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

My Worst Nightmare May 17, 2014

There are things that happen to people.  Bad things.  Things that test the limits of their sanity.  Things that can break them.  That can push them over the edge and change them.  Things that cause people to lose themselves.

One of these things happened to me.  And I knew that if I didn’t conquer it, I would never be the same.  And while it may not be easy for others to understand, for me it was real.  Very real.  I knew it was a battle that I had to win or it would defeat me.  It would define me for the rest of my life.  It would rule me.  If I didn’t finish that bologna sandwich…if I didn’t force myself to eat the entire thing…if I didn’t consciously choose to chew it up and force myself to swallow it…I’m quite certain there would have been permanent damage in my mind.  I was on the verge of being broken.  Yes, my battle was a bologna sandwich.  I’m not proud of it, but we can’t control these things, can we?  Stay with me.  I’ll explain.

To set the stage, I need to share just one tidbit of background information:  I’m terrified of frogs.  Boy, it feels good to have that off my chest.  Yes, I’m scared of frogs.  I’m scared of frogs!  I know that by disclosing this, you may never look at me the same.  You may think of me as the weird woman who is scared of frogs instead of as me, an otherwise normal individual who functions just fine in society.  But I had to share.  You had to know this in order to understand the sandwich.

So, it all started, well, let’s be realistic, this story started somewhere back in my childhood.  But we don’t have time for that.  We’ll skip over the traumatic frog experiences of my life (did you know they scream when on fire?  did you know they pop when run over?) and get right to the events leading up to the bologna sandwich.

It was a dark and stormy night (seriously), and we were camping.  I thought I would take the dog for a little walk even though it was wet outside.  After all, we were camping anyway.  So, I leashed the dog, and we took off.  A girl and her dog.  Off for a little walk in the rain.  In the dark.  I know, I know – what was I thinking?  I was practically begging for a frog encounter.  But, honestly, I thought I had my fear under control.  I thought I could handle walking in the general vicinity of croaking amphibians without losing it.  And I probably could have.

Until it happened.

My worst nightmare.

I’m not exaggerating.

This is something I have obsessed about ever since I was a little girl.  Something that has been in the forefront of my mind every single time I walk outside at night.  Something I have lain in bed at night an contemplated, only to give myself the shivers and force the thoughts from my mind.  Literally, my worst nightmare.

I stepped on a bullfrog.

Remember, it’s pitch black dark!  It’s raining.  I can’t see a thing.  But I felt that bulbous mass under my left arch and I knew right away what it was.  It was a hideous feeling – worse than I imagined.  But, I had a lightening fast reaction, and I rolled my foot to the left to get my precious foot off the beast.  And something worse than I ever could have imagined happened.  The frog jumped up the leg of my pants.

I immediately flailed and kicked until I caught a glimpse of the reflection of the moon off his grotesque white belly as he flew spread-eagle through the air.  And then I was frozen.  I couldn’t move.  I mean, how could I?  I couldn’t see anything, so I didn’t know where that villainous creature was or if he had an army of cohorts nearby ready to attack.  But I knew the longer I waited, the greater the chance that I was being surrounded, so I began a panic-stricken shuffle back to our campsite.  I couldn’t breathe.  I was doing some sort of high-pitched moan that didn’t quite sound human – certainly not something that’s ever come out of me before.  I couldn’t think.  It was the longest 100 feet of my life – just trying to reach safety.

I’ll spare you the details of the rest of my panic attack.  Let’s just say it was ugly and leave it at that.  It took hours to stop crying, to calm my racing heart, to stop shaking.  Hours of laughing and crying and laughing while crying.  I was not in control of my emotions, to say the least.

And when I finally calmed down, I was hungry.

Enter the bologna sandwich.

I sank my teeth into that sandwich, and all I could think about was the striking resemblance between the cold, clammy, moist skin that was pressed up against my left leg and the remarkably similar texture of that cursed bologna.  Every time I chewed, I felt that frog on my leg.  I felt it like it was really there.  And then I tasted it.  I felt that amphibian skin in my mouth.  I looked at that slice of bologna between two slices of bread, and I saw that frog looking back at me with his ugly little froggy eyes and his arms and legs overhanging the crust of my bread.

I had to finish that sandwich.  Don’t you see what was happening!?  If I didn’t finish that sandwich, the frog would have won.  My mind would have never been the same.  I would have been broken.  I had to force myself to overcome those temporary pangs of insanity.  I had to eat a bologna sandwich made out of a frog.

And I did it!  I gagged my way through it.  I concentrated.  I dug deep and fought to keep myself.  I chewed that sandwich.  I ate that sandwich.  I finished that disgusting, froggish, nightmarish sandwich, and I was victorious!!  I WON!  I will not be controlled by my fear.  I will live a normal life!  The frogs will not rule me!  I will not make accommodations for amphibians.  I will live my life to the fullest!  I finished the sandwich!!!

But I will never wear boot-cut jeans again.  I mean, skinny jeans don’t look good on me, but let’s be realistic – they are much safer.

And I will always carry a flashlight.

Oh, and I’ll never eat bologna 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 (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)


A Driving Defeat July 29, 2012

We were camping last week at Lakewood Camping Resort near Myrtle Beach, SC.  It was a much-needed getaway, and we had a great time…with a few exceptions.

On the last full day we were there, the guys decided to charter a boat to go fishing on the ocean, so us girls agreed to take the kids to Ripley’s Aquarium.  I drove Ronnie’s truck, which is quite a big larger than the Honda Pilot I drive.  Anyway, I backed out of our campsite and then looked over my shoulder only to see that I had missed a tree by a fraction of an inch.  It was so close that it looked impossible that I could have missed hitting it.  We laughed about it, I made a joke about the truck being too big for me, and we headed to the aquarium.

If you’ve been to Broadway at the Beach, you know how crowded it is, and I was a little concerned about parking the truck.  I was psyched when I found a parking place on the end, and just to be sure I’d be able to get back out, I pulled in and jumped the curb so the driver’s side of the truck was in the parking slot and the passenger’s side was up on the grass.  I’ve seen Ronnie do it a thousand times.  A mountain parking job.

The aquarium was great, and when it was time to leave, I was so confident in my parking job that I backed right out, enthusiastically even.  Then I heard a big smack.  I stopped the truck right away, realizing that I had managed to hit a tree with Ronnie’s side-view mirror.  I jumped out, gathered up the parts of the truck that were scattered around, made an ugly face at the woman who ran over and watched me clean up while she was babbling on in a language I couldn’t understand, and made the phone call to tell Ronnie before anyone else could.

not too bad…

He handled the news very well, as I knew he would, but it was pretty embarrassing to have to ride in that truck for the rest of the trip with the mirror taped back on with electrical tape.  Oh, well!

at least the mirror itself didn’t break, so I should avoid seven years of bad luck…

I don’t think I’ll be driving the truck for a while…

I don’t always mess up, though…remember this one?  Driving Victory


Camping at Cascade May 28, 2012

Our favorite place to camp is Cascade Lake near Brevard, NC.  We’ve spent several holidays there, including Memorial Day and Halloween.  We went back for another Memorial Day this year, making it almost a tradition for our little family.  Our campsite was right on the lake, giving us a gorgeous view.

Sunset over Cascade Lake.

The weekend was full of fun with family and friends.

While I was still at work on Friday, a friend invited Kendra to spend the night.  Since we had plans already to camp, I instead decided at the last minute to let Kendra’s friend come with us.  And since she was coming, I couldn’t not invite her little sister, so our number of kids went from two to four and I hadn’t even packed yet.

After work, I rushed to pick the kids up from my mom’s, picked the kids’ friends up, ran home to pack up our clothes and food (thankfully, Ronnie packed most of our camping supplies), loaded up the car, took four kids to Ingles to get snacks and drinks, listened to Kids Bop dance songs all the way to the campground, and arrived at our site at about 9:30.  Whew!

The kids spent the day swimming, fishing, exploring, and just enjoying each other and the great outdoors.  They had a blast!

Four friends on the dock.

Max and his best buddy.

The adults had a great time too.  We watched the kids play, took in the scenery, and enjoyed fantastic food and relaxed conversation.  It was so nice to kick back and relax and laugh.

Nothing like fresh fish!

The highlight of the trip was a canoe ride to Hooker Falls, another thing we try to do every time we go camping at Cascade.  The waterfall is about thirty minutes from the campground, and it’s a very peaceful ride in the canoe to get there.

Hooker Falls

Hooker Falls (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The kids each took turns rowing on the way there, and then for some reason, on the way back, I told Ronnie I wanted to see if he and I could make it in twenty minutes.

Off to Hooker Falls!

It took us a while to get into a groove.  It was very challenging to steer accurately when we were trying to move as fast as possible.  We finally got in a good rhythm – we were moving quickly and in a straight line.  Yep, we were moving right along, right on target to get back in twenty minutes.  Then I saw it.  A log right under the water’s surface.  We needed to get around it, but we were going too fast.  I yelled at Ronnie to turn us, but it was too late.

I was sitting in the front of the canoe, and when we hit that log, the front end of the canoe came up out of the water.  We were completely stuck!  Ronnie and I laughed so hard!  Max thought it was great – it was a crash, after all.  Kendra was concerned.  I was looking to see if anyone saw us, and Ronnie and I pushed on that log with our oars as hard as we could to try to dislodge ourselves.  I felt so ridiculous sticking up in the middle of the lake like that!

We finally got off the log and made it back to our campsite in a little over 25 minutes.  Not quite the 20 we were trying for, but all things considered, I think we were lucky to make it back dry.

It was a great weekend.



Roxy and Zeke, meet your new little friends. May 14, 2012

I’ve already made it pretty clear that I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to animals (or much else, for that matter).  If you missed Welcome to your new home, little goats, you may want to read it before reading this.  It explains a lot.

Ronnie and his dad (thanks, Papa Sherm!) built the fence for the goats on Saturday.  Up until that point, they were in a dog kennel – a less than ideal situation, to say the least.  I never realized how baby goats cry.  It’s loud.

Anyway, we worked all day getting their new pen ready.  As we were finishing up, my parents stopped by.  Add my sister who lives next door and my two kids, and we had enough characters to produce a true comedy.  Of course, that’s not we had planned.  It was strictly business – moving the goats from point A (the dog kennel in the back yard) to point B (the new pen in the woods) while avoiding the obstacles named Roxy and Zeke (obviously, the dogs).  Kind of like a covert operation…or an episode of American Gladiators.

Of course, this was complicated by the facts that the goats were wearing collars entirely too big for their necks and that they go crazy if separated from each other.  I hooked them both to leashes and had Max entice them forward with a bucket of food.  It kind of worked.  A little.

Then, my dad’s mind flashed to the nativity my mom displays every Christmas and what were those Biblical shepherds holding?  A broom!  Well, not really, but that’s what he used to scoot them along.  So, we had Max and my mom shaking goat food in a bucket calling them, me trying my best to pull them while not allowing the collars to slip over their heads, and my dad (still in his arm sling from recent shoulder surgery) bumping their butts with a broom and sounding very shepherd-ish.

We made it!  We put the goats in the pen and closed the gate, and that’s when the dogs went ballistic, barking and lunging at the fence.  Whose idea was it to put the dogs in there to “get it over with”?  I’m not sure in all of the confusion that was going on.  But, that’s what I did.  I put Zeke on a leash first (I thought his natural instincts would take over since he’s an Australian Shepherd mix) and brought him in.

He walked over to the goats and tried to nip at one.  That baby goat put his head down and deflected the dog with a swift upward motion that introduced Zeke to what those cute little horns are for.  Zeke quickly got the idea.  He walked over to the feed bucket and ate some goat food.  Weird dog.

Next was Roxy’s turn.  What.  A.  Disaster.  She immediately lunged at a goat in attack mode (of course, now I realize what a stupid idea this was.  I never would even consider putting Sparkles the cat in the chicken yard.  I amaze myself sometimes with my stupid ideas).  The goats fought back.  I tried to pull Roxy off but she was so strong the cable I was restraining her with slid and blistered my fingers.  I think I almost lost my pinky.  It was bad.

And then it turned worse.  She slipped right out of her collar.

I screamed for Ronnie, who happened to be about two hundred feet away.  I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that both my dad and my dad-in-law were right on the other side of the fence.  They both barreled into the goat lot to help.  Papa Sherm blocked the goats and my dad picked Roxy up (remember, he only has use of one arm) by the nape of her neck and threw her out of the gate.

I won’t go into all of the polite conversation between my husband and me that happened at this point.  I was a little worked up.  And he was slightly perturbed with me.  Slightly.

Well, the goats are in their lot.  The dogs can not get in the lot.  Ronnie and I are still married.  My family thinks I’m a fool.

I’d say it was a successful day.


Would you like nuts with that? April 27, 2012

Filed under: children,family,humor,Max,parenting,Silly Situations — mandyholbert @ 6:00 am
Tags: , , ,

It all started with a typical communication breakdown.  We were on our way into McDonald’s for a nutritious dinner.  Max said he needed to use the bathroom really bad.  So, I told Ronnie to take Max to the restroom and that I would take Kendra, and then we would order our food.  Easy enough.

I subconsciously noticed that Ronnie and Max were standing admiring the Happy Meal toy display as Kendra and I entered the restroom.  But, when we emerged they were nowhere to be seen, so we girls went to order up some food while the boys finished taking care of business.  I ordered, got the food, poured the drinks, set everything up at the table, and still there was no sign of the boys.  Hmmm…


Several minutes later, I heard Ronnie laughing, and I looked up to see him carrying Maxwell.  Max was wearing these strange red pants that I had never seen before and Ronnie was laughing his head off.  What is he wearing?  I was puzzled.


Turns out, Ronnie did not take Max to the restroom when Max had to go really bad.  Instead, they looked at the Happy Meal toy display, and Max took a leak in his pants right there.  Ronnie rushed him to the restroom, too late of course, and had to figure out a quick fix.  I would have simply said no sit-down dinner for us and gone through the drive-thru.  Ronnie, on the other hand, used his creative parenting skills and made an unusual, though somewhat effective, pair of pants out of his shirt.


Seems he put Max’s legs through the arms of his long-sleeved shirt then tied a knot at the waist.  The result was something I would imagine old dancing drunk men to have worn in ancient Russia.  Maybe kind of Fiddler-on-the-Roof-ish.  If I were a rich man,Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum…Anyways, there was my son sporting his new dry pants and my husband giggling his brains out.  Time to eat.

Well, as if that weren’t enough for one outing, Max somehow managed to pour about half his bottle of chocolate milk on his shirt-pants.  At least the wetness wasn’t a bodily fluid, I guess.  I blotted him off best I could, and laughed it off since that seemed to be the thing to do for the night.


He ate his food, then sat happily playing with his Happy Meal toy – a talking Alvin, the head chipmunk of the famous rodent trio.  For whatever reason, Max looked at the toy, pushed the button, and when the toy said, “Hello, Gorgeous!” Max said in delight, “It’s baby Jesus!!”  Don’t ask me!  We laughed again.


Everyone wanted dessert, so I went to the counter still chuckling about baby Jesus.  I ordered our sundaes, and the young fellow put them on a tray along with spoons.  I looked at him and simply asked, “Do you have nuts?”  He turned around to get the chopped peanuts, but couldn’t hide his amusement at all, and when he handed them to me he was openly laughing.  Well!  Excuse me!  I didn’t know we were in elementary school.  I laughed along with him and went back to the table.


Max made a few more jokes while eating some ice cream, the funniest of which was his naming the nuts “little seeds”.  We finished up and were getting ready to leave.  Max, poor boy, tried to get up from the table holding the rest of his chocolate milk, and somehow managed to pour it on his head and fill his hood with it.  At this point, what do you do?

Ronnie quickly grabbed my purse.  Now, in the ten years we’ve been together, he has never, ever held my purse.  Tonight, though, he grabbed it up with gusto.  I think he even swung his hips a little as he walked.  He would have put lipstick on if it would have sealed the deal that I had to carry that little bundle of mischief out to the Jeep.


I scooped Max up, trying to hold him in a position that would keep his shirt-pants on and still keep me from being covered in chocolate milk.  It was awkward, but I thought I was doing a good job.  The McDonald’s employees gave me some really memorable looks when I passed by, but I attributed it to the shirt-pants.


Only when I got outside did I realize that Max’s “seeds” were exposed.


Oops!  What do you do?  We just laughed some more and drove on home.


Stranger’s Baby’s Tantrum – the Prequel April 17, 2012

Filed under: family,humor,parenting,Silly Situations,Uncategorized — mandyholbert @ 8:22 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve alluded to the fact that posting that ugly face of myself for everyone to see is a little outside my comfort zone.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m silly – I’m just a little particular about who I normally let see that side of me.  After all, I’m a professional.  I have an image to maintain.

That’s why it took me very many practices to capture just the right expression that I would use to illustrate my post How to Stop a Stranger’s Baby’s Tantrum.  I had to find one that was hideous enough to shock a baby yet somehow not utterly humiliating for people who have never seen that side of me to see.

Yes, it took many attempts.

Little did I know, my husband was secretly filming those attempts.

Thanks, honey.

While I’m at it, I may as well show you the ones that didn’t make the cut.

Charming, I know.

I really don’t know why I’m posting this…


I’m really starting to feel a little bad about scaring that baby…