Getting out of My Daughter’s Way

She has been asking for a dog for a long, long time.

We’d been visiting our local shelter the past few weeks and she had expressed interest in a sweet mutt, but the dog ended up testing heart worm positive.  Then we applied for a yellow lab out-of-state and he ended up going to another family.  We kept visiting the local shelter to play with the dogs and she had her heart set on on one of these lab puppies:


She even used her Christmas money to sponsor a dog when we told her any money she donated we would match:


We were a little worried about how big the labs would get, but we went through the adoption process. Two weeks ago the shelter called all our references, talked to our vet and neighbors in California, and we were finally approved to adopt River.  But…somehow wires got crossed and when we went back to visit last Friday to hopefully finalize an adoption we learned that all three pups had been adopted. One puppy had already left and the other two were leaving that afternoon.  When we heard the news Boo walked quietly out of the room without saying a word and disappeared. I knew she was off crying with the puppies.

For a split second my mind said: Phew, I’m off the hook.  Because that’s where my head has been for the last few years. The repeated declarations to Boo of: We will never have another dog. Dogs are messy. No. No. No. No. No more dogs. We won’t be able to travel, don’t you want to travel? Do you know how much vet bills are?  And I will be the one that has to take care of it!  

I had every excuse in the book…because I have never naturally been a dog person: I don’t like having my schedule interrupted by dog walking. I don’t like the look of crates and gates cluttering up the house. I can’t stand all the dog smells and shedding.  I’m tired of potty accidents in the house. I don’t like poop in the yard. But watching my daughter set aside all her money for dog donations and dog supplies the past few months began to wear down that grumpy dog person in me. I’ve watched in awe as she concentrates on dog training DVDs and videos, sometimes watching them twenty times over.  I’ve sighed as she has asked me to stop the car so she can take her stuffed dog on potty breaks to proved to me that she can take care of a dog.  I realized I need to get over myself, and see how much joy might come out of something I am so adamant against:

I need to get out of my daughter’s way.

So anyway, back to the puppies.  I found Boo crying over the two remaining labs, knowing she would never see them again. But then we found out that they were being adopted to neighbors which ended up being a silver lining.  We were happy for them that they would not be separated.  And as we left I said, “we will find the perfect dog for you, I promise.”

That night, after Boo was in bed, we scoured the Internet again looking at all the shelters and ads within a 100 mile radius.  Brett found a small terrier that a family was no longer able to keep.  He was a shy, skittish one-year-old that had spent most of his life in a crate.  Twelve people had expressed interest in front of us but they chose us because they liked the idea of the dog having a small playmate like Diesel to live with. And just a day before we were contemplating a lab.  I think that’s a sign that it was meant to be. When we finally met him we knew he was going to be ours.  He let Boo hold him like a little baby and he just nuzzled right up to us.

Meet Maximus aka “Max”


And Max loves Diesel, although Diesel wants nothing to do with him. Diesel’s licking his chops and saying: ain’t nobody got time for that. 


Now I have a permanent shadow following me around all day. If he could crawl into my body and wear my skin to get closer I think he would. He just wants to be loved and to please us. Boo was worried about him not eating so she hand fed him every morsel of dog food at dinner last night…Max appreciated every second of it.


Max has a lot of quirks and we know we’ll have to be extra patient with him. I set up a camera so I can watch him from my phone at night to check on him. Boo has woken up the past few mornings on her own to take him out first thing. She scours the pet section of every store to see if there is something he might need. She’s so happy taking care of him.

Brett: It’s strange, I don’t feel like he’s a new dog. It’s like he’s always been here.
Me:  It’s like he knew we were his family right away. 

We feel like he’s always been part of the family, and we think he does too.

Diesel is still thinking about his verdict.

Me: I think you should build two permanent dog beds into this cabinet.
Brett: But what if one day in the future we only have one dog.
Me: Then we’ll have to go and find another. 


Happy Easter from our family to yours!  There were 4 services at church this morning…..I couldn’t talk them into the sunrise service so 9:15 was a compromise:


Last year, and the year before, Boo cried in children’s church when Jesus died on the cross.  They show a little film and afterwards the teachers let me know that she’d gotten emotional.

Boo: It’s just too sad for me.

I was a little worried this year but after church she came out excited and told us: Did you know Jesus knows how many hairs are on my head?

Last night, before I went to bed I remembered at the last minute that I had to do an Easter basket.  Boo probably wouldn’t have even remembered…..she was too excited about church. I threw together a basket with some things from around the house:

Boo’s comments on the Easter Bunny’s work:
Why did he use your old basket?
Doesn’t he know I don’t like jelly beans?
I got this same egg from my teacher!  (oops….same egg)
I think he took this toy from your junk drawer mom.
Awesome….I got some money!

Then I saw a friend at church with her son and apparently the Easter Bunny had forgotten their house and was going to come back tonight.  He must be off his game.


Last week was Boo’s spring break. We spent a lot of time working on school stuff and LBB but took some time off to swim and play with friends.  Our matching pool coverups:

I’ve been watching The Bible on the History Channel.  The simplicity of the filming, lack of effects, makes it easy to imagine yourself there. During each episode I wonder what I would have done if I had lived in that time….what would I have believed? Would I have laughed at Noah as he built his ark? Would I have followed my crazy uncle Abraham to the promised land?  At one point Boo tearily commented “Poor Abraham, no one believes him….”

I let her watch the non violent parts….and I love the commentary:

Moses should just tell pharaoh that God isn’t invisible….you just can’t see him on earth.

And she cried seeing Jesus for the first time…..and I had to explain that the one on the screen was just an actor. Then she wanted to be reassured that’s what Jesus really looked like (I agree…he’s a cute Jesus).

Boo: Jesus messed up his own prayer…..
Me: Well some people say “trespasses” and others say “debts”…it’s right both ways.


Me: Have you ever heard God speak to you?

Boo: No…..but Grandma has….

Me: She has? How do you know?

Boo: She told me. When you were little, no one could find you, and they thought you had drowned in the lake. God told her to look under a table…and you were asleep under it.


I learn something new every day.

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Me: Wouldn’t it be funny if Boo woke up tomorrow morning and found the Elf in one of our places?
Mr. LBB: Ha….I was just thinking the same thing.
Me: So who’s going to sleep in the guest room tonight?

(long pause)

Mr. LBB: Let’s just switch sides instead.

So last night we switched sides of the bed. It’s never been done in the history of Family LBB-dom.

I warned Mr. LBB of the weird dreams he would have sleeping on my side of the bed. Here’s just a sample from the last 3 nights:

1. I was at a cookout at the White House’s lake house. I had a conversation with President Obama and one of Romney’s sons’ wives I think? Boo wanted to go swimming but I wouldn’t let her because? Then it gets a little blurry but the part I remember the most clearly was when Ann and Mitt Romney left early and offered to drove me home, to my childhood home?!  Wait, does the White House have a lake house? Anyways, the Romneys drove me home… a conversion van. It was all so real they must have a conversion van….

My mom’s conversion van c. 1990

2. I was hanging out with Brad and Angelina with all our kids. Well, really all of THEIR kids, and then my kid.  I was acting all nonchalant like “oh big deal that I’m hanging out with Brad and Angelina” even though inside I was like “holy bells, I’m hanging out with Brad and Angelina.” It was all so real that if I ran into Brangelina on the street I’d be like “hey, long time no see……” Same with President Obama and the Romneys…..we are all best buds.

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Dear Santa

At first Boo said that Santa could just bring her whatever he wanted….until I explained that she might just get new socks and underwear.  She decided to write a letter…….complete with SKU number.

All she wants is American Doll #PF-1221….and if by chance Santa can’t find it by SKU number, she drew a picture of her.  I’m thankful for the SKU….I mean Boo’s drawing is great, but they aren’t exactly twinsies: [Read more…]

Printable USA Map and State Capital Flashcards

Boo has to learn where the states are this year. My first reaction? Oh no….that means I have to learn them too. I was never that great at geography. I wanted a fun and unique way to help her learn them, as well as the capitals, and worked with Lindsay from Pen and Paint to come up with these fun illustrated printable flashcards:

Learning the States and Capitals Flashcards by Pen and Paint via #teaching #states #learning #teachers


Lindsay even made a printable map to accompany the flashcards to help learn the location of each state:

DIY States and Capitals Flashcards by Pen and Paint via #teaching #states #learning #teachers


They are easy to make and I love that I can throw them in my purse and take in the car and to restaurants: [Read more…]

Two Halves at a Time

No Boo didn’t get an iPhone…..but the black and pink one looks pretty real, right?

Making a toy iPhone via


I had to get a new Otterbox today for my iPhone…..the old one fell off my car at 60 mph last year, bounced 30 feet onto a side road where someone found it. It kind of went downhill from there. And…..there’s your commercial for the Otterbox.

Anyway, I kept the old one. I took a screenshot of my iPhone and printed it out. I attached the printed paper inside the old Otterbox….and voila…..instant toy iPhone:

Making a toy iPhone via

Tonight Boo and I went to Michael’s…..which isn’t anything new…..except for she took her wallet.  She’s been doing extra jobs around the house to earn money.  After about 30 minutes of checking everything out in the store she finally picked something to buy.  I asked how much money she had.  Twelve dollars.  Okay, well that is $12.99 but you brought your 40% off coupon right?  Yes. As the woman at the register rang up her purchase the total came to $8.39.

Boo counted out her money slowly and then she looked up at me with a distraught look.  It turns out that she really only had six dollars.…..because each bill was folded in half and she had counted them as halves.  Twelve halves = six dollars.  I offered to lend her two dollars and she could pay me back when we got home……but she was so embarrassed.  I told her: I run out of money all the time too at the cash register…..but there’s never anyone there to lend me any money……so, really, it’s your lucky day!

She’s slowly learning the value of money….two halves at a time apparently.  It took her a long time to earn that $6 she had in her wallet.

So what did she buy?  A diary….with a lock.  And Mr. LBB and I have to leave the room when she hides the key.  I’m dying to know what she already wrote in it…..I mean she only knows how to write: Boo Hack, dog, cat, peg and a few other three letter words, right? I’m sure it’s juicy stuff……

I remember one of my first big purchases with my own money.  I was in high school and my first real job was working at a law firm in downtown Charlotte.  My first paycheck didn’t go that far….I had to pay $15 a day in parking…..but I used it to buy a leather wallet and a matching leather backpack.  I still have the bag and I still have the wallet……it’s the one that Boo uses now:


Boo: (upset) I got a 64% one of my worksheets today.
Me: That’s okay….it means you’re normal.
Boo: But Daddy will be mad.
Me: No he won’t……..anyways sometimes it’s good to set the bar a little lower….then imagine how excited he’ll be when you get 65% and above!


(later) Mr. LBB: Can we at least set the bar at 74%?


It’s all about managing expectations right?  I think it’s about managing Boo’s expectations too.  Her teacher said Boo cried over that 64%.  I rolled my eyes at how dramatic it seemed.

I showed her one of my report cards from when I was younger. I told her that the F was because I didn’t study for that Latin exam.  I told her the C’s were because I didn’t like writing papers.  I told her the A’s were in art and math because those were my favorite classes.  I told her that a few of those B+’s weren’t really deserved because I had to beg for extra credit from one of my teachers to get them.  I told her that she has the ability to do much better than I did.


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Boo Hack

Boo started off the year so proud that she could already write her name…..and that her A’s had a ponytail:

She dropped the “girl face” she had been drawing in the “a” all summer……since she was now a serious Kindergartner:

But she had to prove that she could write her name correctly…including an “A” without a tail. I asked her why she couldn’t seem to finish her writing her name exercises in class……and she explained to great lengths how it was so  boring. [Read more…]

Make Good Choices

Did you read the article about the young girl who was nominated to homecoming court as a prank? I love that this attempt at a cruel joke backfired.

Photo source: CNN

Ugh. Kids can be so mean.  I was sucked into being mean at times. I’m not proud of part of my younger self.  In elementary school, there was a young girl named Melanie in my class who was very overweight.  She had freckles, flushed cheeks, and red poofy hair….which made her the easiest target for everyone.  She wore a Beam Me Up Scotty shirt….not Star Trek but the paper towel. I remember taunting her under the monkey bars because she couldn’t hold herself up.  I play over scenarios in my head all the time like what if instead of taunting Melanie I’d said:

Hi Melanie, I have this urge to make fun of you. But just so you know, it’s not that I really have a problem with you, it’s that for a split second…. I thought that making fun of you might make me feel better about myself because, well,  I’m feeling really insecure. You see, another girl, who I really wanted to be friends with totally dissed me today.


Hi Melanie, I think it’s really cool that your mom sent in that rebate for the Beam Me Up Scotty shirt.  My mom buys the other brand of paper towels….probably because they are the most inexpensive. We don’t really have a lot of money either.


Hi Melanie, I think it’s awesome that you live on a farm.  I had a duck once, but it died. I can’t imagine having all the ducks and chickens that I wanted. It must be like Christmas everyday.


Hi Melanie, Guess what? I suck at the monkey bars too…..mostly because I have no coordination and my arms resemble awkward little pipecleaners.  I guess I thought if I made fun of YOU it would deflect the attention off of me. Want to help me make the world’s longest clover chain during recess today?


And all of that makes me think about the “butterfly effect”…..and how one action can have such enormous implications…..but I’ll stop there because then this post would turn into a book.


I always tell Boo that when someone is mean to her: it’s their problem….not hers. But it’s not an easy concept for children to understand. I think what I love most about the homecoming story is that so many people in the community stepped up… make things right.

Last week Boo had an emotional week at school. One day she threw the teacher’s penguin in the air and broke the overhead light. Accidents happen but it scared the beejeezus out of her. The same day she broke a hula hoop (long story) and had to go to the Principal’s office. When she got in the car at the end of the day she was devastated…like it was the end of the world: I had to go to the principal’s office. Daddy is going to be so mad. Let me tell him Mommy.

And I told her:

We’ll never be disappointed in you……as long as you take responsibility.

If you make things right, you don’t have to feel bad about it anymore.

You release it: *poof*

So we went to Target, and she bought a new hula hoop for the school with money from her piggy bank. And she was so proud… much lighter.


She couldn’t wait for school the next morning to present it to the principal and tell her how sorry she was.


Make Good Choices via


Boo’s teacher told me yesterday that she had to tell Boo 3 times to do something….and told her she’d give her ONE extra chance before Boo’s behavior card turned yellow for the day. When they got back into the classroom, her teacher noticed that Boo’s card was yellow….and the teacher hadn’t turned it. When asked about it, Boo said “I turned it yellow myself….because I disobeyed you.”  When I asked her about it after school she said “I took responsibility….just like Daddy always tells me to.” Seriously? Can I freeze time at this one moment?

It just reiterated that all I want in life is for my child to do what’s right.  I don’t care about the grades. I don’t care about the awards. I don’t care about the achievements. I really don’t.  My parents didn’t place that pressure on me. They just let me know that they had high expectations for me to do the right thing. When I was younger, even if my report card read: A, D, C, A, F my mother would write “GREAT JOB!” and post it on the refrigerator for the world to see.  And my dad wouldn’t say a word. I knew he wanted all A’s…..but he also knew that I knew that I could have done better.  So why did he need to say anything? It would have just made me feel bad. What good does that do? Every once in a while he’d offer to raise my allowance if I made better grades…..and sometimes it worked….but it was totally up to me. I was accountable to myself. [Read more…]