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Writing on Edge

Hi, folks!

I’m over at Write on Edge today, answering questions from the fabulous editors about the new book, “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth!” And Other Things You’ll Only Hear From Your Friends In the Powder Room.

Please go check it out and see how I’ve cast the movie of the book (one star per co-author). Did I get it right?

Plus, you have to click over to find out who Mark picked to play me. No way was I casting myself.

Click here to head over and check it out!

Sharing. It's not just for toddlers.
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Psst … You have lipstick on your teeth!

Excuse me. Ahem. This is so awkward. You have lipstick on your teeth!

You don’t? Well, you should. Trust me, you want lipstick on your teeth.

So as my friend Julie would say, get some!

 

You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth – Available NOW!

What the hell am I talking about? Your next must-read. An anthology of stories from the funniest, most poignant, incredible writers around, called “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.” (Yeah, somehow they included me. On page 215.)

 

Angie has lipstick on her teeth

 

My story is called “Dropping the Mask.” It’s about what happened when I stopped having being “fine” all the time and started speaking my mind. Shockingly, there have been some land mines.

Compiled and edited by Leslie Marinelli of The Bearded Iris and In the Powder Room, this book is for all of you ladies who’ve ever fretted over the unequal size of your breasts, the disgusting habits of your husbands, compared your lady bits to cruciferous vegetables, or bonded with your girlfriends over how little you paid for your blouse.

This book should probably come with a black box warning instructing you not to eat or drink while reading it. The dangers of choking are real. You’ve been warned.

So please get yourself over to Amazon and buy a copy (or ten!) of this anthology. You won’t regret it.

Check out this amazing group of authors:

Wendi Aarons, Keesha Beckford, Kim Bongiorno, Andrea C., Liz Dawes, Janie Emaus, Lady Estrogen, Suzanne Fleet, Amy Flory, Kim Forde, Rebecca Gallagher, Julie C. Gardner, Noa Gavin, Stephanie Giese, Allison Hart, Abby Heugel, Angie Kinghorn, Leslie Marinelli, Poppy Marler, Janel Mills, Lisa Newlin, Tarja Parssinen, Deborah Quinn, Alexandra Rosas, Kerry Rossow, Anna Sandler, Angela Shelton, Shari Simpson, Mere Smith, Meredith Spiedel, Julie Stamper, Suniverse, Bethany Thies, Dawn Weber, Robin Welling, Lori Wescott, Ellen Williams and Erin Dymowski, Tracy Winsolow, and Amy Wruble.

 

Sharing. It's not just for toddlers.
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Funky with a minivan? Totally doable.

It’s official. I am GFunkified.

As in, guest posting today for my friend Greta Funk, for her Great Expectations series. You can find me at her amazing blog, GFunkified. Please click here to read and let me know your thoughts on minivans. Love ‘em, hate ‘em, hate the fact that you love ‘em, just talk to me, Goose.

I truly never expected this, but I LOVE my minivan.

I’ve even been known to jam out to Snoop Dogg with the windows down, so even in my minivan in my yoga pants, ya’ll, I am GFunkified.

G*Funk*ified

Sharing. It's not just for toddlers.
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Messy, and a mystery

This morning, as I stood in the kitchen making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Grant yelled from upstairs, “Mommy! I dropped my toothbrush and the toothpaste got all over the wall!”

“Well, just wipe it off the wall and put it back on your toothbrush,” I said, spreading jam  on bread. It didn’t even occur to me until later in the morning that a few years ago, I’d never have thought that, much less said it.

Do I know which wall had the toothpaste smeared upon it?

No.

Do I care?

Not particularly.

Whenever I do see it, I’ll clean it up. And yes, we do clean the house. But “clean” is a relative term when you’re harboring six-year-old twins and an elderly and often incontinent bichon frisé.

I’m not a bad mom or a careless one, and my kids aren’t hellions. They’re delightful, normal children. I’ve just been a mom for a while now. Six and a half years of spills, smears, messes, and broken stuff (usually lamps). I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore because there’s none of it left.

When the kids are old enough to end a meal with all the food either in their stomachs or on their plates (what’s that, 13 or so?) and our dog shuffles off the mortal coil, I figure we’ll replace the furniture and be able to have people over. And we’ll invest in new lamps so we won’t walk into every other room and be like, “Oh, yeah, this is one of the rooms where the lamps don’t work.”

Until then, I marvel at those of you whose houses aren’t slightly sticky all over and covered with goldfish crumbs, broken crayons, and chalk dust. Where do you keep the kids?

It’s not that I’m not obsessive about things. My kids wear sunscreen almost every day. And I’ve trained them pretty darn well about the whole hand-washing bit. We read. A LOT. But I also hear them fighting upstairs and have gotten to the point where I yell, “Work it out or you’re both headed to time-out!”

Do I know how it works out?

No. But it almost always does.

Mark and I re-watched Shakespeare in Love the other day. Throughout the movie, different, freaked-out characters kept asking “How will it all work out?” and the theater manager says, “It will. I don’t know how, but it will. It’s a mystery.”

For me right now, that kind of sums up parenting. Messy, and a mystery.

Sharing. It's not just for toddlers.
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Today you can find me at Letters for Lucas

I’m guest posting today for Tona Wertman, of Letters for Lucas. Tonya is a fabulous person and a wonderful writer, and I do hope you’ll go visit her blog.

 

Letters for You

 

You can get there either by clicking on the Letters for You button above, or by clicking here.

Sharing. It's not just for toddlers.
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Kindergarten “graduation”

My twins have completed kindergarten, as of a couple of weeks ago. I figured the class year would conclude with cupcakes and crayons, but, as is becoming my habit when predicting all things school, I was wrong.

“Mommy, are you coming to our graduation?” Grant asked.

“Your what?”

“Our graduation. It’s Thursday morning.”

“It’s what happens when you finish kindergarten,” Anne added helpfully.

I rubbed my temples, remembering the pink sheet of paper I’d seen about the events planned for the last week of school. “Ahh. You mean your awards ceremony. Yes, of course I’ll be there.”

“It’s graduation, too, Mommy,” Grant said.

“No, sweetie, it’s not. You only graduate when you receive a diploma or a degree in something.”

“What?”

“Well, you graduate from high school, and from college, and from graduate school. You get diplomas for all those things.”

Then there was a lengthy discussion about what diplomas were, and what exactly a degree signified, and some peering at the framed ones in our study.

“So you see,” I said, sipping my coffee, “you’re moving from kindergarten to the first grade. Which is fabulous. But you’re not graduating. And of course I’ll be at your awards ceremony.”

Throughout this speech I kept thinking it sounded familiar, but I couldn’t recall why. This is certainly the first time I’d ever had to explain anything like this to kids of my own.

Thursday morning, Mark and I went to the awards ceremony. (I still categorically refuse to call it a “graduation.”) All four kindergarten classes were in the gym. That’s eighty-something kindergartners, folks.

And they all got at least two awards.

When it became clear that the teachers were calling up entire class rosters in alphabetical order, I turned to Mark and whispered, “Can you even call it an awards ceremony if everyone gets an award?”

He whispered back, “Well, yeah, if it’s kindergarten.”

Then it hit me. Why my speech seemed familiar. It was a line from The Incredibles, after Mrs. Incredible chastised Mr. Incredible for missing his own son’s fourth grade graduation. He said, “It is not a graduation! He is moving from the fourth grade to the fifth grade.”

Watching those kids troop up to the stage one after the other, another moment from the movie drifted into my mind. Dash, in the car with his mother, who was telling him “Everybody’s special.” He slumped and said, “That’s just another way of saying no one is.”

Exactly.

Nobody wants to see their children left out of an awards ceremony, or have their self-esteem crushed, but are we doing right by our children coddling them this way? The much-mocked participation trophies of soccer have made their way inside our schools, and instead of laughing at the concept like we do on the field, we clap politely from our seats.

What happens, then, when we get to the point where there are actual awards, ones that everyone can’t win? How will we have helped our children prepare for the possibility (no, the inevitability) that they will not always be the best by training them to expect accolades for the ordinary? How are we shaping good people by feeding them a steady diet of entitlement instead of expectations? How is this good for self-esteem in the long run?

And what about the children who are actually excelling? We cheapen their achievements by burying them in a long list of pseudo-honors.

I’m not callous, contrary to how this might sound. I am proud of my children, but to be honest, I expected that they would move from kindergarten to the first grade. I’m not proud of that part so much as I am of the things that have happened along the way; things they don’t recognize at awards ceremonies. My heart bursts with pride when I think of how my children have learned to eschew bullies and play with people who include everyone. Or how Grant has learned to read faster than he can talk, or the way Anne now reads with the same dramatic flair she brings to her everyday conversations.

My kids proved me wrong, by the way. They each brought home folders with their awards, and to my shock, a diploma, certifying that they had each completed the course of study required for kindergarten in the state of North Carolina.

All I can say to that is that if the state is spending money to print kindergarten diploma certificates (in color) for every child in the state … well, we need to take a serious look at our priorities.

Sharing. It's not just for toddlers.
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Hi, everyone!

Well, the blog world has been up in arms about this, but I highly doubt anyone else has noticed.

Feedburner, the service through which most of you subscribe to this blog, is going bye-bye.

So that means if you’d like to keep receiving updates, you’ll need to visit the email subscription box in the top right corner and enter your email address. And then – this part is very important – when you get a confirmation email, be sure to open it and confirm your subscription.

I don’t want to lose you just because Google decided to stop offering Feedburner.

Dear readers, I can’t quit you. You complete me. You had me at hello.

Go sign up in the dang box already before I get all weepy.

Sniff.

Sharing. It's not just for toddlers.
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Perspective

Breathe. In, out. In, out. Picture good energy in, bad energy out. Get the stress under control, dammit. You know how to do this.

Tea. I needed tea. That would help. I brewed a pot, nervously pacing my kitchen while I waited. I couldn’t sit, my thoughts wouldn’t form a straight line. As I finished putting the lid on my travel mug this morning and took my first blissful sip of tea, trying to breathe the knots of stress out of my shoulders, I heard it.

Screech.

 Bang.

 Boom.

 Ka-thud.

 Honk-bang.

The unmistakable sounds of a large traffic accident on the major street only a few houses away.

Before I could even think, I was out the front door, running. Phone in one hand, mug in the other.

At first, it didn’t look so bad. Two cars, pretty beaten up, sat right in the middle of the road, parts scattered everywhere. But then I looked down the ivy-covered embankment where everyone was gathered, and I saw the third car, twisted around the tree it had broken. A woman about my age sat trapped, blood streaming out of her nose and mouth, eyes glazed.

I dialed 911.

“911, please hold. Do not hang up or your call will be routed to the end of the line. 911, please hold for the next operator. Do not hang up or your call will be routed to the end of the line.”

“What the?” I looked at my phone, dumbstruck. Down in the ivy, a man was on his cell.

“Did someone call 911?” I yelled.

“Yeah, he’s on with them,” a guy yelled back.

Minutes ticked by, and a group of us could only stare from the top of the embankment. Where the hell were the first responders?

“Excuse me!” I turned, and a woman gestured out of an open car window. “I’m an emergency medicine doctor. Is everyone ok?”

“No, the woman down there is not ok, and she can’t get out,” I said. And just like that, this blessed angel, already in her scrubs for work, parked and skidded down to the car.

Where the hell were the first responders?

I called 911 again. “911, please hold. Do not hang up or your call will be routed to the end of the line.”

The two men who’d been in the cars on the street were now on the sidewalk, looking as helpless as I felt. They said they weren’t hurt, but it seemed impossible. I’d heard the noise, I could see the car parts scattered like confetti over the road. And this woman stuck down the hill. God, should we be trying to get her out? Was something going to explode?

Finally, sirens.

The firemen got down to the car and put a cervical collar on the woman and started working to free her from the twisted metal. I turned to go home, and saw one of the firemen stop by one of the other cars, kneel, put a finger to the fluid running from underneath it, and sniff.

“Um, it’s not going to blow up or anything, is it?” I asked.

“Nah,” he said. “It’s coolant. Just checking.”

I said my goodbyes to the two other drivers, who were both starting to shake, and turned and walked home.

Back in my kitchen, I sipped my now cool tea and tried to remember what had me so stressed.

Instead, all I could find was, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

I think that’s called perspective.

Sharing. It's not just for toddlers.
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Good Friday

All our hurts are nothing compared to what our savior endured in this world. Let us remember that, and him, as we sit here this day. Let us remember that it is Friday.

But Sunday is coming.

 

Sharing. It's not just for toddlers.
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Today I’m at a friend’s place…

Today you can find me at Shell’s blog, Things I Can’t Say. Please go give my piece a read and hang out and explore a while. Shell’s got a wonderful collection of some of the most authentic writing around, and you’ll love her voice.

 

 

Sharing. It's not just for toddlers.
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