The Towel

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Advice, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Connections, Encouragement, Family, Mother, Motherhood, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Parenting | Posted on 30-03-2017

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There are so many things to learn! As a parent, there are so many things to teach my children!

I’m not talking about: Be kind. Be respectful. Be yourself. Have confidence. Make good choices.

I’m talking about basic bathroom hygiene teachings that begin early on:

When you wash yourself, wash all of your parts and cracks with soap and water.

Did you brush your teeth? Yes. Did you brush your teeth today?

When you spit, don’t leave a glob of toothpaste in the sink. No one wants to see that.

When you wash your hair, use shampoo first. Then conditioner. For awhile, my youngest son was only washing his hair with conditioner. He had the dirtiest-but-softest-hair in town.

When you poop, turn on the fan. No one wants to smell that.

So many things to teach. It’s a good thing we have a bunch of teachers around here.

Dad: Hey Buddy, lift the lid.

Big brother: Dude! Turn on the fan!

And then there’s big sister. Who teaches you how to make the perfect turban.

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Everyone Poops

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Books, Childhood, Childrearing, Family, Happiness, Life | Posted on 19-03-2017

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One of our favorite family books is Everyone Poops.

In case you don’t know this book, it should be part of every young child’s library. The book tells about how all living creatures, big and small, poop. Even insects. Even snakes.

My children and I have the lines memorized:

“A one hump camel makes a one hump poop. And a two hump camel makes a two hump poop. Just kidding.”

Publishers Weekly gave the book a horrible review, “Okay, so everyone does it–does everyone have to talk about it?”

Yes!

It’s fun to poop! It’s fun to talk about poop! Poop is part of life!

And don’t we, as parents, want to raise our children to be happy and confident pooper?

The review goes on to say, “Call it what you will, by euphemism or by expletive, poop by any name seems an unsuitable picture book subject.”

Unsuitable to whom?

Unsuitable to people who have no sense of humor, obviously.

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The King

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Family, Family Pet, Humor | Posted on 02-02-2017

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Welcome to my castle.

My dog has three dog beds throughout our home. One in the family room, one in my office, and one in our bedroom. Each is by a heat vent. Well placed for his comfort.

Yet, Otis usually prefers to sleep on human beds. Because he is the king. And he knows it.

My daughter sleeps at the very edge of her bed so that Otis can stretch his limbs and sprawl out next to her. And she covers him with a pink fleece blanket with bunnies on it.

And then sometimes, Otis will sleep on our bed. The king bed. Of course.

Reminds me of Borat, when he visits an American hotel for the first time: “king in the castle.” Whoa whoa woowa!

The king. #yellowlab #labrador #dogsofinstgram #owningit #kingofthecastle

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Making Christmas

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Children, Christmas, Family, Parenting, Traditions | Posted on 05-12-2016

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You know the well-intentioned sentiment from The Nightmare Before Christmas, where Jack Skellington and the Halloween Town folks “make Christmas” as best they can? That’s what it’s like around here during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Full of preparation and excitement and good intentions. It is my job as a parent to make a nice, fun, and memorable Christmas for my family.

Making Christmas
Time to give them something fun
They’ll talk about for years to come
Let’s have a cheer from everyone
It’s time to party

My husband and I have made Christmas for our children over the years. A combination of family traditions: cutting down the tree, baking cookies, Christmas movies and music, setting up the nativity scene, putting up lights, donating presents and time, counting down with an advent calendar, decorating the tree with ornaments from childhood, and visiting the mountain where there’s guaranteed snow.

This year, our Christmas tree was cut down, brought home, and dressed in lights. Then it sat for a week. Nearly naked. With no ornaments. Maybe this will be the year that lights will do. Why bother with ornaments this year?

Then. Guilt hit.

What about the hundreds of sweet ornaments collected over the years and so carefully wrapped in Chipotle napkins? Stuck in a bin for another year? I simply could not let this happen. The ornaments needed to do their part to make Christmas special.

What about the homemade ornaments our children have made over the years? The beaded candy cane. The teddy bear with the googly eyes displaying a photo of my son taken in Kindergarten (he is now 17). The Star of David made with popsicle sticks. The snowman made from a cinnamon stick. The Snoopy with the googly eyes made by my husband when he was in Kindergarten. What??!!

What about the special gifted ornaments? The starfish with pearls, gifted to me by my mother-in-law when we were in San Diego. The little drummer boy gifted to my husband at his birth. The glass icicle gifted to me by my husband. The painted horse my mother gifted my daughter while visiting Phoenix. The coyote “couple” singing hymns we were gifted when we got married. The glass frog ornament with a tutu I gifted my daughter in 2003. The set of three yellow Labradors my daughter made for me from clay. Angels. Owls. Mittens.

What about the prized purchased ornaments? The pea pod with the three smiling pea faces representing each of my children. The dozens of tin ornaments my mother and I bought in Mexico. The pickle my daughter and I bought at the mountain general store. Mermaids. Frogs. Poinsettias. A dolphin. A tomato.

Each ornament has a story. They are filled with memories that reemerge every Christmas season.

On Saturday night around 11:00 p.m., we had an impromptu family celebration. Let’s have a cheer from everyone. It’s time to party. We ate Skittles and hung our ornament–both by the handful.

All the while, making Christmas. Together.

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Big Things

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Children, Connections, Emotions, Family, Life, Love, Motherhood, Mothering, Mothers and Daughters, Mothers and Sons | Posted on 21-11-2016

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It’s the little things in life that matter.

Whatever.

Around here, it’s the big things in life that matter…to me.

My husband. He is 6’3″ and his heart is equally as big. He is always up for a hike, buys me my favorite movies like Love Actually on Blu-Ray, and scrubs down the inside of the splattered microwave without me asking.

My oldest son. He is 6’4″ and tells me he loves me every time he walks out the door. At 17, he’s gone more than he’s home. School, work, friends, gym. So, I hear it a lot.

My daughter. She’s 5’9″, now taller than me. She is as fun as she is sweet. Kind as she is talented. Lovely as she is loving. All that and more.

My youngest son. He now reaches my chin, having grown three inches since summer. He is a joy to be around. The twinkle in his eyes indicates that he is up for an adventure. Or that he ate the last four Oreos.

My dog. At 115 lbs., he pulls me up the steep hills when we run together (whew!), takes up 3/4 of the bed when he stretches out, and is the best popcorn-catcher I know.

Big grocery bills. Big piles of laundry. Big smiles. Big laughs. Big hugs. Big love.

Big gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!

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A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

The Patch

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Fall, Family, Life Lessons, Pumpkin, Traditions | Posted on 26-10-2016

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Our family has been going to the pumpkin patch for years. We love it! Pumpkins everywhere! The shades of orange! The shapes and sizes!

Pick any pumpkin you want, guys! Except this year, there weren’t any pumpkins. Um. It’s a pumpkin patch. Where are all the pumpkins?

Usually, there’s a huge spread of pumpkins right when you enter. Orange wherever you look. This time, there was just a sprinkling of pumpkins. Usually, pumpkins line the path to the corn maze. Nary a pumpkin lining the path this year. Usually, there’s a hidden pumpkin patch if you dare to walk through the corn. This time, it was just a muddy field.

“I was robbed!” Just as Sally utters in It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

That is why our pumpkin patch picture this year was Children of the Corn.

But we found the bright side. There were corn stalks galore. Ample mud to squish around in. And, my youngest found me a prized heart rock!

When life gives you an empty pumpkin patch, head to the grocery store! We bailed.

Fortunately, Safeway had a wide selection of pumpkins in many shades of orange, in all shapes and sizes! We picked out our six (including one for Otis) and had so much money leftover that we bought three kinds of ice cream.

You could say that we made sundaes out of empty patches.

Happy Halloween, y’all!

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A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

How I Met Mr. Electricity

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Attitude, Parenting, Personal Growth, Quotes | Posted on 23-09-2016

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It was one of those mornings. But isn’t every rushed-breakfast-making lunches-ooops overslept-where are my shoes-morning like that?

How it began was my daughter woke up late. She got in the shower late, forcing my husband to shower late. She uses our shower because the kids’ shower is, well, it’s gross. Ours is less gross.

I drove my daughter and son to school since it was 7:46 a.m. and my husband wasn’t downstairs yet. He usually drops them off en route to work.

We took my teenager’s car because late start for high school and plus, my husband’s car was blocking mine. I noticed a full tank of gas in my son’s car and thought, wow, he is so responsible.

Pulling up to the drop-off, my youngest son noticed he left his clarinet at home. Band today. When he practices, it sounds like a goose in the kitchen. Better a goose than a rat in the kitchen. UB40 reference.

I offered (begrudgingly) to drive back home to drop the clarinet off in the office.

Begrudgingly, because. There goes my morning run.

Back at the middle school office, I filled out paperwork for my daughter to sign up for basketball. I looked up and saw this quote on the wall:

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Just then, my son walked into the office gave me a huge hug Thank you so much for dropping off my clarinet! Good timing! The trip was worth it.

On my way home, I stopped at the bank to deposit some checks. Except. No debit card. I searched throughout my wallet and purse. That’s when I met Mr. Electricity. In the bank.

Who goes in the bank these days when there’s an ATM machine?

Mr. Electricity called out to me, from the teller next to mine: “Hello there! You can chew gum and bank at the same time! How is your day going?!” (I must have been chomping my gum extra big. Maybe it was the stress of losing my card?) His enthusiasm and good spirit were electric.

Even his mustache smiled.

Did I know him? I wasn’t sure but I played along. It’s great to see you! How are you?!

The teller asked him what his plans were. I’m washing my car today! Ha! Good one. It’s raining. We are all getting our cars washed today.

In the parking lot: Enjoy your day! Today is my day off. I worked four 10s. I’m a traveling electrician.

Ah. That explains his electric personality. 🙂

This stranger made me smile. All the way home. And hours later.

I retraced yesterday in my head…where did I leave my debit card? I called Pier 1. I had bought a glass acorn. No card, but the lovely acorn is on the kitchen windowsill looking oh-so-acorny-and-fallish.

Maybe Burger King? My youngest and I had stopped for a chocolate shake and Cheetos Chicken Fries. Don’t ask. But buy your kids some. They love them. No card. Then I had a hunch. I texted my oldest son. Sure enough, he had borrowed my debit card. No wonder his gas tank was full. 🙂

What had started as a morning gone astray, this chain of events–much like If You Give A Mouse A Cookie–that led to a chain of wonderful. If my daughter didn’t wake up late… If the clarinet hadn’t been forgotten… If I hadn’t read that quote on the wall… If my son didn’t borrow my debit card, forcing me to go into the bank… I would not have met Mr. Electricity, who was the change.

Sometimes we need a reminder. A nudge. A force. A change. To keep that electricity traveling.

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The (One) Time I Nearly Crapped My Pants

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Humor, Life, Life Lessons, Mother, Mothering, Nature | Posted on 03-09-2016

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There are several instances in my adulthood when I nearly crapped my pants. The most recent was last month, on a hike near Mount St. Helens. Upon entering the trail, the sign is warning enough to induce that stomach-is-churning-poop-is-coming feeling: Danger! Several fatalities have occurred in and around these waters. Stay on the trail.

Oh, crap!

Um, we’re staying on the trail. We hiked this same trail four years ago and I wrote about the seven lessons learned. Read that here.

The scenery is spectacular. It’s in a forest, at the base of Mount St. Helens. Surrounded by lush, Fir trees, there’s an aqua river that pounds through the lava canyon with such force, it has eroded the lava walls. Jagged cliffs greet you and the drop-offs are enough start crapping, especially if you have a fear of heights. Then, there’s the suspension bridge.

Suspended with cables, high above the crashing waters and lava rocks, the bridge sways. The slats are made of wooden boards with spaces in between, spaces so big that you fear your toes might get stuck like poor Vern crossing the railroad bridge in Stand By Me. Such big spaces, that our dog Otis wasn’t allowed to cross because of his innocent paws. I later read this about the bridge: “The bridge has no stiffening members under the deck at all, so each board is free to move bound only by the two cables it hangs from. Each board sinks a couple of inches with each step, giving the bridge what some have called a ‘trampoline’ feel…People with height phobias should probably turn back…”

I took a deep breath and took one step at a time. Gripping the handrails with white knuckles. My feet moved slowly, but my heart was racing. I reached the other side and my FitBit reported that my heart rate was 135 bpm. Pure adrenaline and fear.

I’m not sure why I felt compelled to take a selfie while on the bridge. Added to my fear of plummeting was my fear of dropping my phone. Proof, I guess. Proof that I did it. I knew I could. I had to. I had to overcome my fears, be brave, and set an example for my children.

But not really. Because I had sent them across first. 🙂

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The Ferret

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Humor | Posted on 07-06-2016

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What is 20 inches long, domesticated, brown, and weighs about 1.5-4 lbs.?

A ferret? Yes!

The clump of hair from the shower drain I unclogged? Yes!

Writing about hair clumps in the shower drain has become “a thing.” I have written about hair clumps twice before. Once, I wrote a poem about the new pet (ha!) that was the size of a hamster. Then, I wrote about an even bigger clump I named Hairy.

Guess it’s been eight months since I last cleaned out the drain, because this time, the hair clump was the length of a ferret. From its head to its tail. Ew!

Fortunately, we come from a strong lineage of thick and ever-abundant hair. Stay tuned for the drain reveal at Christmas! Pass the shampoo…

3 generations! ??????

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The Junk Drawer

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Family, Memories | Posted on 18-05-2016

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We have always had a “junk drawer” in the kitchen. It’s the place where we toss things that don’t really have a place to call their own.

I can rummage through that drawer and find something I need: a tape measure, an eraser, Sharpie pens, bobby pins, rubber bands, a Phillips screwdriver, a hair brush.

I can also find something I don’t need but might want: a zsu zsu pet, a Barbie with her legs askew, playing cards, silly bandz, the monkey-wearing-a-fez pencil topper.

Sometimes, I will find something that triggers a fond memory: the plastic comb the hospital sent home when my daughter was born, flash cards to quiz basic math skills, a spare key to my first car, a plastic eyeball that we always put on Halloween cupcakes.

When in doubt, check the junk drawer!

Over time, the junk drawer gets layered with new items.

It’s not a junk drawer, really. It’s a time capsule filled with the randomness of our lives.

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