Tag Archive | children

Lunchtime Olympics

Ever been whacked upside your head with a metal lunchbox? Are you old enough to remember when things used to be made out of metal? Well, back in my day, manufacturers really enjoyed making everything for kidlens outta metal. We started out with metal highchairs and metal toys, eventually graduating to metal playground equipment and, the best of all, metal lunch boxes. If you’ve never slid down a metal slide in the height of summer heat in Texas, you don’t know what you’re missing. Actually, if you did have the opportunity to, you were missing about three layers of skin. Good times! But, back to the boxes…

Metal lunchboxes came in a wonderful variety of differing themes, which also served as handy indicators of their owner’s ranking in the general student population. The fashionable kids had boxes adorned with Star Wars, Evel Knievel, Charlie’s Angels, or “The Fonz.” You could also be cool with one of the bionic boxes, like Steve Austin’s Six Million Dollar Man or Jaimie Sommer’s Bionic Woman. You may not be ostracized with an Adam-12 box, but you were definitely in the lower echelon of influence. But Heaven help you if you were seen with a Curious George or Holly Hobby box. That was just social suicide.


Oh yeah, I was one of the cool kids.


What’s better than gettin’ a few hundred kids together, all hyped up on sugar  with a ratio of about 30 rambunctious kids to 1 beleaguered teacher, and sticking ’em all in a hot, sticky, stinky lunchroom? Then arming them with awesome metal lunch boxes. Oh, and metal utensils and sometimes even metal lunch trays, too.

At one of the elementary schools I attended, “Box Bashing” was a regular sport. Usually the boys started the game, but right around the time the Equal Rights Amendment was gaining traction, girls decided it would be a good idea to get in on the action, too. The only problem with the game was that you never knew you were a participant until you were slammed by someone’s decorated hardware. Of course, if you had a whelp with the outline of one of Charlie’s Angels on the side of your face, it meant you’d at least garnered the attention of one of the popular kids. So, there was that consolation.

Let the games begin!


Nature vs. Nurture

Anyone who has children knows that the whole nature vs. nurture argument is practically moot. No matter on which side of the argument your loyalties tend to be, your own children are likely to make you question your own position.

According to Saul McLeod,

In practice hardly anyone today accepts either of the extreme positions.  There are simply too many “facts” on both sides of the argument which are inconsistent with an “all or nothing” view.  So instead of asking whether child development is down to nature or nurture the question has been reformulated as “How much?”  That is to say, given that heredity and environment both influence the person we become, which is the more important? (full article)

For what it’s worth, today I lean strongly on the Nature side of the debate. I find it very hard to believe that children are born as anything even resembling a “blank slate” to be formed exclusively by environmental factors. And, while I’m certainly not an expert, I do have a lot of children … including identical twins. They are all very uniquely different.


After taking several psychology courses in high school and college and reading practically any psychological literature concerning nature vs. nurture that I could get my hands on, I was solidly of the opinion that Nurture ruled basic outcome.

But, in 1995 something momentous happened that made me reevaluate my stance. My husband, who was adopted when he was only three days old, and I met his birth mother and her family for the very first time. He and his birth mother had the same smile and even the same laugh; their philosophies and educations were similar and they shared the same quick wit and dry sense of humor. It was unbelievable and wonderful to witness. I’d met his adoptive family five years earlier and, while some similarities were present, he seemed to me always a singularity in his family; but meeting the genetically linked family … well, everything seemed to click right into place. In fact, I remember having a very sober moment of clarity and thinking to myself, Ahhh. Now Marc makes so much more sense. In fact, his biological family actually mirrored my own. I was immediately comfortable in their midst. And, if memory serves, my husband was too. And yet, there were glaring differences.


The frightening truth is, I have serious doubts that my sweet spice would be the same amazing, frustrating, incredible man, husband, and father he is today had it not been for the intervention of his loving adoptive parents. His experiences, economic challenges, spiritual influences, and early life choices would have been, could have been, so drastically different. What sort of man might he have become? One thing I know for sure, his steadfast devotion to duty and family is so obviously a byproduct of the closely-knit, supportive, and secure home environment the Allen family provided.

So, I suppose that the debate isn’t as simple as one or the other. It seems more likely that the answer falls somewhere on the spectrum between the two. Who knows really? Gah! Maybe it has something to do with birth order…

What are your thoughts?


I’m Not Sure I Can Work from Home with Little Ones in Tow

As you know, I have seven children. Three of whom were born after I started my independent business with Avon over ten years ago. All three were high risk babies (the first two were premature twins and the last was a NICU baby); yet I never missed an order — in fact, I’m happy to say that I’ve never missed an order in ten years because of the wonderful support I received from family, friends, and loyal customers.

mi familia

mi familia

Whenever I was forced to stay in the hospital, my friends and family passed out brochures for me. New customers were willing to pick up their orders from my home. My faithful customers agreed to place their orders online, having Avon ship products directly to their homes. In fact, when the twins were born, my husband “held them ransom” telling everyone that “You can’t see the babies unless you take one of Micki’s brochures.” Everyone was happy to oblige his light-hearted request. And, if they didn’t need one for themselves, they shared them with their neighbors, co-workers, and other people they knew on my behalf.

My online sales carried me through these rough patches, and this was WAY back in the day when the concept of eRepresentatives had just launched with Avon and we were still paying to have the novelty of an Avon website. As an aside, I was gladly willing to pay for the website because I was thrilled to have yet another venue to offer my products. You mean customers can find us on the Internet!? Yes! And now, over ten years later, you’ll find that customers are actually looking for Avon representatives online. Avon even has an app for your phone so that you can manage your business on the go. Online shopping tends to be easier, less of a hassle, can be done in your pajamas, and at any time day or night. The concept of shopping by computer and phone is here to stay. Thank God!


Why Should I Carry a Personal Defense Product?

“1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes.
College age women are 4 times more likely to be assaulted.
Every 2 minutes someone in the US is sexually assaulted.
One aggravated assault occurs every 35 seconds.”

Why should you carry a product or products designed for personal defense? The answer is simple. The above statistics are staggering. Unfortunately, they show that it is likely that you, dear reader, will fall victim to an attack at some point in your lifetime. If this should happen, you must be prepared to get away safely with as little injury as possible. Personal defense products can be easily obtained, affordable, and effective means for self-defense. And more importantly, they can even mean the difference between safely getting away from an attacker and becoming the victim of a violent crime.


I’m from Texas. According to stereotypes, we like to carry concealed fire-arms here; but you must be very willing to use deadly force without hesitation. If you hesitate with a gun, the danger of having your attacker get your gun away from you to turn the tables and actually use it against you, can be a terrifying thought. Even for those who are comfortable with firearms and/or with using lethal force, conceal-carry permits can be expensive and require a lot of effort; and of course, some public areas prohibit you from entering with a concealed handgun. Parents and caregivers who have small children aren’t always comfortable having guns in their homes. And then, there are those persons whose personal philosophies dictate that they not use lethal force.


What’s a gal to do? The good news is that there are many non-or-less lethal options for affordable personal protection. These devices can help you feel safe wherever you are — without being a psychological or financial burden. That said, the real question is this: Is there any legitimate reason why you shouldn’t have safety products to protect your most beautiful and valuable asset — YOU?

Switching from SAHM to WAHM

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

Because my husband had been a veteran of the first Gulf War, his college education had been interrupted. So, he was still finishing up his degree when we married, and I was working — as the sole breadwinner. Did I mention I was teaching at a private school? Yeah, well private school teachers earn about half of what public school teachers are paid. And we all know how shamefully little public school teachers are getting. Anyway, after my husband graduated, we were both working for a time.

But as soon as we had our first child, we both agreed that I would stay home. I really loved teaching, and we decided that as soon as our youngest was in school full time, I would go back to teaching. From there, I was hooked, line and sinker. But, we kept creating babies. Yes, we knew how it was happening. In fact, we enjoyed it and were pretty darn good at it. Yes, we knew it was expensive. How could we not? And yes, we were practicing Catholics.

Yes, we heard it A LOT!

Yes, we heard it A LOT!

To his absolute credit, after we’d started our family, my husband had never once asked me to get a job or made me feel guilty about staying home. I heard enough horror stories from other moms like me, to genuinely appreciate that fact, too. Besides, he knew I was careful with our money; we never “splurged,” never went on family vacations, and we shopped thriftily. Like many other stay-at-home moms (SAHM) I knew, I usually felt guilty every time I wanted to take the kids to the movies, run through the drive-thru at Chick-fil-A, or buy the extra shoes, even on sale, because my little darlings just “had to have them!” We were a family of six, with three children in private school, a mortgage, and two car notes living on one income.

Money wouldn't solve all of our problems. But it would solve all of our money problems.

Money wouldn’t solve all of our problems. But it would solve all of our money problems.

Budgeting was not exactly my forte and I constantly found myself robbing Peter to pay Paul and worrying about finances. I became a pro at juggling the water bill vs. the utility bill vs. the TiVo bill — which I did not consider a luxury because it was cheaper than therapy. My husband and I had just finished paying off a mammoth mound of credit card debt that centered mostly around uninsured and later under-insured medical debt. But regardless, we’d accumulated it over the first ten years of our marriage, and after years of tackling it head-on to finally pay it off, we had sworn off credit cards.

And then there were four.

And then there were four.

Tired of Diapers & Dinner

After eight years of being an exclusive SAHM, I found myself, well, going a little nuts. Before starting our family, I’d consistently worked in one capacity or another since I was sixteen years old. I’d worked in fashion and food (read: retail and hostessing). I was a nanny to an enchanting little prodigy while in college. After graduating from Texas Tech, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching secondary English to a motley crew of colorful characters for several years before becoming Mom. After a decade of being an honest to goodness People Person with a lot of social contact and interaction, I had suddenly become my own sole adult company eight to ten hours a day.

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