Archives for September 2009

HUGE Teen Driving Revelations

Psst…if you are a parent, lean in close.

Dim your screen…don’t let anyone see what you’re reading…

Especially your teens.

I heard this BIG news story on several channels on Monday so I had to do a little online research and share these revelations with you!

Two new studies confirm fewer crashes among teens with supportive parents and clear rules.

Did you get the two revelations in that sentence?

Let’s review (for my teen readers – who happen to be my kids)…

1. Supportive Parents

Teen Translation: Nagging “in-your-business” parents who ask you things like “Where are you going?”

My personal favorite annoying question that I know my children will attest to…”Who is riding in what car?”

2. Clear Rules

Teen Translation: Annoying, stupid things your nagging parents repeat hundreds of times before you are 18.

My personal favorite rule “Tell us your plans, destination(s) and passengers before you leave and don’t change them after you leave the house.”

Seems super clear to me but the darling twins still have a hard time with this one.

What I really wanted to find out was how much these new studies cost???

WHY OH WHY didn’t they just call me?

And a few other strict, not-fun parents like me?

Oh, that’s right – we are hard to find because we are almost extinct.

One of my most favorite lines from a Fox news affiliate

They also found that teenagers who have to ask to use the car were more likely to wear their seat belts and not talk on their cell phones.

I added the bold emphasis.

HAVE TO ASK TO USE THE CAR?!!

Oops, sorry, don’t mean to SCREAM but are there really still parents MAKING their kids ASK TO USE THE CAR?

Thanks for letting me rant.

Because as I have admitted before, I have issues…

About parents who are more worried about their kids being popular and their kids liking them than of the seriousness of giving our teenagers a bright, new, shiny car but none of the responsibility that goes with it.

This is the magnet I purchased and made the kids drive around with when they were learning to drive. Kept one in the trunk of each car.

teendrivermagnet

Yes, I am that parent.

I prayed a lot. But I also remember thinking if the message on that magnet makes just one impatient, tailgating, honking, rude driver stop and realize that a new young driver was at the wheel in front of them, then the magnet was effective.

We also paid for private driving lessons with a veteran police officer and driver’s education instructor who came highly recommended. He made a tremendous difference in their confidence level and spent some serious time teaching them how to handle the big metal weapon car in scary situations.

So in case you didn’t know until now, it’s official…

Firm Parents Keep Drivers Safe

In all seriousness, if you are a parent and did all the right things and suffered the loss of a teen, I send my heartfelt sympathy. Sometimes, accidents really are accidents. I’m certain that the devastation and heartbreak never goes away.

If you have a teen learning to drive and you need some help and guidelines, here is more info about the study:

Parenting Teen Drivers

On the heels of two studies published in the journal Pediatrics, the Young Driver Research Initiative (YDRI) has developed a comprehensive report of recently published research providing evidence-based recommendations for teen driver safety practitioners and parents that may reduce teen crash risk. It’s called Driving Through the Eyes of Teens, A Closer Look. A set of fact sheets and a webpage including expert advice have also been created to help parents enhance their skills to help teens safely navigate the first years of driving.

I’m grateful I got the first three to 18+ but as usual, the study, the book, the manual, the instruction guide, etc., etc., came out just after I needed it and I had to just use common sense and “go with my gut.”

I know I take this all a little personally. Must be the coma and head injury.

Ridiculous mother. Unreasonable rules. Uncool and politically (and socially) incorrect. Not their best friend.

Yes, I am that mother.

And this is not an apology.

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Parent Weekend & Atlanta Rain

The rain has finally stopped. Knock on wood.

After 4 years of drought we try not to complain about rain. But who could predict the Atlanta area would flood?

Thanks to those who emailed and called to check on us. We were fortunate with only a little water in our basement.

Lots of sad stories and loss.

For some people, really bad days.

Maybe you caught the story of this poor guy last week.

CarSinkhole

Luckily he wasn’t injured when he drove his car into the sinkhole because someone moved the orange barrels that are back now surrounding the hole.

And to add insult to injury, the story got worse when thieves stole his radio while his car was in the sinkhole.

Poor guy.

Meanwhile we headed to North Georgia on Saturday to visit the girls for Parent Weekend.

Because we hadn’t seen them in FIVE WHOLE DAYS.

And they really miss us.

As you will now see from these touching family photos of our time together in the pouring rain with all outdoor activities canceled.

We acquired an extra teen which we don’t mind at all. They are usually nicer to us than our own.

Girls1

We decided to drive to the apple orchard since we were so close. Even though Rachel Pretty had already announced she didn’t want to go to the orchard. She doesn’t like orchards.

We took her feelings into consideration and then we drove to the orchard in her car because we needed six seat belts.

Scary Baby insisted on going out in the pouring rain to stick her head in the stockade with her new wax lips.

ScaryBaby

Then Rachel Pretty screamed at us because we were dawdling. We were on a tight time schedule and our 30 minutes of being inside and dry was up.

Girls2

She threatened to leave us but PhilBillPaul dangled the car keys from the orchard porch.

Girls3

Nice to know her car will start without the keys.

We all got back in the car for more family bonding while PhilBillPaul drove us back to the campus as it continued to pour down rain and I squealed whenever we drove through standing water on the road.

Pretty found some gum in the back seat. It turned out to be really old.

So she did what we would all do. She rolled down the window in the pouring rain to spit the gum out.

Only to have the gum ricochet back in from the window frame and land on her.

Girls4

Which turned out to be the highlight of our day.

Well, that and the healthy serving of apples at the orchard.

Fritter

Don’t judge an apple fritter by this photo. They really are delicious. But if you have never had one and I didn’t carefully label this photo, you might think it was something else…

I am refraining from putting you through the cell phone video of the girls singing Taylor Swift and Beyoncé songs at the top of their lungs when the iPod died.

We stopped by Wal-Mart, gave them a coupon for dinner at a local restaurant and drove them back to their dorm.

Quality family time. That’s what we’re all about.

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Cake Decorating

Before I do the big reveal of the decorated birthday cake

I need to share a little story about what happened yesterday which was my actual birthday.

Since school was canceled for the 2nd day in a row because of the raining and flooding in Georgia, Scary Baby was home and had plenty of time for cake decorating.

I was glad she wanted to do this. Falls under crafty homemaking project that required no supervision. My kind of activity.

I go downstairs to see the finished creation. She has a neighbor friend over and when she hears me coming, she leaps to her feet trying to become invisible near a wall in the family room. I round the corner and say:

“What are you doing?”

She stands with a small plate and fork in her hand (in the family room where she’s not suppose to be eating…this is a recording) with what definitely looks like birthday cake.

Yes, that’s right. Scary Baby has served up the decorated birthday cake in the middle of the afternoon.

This is a new twist on “Birthday Surprise.”

I tell her I really can’t believe she is eating the cake before her dad and brother get home. We typically have cake after dinner with the family.

She indignantly replied:

I didn’t have the first piece! There was already a piece gone!

PhilBillPaul had iced the cake just before midnight. I was sure he didn’t have a piece before she got to decorate it.

I moved on. It was one of those “pick your battles” moments.

I pulled the cake from the fridge (chocolate cream cheese frosting) and praised her lovely decorating skills and told her I loved it.

Which I did. Especially the cinnamon red hots. An unusual personal touch.

bdaycake

I also love her diamond pattern she had planned out on graph paper. And the fact she used my first name.

Later, I used my finely honed detective parenting skills, I found out that it was her darling brother who had a small piece in the middle of the night. His explanation…

He saw it. He was hungry. He didn’t know it was a birthday cake.

This is the life of a mom and low key birthdays.

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Earthy Crunchy Moms

I’ve never been one.

No offense to those who are earthy crunchy. Moms or otherwise.

Most of you know of our bad eating habits, the lack of vegetables, the love of desserts here at the Humpfreeze house.

I know it will be surprising to discover I’ve been trying to bring a few more healthy choices into our life.

Baby Steps

We’ve been taking small steps trying to wean all of us three of us off the “white stuff” meaning the refined sugars and enriched flours and food that is filled with preservatives. We’re trying to eat more “Real Food” which is a book I’ve enjoyed reading recently.

Stop laughing.

I can hear people who know me, oh so well, that they think this may be impossible.

All I can tell you is we’re trying.

I’ve been inspired by another blogger, Jo-Lynne who has made much bigger changes with her family cooking.

We think it could seriously help us with Scary Baby and her appetite and her attitude. We’ll get back to you on that. I can tell you she’s being a trooper about trying to change some of her eating habits.

First Step

I’d like to get rid of all boxed cereals. You might have thought I had told Scary Baby that she had to eat liver and onions for breakfast now. Boy, oh boy, this kid is seriously addicted to boxed cereals.

So I made homemade granola.

Granola

I left out the coconut and doubled the sunflower seeds. PhilBillPaul and I actually really like it. Scary Baby isn’t eating it. Plain or with whole milk. She’s not having it.

Side note: Granola recipe here and PhilBillPaul made the granola bars which we both like too. Scary Baby – not so much. I also tried this Baked Soaked Oatmeal a few weeks ago and really liked it. I cut it in squares and heated it on the stove and added a little milk. Can you tell I love oatmeal?

So Sunday night I made a whole batch of homemade breakfast burritos and froze them so she can start her day with some protein…eggs, cheese and sausage. Instead of sugar, sugar, sugar.

Burritos

No so appetizing-looking when frozen but PhilBillPaul was kind enough to sample one before I froze them and he gave them his seal of approval.

This is a convenient alternative to cereal.

Because let’s not get ridiculous and think I have ever gotten up and whipped up a hot breakfast for child 1, 2, 3 or 4. Doesn’t happen. Ever.

Baby steps – I’m trying. I am convinced that most pre-packaged convenience food filled with artificial everything is not good for us. Just my opinion.

Not turning into an earthy, crunchy mom. But I’ll be sure and let you know if we get a chicken for fresh eggs and a cow for fresh milk.

Can’t wait to tell you what changes we’ve made for her school lunches. Let’s just say it’s a far cry from what the first three ate…

No worries that I’ve banned sugar completely. Scary Baby got busy baking me a birthday cake last night with a little help from PhilBillPaul.

Bdaycake

She has plenty of time to decorate her masterpiece because school has been canceled again due to this crazy flooding we’re having down here in Georgia.

Meanwhile, what do you eat for breakfast?

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Flexible Friday #44 Two Words

Flu bug.

Ugh.

We seem to be passing it around here at the Humpfreeze house.

And apparently it’s my turn.

With the added lethal combination of…

Hormones + Rain = Migraines

Two in one week which might be a personal record for me.

Forgive my silence. I have trouble finding the funny when I am sick. 🙁

Hope everyone else is well and you all have a wonderful weekend!

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Halloween Costume Planning Part 1

It’s not too early to start planning your children’s Halloween costumes.

Thank goodness I have a planner in my house and he’s way too old for me to participate in costume planning. I want him to get full credit for this one.

When he turned 20 last week, it meant I was down from three teenagers to just two.

Seems like an improvement, don’t you think?

We thought so too.

Until he told us about what he ordered on ebay.

We couldn’t really do justice with a mere description.

Unfortunately for you all, part of the costume has arrived.

Picture 3

I try to keep the blog PG-13 hence the leaf placement.

For those of you who don’t know what this lovely incredibly strange outfit is called and we certainly didn’t – it is a…

Zentai Suit

Please Lord, don’t let him start doing this in public.

I’ll keep you posted when the other pieces of the costume arrive…

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Surely We All Have Eleven Minutes

To remember…

Where you were the moment you heard…

And send a prayer up to those who were lost and those who still grieve…

And for everyone who needs an extra prayer today.

Never forget 9-11-01

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20 Years Ago Today…

I was in labor…

With gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, the Kell antibody in my blood and I was labeled “High Risk” since all those factors coupled with that pesky head injury and coma of ’87 seemed to be in my permanent record.

Just a few hours before, they told PhilBillPaul it was going to be a long night and he should get some rest.

So he promptly went to sleep on the empty hospital bed next to me.

While I laid awake for several hours after the nurse told me I might experience some “slight cramping.”

Yeah, it was nice to know that PhilBillPaul got some rest while I was pretty sure I was going to DIE as I watched that bottom number on the blood pressure monitor keep rising.

I beeped the nurses and said that if this was “slight cramping” then they could just kill me now because I was never, ever going to live through the actual labor.

Surprise, surprise – I was in labor and they kicked it into high gear.

I demanded an epidural.

And when the doctor arrived, he had the gall to say to me “Oh, you’re too far along but I can give you some Demerol to take the edge off.”

Natural childbirth was not my birthing plan.

In spite of the grudge I still hold (just towards the doctor), I birthed a perfect little baby boy.

Grandad

Who, today, leaves his teen years behind…

On this milestone day of 09-09-09.

Not only does the date look good in marketing promotions, but it also represents the last set of repeating, single-digit dates that we’ll see for almost a century (until January 1, 2101), or a millennium (mark your calendars for January 1, 3001), depending on how you want to count it.

Beyond the Cocoa Krispie Nightmare and his using pot in front of us, he is smart and funny and seems to be turning out okay in spite of being surrounded by estrogen, chaos and dysfunction.

He continues to bless our lives…

Happy Birthday Pumpkin.

pumpkin

Evie James Humpies…we love you to the moon.

xoxo

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Girls Weekend and a Parade

We had all three girls home for the long weekend while The Grunter enjoyed an early birthday present in downtown Atlanta.

We have discussed it and realize he could have worse hobbies.

DragonCon2DragonCon3DragonCon1

Even if we don’t share his fascination with this particular one and if you are confused by the pictures, you can read more about Dragon*Con here and book your tickets for next year’s convention.

We enjoyed lots of home cooking (yes, I still remember how – thank you very much), great music at a local Mexican restaurant and a movie.

Our long weekend culminated with the darling twins making time for a round of golf. Scary Baby accompanied our foursome and rode in the cart.

The weather was gorgeous. The first nine holes were fun for all of us. Especially me because I beat everyone. Not gloating, just telling it like it is. 😉

The back nine – well – we had pushed the fun envelope a little too far.

Scary Baby started falling apart because it was taking too long and she HAD TO GET BACK HOME because she was in charge of THE PARADE in our neighborhood that she had organized {insert whiny voice} days earlier. She swears it was approved by dad. I knew nothing about it.

On the 14th hole, I would have paid top dollar for someone to film Roger Leroy falling into a small ditch with a concrete wall that she thought she would just *hop* over. She tried to recover and fell in another hole.

I fell over in the cart laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.

She collapsed for a third time because we were both laughing so hard.

This is the PT Frog of the Cycle cadet stud.

And I am refraining from mentioning that she fell down on hole #2 as she scampered down a tiny hill to grab an horrible errant shot.

She insists the grass was wet.

We gave up after the 14th hole. Roger Leroy was bleeding from scraping against the concrete wall in the ditch. Scary Baby was whining more.

She was LATE for her OWN PARADE!!!!

She had posted flyers and told EVERYONE.

Please Lord, not another neighborhood flyer.

LaborDay1

Side note: Is spelling “Labour” a British version?

Answers to questions I’ll probably never know:

How can free be a “rip-off” and why were they trying to convince us they “are not cute”? This one was a doozie and PhilBillPaul and I are still baffled as to who said it was “cute” and why that was not a selling feature.

LaborDay2

As you can see, the street was lined with people.

LaborDay3

They pulled their wagon float with a bike.

Extension cords were strewn across the yard for the music. DJ services provided by a neighbor dad.

I’m not sure any singing or skits ever took place.

I did hear they threw candy to the crowd.

Ah, the simple pleasures of childhood…

The poor quality photos were taken by Dad.

While yes, I’m not too proud to admit it, I slept through the parade.

Golfing and laughing at Roger Leroy just wore me out!!

What did you do for Labor Day Weekend?

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Flexible Friday #43 Money Pants

I might need to re-vamp my whole blog schedule since I just had to search the archives only to discover I’m so flexible that I never even had a “Flexible Friday” in August.

I’m blaming it on the darling twins. Who will be home by the time you are reading this.

On to real life…

Scary Baby and I were sitting in the car as PhilBillPaul stood in line waiting his turn to use the ATM.

Which I personally think has led to the demise of this generation and future generations who believe you just “go to that machine and get more money” is how you get money. I can’t remember if it was The Grunter or Roger Leroy who told me that some years ago. I am old and forgetful.

Anyway, we went to that machine to get some more money and Scary Baby started snickering in the backseat.

Me: What’s so funny?

SB: That guy has money on his underwear…

Me: Excuse me?

SB: Look, you can see his underwear and it has money on it. And he’s getting money at the machine. {giggle}

Me: Why do you think he needs to get money if his pants are filled with money?

{more giggling}

SB: Take a picture – that would be a funny blog post.

Me: I don’t have my camera. It probably won’t turn out with my camera phone.

SB: Try it, then maybe you can blow it up.

I’m pretty sure she’ll have her own blog soon.

MoneyBOA

Since the picture from my camera phone quality is so bad I thought you might want to see a close up of the underwear.

moneyboxers

We’re just guessing they looked like this. Thank goodness, we really did only see a glimpse.

We then watched PhilBillPaul let the man behind him go in front of him.

We wondered why.

We were still laughing when he got back in the car. We explained the money pants.

(I saved the inappropriate comment of Buttload of Money for here and now.)

PhilBillPaul then told us the lovely man walked up behind him & informed him:

“I was actually here first – before you.”

Meaning he pulled in before us? He was sitting in his car holding his place? Phil outran him to the sidewalk? (That so did not happen!)

Only PhilBillPaul would motion for him to go ahead of him when Money Pants was done. Because he is NICE LIKE THAT.

And he said he’s never in that big of a hurry.

(I can confirm the latter.)

I used this as a teachable moment so that Scary Baby would understand that in addition to having the NICEST DAD ON THE PLANET, we also live in a time and place where someone might hurt you if you “take their turn” or irritate them in public.

Which was really going to be Friday’s post topic but when she spotted the Buttload of Money moment, I had to let that go first!

Did this story make national news?

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Man Slaps Stranger’s Crying Kid

Go ahead, click and read, then come back. I’ll wait.

I had to pause the TV to let PhilBillPaul see it when the local news aired the story.

As many of us can attest privately if not publicly that we have been disturbed by a child crying, screaming, squealing, whining or shrieking in public and wish their parents would remove them from the premises…

Whether it be restaurant, store, library, airplane etc., or my personal favorite… the movie theater.

And many of us can attest to the fact that at some point, the said child was OURS and we are THOSE parents.

(Except in my case – never the movie theater…thank you very much.)

I can only hope that my reader friends are those parents who do actually remove the child so as not to disturb others.

And remember those stressful moments and have mercy and grace on other parents.

As opposed to this grouchy, scary man in Georgia.

The two year old probably started crying when she saw him.

Frankly, I’m scared of him and I don’t scare too easily.

Remind me to tell you about my day in Wal-Mart hell with three toddlers oh so many years ago.

It’s a family favorite in our Humpfreeze story archive.

Until then, have a marvelous Labor Day weekend and click over to iLashGirls and enter to win one of our simply fabulous gifts because our one year anniversary giveaway goes through the weekend!

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