For Good

June 26, 2014 at 3:28 am | Posted in Bun, Family, Giggles, Photo Tuesday | 12 Comments
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“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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F is “for everything Thy goodness sends.” See more F’s at Jenny’s.

Jenny Matlock

Days of Summer

June 12, 2014 at 12:38 am | Posted in Bun, Lollipop, Photo Tuesday | 12 Comments
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Downpour

Distraction

Delightful

“Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” Henry James

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D is for downpour and distraction and delightful. See more D’s at Jenny’s.

Jenny Matlock

Where The Pumpkins Are

October 23, 2013 at 11:45 pm | Posted in Bun, Giggles, Lollipop, Photo Tuesday | 18 Comments
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Which one should we choose?

Wearing sandals in October.

Weighty pumpkins.

Wheeeeee!

Wonderstruck.

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” — George Eliot

Are you wedded to autumn like Eliot (and me) or to another season? Have you made your annual pumpkin-patch pilgrimage yet? Are your Halloween costumes ready to go??

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W is for wheeeeee! and wonderstruck and wedded to autumn. See more W’s at Jenny’s.

Jenny Matlock

The Trouble with Treasures

May 15, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Posted in Bun, Giggles, Lollipop | 21 Comments
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We collect things. (And by “we,” I mean everyone in my house under age 6.)

It borders on obsession. (And by “obsession,” I mean, well, obsession.)

Treasure map.

Rocks. Sticks. Seeds. Acorns. Leaves. Pamphlets from the doctor’s office. Bits of ribbon. Bits of bark. Paper scraps. Glue-sticks lids. Old keys. Lollipop wrappers. Junk mail. Junk-mail envelopes. Broken pencils. Barbie hairbrushes. Pony hairbrushes. Full Tic Tac boxes. Empty Tic Tac boxes. Full Tic Tac boxes that mysteriously become empty Tic Tac boxes. Bouncy balls. Straws. Take-out menus. Subscription cards from inside magazines. Flower petals. Yogurt lids (washed, of course … okay, mostly washed). Found coins. Business cards. Buttons. Toilet-paper rolls. Little circles from inside the hole punch.

The kiddos collect by day. And I discard by night.

With secrecy, stealth, nonchalance, and not a single ounce of Mommy guilt. Because, otherwise, I would be overrun by detritus, miscellany, and things that decay.

Occasionally, my ever-zealous Giggles will find one of his treasures that I thought I had tucked out of sight in the recycle bin — the cellophane address window from the weed service advertisement, for example.

The day’s bounty.

“Mooooooooooooooooom! I was saaaaaaaaaaaaaving this. It’s important! Who. Threw. It. Away??” His words flick through the air like darts.

I do what any self-respecting mother who values clutter-free space and aims to minimize the time she spends vacuuming each day. I lie.

“I have no idea, sweetheart.”

And after he’s in bed, I sneak in and tuck his animal blankie up around his chin. I put his favorite stuffed mouse on his pillow next to him. I brush the soft blond tendrils from his forehead.

And with one deft, nearly invisible swipe, I take his treasure from wherever he’s re-hidden it. And I throw it away. Again.

Because there’s more treasure waiting to be discovered tomorrow. And the next day … and the next day … and the next day …

Do you expect to see your kids on Hoarders one day? How do you handle “treasure”? And what did you collect as a child?

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Z is for my zealous hoarders. See more Zs at Jenny’s on Thursday.

Jenny Matlock

Bag Lady

May 6, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Posted in Family, Me | 18 Comments
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I got a new bag. It’s big. It’s cute. And it was on sale!

It’s the kind of bag that looks like it might hold exciting things like designer lip gloss, breath mints in a fancy silver tin, an iPad, or a chic planner with entries like “Mani/Pedi” and “Drinks with J.”

But no. Not my bag. While stylish on the outside, inside it’s all business. Okay, it’s mostly business with a smidgen of chaos. Because my bag is a mom bag.

Here’s an inventory:

  • 1 cloth sunglasses case with green marker stain (and, surprise, the sunglasses are actually inside!)
  • 1 brown paper bag snagged from restaurant in case my sick child needs to puke in the car
  • Girl’s size 6X red sweater
  • Craft store flyer and coupon (Bonus: coupon not expired)
  • Receipt from recent merchandise return stapled to original receipt stapled to temporary store membership card because real membership card is … not in bag
  • Wallet (whose contents include a Romanian bus ticket, the Clean 15 list, a dental floss coupon, and a heaven-sent Starbucks gift card)
  • 2 bottles hand sanitizer
  • Tissues (unused, I think)
  • Shout wipes (unused, I think)
  • Fancy bottle of sunscreen from infamous weekend in Florence
  • 3 tubes chapstick (Carmex, Blistex, and cherry-flavored)
  • 1 large package baby wipes
  • 1 pair 3T Thomas the Tank Engine undies
  • 1 pair 3T Batman undies
  • 1 set of instructions for a “Kids Herb Planter”
  • 3 packages fruit snacks
  • 1 empty fruit snack wrapper
  • 3 pieces Super Bubble gum
  • 1 rubber duckie
  • 2 reusable grocery bags
  • Keys
  • More keys
  • Orange emergency whistle
  • 3 Wendy’s coupons that expire tomorrow
  • 1 “Best Smiles Dental” pen
  • 1 rusted penny from the playground
  • 1 rusted washer from the playground
  • 1 cell phone, 14 Words with Friends games in progress, 20% of battery remaining
  • 1 Sleeping Beauty cell phone with 3 dead AG13 batteries (Note to self: find and purchase AG13 batteries)
  • 1 library book (Bonus: not overdue)
  • 1 Sheriff Woody toy hat
  • 1 green bouncy ball
  • 1 Blue Bell ice cream lid

What’s in your bag? A puke bag? Thomas undies? Expired coupons? Rusted washers? And what else??

My Mixed Bag

April 30, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Posted in Family, Photo Tuesday | 20 Comments
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“Camping:  The art of getting closer to nature while getting farther away from the nearest cold beverage, hot shower and flush toilet.” — Unknown

Camping is a mixed bag for me. Or should I say, a mixed sleeping bag?

I don’t like bugs. Or sweat. Or dirt. Or marshmallows. But my family does. So I go. Twice a year, as per a verbal agreement between my husband and me, I drag myself into the woods, along with three kids, a gigantic dog, an even more gigantic tent, sleeping bags, air mattresses, firewood, s’more fixin’s, peanut butter and jelly fixin’s, water shoes for 5, hiking shoes for 5, stuffed animals for way more than 5, camp dishes and utensils, paper towels, toilet paper, a hefty supply of hand sanitizer, and a thousand other things.

We spend the weekend killing mosquitoes, peeing in bushes, toasting droopy hamburger buns over a campfire that blows smoke in our faces, and getting dirt wedged semi-permanently into our fingernails and toenails. But we also fall asleep to a cricket concert and wake up to an avian serenade. We pick dandelions and track ladybugs. And with sticky, grape-juice-colored fingers, we steer matchbox cars through sand pits and stick tunnels.

So I go. And it’s worth it. Despite the 27 loads of burr-laden laundry that always come home with us.

Does your family camp? Got any favorite ghost stories? And marshmallows — yea or nay?

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“X” is for miXed bag … See more Xs at Jenny’s on Thursday.

Jenny Matlock

Help Wanted

April 23, 2013 at 11:32 pm | Posted in Bun, Giggles, Lollipop | 29 Comments
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It happens every day. At 2:42 p.m. Or thereabouts.

Mommy loses it.

It starts just after I pick up Lollipop from school. We pull into the driveway and tumble out of the car in various stages of undress. Because somebody couldn’t make it the three minutes home without shedding their socks. Or headband. Or pants.

Counting …

… my …

We burst into the house like the prelude to a fireworks show. Pop! … Pop! … Pop! … Only instead of smoke and color, we leave behind backpacks and sticky lunchboxes. Torn wisps of a junk-mail envelope. Acorns. Shriveled dandelions. A collection of seeds and a few slimy tissues.

Then somebody wants a snack. Goldfish. No, Cheerios. No, goldfish and Cheerios. Not the Honey Nut kind, the other kind. In the green bowl. No, in the yellow bowl. The other yellow bowl.

Then somebody else wants goldfish and Cheerios and it’s not fair that he got them fiiiiiiiiiiiirst.

Then somebody needs a bottom wiped. Or a booger extricated. Or a mosquito bite calamined.

Or a Barbie dress buttoned.

Or a marble removed from a matchbox car.

Or a marker lid fished out of the dog water.

Or a sticker unstuck from the kitchen table.

Or a pencil sharpened.

Or the yucky brown spot cut off the banana.

Or some batteries replaced.

… chaotic …

… blessings.

Or some pretend-cupcakes put in the real oven to pretend-cook.

Or a stamp for a letter that may or may not be a blank sheet of paper.

Or more goldfish and Cheerios in the yellow bowl (no, the other yellow bowl) that is now lodged under the couch. Between a giant dust bunny and the very last shred of my sanity.

And I invariably say something like, “Oh, for Pete’s sake, just go play outside!” Or “My ears can’t take it anymore!” Or “Mommy needs QUIET!” Or “Just go and watch TV and leave me ALONE for 5 minutes!”

And I think Did I really just order my children to watch television?

I hate that it comes to that. What’s more, I hate that it comes to that so often.

Tiny hands tugging on my shirt, always tugging.

Demands, some polite, yes. But some … not.

Shrill voices trying to out-shrill each other for my attention.

Tears. Fighting. Noise.

Mess.

Laundry that’s fluffing. Again.

Dinner that’s half-cooked or over-cooked. Or PBJ … again.

Mommy who’s grumpy. Again.

By the time my husband walks in the door, I’m ready to lock myself in our dark closet and curl up with my son’s yellow blankie. I crave silence. Darkness. Sensory deprivation. Recharged batteries. Sanity.

Oh, sweet sanity.

Help Wanted: How do you negotiate the blessing that is a chaotic family? How do you keep a fingernail’s hold on inner peace? And how many times have you locked yourself in a dark, quiet room?

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“W” is for Help Wanted … See more Ws at Jenny’s on Thursday.

Jenny Matlock

Unsolved Histories

April 11, 2013 at 5:16 am | Posted in Lollipop, Photo Tuesday | 13 Comments
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“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Live in the question.” — Rainer Maria Rilke

What questions are you living in? How important are the answers? And don’t you wish they made grown-up-sized rocking horses?

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“U” is for unsolved … See more Us at Jenny’s.

Jenny Matlock

Marking Time

April 4, 2013 at 12:09 am | Posted in Bun, Giggles, Lollipop, Photo Tuesday | 16 Comments
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“Why not just live in the moment, especially if it has a good beat?” — Goldie Hawn

How do you stop, or at least slow, the march of time? What symbolizes time for you? And don’t you wish you could pull off pink ruffles? (I know I do!)

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“T” is for time … See more Ts at Jenny’s.

Jenny Matlock

March Madness

April 1, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Posted in Bun, Family, Giggles, Lollipop | 5 Comments
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March madness? At our house, it doesn’t involve basketballs or brackets or neon yellow sneakers. It’s all about the eggs. And the chocolate. And making sure your siblings don’t get one more string of crinkly fake grass than you in their baskets. Not to mention jelly beans.

The hunt for eggs is mostly complete before Mommy drags herself out of bed toward the gleeful shrieks coming from downstairs.

The dog finds eggs, too. And eats them. This does not turn out well later.

Small children devouring chocolate bunnies results in sticky fingers, chins, cheeks, eyebrows, elbows, nostrils, knees, toes, and ear lobes.

As if more sugar was needed, there is syrup for dinner. Oh, and, bunny-shaped pancakes.

But … No yucky black-licorice jelly beans enter the premises under any circumstances.

Three sets of small fingers search all baskets a minimum of seven times to ensure that tribute has been distributed equally.

The cat protests the bunny ears forced on his head by eating some faux purple fur.

No one falls asleep until at least two hours after bedtime. And, somehow, there is no leftover Easter candy for Mommy and Daddy to sneak.

If I get to the grocery store early enough Monday morning, there are always a few teeny-tiny bags of heaven-sent Cadbury mini-eggs hidden behind the giant generic chocolate coins on clearance.

And that one last dyed egg? Will just not be found.

What signals Easter at your house? How do your pets involve themselves in the celebration? And where did you find that last egg?

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