I like the word hackles.  It just sounds so cool.  Also, it rhymes with shackles.  And that reminds of a song by the same title that I really like, by Mary Mary.

I say all that to justify the following video, in which I used the word hackles a few too many times.

And lest you look at me with that crazed stare, as if to say “Where have you been the last few months, and how did we get on the subject of hackles?”, let me assure you that I had not intended to take a blogging vacation.  I really love to write.  However, my subject matter is my family and my life, and when life gets dark, as it did around the time school started, I find I have nothing to say.  At least, nothing that I want to share with the whole world.

In retrospect, I should have seen it coming and been better prepared.  But how do you prepare for such a huge life change?  How can you know what the emotions will be, or how you will react?  The answer is, you can’t know and you really can’t be prepared.  Which leaves me feeling like life is spinning out of control.

What, you ask, was this big life change?

My baby (sniff, sniff) started (sniff, sniff) Kindergarten.

Yes, I know.  That should have been the happiest day of my life!  I should have been dancing and singing and celebrating!  I have waited for the day when all my kids were in school for FOREVER!  However, nothing has turned out the way I had imagined it.

First of all, the sadness didn’t hit me right away.  About the middle of the second week of school, about the time I started to get smug about sidestepping a major emotional life hurdle, it started to really sink in that I was no longer the mother of a preschooler, that all my kids were in school and that next year, Peter was going to Middle School.  That’s when I started looking at all the empty hooks on the wall by the back door, where the kids hang their backpacks, and feel sort of (I can’t believe I’m about to say this) lonely.

Yes, I know I know – you can all go ahead and say “I TOLD YOU SO”.  Everyone told me the day was coming.  Everyone warned me.  I remember someone telling me the year Peter went to Kindergarten that if I thought that was bad, “JUST WAIT until your last one goes to Kindergarten!”  So I was sufficiently warned.

Nevertheless, it was difficult.  On top of that, I had really high hopes for a great year for Matthew.  It has not been a great year.  And so on top of adjusting to being the mother of school-aged children, I found myself dealing with the realization that as much as I wish it wasn’t true, Matthew is indeed a ‘special needs child’.  And that isn’t something he just grows out of in a few months.

I don’t mean to over-dramatize it.  I have friends and relatives with special needs children, who are in and out of the ER and dealing with surgeries and brain development and all sorts of delays – really serious stuff.  I know compared to that, we truly have no problems. I realize that.  Nevertheless, for me, it was difficult.  Maybe I’m just that shallow.

Finally, the third factor contributing to this dark time in my life is our puppy, Snickers.  She is a sweetheart and I love her but she is destructive.  She chewed up my glasses, chewed up our coffee table beyond repair, ATE one of the cushions on our porch swing, destroyed every fake – and real – plant she could reach in the house, and ripped the ruffle off of our comforter.  I believe there is much, much more that we just haven’t found yet.  But the final straw came when she ATE one of my earrings.  Not just any earring, either.  These were my 14 karat gold rose earrings that Brad bought me for Valentine’s Day one year from James Avery.  They are – beside my wedding ring and wedding gift – the only piece of jewelry Brad has ever bought me.

Thankfully, our dog has a predictable digestive system.  I found it two days after she ate it.  And yes, I soaked it in Clorox, hot water before and after the Clorox, then followed it up with some 409 (just in case) before I ever put it in my ear.  Now you would never know it was digested by my dog. Unless you happen to read this story, in which case you will never be able to look at me with a straight face when I’m wearing those earrings again.

Dark, dark days.  I’m glad I can look back on them and laugh a little now.  In fact, just the fact that I am writing this is proof that the worst is over. For now.

(I just had to throw that last sentence in in case you don’t hear from me for another few months.)



I wrote the top portion of this blog post on September 24th.  It’s now October 9th.  I’m still trying to find the video I want to post.  Like everything in life, it’s never as easy as it looks.

Meanwhile, life keeps happening, and time keeps slipping through my fingers with no blog posts to commemorate occasions such as Matthew earning his Orange Belt in Martial Arts.  Or Dave Ramsey speaking at our church.  Or Samuel’s first Adventure Guides Campout.  So much to write about, so little time.

I know, I know…WAAAAAA.

So while I keep slogging through all the videos I can find on my multiple computer hard drives, I will go ahead and put some pictures up with this blog post, and promise to try to jump in right where we are and start updating you again.

Wish me luck.

Ninja Matthew

Dave Ramsey signing Matthew's notebook

EPIC FAIL ON THE VIDEO(S).  I’m just going to post it.  I’ll try to do better tomorrow (sigh).