink
  • Get soap from the automatic hand soap dispenser
  • Scrub like mad
  • Rinse in a downward motion from the middle arm toward the finger tips (as if prepping for surgery)
  • Use the first paper towel set to turn off the faucet
  • Use the second paper towel set to dry hands
  • Using the second paper towel set, grab the first paper towel set and head toward the door
  • Use the clump of paper towels to open the door
  • Throw away the paper towels in the trash can by the door or hold on to them for any other subsequent doors you may encounter upon returning to your work station

Seriously? You have an immune system. For Pete’s sake, this level of cleanliness eliminates the ability of your immune system to get its exercise and when it never gets its exercise, guess what it’s doing when you accidentally let a nasty germ through the Fort Knox you try to create with this excessive shower session?

It goes even further. There are little bum papers to cover the toilet seats and there are distinctly two groups of ladies in our building. Those that use them and those that don’t. Let me reiterate that we are a clean group of people. There’s not nastiness on the toilet seats, no one forgets how to use a commode and “spills” all over the place. This isn’t a shady truck stop. And yet, some need to keep that toilet covered with paper.


Never mind the grossness of your own keyboard, phone or mouse. Never mind the pen you use, which may have been in someone else’s mouth while you weren’t guarding it. What about the community copier machine buttons!!?!?

I am all in favor of washing those hands. I really am. And I take advantage of the bum paper covers for the toilet when I encounter a toilet that’s gross. But seriously, I am tired of getting those “you call that washing your hands??” looks when I grab some soap, scrub, rinse, turn off the faucet and go grab a paper towel.

I get it…you turn the faucet on after you use the bathroom and before your hands are clean. But if you really want to gross yourself out, research how much of our regular everyday stuff has microscopic fecal material on it. You can thank me later.



Where did we go wrong?

Rise and Shine, Beautiful!Today started out like any other day. The alarm spoke, I resisted, it spoke again, and I begrudgingly listened to it.

I stumbled to the bathroom to get my day started and that’s when I called my own parenting into question. How could I have let this happen? How did this just slip by all these years with no guidance from me? I can’t believe I became “that person” and I knew I had messed up my child(ren) forever because of my own carelessness.

You think you have all the time in the world to nail down all the principles and base standards before the world comes along and tries to negate those teachings and infect the kids with alternative beliefs. In reality, time is so very short and I feel like I missed an opportunity I may not ever get back.

My mind began to spin on the damage control I can do…heck I don’t even know at this point who my “problem child” is! All I know is I HAVE to fix this…now!! Some may even say this isn’t a big deal, but it starts with the little things and just snowballs. I have to get my kids back on track before its too late…

So this is my new parenting goal…I have to solidify deep within the bellies of my children, nay, in their DNA.


Toilet paper goes on the roll with the paper going OVER the roll, not under it for heaven’s sake. Seriously, I contemplated taking a personal day from work over this. You just can’t be too careful with these things!



Children, Family

Pinch Me!

This day went like most others…not really anything to write home about.

Kids played, they did school, they played some more, they ran errands with Daddy, they made lunch, we all ate dinner together, they argued, they laughed they cried. They spent some time in time out. All normal things in the course of the day.

And then something amazing happened. Just amazing. This happened:


Boy child decided that he really wanted to vacuum. In fact, he didn’t even come right out and tell us. I found him playing with baby girl’s Minnie Mouse play vacuum, just humming the motor sounds as he moved methodically back and forth.

I saw his technique and the dedication to his craft so I asked him, “Boy child, would you like to use the real vacuum and vacuum the family room floor?”

Oh, the joy in his eyes! He couldn’t nod his head quickly or harshly enough to convey how much “yes” he wanted to.

Never one to miss an opportunity to bribe my children, I told boy child to go brush his teeth and get his jammies on. If his teeth were sparkly and his jammies on, I would get the vacuum for him to use.

I have never seen such efficiency. Or quality of work. Or enthusiasm for cleaning. Pinch me! I have a child who wants to clean!!

Who is this boy? And what is going on?? You know what- doesn’t matter. He wants to vacuum, who am I to stand in his way?!

So I plug the vacuum in, and he insists on stepping on the release to bring the body of the vacuum down and he gets started. Man, he’s good. He’s got the wire in his grip so he doesn’t accidentally run over the cord and suck it up.

And then…he did something that made me speechless.

He started moving things around so he could vacuum underneath! Praise God, my boy is thorough!! He did a phenomenal job and his heart was full of clean, vacuuming joy! That is until he got to the best part…

Stepping on the lever that automatically winds up the long, twisted cord back into the hungry belly of the vacuum cleaner.

The smile on boy child’s face and his tip-toeing around his own handiwork was a sight to behold.

And just like that, he was off to something else he wanted to do.


Children, Family

Ugh, what’s that smell?!

dsc_0399So…we’ve had an interesting conversation this weekend.

Something has happened enough times that we need to talk about it before it becomes a widespread problem. This is not something to take lightly, either.

And I feel like I’m doing the world a favor by nipping this in the bud now. So…you’re welcome, world.

A child, who shall remain nameless, stinkered in the car. Stinkers are flatulence…passing gas…floating an air biscuit…a fart. That’s right, one of our dear ones farted in the car. In the winter. When we had the heater on.

And it was a silent one.

Can I tell you how much I did not enjoy the invisible slap in the face? It just quietly wafted into the front seat. Where I was strapped into my seat and unable to move.

So…the discussion:

“Dearest children,

If you need to stinker, please say excuse me when you do it so we can roll a window down before the stinker permeates into the fabric of our clothes and the upholstery of the car. I know sometimes you “just have to” and that’s ok. But please don’t forget there are other people in the car who do not want to smell your stinker, let alone have it sneak up on them.”

Their response?



Children, Family

Yeah, that’s a chicken on my head!

img_7226Are you able to laugh at yourself?

Or are you one of those people who gets really uncomfortable and then angry or embarrassed when something happens that causes other people to laugh at you?

I’m not talking about bullying or taunting at your expense, I’m talking about when you do or say something you have no one to blame but yourself.

Like if you accidentally pass gas while someone is praying…I don’t care how old you are, that is funny and I’m not going to able to keep from giggling.

I’ll tell you one thing we are trying so hard to instill in our children is their ability to laugh at themselves.

Their favorite joke to tell each other as young children is: “(Insert name here)! You belong in a tree because you’re a nut!” (compliments of Family Guy- which they absolutely DO NOT watch) They go bonkers with laughter when they say that to each other. And it’s always well placed because whoever is being accused of being a nut is, in fact, being a nut at that moment!

Not only does laughing at ourselves reduce the amount of bickering and arguing sessions that we have to settle, but it also gives the kids reminders that life is fun, sometimes funny things happen, no one’s perfect, don’t take everything so seriously, see the humor in things, laughing at each other isn’t the same as making fun of someone, don’t sweat the little things…the list goes on and on.

Humor is so necessary because this world is really stinky these days! It needs more laughter- it sure does a body good.

As a kid, I struggled to laugh at myself. I was always embarrassed and that really sucked. I feel like I missed out on some fun because I was so busy being irritated or embarrassed at any attention thrown my direction.

Once dear husband taught me how to really laugh at myself, I saw how liberating it really is. It’s diffusing. It’s fun. It makes awesome memories and great stories. I hope one day when the kids are grown and we are all sitting around the table, they remember some great stories and we all reminisce about how much we all enjoyed those times.

Children, Family

Why don’t your socks match?!

img_2508Is it just me or are kids today weird?!

Correct me if I’m wrong but socks matched when I was a kid. Always. We matched socks when they came out of the wash and complained when one was missing.

This is where the whole “washing machine eats socks” phenomenon was discovered. Early domestic explorers came upon this discovery after counting socks as they went into the belly of the mechanical beast and came up short once the transfer was made to the dryer.

So, my question is…what happened? Like genetically? DNA markers have been modified such that children born in the past, oh I don’t know, 10 years don’t match socks.

Like it’s not even on their radar to match socks. How did this happen?? my kids don’t match their socks. Ever. I have no idea what socks have matches and what socks have lost their lifelong partner, though it’s probably been ages since the partners have even seen each other unless fate placed them together in the sock drawer randomly.

But my kids don’t care whether their socks match or not. Doesn’t phase them. In fact, it’s more of an event when the socks happen to match. “Oh look at that…that’s odd!” as they peer down to their feet to see two pink solid color socks.

It’s the weirdest thing. It jars something deep down inside me. I never say anything because it’s their feet and they can dress them how they please.

Always looking for the silver lining in things, it sure does make laundry easier. All we do with socks is put them in one of three piles for the kids to deliver to their respective sock drawers.


Children, Family

Cleared for take-off

13880276_10210554468605916_4196458609370190689_nThis boy.

I’m amazed at where his brain takes him…what adventures he creates. So the day he got an airplane was a big day indeed.

Now to you, this is a dollar store toy. A cheap, styrofoam toy…a tad bit big and bothersome in terms of clutter in the house. Because this toy is going to be all over the house for the next few days. On the kitchen table, in the bathroom, possibly hanging from the hallway light (you read that right), in the middle of the floor of the family room, stuck in a bush in the yard…

But to boy child, this is a complex adventure.

First there is, of course, the test flight. This is the first flight of the airplane once boy child has leapt out of the car, ripped open the plastic covering, slipped the wings through the center slot and inserted the rudder in the back. This flight is a bit wonky…obviously there is a nuance to flying such an aircraft that has yet to be learned, but it’ll come with time.

13924929_10210554468205906_5785743377515524949_nDuring this test flight sequence, boy child decides that the airplane is missing something…but what? Ah yes, it needs color. So the next step is the design of the airplane paint scheme, if you will. Though it may look like scribbling, a lot of time is going into how the color is applied and what colors are being used.

This decision does not come lightly.

Once the paint is applied, flight can resume. Of course, this is if playtime outside hasn’t ended. You know what, come to think of it, it doesn’t matter. Airplanes fly inside just as good as they do outside! Hence the airplane’s many locations indoors over the next few days.

13934577_10210554468485913_1108394360469103248_nThough boy child is perfectly willing to risk consequences of flying his airplane indoors, it is outside where his adventure really takes flight. His airplane gets a flight plan, gets cleared for take-off and soars to it’s next location…

Someplace exotic like the Bradford pear tree in the side yard.




Children, Family

Let’s cook up some trouble!

img_9324These kids…man they can cook up some trouble!

It’s almost as if they brainstorm on how to get the biggest bang for their buck on getting into trouble. For instance, they could get in trouble for having an untidy room…OR…they could tie all the belts and towels and jump ropes together, attach them to the bunk beds in such a way that they make a swing!

If you’re gonna get in trouble, might as well go big, right?

So that’s what we are blessed with…three children who collectively decide to make it count. Make it big. Make it awesome. Make it fun. Make it break. Make it fall. Make it whatever.

Example: one typical afternoon, we were enjoying the peace and quiet of our dear children quietly playing together…

“It’s amazing how well they are playing together. I mean, we haven’t heard a thing in awhile…no screaming, no tattling. We have the best children.

Others would be jealous of our enlightened parenting skills.

Hmm…it’s quiet. It’s too quiet. Let us go check on our brood to see how their creativity is blossoming, shall we?”

What do we come upon? The children have made a carnival swing for their animals out of the ceiling fan. Four helpless critters were tied in some fashion using socks, string, pipe cleaners and other random materials. As we were walking upon this scene, they were adjusting the speed of the fan so the animals could have a fun ride.

Oh. My. Word.

I can’t even tell you how hard it is to not giggle at the sight of stuffed animals who I swear have the look in their eye that this is how it’s gonna end for them. And to see three kids who suddenly, for the first time, are realizing that maybe this wasn’t the best idea after all.

In this instance, silence is best. It’s actually the best way to keep a straight face. If either of us were to saying anything in this moment, the very act of speaking would cause the facial expressions to uncontrollably turn into laughter, which then would negate the atmosphere of “you’re in so much trouble!” we have barely been able to create.

I gotta hand it to these kids…when it comes down to it, they sure are creative and boy do they get their money’s worth out of getting into trouble!




Children, Family

Expectation Versus Reality

img_1150Expectation versus reality…it’s amazing how far apart these two aspects can be. And make it even further in the mind of an imaginative child.

Every time we have a chat with girl child, especially, the reality of an impending activity, celebration, or event becomes an extravagant occasion. We see it coming so we try to pull her out of the clouds, but once she’s there it’s hard to change that mental image. This, of course, leads to mild to moderate disappointment because reality did not mach expectation, depending on how imaginative girl child was.

It can be anything…vacation destination, what are going to the store for, getting a haircut, how the dog doesn’t appreciate her cuddles. There is no limit to her expectations and consequently, no limit to the irreconcilable difference between that expectation and what’s really gonna happen.

Case in point…Groundhog Day. Regular old Groundhog Day. Does this day spark any excitement in you? Does this affect your day (outside of coming across whether the critter saw his shadow)? No…because it’s Groundhog Day.

But in our house? Groundhog Day is a day that should rival a day at the county fair.

Maybe there will be cotton candy? Maybe a ferris wheel…girl child really likes ferris wheels, after all. Maybe there will be a parade. Maybe there will also be candy! Like a goodie bag of candy for all the kids who come to visit the groundhog. A band may play to celebrate. You know what will be really fun? A piñata! Yay! More candy. This will be a great day, indeed!

Guess what…we planned nothing. In fact, that stinkin’ animal saw his shadow before the kids rolled out of their beds. Imagine the head-on collision between expectation and reality that girl child was a victim of that day??

Let the moping of the lost day of celebration and fun begin.

To quote girl child, “Groundhog Day is always the worst day of my life!”

So…at least she takes it well.

Anyone have a youngster like this?