The Ducklings

The Ducklings
Left to Right: Louie, Dewey, Huey at Disney World

Friday, July 28, 2017

Retreat at the Magic Kingdom

This family has spent countless hours visiting Disney Theme Parks.... it's what we do. We've visited in every season, in both California and Florida over the course of many, many years. We are no rookies when it comes to all things Disney. But Y'ALL... during this recent trip to the Walt Disney World, I learned something new. At the Magic Kingdom there is a flag retreat ceremony every night at 5:00 pm. Of course, in wonderful Disney fashion, they make a giant deal out of this ceremony. WHO KNEW?  

To make the ceremony special and to provide a personal touch, those Disney folks pull out all the stops. As soon as the park opens each day, the cast is on the hunt for a military vet. One vet each day gets the honor of presiding over the retreat ceremony as the "Veteran of the Day". This is a super special, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and guess what... Army Guy was invited! It was a great privilege to see him honored for his service during this ceremony. Disney even supplied us with our own personal Disney photographer to capture the moment.  

The ceremony began with a call to attention and bugle fanfare by the Disney Marching Band. Before the flag was lowered, the crowd was lead in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance by my Ducklings. They nailed it... phew! The band played the national anthem and, while the flag was lowered and Army Guy stood with a proper salute, the crowd sang "God Bless America". Once the flag was folded, it was presented to Army Guy and carried through Main Street in a parade along with the Disney Color Guard, Marching Band and our family. We all got to be in the flag retreat parade and it was amazing. Disney sure knows how to pull at the heartstrings and bring out the patriotic pride. Well done Disney!

After the ceremony and parade, we were taken to a little nook on Main Street where Army Guy was presented with a certificate and pin. This "Disney Vet of the Day" collectors' pin cannot be purchased anywhere and Disney does not trade it. It is only presented to the ONE vet every day who participates in the flag retreat ceremony. Talk about exclusive and completely special.

Thank you to the wonderful people at the Magic Kingdom who noticed Army Guy's "retired army" hat and invited him to participate in the honor of a lifetime. What an amazing memory.

The call to attention

Disney Color Guard Lowers the Flag while Army Guy Salutes

The Parade Down Main Street

The Magic Kingdom Veteran of the Day Pin

So Proud of My Retired Vet.  Well Done Army Guy!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Yes, We Have No Limes

When we first moved into our house in Texas, I was delighted to find a lime tree in the back yard.  I LOVED that lime tree and made excellent use of its fruit.  We used the limes for guacamole, chicken-lime pasta, margaritas, salsa... etc. 

Y'all... I was in lime heaven.

Then one day Louie brought my bliss to a horrible conclusion.  My lime-tree heaven came crashing down around me with this one sentence:  

"Mom, the limes have turned ORANGE"!   


So, to answer a few questions:

1) No, the "lime-juice" did not taste odd at all.  Apparently, unripe oranges are a great substitute for mature limes.  Who knew?

2) Yes, I did think my "limes" were a little oddly shaped.  I made a mental note to look up what kind of lime is more of a sphere-shape than the traditional oval variety we see at the grocery store.

3) Yes, the boys still tease me about my citrus-dyslexia-disorder.  I remind them it is unkind to tease the mentally disabled.  

4) Yes, I have grown weary of the boys holding up a fully ripe orange and cutely saying "look mom... a lime".  It was funny the first 300 times... now not so much!  But it's okay because they have progressed onto other fruit.  Now they hold up a cantaloupe and call it a watermelon.  I.AM.IN.HELL!

5) Yes, I do realize this topic has now come full circle.  Seems I have been pushing lime over orange for years now.  You can read all about that here.   

One day I really DO want a lime tree.  I dream of fresh lime in my guacamole.  I remember my days in lime-tree heaven fondly; where there are plenty of limes that are green... and oval... and tasty.  For awhile I had it all.

It has occurred to me there might possibly be some sort of Biblical lesson here.  Something about being IN the world but not OF the world.  I think being a lime on an orange tree is a perfect metaphor for standing firm in life as a Christian and  going against the sinful nature of the world.  

That's it... I HAVE GIVEN MY CHILDREN A LIFE LESSON! Now who's the not-so-bright one?

That is all...

Saturday, April 8, 2017

It's a Conspiracy... and We're ALL in on it!

Dear Male Children of the World,

Gather 'round the fire pit for a little chat. Be ready to receive the most excellent tip for the betterment of your lives. In fact, this one tip will be instrumental in your ability to actually WIN a bride one day. This it GOLD! And life changing! Listen up.

There will be times in your life when gym shorts and Nike's are not going to cut the mustard. I know... this is difficult to hear, but the truth will set you free. Sometimes there will be occasions when you'll have to wear the dress pants. I know... I hear your groan... and I can certainly sympathize. But this is something you must learn now, or you will be alone for the rest of your lives. I understand how that sounds AWESOME at the moment. You're 12... I get it. But one day you really will want a wife... YOU WILL. And no self-respecting girl will meet a guy in gym shorts at the alter. Not gonna happen. If you are able to pull that off you will be the hero of the male people world-wide. But I'm sorry to tell you, many strong and handsome men before you have tried... and failed... so this is most likely not in your future.

You see, female children have been dressing up since the day they were brought home from the hospital.  Their mothers dressed them in adorable, lacy, beautiful clothing with bows and sparkles and everything your mother finds fantastic. But the mothers of little boys are behind the curve. We dressed you for comfort so you could run around a play. Oh sure... some moms dressed their sons in sweater vests and bow ties, but by the time those boys were three, they revolted against their mothers and insisted on the gym shorts and blue jeans. This is how life has been for you for 12 years now... and it has been glorious for you. I Know!  You're welcome for the comfortable years I was able to provide for you. I'm sorry to tell you this, but you are almost men now; and men have learned to suck it up and wear the dress-up clothing.

Why must you wear them today? Because your band teacher says so.

No, you cannot wear blue jeans to the band competition instead of gym shorts.

Because her letter specifically says to "dress nice".

I understand that your blue jeans are new and are pretty nice.  But that's not what she means.

Why is she requiring this? Because Mrs. Carter hates you.  It's true.. she does.  All of the band kids are aware of this.  Even the boys. Oh sure... they don't want to wear the "fancy pants" either, but once their mothers told them it was to make your head explode... they were totally IN.

Why would your friends do that? Because guy friends are butt-holes. Get used it it. This is how life will be with the guy friends.

Oh sweetheart you look so great in the "fancy pants". You do. But honey.... the Nike's... they don't really work here.

Why? Because they are orange and also because of the whole "Mrs. Carter hates you" thing.

Remember those "fancy shoes" I bought for your Christmas band concert? Try those!

What do you mean they are too small? You wore them four months ago!

OKAY... lets look in your dad's closet, man-child of mine with the giant feet.

Oh wow... that works.  You look wonderful, my son. You make me proud.

But honey... lets talk about the socks....


So, Dear Reader, how is YOUR Saturday going?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions

Did you REALLY name your boys "Huey, Dewey, and Louie"?
Um... yes because it is my goal in life to raise children who will need to spend tens of thousands on therapy. :)

No, those are not their real names. These names just perfectly describe my life with three boys.

Why haven't you posted any recent pictures of your boys?
The Ducklings are approaching middle school and I cannot think of anything more horrifying to a 7th grader than a mother who has shared his potty training story with the world. Though I delight in sharing the hilarity of living with these guys... I don't want to harm their middle school experiences.

Are you still trying for a girl?
Ummmmm... obviously you do not know how OLD I am!  No, our family is perfect just the way it is. And also, adding a girl to this household would upset the balance of power, potentially causing a rift in the space/time continuum and destroying the entire planet. It’s just not worth the risk.

Why did you start this blog?
The blog began in 2008 when my husband was deployed to Iraq. It was a way to keep him informed of the happenings at home. When I started the blog, we had just moved to South Carolina and I was 3000 miles from my family and friends and alone with three little boys aged 1, 2, and 3. Ah...good times. You can catch up on the hilarity by starting at the beginning of the blog here. Have fun with that!

You mentioned you wrote a book.  What is it about?
I have a passion for moms with young children. Parenting a 2-year-old is often maddening and I want moms to understand this one thing… "If your kids are making you crazy... congrats, you are normal". The book takes a humorous look at surviving the preschool years and hearing God's message in the madness. The book is based on some of the stories in this blog... back when the boys were small and Army Guy was deployed. Upon looking back, I have found that there is a Godly message in many of the stories I recorded. It is my hope to share a message of God's grace along with understanding, empathy, sisterhood and support to moms who just might need a hug now and then.

When will the book be released?
When I decide to stop the re-writing and just go with what I have. Being a perfectionist can be annoying. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Why I Can't Say "Yes"

If I made one of those word-art deals that shows my most often used words, "NO!" would be prominently displayed in the largest font, smack dab in the center... It's my daily mantra. The slightly smaller words would include fart, Nerf darts, and SERIOUSLY?!?!?

Here's a sample of words I speak on a typical day:
  • "No, you cannot wear your swim trunks to church."
  • "No, you may not have a Mountain Dew right before bed."
  • "No, you cannot shoot your brother in the face with Nerf darts."
  • "No, he didn't think it was funny!"
  • "No, your homework is not acceptable if you completed it in invisible ink."
  • "Not even if you send your teacher that special pen/light to read the invisible ink."
  • "No, its not OK to fart at the table."
  • "Seriously?!?!?"
  • "No, we can't have a puppy because he will choke on all the Nerf darts and DIE!"
  • "Oh... you'll pick up the Nerf darts?  My experience says you won't"
  • "Seriously?!?!"
  • "No, I'm not going to buy you an iPhone!"
  • "WHY?  Because you are in the FOURTH GRADE!"
  • "NO!"
  • "No, I didn't think that fart was awesome."
  • "No, I'm not kidding." 
  • "No, it's not okay to buzz your brother's head with your drone."
  • "No, because you still haven't picked up the Nerf darts"
  • "No, You cannot have syrup on your Cap'n Crunch"
  • "No, Ketchup is NOT a vegetable.
etc, etc etc....

I'm such a kill-joy!  

Sometimes I hear myself and I think..."dang I'm glad she isn't MY mother". Being a bummer is exhausting. Sometimes I just want to be cool... fun... agreeable... definitely NOT a bummer. Sometimes I want to say "yes".

Yesterday was such a day.  I was grocery shopping with Louie (4th grade) and I was in a "I just can't be this guy anymore... I want to be FUN!" kind of mood. So I didn't say "no"....not even once. Here's the result of that little experiment.

I just gave my family diabetes! 

Apparently being the "bummer" is my role in this family.  It must be done or we all die in a sugar coma.  Sigh...  In other news, I'm ready for Halloween!!! :)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Parenting 101: Pull'n off the Placebo

Last week was Spring Break and we took that opportunity to march the entire family down to the local eye doctor for exams and new glasses.  Holy Wow.. that was an expensive day!

So we did the family parade through the exam rooms... one by one... then we got our prescriptions and sat down to select glasses. Lets just say the frame prices alone gave me hives and we exited, STAT, before I full-on hyperventilated.  Next stop... Walmart.

Three hours later frames had been selected by all and the glasses were ordered.  Side note:  I embraced the "old" and ordered those nifty progressive lenses for distance AND reading. Yeah I'm cool like that.

So this is where the story gets fun.  Two days later Huey's glasses are ready for pickup. So we head over to Walmart.  Huey puts on his glasses and does this, "Whoa... dizzy... headache... gotta take these off before I fall down" number.  Instantly Army Guy and I are convinced the lenses are wrong.  Of course Walmart-Lady doesn't want to return the glasses or check to make sure the prescription is correct, explaining that we should give him a few days to adjust. Great! You get what you pay for... Got it!  

Sure enough, the next day Huey is still doing the "Lawdy I'm gonna be sick" routine every time he puts the glasses on.  It's priceless... he really sells it.... stumbles and everything.  At this point Army Guy and I know the lenses are definitely NOT RIGHT!  Then Army Guy has this genius thought..."I know... maybe they got the lenses backwards". So he tells Huey to put the glasses on upside down to see if its better. Huey does this and it's instantly solved! GREAT! So back to Walmart we go to ask them to remake the glasses. Walmart Lady says, "we don't have to remake them, the lenses are the same size, we can just switch them."  10 minutes later the lenses are switched and Huey tries them on.  No go!  Still not right! (DUH.. you can't just swap the lenses, Walmart Lady! They are measured to the exact spot of his eyeballs!  sheesh)   Again she gives us the "take a day or two to see if he adjusts" story. Nifty!

The next day Huey still insists they are not right so, being the awesome mom that I am, I march my hiney  back to the eye doctor to have them check the lenses.  Of course the eyeglass lady at that uber-expensive shop gives me quite the attitude.  Her sneer said it all... "see what you get when you take your prescription to Walmart?". I could hear her sarcasm via telepathy.  It's a gift! So she checks the glasses and tells me in the snottiest way imaginable, "Well for starters the lenses are flipped".  Yeah, yeah... I tell her the story... bla bla bla... moving on.  Then she insists that even if the lenses are on correctly, they are still really, really wrong.  "Like WHOA... wrong", she says. Of course she won't tell me how they are wrong.  She just says Walmart can check them and will see how off they are.

Awesome! So I head back to Walmart, mentally preparing myself for a show-down. This issue will NOT beat me!  Just won't! I take the glasses to a new and improved Walmart-Lady and ask her to check them.  First thing out of her mouth... "well the lenses are flipped"   Yeah, yeah... I bring her up to date.  She looks at me like that is the stupidest thing she has ever heard.  (because, you know, it really is). She's like, " I cannot believe my associate just flipped the lenses... THEY AREN'T EVEN THE SAME SHAPE". Anyway, she flips them back and then checks the glasses. Low and behold they are PERFECT! Spot On! They are the most excellent example of craftsmanship that Walmart has ever produced in the history of ever! She insists it's true.  So of course Walmart will not take them back.  And now I'm in a catch-22 because the doctor will not re-examine Huey until the glasses are right. Of course the doctor's office girl insists that they are NOT right.  (If you are still with me at this point... you must really love me)

Later that night Army Guy and I discuss what we should do and decide we need an impartial opinion.  We discuss the option of a 3rd Optometrist to check both the glasses and Huey's eyes.  We resolve to get to the bottom of this even though we've already spent a stink'n fortune.  If our boy can't see... we will pay more. Just will!

But then I have this brilliant idea.  "Before we shell out more cash for another exam, let's try giving him a placebo".  Army Guy and I plot our next move and then call Huey in to discuss his glasses.  I hand him the glasses. (Which are now exactly as they were the first day we picked them up.  Remember the day he was going to be sick and couldn't keep his balance? Yeah, that day.)  Handing him the glasses I say, "Hey Buddy, try your glasses. Mommy spent the day with the eye doctor and the Walmart Lady going back and forth, back and forth, until they got your glasses fixed. They made some adjustments and they think they got it right. Try them on."  I hand Huey the glasses and hold my breath while he puts them on.

The verdict?  "Yup... it's all good mom... thanks for getting these fixed!" 

Army Guy glances at me behind Huey's back and gives me this awesome "thumbs up" pose.  Later we decide we are the most brilliant parents in the history of the universe!  No contest!  :)

Yup... nothing has changed around here in 4 years.  We're still crazy!

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Blog Lives On!

Hey Everybody... We're back!  It has been 4 1/2 years since the last post and I know you've been patiently waiting for another story from the House of Crazy.  The next post will nicely fill that void  :) But before I get to that, here's an update on what we've been doing since September of 2012.

Just The Highlights:

  • Army Guy retired from the Army. I guess he is now just "Guy".  Hmmm... that's no good. Maybe "Retired Guy" is better.
  • Retired Guy and I became licensed Realtors in South Carolina and sold about a dozen houses. It was great and sucky all at the same time.  Only a Realtor can fully appreciate that comment. 
  • Ducklings got HUGE.  Last week Huey and I were standing in line at a buffet.  Retired Guy took a photo of us side-by-side.  I was all, "awww... how cute, we are the same height".  Then it hit me like a flip'n snowball in the face.     I WAS WEARING 2 1/2 INCH HEELS, Y'ALL!!!   My baby is officially taller than me.  My feelings on this topic are all twisted and squishy.  This cannot be!  HE'S TWELVE!!!  
  • All Ducklings now wear glasses.  They really didn't have a chance at all.... blind as a bat my babies are.  Their personalities are on full display with the frame types they heave selected.  We have "Serious Corporate CEO Guy", "Never Loses a Case Attorney Guy", and "Lampshade as a Hat Dancing Guy".  Fingers crossed that little assessment doesn't fully play out.
  • Somehow Ducklings are now in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grades.  What the .. WHAT?!?!  Next up.. Jr. High.  Fun!
  • Oh. Yeah... and we moved to Texas nearly 2 years ago.  I went to huge effort and expense to get my Texas Real Estate License and then decided... "Meh,  I think Real Estate is not really for me." (in this state anyway).
  • Retired Guy now teaches JROTC at a local high school. He loves it... but also misses being fully retired.  And just like that... BAM.. he's "Army Guy" again.  
  • We plan to return to South Carolina As.Soon.As.Possible! The End...Amen! (It will probably be about 2 more years though). But still... that's the plan and we are stick'n to it. Until then we are consuming as much TexMex as we can. Gotta stock up because let's be real... South Carolina, y'all don't know how to get your TexMex on.  (AT ALL)  Truth!
  • Oh yeah.. and I wrote a book.  Emphasis on the word WROTE and not PUBLISHED.  I'll probably be re-writing that sucker until I'm about 89.  It's a work in progress. 
So that about brings y'all up to date.  Life here in Texas has been quite an adjustment.  The Ducklings have settled in and are doing well.  Army Guy and I are enjoying lots of TexMex and BBQ. Leggings are now my pants of choice.  What?  Don't act like you aren't wearing them too!  What-ever... I'm middle aged now and that is liberating.  

My goal is to keep up with this blog and post every week or so. We'll see.  So come on back next week for another amazing adventure from the House of Crazy!