Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Me Meek?

Confession: I have gentleness issues.

I pat the dog's back too hard, I make noise when I walk, doors often slam when I shut them, and I am a classic shouter. Okay, so the shouting comes form the fact that as an elementary school teacher for years, I had my fair share of yard duty. Whistles do work, but shouting works too.

I'm not proud of my lack-o-gentleness, in fact, that is a character flaw in my life that needs some fixing. When I examine my life, and detect the many flaws that I have, I can either choose to ignore them, or seek, with God's help, to fix them. Fixing flaws is brutal. Self examination is tough. Working at changing character is a struggle. I need God's help.

As I look at my issue of gentleness, it becomes apparent to me that I have the ability to turn people away from Jesus by my harsh edge. On the other hand, I also have the ability to turn people to Jesus by choosing to work at becoming more gentle and patient with others.

Matthew 5:5 says, "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." Meekness is not to be associated with weakness. Meekness is defined as showing patience or humility; gentle. Wow. I want that. I need that in my life. I want people to describe me as gentle, and patient. Quite honestly, I laugh as I write this, because I have so much work to do in this area of my life.

God is not finished with me. He won't be finished with me until I enter Heaven , but in the mean time, I have some character adjusting to do. Through prayer, with God's strength, while avoiding the temptation to snap, slam, and hurry up life, I can change.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Drawing Straws

My husband finally drew the short straw. After fifteen years of taking children for their well child checkups, enduring the screams from the sting of the vaccination, and wrapping them in jackets while they sit nearly nude on a cold metal frame in an air conditioned room it was time for my husband to experience the fun.

He had no anxiety as they drove and the little kids asked questions all the way to the doctor’s office. I felt bad for the kids, knowing that it had been some time since their last well child check, and that shots were unavoidable.

I was thrilled to not be the one taking the boys to the doctor, and prayed the whole hour that they were there. My husband ensured me that he would call as soon as the appointment was over, and I waited anxiously to hear about his awful experience, how sorry he was that I was the one always being subjected to the practice, and his begging me to take the boys next time because he is too wimpy to handle another well child checkup.

When he called, all was quiet. He mentioned that he had to exit the car in order to call me because the boys were still screaming from the shots. I felt terrible and asked if I could speak to them to try and calm them down. I also suggest that he take them to Dairy Queen for a sundae, or that he treat them to McDonald’s. He laughed, and then told me that he was joking. He told me that when they got their immunizations they laughed and said, “That didn’t hurt!” He also told me that the whole appointment was a piece of cake, big surprise.

I should have known. It is so typical that when my husband is in charge of doctor’s appointment, cavities getting filled at the dentist, haircuts, or spending the weekend alone with the children, things never go wrong, in fact, they go better than humanly possible.

I haven’t told my husband yet, but from now on, he is in charge of the well child checkups. He obviously very good at what he does. I am quietly resigning from my duty as the doctor’s office attendee. I would hate to take the joy away from him.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

"I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time."
Romans 7:18-19 (Message)

Do you ever feel like this? I know that I do.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Facebook vs. Blogging

Has Facebook taken the place of blogging?

I have noticed, more and more, how many people have become more infrequent at blogging, including my daughter. She is such a great writer, and has always kept up with her blog until late summer. It seems that since all of her friends are always on Facebook, and chatting there, she isn't as interested in blogging. She even told me that she isn't into her blog anymore, that's sad.

Some of friends whose blogs I have been following have also given up on the blog world. They haven't updated a post since earlier in the year. Everyone updates their Facebook status. It is quick and easy to do, so it that it? We are getting too lazy to write a blog post. Not me. I won't stand for it. I still love blogging and reading blogs.

So, has Facebook taken the place of blogging for you or am I in the minority who things so? What are your thoughts?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Worthwhile Boycott

When I was a teacher, I rarely assigned homework. It was only if an assignment was started in class, and never finished, that homework was required. Some parents were concerned with the fact that their children didn't have extra practice when they returned home, and most of the parents breathed a sigh of relief when I told them that aside from studying for upcoming tests, homework would not be given to their children.

The very last thing that kids want to do after spending six hours in a classroom is return home to spend another 30 minutes, to hours, on more school work, and the last thing that parents want to do after working a full day is to come home and do homework with children.

Evenings should be spent hanging out around the dinner table telling about your day, and reading books on bed tops, while eyes grow droopy and limbs relax.

The other night I went from helping my eight year old understand the process of number patterns, to giving my daughter insight on how to compose a personal composition essay, hand written, and five paragraphs long. Next, while my husband quizzed my son on Bible vocabulary, I read "Hop on Pop" with my six year old. That's called diversity in homework.

I am not a fan of homework, however, I am a fan of settling down after a long day and relaxing.

I should let the teachers know. We are considering a homework boycott in our home. Hopefully they will understand and no consequences will ensue.

If only...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Have Noticed

When I am driving 65 m.p.h. on the freeway people whiz past me as if I am pedaling a bike.

When I'm in the front row of a red light and the light turns green, I only have one second to begin moving before someone honks their horn at me.

When the children in your car are asking too many non-sensical questions, turning the CD up to drown out their voices is a great technique. Although, they will just yell at you to turn down the music.

French fries at room temperature taste horrible, even when dipped in ketchup.

If I intentions of waking at 6:45, my youngest child will crawl in bed with me at 6, begin snoring, and then force me out of bed earlier than I had planned.

If I kill one fly, eight more enter my home.

Too much lemon on veggies, does not make the veggies taste any better.

Popcorn makes for a great dinner for a teenage girl suffering and crying from, "I hate school right now" syndrome.

Coffee tastes better when used to wash down a slice of cinnamon-topped snack cake.

My thirteen year old car that recently received a new battery and has all turn signals working, now has squeaking brakes.

When I purchase a shirt for nine dollars, it will begin to fall apart within days.

My teenage boy thinks it is hysterical when he puts on my shoes and walks around in his p.e. uniform and black pumps.

There is nothing funny about someone else using the last of the whipped cream.

They should institute "bring you dog to work" day. (Linda Crow?)

No matter how often I brush and floss, okay, brush, the destist will find something wrong with my teeth.

I would rather eat breakfast for dinner than dinner for breakfast.

What have you noticed?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oh Those Boys

My two younger boys and the two neighbor boys had quite the agenda the other day.
An hour after they woke up they started off on their bikes, riding up and down the sidewalk between our two houses, jumping off of ramps, falling, laughing, and leaving long, black, skid marks on the driveways.

After littering the front lawn with piles of bikes, they ran to retrieve their Nerf guns. They then grabbed empty aluminum cans from the recycle bin and lined them up in a tight row along the short brick wall which divides our driveway from the next door neighbor’s yard. Armed with their guns, sharp shooter-like, they preceded to annihilate the cans one by one.

When sharp shooting became boring the four boys grabbed shovels, rain boots, and a garden hose, and journeyed to the back yard. Evidently holes needed to be dug, and some dry dirt was waiting patiently for their arrival.

The digging lasted for a while and they asked on occasion, if they could reach China if they kept digging. I let them know that although people often say; “I dug all the way to China” it was impossible. They were a bit discouraged, but kept digging. After they hole was a sufficient depth, they filled it with water and made other pools of mud in the radius surrounding them, hence the rain boots were necessary.
Shortly after they had muddied up themselves and the dirt, they decided to pet our dog leaving mud stripes along her black coat of fur.

Next they arrived at the back door of our house, and began yelling for me, aware that if they attempted to enter the house in their present condition, I would not be full of joy. When I asked what they needed, they told me that they wanted to pee in the hole that they dug. After a resounding “no” from me, they continued to berate me with the question, “Why?”

I had no real excuse for their question other than it was gross and disgusting. Then they asked if instead they could pee into an empty plastic bottle. Again, I told them “no.” Discouraged, they asked for a snack.

I feed the four boys strawberries topped with whipped cream ignoring their mud coated hands assuming that the use of the fork to eat would keep the mud from touching their food.

After their snack they washed off their boots and gave the dog a bath as per my request. After finishing their task, they resorted to running through the sprinklers in the front yard and playing on our Slip and Slide for the next hour.

Oh those boys.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

Words shape people. I need to do a better job of building up others and encouraging them.

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
~Ephesians 4:29

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Could you Care Less?

My husband has a habit of saying, when he cares very little about something, "I could care less." Being an editor and writer I am anxious to inform him that his statement is incorrect and he should say, "I couldn't care less." He gives me a funny stare, as if the proper grammar is any bit important. He knows that I understand his lack of concern whether he says the statement correctly or not.

To help clarify I have located a "the caring continuum." He gets it now. Thankfully I won't have to subject his speech to anymore correction, that is, until he ends a sentence with a preposition...eeww! Actually he knows better.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gas Pump Shoes

I am having trouble with my teenager. She is in the habit of having me purchase clothing items for her and wearing them for a few weeks and then proceeding to throw them in a drawer, never to be worn again. She has no excuses for her waning interest and shrugs her shoulders when pushed for reasons why super cool clothes that she cannot wait to wear, turn into drawer dwellers.

Recently she used her own money to purchase a pair of red Mary Jane style shoes. I was surprised by her purchase, but happy that she was planning on wearing something other than her TOMS shoes which are worn every day. Shoes are the exception to her style fickleness.

One day after she had worn the red shoes to school, she climbed into the back of my car and began chatting about her day. I was distracted by a strong smell of gasoline and was curious to know why the aroma was so sudden. Immediately, I assumed that something was leaking from my car and asked my daughter if she was aware of the smell. She was not. I then asked my son, who was sitting in the front seat of my car, if he could smell gasoline. He could.

I desperately tried to locate the leak and discover its whereabouts. Since I was acutely aware of the smell after my daughter entered the car and didn’t notice it prior to that, I discerned that the smell must be coming from her. Did she walk too many cars with idle engines? Were they experimenting with the visual affects of gasoline on black construction paper in art class? Did the biology lesson entail the mixing of petroleum and purified water?

Since I like to solve clues, I continued my sniffing while asking questions. “Take off your shoe and hand it to me.” I instructed my daughter. “Why?” she asked. “I need to smell it.” She was a bit confused, but followed my directions.

As I lifted the bottom of the shoe to my nose it was apparent that the gasoline smell was coming from her shoes. Once I had told her, and my son confirmed the location of the scent, we never saw the red shoes again.

Not only did she stop wearing the shoes because I discovered that the smelled like gasoline, she also stopped wearing them because it had been two weeks, the length of time that newly purchased items become instantly old.

Does anyone want some red Mary Jane shoes that smell like gasoline? They’re a size 8.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Non-Urgent Emergency

Admittedly, when it comes to health, I am critical, when it comes to judging what is non-urgent, urgent, and emergent. I seem to always check for the doctor’s approval before deciding to take any of the children to the urgent care facility or to the emergency room. The reason is because I don’t want to be judged by others. I feel like unless a limb is hanging abnormally, or a muscle is exposed, the emergency room is out of the question and the doctors will giggle and roll their eyes at my non-urgent emergency. I'm weird, I know.

After making several trips to the urgent care and emergency room for the past 15 years, it seems that others do not share in my conservative approach. Calling the doctor first seems to be a void option.

My son and I were recently waiting in the urgent care facility for a diagnosis of a severe pain below his knee that was not getting any better. We were urged to go to urgent care as per the instruction of the doctor. I am a “check with the doctor first” mom, remember.

As we sat waiting to be called back to the office, we noticed that many of the people coming through the doors, and checking in to be seen by the doctor, didn’t seem like they were in urgent need.

As we eaves dropped on conversations, he and I began writing down the said injury or illness and deciding which were urgent and which were not. Who were we to judge? We were just non-experts having a little bit of fun.

Girl had warts: non-urgent

Man hit in the temple by a foul ball during softball: urgent

Boy had a cough for two days: non-urgent

Toddler had a stomach ache but then ran around the facility: non-urgent

Girl had her wrist stepped on by a soccer teammate and was in pain: urgent

Lady and her friend had Starbucks coffee in their hand. That immediately determines that if she can stop at Starbucks, and laugh on the way back to the examination room: non-urgent

Girl with mild rash on her shin: non-urgent

We had a great time hanging together and playing our game. No one got arrested for assuming that their non-urgent need needed urgency and the doctors carried on as if they were used to treating non-urgent needs in an urgent care facility.

As for me, I will always call the doctor first, unless an eyeball is dangling and blood is pooling.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Deciding to be Different

Bullies love to attempt having influence by gaining power through putting down others.

Recently my thirteen year old son returned from a baseball tournament that my husband and I were unable to attend. My husband and I were clear about the fact that our son was to act respectfully, graciously, to be a leader, and to be kind. Because he is thirteen, and we were 3000 miles away, we had to trust that he would heed our request.

The boys who attended played baseball together, ate meals together, slept in the barracks together, sweat together, and pursued goofiness together. They did all things boy-like.

When the boys returned a week later a mother of one of the boys approached my husband as she was outfitted in a straw hat and sunglasses. Her emotional state of mind was obviously on edge and her voice cracked as she wiped the tears from her face.

She talked about the fact that her son had a rough time on the week long trip, hanging out with the boys. She mentioned that there were a handful of boys who were unkind to her son and made the week difficult for him.

As my husband was telling me the story, my mind was racing as I thought “Please tell me that our son was not one of the boys.” While I know that Biblical guidance does not insure well behaved children, I do know that my boy doesn’t often fall into peer pressure and err on the side of bullying others.

She continued the conversation while fighting back more tears and informing my husband that our son was the only one who stood up for her boy and discouraged the bullying. He sought to be different and to protect her boy from the comments as opposed to joining in on the cut downs.

With a sigh of relief, my husband hugged her and told her that she had a great kid and that he was glad that in this instance, our son made the right choice.

This moment made us very proud parents and served as a huge learning opportunity however, our son won’t always make the right choice. Our son will decide that it isn’t always easy standing up for other kids, and that being a reflection of Jesus is tough. Our son will make teenaged decisions that don’t necessarily make good sense to others. Our son is not perfect.

In light of my imperfection, I must decide, what I can do today that goes against what culture says is okay to do. How can I be a reflection of Jesus to a searching world? How can I make decisions that please God?

How can I reflect more of Jesus and less of me?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

"Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant."
Matthew 20:26

Only the one who serves is qualified to lead.

Our Daily Bread September 12. 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My Last Back-to-School Post, I Promise

I have a tradition of placing a note in each of our children's lunch on the first day of school to encourage them in the middle of the day. It is just a simple sticky note with some simple words to let them know that I am thinking about them and love them.

This year was no different. After making lunches for four children I carefully filled out four sticky notes and placed them on top of the bag where their sandwich was located. "Have a great first day, I love you!" is typically what I write, and for the kindergartner who can't yet read, "I [heart] U Carson."

I will often do this during the year too, as a way to encourage them when they least expect it and to find something funny to say that will make them laugh before eating their lunch. I love making that connection with them when they are at school and I am at work. We rarely talk about the note when they return home from school, but I know that they enjoy receiving them and I enjoy encouraging them.

This year when my daughter came home from school she said. "I got your note." I was glad that she noticed. "Can you do me a favor mom? Can you put a scripture verse in my lunch every day instead of a note?" I about died when my daughter requested this.

"I would LOVE to put a scripture verse in your lunch Maddy."

For two weeks I have been finding scripture that I think would benefit Maddy throughout her day. Not only has it helped her, but I have been encouraged by writing the verses down and thinking through them, and asking God to help me apply them to my life.

I encourage you to send notes with your kids. If they are too old for school lunches, send a card. No one I know gets tired of being encouraged by loving words or through scripture.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Breaking Habits

Breaking habits requires change and change is often difficult. I consider myself someone who welcomes change unless the work is too difficult. At that point change becomes a mountain, planted in the middle of a smooth, flat road.

Our family has been in the habit of eating breakfast at noon, lunch at 3:00 and dinner at 7. The alarm clock is never set to ring, and the schedule fluctuates from day to day and shorts without shirts are typically worn.

We have begun the habit of waking early and exiting the house before 8:00 a.m. We have begun the process of stacking sliced turkey on top of white bread and stacking BBQ flavored chips in Ziploc bags. We have begun the process of mulling over pages of information and signing forms needing to be returned the following day. We have begun consistent bath times and shutting down the house before nine.

We have begun the habit of retuning to a routine.

Routine is good. Constancy brings comfort.

If only the boys could wear shorts without shirts to school and the bell rang at noon, we would all be, well, more comfortable.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

And so Begins Another Year

My baby started kindergarten today. I am the only person, in my group of friends from the kids’ elementary school who has such a young child. I keep trying to convince myself that he keeps me young and that he is my secret ploy to stay connected with the 30 year old crowd. If I pretend to blend in with them everyone will assume that I am in my mid thirties.

As with many mothers whose children are returning or have returned to school the feeling is bitter sweet. Although I love not having to rustle children from their sleep to get ready for school and not forget to brush their teeth and grab their backpacks, I do love that I won’t have anyone melting into a heap on the couch asking every ten minutes, “What are we doing today?”

Does any mother look forward to sitting with her kids after school and helping them with homework? I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have one in the kid mix that is such a reluctant learner. After all, I was in education for 20 years and love teaching. Homework execution should be a breeze.

The fact that my own children don’t believe that I know much of anything passed the sixth grade, and they be correct, may hinder my willingness to jump on to the homework train. “I can do it mom, really. I don’t need a more detailed sentence.”

If I knew what colinear points were than I could help my high school sophomore with geometry. I was an art major. I don’t do math. It hurts.

Perhaps the second and seventh graders teachers will have pity on me and not assign any homework this year, but I doubt it.

And so…
we begin another year of school.

we begin another year of bagging lunches.

we begin another year of homework and permission slips.

we begin another year of forgotten P.E. clothes.

And so…
we begin another year of sitting at the table together discussing the highs and lows of our day.

we begin another year of learning discovering, and stretching our brains.

we begin another year of examining God’s Word, and memorizing scripture.

we begin the GIFT of another school year to grow, connect, develop, create, and fellowship, in a classroom, located in a free country.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First and Last

Contrary to volume one of “Cycling Etiquette A-Z,” bicyclists do not own the road. I have nothing against cyclist I just appreciate when they share the road with me, a jogger or me, a driver. Often times I find myself darting out of the way of cyclist while I jog and as they zip past as if they have a higher mission than I do. I like to take my time. Eleven minute miles are my friends.

Other than the fact that most cyclists that I see wear tight clothes, I am amazed at how they spend hours sitting on such a tiny seat, hunched over their handlebars equipped with no protection from the open road and speeds nearing 40 mph. other than a plastic helmet.

I prefer top speeds of three mph. a five foot nine inch drop in any direction, and my only equipment being running shoes. I’m simple.

I cannot help but notice that when I see small, medium, or large groups of cyclist, talking up the bike lane and parts of the traffic lane, it seems like the bikes are rarely single file. Most of the time they are double wide, and in some cases, triple and quadruple wide. It also seems that they are all vying for the position at the front of the pack and so, no one wants to back down and allow one person to take the lead.

The same is true in elementary school classrooms. Students cannot wait until their classroom job involves leading the classroom on trips to the library and playground as official line leader, with all of the peon children following behind. Line leaders have attitude. Being in the front of the line gives them power and insinuates that they are better than the rest of the children who must follow close behind. Unfortunately the power only lasts for one week, then someone else is appointed leader and a power shift proceeds.

Jesus never wanted to be first. He never wanted to be the line leader. Jesus wanted to be last. He instructed His followers to let others go ahead as an act of servant hood, contrary to what culture instructs.

Jesus was last to get his food, last to go to bed, last to sit and watch television after cleaning up after dinner, last to come inside after cleaning up the backyard after a party, last in line at the grocery store, and last to put up chairs after a church service.

“But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.” Matthew 19:30 New Living Translation

Being last is hard, but has eternal rewards.
I need to learn to be last more often.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control." Gal. 5:22-23
Are these characteristics evident in your interactions--even with people who are difficult to love? Ask for God's supernatural strength so you can respond correctly.

In Touch Ministries-September

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Legos and Baseball Cards

There are two things that I continue to purchase and continue to complain about their existence: Legos, and baseball cards. These are the two items that I pick up from the corners of every room, every day. My ave three large bins of Legos and two boxes filled with baseball cards.

My kids love to have Legos, but are too young to assemble them alone. I, the one who hates putting together puzzles, gets stuck orchestrating the building of 200 piece boats, trucks, and rescue vehicles. Three days after they are complete, they fall apart, get thrown into a Lego catch-all bin, and are completely unrecognizable within seven days. To me this is complete waste of money. The toy you can look at but not touch.

Baseball cards are cheap, clean, and no assembly is required…whew! When you step on them with bare feet, instead of leaving gaping, open sores, like Legos, they are smooth and painless. However, they pile up in every area of my house, get thrown in a plastic, zip-lock bag, never to be looked upon again. Although they generally run only $2.00 per package, they are a complete waste of money.

I wish that I could get back every dollar spent on those items from the last 5 years. I would have a significant wad of cash in my wallet - at least until my next trip to Costco and Target.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Just Listen

There are 19 houses on my street. I like to know what is going on in people’s lives in our neighborhood. I enjoy stopping folks who are walking their dogs and find out how they are doing and what is new. The fact that I am curious to a fault gives me the ability to do this.

Joe and his wife are divorcing and they are selling the house. Sandy’s family just got a new puppy. Chuck is home after fighting the fires in L.A. Margaret and her family are hoping to move in to their renovated home soon. Dave’s daughter’s pet duck flew away and his son is now playing football after two years of baseball. Leigh is beginning her Master’s program. Patti was hospitalized after a blood clot in her leg was discovered, but is now doing fine.

People just want to talk, although sometimes I’m not that good at listening. However, it is amazing what can be discovered about people if I just take the opportunity to listen, ask questions, and participate in conversation. I ask a lot of questions, but do I listen? I know what is going happening on the surface, but do I dig deeper?

I want to take some time today to listen. I want to take some time today to find out how people really doing in life. I want to take some time today to ask questions. I want to take some time today to dig deeper in conversations.

I want to take some time today to let God speak to me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Dog and Lemons

In case you were wondering, it has been said that in 1906 the term “lemon” was British slang for “to pass off a sub-standard article as a good one.” I thought that you should know.

I think that our dog is lemon.

She has an incurable limp. Actually, I don’t know if it is incurable, I’m not yet willing to forgo loads of money to find out if the said injury is here to stay or a bad case of sore muscles from chasing birds out of our yard. I do know this; when we rescued her a few months back, she had a limp that we discovered the next day. The shelter claimed that she never had the limp, or that they never noticed the limp when she was there. Really?

The limp is getting worse, and I am not happy about it. As it turns out, there is a scar under her sore leg too. Did the shelter miss that one too? They told us that we should have done a 26-point, under the hood, check on her when we left. Really?

We love our dog. She has blended into our family so well. She is such a great dog with the kids, and as mentioned, keeps the birds from even considering entering our backyard. It’s really quite funny how she gives all the birds a piece of her mind. I like birds, but I like dogs better, so the dog wins. The birds will have to use the front yard to meet their tweet and pecking needs.

I hope that our dog is not a lemon. I hope that she heals, and stops limping. Maybe she just needs to stretch out and eat some potassium infused dog treats before she chases the birds. I’ll mention that to her.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I Have Been Waiting

For three months, the boys have woken up late, and before we headed anywhere, grabbed a hat to cover their grown out buzz cuts. I have put no thought into proper coiffing and hair gel administration, given the fact that it has been summer time, and hats go with every possible outfit.

We haven't had to be anywhere that requires collared shirts and shoes other than flop flops so the moppy shag that has embodied the heads of my two youngest children, was a fine alternative to the comb and gel.

School starts in ten days. The day of haircuts has arrived. I eagerly anticipated entering the shop, and having the boys exit while people stop and ask, "Are you Zac Efferon?" Their hair is long, so my thought was to trim the sides and back, and keep the bang area, and top long. They haven't had longish hair since they were a year old.

Evidently the photo of the guy with side swiped bangs and hair touching his ears that I showed the stylist didn't compute. Evidently when I pointed to my biggest boy and said, "I want it just like his, long in the front with the sides and back trimmed" nothing registered. Evidently, when I left my mother in charge while I drove my daughter to the movies to meet a friend, all description of how I wanted they boy's hair to look was quickly forgotten.

I gasped when I arrived back at the salon to pick up my mother and the boys. Gasped. The two boys looked like they were ready to enter the armed forces and their hair looked nothing like Zac Efferon, their brother Zac pictured aboove, or the photo in the book. Nothing.

After some major tears, and a lot of frustration from me, and an angry-guy-I-hate-my-hair photo, I phoned the salon and got a refund on the terrible haircuts. I guess that we will now have to wait another 3 months, and try again, someplace else.

My youngest deemed this day, "The worst ever" which, after having a cavitiy filled last Friday, is pretty telling.