Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Monday

Haley and I are busy getting ready for our trip to NY. We fly out Wednesday morning and return late Saturday night. My parents were gracious enough to keep the boys this week. They'll probably feel like shipping them back by Wednesday though.

Holden was excited to go for the visit because he and Grandpa were going to finish the fort they started building last Fall. He had packed up his tool belt before he even thought about the necessities like a toothbrush and underwear. Harrison was excited to go because he loves his Grandma and Papa but also probably because at Grandma's he gets lots of treats.

Early this afternoon, Holden called to tell me they had already worked on the fort. Not surprising since once Holden gets something on his mind, he'll bug you to death until you do it. He told me about what they did and when we were finished our conversation I asked if Harrison wanted to talk to me. Holden asked Harrison and I heard him say "No thank you". Guess I haven't been away long enough.

I am sure they are having loads of fun. Here are some pictures that my parents sent me today of the "fort project".

The boys getting ready for some hard work.
Sullivan thinks he's going to help.

The boys supervising Grandpa (in the blue cap)

Being cute (Notice little devil Harrison)

Hot chocolate after a hard days work

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

The Easter Bunny visited our house sometime in the wee hours of the morning and left my kids a load of candy. By breakfast Harrison had downed approximately 5 pounds of sugar. By this afternoon, his candy was almost gone. Next he'll start working on eating everyone else's. The little guy below is warning Harrison to stay away.

funny pictures
more funny pictures

But of course, we ought not to forget the real reason we celebrate Easter - that Jesus died on the cross so that we all may have eternal life. To read more, go to and look in Matthew 26.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I've got a gripe

My entire life I have had a problem finding clothes that actually fit me. Being short (or petite as the clothing industry would call me) presents challenges when trying to find clothes. Shopping in the "petite" department is generally depressing. Don't those buyers realize that there are petite women who are under the age of 65? I admit I am getting on up there in age but spare me with the elastic waist polyester pants and matching top in that lovely shade of mauve. YUCK!

In recent years it isn't just the height issue that has presented a challenge when it comes to finding clothes. I find that more and more clothing designers are designing clothes that are only suitable for the models that wear them on the runways. Many times, I have found a cute top only to discover that the size large would have fit me when I was around 10 years old.

Up until now, I have only been slightly perturbed by the industry. I figure that somewhere out there is a piece of clothes with my name on it and eventually I will find it. But, now have a preteen daughter. And shopping with her is about as much fun as having all my teeth pulled. Not because she is picky about what she want to wear. Quite the opposite. She sees dozens of outfits that she loves. But unfortunately those clothes are made for someone who is thin as a rail.

It's no wonder that the majority of women and girls don't like their bodies. For one thing, it's crammed down our throats that thin is in. Magazines are filled with ultra thin models. Every other commercial is for some sort of weight loss "miracle" pill or exercise program. When we go to buy clothes, finding something that actually fits and doesn't look like it belongs on our grandmother is a challenge.

The average American woman is 5'4", weighs 152 pounds and wears a size 14. According to a recent survey, 49 percent of women say that the current styles available do not flatter their shape, while 45 percent generally can’t find their size in the clothing they like. So why is it that the clothes are made for women who wear a size 0 and have a 22" waist (which by the way is what a typical 8 year old measures)? Seems to me that if these clothing designers would make clothes for real women, they would sell more.

In a society where obesity is a real problem, we often overlook that fact that anorexia is too. Studies show that 50% of 9-year-old girls and 80% of 10-year-old girls have dieted. Why is that? Because that is what they see and hear. And they want to look like those girls they see in the magazines and on television. And to do so they must fit in the slim styles that fit those same teeny size 0 girls.

Perhaps if more people would speak up, then the fashion industry would start to wake up. In an interview with the Ladies Home journal, Valerie Bertinelli (who is now a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig) blamed the Supermodels for modern eating disorder trends. She told LHJ that too many girls and young women are starving themselves to emulate "skinny" catwalk stars, and the models fail to understand that sizes zero and two are not the norm. She said that, "When there were several of those models dying from anorexia and I read that Gisele Bundchen said something about it's not being the designers' fault but the parents' fault, I was like, 'Well now, wait a minute, Miss Skinny Girl.' (I said), 'Designers do have something to do with this because they hire women like you.' There was one designer who was proud of herself because she hired models that were a size four. And when asked why she didn't hire a (size) six or eight, she said, 'Because the clothes don't look good. They don't hang right.' Aren't you supposed to design clothes that look good on real women?" Amen sister.

Wouldn't it be nice to see real women (and girls) represented in the media? Bravo to Dove who is one of the first big name companies to have real women in their advertisements.

So what do we do to help our daughters understand that being rail thin isn't normal? Encourage them to take care of themselves and to make healthy choices. Teach them that it's not normal to be 5'8" and a size 0. Teach them to love who they are.

Now if we could just get the fashion industry to sit up and take notice so that we real women could find some decent clothes to wear.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Apparently sometime during the wee hours of morning, we had some violent storms roll through the area. We are fortunate that they only affected one area of our home.

High winds must have caused this mess..........

And this.......

and this........

Wonder how it missed this?

And only one bottle of lotion knocked over here?

There was one small casualty perhaps caused by a pink croc.

I believe that the storm was named Hurricane Haley.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Close Encounter of the Gross Kind


I should have known that it was going to be one of those afternoons when I walked downstairs and found Harrison crouched behind the ottoman with his pants down. And no he wasn't doing that. Get your mind out of the gutter, will you? I questioned him only to find out that his bottom was itching because alas it wasn't very clean. Seems that at school they only have "real" toilet paper (according to Harrison) and of course, that doesn't always work for five year olds. So we rectified the situation by using our stash of handy dandy Cottonelle wet wipes (which by the way DO clog your septic system, at least when used by my kids). And those of you out there who are groaning should just stop now because it gets worse.

As the afternoon progresses, I decide to surprise Harrison with a treat for snack. Some peanut M&M's. Well, if you must know the real reason I gave them to him is that I was eating the entire bag and it was so not on my list of diet foods. So anyhow, he takes the bowl and heads upstairs to talk to his dad. A little while later, David (dad) comes downstairs and tells me that I am a horrible mother (jokingly, I think). Apparently, Harrison had gone upstairs and offered David some of the M&M's. As he got closer, a strong stench emanated from him. Upon closer inspection, David found that Harrison still had some poop on his hand. YUCK! And I did make him wash them earlier. (Note to self: Inspect hands closer after washing). So David sent him to the bathroom to wash his hands (again). Not only did Harrison wash his hands, he also thought it might be good to wash his M&M's. Yes, he thought that washing them would make it alright to eat them.

After having three children, poop doesn't bother me much. Well and the fact that I can't smell doesn't hurt. BUT the thought of eating something with poopy hands just about sends me over the edge. I am the one who wipes the grocery cart handle before I touch it. Not only do I have wipes in my car but a giant bottle of Purell hand sanitizer. There is only one person that I know who is worse than me (no names here). I have tried to impart some cleanliness ideals on my children but it obviously isn't working.

But wait, it gets even better (or worse depending on how you look at it). Last night was family night at Moe's so we piled the kids in the car and headed out. Our family of 5 can eat for less than $10 (unless we get the yummy cheese dip then it's $12) so it makes for a cheap dinner. I was thrilled that we were beating the crowd because let me tell you it gets downright chaotic with all the kids. We pull out of the neighborhood and David says that he is getting a whiff of poop. I tell him to check his shoes. So at the stop light he checks and nothing. I tell the kids to check their shoes. Nothing. So David asks Harrison if he pooped in his pants (which he usually doesn't do but hey this has not been a usual day). Harrison adamantly states "no".

We pull into the parking lot and all pile out of the car with David the whole while saying complaining about the smell. Harrison is getting out of the car when David asks "Son is that chocolate on your shirt?" We all stand there gawking because I am sure you already know what the answer was. No, it was (you guess it) POOP. Yeah, buddy smeared right across the front of his shirt. Now, you would think that the smell would have bothered him. But, no he just went about his business, playing and having fun not noticing or at least not caring that he had poop on his shirt.

At this point, I am starting to get very hungry so I suggest that I run in Steinmart and buy him a shirt. So Haley and I head across the parking lot only to discover that Steinmart no longer carries kids clothes (boo!). When we get back out to the parking lot, David informs me that not only did Harrison have it on his shirt, but also on his jeans. No escaping it now, we are heading home. So we all pile back into the car and head home (which thankfully is only 5 minutes away).

We get home and leave the two oldest in the car while David and I take Harrison in to get changed. We stop in the laundry room to undress as that seems the safest thing to do to keep the mess from spreading elsewhere. We try to coerce him to take his clothes off but he's obviously not in a hurry because he is just standing there staring at us. After we derobe him, we proceed to the bathroom only to discover that there is poop all over the sink. At this point, it has become somewhat comical. David looks at me and I look at him and we both just shake our heads and laugh. We are both thinking, "Where next?"

So after we clean Harrison up, we get back in the car, head on over to Moe's. And of course by now there are a gazillion people in line. And I am starving. We finally get our food and sit down to eat - with clean hands. Of that I am sure.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Never Ending Birthday

Haley's official birthday was Thursday but she is getting to celebrate it for much longer. In fact, my husband always jokes that I have a birthday month but I think Haley might have me beat.

Thursday evening, we had one of Haley's favorite dinners - hamburger steaks, homemade mashed potatoes, corn and buttermilk biscuits. Can you tell she is a GRITS (Girl raised in the South)? Afterwards, we had an ice cream cake from Carvel (with those yummy crunchy bits in the middle). She also got to open her presents from mom and dad and her brothers. Holden gave her this really cute schnauzer Webkins. Then I made her open the remaining presents in a particular order because at the end was her big surprise. The first present, a quilted backpack purse, was from Harrison. The next present she opened was a matching duffel bag from mom and dad. Next she got a nice luggage tag with her initials (see where this is going?). Her last present was a handmade travel journal (by me of course). She opened the journal and on the front is an airplane. The first page was pack your bags, the second page was off we go, the third page was high and flying (with another airplane), then a taxi cab on the next page and then a page for our hotel. As she is flipping through the journal she keeps looking up kind of puzzled. The next page was Bright Lights, Big City and had NY at the bottom of the page. At this point, since she still didn't "get it" I had to prompt her by saying, "Have you ever been on an airplane (no), ridden in a taxi (no), gone to NY (no). Well then, what do you think your present is?" At this point she screamed "Get Out!" She had finally realized that she was going to NY. So Haley and I are heading out for a 4 day trip to NYC during Spring Break. It should be loads of fun.

Friday night, she had two of her best friends over and we went out to dinner and a movie (College Road trip, which was better than I thought it would be). We came home and I left them up playing the Wii at midnight. I think they finally fell asleep at 3:45 a.m.

Sunday my parents, brother and grandmother all came up to have lunch with us. Haley had her second favorite meal (chicken and rice, peas, biscuits and strawberries). Haley got some money from all of them to take with her to NY.

So Haley's officially birthday is gone but until we get back from NY at the end of the month, it isn't officially over. It's kind of like that Energizer bunny, it keeps going and going and going.........

Friday, March 7, 2008

What's a dog have to say

Harrison was riding home from school yesterday when he made an announcement.

Harrison: Mom there's something I haven't told you in a hundred years.

Me: Really. What's that?

Harrison: I can understand Sullivan's barking.

Me: Really? What does he say?

Harrison: He's says "Harrison you are so much gooder than me, I need to take lessons".

I am pretty sure if Sullivan were talking to Harrison, he wouldn't be saying that. Probably more like "I know you like mischief just like me. So let's dig a hole, climb under the fence and run down the street and see what kind of things we can get into."

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Haley

Today is Haley's 12th birthday. It seems like just yesterday, I was rushing to the hospital in the middle of the night, sleet pelting the windshield, my husband running every red light. And then she made her grand entrance into this world, six weeks early, and changed my life forever. On this day, she will receive many gifts but I hope that one of her most treasured will be this letter that comes from my heart.

Dear Haley:

I find it hard to believe that you're actually turning 12, just on the cusp of becoming a teenager with all the fun things those years bring. I look at you and see glimpses of the woman you are to become. One that is full of intelligence, gracefulness and charm.

On the day you were born, I became a new person. No longer caring so much about myself and how the world affected just me but rather how it affected you. You taught me to love unconditionally and showed me in return what love was really suppose to be. You have brought to my life, the deepest happiness and greatest joy. I never knew what it felt for my heart to swell with pride until you were born. You opened a new place in my heart and made it your own.

You alone made me into the person that I am - a mom. Admittedly, sometimes not the best mom, but one that loves you no matter what. And yes, sometimes I go a little overboard with the irrational fears but it's because I love you so.

All the worries I had before you were born about how good of a mother I would be were for naught. You forgave me for all my first time mom mistakes and showed me that I didn't have to be perfect to be loved.

You changed me more than anyone has ever and you don't even know it. You made me more compassionate, more caring and more nurturing. You gave me a reason to live my life to the fullest. And you gave me purpose. You made me want to be a better person than even I thought I was capable of being.

Parents are suppose to be teach their children but instead you have taught me. I look at the world differently because of you. You believe in people and make me want to believe in them, too. You have taught me to forgive others. To overlook the bad and look for the good.

You have a gentle spirit and a noble heart. You are caring and loving. You have a deep sense of what you believe in, and you don’t let anyone sway you from those beliefs. You stand up for what you feel is right, even when others think differently.

There are many days where my heart yearns for the little girl that you once were but those are short lived. For I look at you and am in awe of the person you have become and the young woman that you are becoming. I am excited for you and all of the possibilities that your life holds.

As you grow, I hope that you will remember:

  • Love yourself first.
  • The world is a serious place, laugh often.
  • Stand strong in your faith.
  • The world of imagination is boundless while reality has it's limits.
  • You are unique and should never try to be anybody else. Embrace your own spirit.
  • Always believe in the possibilities of your dreams.
  • The truly successful person is the one who has found happiness.
  • Always believe in yourself because if you don't then no one else will.
  • Don't be afraid to express your feelings, they matter.
  • Believe in miracles.
  • Dare to make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Use kind words.
  • Let other's help you when you need it.
  • Life isn't about beating everyone else. It's about crossing the finish line and moving on to the next race.
  • People can be mean sometimes. Try not to let it bother you. In 5 years in won't matter anyway.
  • Smile at strangers, you never know when it might make someones day.
  • There are lots of things that matter in life and money and prestige are not on the list.
  • Never forget where you came from and the people who touched your heart along the way.

Most importantly, remember that you are never too old for hugs and kisses from mom and dad. And that no matter what, we love you and will always want the best for you.



Here's one of my all time favorite songs. It speaks volumes.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

An athlete in our future?

I will be the first to admit that I do not have an athletic bone in my body. Never had. Growing up I preferred reading to running. I did my share of outdoor play and bike riding but that was about it for physical activity. I vividly remember how I felt as one of only a few kids left at the end when teams were picked for kickball. At one point in my childhood I played softball. I probably did it because my friends were playing. But, I was never any good and if I got a hit I am sure it was sheer luck.

I still do not like sports. I am not competitive. And if you asked me how fast I could run, my answer would be as fast as the person chasing me. Which seems kind of weird because I am married to one of the most competitive men I know. He runs all the time and when he isn't running, he's talking about running.

Much to the chagrin of my husband, it seems that my kids have inherited my athletic skills. They do enjoy sports way more than I ever did but as for any future athletic scholarships, the jury is still out on that one.

Sunday, the kids were out in our front yard playing baseball with the little boy from next door. Haley was the pitcher and she couldn't get the ball over the base (flashback). Holden was the catcher and he was decked out in his protective gear (a Panther's helmet). Harrison was first baseman and outfielder and was apparently aware that few balls would actually be hit since he had pulled up a stool. The game lasted, oh about 15 minutes, before they realized that without the ball getting hit, there wasn't going to be much fun.

Harrison decided that this year he wanted to play soccer. Today I went out and got him some new shorts and socks. When he came home from school, he wanted to try them on so he went upstairs. He came downstairs and I turned around as he said "What the heck, these socks come all the way up to my bellybutton". He said that this is what ballerinas wore. I had to bribe him to get this picture.

Who knows how the soccer season will turn out. One thing is for sure, there will be no shortage of laughter.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I'll have a side of monsterella sticks with that

Yesterday, I surprised Holden by picking him up from school. He usually rides the bus but Harrison and I had to run to the grocery store and since we were in the area, I decided to pick him up. There is a Sonic right by the school and since drinks are half price from 2-4, we stopped by to get the boys a slush (and if I am honest, me a sweet tea). As we pulled into the parking lot, Harrison asked if he could have an order of "monsterella" sticks. I corrected him and said they were "mozzarella" sticks to which he replied "Yeah, that's what I said monsterella sticks".

Fast forward to dinnertime. Harrison has a really bad habit of going in the refrigerator in our garage and getting a drink, taking one sip and leaving the rest in the garage or outdoors somewhere. He has been told if he gets anymore drinks out of the outside fridge without permission, he will be punished. When I went in the garage right before dinner, I found an open can of Sprite with one sip gone. Harrison admitted that he had opened it so as punishment, I told him he could not play the Wii after dinner. He immediately started his pleading asking "please, please, please can I have another chance". Holden looked over at me and batted his eyelashes and mockingly said "Please with a side of monsterella sticks".

Monday, March 3, 2008

A wolf?

We have a wolf at our house. Well not a real wolf. Just a Cub Scout Wolf. Holden completed all of his tasks to earn the wolf badge for Cub Scouts. Of course there was a lot of involvement on dad's part so I guess you could say they both earned the wolf badge. Here's our proud guy after receiving his badge at last week's award ceremony.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

It has been an exhausting week here in the Woods household. Of course that is beginning to be the norm around here. Is it that I am getting older or that I have more to do? I wonder if my parents felt like this at the end of the day?

Staying at home is so not what I ever thought it would be. It's worse and better all in one. Sure there are days when I want to escape, where my thoughts take me far away. And I am the first to admit that I would never win the "Mother of The Year" award. June Cleaver I am not. My house is never perfectly straight or clean. My meals are usually not well balanced (unless you consider hot dogs, french fries and canned peaches, well balanced).

There was a time long ago, when I first started staying at home, that I was under the disillusionment that I might be able to sit down every day and watch the Oprah show. Or give myself a pedicure. Or sew my children's clothes (yes I attempted that once). Well, for those of you who think that we stay at home moms do just that, you are so wrong. I haven't watched the Oprah show in years. I am lucky to catch 30 minutes of television late at night before my head hits the pillow. The only pedicure I get is the rush job when I put on sandals the first time each spring. And well, my children wear clothes bought from the store. Not that they would even consider wearing anything homemade. But it did sound good.

But for all the craziness that children bring, I wouldn't trade it for the world. They bring tremendous joy to me each and every day. Sometimes, it's hard to find that joy especially when you are cleaning marker off the freshly painted wall. Or picking up muddy shoes off the floor that has just been mopped for the first time in a month. But it's all worth it when they look at you and tell you how much they love you. Or make you laugh with one of their silly jokes. Or when they bring you a picture they painted with a huge heart and you are in the middle of it (and you are really skinny).

Children are our greatest treasures. And at the end of every day I thank God the he entrusted me to guard these treasures. To nurture and watch them grow. To experience the joy that only a child could bring. To feel a love so big that sometimes it feels as if my heart will explode. And I hope that one day my children will feel the same.