Friends and Family

One of the most challenging things I have found over the years is finding families that work well with your own. Oh sure, I have plenty of girlfriends for girls’ night out. That is not a problem. But when searching for the family that you want to come over, hang out, cook-out and let the kids play together, it is quite difficult. There are a great deal of requirements (in no specific order):

1. The husbands must have similar interests and get along
2. The wives must get along
3. A boy around my son’s age
4. A girl around my daughter’s age
5. The other child(ren) must not destroy my house (I am pretty laid back, but I must not fear the ceiling is coming through onto the main floor at any time!)
6. Oh, and the kids must get along

Wow! Is that even possible? Over the past few years our greatest friends have stemmed from the friendships my son built while at Primrose. There are four or five families that usually do very well together as a group, but only one family that I can truly say is a perfect fit for our family. The Martins meet all the above requirements, except there is one problem…the husband travels 4-5 days each week, and the wife travels a fair amount. So, when the weekend rolls around they are ready for some family time together, and that is certainly understandable. As a result of their traveling jobs, we only get to see them about once every three months. Being the social people we are, we have decided we need a clone of them to fill in the rest of the year. My husband has compared them to Land Rovers…you need two so you always have one when the other is in the shop.

I often wonder why it is so hard to find that perfect family. Of course the age and gender of the kids always plays a major role in this situation. We have some other friends that match the age requirement with the children, but they have two girls, and my son doesn’t really find it fun to play with three girls. I don’t blame him, do you? Dress-up, pretend house and school are not really up his alley at seven. How about some superheroes and Legos?

My husband gets frustrated with trying to find men with similar interests. I understand his frustration. Unlike women who can always make small talk about their children, men are not going to sit around drinking wine talking about how Billy Bob went potty for the first time. So they definitely must have more in common; running, beer making, something.

Now there is one small problem I sometimes find with wives…I don’t do high maintenance. I cannot deal with moody women. What mood will they show up in today? I also am not the best at softening my opinion. I certainly say it nicely, but we may disagree. Who cares? That is what makes life interesting. So women that are easily offended usually don’t work with me. As a result, I have found I often do best drinking a beer on the front porch with the guys, then I won’t get in trouble.

So maybe this is a challenge that continues during each stage of life. Does it change as your kids get older and make different friends? Or is this just the life of living in a major metropolitan area where things are constantly changing?

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The Calm After The Storm

It had an eerie feel to it…it was just shy of 9:00PM last night and there was a vivid rainbow in one direction, a bright orange sky in another direction and a purple/pink sky in the other direction.  This was shortly following an odd round of thunderstorms that came through Atlanta last night.  Fortunately, the storms did not cause any damage in our area; the most amazing part was afterwards.  I was traveling home on US41 and all the cars were breaking as they saw this gorgeous sight. My four year old compared the orange glow to the sky we had seen once before when we were sent to the back of a store because a tornado had been sighted in the area (I am continually amazed at the things kids remember). This is a gorgeous scene that you don’t see very often.

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Our Dog-Gone Dog!

Our dog is such a cutie.   She is almost two years old and still quite puppy.  She loves to eat everything in the house except her bones and toys.  Lucky for her, she is absolutely adorable.  She is a boxer/hound mix and brindle.  She has those cute droopy ears and those adorable puppy dog eyes that keep me from staying mad at her for too long.  Her name is Boots.  We got her shortly after our last dog went to “live on the farm.”  

Our last dog was Maggie.  We had Maggie for 10 years, even before our children.  She was 2.5 years old when we got her and was a shepherd/hound mix; the calmest dog you would ever meet.  She was so protective of us (unless there was a thunderstorm, then we were on our own and she was under the coffee table).  She loved people…not a huge fan of other dogs though.  The best Maggie story was one day when I was upstairs playing with the kids in the playroom and I had just put some water on the stove to boil in the kitchen.  The water boiled over just enough to put the flame out.  Maggie comes running upstairs to the playroom, starts barking and shaking her head toward the door (very Lassie-like).  After I realized she was serious about something I went down to the kitchen and she walked over to the stove and barked, where I then realized the flame was out but the natural gas was still on at the stove.  She was such a good dog.

And then came Boots.  When we got Boots, one of my dearest friends that always says what is on her mind, looked at me and said, “with two small children, what the &*^% were you thinking getting a puppy?”  Good point!  And honestly, I don’t know except we missed Maggie and the kids wanted a new dog.  Two years later I am still trying to figure out to train a puppy.  I think I have done a decent job training two kids, but I am certainly struggling with the dog.  Don’t eat the kids’ toys!  Don’t eat the socks!  Don’t eat the shoes!  The worst…she loves toilet paper!  She must be reasonably smart though, because like me, she thinks Charmin is the best.  I send her outside for a while and she barks at everything.  I bring her inside, she eats everything.  How do you put a dog in time-out?  I can’t take away her bones; I need her to eat those instead of the toys.  Well, like I said, at least she is super cute!

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Paint!!!

Sounds like an odd subject, doesn’t it?  Well, it went kinda like this…my son was already missing his buddy from school after just one week.  So, I texted the mom and scheduled a “play date.” (I have a confession…I hate the phrase “play date.”) Anyways, his friend comes over to hang out.  Great!!! New problem…my daughter won’t leave them alone.  OK.  So I call the neighbor down the street and ask her to send her daughter down to keep my daughter from driving my son crazy.  So Ally comes down to play.  But I was a little confused.  What in the world should I do with both kids playing?  I could actually accomplish something around the house.  Hmmmm.  So I pulled out the paint and touched up several walls in the house! Holy cow! This was not normal. It was nice to have a chance to get our walls presentable again, but I must admit, a little part of my heart sunk thinking my little ones were growing up and wanting less time with mom and more time with friends. Of course I would not change that for anything. As I have gotten older in life I have realized, brains will only get you so far in life (unless you want to be something like a doctor, scientist, etc). Fifteen years out of college I look around in the work world; no one cares who had a 4.0, but social skills are far more important.  

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