The New Normal: School Shootings and Active Shooter Drills

The New Normal: School Shootings and Active Shooter Drills. We need change.

I am really struggling this week with the new “normal” that my kids are living in. Where school shootings and active shooter drills are common. My first daughter turned one just days before the shooting at Columbine High School, and I remember the horror I felt watching that tragedy unfold. Fast forward almost 20 years, and Americans have almost become numb to senseless tragedies that are being shown on our news almost weekly.

I usually only watch the news in the mornings and for the rest of the day the only news I get is from social media. Valentine’s Day was no different. I heard there was a school shooting and early reports said up to 20 injured with one fatality. And I went about my evening just like any other day. Didn’t even phase me. How sad.

Then I woke up the next morning and turned on the news, and it felt like I had a ton of bricks on my chest. 17 dead. Oh my God. 17 dead.

The New Normal

When my son came down stairs for breakfast, I asked him if he had heard about the shooting. He said yes. I told him 17 people died, and I could tell the number surprised him. Then I asked him about active shooter drills and lock down drills they do at his school. He told me the procedure, and I started to cry. I told him the only thing I could. If you can run then run, if you can’t run then hide and if you can’t hide then play dead. How sad.

This is what our world has come to. I am telling my 15 year old son to play dead. Something needs to change. This has become our new normal, but this is anything but normal. We need to do something to stop these wonderful children from dying.

We send our kids off to school every morning and want to believe that they are safe. But they aren’t. We can tell ourselves that what happened in Florida or Kentucky or Colorado can’t happen here. But it can. There are 17 teachers and students who left for school on Valentine’s Day and thought they were safe, but they are never going to come home again.

We Need to Change America.

We need to have stricter guns laws, and we need have better mental health policies. Not one or the other but both! I am not saying that all guns should be banned. Not even close. But there are people out there that should not have access to guns. The mentally ill, people with a criminal record and people with restraining orders just to name a few. We need to look at the kinds of guns that are available as well. On the other side, mentally ill people need to identified and helped.

This is not a problem that is not going to go away unless we speak out and demand change. I urge you to call your local senators and representatives. Don’t stand by and wait for the next tragedy to happen because next time it might be in your school district.

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Parent Guilt: Nobody is Immune

I struggled with something this week that I am sure most parents have faced as they raise their kids and send them off in world. Parent guilt. You yelled when you should have listened, or you snooped into their lives when you should have trusted. Well my guilt came when my high school freshman had his first Mock Trial competition. He specifically asked his dad and I not to attend. He was nervous about competing for the first time and didn’t want us to watch the first round. I agreed to stay home, but I was filled with a lot sadness and regret that I wouldn’t be able to attend.

Parent Guilt: Nobody is Immune.

My Regrets Grew into Guilt. . .

Then he mistakenly came home and told me that the teacher had asked whose parents were going. When he didn’t raise his hand, the teacher had joked that I had gone to see his older sister compete but not him. Well telling me that was my son’s big mistake. The parent guilt inside me overtook all of the sense I had left. I emailed the teacher for more info on the times and places of the competition.

The next day I received an angry text from my son. Immediately I realized that I was putting my wants in front of what my son needed. When he got home I apologized, and I did NOT attend the competition last night. Our kids don’t seem to understand that a parents only wish in life is that our kids go out and do great things. And as a parent it is very, very hard to not witness this greatness. I struggled with letting go and with listening to what he wanted from me.

This is not my first rodeo. I have a daughter in college so this confrontation really caught me off guard. I am realizing that sons and daughters are two totally different animals and that their high school years will be vastly different for me. My daughter never seemed to care if I went to events as long as I stayed in the background. At times she seemed to really want my help. My son on the other hand is very independent and less accepting of help.

Parent Guilt: Nobody is Immune.

They won!

Last night they won and will move on in the tournament. I am bursting with pride! You can bet money that wild horses will not stop me from being in the courtroom during the next round.

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When College Kids Come Home for Winter Break

This is my daughter’s last week home before she goes back to college. Brenna is a sophomore, so this is not our first winter break. It is still hard to wrap my head around it though. For those of you with kids going off to college in the near future, just wait. It is an experience like no other.

They come home from college . . .

They come home for sometimes a month or more. And they are different people. College changes them. For the better in most ways but also for the worst too. They do whatever they want, whenever they want. So they stay up super late and wake up in the afternoon. Yep, you heard me right, afternoon! I sometimes don’t know whether to wish her a good morning or just walk away. Their independence can be refreshing like when they do their own laundry, or off putting like when they don’t call to let you know when they will be home.

Her new home. When Your College Kids Come Home for Winter Break.

Just when you have gotten used to them being gone, they come back. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the movies we went to see, the lunches out and the shopping trips. I love having her around, but it has also meant that I have not been truly alone in my house for over a month. For an introvert who likes and sometimes needs alone time, that is difficult.

Then they leave again . . .

This week is full of last minute appointments and packing and shopping. All in preparation for driving her back on Sunday. Of course the weather has to interfere and stress me out. We had to cancel her dentist appointment and her hair appointment. But we will make do and get what we can done. And I will enjoy every last second we have before she leaves.

Move in Day. When Your College Kids Come Home for Winter Break.

So I guess I am a little bit happy this week, but a lot more sad to see her go. I know she is happiest when she is at college. She has her friends who keep her busy and she is living her life. And next week I will have an empty house during the day and lots of quiet! (Unless the other kids have more snow days. Ugh, is winter over yet?)

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Welcoming 2018 With a New Outlook and Blog Focus

Starting 2018 With a New Outlook and Blog Focus

New Year, New Approach to My Blog Focus!

I started this blog in September with the goal of expressing my thoughts and hopefully helping other parents realize that we are not perfect and that we are all doing the best we can. I feel like I got off to a great start, but I hit a wall. Like I often face when trying something new, I start strong then something happens to throw me off course.

In November when I got sick, I started blogging less. And when I got sick again over Thanksgiving, I completely stopped. As often happens to me when the going gets tough, I quit. I listened to the voice in my head that said, “I have too much to get done, and my blog isn’t as important as everything else.”

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Honor Roll Injustice! What is a Mom Supposed to do?

Nothing gets a mom fired up more than when your kid is facing an injustice. We want to “fix” the wrong but how?

My freshman son brought home his first quarter report card yesterday. I looked it over and was totally impressed with his grades. Told him awesome job and went about my day. Until I realized that there was no mention of honor roll listed on his report card. Weird. With a quarter average of 98.9667, why didn’t he get honor roll. So being the type of mom who can’t forget things no matter how hard I try, I went to the district web site to look up the criteria for honor roll.

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The Tale of Two Halloween Costumes



Tuesday was Halloween. A holiday that  I have a love/hate relationship with. On the one hand, candy! On the other hand, costumes and drama and being cold. But on the other hand, candy. Oh wait I already mentioned the candy.

So of course our Halloween would not be complete without a some attitude from the little one. It all started about a month ago when she came to me asking to be a fox or more specifically if possible Foxy from Five Nights At Freddy’s. Well I wasn’t really into this idea. Her first 4 Halloween costumes were borrowed or made by me (and they were adorable, see below). But every year for the last 5 years, we have bought her a costume which have become increasingly more expensive each year. I just don’t understand spending $30-$50 on something they will wear once. They NEVER want to re wear a costume the next year. Well this just doesn’t go along with my thrifty self.

Homemade Dora Halloween Costume
Homemade Dora Costume
Skeleton Zombie and Mickey Mouse Halloween Costumes
Homemade Mickey Mouse Costume












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The Mom Mantra: Pick Your Battles

One parenting mantra I have lived by for the last 20 years has been “pick your battles!” So she doesn’t want to wear pants today even though it is freezing outside. Okay wear the dress. So he doesn’t want to eat the veggies. Okay so just eat the chicken nuggets. Then later when I have to make someone take icky medicine, I can and will win that battle because I have to.

The Battle of the Orange Toothbrush

But when do they start to realize that “pick your battles” works both ways????? Yesterday we had to go to a follow up dentist appointment for her “sleep dentistry” that she had two weeks ago. They had removed 7 teeth and filled 3 cavities (yes, I know we need to do better with her tooth care). The dentist used an orange toothbrush to show her how to brush effectively. The only problem was that the orange toothbrush was too big for her mouth, but they used it because she likes orange. The toothbrush came home with us. I am sure you can see where this is going.

The Orange Toothbrush

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To Swim or Not to Swim That is the Question

To swim or not to swim, that is the question.

Or rather to take swim lessons or not to take swim lessons. My youngest, Callie, took swim lessons as a preschooler and hated it! I mean one lesson she screamed the entire class and the instructor had to hold her . . .  the whole time. And it was all because she hates to put her head under water. I know swim lessons are a valuable tool to help prevent drowning but for us they were torture.

feet kicking in swimming pool

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The Joys of Picture Day . . . Insert Sarcasm Here

Every year we as moms encounter a day that makes us dig deep down inside and remember why we love our little angels. And that day is Picture Day!

Our mornings are already filled with breakfast, brushing teeth, getting dressed, combing hair and making lunch. But today we add the enormous task of making our child look their very best because this day will be immortalized on our family room wall for the next year and at the grandparents house for all eternity. Today . . . this ordinary day will live on forever!

So the day begins like any other. Wake up the kid. Check. Eat breakfast. Check. Now the trouble starts. Brushing teeth, getting dressed and fixing the hair. For some reason step one and step two were taking forever. I even had to tell her twice to hurry up. Now she is moving at a snail’s pace and my irritation is growing.

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