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

Happy Birthday Kendra July 13, 2012

Filed under: children,family,Kendra,parenting,Uncategorized — mandyholbert @ 5:30 am
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Kendra’s birthday is tomorrow, and it’s a big one – her first milestone birthday.  You know, there’s 21, 18, 16, 13 – the other significant milestone birthdays that mark becoming a teenager and the privileges you gain on your way to adulthood.  But, here in North Carolina, the home of “8 or 80”, turning 8 is a big deal.  Once you hit 8 years old (or 80 pounds, whichever comes first), you are no longer required by law to ride in a booster seat in the car.  And to an almost 8-year-old who has lots of older friends, this is a really big deal.  And weighing in at 57 pounds, Kendra is lucky there’s an age requirement instead of only a weight requirement.

So, Saturday morning when we head out to the car to go out for birthday donuts, Kendra will strap on her seatbelt with her little butt planted on the actual seat of the car.  The view out her window will be much more sky and much less ground, but she will be happy as can be.  A real big kid.  She’s really growing up.  And I’m so proud of the young lady she is becoming.

Beautiful inside and out

Kendra checked out my blog for the first time yesterday, and she asked if she could “follow” me.  I told her that she’d have to wait until she was older and had an email address but that she was welcome to read whenever she wanted.  And since I know that she’ll be reading, I’m going to write her birthday card right here:

Dear Kendra,

I can barely remember what life was like before you came along.  I know Daddy and I were happy, but you have brought us so much joy that it’s impossible to imagine life without you.  You have wisdom and sensitivity way beyond your years.  You are like an old soul in the body of an energetic vibrant little girl.  It amazes me how you can be such a silly kid in one moment and show such genuine empathy in the next.  You never judge anyone.  You accept everyone for who he or she is and you see the good in everyone.  You go out of your way never to hurt anyone, no matter how he or she may have treated you (maybe with the exception of your little brother sometimes!).

I am so proud of you.  You are a friend to everyone you meet.  You are honest, loving, gentle, sensitive, and sweet.  You are artistic and creative – a true little artist.  You are a dancer and an athlete.  You are graceful and strong.  You are intelligent and curious.  You take care of me when I don’t feel well.  And when you put your hand on my shoulder when I’m having a bad day, you don’t even have to say anything because I can feel your love in that tiny little touch.  I don’t know what I would do without my little princess.  Daddy and I are so blessed to be your parents.

I hope you never lose the tender vulnerability that makes you the sweet person that you are.  I respect you.  I want to be more like you.  You can make me smile even when I don’t want to smile.  I cherish the time we spend together.  And you are such a helper!  Working in the kitchen is so much fun when you are in there with me – even if you do crack an occasional egg onto my foot!

Thank you for being you.  Daddy and I love you from the bottom of the ocean to the highest star.  I know we will go through times in life when you will get mad at us or think we’re unfair or unreasonable, so I want you to remember when that happens that we feel a tremendous burden of responsibility to have been blessed with such a precious little girl, and in every decision we make we strive to do what is best and right for you.  We pray for you.  We would do anything in the world for you.

Happy Birthday, Little Girl.




Why I am a Bad Friend May 20, 2012

Filed under: Confessions,family,humor,parenting,Uncategorized — mandyholbert @ 10:08 pm
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I am a bad friend.  Here’s why:

1.  When I say I will attend your _____________, I probably won’t.  Time is more valuable to me than money, and while I don’t have much money, I have even less time.  If you want me to attend your event, plan to serve a meal and invite my whole family – then we will likely come.  Unless, of course, it’s one of those at-home shopping parties where you try to pressure me into buying things because I’m obligated as your friend.  That is very uncomfortable.  I’d rather just give you some cash and avoid the inevitable flipping through the catalog pages to find something I can almost afford.

2. I won’t (not can’t) remember your birthday, anniversary, your kids’ birthdays, or any other important day.  I can barely remember my own kids’ birthdays.  I don’t expect you to do anything for mine, and I’m not going to do anything for yours.  What did you expect?  This is about why I am a bad friend, remember?  Did you think I was going to promise to bake you a cake from scratch every year on your special day?  Sorry to disappoint.

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. I don’t talk on the phone.  If you have something to tell me, keep it short and sweet, otherwise you’ve lost me.  And even during that short conversation, I’m going to be cooking, cleaning, painting my toe nails, or something else productive because I don’t have time to sit and chat all night.

4. If you make me feel guilty about anything, I’m not going to talk to you any more.  Well, I’ll talk to you when I see you, but I won’t go out of my way.  I don’t like being manipulated.  Oh, and I also don’t like gossip.  Or husband bashing.  That kind of limits the conversation for many people.

5. If your kid is mean, I’m not going to hang out with you.

6. My family comes first.  That includes not only my little family, but also my parents and my sisters.  And the rest of my family.  Even the ones I don’t like.  Just kidding, but not really.  Ha-ha!

7. I probably won’t call you back.  And if I do, I will try to do so at a time when I think you are least likely to answer your phone.

8. I only get along with people who have very low expectations for a friend.  I work full-time, I am a mom and a wife, I have a household to run, I have bills to pay, I have animals and a yard to take care of, I have meals to cook, I have laundry to do, and I’m constantly behind on everything.  Please don’t expect much from me.  Just take me as I am.

So, if you can put up with all of this, I am the perfect friend for you.  Please, don’t all call at once.

Not that it matters, because I’m not likely to answer the phone anyway.


Happy Birthday, Mom March 9, 2012

Filed under: family,parenting,Uncategorized — mandyholbert @ 5:33 am
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All teenage girls have dreams.  Some think about getting married and having children, some about traveling the world, some about that perfect career.  My mom was no different, I am sure.

I didn’t exactly enter her life at the most opportune time.  Whatever those dreams she had were, she put them on hold the moment she found out I was growing inside her.

I can only imagine what was going through her head while I was growing in her belly.  Surely she experienced a range of emotions – fear, anger, doubt, joy, disappointment, wonder…

I can only imagine what she felt, but I know what she did.  She grew up.  Overnight.  She started loving me, and she put her dreams and ambitions aside and gave her life to her new family – my dad and me, later to be joined by two more sisters.

Maybe my mom wanted to be a teacher.  Maybe an artist.  Maybe a counsellor.  Maybe she wanted to be a therapist or the owner of her own bakery.  Maybe she wanted something more vague – to make a difference in the world, to change things, or to make a name for herself.

She became all of these things and more.

She may not have taught school in a classroom, but I learned more from her than any other woman in my life.  She taught in many ways – conversations, by example, stories.  She taught me things that matter in life.  What to do when your best friend is mean to you.  How to handle a teacher that is being unfair.  The importance of a relationship with God.

My mother is creative.  She sings and writes songs.  She draws.  She paints.  I have seen glimpses of this talent, and can only imagine how talented she would be if she had more time to devote to these things.  She is an artist.

And, boy, is she ever a counsellor and a therapist.  Anyone who has raised daughters understands the need for a good mother to play these roles.  I can remember so many times going to my mom crying about one thing or another, and amazingly, she always knew whether to talk to me or just let me talk while she hugged me.  And she never made me feel like what I going through wasn’t important.

Anyone who knows my mom knows she is famous for her chocolate chip cookies.  They are, by far, the best cookies in the world.  She may not have a bakery, but she gets requests all the time for a batch of one of her delicious cookies.

My mom has lived a life so far that she should be proud of.  She has touched lives in all the places she has lived.  She has influenced people and ministered to them.  Two of her greatest gifts are empathy and generosity, and there are people from coast to coast who would testify of that because they have experienced it in one way or another.

Now she has finished raising my sisters and me.  We are all grown up, so my mom finally has time to pursue what ever she wants.  She can choose to do anything.  And what has she chosen?  Once again, she chose family.  My mom, after raising three girls and sacrificing her own dreams for all those years, chose to give up everything once again to help me raise my kids.

I know there are things she wants to do, but she decided instead to let Max stay with her while I work until he starts school.  She decided to pick Kendra up from school every day and start the whole cycle of after school snacks and homework all over again.

My mom’s choices to devote herself entirely to her family have made me who I am today.  And I’m so thankful that my own children are going to have that same consistent, godly influence in their lives.  Not because my mom has to, but because she chose to.

Mom may have had big dreams as a teenager, but I’d like to think that she is proud of the life she has lived so far.  Her name, no matter where you go and who you ask, brings people thoughts of fairness, kindness, and love.  My mom is a genuinely good person.  I couldn’t do half of what I do without her.  I depend on her.  And I love her.


Max’s Third Birthday February 26, 2012

Filed under: humor,parenting — mandyholbert @ 10:18 am
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For weeks we have been pumping Max up about turning three. We have talked about what a big boy he will be as a three-year-old. We talked about cake, a party, and presents. The usual things that drive kids crazy with anticipation.
Not Max. He actually said, “I don’t want no stinkin’ cake, I don’t want no stinkin’ party, and I don’t want no stinkin’ presents!”
Since he was so adamant in his proclamations, we decided to forgo the traditional birthday party and just take him to dinner and to the store to pick out a toy. Since I’m working full-time now, I was really relieved because planning a party is a lot of work. So now Max would be happy and I would be happy. Great!
The morning of his birthday came, and I woke him up and sang to him. We really made a big deal out of it. Then I got him ready and took him to my mom’s house so I could go to work. There was not mention of a cake, party, or presents because he didn’t want any of that “stinkin'” stuff.
When I walked out the door, he called me back for one more hug and kiss. How sweet. Then, as nonchalantly as ever, he looked at me and said, “Don’t forget to go pick up my Cars cake.” I swear he even shrugged a little bit as he said it, as if we had been planning this for weeks and he had hand-picked his cake from the bakery catalog and knew exactly what it looked like.
My mind immediately started racing (that little booger got me again!). I stopped by the bakery on the way to work and begged them to have a cake ready by that afternoon. I went to work (and, incidentally got audited – no stress there!), called the family to meet us at Chick-fi-A for a birthday party that evening, spent my lunch break ordering balloons and buying presents, finished my day at work, went back to pick up the balloons and cake, then met everyone at the restaurant. Whew! What a day!
The party went well. Max had a great time. He loved opening his presents and he loved the balloons. Then, when it was time to blow out the number three candle, I put him in front of his cake so we could sing to him.
Happy Birthday to you
I lit the candle. He blew it out.
Happy Birthday to you
I lit it again. He blew it out.
Happy Birthday to Maxwell.
I lit it again and told him to wait for the end of the song.
He blew it out.
Birthday to you.
When we finished, he told us, “Sing me that song again, and I will blow out my candle again.”
One more time everyone!
When the candle was reduced to a mere puddle of wax on the cake, I scraped it off and started serving. I told Max, “Here’s your cake, little buddy.” I couldn’t wait to watch him savor the cake that had been the source of so much effort and stress and $20 on my part.
He looked at me. He looked at the cake. He looked back at me and made a matter-of-fact Mom-you-know-I-don’t-eat-cake kind of face, waved his hands like he was brushing me off, shook his head (at my ignorance, I presume), and said, “Oh, no. That cake is too gross for me.” Then he walked away.
I stared after him, speechless. I nearly dropped the knife I was holding.
He got me again!!