Posts Tagged ‘raising boys’

Thankful!

March 14, 2017

Today while I was minding my own business in the Butterfly Pavilion at the Desert Botanical Gardens, a woman approached me and gushed, “I don’t want to embarrass you, but I know who you are and I want to thank you for the article you wrote about your son not reading until he was nine.” I thanked her for saying something, asked about her kids and met her friends that she was butterflying with. She wasn’t done, however. “I cut out that article and put it up in my bathroom. I read it every day! And I say to myself, ‘If Linda Crosby can make it through this, I can make it through this.'”

Her willingness to approach me and spill her beans blessed my socks off. I am so fortunate to be able to speak to homeschoolers through seminars, articles and day-to-day meetings around town. My passion is to encourage others to keep on keeping on. I am so blessed this year to be speaking in five other states, so I can love on some hurting mothers who just want to quit. This home educating gig ain’t for the faint of heart!

By no means am I the Wonder Woman of homeschooling. Far from it. I have made more mistakes than most… ask my kids! No, don’t. It might hurt my homeschool mom feelings. But there is something to be said about hearing how another mom failed over and over again, and seeing that their kids actually turned out okay… mostly, as contributing members of society who aren’t too socially awkward.

Be encouraged, homeschooling mama! The days when everything goes haywire are the days the kids will probably remember the most. (Unfortunately!) Usually they recall how you handled rough situations and they watched you get up out of bed the next day and try again at the homeschoolin’ deal.

My advice for the “End of March Blues” is to relax. Hardcore-Textbook Mom, play some board games. Stick-to-the-Planner Mom, read a good YWAM biography to the kids. Neatnik Mom, break down and let the kids papier mache outside… with the back door locked. OCD-Math Mom, cross out half the problems on today’s worksheet. Live on the edge. It’s okay to relax once in a while and have some fun. Funschooling is real.

Know that you are not alone. Find another homeschooling family… or five, and go to the Botanical Gardens! We did! It was a great break and math will still be there tomorrow!

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This Mama’s Rules

November 29, 2014

I got to thinking the other day, because that’s what Mamas do. And I realized that every Mama has her own set of rules that her kids are VERY familiar with and can quote back to their Mama. Here are a few of my own examples:

1. “Do not put your bum where food goes.”  Translation: do not sit on the kitchen table or counters. Ewwww.

2. “Don’t shoot your mother.” This one goes without saying. It doesn’t matter what you are shooting: nerf guns, bb guns, rubber bands, the kitchen sprayer, spit wads, the hose, darts…. etc.

3. “You can go play in the wilderness if three of you go together. That way if one of you dies, one can watch the body while the other runs for help.”  Self explanatory.

4. “The loudest child sits in the back seat of the van.” Also self explanatory.

5. “If you ‘call’ something, you don’t get it.” I.e., “I call the front seat.”  You’re now in the back. “I call the last piece of pumpkin pie!” One of your siblings will now enjoy it.

6. “If you put restaurant left overs in the fridge without writing your name on it… you may as well kiss it goodbye.”

7. “If you are in the kitchen and the trash needs to go out, it is YOUR turn to take it out.”

8. “Ask dinner guests three questions about themselves and then you may leave the table.”

9. “Always look people in the eye when you speak to them… and SMILE.”

10. “If and when you say ‘I’m bored’ I will find a chore for you…. every time.”

They are straight forward and have worked for years.

What are your personal rules???

Come On, Get Happy!

February 24, 2014

sunset 002

Tonight I was feeling pretty whooped as I was driving home from my daughter’s piano lessons. As I came down a street in our neighborhood, a block ahead a young man came flying out of a side street on a bicycle. I knew it wasn’t my cycling son because he wasn’t wearing a helmet or a riding kit (uniform…. or unitard!  hahaha!) Just a neighborhood ride, I guess. The closer he got I realized it WAS my cycling son, in street clothes, ripping it up on the bike. I didn’t have time to roll down my window as he approached the car. But as he went by with a big Cheshire cat smile on his tanned face, he was pointing down the street and riding like the wind, Bullseye.

I never know what this kid is up to.  Seventeen and full of life. Wasn’t it a little too dark for the Popsicle man??? Making a U-turn I followed him down another side street that ends at the desert. He jumped off his bike and yelled over his shoulder, “Mom! It’s going to be a great sunset. I’m going to take some pictures!” And off he ran through the cactus and sage brush carrying his bike.

He was right about the sunset. No one can beat God’s paintbrush! I drove home and got the camera in time for this beautiful sky-on-fire picture. I got to thinking about this son of mine and the fact that he chases sunsets and wants to take a photo to remember it by. That’s pretty neat, if I do say so myself. His wife will like this some day. Made me happy.

Happy Basha’s Memories

October 24, 2013

bashas

Basha’s is a local grocery store chain here in Arizona that I used to frequent a LOT due to its proximity to our house at that time.  We moved near Basha’s when I was pregnant with our third child and lived in that wonderful house for six years.

As you can imagine, I visited the store OFTEN with all three children.  The three children that God blessed us with who don’t really look that much like their mother or father.  We have two blond-haired, blue-eyed kids and one with dark brown eyes and hair.  My husband has black hair and light brown eyes.  I have light brown hair and green eyes. Genetics are a weird deal.  I tell you all this frivolity to set up the first happy memory.

Happy (sort of) Memory #1:  I was casually strolling the aisles at Basha’s with my three offspring, when a lady in her mid-twenties came up and inquired, “Are these all your children?” “Yes, they are,” I replied proudly.  Then she had the audacity to ask, “Do they all have different dads?”  What in the blue blazes was she thinking???  I glanced down at my attire, wondering if I left home with only wearing my underwear … nope, fully clothed, not looking like a hoochie-mama.  I assured her that indeed, these three angels did have the same father, but I didn’t go into the fact that none of them look like him.  Good gravy, lady!

Happy Memory #2:  In our homeschool we studied a unit in science about the motion of falling objects.  One of the examples was Galileo dropping a cannonball and a musketball off the Leaning Tower of Pisa to determine that falling objects fall at the same rate.  Of course we climbed up in the play house and dropped all sorts of items into the dirt below to test this ourselves.  Back to Basha’s…. months later we were in the pasta aisle and my middle child was closely examining the spaghetti sauce jars.  (Not sure why???)  When all of a sudden he yelled (because he never spoke quietly until he was 12) “Mom! Here is the crooked building that the guy threw the rocks off of!”  (Insert song from the Sound of Music as I mentally skip through the hills of happiness!)

Happy Memory #3:  Yet another trip to Basha’s with my two little boys in the seats of the cart and my personal shopper (7 year old daughter) walking beside me.  A kind, elderly lady with fluffy white hair shuffled by and stopped to look at my children.  She smiled so sweetly.  (I braced myself to explain that I only had one husband.) Finally she remarked, “You have beautiful children!”  I whole-heartily agreed, but merely said, “Thank you!”  As she slowly made her way down the aisle, my loud, middle child yelled to the grandma, “My daddy drives a fancy Cadillac!”  It was true, albeit a hand-me-down from my parents, but his statement shocked me, nonetheless.  The sweet little lady threw her head back and belly laughed, as did I.

Happy Memory #4:  This same store had a very generous produce manager who allowed our daughter to go behind the black swinging doors each week to get free “rotten” food for her bunny rabbit, Blackie Honey Bunny Crosby.

I miss Basha’s.

ICE ICE Baby

August 22, 2013

Yet another trip into Walmart to complete my day.  I swear we should have bought stock in that store when it opened!  It doesn’t matter if I have a list…. and I remembered to bring my list…. and I buy EVERYTHING on my list…. I still need to go back to Walmart later that same day for SOMETHING still in the dang store.  It’s true.  The store sucks me in.  Every time.  Like a fly to flypaper.  Why do they have so many stinkin things that I think I need?  Or the kids need?  Or my husband needs?  Or the dogs need?  Good gravy.

It was a non-list-quick-trip that hardly called for a cart.  But then, it was 12:30 p.m., and we all know what that means.  The rotisserie lemon-pepper chickens that came out of the slow cooker at 8:45 a.m. are now HALF PRICE!  “Go get us a cart, son.”  Glory be.  There were five plump birds with my name all over them.  I always hate it when someone comes and stands in line behind me when I’m filling up the entire bottom of the cart with scrumptiously delicious smelling game hens with $2.98 stickers on them.  No, I won’t share.  I have four children, a husband and two dogs, for Pete’s sake.  And I don’t have to cook the birds.  Hello!  We live in Phoenix.  Not turning on the oven is a prime idea for eight months of the year.  I never make eye contact with other shoppers when I’ve hit the poultry prize.

With the cart full of discounted dinner, we grabbed the few other things that I really came in Walmart for…. fish for fish tacos, avocados for fish tacos, cabbage for fish tacos and cilantro for fish tacos.  I was drooling simply thinking about lunch!  Then, lo and behold, the ICE drinks were in a HUGE display right at the front of the store… sucking me in again.  Pink grapefruit ICE drink will be served in heaven, people.  I prefer to purchase this pop at Costco in a case, but we weren’t in Costco with the cases.  We grabbed 12 of the skinny bottles (that are ridiculously easy to knock over) and headed for the cashier.

ICE

The clouds parted, the skies opened, and we had less than 20 items for the express lane!  (Because 12 ICE drinks are ONE item….. ICE drinks. Thankyouverymuch!)  While we patiently waited for the kind elderly lady to scan our groceries, my extremely helpful son was unloading the cart onto the non-conveyor belt counter….. the cart of skinny, easy to knock over bottles of ICE.  Yes, you guessed it, one went down.  And it didn’t go down pretty.  It went down with a BOOM and a pressurized fountain and a shriek or two and then a shower for my three family members and an elderly cashier.  The front of my dress was soaked …. soaked through to my bra.  ICE ran down my arms and legs.  It was splashed on my head and face.  My purse was dripping, as well as my daughter, son and the not-so-kind-anymore cashier.  The walls of the lane on both sides were drenched.  The floor was a lake of grapefruit.  All the groceries on the non-conveyor belt were wet.  I still can’t believe how one little bottle of juice did that much damage.

The poor cashier did not see the humor in the situation as I have learned to see over the years of having four children and ridiculously embarrassing messes happen in my presence because of my four children.  We mopped up as much as we could, but our lane was shut down, blocked off with a cart and paper towel was spread far and wide.  When we were finally done paying and dripping, I remarked to the little old lady, “Well, I hope your day goes better from here on out!”  Haha….  Not so.  She snapped back, “It BETTER!”  Made me chuckle.  Maybe she had a big date after her shift????

It Has Come to THIS

June 1, 2013

Sorry, another post-accident report but thankfully not from the couch!  I lived on the couch for six long weeks.  At first it was because of the damage to my legs from the airbag UNDER the steering wheel. (You might want to check if you have an air bag down there and wear shin guards while driving, if you do.)  On day #4 post-accident, I realized my shoulder was hurt and that I couldn’t lie on either side on the couch OR in bed.  I am still in that state… flat on my back in bed with my legs elevated…. with a pile of pillows crammed against the back of my reading chair so as not to fall off the bed.  But I digress.

After my 6th week of “no significant improvement” at therapy, I was sent for nerve testing.  Nerve testing = acupuncture.  Or more appropriately, you are now a voodoo doll.  The good news out of that supremely stressful doctor visit was that I was sent to pain management, who promptly put me on medication #27. (Do not fear, I have stopped taking the first 23.)  Med27 plays some sort of hokus-pokus on my nerves and I have had a VAST improvement in range of motion for my right arm.  Read: I still can’t lift the milk jug, but the therapist did a happy dance that I can now scratch a giraffe’s neck.  Side effects of Med27 include, but are not limited to: drowsiness, lack of short term memory, general lethargy and an overwhelming desire to do nothing.

Grand-Canyon-Camping

All that said, the eight day camping trip to the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Canyon de Chelley, Four Corners, the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest that didn’t happen in April has been reduced to a five day camping trip to the Grand Canyon.  Commencing on Monday, June 3rd.  Two days from right now.  Thankfully, the other crazy homeschool mom, CJ, whom we have been studying National Parks with all year, has picked up my slack and we are venturing forth in two days from right now.  CJ went so far as to purchase a Sprinter van seating 14 that her 6’4″ husband can stand up inside.  Read:  I don’t have to drive at all OR pack a car.  As per usual, the week before departure, we went through our lists of what to take.  The division of camping equipment went something like this: CJ CJ CJ CJ CJ me CJ CJ CJ CJ CJ me. And that might be an exaggeration for “me’s”.  Thank you, CJ!

Today about 4:12 pm, I realized what my life has come down to.  Normally when embarking on a road trip, I print packing lists for my kids.  (Remember, I am a list maker.  I thrive on lists.  I make detailed lists.  I am an overachiever at making lists.) But never in my 20 years of parenting have I printed an extra “kid packing list” for myself.  This is what it has come to… and I’m O.K. with it.  Except I added to the bottom of mine: Med27.

Happy Camping this summer!

A Homeschooling Mom’s Nightmare

May 14, 2013

First let me add the back story.  Our daughter was coming home from college and we had to get her little brother moved out of her room and back in the big bedroom he shares with his brother.  They are 14 and 16. After the 14-year-old’s paraphernalia was removed, I dusted, vacuumed and made her bed for her.

As I was working I heard my eldest son trying to talk his brother into moving into the loft for the summer.  It went something like this: “It will be so cool!”  “You will love it!”  “We’ll move the bookshelves and it will be private!”  “I will help you!”  “Let’s go ask mom.”  The 14 year-old wasn’t saying much as he moved his stuff back down the hall.  They came.  They begged.  I am still on narcotics from the car accident two months ago.  I am in no state of mind to be making life-altering decisions…. like giving up the homeschool/sewing loft at 11 p.m. thankyouverymuch.  I told them I didn’t care.  And I didn’t. And I went to bed.

Fast forward two and a half hours to a metal wheel sound waking me up in the dark of the night.  Yes, it was 1:30 a.m.  I stared at the ceiling and told my husband, “This is all my fault.  That noise…. it’s a pulley.  I taught him how to use pulleys about 7 years ago.”  We got out of bed to witness THIS:

austins castle

Our 16-year-old son had made himself a castle… in the loft…. way past midnight… with a drawbridge (run with a pulley that hung from a bike hook screwed into the ceiling) …. and crenals and merlons cut from cardboard.  It WAS SO COOL that he decided to move in himself.  I shook my head in dismay and confessed to my husband that I also taught him about castles…. and crenals and merlons.  I asked my creative son what we should call him now.  Obviously he replied, “King Austin!”  Of course.  Silly me.

The next morning, I questioned how long he planned to live in his castle.  He looked at me with hopeful eyes and answered with a question, “All summer??????”  Those were his big blue puppy dog eyes staring at me.  Fine.  Whatever.  “You will be patching the hole in the ceiling in August.”  “O.k., thanks, mom.”

This could have been worse, I told myself as I climbed back into bed.  I’ve also taught him about catapults, guillotines, war trenches and fur trappers.  Oh, it could have been WAY worse.

 

It’s a Mother’s Day CONTEST!!!!

April 27, 2013

Come one.  Come all.  Step right up and enter to win a GRAND PRIZE for you or a mother dear to your heart this Mother’s Day.

What would every mother want?  A diamond ring?  No. (Could get lost while playing in the sand at the park!) A new MiniVan!  No. (Take it from my experience, after you hit someone in a minivan, they are not that great any more!)  A dozen roses! No (They wilt in no time, especially if you bought them at Walmart!)

Maybe something to bring joy to her heart.  Something to make her laugh…. and snort… and laugh some more!  Yes, you guessed it!  A Book!  YES!

my mom book

Yes, a FREE autographed copy of my book Laughing in the Midst of Mothering!  Every mother you know needs a laugh!  This book can be yours (for your mom if you aren’t a mom) by merely entering your name in the comments section of this blog.

You have until May 5th midnight to enter.  On May 6th, after I sleep in, I will randomly draw one name from the list and announce the winner here on MSJ.  I will blast the name for all to see.  The winner will have 24 hours to contact me with an address for where to ship the book.  If person #1 doesn’t contact me, I will draw another name on May 7th.  :o)

Dr. Doolittle, I Think Not

March 7, 2013

Never have I been accused of being an animal lover.  We had a few pets during my childhood in suburbia Northern California, but never a dog and only once for a short time, a cat.  The kitty caused my brother’s eyes to swell shut, so she didn’t stay long at all.  But I did have the joy of picking out Meow Mix back in the day when the Meow Mix song was popular, hence making me popular. I was nine, it didn’t take much.

Fast forward to  my ten-year-old daughter praying every night that God would change her mother’s heart (ME!) so that she could get a dog.  I about coughed up a lung the first time I witnessed her heartfelt petition to the God of the universe.  Anyway, the two-year vigil ended with God changing my heart… and for the past 9.5 years we have had Trixie, the Rat Terrier burrowing into our hearts and lives.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Foolishly I read Dr. Doolittle to my children years ago.  Unmistakably, that was a cockamamie move on my part. Yes, we did do a stint with younger boys who NEEDED tadpoles, then frogs of course, lizards, mice, a hamster named Teddy, chickens, fish, turtles, and a hermit crab named Elvis.  Truly I felt that I did my time.  Of course there were requests for a horse.  Thankfully we live in an HOA that doesn’t allow for horses.

Then Christmas 2011 did me in.  It was December 23rd at 10:15 p.m. and my husband and I were sitting on the blue couch when my cell phone notified me of the arrival of a message.  Who would be texting me that late?  Of course it was a friend who had a friend who had a baby wiener dog FREE for Christmas.  Good grief.  We were sitting ducks.  The next day I called another friend who got a baby wiener dog for Christmas the previous year and DIDN’T keep it!  I gave her all my reasons for not taking the free dog, and she solved each dilemma as it arose…. we would need a crate.  She had one.  We would need a doggy door.  She had one.  And her reason for returning the puppy was because she was never home to train it….. she pointed out that we are ALWAYS home.  We homeschool.  We don’t leave the premises unless it is for church or a library trip.  So we got sucked into Ringo the wiener dog who has been snuggling with us for over a year now.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

I still cannot believe I have two dogs.  Linda Ann Crosby… NOT a dog person, has two dogs, and probably will have two dogs for another five to seven years.  Unbelievable!  I can hardly believe I am writing a blog about dogs.  I am not a dog person.  Didn’t I already say that?

So the moral of the story is DON’T READ DR. DOOLITTLE to your kids if you truly want to do little.  BAM!

Wonderful Winter Weather

February 16, 2013

Last Friday at homeschool park day the moms FROZE in our chairs!  It was so windy and cold!  Well, for Phoenix, that is.  It wasn’t windy at our house when we left, but 10 minutes later when we pulled into the park we hoped and prayed there were jackets in the back of the van.  Thankfully, I found one for myself… my son’s hockey jacket from 5 years ago… when he was 11.  No, it didn’t exactly fit, but I was able to zip it up and block the blustery cold out.  It fit quite like a wetsuit.  A wetsuit that is too small.

The wind blew and blew for the two hours we were huddled with arms folded tightly in the sunshine.  One of my sons kept asking me, “Mom, do you know what your hair looks like?”  I could see my shadow and knew it was an amusing shape… and ever-changing shape.  “Mom, did you do your hair this morning?”  “Mom, you should really go look at your hair.”  There was nothing I could do, so I didn’t bother.  For some strange reason, my 14-year-old son was extremely concerned about my hair… and my image.  Maybe it was HIS image???

Yesterday was park day again. Imagine that!  Friday just keeps happening over and over.  Prepared for wind gusts of 50+mph, I donned a sweat suit with jacket and LOTS of hairspray.  Lo and behold, winter ended in Phoenix.  It was 74* F with sunny skies and not a trace of a breeze.  Yesterday was also the day the moms play flag football with the kids… and lose miserably, I might add.  I couldn’t even keep my jacket on sitting still because it was so warm.  After playing football for ten minutes I was frying, looking for my water and a shady spot to collapse.

Spring has sprung.  The air is warm, the flowers are blooming.  God, please let spring last more than ten days this year!!!  Please!!!