Sixteen years later and we still don’t have any idea what The Grunter told Santa he wanted that made Santa look like this…
But it always makes us laugh. 🙂
Sixteen years later and we still don’t have any idea what The Grunter told Santa he wanted that made Santa look like this…
But it always makes us laugh. 🙂
This day, the 2nd day of February, always makes me laugh.
Well at least it has since 1991.
Because that was the year that EverettEdwardEvan asked me one of my all-time favorite toddler questions.
He came home from his first Mother’s Morning Out program and asked me with all the seriousness an inquisitive two-year old can muster:
It should have been my first sign that he had inherited his daddy’s finely tuned hearing.
So here at the Humpfreeze homestead, 17 years later, we still refer to this special day as Brown Log Day.
Does anyone know…
Did the Brown Log see his shadow?
P.S. Where the heck was this book chocked full of activities when my pumpkin and his tiny twin sisters were little?
I seriously would have spent the $10 bucks so we could have had a Brown Log Day party!
P.S.S. Another GREAT giveaway opportunity over at iLashGirls this week. It’s my personal favorite…FOOD!!!!! Click here to enter to win!
Merry Christmas Eve to all!
Growing up, we got to open one present on Christmas Eve.
It was very, very, very EXCITING.
All those presents under the tree and we waited in eager anticipation to get to open ONE present early!
I decided to carry on the same tradition with my kids because I remember it so vividly.
I have also come to find out that it isn’t all that unique and I’ve met many people who have the same darn tradition.
I’m guessing many mothers discovered what my mother discovered in the early years with toddlers.
We might have looked a little ratty – I appear to have outgrown my pajamas (unless they were capris).
But let’s be real – who looks great when they pop out of bed at 6:00 am to see what Santa brought them?
But mothers across the land decided the kids photograph better in NEW matching pajamas!!
Ahem. Sort of.
I’m pretty sure we weren’t allowed to come downstairs until Mom fixed our hair too. I think everyone will agree that part of the reason I am the way I am today is because of the childhood trauma of my mother pulling my hair back, exposing my forehead, with no bangs. Hello?!
As we got older, I think it got harder to make us look decent for pictures. We have evidence (that appears to have been tampered with) to prove it. But she still tried.
Bless her heart.
Side note: My youngest sister is not special needs. I think she is the one who tampered with our matching pajama Christmas Eve
evidence tradition. She may have creased the above photo trying to destroy the picture.
I think we were not cooperating for the pajama photo shoot. I sense some holiday tension. Those *smiles* don’t look genuine.
Probably got in trouble for making the youngest laugh…I’ll get back to you on that because luckily, my mother will remember in excruciating detail what happened that Christmas Eve as soon as she reads this.
But in spite of the trauma of no bangs and feathered bangs and all the years in between, I continued this adorable tradition with my own children…
Imagine how excited I was when Grandma sent matching Red Flannel pajamas from Cedar Springs, Michigan for the darling twins first Christmas just like the ones we wore back in the 70’s!
Whoa! Check out that startled bug-eyed look Roger Leroy is sporting. Unfortunately it’s genetic. Yet another thing I
blame thank my mother for.
Or maybe it was the granny cap pinching her tiny head?
Or maybe not.
Yeah, so the bug-eyed thing is genetic. There’s no denying it…
Scary Baby asked me yesterday if everyone could open ONE present on Christmas Eve.
I immediately said:
She countered with:
Can it please NOT be pajamas?
Such a silly child – we’re not breaking tradition here!
In honor of Grandma, those new p.j.s are in the warsh right now! 😉
How many of you have this tradition? Or do you have a truly unique tradition to share?
Wishing you all a very happy holiday with your loved ones,
Note: Be sure and click on over to iLashGirls after reading this post to enter the Sunday Surprise Giveaway for a darling personalized hooded bath towel! Sponsored by another great Breast Cancer Awareness Etsy shop.
I wanted to give you moms who still have little ones an opportunity to whip up an award-winning Halloween costume for your neighborhood or community contest. You still have plenty of time.
Adult award-winner is at bottom of the post but let’s focus on the kids first.
I believe it should fall to the grandmas of the world to make the costumes. Such a loving act to your grandkids and such a relief to moms like me who become stressed when I have to sew on a button.
Yes, my mother can sew.
Yes, I took Home Economics back in the late 70’s in preparation to become the domestic goddess that I am today.
It’s just that the sewing bug never really stuck after I made that beautiful quilted vest I had to wear when I was a freshman.
Oh yes I did, because part of the grade was that you had to wear what you made to school.
What mean teacher thought of that? I still got an “A” in spite of that vest.
Somehow, I guilted my mother, a non-crafter to begin making costumes for my precious children because even though I can’t sew, I have a serious aversion to the store-bought variety.
I now give you the Killer Bees of 1992…
Poor Wizzy couldn’t even walk so we had to pull her in a wagon.
In 1993 we had a litter of darling dalmatians…
They were like little doggy snowsuits. Grandma was thinking of the wintery Halloweens of Northern Illinois. Lucky for us, it was actually cold that year and our puppies stayed warm in Georgia.
Sticking with the animal theme in 1994…
A lion and two cheetos. At least that’s what the girls told everyone when they asked what they were. “We two cheetos.” Wasn’t that obvious?
The problem with being a fourth child? Well, there’s a list but trying to stay focused on the topic of today – poor Scary Baby has had to wear every single costume her siblings had already worn.
But if we didn’t have family albums by the year and I hadn’t noticed her creative personal touch of adding of my bear feet slippers, I’m not sure we would know that it is Everina and not Everett.
Mom tip #1: If you pick a theme like animals, they are really timeless. The Barney costume and Mutant Turtle things of the 90’s – not so timeless.
After three years of awesome costumes, Grandma lost her momentum and I conceded that I could handle it in 1995 trying to remain grateful for the previous years.
Part of our early Halloween traditions include going over to the local supermarket where they have cookie decorating, games and ample candy all in the quiet convenience of our favorite grocery. Then we head to a Fall Festival at our church where there are more games, pony rides and of course, more candy!
Mom tip #2: I always told them in a very excited voice what they were going to be for Halloween. Because asking a kid what they want to be for Halloween is like taking a 2 year-old to Toys R Us and saying “pick a toy!”
It is over-stimulation and I say…start early…don’t do it!
Of course, I am aware that I have stifled their creativity and any behavior problems I now have (and I have plenty) can all be traced back to their childhood scars of never getting to pick their Halloween costume.
What is quietly amusing about our themed costumes is that when Grandma stopped making them, the kids started winning costume contests at the grocery store.
Mom tip #3: Matching costumes helped me manage them in public just like coordinating clothes did. Again, I plead guilty to squelching their individuality. My mom motto? Do what works…for you.
Alright, back to the winning costumes because that is what you really want to see, right?
I present the Humphreys robots of 1995…
Forget sewing but give me a glue gun and a can of spray paint and I go crazy.
I wish I could tell you where I got this idea because I’m sure you already figured out I did not think of it on my own. I’m pretty sure it was a magazine. Or TV. Or a book.
Supply list: Dryer duct, reflectors, outlet covers, stickers and even those little battery-powered Christmas tree light packs for miniature trees all work well for this project.
Add a variety of foil baking pans and a colander from the kitchen section.
Then set everything up at a big table and let the kids decorate their own costumes. See, I didn’t stifle their creativity entirely.
Final touches: Grey sweat suits and spray paint old shoes and milk jugs with silver paint and you are looking at first place winners at Publix!
Notice Wizzy couldn’t wait until after the picture to start eating her candy. They won the big pumpkin and a cake from the bakery. Because we would need a sweet dessert after trick or treating?!
First place came with some pressure.
What would they be the next year?
Sometimes, the old classic standbys are the easiest and best…
Two clowns and a magician worked. Yes, I did succumb to the store-bought clown suits and wigs.
In fact, the clowns took 2nd place at Publix.
I think it was mom’s custom face painting that won them a big basket of candy and toys.
Whew, that’s five years of ideas and I’m spent. Hope it gives you an idea or two.
I also loved that they are all unisex and not pink or blue. I spent a lot of years with a boy and two girls fighting those stereotypes.
Then I had Scary Baby. And pretty much gave up. But that’s a whole different subject.
Oh, I almost forgot, I told you at the beginning I did have one
adult award-winning costume idea to share.
I know three unnamed young women who hoped to win $100 in a contest in the 80’s for this delightful group costume…
One of them didn’t even drink. They all knew PBR wasn’t a very popular beverage. But it was the easiest can to draw on giant poster board. Go figure.
These women went as a six-pack and carried an empty can next to them in hopes they’d find a dream date for the evening.
They won the $100 but had no luck with the dates.
Adapt this idea accordingly. Giant poster board, metallic silver poster board, markers, wire coat hanger and foil for the beautiful pop tops and you’re good to go.
And if you are planning to have children and don’t want a picture of you in your reckless youth to be discovered, I think you should be a six-pack of Sprite. Just a suggestion.
The kids’ animal costumes have been lovingly cared for and worn by neighbors and friends through the years. I’m all about recycling so if you have a little one and need a bee, dalmatian, lion or cheeto costume, just email me and I still have time to loan you a costume or two or three!
I promised you that I would share something really, really good that came from the crash and the coma…
The good was the beginning of our family that we started just six months after I woke up.
Nine months later, one month and one day before our 2nd anniversary…
In spite of the fact that it was a BIG surprise and I was not and am still not qualified to be a mother…
Our son was born on September 9, 1989.
He turned 19 yesterday.
He was an absolutely delightful baby.
He was a sweet big brother when I brought home twin sisters just shy of his 2nd birthday.
And another darn sister when he was almost ten years old.
He was a babe magnet from his early days.
I won’t reveal the identity of the girls he was surrounded by but hopefully they will enjoy seeing themselves on the internet.
Neighborhood girls were everywhere. Across the street, next door on both sides…
Things were a little too easy in those early years. I knew it wouldn’t last.
He was a popular kid and this got him in a bit of “hot water”…
We told him this better be the first, last and only time we find him in our bathtub with five naked girls.
He outgrew the delightful baby stage too soon and things became more difficult.
PhilBillPaul handled some cross-dressing issues well.
Um, yes, that is a swimsuit top. And his sister’s hair bow. It was hard being surrounded by females all day.
I knew he would grow out of it eventually so I didn’t make a big deal about it.
Until he and Roger Leroy started sharing clothes.
But you just have to pick your battles so I let it go.
Side note: She still won’t wear dresses but I’m glad to report he no longer wears them either.
He’s actually very well-rounded, artistic and played different sports through the years.
Then we had eating issues.
Maybe you remember The Cocoa Krispie Nightmare?
And hair issues.
This is what happens when the Humphreys children get a hold of hair gel.
And please don’t forget, pot issues.
From Barney to Batman, we have loved our Boy through all the great times and the challenging times.
He graduated from high school in May and completed his first year of college during his senior year. We are so very proud of the man he is becoming.
Though most days, he is still The Grunter here at home.
We were very excited to see his new haircut last week.
We haven’t seen his eyebrows in at least 5 years!
In honor of his birthday and with his permission, he said I can reveal his real name on the blog.
But I’m going to let Grandma’s card (and Hallmark) do that for me. Because we all share a warped sense of humor and this card is now in my Top Ten of our family card competition…
Come on, that’s funny.
Good one Grandma! Grandad James Everett is looking down and laughing!
Grandad Jimbo would be proud of you too.
Happy Birthday Pumpkin!
I love you to the moon.
They’re coming. The Locusts.
They should be here any time and I’ve told PhilBillPaul we should start running now and maybe we can get a head start.
Just want to keep the perspective. Especially for any new readers out there.
The only thing is – my tribulations and woes seem to make everyone laugh and I’m thankful for that, really I am. If I couldn’t laugh, I think I would have really checked out of life a long time ago!
You know that Apartment Guide I found in my car that the darling twin daughters have taken over and think is their car? They might be on to something.
Apartment living really does have its perks. As in, “Hello, maintenance? Can you come over to #123 and fix my…”
Home ownership is not all what it is cracked up to be.
We’ve had our share of house mishaps that sometimes make me want to find an apartment. I’ve had my share of marital strife that has also made me want to find a crappy little apartment.
I know many of you have been patiently waiting for the Xanax story and I like to keep my promises.
Here is the beginning of the story of just ONE part of our house that continues to depress, stress and has actually almost killed us.
It started out as an exciting thing to have. Living in basement-free Florida for six years but growing up in the Midwest made PhilBillPaul and I long for a basement which gives you more storage and the potential for more living space.
Our basement started out as many people’s basements do…unfinished.
Mr. Handy a.k.a. PhilBillPaul and his father finished our basement the summer the girls turned one. I had determined I would need a safe place for them to be if I needed to do anything um, like go to the bathroom, while I was at home taking care of them all day. Some of you may have experienced using the bathroom with the door open and three toddlers being with you at your feet. It’s one of those “this cannot be my life” moments.
I knew I would have to tackle this if I took them all out in public. And I did.
We all crammed into the handicapped stall and believe me, if there was ever a time in my life that I qualified for rights to the handicapped stall it was from 1991-1994 and you saw me at the mall with my darling toddlers.
But I dreamed of a safe place I could put them so that I could use the bathroom or take a shower with a little bit of privacy and without having to do it at 5:00 a.m. before they all started waking up.
The finished basement of 1992 was a thing of beauty.
Note the plugs are high on the wall safe from toddler fingers and the temptation to stick metal objects in them. I am all about safety.
Tell me you’re not digging those purple and pink walls with a splash of teal? Hard to believe but I actually found matching toy boxes after we painted!
Many fond memories were made in the basement where those cute little twins were able to sweetly play with baby dolls and bugles…
She has always been tender-hearted and loving.
This one has always been musical even though we have stifled her development by never enrolling her in any music lessons.
She is also a climber which started early and led to much trouble. This is clear evidence as to why we’ve always called her our circus baby.
Every once in a while Wizzy would get the upper hand on that bully twin, Roger Leroy.
Excellent takedown Wizzy!
Basement play was absolutely exhausting.
Or mom and The Grunter just forgot about us and we finally fell asleep…lonely and neglected.
All in all, our basement was a lovely, much-used gathering place for our kids, their friends, many birthday parties and loads of fun.
Until it flooded.
Once you experience the smell of wet carpet pad, ruined furniture and mold, you start thinking about apartments.
Please also know that I realize that a little water damage in my basement is so trivial in comparison to what the hurricane and flood victims must suffer through.
I really do try to keep my insignificant basement flood in perspective.
Even when it happened FOUR times over five years.
I’ll tell you how we finally fixed the water problem and about the fire on Wednesday…
To be continued…
He has always been a nice dad.
Since he’s not my dad, I didn’t get him a Father’s Day present. Or a card.
Nice Dad always gets me something nice for Mother’s Day. Even though I’m not his mother.
You would think I would reciprocate by getting him something nice.
I’m pretty sure I have in years past. I just forgot this year.
So here’s my attempt to make up for my thoughtlessness.
Lucky for me I have this blog. 🙂
Here’s a photo tribute to what a Nice Dad he is…
Side note: We never call parenting “babysitting.”
BIG issue for me when moms say dad is “babysitting.”
As if I was babysitting while he was working? UGH!
Side note: Did anyone notice that in addition to being N-I-C-E,
he doesn’t take a bad picture?
Some day I know our kids will look back and realize what an amazing and involved Nice Dad that they had!
Until then, he’ll just have to take my word for it…
Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children. –Charles Swindoll
Take a moment to leave a comment and share a great memory about your own dad or the dad of your kids.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend celebrating the fathers in your family. For those of you whose fathers have passed away, I know you fully understand when I say that I miss my dad every day and not just on Father’s Day.
She turns nine tomorrow.
That last baby we actually planned.
The one that we waited so long to have because having one + two more in less than three years was daunting.
We strategically planned to have that last baby so that the first three would be old enough to babysit. That plan has served us well.
We also knew that we wanted an even number…um, why? I have no idea why except the first three so close together just threw me off balance.
I was sure #4 would round out our family.
I love, love, love babies.
I did know I wanted to rock and hold and nurse and love just one baby.
Side note: I confess that I did pray that there would only be one baby.
I didn’t know I would have to fight Roger Leroy (a.k.a. Mama Jr.) to get a turn to hold her.
I did know that that last baby would be adored by all of us and she would always be “The Queen.”
I didn’t know how hard it would be for her to have five pseudo parents instead of two. You have to have a lot of personality and a good sense of humor to keep up in our house. Obviously, she can hang with us.
I did know we would see the world through her eyes and she would make us slow down and see beauty in the simple things.
I didn’t know she would be my only girly-girl. But still love dirt and bugs and
I did know that her daddy had more than enough love for another daughter.
He lights up in her presence.
I didn’t know she would test my patience in ways I never dreamed before the teen years even hit. Big sigh…
I did know that our family would be blessed beyond measure to have her in our world. And having an even number isn’t so odd.
Happy Birthday Baby Girl! You are beautiful and smart and funny.
We all love you to the moon…
P.S. For the observant few, oh yes, that is a giant tattoo on her hand.
Here’s a little wardrobe management tip for those of you with kids young enough to instill some positive, early habits that will serve you all well through high school (hopefully).
With all four of my kids, I have found much success with starting them young on appropriate clothing selection. I’m sure another mother gave me this sage advice but with old age comes a fleeting memory.
Early, before our kids’ school went to uniforms (amen – I’m a huge uniform advocate – I would lobby for them in any school at any age!) we selected school clothes and after school/weekend clothes. Initially, we had separate drawers but then I found this marvelous invention.
Don’t ask me why there is a teddy bear in the Monday cube. I guess you can use it to sort toys?
There were several reasons this system worked great for us:
We did allow them to have a few of the character or shirts with writing that were not deemed appropriate for school. Nothing mean or nasty, mind you. Rather, the humorous or smartie pants shirts that I’m sure you’ve all seen.
They could wear these on the weekends or they could be sleep shirts.
Side note: The Grunter might just have a shirt that says “I love my wie#%r” with a graphic of a wiener dog. Ann’s son might have received the same shirt as a birthday gift from our family. I’m just saying they might…
I’ve had lively discussions with other mothers about their strong belief in letting their children pick out there own clothes and express their individuality.
Lucky for all of us, we all live in the land of the free and are entitled to our opinion.
Here is mine.
Forget about expressing their individuality. I always said they have PLENTY of time to do that when they get home and on the weekends. Make teachers’ lives easier. The clothing kids are wearing these days is ridiculous.
In addition, uniforms eliminate stress and the competition at school over labels and brands which I’ve always found ridiculous.
Did my kids love uniforms? No. Did I care? No.
They aren’t suppose to love everything. They don’t really love the uniforms they are required to wear for their part-time jobs. They aren’t really allowed to express their individuality at work either. Go figure.
This is the first year that I don’t have any kids in uniforms. I’m grateful that the clothing system was ingrained early in the big kids’ lives. The girls have their outfits out the night before and it is a huge timesaver since they leave the house at 6:30 a.m. (However, they have abandoned their cube organizer.)
Scary Baby has her organizer hanging in the corner where dad mounted it so we can all see that she has her outfit ready. It’s a great week if she actually picks her outfits for the whole week on Sunday night but that doesn’t always happen.
Many stores sell these great organizers. Try Target or Kohl’s.
If your school doesn’t require uniforms, you as the parent, can and should go over what clothing is appropriate for school and then stick to it.
Every school has a dress code and adhering to that dress code is the responsibility of all of us.
From elementary to high school, I continue to be shocked and appalled at some of the “get-ups” I see kids go to school in.
Our kids’ job is to go to school and be a student. Our job as parents is to make sure they are dressed appropriately and I don’t think that should be the subject of a big debate.
Common sense is the answer.
That’s my opinion…what’s yours?
This is a message of hope for moms with toddlers, tweens or teens who have some version of the strong-willed child. I know the pain of wondering if you are damaging their self-esteem, leaving permanent scars and ruining their childhood.
First a little more background on The Grunter…
He was born with a mild disposition and he slept through the night. He was an unexpected, unplanned joy in our life.
He was our pumpkin.
He became a big brother far sooner than we would have ever planned.
(If we had been planning.)
At 21 months, we brought home, not just one, but TWO baby sisters who invaded his world.
The days flew by and he spent his days letting his sisters touch all of his toys and protecting them from “choking people.” (You know those little Fisher Price® figures that went with the farm and various other toys.) He announced they had “choking people” at least seven times a day to which I would reply, “Thank you, Officer Humphreys.”
He endured being paraded around and photographed with those darn twin sisters. Here is just one of many, many photos he endured while dressed to match his little sisters.
Side parenting tip: It is much easier to count and corral your children in public if you have them dressed alike. I’m sure it also squelches their individuality but that’s a post for another day.
He even endured life when we had the nerve to bring home another sister the year of his 10th birthday. Weren’t two enough?
But he kind of liked this one who appeared to be his very own “twin.”
The above picture is Scary Baby at 6 months, framed picture of The Grunter at six months and The Grunter himself.
It has to be hard, still to this day, living with all these GIRLS! In spite of how he acts on the outside, we have witnessed his kindness and affection for them. On most days, he’s a pretty good big brother. I like to believe that he knows, deep down, that he would have been a lonely boy without his sisters to play with…
I shared all that with you first so you wouldn’t think I’m a bad mom for taking pictures of one of our many struggles. (Remember we’re all here to share not judge.)
I will be the first to admit that I think there is an extra challenge for mothers who are stubborn and strong-willed who are blessed with children who possess those same characteristics. Well, that and God has a sense of humor…
I am guilty of dreaming of having passive, quiet children who obey and never rock the boat. I have friends who have these
strange nice children. Such a boring life these people have…sigh.
Instead, I have a boy who continues to challenge us in so many ways.
It seems like it was just yesterday but in fact, it was more than 10 years ago when our little pumpkin wouldn’t eat much of anything. (No comments from you vegetable-lovers please.)
I present you now with one of our favorite family memories. You know those fantastic one-liners your kids utter and you know right then and there that you’ll never forget them from that very moment.
On this day in September of 1997, that line was…
“WHEN WILL THIS NIGHTMARE BE OVER?”
The back story of this sad photo:
We were in a phase at our house where he was having a very hard time eating good meals. Yes, I am one of “those” mothers who often says, “You are NOT sick, you are FINE.” But when this eating problem persisted, I had a change of heart. I really did get worried.
Worried to the point of going to the doctor to make sure he was healthy. After many tests including urine, stool sample, blood work, x-rays and an upper G.I. – a clean bill of health was announced.
Dad made a special trip to the grocery and bought him this specific cereal because it “sounded good.” Unfortunately, the soggy texture of the milk and cereal combination (who knew?) coupled with our insistence that he eat the TINY bowl of cereal created a full-fledged meltdown ending with the now famous line, “When will this nightmare be over?”
For those readers who are concerned about the boy, his cereal and his life now…
Here is our
delightful much-loved firstborn on his 18th birthday who never eats cereal and drumroll please…he is FINE!
Life Lesson (LL): Cereal and milk become soggy when not eaten quickly and the trauma of eating the said soggy cereal may cause you to seek out therapy later.
Share a Life Lesson (SALL): What awful things did you make your kids sit at the table and eat? Or better yet, what did your
horrible, mean parents make you finish and you are still sharing those memories in therapy with a chosen few? Come on now, don’t be shy – this is a safe place to share!