Paula-Loves-Marla's Blog

Observations about Art, Movies, Books, etc.

Archive for the category “Kids, School & Parenting”

Best Friends

As usual, I checked in with Yahoo! news this morning. I was very touched by the letter written by Jack Pinto’s friend John. Link

Yeah, I was crying at my desk. The thing that struck a nerve (beyond the touching sentiment) was the picture:


It reminded me of my own best friend who I’ve known since I was five.

I am lucky enough to still have her as one of my best girlfriends and we still see each other at least a few times a year. I take these get togethers for granted because it feels like we’ll get to keep seeing each other forever.

As we were harshly reminded of this week, there is no forever and each day is precious.

I’m not going to preach about how we should live our lives.  I’m just really sad these two little guys will never have the opportunity to grow up together.


I sincerely hope that we can move forward as a society to a place where mentally ill people don’t choose to kill others before committing suicide. Our citizens and children do not need to be part of some sicko’s own personal reality TV.

My apologies if any of this offends. The slaughter of innocent children really pisses me off.


Kiddies In The Crossfire – It’s Not A Good Thing

Okay, last post about relationship/divorce type stuff (for now).

I just wanted to say that if you’re separated or divorced and have children, please keep in mind that all those shots you take at your ex wind up hurting your kids. It’s hard enough for them to have their family split up without having to hear all the ugliness you and/or your spouse spout off about each other. Certainly do not under any circumstances put the children in a position where they feel like they have to pick sides.

If you want to bitch about your lying, cheating, no-good, spendthrift/penny-pinching, lazy/workaholic, shiftless, mean, insensitive ex-spouse, do it out of earshot of your kids. Go out with your friends, have a beer, shop, shoot some skeet and vent at will, but when you’re around the children, remember that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

Divorce is a hard thing for kids to deal with. I personally remember coming home the day my dad had been by our house to clear out his stuff and how hurt I was to see the empty places where his things had been. Each spot on the bookcase where his statues & books had been felt like it left a hole in my heart. Adding an ugly narrative to the situation just compounds the hurt.The other thing is that holding onto all that anger and hurt is just as bad for you as it is for your kids. At some point you have to let it go and the sooner, the better. All those bad feelings are bad for your health and can shorten your life. Really the best thing to do is pick a date where you are going to move on and then do it. Your relationship with that person is over except for parenting your children. Find ways to be good to yourself and heal. Fill your life with positive things and thrive within that life.

The best revenge is living well. Do it for yourself. Do it for your kids. Do it now.

Here’s an article  about what kids think: Article


There are so many cool fashion hats these days that I’m a little jealous they didn’t have anything like this when I was growing up.

Here’s a shot of the interesting hats the girls got for Christmas:

Rad Irene & Wild Sammy

Tying My Boot

Here’s one of our collection of digital shots that I found while browsing the other day. I don’t know which camera we used for the shot. I know it’s a Thanksgiving weekend, probably Friday.

I think Hannah’s look of contemplation while she’s tying her Justin boots is sweet as is the softness of the image. I figured I’d share the picture since I find it appealing.

Raking Leaves

I guess I was feeling a little nostalgic a couple of nights ago and was looking at old pictures. My girls are big now (12 & 14) and I love who they’ve become, but I also enjoy looking back to the cute little people they were.

This picture tickles me:

Hannah was ready to pitch in to help rake leaves. I’m sure her main goal was to jump in the pile once it was big enough, but I appreciated her at least making the pretense of helping out.

Samantha had no intention of helping and was instead dressed up in her fancy dress and elegant fur-trimmed coat. She was a pistol back in those days (and still is to a certain degree, though her tactics are much more refined now that she’s older).

The dress she’s wearing in the photo was one of her favorites. I think it was a girls size 10 but it was smocked and had ¾ sleeves so she’d wear it around like a granny dress with her black Justin boots. A lot.

I guess it was vastly different from her Montessori uniform, comfortable and super girly (which she was when she was little).

Sisters’ Dialogue:

I’m helping mom & dad rake leaves

Before the ground is covered in snow.

I’m way too cute to do such work,

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go.

 When I’m through I’ll have a pile,

Big enough to jump & dive & roll.

I’m too much of a lady for that,

I think I’ll just take a stroll.

Big Sister, Little Sister – A Poem

Hey Big Sister,

I want to be just like you,

To play what you play,

And do what you do.


I’ll follow your lead,

And match every stride.

Your path is my map,

So don’t try to hide.

Adventures unnumbered,

Will fill our every day.

Take hold of my hand,

And show me the way.

Let me join all your games,

And bask in your brilliance.

Keeping up with you,

Is going to take some resilience!

Don’t leave me behind,

As you continue to grow,

I know I’m a pest,

But I’m your best friend, you know?

Hey Little Sister,

You’re in my space.

Since you were born,

I’ve lost my place.

You follow me ’round,

And copy my style.

You do all of this,

With a self-satisfied smile.

Look kid, I get it,

It’s my coolness you seek,

But you need to back off,

Because I am unique.

I don’t want a shadow.

Don’t be a copy cat.

Just do your own thing, Sis,

And we’ll leave it at that.

Some day you’ll be big.

And this impasse will end.

You’ll stop being annoying,

And become my best friend.

Symphony of Lights Pictures

This will be our third year driving through the Symphony of Lights Display near our home. The first two years were a blast. We enjoyed the displays and also had lots to laugh about during the ride.

One year there was a contest to find all the letters hidden along the route and figure out what the word or phrase was. We never did find all the letters, but we did come up with some imaginative (and inappropriate phrases). It was a hoot for sure.

This year, even though it was still fun to drive through, it felt a little flat. The displays really haven’t changed much and the whole thing seemed a little stale. They have some displays that have some animation to them, but as we were discussing it over dinner (we always have dinner afterwards at Carrabba’s), we decided that they really need some three dimensional stuff to make the display more exciting.

As you can see, I did take some pictures as we drove through, but unless they do some serious refurb’s we may skip it next year.

Inspiring Words From My Daughter

For my 200th post, I am happy to share the spotlight with one of my three beautiful daughters. Hannah, who is fourteen, is struggling with negative feelings even though she’s doing great at her new high school, making new friends and getting a lot of encouragement from her teachers.

Sometimes she just feels overcome by the negative thoughts that fill her head and it’s hard for her to feel any joy or happiness because she can’t break through the barrier of negativity.

I worried that she may have to deal with mean girls and bullying in high school. It never occurred to me that her worst opponent would be herself.

Here is the message of hope that she shared with me last night:

Remember to Live, Laugh,

Hug, Kiss, Share,

Love, Explore, Dream Better Dreams,

Because You’re Worth It.

I have confidence that with the guidance of a therapist, we can help Hannah find the strength to work through the negative thoughts and assist her in feeling more powerful and balanced. It was hard for me to admit that we need outside help (although I have always commended others for seeking therapy) to work through Hannah’s unhappiness, but if she comes away from therapy with a more positive sense of who she is and has a better feel for her value, that’s all I can hope for.

To be perfectly honest, it was a struggle for me to accept that my daughter needed therapy. In my mind it was a sort of failure, like I was such a poor mother that my kid was screwed up because of me. It’s been a running joke at my house that one or all of our children would at one point wind up on Oprah bemoaning their parents. It’s not so funny now.

I’ve come to the realization that attending to one’s mental health is just as crucial as regular medical check-ups. Up to this point my philosophy regarding mental health was “Just suck it up and make up your mind to be happy and sooner or later you will be.” Obviously that’s not a healthy approach in the long run and it’s better to seek therapy.

I am looking forward to 2012 being the year that Hannah gets the attention that she needs to feel better. She is a truly wonderful person with many talents including a great sense of humor and a fabulous writing ability. All I want for Hannah is for her to be happy.

Here’s wishing you a happy holiday season. Remember that we can all make a difference in people’s lives by offering to reach out and help them. You may even save someone’s life.

The Braces Experience

My older daughter is both excited and nervous about getting braces. Really all she wants is her teeth to be fixed. If I had a magic wand, I know she’s just ask me to give her a zap and have the whole thing over with.

A boy who she talks to on the phone told her that the first week is going to be rough as well as some sensitivity after each adjustment. Another girl friend told her that she’d bleed for a week when she got them off. I assured her that at least this bit of information was false.

These are much more tame than the ones I had.

Long, long ago, when I had braces (made out of cast iron), the first week was indeed brutal, but after that, it wasn’t so bad. I was one of those misbehaved kids who still chewed gum and other stuff that would pull my wires loose. Once I’d gotten the thing loose, I’d just pull it out and let the orthodontist deal with it the next time I went in for a visit.

I did not feel bad about inconveniencing him. One of the first things he did when he installed my braces was to put a barb thing on the top of my mouth to force my tongue down to push out my front teeth. It was a device of torture for sure.

I never forgave him for it either.

My darling mother decided to get creative with my lunch on the first day after I got my braces. She made a homemade roast beef sandwich for me. Nice thick slices of medium well beef of questionable cut. It would have been excellent material to make a leather courier satchel out of, but it most definitely did not make for a tender sandwich for my sore and tortured teeth.

Meat Bag

I wasn’t able to make much headway with the sandwich at lunchtime so I snuck it back to my desk in order to try to finish it during class. One of my classmates ratted me out because my hectic gnawing must have offended his tender sensibilities. I gave up in defeat.

For the rest of the week my mom made softer lunches and I got through my adjustment period without any further mishaps. We both laugh about it now!

I guess I’ll have to start brainstorming about what I can feed Hannah during her adjustment period.

It certainly won’t be roast beef!

If you have these...


...don't eat this!


Braces & Teeth Extraction – Fun Stuff!

We’re gearing up to get both girls fitted up for braces and we saw the orthodontist yesterday to find out if they are at the point where they can have them put on. My older daughter has lost all of her baby teeth so the next step for her is to get some x-rays done and a plan put in place.

My younger daughter is going to have to have her last, stubborn baby tooth pulled because it doesn’t look like it’s going to come out any other way.

Dentists have come a long way in pain reduction since I was a kid so I’m not worried about the procedure. I’m sure she’ll need some TLC afterwards, but the actual extraction should be a piece of cake (I hope!).

My own experience with tooth extraction is unfortunately broad. My teeth were too big for my mouth (so my own dinosaur of an orthodontist said) and I would need to have four permanent teeth taken out. Since the baby teeth were still in residence, those had to be pulled and then the dentist dug around until he could get ahold of the permanent ones, then yanked those too.

Even though his style of dentistry was pretty rough, he was humane enough to only do one side at a time so that I could at least chew once I was back up and around.

Years later, I went back to see the same dentist to get my wisdom teeth out. I had one that was impacted and it was causing me some pain so it was decided that they should all go. (I haven’t missed them).

I’d had laughing gas when I was younger and remember it being a hilarious experience. After whatever I’d had done, my mom had taken me to the grocery store before heading home. I laughed my little butt off the entire time we were there. She asked me what was so funny and the only thing I could think of was “Everything!”

When it was time to put the mask on for the first round of wisdom teeth, I didn’t baulk. In retrospect, I wish I had.

When the dentist hit me with that first needle (back in the dark ages they did not use topical anesthetic), I not only felt the pain of it sink down to the bone, but the overhead light started to echo and strobe along with the pain.

Serious Bad Trip, Man!

Feeling pain is bad enough, but when you can see and hear it as well, it’s horrendous.

I abstained from the “laughing” gas on my trip back to have the teeth on my right pulled and I even held the chisel so that the dentist could free the impacted one, then walked the few blocks home afterwards.

My daughter’s experience will be a lot easier and I’m glad. I guess this generation will have a lot less medical war stories than mine. That’s a good thing!

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