gina valley

The Glamorous Life Of The Modern Day Soccer Mom

gina valley - The Glamorous Life Of The Modern Day Soccer Mom

Top 10 Reasons To Hate Silent Saturday

Top 10 Reasons To Hate Silent Saturday

by Gina Valley

Today was Silent Saturday on the soccer fields.

It’s also known as All The Parents Complaining About Not Getting To Cheer For Their Kids Day. I noticed some grandparents getting in on that, too.

In case you aren’t familiar with the Silent Saturday Movement, just think of it as a kind of glorified time-out for the over-zealous (i.e. people behaving like jerks) at youth soccer games.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 Reasons To Hate Silent SaturdayDuring Silent Saturday no one (not parents nor grandparents nor coaches nor spectators) is allowed to yell or say anything (positive or negative) to the players during the games. No whooping. No hollering. No sound of any kind is allowed, other than clapping.

I’m all for helping people curb their negativity and protecting kids from helicopter parenting, but this Silent Saturday thing is not working out for me.  My friend, Pesky Pippi, put it well when she said, “I HATE Silent Saturday!”  I’m with Pippi.

In theory, Silent Saturday should create an environment similar to that which children experienced before organized sports took over all their informal neighborhood games. The idea was for kids to play without worrying about what adults thought about their game. The initial plan was for this to recreate the freedom kids have to play without adults around.

In reality, Silent Saturday makes people go insane.

Top 10 Reasons I Hate Silent Saturday

#10. It causes confusion. The quiet clapping after plays sounds like golf, and I keep looking for Tiger Woods.  Or, Happy Gilmore.  Someone.

#9. It causes blindness. We were encouraged to make signs to hold up during the game, in lieu of hollering our good sentiments. My children used our signs to engage in physical attacks upon one another while they “watched” their brother’s game.  Nobody lost an eye, but they might have, if the game had gone into overtime.

#8. It encourages tattooing. Not only did my kids take time out from making our cheer signs for Silent Saturday to draw mustaches on each other and on our blonde dog, they also drew faces on each of The Professor’s toes while he dozed on the sofa (he can sleep through anything, obviously), and an alien on their teenage sister’s knee (see? Napping is a bad idea, teenagers).  The discovery of their handy work resulted in Frantic Friday in our home. And, since we were using permanent markers, all of their creations lasted well beyond Silent Saturday.

#7. It promotes illicit drug use. The people along the sidelines mumbling to themselves what they would normally be hollering sound like a bunch of addicts. Or, zombies. It isn’t good.

#6. It encourages Facebook bullying. I love to cheer for the kids, mine and everyone else’s. I get that there are some people who are morons and need to shut up. But, if we can’t talk directly to them, you know, like adults, someone will end up bashing them on Facebook or talking behind their backs at Starbucks. We don’t need to encourage that.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 Reasons To Hate Silent Saturday

#5. It makes kids lose faith in their parents. Without the parents hollering at one another, how are we parents, who are busy chatting with one another, supposed to know when our kid scores?  All the players are dressed alike. It’s a mob in front of that goal. We all need that one eagle-eyed parent to holler out the shooter’s name, so we can tell our kids, “Of course, I saw your goal.”

#4. It makes kids join gangs. The quiet conditions cause the players to forget they’re allowed to talk to each other during the game. So, they tend to communicate by using all sorts of weird hand gestures that look like a cross between gang signing and giving the bird.

#3. It produces boredom. How are we supposed to giggle about Timmy’s “mom” using his name at the beginning and end of every sentence if she isn’t allowed to talk? We’ll miss “Timmy, do you want water, Timmy?” “Timmy, are you hungry, Timmy?” “Timmy, get the ball, Timmy!” “Timmy, why are you pretending you don’t know me, Timmy?”  By the way, Timmy is her husband.

#2. It teaches kids to take candy from strangers. The refs tossed candy to kids along the sidelines when their parents remain silent. So, if you obey the edict and sit there quietly, you are punished because a stranger gives your kid candy, and then you get to deal with a toddler on a sugar high. While remaining silent.  Of course.  In keeping with the day’s theme.

#1. It makes communists attempt world domination. By the time I get home after a day of Silent Saturday, I need to yell at someone. I’m guessing everyone else at Silent Saturday has some pent up aggression, too. I’m not sure, but I think that Russia had a Silent Saturday at their soccer games right before Putin decided to invade the whole world.  Not sayin’ that’s why he did it, just pointing it out.

Let’s all say “No!” to Silent Saturday.

Or, “Nyet!”

Quietly, though.

I don’t want to get kicked off of the field.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Have you taken part in Silent Saturday? Do you think Duct Tape Day might be more effective? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission.

I’m NOT A Modern Woman!

I’m NOT A Modern Woman!

by Gina Valley

I’ve been trying to buy some matte eye shadow.

I’m happy to have a glowing personality, but I don’t want to have it on my eyelids, in the middle of the day, when I’m working hard to stay awake during a staff meeting or the PTA election speeches.

I think the sparkles make my eyes tired. All that glitter must weigh a ton. And, I certainly don’t need any help getting my eyes to droop.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I’m NOT A Modern Woman! Make UpMatte eye shadow. Eye shadow, no sparkles. Sounds simple enough.

Heck, I’m pretty sure that if I rub my thumb over the top of our refrigerator it’d come up with the perfect mix of dust and grease I could rub on my eyelids for that sultry, smoky look. It might be more a sooty look, though, due to the burned toast crumbs. But, it’d be trendsetting either way, and organic and gluten-free. Perhaps, I have the makings of a new business.

I mentioned this to my friend, Joan, who’s been providing me with sage advice since the third grade. Joan told me that I do not have the makings of a new business, that rubbing refrigerator dirt on my eyelids was not an acceptable option for eye shadow, and that maybe I should clean off the top of the refrigerator.

I told Joan that I thought it would be easier to get a new refrigerator, and that I’d been to 4 stores searching for matte eye shadow. And, none of them had any.

Joan told me that was because two of the stores I went to were grocery stores, and the other two were the blue and the red big box stores. I told Joan that I was already heading to those stores for errands, and I didn’t have time to be making special trips to the make-up counter at our local department store – Condescending R Us – every time I decided to try to look like a grown up.

Joan told me that maintaining our appearance is as important as going to the doctor. I told Joan that I didn’t think we could be friends anymore.

Nonetheless, I found myself standing at one of the makeup counters at Condescending R Us.

I picked this particular counter over the other half dozen options, because the person working behind it had on a lab coat. I figured that was a good sign. After all, the associate at one of the other counters seemed to be wearing some sort of smock made out of cobwebs, and another was wearing what can only be accurately described as a Slutty Candy Striper costume.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I’m NOT A Modern Woman! Make Up

I reasoned that this person in the lab coat was likely to take a scientific approach to facial decoration issues. Obviously, I had sniffed too much complementary perfume on the way in.

The lab-coated person smiled, and floated over to me. I’ve always admired people who can “float” when they walk. I can barely pull off not tripping while I walk.

She introduced herself to me as “Lawn, your cosmetics concierge.” I didn’t even know I needed a cosmetics concierge, much less had one. She then told me that it was her goal to make this the best day ever for me.

She looked a bit confused when I pointed out that I’d need her to do all of our laundry and to make dinner for that to happen.

I told Lawn that I wanted to buy some matte eye shadow.

Lawn shook her head, clearly pitying me. She steered me toward a tall stool at her makeup counter, and draped a prickly towel around my neck. She told me that it was vital to have a solid base for my beauty routine.

I contemplated explaining to her that the base of my “beauty routine” is hitting enough red lights while driving carpool to have time to fish my mascara out from the bottom of my purse. And, that I have to hit that one really long light near the high school, if I want even a chance at swiping a little across my lashes.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I’m NOT A Modern Woman! Make Up

Lawn explained to me that matte is not en vogue. Sparkly is. So, they have “shimmer” (a little sparkly) eye shadow or “shine” (super sparkly) eye shadow. She didn’t mention “Strobe” or “Laser,” but I’m sure they have those, too. You probably need a special “Paint & Carry” permit before you’re allowed to apply them to your face. Safety first.

“This,” the 20-something (I assume she wasn’t still a teen, even though she looked like one, as it was 10am on a school day) 96 pound make-up concierge, explained to me, as she held out a giant palette of eye shadow, “is the way we modern women highlight our eyes.” I noticed her eyes were “highlighted” with orange sparkly eye shadow and purple liner, both above and below. It looked as though a pair of Elton John’s eye glasses had somehow melted onto her face.

After she swept a gob of blue “shine” eye shadow across my eyelids (isn’t blue eye shadow illegal?), Lawn quickly outlined my eyes with blue “shimmer” eye liner. She then explained to me that this shimmer with the shine is what all the modern women are wearing, and it’s “a very subtle, sexy look.”

I looked in the mirror. Neither subtle nor sexy sprang to mind.

Creepy clown in a horror show, maybe. Three year old, who got into her mother’s make up, possibly. I hope this washes off, definitely.

I guess I’m just not a modern woman.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Are you a modern woman? Do you trip the light fantastic across your lids? Or, do you prefer the natural look? Do you shimmer or shine? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission.

I Lost My Phone!!! …Gina’s Favorites

I Lost My Phone!!! …Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

Since I feel like I’ve misplaced my mind this week, I figured my I Lost My Phone!!! post would be a perfect choice for Throwback Day.
Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites post.

I Lost My Phone!!!

I met my friend, Janelle, for breakfast. We’ve been friends for years, and, as always, we talked so much we forgot to look at the menus.  The poor waiter had to come back three times before we both decided to get the same thing we get every time we meet there.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Lost My Phone!!! ...Gina's Favorites Cell PhoneWe laughed and talked through our meal, and all the way out to our cars, which were parked in a tiny strip in the alley behind the dive we love.

As Janelle drove off, I reached into my purse to grab my phone. I’d heard the tiny beep indicating a new voicemail at least 5 times during our breakfast gabfest, and I wanted to be sure the world had not ended, before I drove away.

But, my phone was not in its special slot in my purse.

I chose not to panic. This is floppy purse. It tends to flop over. Surely, it had flopped, as it so often does, and had dumped my phone into its depths.  I felt around in the cavernous bag, but did not feel the solid, cold, rectangular shape indicating my phone’s presence.

I felt my heart race a bit, but was pretty sure the sweat on my forehead was just from the heat of the day.

I started to unpack my purse, in search of my phone.  This purse is quite large. In fact it’s too large for me to use most of the time. I use it when I travel, because it holds everything. I was still using it this morning, because I hadn’t bothered to switch it out since returning from my last trip. I’m the worst un-packer ever.

Surely my phone, the tiny organizer of my life, holder of my photos, umbilical cord to my children had simply become lost amongst the extra napkins, bags of trail mix, and packets of catsup stowing away in my purse.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Lost My Phone!!! ...Gina's Favorites Cell PhoneI placed each item I pulled out of my purse onto the passenger seat. Why was I even carrying 8 tubes of lip balm? Do I really think SoCal is dry enough to make my lips peel off? Am I expecting an epidemic of runny noses? Do I really need 6 of those cute little packages of tissue? And, who threw all of those candy wrappers in?  I don’t even like Heath bars.

I was so distracted by the mess I was pulling out, that I forgot about my urgent phone search and rescue mission.  When I stuck my hand into my purse one last time and pulled out nothing, I remembered the true purpose of my excavation. I searched through the mound I’d made just to be sure I hadn’t missed it.

I was sure it was in my purse. It has its own special pocket. I’m OCD. It always goes in its special pocket.  I figured it must have slipped out and somehow gotten wrapped in the lining of the purse.  That’s why I didn’t find it when I pulled out the other contents of my purse.

I reminded myself not to completely freak out.

I’d just turn my purse upside down and give it a shake, and my beloved telecommunication appendage would gently tumble out onto my lap.  Then, I remembered all the crumbs and trash I had discovered in the depths of my purse, and decided to let my beloved connection to the Universe tumble out ever so gently onto the pavement of the alley, instead.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Lost My Phone!!! ...Gina's Favorites Cell PhoneI was careful to hold my purse close to the ground. Even though my phone was wearing the latest greatest anti-breakage cover, I didn’t want to chance a cracked screen.

I shook gently. A flood of crumbs rained down. Had I been storing loaves of bread in my purse? No phone.

I shook it again, slightly harder. A few more crumbs and 4 gum wrappers sprinkled out. No phone.

I blinked hard.  Not to push welling tears of panic away. Just because it was windy. Honest.

I shook my upside down purse as hard as I could. I heard someone let out a loud, “Aaaaaaggggg!”  It might have been me. No phone.

I sat back down in the driver’s seat of my son’s car. I’d borrowed his tiny car, knowing how hard it is to find a decent sized parking space in this neighborhood. As I refilled my giant purse with the mountain of vital items I had taken from it, I mentally retraced my steps with my dear phone.

When was the last time I was sure I had my phone? I’d thought I heard it beeping with voicemails in the restaurant, but half the people in there probably have the same phone. Maybe it was someone else’s phone I’d heard.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Lost My Phone!!! ...Gina's Favorites Cell PhoneI knew I’d used it to text Janelle that I was leaving for the restaurant. I kind of remembered putting it down on the seat of the car after that. I could almost picture myself putting it down on the black seat. Maybe it slid into the seat. Or, between the seats. Or, under the seats.

I quickly performed what I’m sure the car found to be a truly invasive exam of its every nook, cranny and orifice. I even checked in the back seat, in case I had temporarily lost my mind and tossed my phone in that direction. No phone.

A big sigh escaped me. I heard some growling. That couldn’t possibly have been me.

Then, I remembered the chair I pile my stuff on when I’m coming and going at home has a black seat. Maybe I’d finished texting Janelle that I was coming, and had inadvertently left my phone on that seat while I put on my shoes, and had left without it.

That made sense. It was probably still sitting safely right there.  Luckily, Son#1 was home (where could he go? I had his car!).

I’d just call him and ask him to look on the chair.

Except that I didn’t have a phone!

Then, I felt doubly moronic for losing my phone and attempting to use the missing phone to locate the missing phone. Thank you, God, that my thoughts aren’t broadcast to the universe.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Lost My Phone!!! ...Gina's Favorites Cell PhoneAt that exact moment, the moment when I was feeling pretty much as dumb as I thought was possible, I remembered where my phone was. And, I felt even dumber (is that even a word?).

I’d left it on the table in the restaurant. I’d pulled it out of my purse to make sure it was on silent, and had put it on the table next to my plate. I hadn’t bothered to put it back into its special pocket in my purse because I couldn’t possibly miss it sitting next to my plate like that. I remembered thinking that only a complete idiot would fail to see it there.  I guessed I’d at last become complete.

It had been 20 minutes since we’d left the table. How could I have stood there talking and laughing with Janelle while my poor, defenseless phone lay alone, a helpless victim? How could I have been so irresponsible? What kind of a phone parent was I?

Full blown panic swept over me.

Anyone who happened by that table could have easily absconded with my dear iFriend.  Surely it was long gone. They had probably stripped it for parts and shipped it off to the boarder by now.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Lost My Phone!!! ...Gina's Favorites Cell PhoneAll my notes, my moments of brilliance, gone.

All my contacts, my friends and business peers, gone.

All my photos, my children’s childhood memories, gone.

Oh, why didn’t I do that weekly back up my IT guy keeps telling me to do? Why didn’t I hear my own voice chastising my children for putting their belongings down on restaurant tables? Why didn’t I embrace my OCD and put my phone where it was supposed to be?

Frustration and regret swept through me as I got out of the car, slamming the door.

Then, embarrassment flooded over me, as I shoved the car keys in my pocket.

Because the keys wouldn’t fit.

Because my phone was in my pocket.

Now, has anyone seen my glasses or my pen?

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Have you lost anything recently? Have you found something?  Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it!

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission.

Top 10 Reasons My Kids Can’t Help In The Garden

Top 10 Reasons My Kids Can’t Help In The Garden

by Gina Valley

I bought a couple flats of flowers this weekend.

My parents are coming to visit next week, and I want our yard to look less like the local plant graveyard while they’re here. Assuming we get all the flowers planted, surely even I, with my two black thumbs, can keep them alive for the week of my parents visit.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 Reasons My Kids Can’t Help In The Garden GardeningThe Professor reminded me that I’ve killed artificial flowers in less time. I reminded him that I can start cooking vegan-only again anytime. He, then, told me that I’m smart and I’m pretty.

He really hated my vegan era.

Due to our long standing agreement to never work on the same DIY project at the same time together (one can only imagine how many murders and trips to the divorce attorney this policy has prevented in our home), The Professor was off the hook as far as helping plant the flowers.

He muttered something about needing to grade midterms and taking his car to the mechanic because it’s making a new, weird sound, just to be sure he was able to dodge the draft he knew was coming.

I didn’t really want him to help plant the flowers anyway. He always ends up dissecting the plants to show our kids the different parts. The plants do not like to be dissected and make that clear by, not only dying, but encouraging their friends to do the same.

The last thing I need is more help killing plants.

The other members of my pack, however, were all eligible to be called into service. Somehow, though, the little draft dodgers did not agree, and came up with a myriad of excuses.

Top 10 Reasons My Kids Can’t Help In The Garden

#10.  ”I’m watching a live feed of a giraffe giving birth” (he was, and, ewww!).

#9.  ”I just put a new stick of gum into my mouth.”

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 Reasons My Kids Can’t Help In The Garden Gardening#8.  ”I already took a shower today and I’m not taking another one.”

#7.  ”When I wear shoes my feet can’t breathe.”

#6.  ”I’m allergic to dirt” (this from the teenager whose dresser is covered in a layer of dust thick enough to plant vegetables in).

#5.  ”That bug is looking at me” (yes, the bug was looking at him).

#4.  ”I’m thinking about doing my homework.”

#3.  ”The dog is asleep on my foot.”

#2.  ”I have to watch this program so we can erase it from the DVR.”

#1.  ”There’s no Wi-Fi out there.”

They did all end up rushing out to help me plant the flowers after all, though.

It was just after I announced that the last one ready to help had to clean all the toilets.

Not my first time at this rodeo.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Any eager helpers in your house? Does your family find chore time is a great time to practice Hide-and-Seek? Shoot me a comment. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission.

Way Better Than Chocolate!

Way Better Than Chocolate!

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Way Better Than Chocolate!A long, long time ago someone paid a debt for me that I could never pay.

I make it a point to try to forgive the debts of others out of my gratitude.  I’m too weak and selfish to do it out of my own will.

I messed up.   I didn’t have to pay the price.  Neither do you.

May you embrace his Grace & Mercy this Easter.

You are loved.

Blessings to you!

Love!

-gina

If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog!!!

If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog!!! …Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

Laugh along with this timely Gina’s Favorites post for Throwback Day.

If It Answers to “Easter Basket” It Must Be Our Dog

We have several dogs.  We love them all very, very much.

One of them is named Douglas.

Douglas is an idiot.  I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog!!! ...Gina's Favorites Pets

Often when I am looking at Douglas I say to him, “It’s a good thing you’re pretty.”

He is pretty.

He’s a lab and saluki mix with shiny black fur that is soft like a rabbit’s. His mouth always looks like it’s smiling. He has a long tail with a dangling, silky fringe that that never gets tangled. He’s lean and looks like he could run down a cheetah. He really is a pretty dog.

He’s also pretty dumb.

Douglas joined our family when he was 9 months old. His first family had named him “Douglas,” after the black train on the Thomas the Train TV show. We opted not to change his name because we didn’t want to confuse him. If we knew then what we know now, we would have just laughed and laughed and laughed at the idea of not confusing him.

Douglas, who is sweet and wonderful with children despite his enormous size, lives in a constant state of confusion. I swear sometimes the other dogs are laughing at him. I sometimes scold them for that. Apparently he isn’t the only confused member of our family.

It took nearly 2 years to teach him to “sit” on command. It took nearly 4 years to get any kind of acknowledgment from him that when we holler “No!” we are not happy with what he is doing and he should stop. Even still, sometimes all he does is pause.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog!!! ...Gina's Favorites PetsHe doesn’t wag his tail like normal dogs. He has an asymmetrical pattern when he puts his tail into motion. When he’s especially excited about something he does what we call “helicoptering,” which is when his tail just makes continuous, enormous circles.

But, it’s his seeming inability to understand what his name is that is the source of most of our head shaking and giggles.

For the first two years he lived with us we would call out, “Douglas!” to get his attention, and then, having received no acknowledgement whatsoever again, we would call out, “Trixie!” to get Douglas to come to us. You might remember that Trixie is one of our other dogs who is, sadly, quite ill now. He’d see Trixie run up to us and he would follow her. The funny thing is he would run up to us if we called out, “Trixie!” even when Trixie wasn’t home.

But, that was ok.  At least we knew how to get his attention.

And, he is very pretty.

Even though it usually receives no acknowledgement from him we consistently call Douglas “Douglas.” We are ever hopeful that he will catch on.  But, at 10 years old he still hasn’t.

For almost 6 weeks this past spring he answered solely to the name “Easter Basket.” Daughter#1 was in a conversation, and when she said, “Easter basket,” Douglas charged across the house, giant paws slipping and sliding, long legs flailing, right up to her. We thought it was a coincidence.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog!!! ...Gina's Favorites PetsIt’s not unusual for Douglas to make a sudden mad dash through the house for no apparent reason. We don’t even answer the door if he runs up and barks at it unless the other dogs do, too. He has excellent hearing. He even hears, and I think sees, invisible people.

So, scientifically minded people that we are, we tested “The Easter Basket Moniker” theory again later that day. We had Son#3 sit on the sofa in the family room with no food nearby, as we wondered if Daughter#1 being in the food-centric breakfast room earlier had been the reason he had made his mad, well-timed dash. Son#3 called out, “Easter Basket!” Douglas came running.

I’m not sure if Douglas thought “Easter  Basket” was his name or if he had associated “Easter Basket” with candy and was hoping to get some (my dad also comes running at the phrase “Easter Basket.” He loves him some candy!), but for whatever the reason, for the first time in his near decade as a part of our family, we had a reliable way to call that dog to us. Gotta admit it felt a little weird hollering it out at the dog park, though.

Since the end of his “Easter Basket” phase we have been back to calling him “Douglas,” while he is back to having no idea that we are talking to him.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday ‘Ole Easter Basket amazed me.

I called out, “Douglas!” and he tore through the house and ran right up next to me, looking at me expectedly. I was so shocked that it took me a minute to remember I was calling him to see if he needed to go outside. He went out.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley If He Answers to “Easter Basket” He Must Be Our Dog!!! ...Gina's Favorites PetsTwice more over the next couple hours I called out “Douglas!” and he ran right up to me. I was so excited that at nearly 10 years old he had finally learned his name. Sometimes you lower your expectations for certain individuals. I could hardly wait until my pack got home so I could show them.

So, they got home around dinner time, and I called out “Douglas!” to give him a chance to show off his new found brilliance. No reaction. I tried several more times. I even tried with a Scottish accent. No dice. He didn’t even look at me until I walked over to him and petted his head.

Whatever iceberg had popped through the surface of that vast empty ocean that is his brain had sunk back down into the depths.

But, that’s ok.

And, luckily, he is pretty.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Ever have one of those “what’s my name again?” days? Shoot me a comment. I’d love to hear all about it!

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission.

Top 10 INSANE Things I Uttered On The 1st Day of Spring Break

Top 10 INSANE Things I Uttered On The 1st Day of Spring Break

by Gina Valley

It’s only the first day of spring break and I already sound like I’ve lost my mind.

I haven’t. I just have kids.

Kids love spring break.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 Insane Things I Uttered On The 1st Day of Spring BreakI tend to head into it under the impression I love it, too. I always have grandiose plans for what we’ll do with a week void of school responsibilities. I also, apparently, have total amnesia when it comes to spring breaks past.

This year was no different.

Being home for a week without having to drive school carpool sounded like a vacation.

I imagined all that I’d lead my pack to accomplish during this gift of extra hours.  We would clean and garden and organize. We would play board games and basketball and badminton. We would visit museums and the beach and the zoo.

But, I forgot that I live in a zoo.

Any extra hours with my kids at home with me are quickly gobbled up by the extra parenting opportunities their close proximity to me and each other all day long necessitates.

Sometimes, those extra parenting opportunities fly out of my mouth and boggle my mind.

There’s been a whole lot of that going on already, and it’s only the first day of spring break.

Top 10 INSANE Things I Uttered On The 1st Day of Spring Break

#10.  If the dog really was the one who ate all the Easter candy his poop would be sparkly.

#9.  Let go of your brother’s face.

#8.  You can’t bring that squirrel into the house, because we don’t know him.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 Insane Things I Uttered On The 1st Day of Spring Break#7.  Did anyone realize we still have Christmas decorations on the mantel?

#6.  I doubt unloading the dishwasher is going to kill you.

#5.  Spring break is just a break from school, not from reality, not from chores, and definitely not from showers. And, use soap!

#4.  Clothes that are still on hangers are not dirty.

#3.  Do not play catch with a screwdriver.

#2.  No, milk should not be a solid.

#1.  Do not glue people together.

I love my children. I love the extra time we have together.

But…

I’m already starting to wonder…

Is it school o’clock yet?

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Is your family spring break-ing? How do you spend the extra time a break from school responsibilities gives you? Are people being glued together at your house, too? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission.

Hide & Seek With Your Garden Tools

Hide & Seek With Your Garden Tools …Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites post.

Playing Hide & Seek With Your Garden Tools

This is the time of year when many of us are busy sprucing up our gardens.  It is invaluable to have the right tools.   I recently came upon a supposedly helpful list of twenty-seven essential items to assemble prior to beginning to revitalize one’s garden for spring.

That’s right - TWENTY-SEVEN!

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Hide & Seek With Your Garden Tools ...Gina's Favorites GardeningThe thing is, though, this list was clearly assembled by someone who lives in, well, an imaginary land where people speak “Martha Stewart” and put things away where they belong.

I don’t live there.

I don’t even live near there.

I figured many of you live in a crazy realm similar to the one I do, so I decided to adapt the list for us inhabitants of the real world.

I’ve whittled (you would not believe how long it took me to spell “whittled” correctly) the list down to the 4 most essential items, not including the phone numbers for the closest emergency room and bandage supplier.

Spring Garden Essentials Checklist:

(Don’t waste your time looking for any of these items where they belong.  You know they aren’t there.  As an experienced spring garden tool gatherer, I have provided some suggestions as to the most likely places to find them.)

A round point shovel – could be used for breaking up ground or for heavy digging and lifting if you could find it.  Probably it’s somewhere behind the garage where it was thrown two months ago after two of your sons got into an argument about who’s turn it was to pick up the dog doo, and Son#2 popped Son#3 on the head with it.

Son#2 was likely in a hurry to hide the evidence of his assault after the split in the skin above Son#3’s right eyebrow turned into something closely resembling a Venetian fountain. He likely tossed the shovel behind the garage because it was the nearest large, opaque object.  Fortunately, Son#3 had the good, although dripping, sense to rush to find you in the house, despite Son#2’s assurances that he would return shortly with duct tape to “fix him right up.”

A hand pruner – is great for snipping off small, dead branches, and is not actually intended to prune hands, despite the fact that it does seem to take pieces off someone’s finger every year.  It looks kinda like hefty scissors.  It is usually found near where a child was constructing a diorama of The Wind in the Willows at midnight the night before it was due.  After all,  she only had two months to work on it and couldn’t possibly be expected to finish the shoebox sized project, much less mention that she needed to do so, in that short time frame.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Hide & Seek With Your Garden Tools ...Gina's Favorites GardeningAs last minute school projects cause the immediate disappearance of all scissors, she naturally had to use the hand pruners to cut out the construction paper river, wire tree stems, and cardboard willows.  The duct tape is probably nearby as well, explaining why Son#2 was unable to find it to use to stem the tide from Son#3’s eyebrow, because glue sticks also spontaneously combust whenever a child is working on a school project after the stores close.

A leaf rake – is useful for raking up, you guessed it, leaves from the lawn or under shrubbery.  It has a wide “rakey” part at the end that, unfortunately, unscrews from the long handle.  The rakey part makes a great turkey tail or giant Mohawk and is usually found in the tree fort in the back yard or upstairs in the costume box.

The long handle is, unfortunately, quite a bit more difficult to locate.  Most years, The Professor just crawls around on our lawn muttering about how he knew he “…should have glued the bloody handle on!” as he rakes up the leaves with only the rakey part of the rake, after having searched the garage and yard fruitlessly for the handle.

The handle is a rare find, but can sometimes be located holding up the center of the blanket and chair fort in the living room or attached to the paint roller that was abandoned in the shower of the guest bathroom.  You might also want to check that space between the refrigerator and the wall, because it is sometimes used to retrieve AWOL Lego bricks from under the refrigerator.

A pair of gardening gloves – are very important to protect your hands while working in the yard.  They also work well as riding gloves while riding imaginary broncos made of picnic benches, as substitute hot pads when removing flaming roasted potatoes from the oven, and to get a grip on the radiator cap when the car is steaming mad.  Search accordingly.  Be sure that you locate at least three gloves, because if you only find two, they will be for the same hand.

After you’ve found these four basic items most of the day will probably be shot, so you won’t have any time, much less patience, left to work in your garden.  Be sure to hide them where your family can’t find them.  That way there’s a chance you’ll be able to use them next weekend.  Then, send yourself an email telling you where you put them, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll hide them where no one, not even you, can find them.

Happy Hunting…I mean…Gardening!

Laugh out loud!

- gina

What’s the most unusual place you’ve found a gardening essential?  Who puts stuff where it goes at in your neck of the woods?  Shoot me a comment.  I’d love to hear all about it!

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission.

I Have TWO Black Thumbs!!!

I Have TWO Black Thumbs!!!

by Gina Valley

I don’t know how it happens, but it happens every spring.

I head out to buy some innocuous household item, socks or light bulbs or bread; and I find myself in the garden department of whatever store I landed at, be it Home Depot, Costco, or Forever 21.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Have TWO Black Thumbs!!!I stand there in a stupor, my eyes glazed over (my nose is usually running, too. I have wicked hay fever). My mind fogs, and I enter some sort of spring-plant-induced-zombie-coma.

Last year’s plant holocaust fades from my mind.

I forget I have 2 black thumbs.

I don’t remember my pack’s tendency to trample to death anything that even sort of survives my pathetic horticulture attempts.

I find myself galloping up and down the aisles, patting pansies, hoisting hostas, grabbing gladiolas. Soon, I have a cart filled to overflowing with roses and herbs and alyssum.

I hear someone reciting “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?” and realize it’s me.

This year was no different.

We stopped by the Giant Home Improvement Store to buy a valve for our drippy bathroom faucet.

As I followed The Professor toward the plumbing aisle, I was swept away by a mysterious tide. I found myself in the middle of the garden department. Echoes of The Professor repeating, “We’re just here for a valve. We’re just here for a valve!” faded from my consciousness as I took in the beautiful displays of blooms all around me.

Before I knew what was happening, I was carefully wedging my new flora friends into our van. I heard The Professor mumble something about Teleflora throwing up in there.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Have TWO Black Thumbs!!!

I think he was just grumpy because I filled his seat with daisies, so he had to either hold them or ride home on the roof rack.

Reality hit, as it always does, as we reached our house.

I heard a little shriek from the plants I just purchased as our barren yard came into view. I looked at our anything-but-lush garden, and remembered that I do not have a green thumb on either hand.

Nonetheless, I charged ahead with my spring garden frenzy by pulling up and throwing out all evidence of last year’s spring garden frenzy. I covered the new plants’ eyes so they wouldn’t see the dehydrated, mangled remains of herbs and foxgloves and petunias.

The Professor suggested that I could save myself a lot of work by simply throwing all of the new plants directly into the trash bin now, thereby avoiding all the stress of watching them die an inevitable, painful death.

I told him that if he really wanted to help, he could bring in the 50 pound bag of dirt I bought. He asked me if this was the same dirt I bought to kill last year’s plants with, and mumbled something about us being surrounded by free dirt and living in a plant graveyard. I chose to ignore him. The non-plant-o-phile’s just don’t understand.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley I Have TWO Black Thumbs!!!

For the last 3 days I’ve spent every free moment planting and trimming and mulching. I think it’ll take me at least another 3 days to finish, a week if my kids help me.

I haven’t had time for the minutiae of life, like cooking and laundry, while I work to conquer all things blooming.  That’s okay, though, because I’m pretty sure I’ve got my kids convinced that cold cereal is the new “hot” meal, and that Febreze’d is as good as washed.

Soon we’ll have a beautiful, springtime back drop to enjoy right here at our own home.

It will be wonderful.

Right up until it’s time to weed and feed and trim. And, a heat wave hits. And, the dog chews through the stems. And, the kids pull off all the blossoms.

Then, I’ll wake up from my spring-plant-induced-zombie-coma, and realize I don’t know how it happened.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Do you have spring-flower-fever? How about hay fever? Do you plant flowers or veggies or rocks? Shoot me comment. I’d love to hear what you think.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission.

They ARE Different!!!

They ARE Different!!!

by Gina Valley

Men and women are different. Have you noticed?

Take weight for example.

Ask a man what he weighs, and a man will tell you what he weighs.

He will tell you exactly what he weighs.

He’ll tell you how long he’s weighed that much. He’ll tell you the first time he weighed that much. He’ll tell you who won the Super Bowl & how many hot wings he ate the year he first hit that weight.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley They ARE Different!!! Weight

He’ll tell you his high school weight, his college weight, his dad’s weight, his best friend’s weight.

He will brag if he is currently at his heaviest weight ever and will gladly weigh in front of you and let you see his abdomen to prove he is the heaviest he’s ever been.

He’ll happily holler his current weight across a crowded room to you, particularly if it has gone up due to a recent large, questionable meal (The same is true if his weight has recently gone down due to an unusually prolific off-loading experience on his part, but that’s really a topic for a different column).

He’ll proudly tell you the size of the clothes he’s just expanded into. He’ll show you the tags to prove it. He’ll even wear shirts with size printed right on the front and pants with the size embroidered onto the waistband for all to see.

He’ll prefer to weigh with jeans and boots on so as to up his number. He might even leave his keys, cell phone, and wallet in his pocket to give himself just a bit more heft in the gravitational attraction department.

He won’t even exhale before reading the scale.

There’s no shame, no concern, no self-consciousness.

You ask a man what he weighs and he will tell you.

You ask a woman what she weighs and she will stab you.

Or, maybe that’s just me.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Do you share your gravitational attraction number with other people?  Or, is that a secret guarded more closely than Fort Knox? Why, do you suppose, we stress so much about that number? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think. And, as always, thank you for stopping by and spending your time with me!

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission.