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Friday, July 29, 2011

What a thrill to guest-host for one of my favorite blogs, Mommy Lady Club. She let me choose 2 leading men! Atlanta Webmaster made it work! Please see my WP blog for video: http://hotairballoonmom.com

You didn’t know that you could find a romantic retreat on a Mom blog, did you?
Welcome to Battle of The Leading Men!
Your Romantic Getaway
Would you like to play?

First meet our special hosts, Clint Eastwood & Timothy Olyphant
Thank you Gentlemen…

battle of the leading men on mommy lady club

Now, meet our co-hosts, Mommy LaDy Club and
Hot Air Balloon Mom.

Here’s how to play:
1: Please follow, visit and comment for both of our co-hosts, Mommy LaDy Club and Hot Air Balloon Mom
2: Please vote in each of the paired Battles below by commenting the names of each Battle champion on Mommy LaDy Club’s blog.
3: You may also link up by Sunday at midnight to be drawn to win next week’s co-host spot!

The Battle voting will remain open through the week, even if you missed linking up. Get all of the details at your Romantic Getaway central and see previous match- ups.

Now…Battle On! ( Video: http://hotairballoonmom.com )

Battle 1:
John Hamm
Battle Cry: Don Draper


vs. Clive Owen
Battle Cry: Just Clive

Battle 2:
Bruce Willis
Battle Cry: Die Hard
vs. Richard Gere Battle Cry: The Waltz

Sunday, July 24, 2011

2011 Princeton Review: #1 Party School in America? Winner: The University of Georgia!

According to The Princeton Review, my sweet baby girl’s #1 college choice is ranked as America’s #1 Party School.

Fiancé Child pointed out: Flower Child visiting a Geek Tech Frat house wasn’t a threat; they don’t know what to do with a girl on campus. We should concern ourselves with her college of choice, aka: 2011 Princeton Review’s #1 Party School in America. (Google it!) She added: Flower Child has a great head on her shoulders and will be fine. (Thanks, Fiancé!)
As destiny would have it, based on grades, rigor and activities, neither Party nor Preacher Child were accepted at UGA, we figured the standards were higher than ever; no way it’s the same wild place I attended in the 80’s. A mom can dream.

Truth be told, it’s apparent how this school is - at last #1 - after decades of simply making the list. Its history is conducive to a good time…
The Movie Scene:
Rumor has it - in the late 1970’s, UGA denied permission to film the legendary John Belushi Movie, Animal House,  on its campus – on grounds that an association with a brazen party movie ensured their (already) questionable academic reputation of the day.

The Music Scene:
Check out revolutionary bands, hailing from Athens:
Ø  B-52’s (Best party song ever, Love Shack)
Ø  White Animals
Ø  R.E.M.
Ø  John Mayer (Note: he was discovered at the annual music festival, thankfully! Otherwise, he’d still pump gas at Chevron)

The Bar scene:
Wikipedia notes: 96 bars dwell in this little town.

The Visitors:
Because of the legendary music scene and 96 bars, young people from a 250-mile radius voyage into Athens to enjoy its culture. Our thought, based on Party Child’s numerous road trips? Outsiders sustain the vibrant reputation, not matriculating students of the university.

Wishful thinking! At orientation UGA actually acknowledged its latest honor and documented with statistics – via PowerPoint - to support how co-ed party habits are generally established before they set foot on campus. One must admire the willingness to meet issues head-on.
I survived Athens, along with many others who now lead responsible adult lives. Time wins, right? Surely, Flower Child will burn midnight oil at the library, rather than contribute to Princeton Review’s 2012 Party School ranks?

We know this: Regardless of how our 2011 football season turns out, THIS fine SEC school will always win the party!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Return Policy for Kids

I've learned when to stop inviting Karma and start asking friends about Holy Water!

We attended college orientation: Flower Child’s dorm assignment - messed up. Mix in her campers’ drama extreme last week (at Performing Arts Camp); fold with BFF & boy issue, doctor visit for throat swab…

I’ve suspended our College Myth-busters’ series for more wisdom from Mimi. Flower Child at the frat house caused a stir. I almost felt like a bad mom since I wasn’t THAT upset. Why not?

Preacher/Party Child have broken me in?

I sport Rose-colored glasses for Flower Child?

BOOM! Revelation as I prepared for a morning with sweet little babies at church, whose only you-know-what clearly appears in their diapers.

Mimi’s Return-Policy Prayer
Yes, that’s return policy on kids, not retail items. Some young mommies will never read this page again. Older mommies laugh, click, thank God theirs are responsible citizens despite themselves.

If you’ve had a fleeting moment, understanding child abuse – you wouldn’t abuse yours, just know why it could happen. This post is for you! I'll lead by example, sharing my moment:

Preacher Child was my first; how could I know it was colic? (Sorry, kids, no Internet back then!)   I knew: hadn’t washed my hair, enjoyed a hot meal in weeks. Baby flab drooped on my once-flat tummy. Worn out, I fantasized about driving him to mom’s; crossing the state line for a Waffle House and good night’s sleep.

Mimi is Buzz’s mom. For her prayer to be effective; not offensive, imagine a fancy lady. Others buy her groceries, walk her dog, and wash her car… Think 24/7 Mary Kay make-up and large hair, blonde, never out of place. She doesn’t own jeans or a t-shirt. She’s a teetotaler who says a lot without a word.        
(It’s a Southern art; I’ll never know.)

Mimi offered comfort when Preacher Child wouldn’t sleep                                             (She refers to Buzz’s big brother, circa ‘74)

“You know how horrible (my first born) was? He wrecked cars, partied, wouldn’t call, came home drunk whatever time he felt like, made me crazy. One night I was so SICK of losing sleep,
I prayed: “Lord, you gave me this child 17 years ago and he’s a little ($#!+)! I’m giving him right back to you!”

“Haven't lost a wink of sleep since!”

So there you have it – you don’t physically return the kids; you claim to whom they belong. Repeat the process throughout their lives, to relieve parenting pressure and promote a little more sleep.

Give it a try - beats a road trip to Alabama, promise.




Monday, July 11, 2011

Confession of a HABM

Please excuse this semi-panicked interruption of our College Myth-busters series …

Daddy always said: “What you do comes back to you.”
Dear friend with husband in ministry & 5 homeschooled, practically perfect, (according to Christmas cards & newsy emails) children always said: “Kids will make a liar out of you.”

Preacher Child calls it: Principles of reaping & sowing.
Offering my … CONFESSION: Karma’s kicking my tush, y’all!!!

Should I be blogging with just 2 of 4 children showing promise for college graduation?
Should I wait 4 more years and focus upon King’s race car? Yellow dog?

***** PARENTING 911 *****
After repeated text messages without response…  I cranked up the parenting scale to a 5.7 ...

Since we were walking the dogs together, I called Flower Child – from KING’s cell. Behold, she answered, reporting that she was safe – just visiting a friend from fine arts camp at Geek Tech, catching a movie, in the FRATERNITY house.
Karma , baby. That’s what I get for divulging the family secret of Party Child's keg stand record:
“Mommy, I’m fine, just hanging out at a GT frat house.”

King grabbed his cell, issued orders:”Do NOT drink anything unless you open it, then keep it in your sight and hands at all times.”
I echoed agreement; hung up; called Buzz: “DO you know where our daughter is??”

Unmoved: “Said she’d be home by 11 - I trust her”.
UGH.

I called Preacher Child (He lived in one, albeit it a Baptist campus frat house; acquired quite a frat-experience testimony.)
“Do you want me get her? I’m just a few minutes away!”

(Good thing Party Child was cross -country at Laguna Seca. He only tolerated 1 year of Greek life and can bench 400 lbs.)
Had Preacher on stand-by. Remembered the Hot Air Balloon Mom promise of stealth and trust. Bordering on Helicopter Mom, I texted Flower Child every 27 – 94 minutes.

Mexican restaurant – check.
Yoforia (“Mom, it’s a yogurt place.”) – duh.
Finally (10:42pm): “Safe at dad’s.”

Hate it when Buzz is right.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

He Yells Because He Loves Them

Dispelling Myth #3: You only have 18 years to train up your child.

Truth: They still need you – even after they go to College.

Hauling their stuff back & forth
Finding books on Amazon.com
Money
Health Insurance
Dental Cleanings
Car Issues, their friends’ car issues
Finding football tickets at their fine SEC schools
Taking them and their friends to dinner.
Keeping them on track

Apparently, King never received the parental guidance he deserved; learned everything the hard way. He admits to over-compensating with our children because he wants them to
avoid pain.

Sometimes they avoid King, like this summer.

Preacher Child is in summer school, preparing for real life (taxation, marriage, graduation...).
Scholar child resides in another state.
Flower Child works at as many drama camps as she can pack into her schedule (Paid & unpaid!).

Party Child wishes he’d stayed at the fine SEC institution in Alabama for summer school like he did last year.

It was lecture time in the house.

King decided: Party Child wasn’t properly learning work ethic with his summer job.
“This is the worst recession of recent history - unemployment is 9.2% - the market is down -
no end in site!”
“DO YOU HAVE ANY idea how lucky you are to have a job?!?!”
“You’re working on RACE cars, not mini-vans!”
“I worked on beat up old cars in Miami – before shops had air conditioning!
This is Georgia, how bad can it be?”

(Current weather conditions: North Georgia: 101 degrees; Miami: 98 degrees - I’m just saying.)

Party Child was not happy, but he’s smart and should look forward to a brilliant career in sales. He listened, drank King’s (good) beer, bid his time, let King vent to his big ole heart’s content.

Then he won King over:
“DAD! I don’t (gripe) like this when I’m at work; I do whatever they tell me to do.
Can’t I just be myself at home and tell you what I really think about my day?”

He learned this communication technique from me. Wish I could take full credit for it - but I learned it from Preacher Child.

Funny thing… so far … 2 of 4 children report: King is the one they really miss when they leave home.

Maybe I should start yelling.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mimi's Wisdom - From Birth to College

My mother-in-law offered a lesson the day Preacher Child was born. (She couldn’t have known, but it was a mission statement - how Buzz would develop my character forevermore).

Mimi’s advice: "See that sweet little baby boy? He’ll teach you the balance of life. Daddy throws him up into the air; Mommy clasps her hands on her heart and says “Oh NO!” It’s the balance of life - helps kids grow up."

That was almost 23 years ago and Mimi was right. (Note: She’s Buzz’s mom; not King’s – proves her observation all-the-more universal.)

Here’s how her nugget of wisdom works when they’re too big to toss into the air:

(Dispelling Myth #2 – College is a very rude awakening)

King: In COLLEGE you’ll live on $3 a week and Ramen Noodles, like I did.
(Was Ramen invented in the 70’s? Anyone?)
Me: Honey – should we sign up for the 5 or 7-day meal plan?

King: In COLLEGE, you’ll stay up studying all night long. Did I tell you about the calculus class I took at U of F?
Me: Not all majors require calculus, only class I ever dropped. Don’t take it – not like you want to be a mechanical engineer.
(Note: Party/marketing & Preacher/psych took calculus, I tried.)

King: In COLLEGE, you’ll have to do everything by yourself! You’ll be on your own!!
Me: It will be so much fun in your dorm. You’ll make forever-friends from all over, while you pursue your dreams.

King: You need to LEARN these things – what if your car breaks down in COLLEGE? I won’t be able to help you out.
Me: Look what just came in the mail – your AAA card! Let’s pray you never have to use it.

The Truth –everyone works on their cars around our house, I mean...

"Look, King! No hands!" (Used with permission of Flower Child)

Trust me: Colleges are retirement homes for young people.
Your kids likely won’t miss your cooking, even if you’re fairly reputable. (God bless Pioneer Woman and her Au Gratin Potatoes that saved my Christmas last year, but she can take me on in a few years if I'm wrong: the kids are too busy having fun and studying to miss your cooking.)

The Meal plan is usually excellent, if not – student cards work at local Domino’s, Subway, Chick-fil-A,… on or near campus.

They have access to gyms, (Student Wellness Centers). There are programs such as traveling Frisbee teams they can do for practically free.
(Advice: funded by student activity fees that you pay – be sure your student gets your money’s worth!) They make loads of new friends.

We’re pretty sure they don’t even miss us!

Could I go back to college?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Dear God, Is It Time for Them to Leave for College?

Preacher Child left for college 4 years ago – Party Child left the following year. It was a double whammy and we survived.
Learn from us…
Myth #1 about Kids going to College: You’ll mope sadly around – forever.
Truth:
Yes, you are sad at first.
Yes, it is quiet
It is eerily strange to see real carpet, not towels on the bedroom floor.
The bed is always made.
There is less laundry.
Milk sours, ice cream lives long enough to crystalize.
You learn to cut back on recipes & use more freezer zip-loc bags.
You have to take the recycling & garbage out.
You’ll set an extra place at the dinner table subconsciously.
All true – but trust me on this – You won’t be sad forever!
My very wise sister-in-law took her oldest child to camp for an entire summer. He was 1st born, Golden Child of the eventual 8 grandchildren – envy of the family. I said, “But he’s your easy child. Wouldn’t it be better if the Hellion Baby was gone?” (I love Hellion Baby, cut from the same cloth as Preacher Child – blog material for 100’s in the future)
She claimed, “(Heck) no! It doesn’t matter which of the 3 kids leave, life is easier when you’re down one. Doesn’t matter which one.”
I never forgot this wisdom. I’ve embraced peace whenever we’ve been down one child.
Flower Child is the baby; I was very young when Preacher Child was born, so most of my friends are embarking upon their first college-launching experience.
This is what I’m hearing:
Oh, I’m going to be so sad!
Don’t know what I’m going to do!
The kids are lobbying for her room when she leaves!
I’ll hold it together until I drop him off and sob home!
Mark my words – this lasts 72 hours and you begin to realize…
Big shoes don’t trip you by the door.
You can have whatever you want for dinner, whatever time you feel like having it.
Ice cream stays in the freezer for more than 48 hours.
It’s so quiet.
You can back out of your driveway without hitting another vehicle.
They’ll still text you.
Reality Check… Could y’all remind me of all this on July 8th (college orientation) and again on August 9th (rush begins)?
Everyone thinks Flower Child will be my un-doing – so I need to be held accountable on the Truth.