Coffee Chat – June 2009


$25.00 online gift certificate goes to:


Congratulations Victoria!!!

$10.00 Starbucks gift card goes to:


Congratulations Jennifer Miller!!


Thank you to everyone who left a comment! Your honesty and humor simply took my breath away and I SOOO enjoyed reading your answers!!! Let’s do this again in September!!!

Coffee Chat is ALL about YOU! Here’s what you do: Answer the daily question. That’s it! (Beware! The questions get more challenging as the days go by!)

1. Each answer you leave in the comment section counts as one ticket. (One comment per day, please).

2. Subscribe to my feed, receive another ticket. (Please leave separate comment if subscribed).

3. Follow me on Twitter, receive another ticket. (Please leave separate comment if following).

On June 12th, at 4:00 p.m. CST, I’ll draw two winners – first place winner gets to choose a $25.00 gift certificate to an online retailer of his/her choice (see this page for store listings) AND, the second place winner will receive a $10.00 Starbucks gift card (U.S. residents only for the Starbucks gift card, please).

Confused? Contact Karen.

Ready for the questions?

Question #1: How many siblings do you have? What is your birth order?

Question #2: What drives you crazy?

Question #3: What’s your all-time favorite meal, and how often do you enjoy it?

Question #4: What’s your favorite birthday memory?

Question #5: If you could eliminate one weakness or limitation in your life, what would it be?

Question #6: Do you think there will ever be world peace? Why or why not?

Question #7: What do you live in denial about?

(LAST) Question #8: When was the last time you cried? Why?

My answer: I never cry, UNLESS, it’s a touching commercial, or a sappy movie. Those are the only times I allow myself to cry. But I think the last time I actually cried over something that happened in my life was when me and my oldest son had a blow out fight and I knew, in that moment, that our relationship would never be the same.

Friday Fun, Relationships

Having Dad Around Just Adds Up

Not just DADS, but MEN, too!
Not just good DADS, but good MEN, too!
What exactly is Dad Blogs?

Dad Blogs is a site based on the vision of two dads with one goal in mind — to make the internet a better place for Dad Bloggers. Dad Blogs was born out of necessity. Both of the creators of DB were tired of browsing through parenting blogs and being assaulted with page after page of feminine ad campaigns and badges for mom blogging networks without ever seeing a male alternative.

Actually, I had assumed (because I just now read the about page – I’m a dweeb like that) that the Dad Blogs’ community was all about edifying dads in general.

But building a community of Dad bloggers is good, too. 🙂

So, now I’m confused. Is it okay to brag about the dads in my life? I hope so, because that’s what I’m going to do.

(I’m a bit of a rebel like that. *smile*)

I think men get a bad rap. And I think dads get an even worse rap.

And by bad rap, I mean this whole crazy notion that it’s not necessary to have a man in one’s life in order to have children.

Perhaps it’s not necessary in the mother’s life, but it sure as hell is necessary in the child’s life.

Once again, it’s all about what is good for the SELF and not what’s good for OTHERS.

I can’t tell you how sick and tired I am of this attitude, people.

Now I’m talking about normal situations – where the woman has chosen to have the baby without involving the father. Or has chosen to exclude the father in someway, whether that’s a physical exclusion or an emotional exclusion. I’m not talking about situations where the father is abusive or detrimental to the overall family unit. Or where the father has decided to reject the mother/child. (His loss)

That’s an entirely different ballgame.

No, I’m talking about the general assumption that fathers are somehow an afterthought — that they don’t really matter in the overall scheme of things. As long as the WOMAN is fulfilled and satisfied, then screw the dads. And the kids? Will be fiiiine. Don’t worry about them.

That ideology makes me grind my teeth in irritation.

Fathers are important to children. They bring insight, balance and a unique perspective that is necessary for children to absorb. It’s taken me years of reconditioning my way of thinking to believe that, but after 19 years of marriage and two boys later, I’m convinced my life, and my boys’ lives, would not be what they are today if Kevin hadn’t been in the picture.

And he nearly wasn’t. But that’s a story that must never be told.

There I go, off on a tangent again. Can you tell the topics I’m passionate about? I apologize if this seems all “in your face”, but there are just some things that I think need to be said.

Let me give you an example of how important Kevin is to my boys and how NOT having him around would have changed their lives – and not for the better.

Grade cards came in the mail yesterday.

Kevin had come home for lunch (he’s so good about eating leftovers for lunch everyday – me? Not so much. But then again, I rarely eat that much for lunch anyway) when he handed me two envelopes addressed to the boys.

(I have no idea why he does this – I guess because anything to do with the kids is somehow my responsibility. Wait, that bit of sarcasm was unfair. If he had kept, and opened, the envelopes without telling me first, I probably would have gotten annoyed with him. The man can’t win. See how difficult we are to get along with sometimes, ladies?)

I held my breath and opened them.

I don’t know why I always get so nervous whenever I take a peek at the boys’ grades. The school district has this nifty (and totally cool, I might add!) online database where I can access my sons’ grades and assignments at any time so there is rarely an unpleasant surprise when it comes to grades anymore. But still … I’ve lived through too many last-minute disasters to completely relax, I suppose.

No surprises. Well, there were a few classes that I wasn’t sure how they did on their finals, but the overall results? Not bad. They could have done better, but what kind of mom would I be if I didn’t feel the urge to push them juuuuust a bit more?

But considering they handled their classes, on their own and with virtually no help from us, is saying quite a bit.

They are so much smarter than I give them credit for.

There is one exception to this subject praise, though; Math.

The boys have had to have help with Math since 1st grade – when they were first introduced to Calculus.

I kid. But not by much.

And that’s always been Kevin’s department because when God handed out the ability to analyze equations and solve for X – I was too busy curling my hair to have received it.

In short – I. Am. TERRIBLE. At. Math.

Go ahead, tease me. My guys do. And they are fully justified.

I can honestly say, and with absolute certainty, that if Kevin hadn’t been around to help these boys with their math over the years, my children would have ended up on the IEP program.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I know, in my heart, I would have helped put them in that situation simply because I lack the intelligence to help them in this one area.

But being thankful that Kevin was around to help with math goes WAY beyond actually working the problems — I’m grateful that he taught them patience, perseverance and the importance of applying certain applications to real-life scenarios.

So those decent grades in math? The ones they earned all by their lonesome with only minimal help from dad this year? Is largely due to the lessons that Kevin taught them.

It all goes back to the different perspective thing I wrote about earlier.

Kevin is such a great father, in so many ways – both large and small – that I simply can not imagine, I cannot fathom, what sort of life the boys would have had without him in their lives.

Children miss SO MUCH when dad’s not around.

(word count: 1075)


Summer Fun

Summer Fun Activities: June 12th

Are you ready for some fun ideas to keep your kids busy this next week?

Here are five ideas to get the creative juices flowing (and please, take these ideas, build on them, make them your own, use them as a springboard for bigger and better ideas):

Day One – Take your child on a field trip – take him/her to work with mom or dad. Even the most mundane place is fun and new to a child.

Day Two – Count the number of steps it takes to walk to the corner with your child.

Day Three – Have your child look for bugs. How many different kinds of bugs can he or she find? Size? Color? (Here are some handy homemade bug traps: Bug Inhaler | Bug Hotel | Lady Bug Inn

Day Four – Have your child list all uses of math around the house. Take him/her shopping and have the child keep track of what’s being purchased – great lesson about budgeting!

Day Five – Cut pieces of paper into shapes and paste them in a quilt pattern with your child.

Crafts for the Kids (by age)

Featured Craft of the Week:
Dot Stamping

4 to 5 year olds
Artwork Jewelry (or use Shrinky Dinks!)

6 to 8 year olds
Flour Children

9 to 12 year olds
Bottle Buds

Here is a fun activity from the book, “A Lithgow Palooza!”:

groovy-face2 Starry Night

This palooza directs our gaze to the sky in search of the art and poetry there.

arrow-right-side What to do:

Explore the nighttime sky and find the art in the stars. Translate what you see into images and words.

Take a look at Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. This famous painting isn’t an exact representation of the stars, but an expression of how they made van Gogh feel.

What do you see in the stars?

Start with a little stargazing. Choose a good viewing place and time: a clear night far from a city. If you live in a city, save this palooza for when you’re on vacation, or hop in the car and drive to where the city glow won’t disturb your view.

Turn off all yard lights and inside lights, then go outside with a pair of binoculars. Let your eyes get used to the dark while you’re setting up — it can take up to ten minutes for your eyes to fully adjust to the darkness. Spread a blanket on the ground, lie down on your back and look up.

You’re seen stars so often that you stop noticing them. Try now to really look at them. Let the sky full of stars wash over you and surround you. Think about the stars in relation to your five senses. What do they look like to you? Jewels? Pinpricks of light? Observe how they’re grouped, how they shine. Note the words that come to mind about what you’re seeing.

If stars were music, what would it sound like? Something light and tinkly, from the high end of the piano? Or complex and dramatic – a symphony of sound? Do stars have a scent? Have you ever tasted anything that reminds you of stars? If you could reach up and touch the stars, what would they feel like? When you get back inside, jot down any impressions you had while looking at the stars and any words that describe them. Think about colors, shapes, sounds, tastes, textures; use nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs.

Try writing some poetry about the stars. Start with a simple haiku, a non-rhyming poem that has three lines and seventeen syllables. The first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables, and there are five syllables in the third. Look at your star word notes and see if there are some that seem to connect well. For example:

Bright stars glimmering
Against the dark sky at night
Are smiling at me.

Your turn. 🙂