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

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.


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…


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 Boycott on Green September 5, 2012

Filed under: children,family,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 8:31 pm
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Max stopped his spoonful of Cinnamon Toast Crunch halfway to his mouth and announced, “I’m tired of being good and staying on green at school.  I feel like running through the school like crazy, so I’m going to be on red today.”

“Why would you want to do that?” I asked.

“Being on green is too hard.  I just want to be bad,” he answered very honestly.  “Forget about the water park.” (We promised a reward if he could stay on green until his first report card.)

“Well,” I cautiously answered, “you could do that.  You could run around like crazy and have a little bit of fun, but then you would get in big trouble at school.  Or, you could be good at school and have a whole lot of fun when we celebrate your good behavior.  It’s totally your choice.”

He resumed his breakfast without answering.

On the way to school, he made a different announcement.  “I’m not going to be on green today, I’m going to be on blue or purple!”

Kendra gasped.  “That’s so hard to do!  Green is good, but you have to do something EXTRA good to get on blue or purple!  It’s practically impossible!”

Max nodded.  “Yep, I’m not going to be on green.  I’m going to be blue or purple.”

“Well,” I said, “if you do that, Daddy and I would be so proud!  We would definitely do something special to celebrate that tonight!”  With that, I kissed them goodbye and dropped them off.

After school I picked them up from Grandmom’s house, and both of the kids were just bursting to give me the good news – Max was on blue today!!

Max was absolutely beaming when he told me about singing a counting song in music class so well that his music teacher wrote a note to his teacher complimenting him on his outstanding job.  That was just the kind of extra good behavior that bumped him out of green and right into blue.  To think that last week he was strategizing about how to get out of singing at school altogether, it seemed impossible that he would have made such an impression on his music teacher.

Needless to say, we celebrated tonight.  Max wanted to go to our favorite playground, so we did.  What a relief to hear Max talk about school with pride and enthusiasm!  This day will mark a change in his outlook about kindergarten.  He had a goal, and he accomplished it.  And it wasn’t even an easy goal!  He has a bit of confidence now, and it will grow a little bit each day.

This was definitely worth celebrating!



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!


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!







My son’s new label. I’m mad. June 16, 2012

I’m a little peeved.  I’ve tried to get over it, shake it off, but I can’t.  Not many things bother me this much.  Most of the time when I get mad about something, it’s short-lived.  But I just can’t get this off my mind.  I’m trying hard to keep myself in check – not to overreact – but it’s proving very difficult.

The pediatrician called my son fat.

Well, I guess she didn’t say fat, but in my mind, overweight is the same thing.

here’s the paperwork I have to give to the school to register my son for kindergarten. he’ll start school with a label.

She suggested that I should watch what he eats and make sure he exercises.  Make sure he exercises!!

My son who just beat his older sister in the one-mile mud run,

who’s number one!?

plays outside hours a day,

he spent this day catching frogs

loves camping, swimming, canoeing, climbing, building, running, riding his bicycle, working with his animals, jumping on the trampoline, playing American Ninja Warrior, and going on adventures….

hmm…I just don’t see it…

…is overweight.


I felt like telling the doctor all of this.  I felt like telling her she was wrong!  Max is healthy, strong, athletic, vibrant, and perfect just the way he is.  He eats well.  He exercises more than adequately.  He is active.  He is NOT FAT!!  I felt like arguing with her until she got the point!

But, the numbers don’t leave room for negotiation.  She calculated Max’s BMI, and the answer to the equation equaled fat kid.

he’s been big ever since he was born

I’m mad that I’m even sitting here defending my son against such a ridiculous claim.  This country is filled with obese people, we all know that.  And we all know what they look like.  And we all know what habits and lifestyles lead to it.  My son is not obese, overweight, or fat.

I will not change his diet, try to make him exercise more, or in any other way try to manipulate his weight.  And I’ll never tell him what the doctor said.

don’t mess with a mom about her kid!

Oh, that doctor!  She expected me to be defensive, so talking to her was impossible.  I was speaking perfectly calmly and matter-of-factly, but no matter what I said, she acted like she was talking me down.  It was so frustrating!

Then, to top it off, she said he’s obviously just a big kid.  “After all,” she looked at me and said, “you’re rather big, too.”

Wow, Doc.  Thanks a lot.  That really made things a lot better.  Yep.  Thanks.

here’s a good one of us lounging on the couch watching television while eating a tub of cheese balls. oh, wait. wrong picture. oh yeah, we were exercising in this one. oops.


Good thing it wasn’t graded! May 8, 2012

Filed under: family,humor,Uncategorized — mandyholbert @ 10:25 pm
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When someone discovers this one tidbit from my past, there are several usual responses.

What?  You’re smart!?      Ummm…I’d like to think so…

Oh, you’re one of those people…      Yep, a nerd, I guess.

No, really, you’re smart?      Gee, thanks.  Is it really that  unbelievable?

That’s right.  I was a high school valedictorian.

Please try to contain your gasps, eye rolling, and snickers.  Over-achievers have feelings, too, you know.

In honor of the graduation season that is upon us, I climbed up in the attic and retrieved my valedictory speech that I delivered on that monumental May day in 1999.  Here it is, written with all the wisdom of a seventeen-year-old kid:

Valedictory Speech

Tonight is a very significant milestone in all of our lives.  My classmates and I now stand before you as high school graduates.  I can remember entering my freshman year and thinking this day would never come, and now, looking back, it seems that high school flew by.   High school was not only a time of academic learning, but we also learned many life lessons.  I would like to take a few moments to share some of the things that I learned in the past four years.

First of all, what I’ve learned through being selected as valedictorian is that anyone can achieve any goal if they stay focused and committed.  Remember to pray and make God a part of everything you do.  He hears your prayers, and He will answer them.  My encouragement to you is to set your goals high, and stay focused and committed, and work with your whole heart at achieving your goals.  In the end, it will not matter if you win an award or if you are recognized for your efforts, but you will be successful knowing you have done your best.

Another important lesson that I’ve learned is to stand up for what is right.  Sometimes it is difficult to stand alone, but it is always more rewarding than going along with the crowd.  Standing up for what is right is not always fun, but you will become a stronger person, your character will be defined, and God will bless you.  You will realize who your real friends are, and you will become less dependent on other people.  I challenge you to stand up for what is right and good.

I have also learned not to take for granted people who love you.  I am proud to say that my parents are some of my best friends, and I cherish the relationship that I have with them.  They have been an encouragement to me throughout my entire life.  It is almost scary to think that I am graduating high school and I’m not a little girl anymore.  My parents have told me they love me every single day since I can remember, and that has made a huge impression on me.  I encourage you to always make sure to tell the people that are important to you that you love them.

I have also learned not to take for granted a solid Christian education.  We have been blessed with a sheltered environment, godly teachers, and constant spiritual guidance.  It is easy to forget how blessed we really are to be sheltered from the world, until you watch the news and see the terrible things that are happening in communities and in the schools of America.  Thank God for Christian teachers who really care about their students as individuals, and strive to help us meet our full potential academically and spiritually.  They deserve our heartfelt thanks.

It is my privilege and duty as valedictorian to wish you all a final farewell.  I pray that God will bless you all, and please pray for us as we endeavor on new roads in life.  Thank you all for coming to take part in this memorable evening.  And now, on behalf of the Senior Class of 1999 at Sumter Christian School, I wish you all farewell.

Thank You.

I’ll give you a moment, because I know that you probably need one after that inspiring speech.  Even though the entire thing is a grammatical nightmare and  is severely lacking in substance, I know you are touched.

I guess they didn’t teach split infinitives at my high school.

My original intention with this post was to share what my actual speech said and then to write a new speech, written by the Mandy of today.  I didn’t really remember what I said all those years ago.  But, you know, now that I’m reading over it and considering the long hours I tormented over this speech back then (knowing full well that I was ill-equipped in my inexperience to say anything truly credible), I think it’s not truly all that bad.

I was going to make fun of graduate Mandy’s naivety.  I was going to give her a more realistic picture of the future, of what the real world is like.

But, I can’t do it.  I can’t tell young Mandy that sometimes doing your best isn’t good enough.  I can’t tell her that her speech was straight out of a Hallmark card (a poorly written one, at that).  And I sure can’t tell her that many of the godly teachers she thanked so sincerely would forsake their own standards in outrageous ways.

Because when it comes down to it, graduate Mandy was hopeful, grateful, and, yes, rather naive.  But that’s okay.  No need to rain on her parade – life will (and did!) take care of that.

So what if I was an overachiever (nerd?) with a sub-standard, shallow speech?  It doesn’t matter.  I stood up there on that stage and delivered a speech from my heart.  I thanked the people who were important to me and was enthusiastic and hopeful about the future.

I’m just glad I learned how to write in college!