Raising Teenage Boys


Yes, it’s another post that talks about raising teenagers, more specifically, teenage boys. I am currently raising two (15 and soon-to-be 17).

And they are as different as night and day! Where one has a devil-may-care attitude, the other is more anxious and worried. While one is more adventurous, the other is more routine and systematic. The oldest is more conscientious whereas the 15 yo is more indifferent. They are both fun and energetic and smart. They are both completely lost as to what they want to do in life which is, more than likely, credited to their age.

And, of course, during the adolescent years…

Nothing Makes Sense except whatever seems to be happening at the time.

So. Much. Is. Happening. during these years and the teen can’t make heads or tails of it.

The body is growing in weight, muscles, height. Mentality is changing in connection with the need for independence and self-discovery/identity. Love interests become more meaningful, friendships either dissipate or grow strongers, and presception of outward appearance increases.

Needless to say, it’s just hard….

…..but being a teen is fun. And as one grows, he/she charms or entertains another with stories from youth.

However, raising boys can be just as emotional for parents. The parents deal with:

  • the emotional outbursts
  • the stubborn inconsistencies in the life of a teen. In other words, the action or word that may cause strife with a teen son today, may emit a completely different response the very next day
  • the teen becomes unreachable emotional-wise which is hard for any parent. The boy who was once funny, unashamed of physical touch (hugs), happy go lucky, and always smiling is suddenly withdrawn, independent, mouthy and cruel even
  • daily conversations go from the ever innocent ‘i want to be an astronaut’ to….Exactly! Nothing.

Now, a parent is no longer trying to keep a pint-sized little human safe from bee stings and scraped knees, but is focused on preventing said child from becoming a parent to young or causing harm to others due to irresponsible, reckless behavior and/or decisions.

The shift in parental teachings is quite a big leap for parents. Parents don’t always know the right answer because there isn’t one. They don’t always know how the outcome of any given decision. There isn’t an instruction booklet we are given when we bring our little ones home from the hospital, but there are some general tips we can follow when rearing these muleheaded, rough around the edges, emotionally unstable beings.

  1. As always, love your teenager. Kids flourish when loved. Show support, but teach boundaries.
  2. Allow room for growth. Each person becomes who they are under the guidance of their parents. Let them make mistakes so they have room for growth.
  3. Emotions are NORMAL. Encourage emotions. Let them feel them be mad. Let them be happy. Let them be silly. Let them feel guilty. Let them feel sadness.
  4. Communicate the dangers of this life. Sex, drugs, alcohol, breaking the law. Actions have consequences.
  5. Set boundaries, but give some elbow room. We can’t expect teenagers to make good decisions if they are not first allowed to make some bad choices.
  6. One I’ve learned the hard: choose your battles wisely. Not all situations with your teeager requires a big, chaotic argument.
  7. Meet their friends. Invite their friends over. By doing so, the parent is not putting the kabosh on a budding friendship without reason (at least to your teen). This way, the parent shows an act of good faith which goes a long way in conveying trust in your teen’s choices.

Don’t cringe, mommies. It does get better. Your son is on his way (with your guidance) to being the kind of man you want him to be.


Life in General

Yes, I Noticed

Dear Lady Exiting the Family Dollar,

Yes, I noticed you. I noticed that you held the door for my daughter and I.

Yes, I noticed your subtle reminder to me that I didn’t say thank you.

Yes, I noticed.

But, did you notice that I was chasing after my 6 year old daughter in dire need of a bathroom?

Did you notice that she was quite close to having an accident?

Did you also notice that, although old enough to wait in the car, I didn’t want to make my older children wait for too long.

In your subtle way of reminding me that I didn’t say ‘thank you’ because you held the door for us, I hope you felt a little bit better about yourself.

I, on the other hand, am truly sorry that I didn’t say thank you. I am sorry that my mind was otherwise occupied with making sure my daughter didn’t have an accident right there in the entrance of the store.

Truly, I am sorry.

I did, in fact, appreciate your kind gesture.

However, I wonder if you’d be so kind in any other similar situation that you may be a bit more forgiving toward a stranger.

As I see it, yes, you did a kind gesture. Yes, I may have appeared to be a rude, unappreciative person.

But, isn’t it a little hypocritical to do a kind gesture only to follow it up with such a snarky response because another may have failed to recognize or, such is my case,  was to preoccupied with saving her daughter from embarrassment and the store from having to clean up a mess?

So, Lady Exiting the Family Dollar, I am sorry for my rudeness.

Life in General

May Day Flower Hanging Baskets

For art today, we made some May Day paper flower hanging baskets that we are going to distribute on our block on Sunday after church. To be honest, I am not sure why May Day is a big deal to some people, but it was a neat idea and we enjoyed ourselves.

may day

Life in General

New Orleans!

Coming up in July, my hubby and I will be visiting New Orleans where we will be attending a masquerade ball! I have absolutely no idea what to wear! Is it formal dress attire? Jeans and t-shirt? Shorts and tank top? Anybody have any idea? I am assuming it’s formal dress…..not entirely sure though. However, I have been looking at dresses because I am supper excited. Here’s a couple of ideas…..


Thoughts? Any and all would be appreciated.

Life in General

2, 5, 10…It Doesn’t Matter

it never fails to amaze me when i hear ‘you must be so busy.’ or the most recent i’ve heard is ‘what do you do?” which i was dumbfounded by. my response was ‘well, umm, i take care of them.’ she then responded, ‘oh no all i mean is how do you do it with that many, i think it’s hard enough with three.’  Me: ‘okay well, i guess i participate in my life and the life of my children like anyone else, one day at a time.’

my days are busy cleaning, constant laundry, home-schooling, cooking, and interacting. I work a part-time evening job that I enjoy.  some days i feel like i get nothing accomplished and other days i’m like a whirlwind that doesn’t stop. i get so much accomplished on those days. however, the aforementioned days of nothing accomplished are more common. by the time i get through home-school, from 8/9 -12/1, i feel exhausted. with summer coming on, we get the itchies for being outdoors in the sunshine.
the only difference between my family and other families around me is the number of kids in my home. otherwise, everything basically runs the same. having eight kids is noisier, but i also have more helping hands, it may be hectic, but at the same time, it’s more rewarding. everything is more in our house: more love, more arguments, more smiles, more impatience, more giggling, hollering…..more, more more! in the chaos, we find what works for us. i am not much for schedules, but we’ve found what works for us.

in essence, i just want everyone to understand that we may have a large family, but our life is really not that different from smaller families. so, yes i thank you for your compliments to me as a mother, but i am not anymore special than the next mother. like you, i love my kids and want them to grow up to be happy healthy adults. they are my everything!


Life in General

Things to Accomplish in May

May is quickly approaching which means Mother’s Day, birthdays, end of the school year & graduations, upcoming summer vacation, upcoming change in my work schedule, and did I mention summer?!?

Beings that summer is MY MOST FAVORITE season of the year, I have decided to set some goals for May to get the summer off to a wonderful start.

First Goal: A March for Babies walk and a week later, A Walk to Cure Arthritis.

  • This is pretty cut and dried. It’s a 3 mile walk and I walk that most days in the summer so I’m pretty comfortable with this goal.

Second Goal: get a reunion BBQ planned that’s scheduled for the middle of May.

  • make the guest list  √check
  • clean the yard and house
  • decide a menu
  • music or no?
  • BBQ will be pretty laid-back so no fancy planning as far as venue, dress, etc. etc


Third Goal: do some volunteering at the hospital as well as donate some items such as a quilt or blanket. I am currently waiting to hear back from the Volunteer Coordinator.

  • gather information  √check
  • pinpoint what I’d like to do
  • gather needed supplies for choice volunteer activity
  • set up dates and times


Fourth Goal: I am the process of making one quilt, but by the end of May, I would like have 2 or 3 quilts completed. I have about 5 quilts that I have bought the material for, but haven’t started.

  • decide on patterns  √check
  • gather needed materials  √check
  • set times aside each day to work on the projects
  • step-by-step process: cutting, ironing, sewing, ironing, so on and so forth


Fifth Goal: Spend some time getting to know my neighbor.

  • set up a play date for the kids
  • invite her family over for BBQ

All of this sounds pretty easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy, right?

But with 6 children in the house, although attainable the goals are, we will stop at 5 just so I’m not taking on too much at a time beings I still have a month of home-school left as well as my job (only part-time). Plus, my older children have schedules to keep so I have to sometimes drop what I’m doing to meet their schedules. It’s okay though, cuz they are definitely worth it ♥




Why I Love My Husband

Every day I am thankful that God blessed me with such a wonderful husband. Yes we argue, yes we disagree and yes we love. We do all of these and much more with enough passion for a lifetime. I pray that I get to spend a lifetime with him.

I love him because…….

  1. he’s my friend and a very good one
  2. he’s a wonderful father to our children that we created as well as the ones that came with me when I met him
  3. he makes me laugh
  4. he makes me cry
  5. he makes me want to be and motivates me to be a better person
  6. he is caring
  7. he is honest
  8. when he holds me I feel safe
  9. he keeps me grounded
  10. he gives me space when I need it
  11. he is there for me when I need a shoulder to cry on
  12. he lets me be me
  13. he works hard
  14. he’s devoted to his family
  15. he’s confident
  16. he wants me to be happy
  17. of his intelligence
  18. of his silly quirks
  19. he is just as passionate as I am: this creates a lot of chaos in our home, but it’s worth it
  20. of his strength
  21. he’s hardworking
  22. he works daily to improve his faith in God
  23. of his appreciation for everything
  24. he’s outdoorsy and good with his hands
  25. he’s dependable
  26. how he confides in me
  27. that he doesn’t show weakness, but every once in awhile I will catch a glimpse of weakness. It makes my heart melt
  28. of how comfortable he makes me feel in my own skin
  29. of the way he looks at me in moments of my own weaknesses
  30. of how easily he can surprise me
  31. of how he plays with our children
  32. of how, in the middle of the night, the kids climb into our bed and he snuggles right in with them
  33. of how he looked at me on our wedding day
  34. of how he, without thinking about it, grabs my hand when were driving down the road
  35. he accepted my family before we even got together
  36. he loves me even when I’m unloveable
  37.  he can cook and will most of the time
  38. he will help around the house without me asking
  39. he’s not afraid to show his love
  40. he’s not shallow or superficial
  41. he’s not racist or closeminded
  42. he’s thoughtful
  43. he’s always willing to help another
  44. he’s friendly and outgoing
  45. he likes to travel
  46. he takes time for little things in life
  47. of how much he’s taught me about life and, in the process, about myself
  48. he doesn’t give up
  49. he’s good at fixing things
  50. he’s sexy when he gets off work and all dirty from work
  51. of his strong hands
  52. of the new experiences I have shared with him.
  53. how he makes me feel so important in his life
  54. he makes our children feel happy and loved
  55. he’s faithful
  56. he’s knows how to be a real man
  57. he makes me feel excited to see him
  58. he gives even when I don’t deserve it
  59. he is not afraid to take risks
  60. his determination and convictions
  61. he puts up with my craziness
  62. he opened up a whole new world to me
  63. he is a friend to anyone
  64. he chose me and sticks with me in the most trying times
  65. his sense of responsibility and honor
  66. I trust him completely
  67. he’s a good motivator for me
  68. when he’s home in the mornings, he’ll let me sleep while he gets the kids off to school
  69. he compliments my cooking, even when it sucks
  70. we have created a good life together
  71. he thinks family is important
  72. he is good with money
  73. we can be weird together and it’s okay
  74. he enjoys talking
  75. he’s a people person
  76. he’s my rock
  77. he makes me feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations
  78. he’s not afraid to show when he’s angry
  79. he doesn’t let anyone push him around (physically or otherwise)
  80. when we first met, he’d come to my house and draw pictures of trucks with my boys
  81. we go places together that we’ve never been
  82. he keeps things interesting in our family
  83. he loves being a daddy
  84. he’s protective
  85. he’s not mean or judgmental
  86. he has a beautiful heart
  87. he’s respectful
  88. his laughter is infectious
  89. he always puts us before himself
  90. he calls me the moment something happens, good or bad
  91. he is my best friend
  92. he’s a likable person, he’s easy to be friends with
  93. he’s a great son, brother, father, and husband
  94. he makes sure we have everything we need and more, always
  95. he’s opinionated
  96. he’s creative
  97. he has a better memory than I do, it sucks sometimes but more often than not, it’s a God-send
  98. he never takes advantage of other people
  99. he doesn’t fight with other people, even though sometimes he has reason enough. we disagree and argue, but he will not do it with other people.
  100. that he was my friend first.

There are so many reasons I love him and I could list hundreds of things more, but I won’t. He’s my friend, my lover, my children’s father and step-father. He is someone I appreciate and he’s my husband. What more could I possibly ask for? It’s a wonderful life Cool


What I’ve Learned from Being a Mother

Having children is a full time job and anyone who says different:

  • works outside the home and doesn’t see their kids often or
  • isn’t a mother yet

In a little over a month my oldest child will be 17!

Eeek, I know…SCARY!

For the last going on 16 years I have devoted myself to raising wonderful, not so patient, outspoken, but lively children. Each and every one of them offers something unique to our home. If I’m not tripping over a baby toy then I’m arguing with one of the older kids to do something useful in the house like wash a dish, clean the bath tub, or throw a load of laundry in the washer. Sometimes I feel ……ahh, hell I feel frustrated!

However, being a full time wife and mother has taught me a few things:

  1. we never stop learning! i learn everyday with my kids, i learn about them and i learn about myself.
  2. patience! the patience i thought i had before i had kids was a figment of my imagination. being a mother shows me everyday where i lack patience.
  3. that my heart is actually in my throat! i feel their pain, their sadness, their joy….i feel it all and there’s not a damn thing i can do other than be there for them and let them learn.
  4. it’s okay NOT to give sometimes, this i have learned! they don’t need all the fancy new gadgets or the lastest brand of clothing or even the hottest new cell phone. they don’t need a cell phone AT ALL! they need me, they need their dad, they need love and quality time. they need discipline. they need to be kids.
  5. let it go! stop, breathe, and let it go. nobody needs hurt or angry feelings all the time. they are a burden.
  6. take it one day at a time! i don’t have to “fix” the world, but i do have to prepare eight beautiful, rowdy children for the world.
  7. changing a crying, screaming baby is not easy! i don’t know about anyone’s elses babies, but mine refused to be changed sometimes. they tighten their little legs so i can’t get the diaper off.
  8. reverse psychology does NOT work on stubborn children! tricking them into doing what they should be and out of what they shouldn’t be doing is a losing situation.
  9. they need balance! they need some semblance of structure.
  10. sometimes acting like them gets their attention! i don’t do it often but when i do, they are just flabbergasted and the behavior i want gone is, well…..just gone.
  11. you cannot reason with a two, three, five, nine, or ten year old. i am facing the fact that reason has taken an unknown amount lengthy leave of absence around here.
  12. natural inquisitiveness is something we should all carry with us into adulthood, but sadly most of us do not. when we lose our zest for life, our life slowly starts to fall apart.

What has being a mom or a dad taught you?


To My Children

As parents, most of the time, being a mother or father is what defines who we are. Our children look at us only to see mom or dad. They don’t see the laughter we know amongst other adults. They don’t see the tears that flow because of our own hurt feelings. They don’t know the child inside of us that wants to be loved, admired, accepted, considered.

They know that mom will wash some laundry, dad will cook a meal. They see dad working while mom is tending a sick sibling. They don’t see the enjoyment dad gets from truck-pulling or mom gets from reading a book uninterrupted.

They can’t know what we are like when we get a weekend away, without the responsibilities of adulthood weighing on our shoulders. They can’t understand the need/want to just sleep in that extra few minutes in the morning and be allowed to do that without getting the screams of children or cries of the babies.

They don’t know that their mom or dad used to be where they (the children) are now. Mom enjoyed hanging out with friends at a movie, bowling, etc. Dad enjoyed sitting outside, drink in hand, goofing off with his buddies. Mom liked waking up at noon on any given day. Dad enjoyed going ‘speed’ down the road on his Harley.

Oh, but as we grow, our priorities change. The life an adult actually lives may not be the perfect life that he/she envisioned, but it is a  life they chose.  For myself, I am happy with my choices. If given the chance, I wouldn’t change anything because it all got me here, with the man I love and the beautiful children I have in my midst.

But, although true, there are 16 things I’d like my children to know about me that makes me who I am as a person rather than just the mom they see, know, and love.

  1. I was a crazy, fun teenager. I like laughter and lots of it.
  2. I enjoy time to myself. The quiet. The solitude.
  3. I absolutely hate moving, but I love to travel. I love to see new places.
  4. My feelings get hurt easily. This is shown any number of ways. Through tears, mostly, but impatience and ill-temper as well.
  5. I see the beauty in everything. From the very first rays of the sun (if I’m up early enough) to a torrential rain on a summer day.
  6. I love God and pray for everyone every day.
  7. I want to live in the south again.
  8. I am extremely friendly, but get nervous around people so my friendliness is an attribute that is found once you get to know me.
  9. I hate spiders and snakes and bugs.
  10. I love the water, but actually am a little scared of it.
  11. I can’t grow long nails and I would love to be able to. When I get my nails done, I like the french manicure.
  12. I could get lost in a wet paper sack. Do Not, I repeat DO NOT, ever ask me for directions!
  13. People in my past that I wish I still ‘knew’: my best friend in high school in Georgia, Michelle and my closest friend while pregnant with my oldest child: Sarah
  14. I didn’t have any plans for my life except to one day be married and have my own family. Both have since been accomplished.
  15. I am stubborn. I don’t like to be bullied. I don’t like being bossed. In my younger years, I was a very independent soul. As I get older, the family life, the mom title, suits me.
  16. I love each and every one of my children more than they can possibly fathom.

To my children, I love you.