Celebrate Thanksgiving Day

January 22, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity, The All Sports Mom · Comments Off on Celebrate Thanksgiving Day 

As you know, Thanksgiving Day is not about the food or the cooking. It’s about celebrating Thanksgiving Day and being thankful for your blessings big and small.

Thanksgiving Day

By Paula Schmitt

It’s that time of year again; time to hide the bathroom scale and plan a couple extra trips to your dentist office. By the time Halloween ends and your Thanksgiving meal has taken place, you’ll not only complain about snug jeans, but you’ll have devoured so much candy that you have rotted a few more of your pearly whites.

Oh, what to do?


This is the rule of thumb in my household where there are seven warm bodies swarming the apple spice scented kitchen on Thanksgiving afternoon. I spend my entire day wearing an apron, slaving away in the kitchen, only to have my boy’s nit pick their way through the meal. “What’s the green stuff, Moooommmmy? You know I don’t like green.”

Then there is the wonderful post-mortem aroma around the dinner table. No, not Mr. Turkey and not the apple pie. I’m talking smells from the male gender as they all begin to “express” their enjoyment of the meal! Pppppfffffffttttttt. Do we REALLY need to do that right now, it’s Thanksgiving?! Don’t even look under the table. After the meal, there is more food on the floor than there was on the plates. Well, except for the pies. (Hey, save some for me).

All joking aside, this mom is looking so forward to our Thanksgiving Day together. Even though this holiday is a simple time when we come together, eat a huge meal (this year our own home grown organic turkeys) and give thanks for all that we have, it is a special time for our family to talk together and spend quality time with each other – and that is something that doesn’t happen very often with our hectic schedules.

This year, our oldest son who has started his freshman year of college will be coming home for the Thanksgiving holiday. I’m sure he has grown another inch taller and that he is just as handsome as ever. Not only are his father and I anxious to see and hug him, but his younger brothers and little sister are just as excited to shoot hoops, play video games and just hang out with their big brother.

This Thanksgiving, make that special phone call to family, friends and loved ones whom you can not be with, just to hear their voice and say hello. Enjoy your time with loved ones near and far. It passes so quickly.

So go ahead, hide that scale and eat an extra helping of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie…the way I see it, you only live once, right?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Winter Road Trip

January 22, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity, The All Sports Mom · Comments Off on Winter Road Trip 

The RoadBy Paula Schmitt

Ah, home sweet home. We have just returned from our winter road trip from Vermont to Florida to visit the grandparents. A full two day, each way odyssey. My family loves our annual seven people cooped up in a car 24 hour road trip.

Can you feel the sarcasm?

Ah, Florida! That wonderful, buggy and muggy, hot and humid, glorious
southern state. While it may be home to some lovely beaches and an oversized, rather rich mouse, Florida is also the proud owner of more Senior Special-Early Bird buffets, retirement communities and horseshoe tournaments than any other state in the Union. Our parents are happy there. No problem, we shall come to visit once a year, dragging the rug rats along ever so happily.

The kids call my parents Papa and Grandma and my husband’s parents Grandpa and Grandma Schmitt. My older two boys always remember quite well how their Papa hands out the dollar bills when they arrive, during their stay, and before they leave ($mart boys). Papa also has some great quotes that the kids love to snicker about – enduring them is the tradeoff for all that money. The most popular one, that really gets my guys going, is when their Papa is very thirsty and about to down a big glass of milk or root beer. As he lifts his glass, he always announces, “Over the lips, over the gums, look out stomach, here it comes!” Of course, being a well paid audience, they indulge Papa with a laugh that would make an outsider believe that’s the first time he’s delivered that line. Or this one. When Papa is watching television, don’t dare step in front of him. “Hey, you make a better door than a window!”

Again, laughs all around.

The children’s hungry tummies remember their way to Grandma’s kitchen.

After Papa has shooed them away from the television, Grandma begins pulling out all the snacks and goodies. I nicely remind my Mother that dinner is only an hour away, but she suddenly develops a hearing impairment as she continues to hand out candy, cookies and chips for a nice, nutritious pre-dinner snack.

Visiting Grandpa and Grandma Schmitt was interesting too. You see, while he may be well into his 80’s, Grandpa is a bit of a fitness buff and the hottest octogenarian on the block. My kids treasure Grandpa’s treadmill. These same kids who develop rickets when asked to walk their toys from one room to the next, love to sneak into his room and start running, which they did for hours.

Then there is Grandpa’s love of music. The kids think he is really cool until he cranks up the bass on his sound system. Ah, the beautiful sound of an Opera. My guys run for cover when Grandpa asks if anyone would enjoy hearing some good music. Obviously Grandpa has no idea the current definition of the word. Just wait until these kids get older.

Grandma Schmitt knows a lot about children and mothering. She had seven of her own. The boys’ father was the sixth of those seven. Grandma Schmitt likes to make sure that the children get plenty of rest and shut eye and as the sun is setting and night time comes, Grandma starts checking the clock – every few minutes. About 7:30 p.m. she is wondering what time the kiddies are going nighty-nite. Poor woman, they are just getting revved up.

Despite all the hassles, low sleep, and change in the kids daily routine, we wouldn’t change our yearly winter road trip to visit the grandparents for anything. We miss and love them dearly and wish we could be together more often.

But thank goodness now it’s their turn to make a road trip to Vermont.

photo credit: dimasr

If Only Time Stood Still

January 21, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity, The All Sports Mom · Comments Off on If Only Time Stood Still 

OrologioBy Paula Schmitt

When I was a young child I remember hearing grown-ups talk about time slipping through their hands and how time flies. I didn’t understand what they meant and how time could actually fly. Part of the beauty and innocence of being a child is their carefree ways and simply living for the moment. That was me as a child and I remember it well.

As I approached my wonderful teenage years my parents actually held on tight not wanting to let me grow up and venture out. You would think with all the hell I raised that they would have my bags packed and ready to go. Not my parents. They were enjoying and holding on to every single minute with their young daughter before letting her go. Of course, I did not understand this at the time, how could I, I was a young, rebellious woman, still carefree and ready to adventure out into the world. I did not see that my parents were still clinging to sweet memories of me as a child, their only daughter, and that they loved me.

Years have passed and time moves on as expected. I got married, as my parents prayed that I would, and now have a family of my own. From the time I held my first born son in my arms I started to realize what my parents were feeling. Even though my precious baby was just minutes into this world I couldn’t bear the thought of him growing up and leaving me. Silly, I know, to be having such thoughts when your child is all wrinkly and new, but now as a parent, those thoughts were real.

When my son Tony was seven we lived in a small, friendly neighborhood that we were very comfortable in. He wanted to show his three younger brothers how grown up he really was, mind you, he was all of seven years old. He called us all outside to watch his dare devil event. He was going to ride his two-wheeler down the street and back. Not just in circles in front of our home, but down the street! How adorable. How innocent.

This same child, only three years later, wanted to drive his father’s pick-up truck. Seriously. We would find him out in the driveway in the driver’s seat ready to go. Minus the car keys obviously. How could this be happening to me? My baby is growing up. He wants to grow up. I realize

how time is passing so quickly and not only are my children growing up but that I am getting older. Could this be a good thing? I try not to think about it but as I see my children wanting to experiment with riding their bikes further away from their homes and jumping in to their father’s truck and getting behind the wheel pretending to be driving away, I can feel that I ‘m starting to hold on a bit tighter. I have become my parents.

Now my baby, Tony, is sixteen years old, a junior in high school, actually driving his father’s pick-up truck with the keys. He’s even been dating the same girl for over a year. I feel so old. Wasn’t I just sixteen, ready to conquer the world? Time’s flying.

My son Nick, who is fifteen, is taking Drivers Ed class at school. My God, not another child ready to drive away in his father’s truck!

My son Phillip who just turned twelve is starting to get phone calls from girls. Yikes! Not my innocent, sweet Phillip. He is still just a little boy. My little boy. I don’t want him to grow up. We had a conversation the other day and it went something like this.

I was at my desk working at my computer and he entered the room.

“Hey, Mom. Do you think I could go on your computer in a few minutes?” he asked while shuffling his feet and looking down.

“Sure. What’s up?” I asked.

“Well, Katie and Olivia are going to be on IM and we’re going to chat.” He replied blushing three shades of red.

My grip is getting tighter. With each day I can feel it. I know I should be a cool, hip and groovy Mom, but it’s just not that easy. What am I going to do after my children are all grown up and out of the home? I’m not saying that my husband is a bore or my life is dull, it’s just that I’m used to picking up legos and matchbox race cars. I’m used to making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cutting them in half, and I’m definitely in the habit of tucking my children into bed at night and telling them how much I love them.

My youngest son, Joseph, who just had a birthday a few weeks ago and is nine years old, came to me yesterday and matter-of-factly stated that he is going to be a professional basketball player in the NBA. I don’t doubt it as this child was born with a basketball in his hands. I couldn’t help but smile and give him a great big hug. He didn’t want to be hugged.

He pulled away from me and asked, “Mom, NBA basketball players don’t hug their moms do they?”

I took him in my arms and replied, “Yes, Joseph, they most certainly do.”

I’m still holding on today.

photo credit: pizzodisevo

It’s A Guy Thing

January 21, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity, The All Sports Mom · Comments Off on It’s A Guy Thing 

My husband is as blind as a bat. OK, ok, not really, but when it comes to seeing things or finding things that are literally smack in front of him, well, then yes, he should be hanging upside down in a cave somewhere.

My boys think it’s hilarious and they get a big kick out of it. But the scary part is that my four sons are their father. I can see them following in his footsteps already. It is, quite simply, terrifying, a blind Twilight Zone if you will.

I present for your approval.

The boys and I are in the breakfast room getting ready to eat and my husband enters the kitchen. He notices that we are having hamburgers for dinner and that there is no pickle relish out on the table. He goes to the fridge, bends way over, shoves his nose deep inside looking all around, checks out all the side compartments, then beginning to look a bit panicky, he shuffles from foot to foot saying, “Hmmmm”. The boys and I stop and watch him, knowing what’s coming next.

Sure enough, as predicted, my wonderful husband turns to us and asks, “Anyone seen the pickle relish?”

It never fails.

I walk over to the fridge, reach in and without even looking, pull out the damn pickle relish. Blind as a bat I tell you.

Another typical scene. After our hungry family is all seated and gathered around the dinner table, we say grace and give thanks for this wonderful meal before us. Not a minute into our feast, I notice my husband’s scouring eyes. (Here we go again.) I decide to offer up some assistance before his meal gets cold.

“Uh, what were you looking for, sweetheart?”, I asked as the boys all turned to look at dear old dad.

“Has anyone seen my glasses? I know I put them right here on the table.” He responds and then scratches his head only to find the missing item.

Case solved.

I think it’s a guy thing.

Reflections of Motherhood

January 21, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity, The All Sports Mom · Comments Off on Reflections of Motherhood 

By Paula Schmitt, The All Sports Mom

Hear Paula in her own words..

Just the other day one of my boys asked me what I wished for this Mother’s Day. I thought for a moment. Hmm, what do I wish for this Mother’s Day.?

I sat looking at my young son’s innocent face and then closed my eyes and began to drift.

I instantly found myself back in time 35 years ago when I was five years old. It was then that I heard a voice; sweet and soft calling my name. I turned to the sound and there she was; my mother and she was outside on a beautiful sunny day trimming a fragrant Gardenia bush with a little girl at her side. I remember my mother’s Gardenias and how the sweet scent filled our home. What a pair we were, my mother and I! Inseparable, like two turtle doves. This is just one of the things I wish for this Mother’s Day – to go back in time and relive my younger days with my mother all over again in just one special day.

I blink and drift once more. I hear the sound of an infant cooing. I see baby blue walls and a stuffed cuddly blue bear sitting in a rocking chair. That is when I see her; a young mother nursing her baby boy, looking down at him, holding him close and never taking her eyes off him. I remember this day as a first time mother and the love I felt for my child. I would do anything for him, even if it meant staying up all night to comfort him when he was teething or ill. My child was a part of me and a gift from God above. Another wonderful gift for Mother’s Day – to spend time watching my children growing up again in just one special day and holding on tight to those memories.

Again I am slowly drifting. Suddenly, I hear my daughter’s voice asking me to hold out my arms. I feel a small, warm baby and I pull it up against my body. My daughter is smiling at me and caressing the baby’s cheek. She has become a mother and I a grandmother. I am looking into my future. What a special gift for this special day.

“Mom?” my son whispers as he taps my hand.

I open my eyes and look at my young son’s innocent face. I smile and tell him just what he has been waiting to hear.

“This is my wish for Mother’s Day. To be a mother for my five children and to always have the special memories that I hold deep within my heart.”

Happy Mother’s Day to you!

Confessions of an Antique Shopper

January 21, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity, The All Sports Mom · Comments Off on Confessions of an Antique Shopper 

By Paula Schmitt, The All Sports Mom

Rusty irons. Cracked 1875 spectacles. Chipped, faded paintings. Dusty,
yellow paged books.

Ah, these are the good things in life.

Yes, you may know me; I am the ultimate antique shopper and my motto is and always will be “the older the better”. Just ask my sons. They see all too well how their mom will search high and low for that Dasher butter churn, even though she won’t actually be making homemade butter any time in the near future, or for that handy dandy ice cream scoop where the handle is just barely hanging on, even though we already have two others that work like a charm and will scoop on demand.

The nerve of kids nowadays. They want everything shiny, hip and new. God forbid they keep anything for more than, say, two months. Unfortunately they just don’t see the beauty in a 200 year old treasure the way that I do. They don’t seem to be capable of imagining what it may have been like for the original owner so many years ago. I once left home to pick up some milk and returned with a beautiful, slightly worn 1890’s ladies bureau. My children greeted me at the door and took one look at my pride and joy and asked if I had stopped at our local dump on the way home. I asked them to take a closer look, to look beyond the loose handles and scratches. They obliged. Then they continued to ask if the past owner had taken a sledge hammer to the piece while out in the pouring rain.

For Christmas this year the item I wanted most was a “new” antique chair for my desk. Of course, my boys thought this a riot. They asked me if Santa shops at his local flea market or watches the newspaper for a good yard sale. Comical. My quick reply was that they better talk nice about Santa or they’ll be sorry come Christmas morning. That quieted things down a bit.

So I confess. I love old stuff; objects that have meaning and have been cherished over the years. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Someday when I am gone from this world I hope that all the things I own and care deeply about will be passed down to others and bring joy and happiness to someone else’s life just the way my precious antiques have brought pleasure to mine. However, for some reason I don’t expect that my Revlon curling iron purchased at Wal-Mart will be quite as valuable or distinguished as the authentic circa 1920’s Bell telephone I bought for my husband last Christmas.

A Mother Knows She Has Boys When…

January 21, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity, The All Sports Mom · Comments Off on A Mother Knows She Has Boys When… 

By Paula Schmitt, The All Sports Mom

As a mom there is life B.B. (before boys) and then there is life A.B. (after boys). I question any mother’s sanity should she decide to continue onward for that junior basketball team of five. I know all too well what it is like to raise boys. I have four and quickly stopped there as I pondered the consequences of my future. Not a pretty picture.

A mother knows she has boys when…

The walls and accessories in each of the rooms of the house are shades of blue;

She gets a shower of gold upon every diaper change;

She finds that her home and the surrounding yard of said home are decorated with every sports ball imaginable;

She begins to imitate the sounds of toys to family and friends daily, i.e, toot-toot and vroom- vroom;

The television set only knows Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine;

Frogs and lizards become indoor pets, naturally;

The walls in the house have dirty handprints throughout (so artistic);

She enjoys the karate chop of her favorite action figure come playtime;

During holiday season shopping her cart is filled with Hot Wheels, G.I. Joes and Nerf balls;

Doing laundry she discovers pockets filled with rocks and dirt;

Everyday when her children come home from school and when asking them what was the highlight of their day they respond, GYM;

There is a constant stale odor lingering in the air (you know, farts are funny);

The permanent position of all toilet seats throughout the house is UP;

She can no longer see the blue paint of her children’s bedroom walls since sports posters have covered every square inch of wall space;

She grocery shops every week and the food magically disappears within a couple of days;

All her children’s clothing features the word NIKE;

She is off at a sports event 365 days of the year;

She’s on a first name basis with the staff at the emergency room;

The teenage girls are swarming the house like bees on honey;

She thanks God for those boys every night.

A Mom Knows She’s A Sports Mom When…

January 21, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity, The All Sports Mom · Comments Off on A Mom Knows She’s A Sports Mom When… 

By Paula Schmitt

As a mom there is life B.S. (before sports) and then there is life A.S. (after sports). To be quite honest, I have forgotten what it’s like to be a B.S. Mom as I’ve been a dedicated A.S. Mom for the past fourteen years. I know all too well what it’s like to be a SPORTS MOM.

A mom knows she’s a Sports Mom when…

She finds that her home and the surrounding yard of said home are decorated with every sports ball imaginable;

All of her clothing features the NIKE or REEBOK symbol;

She is off at a sports event 365 days of the year;

She’s on a first name basis with the staff at CHAMPS;

She understands and can explain to others the infield fly rule;

She considers the yearly school sports banquet a good night out;

She does all her holiday gift shopping at DICKS Sporting Goods Shop;

Her kids soccer coach asks her to tone it down a little (PLEASE);

She considers it a treat to have a “sit down meal” at Pizza Hut instead of the drive through at McDonalds;

She understands, can explain and demonstrate to others a reverse, behind the back lay-up;

She walks into her kids’ rooms and she is greeted by life-size posters of the entire L.A. Lakers basketball squad;

Her graduating senior refuses a full scholarship to Harvard because “Mom, their basketball team stinks”;

The high school basketball referees recognize her by voice alone;

She’s on a first name basis with the staff at the emergency room;

She thanks God for her Sports Mom status everyday.

Summer Road Trip

January 21, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity, The All Sports Mom · Comments Off on Summer Road Trip 

By Paula Schmitt

Ah, summertime. It’s that time of year once again to pack up the family and head out in the car on a road trip. So delightful! I just can’t wait! Every year I plan this road trip – whether it’s two or six hours cooped up together, nice and close, in the car; WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A GOOD TIME, DARNIT!

The car is ready and packed (and I do mean PACKED). We head out for a week’s vacation to the lake and the sun is as bright as my mood. However, by the time we reach the expressway (a total of fifteen minutes), the clouds begin to form as I hear a whining from the rear of the vehicle.


“NO you don’t.” I singsong with a nice big smile.

“Oh yes I doooooo.”

OH. MY. GOD. It’s starting already, only a quarter of an hour into our trip. (Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts.) Knowing there is no negotiating with the sphincter of a child, we pull to the nearest rest area.

Twenty minutes later, back on the open road, “Are we there yet? I’m getting tired of sitting in this car!”

Where are my earplugs? I swear I packed my earplugs.

Ten minutes later, “Are we almost, almost there yet now?”


We manage to travel halfway through our journey before making another pit stop for potty and snacks. Tanks on full, we pile back into the car, totally refreshed and ready to get on the road again.

“Mommy, Nick doesn’t have his seat belt on!”

Uh-Oh. Another cloud forms over my sunny disposition. Nick has violated the SEAT BELT RULE. This is, without a doubt, the biggest way to both get in trouble and really push Mommy’s button. Storm clouds in full formation over my mood, I turn around and thunder.

“Get that seatbelt on right now or else, mister!!!!”

I then pull out our list of rules for traveling and read them aloud (for the fifth time today). I swear I can literally see them going in one ear and right out the other.

When I am done reading our rules for road trips I turn on some nice, relaxing music, lean my chair back and close my eyes.

“Mooooooommy, Tony is sticking his tongue out at us!!”

THAT’S IT! I holler the words from the Holy Grail of parenting, “Do you boys want Daddy to pull this car over and for me to come back there right this minute?”

I have turned into a crazy woman, panting heavily and foaming at the mouth. I then glance over at my husband, who is conveniently relieved of all parenting duties by virtue of the steering wheel. He smiles, asks for a drink and reminds me that we only have ONE HOUR until we are there.

Funny Guy.

Over the next hour there are spills (Here’s your drink dear. Oops!), fart wars (I hang my head out the window like a slobbering canine), more potty breaks (You people never pee this often at home!), and a spitting-on-each-other fight (Stop it now, or walk the rest of the way!).

I try to keep thinking positive … we are almost there, we are almost there. I repeat it like a mantra and envision myself relaxing with a book, down by the lake. So peaceful. We are almost there. We are almost there.

I am yanked from my trance by Daddy’s announcement, “Here we are everyone! At the lake!”

There is no response. It is quiet. We slowly turn around and see four sleeping little angels off in la-la land.

Of course.

I look at my husband with a sneaky little smile, roll down the windows, and we run to the lake hand in hand.

Ah, summertime.

Mommy Mediator by Paula Schmitt

January 21, 2009 · Filed Under Stay at Home Sanity, The All Sports Mom · Comments Off on Mommy Mediator by Paula Schmitt 

I am a brave woman. Let’s not forget strong, too. Not only have I carried and delivered four boys, but over the years, I have lived in the same house with these four boys. Yes, I am their mother and most days I am proud to announce this to the world. Then there are the days I would like to get into my car (ALONE), wave bye-bye and not look back.

What kind of a mother am I?

One would think that after living together under the same roof, sleeping together, eating together, watching videos together, together, together, together, that these guys would realize that they are stuck with one another and there’s no way out. Could it be that simple? Not in my house.

It’s 7 a.m. and I am awakened by an alarming sound. No, it is not the pounding of a jackhammer and not even the sound of a 747 jet flying overhead. It is two of my darling boys having a yelling match in their room across the hall. Such a pleasant way to start the day.

I enter the boxing ring.

“Ahem. Good morning boys. How is everything going in here?” I ask sweetly, with an all teeth showing smile on my face.

My nine year old, Joseph, quickly drops the towel he is about to whip at his brother and says, “Oh, hi Mom. I’m about to get in the shower.”

His 12 year old brother, Phillip, strongly disagrees.

“Yeah, right you moron! I was going to get in the shower and you tried to stop me so you could get in first. Tell Mom the truth!”

The truth would be nice. My eyes turn to Joseph.

“Moooooooom, I’m supposed to shower first today! He showered first yesterday!” Joseph wails.

“Who cares? I was up first and ready to get in the shower before you, then you come in, swinging your towel at me like a mad man saying you’re getting in the shower first.” Phillip says, pointing his finger in his brother’s face.

This is not going well. I believe it is time for some motherly mediation to get the day rolling.

15 minutes later…

“What? No way! I’m having the rest of the Captain Crunch cereal this morning, not you.” Tony, my oldest, yells at his brother, Nick.

Here we go again. I exit the laundry room and enter the boxing ring for the second time this morning.

“Ahem. Is there a problem here in the kitchen guys?” I ask once again, putting on my big cheese smile.

“Yes, there is a big problem. Tony thinks this box of Captain Crunch cereal has his name written on it and it only belongs to him. There’s only enough for one more bowl and I’m having it!” Nick yells as he grabs the box out of Tony’s hand.

Then to make matters worse, Tony goes into the drawer, gets out a pen, takes the box from Nick and starts to write his name on the box. This is getting ugly.

Mommy Mediator to the rescue.

Seven hours later…

Ah, peace and quiet, the boys have been at school all day. I notice it is time for them to return. I hear their bus and see them walking up the drive. I have missed them.

Like always, I go outside to the end of the driveway, happy to greet my boys. Then I hear a terrible sound. A heated conversation between not two, but all four of them as they are approaching me.

I should go back in the house, lock the door and throw away the key right now.

“Hi guys! How was your day?” I ask as perky as possible.

They don’t even notice me but instead pick up the basketball and start shooting hoops.

“What are you talking about, jerk? I can slam dunk better than you and jump higher!”

I truly dislike the name calling. Let’s try this again.

“AHEM! Hi guys, how was your day?” I say, this time a bit louder and not so perky.

They all chime in, “OK.”

End of conversation with mom and back to the arguing about who is better at basketball.

I think I will leave them to battle this one out alone. Mommy Mediator is taking a break.

Before I go back into the house I turn to the boys and call out, “Hey guys, any of you want to challenge your mom to a free throw contest?”

Silence. That shut them all up in a hurry as they know their good old mom could win that contest hands down.

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