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.



It’s never too early for Max September 12, 2012

Filed under: children,family,humor,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 5:52 am
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Sometimes I get a nice warm bath ready for one of the kids before I wake them for school.  Yesterday, it was Max’s turn to be gathered from a warm cozy bed and be put straight into a soothing bubble bath.   Those early morning moments before they’re really awake are so sweet and special.  And who wouldn’t enjoy being pampered like that?  What a great way to start the day.

Three rubber ducks in foam bath

Three rubber ducks in foam bath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was in the bathroom getting ready for work when Max stood up in the tub.

“Mommy, will you wash my back for me?” he sweetly asked in a still sleepy voice.

Will I wash his back?  Of course!  He’s starting to need me less and less as he’s becoming a big boy, a kindergarten boy, so I happily took the washcloth and lovingly started scrubbing his back.

He looked over his shoulder and smiled.  It was early.  I didn’t interpret the smile as anything but sweet.

“Mommy, will you just do my bum, too, since it’s right there?” he asked.

I smiled.  “Of course I will, honey.”

His timing was impeccable.  As soon as I had his little heinie covered with a sudsy washcloth, he blasted an exaggerated wet-cheeks fart and immediately started cackling.

I should have known better.  But, like I said, it was early.  Oh, dear.

Well, he woke me up, anyway.  I let him finish his bum himself.

somehow I don’t believe he’s only the 10th funniest boy in his class like he claims…


Max’s thoughts on week 1 September 4, 2012

Filed under: children,family,humor,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 7:22 pm
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The first week of kindergarten has been nothing short of an emotional roller coaster for Maxwell.  One minute, he is thrilled about school and loves everything about it.  The next minute, he is begging me to call his teacher to tell her that he won’t be coming in any more.  If he weren’t so stressed about it, it would be kind of funny.

Well, I guess even through his anxiety, there are some funny moments.

Like this conversation:

Max – I don’t like the look of my classroom.

Me – Why?

Max – It’s too babyish.

Me – What’s babyish about it?

Max – There’s too much kindergarteny stuff everywhere.  Like baby monkeys and baby hippos on the wall.  Baby stuff.

See what I mean?

And then there’s this one:

Me – Do you talk much in school?

Max – No.

Me – Why not?

Max – I’m not the funniest kid there.  I’m only the tenth funniest boy in my class.

Me – Tenth funniest?

Max – Yeah.  There’s the class clown.  He’s really funny.  Then there’s the second class clown.  He’s almost as funny.  I’m tenth.

I’m not really sure how he comes up with this stuff.

I’m sure he’ll be fine.  It’s a big adjustment for him, but every day gets a little bit easier for him.

What I wouldn’t give to be able to peek in and see him interact with his teachers and friends!


Maxilangelo Holbert, the next great name in art July 17, 2012

Filed under: children,family,humor,Max — mandyholbert @ 5:52 pm
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Everyone thinks her kid is the best – the smartest, the cutest, the most talented, etc.  Well, obviously, everyone’s kid is not the best – that’s not even logical.  Most kids are average (hence the word average), and there’s nothing wrong with that.  If everyone were exceptional, exceptional would become average, and that would throw everything out of whack.  So, most children are average, despite what their parents may believe, and a select few are exceptional.

Of course, my son is one of those exceptional few, as I will demonstrate by sharing his most recent artistic masterpiece.  Before I unveil the evidence of his artistic genius, however, I would like to elaborate on exactly how this particular work highlights a level of achievement far beyond his years.

Most artists take years to perfect replicating the human form.  And even then, it takes a mature artistic soul to take on a nude image.  My five-year-old prodigy not only doesn’t hesitate to tackle challenging subjects, but he also captures this subject matter with startling mastery.  He is clearly an exceptional artist.

Please ponder on the following image, and while considering the beauty of the work, remember it was produced by a mere five-year-old boy:

English: Michelangelo's David (original statue...

English: Michelangelo’s David (original statue) Deutsch: David von Michelangelo (Original aus der “Accademia” in Florenz) Nederlands: David van Michelangelo (het originele beeld) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oops!  Wrong one.  Here’s Maxwell’s equally impressive rendering of the male body:

Max handed this to us last night and said, “Here’s a random picture of me without underwear.” Very strange kid.

See?  I told you he was an exceptional child.  Don’t you wish your kid had art skills like that?


The People under the Stairs June 6, 2012

Filed under: children,Confessions,family,humor — mandyholbert @ 6:42 am
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I have an aunt who is younger than I am.  What can I say?  My mom had me when she was young.  She was the oldest child in her family, and her mother had her young, too.  My grandma just wasn’t finished having children even though she was already a grandmother.  So, I have an aunt, Sandy, who is younger than my middle sister Nickie.

The three of us grew up like sisters.  And you know what that means.  Yep.  The occasional argument.  Three is an odd number, after all, and having an odd number easily leads to problems with children (that, among many other reasons, is why Ronnie and I are stopping at two kids).  It was usually Nickie and Sandy against me or Nickie and me against Sandy.  I guess, looking back, Nickie must have been the smart one out of the crowd.  I never really realized that before now.  Hmm…

Anyway, I have to confess that when it was Nickie and me against Sandy, we were often sometimes occasionally a little cruel in our schemes.  I remember one time, a seemingly innocent game of hide-and-go-seek was actually the front for one of our most brilliant premeditated pranks.

We had a storage closet under the stairs where my dad kept his tools and things.  The knob on the door was broken and could only open from the outside.  On the inside, the knob would turn and turn and never open the door.  Theoretically, if a person were to be in the closet and the door were to be closed from the outside, that person would be locked in the closet until someone from the outside opened the door.  Can you see where this is headed?

When Sandy came over to play, Nickie suggested hide-and-go-seek and even volunteered to be “it” first.  I told Sandy I had the perfect spot, and I led her to the closet under the stairs.  We turned the light off and sat quietly while we listened to Nickie trying to find us.  Finally, Nickie gave up, and Sandy and I decided to leave the closet.

I let her try the knob.  Of course it didn’t work.  I was very shocked and tried it myself.   Then, I yelled for Nickie to let us out.  She jiggled the knob on the outside to make Sandy think it wouldn’t open that way either.  Sandy started panicking.

I remember being very dramatic about this, though I can’t exactly remember if I actually yelled through the door for Nickie to call 911. I know I yelled things about being stuck forever and we had no food or water and we were never going to get out.  Nickie played her part perfectly.  We must have been very convincing to poor little seven-year-old Sandy.

I say we were convincing because she started crying.  Nickie yelled at me to use some of Dad’s tools, so I grabbed a screwdriver and pretended to finagle the knob.  When I turned around, Sandy had grabbed the hammer, and she had it raised and ready to break the door down.  I yelled as she started swinging, and Nickie swiftly opened the door thus saving us from having to explain to my parents why Sandy would have beat the closet door with a hammer.

Sandy didn’t think this was funny.  And I was a little afraid of her still holding that hammer with that manic look in her eyes.  I guess it would have served us right if she broke that door down.

Like I said, we grew up just like sisters.


Shape up, Son, I’m serious! May 22, 2012

After the baseball game Friday night, we went to a very late dinner at McDonald’s.  And not just any McDonald’s.  We went to the fancy schmancy one near the Biltmore Estate in Asheville.  It’s a strange place, really.  There’s a “magic” grand piano that plays itself, a fireplace, real art…but they still serve the same squashy burgers wrapped in paper.  The whole experience is like an oxymoron.

Fancy Biltmore McDonald's

Fancy Biltmore McDonald’s (Photo credit: Steve and Sara)

Well, there we were.  Eating cheeseburgers at 10:30 at night.  And, for whatever reason – probably because we were grossly overtired – the kids and I had the giggles.  Everything was funny.

“Oh, you got some fake hair extensions in your Happy Meal?”  Hilarious.

“You’re putting ketchup on your fries?”  Stop, stop, my stomach hurts from laughing.

When Max looked at us and asked, “What does moist mean?”, we kind of got carried away.  Well, I guess you would consider it carried away if someone chokes.  And Max did indeed choke.

I ran him to the bathroom so he could hack up the bite of food that was lodged in his throat, and to be honest, we laughed the whole time.  We were just being plain silly, and we couldn’t stop.

When we got back to the table, Ronnie had had enough.  I guess Max’s choking was the final straw.  In retrospect, I guess I can understand where he was coming from.

“No more laughing at this table.  And I mean it.  Just sit there and eat your food.  Stop being ridiculous,” he scolded us.

Max whipped right into shape.  He straightened his posture and transformed his expression from jovial to stoic in a matter of seconds.  Wow.

He looked over at me, and very seriously inquired (with intense interest and focus), “So, have you ever heard of peanuts taking over the world?”

Kendra and I laughed so hard that we both had tears running down our faces.  Ronnie gave Max “the look”.  Max didn’t flinch.  He met his father’s gaze with confidence, shrugged, and gestured towards me with his thumb.  What did he mean by that?  He meant Why Father, I’m shocked that you would accuse me of disobeying your wishes.  I, unlike my sister and mother, am quite seriously sitting here enjoying my late-night cheeseburger.  I’m insulted by this false accusation.

And with that, Ronnie lost his composure and joined in our silly laugh fest.  As they say, if you can’t beat them, join them!  And there’s clearly no beating Max!


Shopping with Max May 7, 2012

Filed under: children,family,gardening,humor,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 5:44 am
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Since we decided to add goats to our family mini-farm, we needed to go to Tractor Supply and Lowe’s to purchase a few supplies.  We’re picking up the goats next weekend, so the most important thing is to have a place to put them.

A day of shopping at these particular stores is not high on the kids’ list of fun things to do, so we usually try to make it at least a little bit fun for them.  At Tractor Supply, we let them each pick out one thing to buy.  Kendra picked a book about training and caring for pet rabbits.  A very sensible choice.

Max searched the store high and low.  He wanted a finch feeder for his stuffed animals.  I said no (that just didn’t make sense).  He wanted a hard hat.  I said no (it was too big for him).  He wanted a die-cast car.  I said no (it was outside of the price range).  Finally, he found a vibrating ball that we both agreed on, so we bought it.

At Lowe’s, we ran into some friends of ours so we stopped to talk for a while.  We were pretty close to the restrooms, so when the kids asked if they could go, we let them as long as they promised to stay together.

Several minutes later, a rather guilty looking Max came running back to us.

“Where is your sister?” I demanded.  “I told you two to stay together!”

We went to look for Kendra, and when she emerged from the restroom, she was indignant.

“What happened?” I asked as Max buried his head in my leg and wailed, “I’m sorry!”

Kendra was hot.  Max started fake crying.

“When I was using the bathroom, Max went in all the stalls and locked them and then crawled out.  I was telling him not to!  But he wouldn’t listen!  Then he left and I had to crawl under all the doors so I could unlock them!!”

We looked at Max.

“Why did you do that?”

He shrugged.

We thanked Kendra for undoing his naughtiness.  Then we went to the garden center to finish our shopping.