Seasons In Life

As we grow older and hopefully wiser, we realize that over the course of our lives a diverse group of people have come and gone.  Some staying briefly, others for a season and on that rare occasion we’ve met someone who has stuck with us for a large part of our lives.

Ahh, the Memories

Recently while thinking about simple times, memories of my childhood came to mind.  My friends who made junior high fun, crazy and sometimes naughty, like kissing boys under the bleachers (yes, I did that a time or two…who didn’t?)

My youth was spent in the 1970’s and for the most part I cannot recall a dull moment (okay, well maybe when I had to babysit my younger sisters.) mendy-circa-late-70s If I wasn’t cheering for our recreation club’s football team (my mom sewed my cheerleading outfit as most did back then) my friends Sheri, Karla, Kim, and Amber and I were deciding whose house we’d be sleeping at on Friday night. We would spend those nights talking about boys (as they were never far from our minds), listen to the radio and have pillow fights.  We all attended Sligh Junior High in Tampa, Florida which at the time was a 7th grade center designed for cultural integration in the community; it is now called Sligh Middle School (named after the street it faces) and is home to middle school kids in grades 5th – 7th.

In the late 70s, we would play 4-square in the school’s courtyard after lunch and talk about boys (again..we were 7th grade girls) and on rare occasion other topics which ran the gamut. We wore the hairstyles of the day, one side straight down and the other clipped back tight against the head (a bit of a bizarre style if you ask me) or a long and feathered look, such as in my picture. School offered home economics class, shop and typing, I took all three not remembering what I made in either home eco or shop, but I do recall standing at an ironing board (who knew back then we’d have was and wear clothing in the 21st century?) We wore dresses that were at or below our knees, pantyhose and black baby doll (flat) shoes. We had “patrols” (with the orange patrol belt) who patrolled the halls making sure we didn’t run and kept order on buses during the rides to/from school. Oh yeah, an on the rare occasion we would go to the mall…there would always be a line at the photo booth, you know…where you would go in, sit down, draw the curtain and start making goofy faces, then step out and wait a minute or two for your four shots to magically appear!  The picture above is a photo booth sitting.

I remember quite well my time in junior high and physical education class, pfft! (rolling eyes!)  Oh how I hated P.E.!  I still believe the only form of exercise our Phy. Ed. teachers knew were laps; everyday without fail and as soon as we hit the basketball courts (after dressing out) we ran laps.  I ran around that basketball court so many times one year I could tell you the location of every divot, crack and dip. I was determined not to have P.E. the following year so I got a part-time job at McDonald’s on Busch Blvd across the street from Busch Gardens and signed up for the school’s early work release program which allowed student to work in the afternoons on school days, usually reporting to work around noon. When a student was on early release P.E., home economics or shop were the classes of choice to drop from our class schedule; all the kids in this program thought it was the best thing in life, especially if we had the day off from work we still left school early.

GrandbabiesAlthough Karla, Sheri, Kim, and Amber are not part of my life on a daily basis, a few of us still keep in touch via social media and texting. We are spread across the U.S. with Sheri in New Mexico, I am in Northern Kentucky and Karla, Kim and Amber are all in Florida. It’s hard to believe some of us are grannies and these are my four precious ones.

Ahh, the memories are a nice escape from the hectic life most of us lead in adulthood. Just writing this article has conjured up some really great visions of years gone too soon. Wow its so hard to grasp that I turned 50 in February of this year, W-O-W…where has the time gone?

As I grow older by the day I’ve found that its the simple things in life that make L-I-F-E an adventure. As a Nona (grandmother/grandma in Italian), I love that I can love on my grandchildren and when they get cranky… I hand them back to mom and dad. I love that I don’t have to put up with other people’s drama and there’s no law telling me I have to keep them in my life. I love that because of where I’ve been…I know where I’m going and planning my future has never been so much fun. I love that my “lifetime” friends love me for who I am and accept me completely, without question, ridicule or judgement.  They just love me! And lastly, I love walking down MEMORY LANE and bringing all those great memories into the present. Thank you for letting me share a smidge of my past with you.

A Mother and Her Sons

The Male Gender is Heavily Weighted In Our Family

I was a baby boy making machine in my younger years and gave birth to three absolutely amazing sons. I am already a Nona to three grandchildren, two of whom are male and we are expecting Master Xander in August, which will make me a Nona to four, three of them grandsons.

You know you’re a mom of boys when:

  • You find yourself willingly holding a living wiggling worm, bug, frog, or lizard and not running around screaming like a little girl.
  • You cannot remember what you ate for breakfast, yet you can inherently transform a Transformer without instructions.
  • You spend much of your days in a fog of fart odor and some of it is proudly yours.
  • You know the pain of stepping on a Lego, Tonka Truck, or Transformer.
  • There’s a finger in your eye, your ear, or up your nose and it’s not yours.
  • You find yourself telling the boys “No, you cannot ride the dog.”
  • You make it an annual family outing to go see the Monster Trucks with the special Meet and Greet passes.
  • You are on a first name basis with your doctors and the nurses at the hospital who provide the slings, splints, and casts.
  • You cannot find a pair of jeans or pants for them that do not have grass stains or holes in the knees.
  • There’s a love you feel for your son that’s too great and sometimes too scary to fully explain or even comprehend.

Being a mom of boys can quickly change you from being a girlie girl to one that throws on a ball cap, jeans and t-shirt to face the day.  The mode of adapting to boy stuff when you were once all about girly stuff can somewhat be a challenging aspect of motherhood.  Why, you ask?  Good question, read on.

Moms Must…Accept Messiness

Messy

The Boy enjoying his 1st birthday cake. He’ll be 18 this July.  Where does the time go?

Under every circumstance you must be prepared for a mess or messy boys.  They are not conscientious about tracking mud in the house when they run through it like the Tazmanian Devil, spraying water all over the bathroom during wash-up time or how they eat their birthday smash cake.

Boys will be boys and I cannot stress enough to moms or future moms of boys, not to be surprised by what you find in the aftermath of your son.  You could find boogers smeared on the walls (I just threw up a little in my mouth), urine on the floor around the toilet (were they really aiming?), or spilling their cereal on the floor like pigs at feeding time while you were trying to ready yourself for work.  Regardless of how much training boys receive, they still find their own way of doing somethings.

…Rethink Safety

SafetyChildren Boys (I can only draw on my experience from raising boys.)  Ahem…boys have their own level of safety, and it is called NONE!  They are afraid of “nuthzink” (said with a Colonel Klink accent.)

Boys hop on stuff, climb stuff, jump over stuff and may break stuff…their stuff, like a bone or two.  Since the time of this picture, the little guy who is jumping over the chair ended up breaking one of his ankles three times.  Once by dropping off of the monkey bars while playing at daycare, once when skipping up and down the driveway when he should have been helping his mom (me) carry groceries into the house and lastly when he was in an automobile accident that almost took his life.

So moms, no matter how much you safety proof the house or prepare your children for the future, accidents will happen, so you’ll need to learn quickly how to deal with blood, scrapes, broken bones, and broken hearts.

…Enjoy Cleanliness When You Can

BathTimeBath time was always a time of play for my boys because I knew if I made bath time fun, they’d want to take their baths…it worked thank goodness because they sure required a lot of them growing up.  Be prepared for a good soaking when the splashing starts and have a plentiful stock of body wash because boys like bubbles just as much as little girls.

…Think Farts Are Funny

By the grace of God I was born with toilet humor (I also had two older brothers who helped cultivate my acceptance of such.)  My brothers conditioned me to think farts and farting were funny…thank goodness I thought they were.  Having this mindset will make life much easier and happier for everyone involved; but we must remember there is a time and place for everything, right?  Yeah, right!!!

…Understand Boys Can Cause Drama

Didn't get his way.

Didn’t get his way.

Oh no, don’t be surprised when your little man pitches a fit when he doesn’t get his way.  They can cause just as much drama as little girls, but we must remember NOT to laugh when they are squealing at the top of their lungs and we’re thinking “he’d sure give a girl a run for her money with that octave.”

Oh yeah, boys will stop what they’re doing and throw things or walk across the room to pick up a toy so they can throw it just to demonstrate they can pitch a good dramatic hissy-fit.  Remember moms, this too shall pass (said giggling.)

…Know Their Little Boy Would Rather Be Naked

Mom’s have to be okay with their little boy running around the house in the nude because if they had their way, they would be naked more often than clothed.  Be prepared for your son to come into a room buck naked, letting it all hang out, putting it in the breeze because it will inevitably happen and probably at a time when you are entertaining guests.  Just something for you to think about.

…Remember They Grow Up In A Blink of An Eye

Yes, boys will be boys, but eventually they will grow up, graduate high school, marry their high school sweetheart, and move away.  Mom’s cherish your sons, love them, hug them, tell them bedtime stories, nurture them, and tell them you love them to the moon and back as often as you can.

GrowUp

Dave & Stacey

 

…Remember Children Are Our Gift from God

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Teach Your Boy’s Some General Guidelines/Rules

  1. Teach them to put the toilet seat down, not just the actual seat but the lid also and to not let it slam. (Speaking of slamming, you might also want to teach them to “hold” the seat up whilst pee-peeing so the seat doesn’t slam down on their tallywhacker they had resting on the toilet bowl.)
  2. Teach them to adjust, scratch, or pick at their privates in private.
  3. Teach them that it is okay to cry.  Not to pitch a hissy-fit because they didn’t get their way, but to express their genuine hurt through tears.
  4. Teach them that relationships are important and that it is okay to talk about how they are feeling or what upset them. Your future daughters-in-love will thank you and because of your willingness to teach them this behavior, they are likely to have a strong, long, and happy marriage.
  5. Teach him how to clean the house and prepare age appropriate meals/dishes.  He will thank you someday, because we all know there is nothing better than a man who can cook and doesn’t mind doing housework.
  6. Teach your sons to be obedient to God, polite and respectful of others and their property.
  7. Teach them to have a sense of clean humor, laughter truly is the best medicine.
  8. Let him express himself how he wants.  It’s his life, he’s like no other.  If he wants to play tea, have a miniature kitchen set or wear a tutu, let him.  It will either be a passing phase or he will never struggle with his identity.  (Moms, most times they grow out of it.  All three of my boys had tea sets and toy kitchens.)

The Boy and life as a cart-go-getter.

Well it is official, my youngest is employed and I feel old!

Luke's Shirt

Kroger’s New Slogan

A few weeks ago The Boy became gainfully employed at a local grocery store as a bag boy and cart-go-getter, and has his first month of paychecks under his belt.  Let the life lessons commence…Life lesson #1…be responsible and get a job.

His first check was a whopping $14.18 but he didn’t care because it was his money, earned by his hard work.  I knew this check would not be enough to open his personal checking account, so I had the clerk cash the check for The Boy to have some pocket change.  And, being the super great awesome mom I am (blushing), I asked the teller to transfer the necessary funds from my savings to to open the account. Life lesson #2…learn how to manage/budget funds and balance your checkbook.

O.M.G…What a Miser

The Boy absolutely loves having his own money, but won’t spend it on anything and expects that I continue to purchase his Oreo Shakes from McDonald’s.  If I say he has to pay for it, all of a sudden he decides that he really didn’t want one in the first place. Hopefully this will be a trait that remains with him throughout his life (buy your own stuff).

Blue Truck

The Boy’s Truck

Oh what a harsh, harsh world we live in.

For the last year or so all The Boy  has talked about was getting a job so he could pay for his auto insurance and drive the little blue tuck that Gramps and JMAK (The Boy’s brother) bought him.  Life lesson #3…pay your own way, pay your own auto insurance.

Unfortunately, reality has been a little hard on him.  He recently learned that in order to afford  the maintenance, fuel, and insurance for the truck, one needs to work more than 12-14 hours a week, and at this point his average is roughly 14 hours a week.  Life lesson #4…life isn’t always fair.

He is on the “School to Work” program at school, (it used to be call work release when I was a kid) and he is dismissed 1.25 hrs earlier than non-working students.  With this school approve program in place, we’re hoping he’ll be able to work more hours each week.  Life lesson #5…hard work and dedication pays off.

Hard Working Fella

@ the doctors for meds

@ the doctors for meds

As a “Cart-Go-Getter & Bagger,” The Boy has to retrieve shopping carts from the parking lot, no matter the weather.  While at work…getting carts, he has found himself in snowy, slushy, cold, and rainy weather…yet never complains.  Last week it hit him like a brick wall.  After fighting a head cold for about 10-days, he finally told me his throat hurt and it was hard to swallow; so needless to say we made a trip to the doctors and the verdict…strep.  Life lesson #6…sometimes ya gotta work, even when you’re sick.   Here we are a week later, he’s feeling more like himself and has declared he dislikes being sick. My reply…duh, who does?

So now the cycle continues…he works, deposits checks and is saving up for his insurance deposit (while sparingly making small purchases for himself).  Once he has enough “cash-ola” for the deposit, I will take him for his intermediate drivers license and he will “finally” be able to drive alone, without a fully licensed driver with him.  That is a day I don’t want arriving too quickly as it will only confirm that The Boy will be an independent semi-adult and have no reason to rely on mom for much more than food and housing for the next year :-(.

New Chapters…to be written???

Instead of thinking about losing my youngest to his chapter of independence, perhaps I should consider the fact that I too have reached that stage in life that I have often thought about during my 32+ years of raising children.  That thought being…I too can be independent and do those things that I could not while rearing three kids.  Not really sure what those “things”will be, but I always my Bucket List for ideas.

Gosh, being a parent is a truly wonderful experience leading up to a sad realization.  If we do our job right, they won’t need us for much…other than to let them go and to always love and support them unconditionally…for the rest of our days on earth.

 

Saving our future generation and innocent victims.

Texting while driving

Texting while driving (Photo credit: Mr. Jason Weaver)

The Research

A year ago I wrote a research paper on adolescent drivers and the factors which distract them and lead to deadly accidents.  My research paper Drivers of the Adolescent Brain is eye-opening with horrific statistics.

Just this last week alone this nation has lost 15 people (mostly children) in three vehicle accidents which were related to texting.  Please educate your children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren on the dangers of texting and driving as they cannot hear it enough.  We value their precious lives and the lives of innocent victims.

English: A sign that states "No Texting W...

English: A sign that states “No Texting While Driving” in West University Place, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s News Article

The article below can be found at http://www.cnn.com.

(CNN) — As Chance Bothe, then 21, was driving home from college last year into the southeast Texas city of Ganado, he was focused more on texting a friend than he was on the road.

“I need to stop before I have a wreck and kill myself” was the message he sent shortly before his truck tumbled down a 20-foot ravine, his father said.

Bobby Bothe, 57, got a call at Dow Chemical, where he works, and thus began what turned into a months-long, multimillion-dollar recuperation for his son.

At the hospital, he ran into a friend’s daughter, a nurse. “I told her, ‘I don’t know what to do,’ and she said, ‘You pray.’ ” He did.

Man plunges off cliff while texting

SUV flips into pond, killing 6 teens

5 teens die in fiery crash

His son had suffered a compound broken leg, broken ankles, broken ribs, a punctured lung, a broken sternum, a broken neck, a broken nose, crushed eye sockets, a crushed forehead and a fractured skull, Bothe said.

“They told us he wouldn’t make it, they said he’d be blind, he’d never walk again.”

After more than three weeks in a coma, Chance Bothe regained consciousness but initially recognized neither of his parents, Bothe said.

Bothe knows that many parents of young drivers are not so lucky. That was underscored by three crashes in three days this week in which 15 teenagers were killed.

In Illinois, four Chicago-area teenagers died Tuesday morning when their car plunged into a creek. They were students at Wilmington High School, the school superintendent said.

In Ohio on Sunday, a sport utility vehicle veered off a two-lane road into a pond, killing six of eight teenage occupants. The vehicle was meant to carry five people.

In Texas, an SUV carrying five teenagers collided with a gas tanker Sunday. All five young people were killed, and the tanker driver was seriously injured. The teen driver failed to stop at a stop sign, authorities said.

For survivors, recovery can be long. With such severe injuries, Chance Bothe was hospitalized for seven months. Now, the 22-year-old man has plastic eye sockets, metal rods in his legs and a rebuilt nose. “He’s a little bit slower than he was” but is working on a ranch, attending online classes from home and planning to take his message of survival to high schools around the state, Bobby Bothe said.

It’s a message the father supports. “I don’t want no parent to ever go through this,” he said. “You gotta know, my son is everything to me.”

6 teens killed, 2 injured when overcrowded SUV flips into pond

Teen tragedy: 5 die in fiery collision with tanker truck in Texas

Though traffic fatalities have seen a historic drop in recent decades, young drivers remain at highest risk.

Motor-vehicle crashes are the top cause of death for people ages 15 to 20, according to 2007 figures from the National Center for Health Statistics.

In 2010, crashes killed about 2,700 people ages 16 to 19 — more than seven per day — and resulted in nearly 282,000 others being treated for injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And drivers ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely than older drivers to be involved in a fatal crash, the agency says.

The weekend crashes in Ohio and Texas fit even higher-risk profiles:

— Both SUVs were packed with other teenagers, which in itself is a risk factor. The more teenage passengers, the more likely a crash will occur.

— None of the six teens who died in the Ohio wreck was wearing a seat belt. In 2011, 54% of high school students said they always wore seat belts, the lowest rate of any age group, according to the CDC.

— Failure to focus on the task at hand also may have played a role with the 19-year-old driver in Ohio. “The lady driving was playing around when she was driving,” said Asher C. Lewis, one of the two survivors of the crash, according to his account in the traffic crash report. “She was swaying and speeding. I think she was driving on purpose like that but I’m not sure why. It felt like she was driving like 80 mph.” Teen drivers are more likely than their older counterparts to speed, the CDC says.

— The Texas driver’s age — 16 — put him and his passengers at heightened risk. Accidents are more likely to occur during the first few months after a teenager has received a driver’s license.

— The Texas driver was male: In 2010, the death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 16 to 19 was nearly twice that of females.

— Both wrecks occurred on the weekend: More than half (55%) of teen deaths from motor-vehicle crashes occur on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, the CDC says.

Texas holds a dubious distinction related to crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, young drivers were involved in 187 fatal crashes in 2010 in the Lone Star State; the next highest number was 113, in Florida. Ohio had 71.

Still, the trend for younger drivers — as with drivers overall — is toward safety. The 1,963 drivers ages 15 to 20 who died in motor-vehicle crashes in 2010 represented a 46% drop from the 3,617 who died in 2001, according to NHTSA.

There are proven ways to limit the carnage, according to the CDC. It cites graduated driver licensing systems in which teens’ abilities to drive are expanded over time from the initial stages, when driving is restricted to low-risk conditions.

Some parents are equipping their vehicles with tracking technology, which they can use to monitor their children’s driving habits in real time.

“Parents are very nervous,” Ken Muth, a spokesman for American Family Insurance, said in a telephone interview. “Our agents hear it every day. Putting a 16-year-old behind the wheel on their own is a very frightening thing for a parent.”

The company offers parents the option of installing a webcam on the rear-view mirror of the car used by new drivers.

The camera records what happens inside and outside the vehicle but saves the recording only when it senses a sudden movement such as hard braking or a sharp turn, Muth said.

The video is provided to the parents on a secure website, the equivalent of a driving report card for their kids, he said.

“They can sit and review what happened in that incident and use it as a learning tool,” said Muth. He noted that the service is free for a year, and the insurance company is not privy to the information collected.

Muth credited the program for reducing risky driving behavior and said teens tend to embrace the technology after using it. “They develop trust with their parents, become better drivers and get more driving privileges.”

Chris Mullen, director of technology research at State Farm, noted that the insurer set up a website last fall to aid beginning drivers and their parents. One of its programs — Road Aware — helps drivers learn to recognize and anticipate road hazards in front of a video screen rather than on the road.

“This is not a skill that’s automatic,” Mullen said in a telephone interview. “It has to be learned.”

Forty-three percent of teen driver crashes are due to a failure to recognize hazards, she said.

In another example of help from technology, a teenager can activate an app on his or her cellular phone and then put it in their vehicle’s cupholder, where it will score the driver’s abilities based on acceleration, cornering and braking, she said. “It gives you feedback on the drive you just took and allows you to score it,” she said.

Chance Bothe’s near-fatal texting is common, according to CDC statistics. In 2009, distracted driving was linked to more than 5,400 deaths and about 448,000 injuries. Cell phone use was cited as the major distraction in nearly 1,000 of the deaths and 24,000 injuries.

Nine percent of U.S. drivers said they texted or e-mailed “regularly or fairly often” while driving.

Not all of those messages may be worth sending.

“It was just a curve coming into town,” Bobby Bothe said. “And he never curved. Just kept going straight. If the creek would have had water in it, he would have drowned.

“Three of my buddies seen it happen; they went to him and they drug him out of the truck and the truck was on fire and it blew up as soon as they got him out,” he said.

This is so hilarious, I couldn’t pass up sharing it with my readers. If you have slow-poke teenagers, this is a parent’s PERFECT weapon!!!!