mandyholbert

A glimpse into our family – the good, the bad, and, of course, the funny

Hugs make the world go ’round October 3, 2012

Filed under: children,family,humor,Kendra,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 8:01 pm
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Well, maybe not this kind of hug.  I think more sincere hugs actually make the world go ’round.

The kids were arguing so badly in my back seat.  I yelled, threatened, swerved, and otherwise acted like a complete fool to try to get them to stop.  I find bickering children very distracting.

Then I had a moment of genius.  I remembered one of the most dreaded punishments inflicted on me as a child.  The old sit-on-the-couch-and-hug-each-other, used by my parents when Nickie and I annoyed them too badly by arguing.

I remember sitting on the couch with my arms wrapped around her and I was completely miserable.  There was probably no one on Earth I would have wanted to hug less than her.  Sitting there embracing my twerp of a sister who whined so much that it got us in trouble just like she always did made me want to do anything in the world to be able to get up and play – including getting along with her if necessary.

So, I made the kids hug each other.

I snapped a picture.

 

Look how unhappy they were.  It was perfect.

I made them stay like that long enough for them to get the point.

They got along very well for the rest of the evening.

Maybe we should implement this practice in the real world.  Especially during election season.  It might be really helpful for President Obama and Mitt Romney to sit on the couch and hug for a spell…

…at least it would make for much more uplifting commercials.

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Why I am Late for Work – Excuse # 76 September 30, 2012

It was already “one of those” mornings.  I was running behind schedule and nothing seemed to be going right.  I still needed to pack lunches, feed the kids breakfast, get them both ready, and I hoped to have time to fix my hair and put make-up on for the day…

Kendra ran into my room with a terrible look on her face.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I don’t want to tell you because I’m afraid you’ll be mad,” she answered with a trembling bottom lip.

“No, I won’t,” I said, even though I knew there was a distinct possibility that whatever she was going to say could very easily make me mad.  I started running through possible scenarios in my head.

“My hamster DIED!” she wailed and immediately started bawling.  “I.  went.  in.  to.  feed.  her.  and,” she explained in between dramatic sobs, “she was DEAD!”

RIP little guy

“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry.”  I pulled her into my arms and tried to comfort her as she cried.

Then, Max walked in.  He looked at his crying sister then at me then back at her.  He shrugged his shoulders and said, “You should have been more responsible.”  I glared at him as fresh howls came out of Kendra.

“Maxwell Trenton!  Get out of here!” I yelled.

“It’s all my fault,” Kendra kept crying.

Arg.

I tried to comfort her and still get things done since we did have school and work to try to get to on time.  I sent her to brush her teeth.

I rushed around the house like a wild woman, throwing lunches together and banging things around.  I could hear Max singing in the back of the house, but it didn’t register exactly what song he had chosen for the morning.

Then, when I heard Kendra start yelling, I realized what that little rascal was singing at the top of his lungs.  That’s right.  None other than “Another One Bites the Dust.”

How fitting.

If that’s not a reason to be late for work, I don’t know what is.

it was fun for a while…

 

A Lesson for Kendra September 4, 2012

Filed under: children,family,Kendra,parenting,Uncategorized — mandyholbert @ 6:49 pm
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Kendra has a tendency to be too nice.  I know that sounds like a good problem for a kid to have, but sometimes her sweetness just breaks my heart.

We went camping for Labor Day weekend, and it didn’t take the kids long to make new friends at the campground.  The people right next to us had a son who was five and just started kindergarten and a daughter who was eight and was in third grade.

Besides just the age/grade coincidence, the kids actually had a lot in common.  The little boy carried a book bag full of things like a bow and arrow, handcuffs, and a flashlight – pretty similar to the kinds of things Max usually plays with.  And the girl loved dancing.  That alone is enough to be a pal of Kendra’s.

When it thunder-stormed Saturday night, the kids all came in our camper to watch movies and play out of the weather with all the toys our kids brought.  Kendra showed the other girl her stuffed animal collection while the boys played Matchbox cars.

The little girl really loved a particular stuffed animal of Kendra’s, which happened to also be one of Kendra’s favorites.  The girl begged to have it, and I was so proud that Kendra stuck to her guns and said no because more often than not, Kendra feels pressured and gives other kids whatever they want.

The girl was relentless.  She really begged and pleaded for that toy.

Kendra caved and told her that she could borrow it for the night, but she had to give it back first thing in the morning.  That sounded like a pretty good compromise to me.

But, when morning came, and it was time for us to leave and time for Kendra’s new friend to return the toy, the little girl turned on the puppy dog eyes and begged for it again.  She hugged it and said she would cry if she couldn’t have it.

Kendra was still saying no.  I’ve talked to her so many times about how people will try to take advantage of her and how it’s okay to say no.  I had even told her the night before that I was proud that she didn’t give away her animal because I knew it was one of her favorites and it was special to her.

Somehow, though, that girl ended up with that toy.  She guilted Kendra right into it.  Kendra told her she wanted her to have it to make her happy, and then she climbed in the truck and cried her little eyes out.  It absolutely broke my heart.  She didn’t want to give away her animal – she was just once again being too nice.

Kendra and I had a long talk about it.  I asked her if she thought her new friend would have given one of her favorite toys to Kendra if Kendra wanted it, and she (of course) said no.  We talked about how a real friend wouldn’t demand her to give up something she loved.  We talked about how some people try to manipulate others to get what they want.  We talked about saying no.

It’s not Kendra losing her toy that upset me.  It’s the fact that she was taken advantage of.

That’s why Ronnie and I hunted until we found a store that sold stuffed animals just like those, and we bought her two to replace the one she lost.

I’m so proud of my sweet little girl.

 

Max starts kindergarten August 28, 2012

Filed under: children,family,Kendra,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 8:29 pm
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Boy, it’s really been a while since I’ve written.  Seems I can only handle one hobby at a time, and lately I’ve been reading instead of writing.  I’ve read some really good books, though.

I couldn’t let today pass without writing about it since it was such an important day in Maxwell’s life.  That’s right: he started kindergarten.

We’ve been pumping him up for weeks, and we really kicked it up a notch when we realized that he was lucky enough to get the same teacher that Kendra had her first year of school.  She is truly one of the best teachers I’ve met, and to top it off, she has an outstanding assistant.

I was not really sure what to expect from Max today, especially after we explained the behavior system to him (green is good, yellow is warning, red is bad).  When I asked him what color he planned to be on every day, he shrugged and said, “green or yellow.”  I was very surprised and asked him why yellow.  He answered, very nonchalantly, “nothing happens at yellow, so it doesn’t matter if I’m on yellow.”  Ugh!

Ronnie was able to take the morning off work to take him to class with me this morning.  Max was practically bouncing into the school.  He was so happy and seemed very excited.  When we got to the room, his teacher showed him where to put his lunchbox, and then she told him to go see the teacher’s assistant to do some other things.

Ready for a great day!

The assistant greeted him by saying, “what’s up?”

Max looked at her then very politely answered, “the ceiling…and the sky…”

See?  He was totally himself…

Until it was time for Ronnie and me to leave.

When he realized we were really leaving, he became really uncertain.  I knew he was getting upset when he suddenly needed to use the restroom.  He was on the verge of tears, but he got himself together in the bathroom.  The look on his face absolutely broke my heart.  He put on such a brave front, but I could see right through it.  He was scared, and he didn’t want us to leave.  Even with other little kids crying in the room, he never did let himself cry.  He was so tough.

Of course I burst into tears as soon as we left him.  Like a big buffoon, I stood in the hallway and cried my eyes out over leaving my baby at school.  You would think I hadn’t done this before.

I was anxious all day wondering how he was doing.  I couldn’t wait to pick him up.  I knew as soon as I saw his face that I would know if he had a good day or not.

And he definitely had a good day.  When he and Kendra headed to the car arm in arm both with huge smiles on their faces, I knew he had a great day.  So great, in fact, that he stopped to hi-five the principal on his way to the car!

 

Sure enough, he was totally energized when he climbed in the car.  The first words out of his mouth were, “I have two new friends!”

He told us all about his day, which must have seemed like such an adventure to a little guy who has never been away from his family.

I asked him so many questions: what did you do? how was lunch? how was recess? did you have fun? do you like your teacher?  and he answered each one with enthusiasm.  Then he told me the great news, “Mom!  You will be so happy when you see my color for the day!  It’s the best color – the color of the grass!”

YES!  He was on green!

A “great job” sticker from his teacher for a great first day of school!

I asked him how he felt when Mommy and Daddy left him that morning.  He said, “I was so sad.  I was trying so hard to hold my tears back.  I feel like I’m going to cry now.”

And that’s what he did.  For the whole rest of the evening, in fact.  Well, I guess it was more of an alternation between extreme happiness and crying his eyes out.

The first day of kindergarten just took a lot out of him.  What a great little guy!

Just for fun, here’s a picture from Kendra’s first day of kindergarten.  It seems like so long ago.  She’s in third grade now – really growing up!

Here’s a little excerpt of what I wrote about her first day of school.  They sure handled it differently!

Anyway, we walked her to her classroom toting her bookbag (“Dad! This thing is WAY too heavy!”) and supplies and got her settled. We took a few pictures and gave her hugs and kisses. Then we left. I don’t know what I was expecting, you know, maybe a little twinge of sadness to be leaving mommy, but nope. She was cool with staying in a big unknown world with not a single person she knew in sight all by her little self. 
Well, my preconceived notions were further shattered when we picked her up that afternoon. I was so anxious and excited to see her that I was driving Ronnie crazy – chattering, babbling, goofing, and flubbering. When I saw her walking to the truck, I jumped out to hug her. 
She got in the truck and said, “I am SO thirsty.” 
I gave her some water. 
“Well, how was your day?” I burst out just itching to know every detail. 
“It was good. I learned a lot.” 
She sat back there not like the ecstatic little girl I thought she would be, but rather like an old pro, a jaded old kindergartener who had been there, done that, what’s the freakin’ big deal, mom’s acting like a buffoon again, oh brother. 
I finally managed to get her to tell the highlights of the day and learn that yes, she loves kindergarten, and yes, she loves her teacher, and yes, she’s excited to go back tomorrow. She hated quiet time, was amused that one girl actually slept, and she thought recess was too short. 
I’m proud of her. I knew she was ready. 
I guess I just didn’t realize how ready.

It’s going to be a great year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least lightning doesn’t strike twice…Right? July 31, 2012

It all started with a lightning strike…

Our dogs are contained by an invisible fence.  When the lightning struck, it fried the fence, so obviously, it didn’t work any more.

This meant the dogs could now get to the garden that contains the rabbit hutch, and the dogs seized the opportunity.  I barely saved the rabbits from becoming a snack, and I moved them temporarily to the garage until we could repair the fence.

The fence is finally repaired.  The dogs are back where they belong.  The rabbits are back where they belong (and are enjoying weeding the garden for me again).

However, in the meantime, one of the chickens crossed from the back yard where they are safe to the front yard where they are closely observed by very interested dogs and then to the driveway where they are in the territory of dogs who have felt unnecessarily teased by the presence of chickens just out of their reach.

A dog ate the chicken.

We learned that hamsters are nocturnal.  Ours enjoys running in its ball all night long.  Not that it keeps me awake or anything.

Meanwhile, the goats got sick.  Very sick.  They had awful diarrhea and we had to sanitize everything and nurse them back to health.  “Poop” is not a strong enough word to describe what I scrubbed from their bottoms.  I straddled them backwards while Ronnie held their heads and comforted them while I cleaned caked-on sh*t from their behinds, legs, and tummies.  It. was. disgusting.

They’re better now.

But, Sparkles, our cat, is missing.  We haven’t seen her in several days.  Kendra is out looking for her right now.

So, currently, we have two dogs, six five chickens, two rabbits (thank goodness!), two goats (that was a close one, too), four toads, a tree frog, a hamster, and a missing cat.

Why do we have animals again?

 

 

Mommy is Sorry, Max July 30, 2012

Lakewood Camping Resort is like its own little city.  They have everything you could possibly need while on vacation – stores, restaurants, coffee shop, mail service, laundromat, and tons of fun things to do – pools, slides, sports, mini golf, boating, and, of course, the beach.  Once inside, you can get around by walking or riding a bicycle, but most people opt to rent a golf cart.  It makes lugging coolers and chairs to the beach much easier.  Plus, driving a golf cart around for a week is just plain fun.

2007_0801SouthCarolina0009

2007_0801SouthCarolina0009 (Photo credit: j-rod89)

We rented one for the week.  The golf carts are electric, so they don’t go too fast, and the campground has the necessary rules governing the use of them, so overall, even though there are hundreds of them driving around, it’s pretty safe.

I guess that’s why I didn’t consider the possibility of someone getting hurt.  I should have learned my lesson when we went last year, and Ronnie managed to back into my shins not once, but twice.  I’m surprised my bruised shins didn’t make more of an impression on me, but this year, I had forgotten about accidents, and I wasn’t careful at all.

Max and Kendra on the golf cart waiting to ride from our campsite to the beach.

Max and Kendra were sitting on the back seat, and I backed the golf cart out of our campsite.  I halfway noticed as I looked over my shoulder to back up that Max was lying down instead of sitting properly, so I told him to straighten up.  I didn’t, however, wait for him to sit up as I instructed, and when I put the golf cart from reverse to forward, I threw him off.  He screamed and rolled on the pavement.

I jumped off and ran to him, looking around to see who all had noticed what a bad mom I was that morning.  I checked him out, and he seemed okay, but he wouldn’t stop wailing – I think he was more mad at me than anything else.  He was making the most of this opportunity to get back at me for throwing him off.  He really made quite the scene, so I told him to go back in the camper.

Even though I was embarrassed and mad at myself, when it finally sank in that I had thrown my five-year-old son off a moving vehicle onto hot asphalt while he was wearing only swimming trunks, I started feeling really, really bad.  I couldn’t shake it off.  I apologized to him so many times.  I asked him if he was mad.  I begged him to forgive me.  I told him it was an accident.  I just couldn’t shake it off all day long.

Finally, that evening, all four of us decided to go for a golf cart ride around the campground.  Max joked a few times as we drove around and told random people how his mom threw him off the golf cart.  Funny boy.  We were laughing and having a great time, really making up for my earlier incident of bad parenting.  We even played some music and sang together.  It was really fun.

All of a sudden, Ronnie, who had his feet propped up on the dash, hit the switch with his foot and the golf cart stopped in the middle of the road.  I panicked just a little and jerked to a start without checking on the kids who were sitting on the back seat…

…well, I thought they were both sitting.  Max was actually standing up, and when I started the golf cart – yep, you guessed it – I threw him off again.  Does road rash scar?  I sure hope not…

Scène from the Police Academy Stunt Show

Scène from the Police Academy Stunt Show (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

2012 Summer Vacation July 29, 2012

 

Our vacation was wonderful!  We went to the beach in South Carolina, and we camped in our camper.  We did so many fun things – it would take too long to write about them all.  So, instead, here are my favorite things from our vacation:

 

1.  Kendra and Max rode the highest water slides at Myrtle Waves.  Max wanted to ride it so badly, but he was terrified to go up the stairs.  Ronnie held one hand, and I held the other, and he cried the entire way up out of sheer terror.  But, he kept going.  When he got to the top, he rode that slide, which is an intense water slide – he barely even met the height requirement to ride.  He loved it!  They both did.  As soon as it was over, they both pranced right back up the stairs to do it again.

 

Those were some high slides! I would have never gone up there if the kids didn’t want to!

 

2. One night we were there, the pools were closed because of lightning.  We went down to the beach and watched an incredible storm over the ocean.  The kids played in the sand while Ronnie and I watched the lightning show.  It was amazing.  The kids were so funny.  They were “doing the ocean dance” – Kendra’s consisted of spinning in circles and high-stepping at the edge of the water, and Max’s was his usual monkey dance while chanting “doing the ocean dance” over and over.  It was great.  Ronnie and I even joined in so all four of us just totally let loose at the edge of the ocean over which was a massive storm.  I felt so little and insignificant yet free at the same time.

 

 

 

 

3. The last morning we were there, Kendra wanted to watch the sunrise and she hoped to see dolphins.  I set an alarm and we went down to the beach before most other people were awake.  We sat side by side and watched the sun come up.  Then, we saw dolphins.  They were so close to the shore that Kendra really got a good look at them.  I think we saw about twenty of them for a period of about ten minutes.  Just as the last of the dolphins were leaving, the boys joined us, so our whole little family enjoyed the quiet of the beach at sunrise.  It was really fun.

 

myrtle beach sunrise

myrtle beach sunrise (Photo credit: rainbreaw)

 

4. Ronnie held Kendra in the ocean, and I was holding Max.  We were jumping the waves and laughing and playing.  All of a sudden, Max pulled his foot out of the water, and shrieked.  His foot was covered in wet toilet paper.  It was so disgusting, but we all started laughing.  I laughed so hard that I was completely helpless when the next wave came.  It hit Max and me and we both tumbled all the way to shore.  We were still laughing when we finally got back above water.

 

5. There was a bath house across from our campsite.  When we came in from the ocean, I told the kids to go shower the sand off before I gave them real showers in the camper.  I waited outside.  Kendra came out fully dressed like a person should be after a shower and went inside the camper.  When Max came out, he had the goofiest proud look on his face.  He was holding his trunks, and he had a beach towel wrapped around himself.  Unfortunately, the towel was twisted into more of a belt than a towel, and he was holding it right around his waist.  So, there came my proud naked son marching across the campground with a towel for a belt.  I was laughing so hard that all I could do was scoot him along before anyone else noticed.

 

6. One night, we let the kids swim until the pool closed, and Ronnie and I just sat on the edge with our feet in the water to watch them.  Almost all the kids in the pool were playing with a giant beach ball, hitting it back and forth.  Ronnie asked one of the boys if he could hold the ball for a second.  The confused boy handed it to Ronnie, and Ronnie grabbed it and took off running.  All the kids in the pool were obviously confused as to why a grown man would steal their ball.  I thought Ronnie would bring it right back, but he didn’t.  Several uncomfortable minutes passed with the kids kind of aimlessly wandering around not quite sure what to do before Ronnie brought it back and threw it back in the pool.  He’s so silly!

 

7.  We took a nap every day.  It was luxurious!

 

 

8. We rode the Sky Wheel in downtown Myrtle Beach.  Once again, Max was scared at first, but he ended up really loving it.  The views were amazing!

 

 

 

 

9. We let the kids eat ice cream for breakfast.  I know they’ll remember that forever.  When else can you eat junk food first thing in the morning?  They were so excited to be allowed to do something that is so off-limits at home.

 

 

10. Kendra and Ronnie did the “Space Walk” at Wonderworks.  Max tried, but he was too scared, so I took him back down.  He and I watched Kendra and Ronnie do the high obstacle course.  Kendra was barely big enough to reach some of the hand holds, and she was clearly scared at first, but she trusted her daddy and they did that course together.  I was so proud of her!

 

English: WonderWorks at Broadway at the Beach ...

English: WonderWorks at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was sure a great vacation!  But I’m glad to be home.