Tag Archives: Parenting

Totes, Selfies, and Sharpies

In some regards, my high school daughter is the Anti-Teenager. She avoids trends (especially in social media) and is comfortable doing her own thing. I can’t say too much about her non-teenager habits, because she’d get mad at me for sharing. I’ve already said too much. In that regard, she is very much a teenager.

Enter The Best Friend. She is my daughter’s oldest friend and like another daughter to me. They say, “We’ve known each other since before we were born.” It’s true. We moms were pregnant together, and the girls are only three weeks apart. They did many things together: kiddie gym classes, preschool, dance, sleepovers, playdates, trips to DisneyWorld,and anything else we could come up with. They are very much like sisters.

The Daughter and The Best Friend couldn’t be more different.


The Best Friend keeps me abreast of the goings on in the world of teenagers. She’s my friend on Facebook. She tells me about stuff that I would never hear from The Daughter. She also speaks as if she’s texting—shortened words and acronyms.

“OMG, that’s totes awes.”

What? When did a tote bag get involved?

The Daughter translates for me (she doesn’t speak The Best Friend’s language, but she understands it). It means, “Oh my gosh, that is totally awesome.”

“Totes” is short for “totally.” It’s one of The Best Friend’s favorite words. It also doubles as “Yes, I wholeheartedly agree with you.”


The Best Friend loves Instagram. We haven’t ventured there yet. (I haven’t. No one else in the fam will.) TBF told me about a her friend at school who has tens of thousands of followers on Instagram. This girl gets five thousand likes or views or hits (whatever it’s called on Instagram) on any given picture on any given day. (She doesn’t use her real name, BTW.) Most of her photos are selfies.


Selfies. Self portraits, of course. I’ve been enlightened.


My cartoon selfie


This ninth grader Instagram guru has very interesting hair. The Best Friend showed me one of her selfies. The brunette girl’s hair was pink. I mean pink. “Is that chalk?” I asked. After all, how are you going to get color to show up on brown hair like that?

Nope, not chalk. Sharpie.


Hot pink Sharpie permanent marker. Evidently, it’s the latest way for teens to color their hair.
Who knew? I didn’t. When I was in high school, we used different colored and metallic hair mousse. Sharpies were permanent markers and were mostly just black. (And I walked to school in a hurricane uphill both ways—there’s not enough snow in Texas.)
I had so many questions. How permanent was it? Does the marker damage the hair? How do they get it out? What if they don’t like the color? The Daughter said that they probably just use another color on top. (What does she know? She’s the Anti-Teenager.)

I should have texted The Best Friend and asked her. Instead, I tried it myself. I sacrificed a lock of hair and an old towel. My brown hair is darker than Instagram Girl’s, but you can see the color.


The things I’ll do for a picture…

I’ll be smelling that Sharpie marker all day now. Totes.

Do you have teenagers with strange, sheepish, or independent ways? Do you monitor your child’s social media use?

How I Spent My Last Cent on School Supplies

School starts next Monday for us, so I’ve been doing all the registration forms and final shopping for supplies.  Our PTAs sell all the school supplies in a shrink-wrapped kit for each grade. I highly recommend them.  Here are a few things I love about these gems:

  • Convenient (This is self explanatory. Really.)
  • Everyone who buys them has the same thing as the next student (colors may vary).
  • I don’t have to go on a wild-goose chase to find the extra-ginormous white paper that none of the stores sell (even though it’s on the supply list).
  • It’s less expensive, especially if you factor in the stress of searching for that mythical white paper, the gas used, and the torture of listening to your child debate over which color scissors or ruler or pencil bag–Just pick one already!
  • It helps the PTA (every penny counts).

Two folders plus tax: $1.08.
(No, I didn’t shop on the tax-free weekend. My sanity is worth the tax.)

In elementary school, there are plenty of people out there who let their kids be individuals and pick out what they want.  *rolling eyes*  Check to be sure those supplies aren’t going to be used collectively.

Flash forward to middle school–no fantasical white paper that was only a figment of some list maker’s imagination.  *happy dance*

However, the math, music, and Spanish teachers don’t include the items they want to use, which means another shopping trip after school starts.

“What do you mean you need two more binders, five more spirals, six boxes of tissue, and graph paper? Those weren’t on the list.”  Yep, eighth-grade additions last year.

After several years of buying the kits, there are certain things that we’ll never run out of:

  • Safety scissors (Yes, 6 pairs of safety scissors from K through 5.)
  • Number 2 pencils (Who uses 12 pencils in a school year?  And don’t forget the decorated ones that come home as prizes and gifts.)
  • Pink erasers (There is nothing wrong with the inch-wide, gray stump that comes home in May.)
  • Black, blue, and red pens (It’s my husband’s fault and that’s an entirely different story.)
  • Highlighters in 4 different colors.  (Lots of them.  Eventually, the older ones dry out.)
  • Crayons (I know these are multiplying in the crayon drawer. It could also be because I have a weakness for fancy Crayola crayons. *shhhh* Don’t tell my husband.)
  • Colored pencils.  (If I ever have to buy another set of these, it’s because–there isn’t a good reason.)

And yet, I’ll be buying the first grade kit for my little one this year.  Sigh.

On the other hand, preparing for high school was easy.  We have so much stuff on hand that we didn’t need to add pencils, pens, paper, and highlighters to our overstocked office supply store house.  Our shopping list was short.  A binder, spirals, and folders.  Should be easy.

Um, no.

We went to Target and spent about a minute picking out a binder and the spiral notebooks in the acceptable colors.  Then we spent another 10 minutes searching for folders with brads (or prongs, as Target called them).  Finally, a very helpful employee said that they were completely out and wouldn’t get in any more, but the store on the other side of town had over 100 in stock.

I had flashbacks from the year when we changed schools and missed ordering the supply kit.  I went to three or four different stores to find the white paper that was big enough for a giant to use for origami folding.

I didn’t want to drive across town to another store.  So I whispered the “W” word (Walmart).  Then I cringed, because I knew my daughter’s reaction won’t be pretty.  “I hate that store.”   (She stands on her principles that they don’t take care of the environment.  That’s yet another story.)

So, I appealed to her that it was silly to waste gas for two folders.  She relented.  When we arrived, I remembered that I disliked the store, too.  Two folders were chosen in record time.

While we waited in the slowest express line ever (no self-serve registers at this store), I realized that I had no cash.  There was no way that I was going to put $1 on the credit card.

I dug through my purse bottomless pit until I found every last coin.  I had exactly $1.12.  One was an old wheat penny, and that went into my daughter’s pocket for safe keeping.  All I needed was $1.08, and I was officially finished shopping for high school supplies. Woohoo!  I even had a few coins left to my name.

At least until the math, music, and Spanish teachers send their lists home.

Here’s some link love for some school-ish posts that I think you’ll like, too:

How do you handle shopping for school supplies?  Was there ever a wild-goose-chase item on your child’s supply list?  Do you blog and have a post about school you want to share?  I love to hear from you.  🙂

Demon Dog: Adopt One

click, click, click, click, click

I stop.  The sound stops.  I continue walking.

click, click, click, click, click

The sound keeps pace with my steps and reverberates on the hardwood floor.  I stop.  The sounds stops.

Is it a ghost or monster or psycho following me in my own home?

If this were a horror movie, I would turn around and see something terrifying, something that would scare me to death.  Instead, I see the creature of the night adorable dog.

The creature followed my every move. I couldn’t get away…

She’s cute, right?  Don’t be fooled.  Haven’t you seen MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL?    That bunny rabbit had “nasty, pointy teeth.”

This elderly furry thing that my daughter adopted from the SPCA has the latent ability to kill every living organism in a 5-mile radius clear a room with her, um, stench.  I found a sensitive-stomach kibble that killed the horror movie monster–at least until the dog eats something she shouldn’t.

This dog also has the ability to sit and stare.  It makes us wonder if there isn’t a Cujo somewhere inside that little 18-pound furball.

The creature stared. Silent and deadly.

In all seriousness, my daughter did a loving thing by convincing us to let her adopt this 11-year-old dog.  (Granted, my husband was out of the country at the time.  In my defense, he could have said, “No, we already have a dog” in any text message or phone call.  He didn’t.)   My daughter paid for the adoption fee and most of the supplies with her own money.  She even parted with old toys in a garage sale to earn enough money to pay us back for other doggie incidentals.

If you’re thinking about adopting an older dog, there are a few things you should know so you don’t have a horror movie waiting to happen:

1. It will take awhile for the dog to get acclimated.  Did she miss her previous owner?  I think so.  She didn’t make a sound for the first two months.  She watched our first dog constantly.  The day she saw another dog walking by our house, she flipped.  This little poodle mix had quite a bark.  It was about that same time that she started playing with her dog toys.  She was incredibly playful.  Some dogs settle in sooner.  Don’t be surprised by the dead calm stare.

2.  You may have to change the dog’s food.  There are no words to describe the noxious fumes that wafted throughout the house killing us slowly.  Whatever you do, don’t feed it after midnight.  (Did you see the movie Gremlins? Gizmo was cute.  His fed-late-at-night offspring, not so much.)

3. Prepare to care for an older dog. Sigh.  She doesn’t always make it until we get home from work or through the night.  In the middle of the night during the bewitching hour, she lets me know with quiet whines haunting sounds that she needs to go out.  She also didn’t know that the grass was the place to go.  My daughter gets to clean the patio often.  At least the new food made her “presents” easier to clean up.

4. Discover the dog’s tricks.  She doesn’t come when called even though we kept her name.  She wasn’t crate trained (still isn’t).  She didn’t sit, shake paws, or lay down. With little treats, my daughter learned that her new dog wasn’t as untrained as we thought.  Also, if you have another dog in the house, the new dog will probably follow the other dog’s lead while she insidiously infiltrates the family.

5. Love the dog.  My daughter felt compelled to rescue this dog.  She loved her from the moment she saw her.  This “pup” is just the right size for my younger daughter to walk, too.  Quirky, but adorable.  I got nothing for the horror movie theme here.  She’s a good dog.


  • My friend Nicole recently posted about her newly-adopted dog.
  • Click here to see what the ASPCA says about older dogs that need new “forever homes.”
  • The Senior Dogs Project website has some good information, too. I don’t completely agree with their #10 on the top 10 list though.  It’s rare for both dogs (now 11 and 12 years old) to sleep through the night, unless I stay up late and let them out before I go to bed.   And to think I was thrilled when the kids stopped waking me up every night.

My daughter and I joke about the “demon dog” and her strange, horror-movie ways, but we both agree that she is sweet and was worth adopting.  I kinda like the click, click, click sound she makes when she walks on the hardwood floors.

Do you any pet adoption stories to tell?  Please share in the comments below.  🙂

The Dog Ate My Homework

It’s that time of summer when I start thinking about getting the kids ready for school. Instead of thinking about supplies, physical forms, and sleeping habits, something reminded me about the time when my older daughter was in fifth grade and our dog ate her math homework.

Really, he did.

He’s an adorable, yet precocious, Portuguese Water Dog with all the manners in the world (after A LOT of training) and as long as there are witnesses. As soon as he’s alone and sees an opportunity, he’ll scrounge for anything he thinks might be yummy.

He is allowed to stick his head in his own bags. He loves presents.

On this particular day, my daughter may or may not have had probably did have something that smelled edible in her book bag.  It wouldn’t take much for this scavenger to think something smelled good.   Heck, this is a dog that will eat a roll of toilet paper like corn on the cob when the mood strikes him.

When we returned home from an errand, we found math homework strewn all over the floor.  It was mostly shredded.  Teeth marks and slobber were evident.  My daughter’s “little brother” had put his muzzle inside her book bag and pulled out the paper to get at whatever it was he was looking for.  (Portuguese Water Dogs are smart!)

My daughter stood in the middle of the room and stared at her destroyed, half-eaten math worksheet.  “What am I going to do?” she cried.  “No one will ever believe that my dog ate my homework!”

It was pretty funny seeing the cliche excuse in action. But I was a good mom and didn’t laugh out loud until later.

The dog put himself in timeout in his crate.  He knew when he was in trouble.

We collected the homework–every last shredded piece–and put it all in a zip bag to take to school.  The evidence clearly showed that a dog attacked the paper. I emailed her math teacher and explained the gory mess we found and that she was terrified that he wouldn’t believe her.

He sent the nicest note back.  He owned four dogs and wouldn’t be surprised by anything a dog did.  No worries.  What a relief!   Fabulous teacher, too–one of my daughter’s all-time favorites. Now, it was safe to laugh.

In sixth grade, her new math teacher told the class that “my dog ate my homework” was a stupid (his word), non-viable excuse and that they should think twice before using it.  According to my daughter, the students who had been in her fifth grade class started laughing.  They knew that a dog really could eat homework!

What about you?  Do you have a funny pet destruction story to tell?  Do you have to do certain things to keep pets out of trouble, such as keeping toilet paper rolls off the holder? Share it in the comments below.  I’d love to hear about it.  🙂


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