My Real Life

May 12, 2013

Happy Mother’s Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

To all who are or are soon to be Mother’s, here’s hoping you are having a wonderful day!

And to my Mom…Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

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May 10, 2013

Five Question Friday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

1. What’s the one personal hygiene thing you will not do in front of your spouse?


Are there things that I would prefer not to do in front of Real Man?


Is there anything that I won’t do in front of him?


We’ve been married almost fifteen years, dated for nineteen, and have known each other for twenty-five.

There is no mystery left, and yet, the guy seems to still think I’m the most amazing creature ever to walk the earth.

Not sure how in all the billions of people in the world, I found the one who thinks I’m always beautiful, even with all he’s seen of me, but I did.

So, no…there’s nothing.

2. What’s your favorite thing about a newborn?

Their insane newness.

Every single experience is a brand new experience to them.

Oh, wait…actually, my favorite thing is the way that they sleep on you.

Tiny still sleeps on me when he wakes up at 4 am and I bring him to our bed, but that’s a little different, because he drapes himself across my neck like he’s a feather boa, but trust me when I tell you he isn’t even close to being as light as a feather boa.

But a newborn, sleeping on your chest…heaven.

Oh, and that new baby smell?

So much better than a new car smell.

Those little hands!  Those little feet!

Okay, perhaps you can now understand why I have four kids and had to get my tubes tied to make sure I didn’t have any more.

There is NOTHING not to love about a newborn.
3. When is “too young” to have a Facebook account?

I know that you can get a Facebook account at 13, however, I honestly think that you shouldn’t get an account until you are around 16.

I teach 8th grade and even though some of them are bigger than me and have voices deeper than Real Man, they are babies.

Wonderful babies, but babies, nonetheless, and they don’t quite have a full grasp of the fact that whatever gets put on the internet stays there.


That goes for words, as well as images, and I think it’s just a bad idea until they are about 16.

That’s the age that they really start to consider the future and recognize the consequences of actions.

I would go as high as 21, but I realize that might be pushing it.

4. What are your hoping for for Mother’s Day?


Just a low key day.

I would love if the laundry would get done without me doing it, the groceries would get bought without me buying them, I could catch up on Scandal, the kids wouldn’t fight, and we could just relax together.

I’m a simple girl.
5. What was the best field trip you ever took in school?

We didn’t really take a lot of field trips when I was in school.

I go to the middle school that I attended, and I am in charge of organizing the 8th grade trip to DC.

We didn’t go to DC when I was there.

So, school related, I guess the best one was our trip to the Statue of Liberty.

While I was in school, the best field trip I ever took (even though it wasn’t related to school, but to church) was a handbell choir tour to Bermuda.

Although, our tour to Michigan was pretty awesome as well.

Ooh, and the one to Virginia where Kim and I were attacked by bats while we were swimming in a pool at night and we held our breath and held hands under the water because we were so terrified.

Oh, and the youth group work projects to Tennessee.

Yeah, my church field trips were awesome.

May 8, 2013

Help Those in Need Without Spending a Dime

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

This week I’ll be sharing some very special Mother’s Day e-Cards for the Real World created by Rants from MommyLand and Mommy Land on my blog and on Facebook.

The more we all share them, the more money will donate to Shelter House, an organization that provides transitional housing and services for families experiencing homelessness and domestic violence.  As an educator, I have been touched by so many children whose families needed a service like this, and so I am excited to be able to help in this way.

And I’m hoping that you’ll help, too.

If you like it, then YOU please share it on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, or on Pinterest.  If together we reach 100K shares of all the images combined, SweetRelish will donate $10,000 to Shelter House.

So, please…enjoy and share.

Click the eCard below to go to the site and see all 14 eCards and get all of the details.


May 7, 2013

Sending My Son to Therapy, One Lullaby at a Time

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

You may remember that last week I posted about our troubles with Tiny and bedtime.

We’re working on it.

Tonight, as I rocked and sang to him, I actually started paying attention to the words of the songs I was singing and realized that his “lullaby” songs may be the problem.

The first one is a no-brainer.

“Rockabye Baby.”

A song about a baby in a tree and the branch breaks and the baby falls to the ground to his death.

Okay, it doesn’t specifically say that, but it’s what I always imagined.

“Close your eyes, sweetheart.  I’m going to sing you a little song about a baby whose Mommy makes him sleep in a tree…but not just any tree…a tree with weak branches on a windy, scary night.  Night-night, lovey.”


One of Tiny’s most requested bedtime songs is “Clementine.”

You know the one…

In a cavern, In a canyon, 
Excavating for a mine, 
Dwelt a miner forty-niner, 
And his daughter Clementine.

Then, the rest of the song is about Clementine and how she died.

Oh my darling, Oh my darling, 
Oh my darling Clementine, 
You are lost and gone forever, 
Dreadful sorry Clementine.

Again, lovely.

“Time for bed, Tiny.  Tonight Mommy is going to sing to you about a Daddy who had a little girl who died because she got a splinter in her toe and she tripped and drowned.  Sweet dreams, pumpkin!”

He also loves me to sing “You Are My Sunshine,” which sounds like a perfectly acceptable little ditty until you really listen to the lyrics.

First verse, okay.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You never noted how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away

Then we get to the second verse:

The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping
I dreamt I held you in my arms
When I awoke, dear, I was mistaken
So I hung my head, and I cried


“Snuggle up, schmoopy.  Listen to Mama’s song about someone dreaming about the one they love, but guess what?  It’s just a dream.  The one they love ain’t nowhere to be found.  That’s life, kiddo.  Them’s the breaks.  Nighty-night!”

Why am I singing all of these awful, sad songs to this kid?

Might as well sing “Ring Around the Rosy”, which is about the Bubonic Plague or “London Bridge” and give the kid tics every time we drive over a body of water.

Then, I sing these weird songs that I don’t think anyone else even knows because they were songs that my grandparents used to sing to me when I was a kid and we went on car trips.

The first is “Down by the Old Mill Stream.”

It was written in 1908.

Pretty sure it’s not going to be on Kidz Bop 21.

My darling I am dreaming of the days gone by,
When you and I were sweethearts beneath the summer sky;
Your hair has turned to silver, the gold has faded too;
But still I will remember, where I first met you.

The old mill wheel is silent and has fallen down,
The old oak tree has withered and lies there on the ground;
While you and I are sweethearts the same as days of yore;
Although we’ve been together, forty years and more.

Down by the old mill stream where I first met you,
With your eyes of blue, dressed in gingham too,
It was there I knew that you loved me true,
You were sixteen, my village queen, by the old mill stream.

Not a sad or scary song, but a song about growing old.

With the one you love, yes, but still, what two year old wants to think about gray hair and seeing the world around them get old and decrepit?

Finally, we round it out with “The Sidewalks of New York” which is another one I picked up from my grandparents.

I’m not 100% positive, but I am fairly certain this is a song about a hoochie mama named Mamie O’Rourke and a bunch of kids getting drunk.

Top notch material to sing to your toddler.


Down in front of Casey’s old brown wooden stoop,

On a summer’s evening we formed a merry group;

Boys and girls together we would sing and waltz

While Tony played the organ

On the sidewalks of New York. 


East side, west side, all around the town,     

The tots sang “ring-a-rosie,” “London Bridge is falling down.”     

Boys and girls together, me and Mamie O’Rourke     

Tripped the light fantastic

On the sidewalks of New York. 


That’s where Johnny Casey, little Jimmy Crowe

Jakey Krause, the baker, who always had the dough,

Pretty Nellie Shannon with a dude as light as cork

She first picked up the waltz step

On the sidewalks of New York. 


Things have changed since those times, some are up in “G”

Others they are wand’rers but they all feel just like me

They’d part with all they’ve got, could they once more walk

With their best girl and have a twirl

On the sidewalks of New York.


Sounds like the Bloods and the Crips of the 1890’s if you ask me.

So, I guess maybe it’s not that big of a surprise that the little guy is having a hard time getting to sleep.

Through his mother’s loving songs, he is being threatened and told stories about bad role models.

I said it on Facebook the other day and I’ll say it again…

I’m fairly sure my Mother of the Year Award will be arriving in the mail at any moment.


May 6, 2013

Things I Learned While My Husband Was Away for a Week on Business

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

So, Real Man went to California last week for work.

We missed him.

A lot.

But, I learned much while he was gone, and so, today I present to you:

Things I Learned While My Husband Was Away for a Week on Business

1.  I am not the messy sleeper I always thought I was.

When Real Man and I wake up in the morning, the covers look like a tornado touched down right in the middle of our bed, and because I’m a light sleeper and wake up several times throughout the night, I always just assumed it was me.

Guess what?

It’s not.

Last week, I was able to slip out of bed in the morning and simply give a little tug to the quilt and voila!

Bed. Made.

2.  Funny things aren’t quite as funny without Real Man.

First of all, the guy is just plain funny.

He makes me laugh like a fool.

Secondly, things that we laugh at, I realize we laugh at them together.

Funny things happened throughout the day and I wanted to tell him, but the time schedule was off and suddenly, they weren’t quite as funny.

Even some of the shows I watch, like The New Girl, which I’ve discussed before.

It’s the show that he “doesn’t watch” with me.

Some of the things that would have made me chuckle if he was home didn’t make me chuckle as much because I think part of my laughter is a reaction to his laughter.

3.  I’m lazy.

While he was gone, the house ran like clockwork.

I left the house for work on time.

Lunches were always made the night before.

Everyone was in bed on time.

The house was spotless.

This may not translate to “lazy” upon first read, but here’s the truth.

When Real Man is home, I think I know that there is always someone else around to do some things, and so I don’t get them done quite as timely.

For example…I know I should always make lunches the night before because I leave the house at 7 am.

But, sometimes I’m tired, and I don’t, because I think, “I can ask Real Man to make them in the morning before he leaves for work,” because he doesn’t leave until 8 am.

Which is fine, but some mornings he goes for a run and isn’t available to make the lunches and so I scramble to get them made before I leave which makes me late.

I knew he wasn’t home last week, so I made those lunches each night so I knew for sure I’d be able to get out of the house on time in the morning.


I need to act as if I don’t have someone else to rely on in order to keep me on top of things, and then when he does those things anyway (because he does them often) it’ll be a added bonus.

I know at least one person who is going to read this and say “Wow…this makes it sound like Real Man doesn’t do anything around the house,” and the person who is going to think that has a name that rhymes with “Teal Van,” so I just want to clarify…that’s not what I’m saying.

4.  Single parents should be showered with gifts and kindness every single day of their lives.

I love my kids and they are good kids, but they are normal kids who aren’t perfect every second of every day.

And there were moments in the past week where I just needed a minute or two to myself.

A minute to walk away because the grumpy kid had pushed a few too many buttons or a minute to hide in the bathroom because I couldn’t answer another question.

That minute didn’t come because there was no one to share the load, and that’s hard.

Even though Real Man doesn’t get home until dinnertime, it is still another person to answer the question, kiss the boo-boo, pour the fourth glass of milk, etc.

So, kudos to the single parents out there, and believe me…I know a lot of them and am just so impressed.

5.  I really, really, really enjoy my kids.

Okay, I didn’t just learn this last week, but it was driven home last week.

I went to work, taught piano, came home and it was just me and the monkeys.

They were my sole source of conversation outside of my jobs and it was lovely.

We played outside together, played inside together, snuggled up at night to watch Dr. Who, read books, whispered secrets at bedtime and it hit home, again, that I really like these kids.

Even if they weren’t my kids, they’d be kids I’d want to know.

They are interesting and always have good stories to share and creative ideas for games and they are just good little people.

Real Man is home now, and while we survived this absence and will likely survive the others to come, we are so very, very grateful to have him home.

May 3, 2013

Five Question Friday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:41 am

1. What is your next home improvement goal?

To hang the pictures in our home.

I know that isn’t really home improvement, but it needs to be done.


Right now, I have the kids artwork taped to the walls of my home in an effort to make the house look more “complete.”

If you are talking larger, then I really want to get one of those garbage can shed thingys.

We have a raccoon issue with our garbage, so we wind up keeping it in the garage and…quite frankly, ew.

So, if we could have one of those things where you can lock up your garbage, that’d be cool.

The house doesn’t really need any major work.

I’d love to build a sunroom off of the reading room.

That would be awesome.

But, there are four kids to get through college first.

So, yeah, forget that.

2. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be? No religious texts (ie Bible, Quran, Torah, etc, etc)…

Who would ever be so cruel as to limit someone to one book for the rest of their life?

That’s like…torture!

I really don’t know what book I would pick.

It would probably be a kid’s book like The Westing Game or Charlotte’s Web or something like that.

It would make sense to pick something like War and Peace because it would take me so long to read it over and over again, but seriously…can you imagine if they only thing you were able to read for the rest of your life was War and Peace?

Maybe I should choose my book (currently unpublished, but I’m working on it).

Didn’t know I wrote one? (and I’m not talking about I Just Want to Pee Alone…which would make a wonderful Mother’s Day gift, by the way).

Check it out, here.

3. What is on top of your refrigerator?


The refrigerator fits right under the cabinet…I think they built the kitchen around the fridge, which is weird, because it’s not a great fridge.

So, I guess the answer is…cabinets with paper towels in them.

4. What are your favorite or most used phone apps?

I don’t really use my phone for more than texting or making calls, but I guess my most used iPhone app is my Facebook app.

On my iPad, my Nook app is my favorite and Candy Crush is probably my most used.

For my kids, when they use my iPad, Minecraft is the most used.
5. What’s the one thing you hate most about your spouses job?

The fact that we aren’t gajillionaires and he needs to have a job at all and can’t just hang with me all day long.

Not that I am home, but if we were gajillionaires, I’d be home, too.

Other than that, I think it’s a pretty good job and he’s great at it.

May 2, 2013

What Makes Me Laugh

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

I’ve recently joined a writing group, and one of the contributors decided to share a writing prompt with us.

The prompt was simple.

“What makes you laugh?”

Sounds simple enough, but I laugh a lot during the course of a day and I realized how very lucky that makes me, because I’ve actually always found myself hard to amuse.

So, here are some things that make me laugh.


1.  When other people are laughing really, really hard.

In particular, I have two colleagues, Matt and Tara.

When Matt and Tara start laughing, and not just tittering, but really laughing, it is hysterical.

It always makes me laugh, even if I didn’t think whatever they are laughing at was particularly funny.

Every single time.

Matt starts wheezing and sounding like a little old lady, and Tara starts crying and squeaking and it’s hysterical.


My favorite skits from Saturday Night Live are the ones where the actors can’t keep their laughter in.

Like, they know how ridiculous what they are saying or doing is, and it makes them laugh, and if it cracks up the pros, I’m in for a laugh.

One of my all-time favorite SNL skits is the one with Chris Farley playing Matt Foley, the motivational speaker, and he makes David Spade and Christina Applegate (who I love and would love to see more of on tv) have to hide behind their hands because they are laughing so hard.

Laughter breeds laughter and ridiculous laughter breeds mine.


2.  The show The New Girl.

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but man, does that show make me laugh.

It’s just nonsense.

The things they have the character, Schmidt, say on that show with such vehemence are so ridiculous that it makes me laugh out loud every single time.

“You’re listening to the radio and writing with a pen? What decade are we in?” – Season 1, Episode 20

“An Indian-Jewish baby? Who wouldn’t want that? Think about the bone structure!” – Season 1, Episode 21

“Would you line up around the corner if the iPhone was called ‘the slippery germ brick’?” –Season 1, Episode 20

(Schmidt quotes found here)

On their own, not so funny.

The deadpan delivery of Schmidt makes them hysterical.


3.  Toddlers.

Tiny is pure comedic gold and he doesn’t even mean to be.

Everything from his timing to his one-liners to his delivery.

His babysitter texts me throughout the day with little gems from Tiny that cracked her up and that make me laugh out loud, and these things would be funny even if he wasn’t my kid.

Even the way he carries himself.

Check him out, driving in a toy car with his babysitter’s daughter.



Coolest freaking cat on the block.


4.  Monkey Girl and Baby Monkey, when they are mad at me.

I know.

That’s awful.

But my kids are SO dramatic when they are angry, (they totally get that from their father), and It. Is. Hysterical.

Monkey Girl has the pre-teen eyebrow raise and hair flip and stomping down to a science.

We are now at the “You are trying to ruin my life” stage of her anger fits (which, thank goodness, are few and far between) and the logic that she takes to get to that path just makes me laugh.

Not in her face.

After she has left the room in a huff.

Baby Monkey stomps and cries and says things like “This is why kids should be the parents!” when I don’t let him have his five thousandth grape of the afternoon or say that I’m using my iPad at the moment and he’ll have to be patient and wait his turn.

It’s not often he gets mad.

As I’ve said before, he’s pretty laid back and goes with the flow, but when he does, oh man…it’s too much.


5.  The fact that I had originally planned to make a list of 10 things that make me laugh, but can’t even find the time to write a post about 5 things that make me laugh.

Now THAT makes me laugh.

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