Five Second Delay

I am a huge proponent of organized sports. I believe in the team work, losing and winning, developing skills, exercise and learning how to deal with people in general. All of the kids played a sport early on.

The daughter stopped after an unfortunate soccer season. For some reason she was hit in the head with a soccer ball every single game. I’m not exaggerating. Every game. The coach gave her an award at the end of the season for that accomplishment.

My youngest is a good athlete. He’s competitive. He’s coachable. He’s going to give his best.

He’s also fast.

Usually during baseball practice I would take the opportunity to walk around the complex or run errands. One day I arrived just in time to see the boys run from home base to the back fence. I also noticed my son still at the home plate while everyone else took off running. I asked him about it after practice.

The coach imposed a five second delay on him because he kept beating all the other boys during the race.

I could have played the race card here since my son was the only brown kid on the team. I could have gone to the coach and complained. But instead I told my son to beat them every single time. Show them that they can set you up to lose but they still won’t win. Show all the boys and coaches that you are a force to be reckoned with. And he did.

I don’t believe in leveling the playing field in competitive sports. I don’t believe in holding people back to make someone else feel better about themselves. Teach the others to try harder.

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Nashville Carpet?

Apparently #nashvillecarpet is trending on Instagram. I just so happen to have a quick stop in Nashville on my way to NY and decided to give you a glimpse of what you’re missing.

While we are chatting, can we talk about the number of people who take up seats in the waiting area with bags and stuffed animals?

Ants and Coconut Oil

No, I’m not here to tell you consuming ants dipped in organic coconut oil will extend your life by 12 years. I am here to tell you the tale of how I discovered ants in my- unsealed but what I thought was a tightly closed- jar of coconut oil.

My youngest, Shawn, and I were cleaning out the pantry after seeing ants marching in a single file line into and out of my pantry. I battle ants every single summer. They vary in size but they always show up. Each year I try to find the least toxic way to discourage the ants from taking over my pantry.

As we pulled every item from the pantry and I sprayed a non-toxic concoction containing peppermint oil (insects supposedly hate peppermint). Remind me to tell you about the time I kept finding peppermint candies in random places around the kitchen because I mentioned the repelling nature of peppermint to insects to the kiddos. Never mind, that’s basically the story.

As I cleaned the higher shelves Shawn discovered something on the lower shelf. The majority of the ants were congregating around the jar of coconut oil. Upon further inspections, I found what must have been hundreds of dead ants inside the jar. At this point I didn’t see any reason to make the ants work harder so I removed the lid and let them have at it.

The ants are the reddish brown color you see.

For about seven days we watched as the ants marched to that jar. They must have told their friends, cousins and coworkers because the number of ants steadily increased. Not all of them made it out of the jar. I wonder if those that left kept their mission in the forefront of their minds while the others were overcome with glutton and decided to stay and engorge themselves with the oil which led to their demise.

Eventually the line of ants grew thinner. The corner of my pantry was less crowded. Finally! Then it ended all together. They must have killed the queen. We had been successful. We were ant free for a few weeks. When they returned, I put a bit of coconut oil on the path they used to get to the pantry. Yes, I tried sealing the hole but they got through. However, they stopped at the toothpick, ate and left. I’m happy to say they moved on. Next summer I will have a jar of non-organic off brand, not extra virgin, inexpensive coconut oil waiting on them.

I’m back

It’s been a while since I’ve posted but I’m here. I’m dusting off my blog.

Look for lots of random posts about any and everything. In the coming days I’ll share with you an accidental discovery on what to use to kill the ants in your house. I can’t wait to share with you my concerns about butter. I’ll also write some short stories.

I’ve missed writing so very much. I’ve been busy but also just putting it off. Now it’s time to get all of these stories out of my head and onto my blog.

Oh hey! Look for videos as I review products and whatever else. It should be fun. I’m going to let my 12 year old, aka Stud Muffin, edit my videos. That should interesting.

What have you been up to?

Except for Shawn

You know how people obsess over their first born? They take photos everyday of all the wonderful and cute things the first born does? They are extremely cautious and protective.

Have you seen those parents with more than two kids? That third child or in my case fourth child apparently didn’t exist until he was two. We had pictures from the day of birth and then nothing until his second birthday. It’s as though there was a moratorium on photographs during that time.

It all started when the kids and I were looking through old photographs. Remember when we took rolls film into the store to get them developed? As we looked and reminisced Shawn kept asking, “where are my baby pictures?” “Where are my baby shower pictures?” “Where are the pictures of you pregnant with me?”

How do you tell that baby you opted out of a shower? I had two baby showers or more with each baby, except for Shawn. There is only 15 months and a few a days between he and Josiah. How do you say, I was tired? I was too practical? It was a mistake? Friends and family offered to host a shower for me but I said no. The only thing I wanted and needed was a double stroller. I met with one friend and one family member at a restaurant where they presented me with the stroller. This definitely predates selfies. I’m not sure if we asked a waiter to take our picture.

Then one day a few years ago I put out an APB, I turned on the bat signal, I called, sent text messages asking friends and family to scour their photos to see if there were any pictures of Shawn. A few were located. I was relieved. I showed him the few that were sent to me. He have me that smile he gives when he’s excited but doesn’t want to show it.

I have lots of except for Shawn scenarios. All of the kids were vegetarian for the first 18 months except for Shawn. He was eating meat at six months. Everybody slept in their own beds as babies except for Shawn. I was exhausted so he slept with me to keep me from getting up in the middle of the night to feed him.

He’s not scarred for life over the exceptions. At least I don’t think he is. We have more than made up for the lack of pictures. Now it’s Josiah (third born) who I struggle to find photos of on my phone. He doesn’t seem care though.

Shawn at birth.

Step Up to the Microphone

I’m currently attending a community safety forum to hear professionals talk about keeping kids safe on the internet. Great information. There’s a microphone on the floor for question and answer but all I can think about is singing Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time” karaoke style. (I’m a terrible singer but that’s a minor detail)

I’m often overcome with a need to perform when I see a mic in a large room.

Know what I mean?

Josiah’s Family Meeting

I could write a whole book on how events in my my childhood affect who I am as an adult and the decisions I make as a mom of four. My mother raised three children as a true single mom. There was not a dad around. It was just her. She made all the decisions and her decision was final.

Fast forward to today. I decided to have more of a democracy. Every family member is equal and has a say in all major and minor decisions. We recently took a trip to Maryland over the Christmas holiday. I asked everybody if they wanted to go. If one person had said no then we would have stayed home. We literally had a conversation about putting up Christmas decorations and specifically a tree. I could care less about a tree. They don’t like taking down decorations. We scaled it way back and with a compromise we put a metal tree with lights that’s meant for the yard up in the house. Don’t judge us. It worked. I have the final vote on major things like buying the house we are in now. Everybody went with me to look for houses. My daughter, Melody, wanted one house and even through a mild fit. I told her she could not see what I could see. I was not only buying a house but a neighborhood and a way of life. Living on a cul-de-sac three house from the neighborhood pool proved to be a great choice and worth less square footage.

All of that to say, anybody can call and conduct a family meeting in our house. Josiah had requested to hold one to discuss his new guidelines surrounding waking everybody up in the mornings. Now Josiah is the third child. He is a typical attention seeking, vivacious, charismatic middle child who also likes being punctual. His school bus arrives at 7:40 so he has the alarm set for 6 am.

He had taken on the responsibility of waking everybody up if they were sleeping too late. He’s done a fantastic job at this self appointed duty. He has helped his siblings, especially his sister and younger brother, make it to the bus just before it stopped and opened the doors. He has even saved the day by finding neighbors willing to give them rides when it seemed they would not make it on time. After a year and a half of this daily activity he resigned from the self appointed position because of the stress. He did not provide any notice. It was effective immediately.

After a couple of days he realized how much they had grown to depend on him to get out of the house. He was sympathetic to their plight. During the meeting he said they would each get one free wake up per month. Unfortunately Shawn had already used his. He also told them the unused ones would accumulate from month to month. There was much discussion and shouts of outrage an insult or two and threats of bodily harm. At some point I heard, “objection!” and somebody yelled “order in the court!” It may have been the same person. For some reason the oldest gets unlimited wake up calls because he has a car. That created another uproar among the other two. But it was a good strategic move. Stay on the good side of the person with the car.

In case you’re wondering why the oldest doesn’t take everybody to school on a daily basis, it’s because he has late arrival. He will take them if they have activities in the morning.

I truly feel like I’m helping them find their voices at an early age and most of all realize they are an important part of this family and I value their input and points of view. They might decide there was way too much discussion and not allow their children to have any input. I won’t be offended. Everybody has to walk their own path according to the influences in their lives.

Be well,

Alicia