Why March Is A No Nookie Month

Nineteen years ago today, my life changed in a way I never could have imagined:

I became a mom.

It all started with the infamous “blizzard” of 1993 in Atlanta, GA. We actually got enough snow that year to cover the street, which, if you are familiar with living in the South, means that all normal ways of life come to an absolute stand-still.

It’s pretty simple. We don’t know how to drive in the snow. It is rare that we see more than an inch of it at a time. Even the mere mention of the word “snow,” people will flock to the grocery store to stock up on bread and milk even though the snow more than likely won’t last past 11 a.m. the next morning.

Such was the case in March, 1993. What started off as snow flurries quickly turned into what would be soon plastered across the news as a “blizzard”. Anyone living North of Tennessee would have considered it a light dusting, but people in Atlanta were in a panic. You would think us Southerners will begin to contemplate cannibalism if we can’t get enough bread and milk to last us a few days.

Then the power went out.

With no power and no backup generator, what was a young newlywed couple to do?

Five weeks later, I was in for quite a surprise.

I made an appointment with an OB and soon found out that my husband and I weren’t the only ones who lost power. A RECORD number of pregnancies were reported that year and they were all due in December.

Fast forward eight more months.

My son was actually due on my mother’s birthday, which is Christmas Day, but he had other plans.

For the first time in his life, he came early and showed up on my father’s birthday – December 9.

Now that would be a coincidence in itself, right? Due on my mother’s birthday but born on my father’s birthday?

December 9, 1993

December 9, 1993

What is really interesting is that my father has a brother and three sisters. Three out of five children were born on December 9. And when my sister was pregnant, her due date was also December 9 (but he broke tradition and arrived two days later.)

December 9, 2012

December 9, 2012

March, it appears, is a very fertile month in my family.

And as we celebrate the lives of two of the most wonderful men that I have in my life, I am also thankful that I have an equally wonderful and understanding husband. Because he knows that March is officially EXTRA SAFETY MONTH in the romantic department at the McIntyre house.

Just in case.

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Are You A Baby Book Slacker?


How many times has your child done or said something funny and you think “I’ll always remember when he did that”? And then the following month you are wracking your brain trying to remember what exactly it was? My son is now 18 years old and I still think of funny events but can’t remember all of the details.
After my son was born I was determined to fill in his baby book with memories, sayings, firsts, etc. I think I got to month three before I became a slacker on the job. The only reason I remember what day he took his first steps is because it was my sister’s birthday. But which birthday? I don’t know because I didn’t write it down.

But that all changed, thanks to my mom.

Years ago when my son was just a toddler, my mother would often babysit him while I went to work. She was able to spend the first three years with him, often telling me some of the funny things he said or did while he was at her house.

That following Christmas I opened a present from my mother. It was a standard black notebook – the kind with the paper that has to be punched with three holes. Nothing fancy. But what was inside was utterly priceless.

My mother had written down almost every funny conversation they had, typed it all up, and gave it to us. She said that she kept paper in all of the rooms of the house and when Matthew said something funny, or something happened that she thought would be good in the book, she would write it down. At the end of the year she took all of her little sheets of paper and typed them up. (As a side note – my mom is Ninny.)

Here are some of my favorite “Matthew Funnies”, as the book is so appropriate titled:
Age 3 – Your Dad was teaching you the sign language alphabet. When he got to the letter “p”, you said “we don’t pee in the tub.”

Age 3 – The pest control man, Tucker, came to the house today and you followed him around.
Tucker: How old are you?
Matthew: (silence)
Ninny: You know how old you are. You can tell him.
Matthew: (silence)
Tucker: When is your birthday?
Matthew: When I turn four!!!

Age 3 – Your Mom: I’ve got to go to the bathroom.
Matthew: I’ve got to go to the bathroom, too.
Your Mom: Well, you’ll have to wait a minute – I’m about to pop.
Matthew: Well, I’m about to poop.

Age 4 – You gave me a kiss on the cheek and then I felt something stuck on my cheek.
Ninny: Gross, Matthew! It’s a fingernail!
Matthew: No it’s not! It’s a footnail!

Age 4 – Ninny was working on the porch when you came outside.
Matthew: I have a new wallet. Want to see it?
Ninnny: Of course I want to see your wallet!
(And you showed me a rock that was about two-inches long.)
Oh my. Where did you get that nice wallet?
Matthew: I got it in the Army ‘bout four years ago.

She did the same thing for my sister with my two nephews. This is one of my favorites:

Zachary was sitting in his dad’s lap and was running his little hand over the hair on his dad’s arm.
Zachary: Hey Dad!!! Look! When I do this to your arm, your fur lays flat.

And now that my son is an adult, reading these precious stories helps me exactly remember these events that would have been lost long ago. Those yearly “chapters” continue to give me endless belly laughs remembering “funnies” that I have already forgotten.

To do this for your family, consider just keeping a little notebook in your purse and jot down simple memories as they happen. If you wait too long, you will more than likely forget certain details. As time allows type up your notes and then you can print and give numerous members of your family your child’s “Funnies” book. It is such a personal holiday present for grandparents, parents & friends.

Remember to write down the amusing stories but don’t forget the heartfelt ones too…

Age 4: You were gazing out the window and you were lost in deep thought.
Matthew: You know what, Ninny?
Ninny: No, what, Matthew?
Matthew: I love you.

He’s Not Homesick But His Mom Is

It’s been a month since my son, Matthew left for college.  I had promised myself that I wouldn’t be a basket case and would not need a prescription for Xanax or several bottles of wine, although I purchased a few just in case.   All summer I knew this day was coming but boy, it sure showed up faster than I expected.

He drove down with his dad to the school the night before he was to move in, and I drove down the next morning with my parents so that they could finally see the campus.  We got to his new dorm early and started moving his things in.  I tried keeping myself busy by making his bed and unpacking his dishes and glasses.  After about an hour, he gently touched my arm and said “Hey mom, I think I can handle it from here.”   I forced myself to smile and suggested we go eat lunch instead.

Moving In The Dorm

After small talk over lunch my parents and I realized it was time to head on out.  I am actually proud of myself not turning into a blubbering mess when we were leaving and not squeezing the life out of him when I gave him the biggest hug of his life.  He sweetly kissed my cheek and said “I’ll be fine mom.  I promise I’ll text you.  I love you.”

I held it together until I got in the car and then I just boo-hooed all the way back to Atlanta.  I cried to the point where I had massive amounts of snot and I was running out of tissues and I was sucking in short, rapid breaths like toddlers do when they have a meltdown.  But I made it.

Matthew & Mom

So day one came and went and I didn’t hear from him.

Day two came along and I finally heard the familiar country song that plays as his ring tone coming from the bottom of my purse.  I dropped everything and dug down into the black abyss that is my purse, searching for my phone.

“Hey Mom!  I have the funniest story to tell you…” and he went on to tell me about his first night on campus.   We talked for a while and then he said he’d call me later in the week.  My heart filled as he hung up with  “love you Mom”.

Day two came along and once again I heard country music coming from inside of my purse.  “Hey Mom!  Can you tell me how to set up my printer?”

Day three…”Hey Mom!  Rush starts next week.  What do you think I should wear?”

And so it goes.  He is now one month into his college life and I have heard from him just about every single day.  Every time I hear the first few notes of that country music song my heart double beats.

And even though I don’t get to see him every day like I used to, in a weird way I am getting more quality time with him with each phone call.  We are actually talking, not just saying hello like we used to when he’d come home and go straight upstairs.  He tells me about his day – new friends he’s made, funny things that have happened, and we just talk in general.  And I’m really happy with our new, mature communication even though I know the phone calls and text messages will slow down as he becomes more and more comfortable with living on his own.

The house is quiet without him and I’m the one who ended up homesick, but I am proud to say that I didn’t need all of those bottles of wine after all.

Home Really Is Where Your Mom Is

Is this really happening?

I found myself standing in my son’s room today. Not in a creepy watching-him-as-he’s-sleeping kind of way. Just standing there, looking around at all of his posters tacked to the walls. I see the “Captain” stripes on his letter jacket gently strewn across the chair. Prom pictures of him and his girlfriend are stapled to the wall by his bed.

But something is different: He is leaving for college.

His Pink Floyd, Dave Matthews & Beatles posters are rolled up neatly with a rubber band keeping them safe. His guitar stand is sitting by the door and his guitar is nestled comfortably in it’s hard case. Two big brown boxes sit by the door filled with his lava lamp, some clothes, his x-box, favorite pillows and his Mac. There are no dirty boxer shorts or t-shirts tossed on the floor. There aren’t any empty Dr. Pepper cans on the bedside table. The TV is off.

And the lump that has been growing in my throat for the past three months is suddenly about to burst. He looks over at me and I realize that I’m about to lose it. I exclaim that I need to go stir the spaghetti sauce that has been simmering on the stove for the past three hours. I race down the stairs, bypassing the kitchen altogether, hoping that I can make it to my bedroom before the tears start to flow. Once the sniffles start, it’s a dead giveaway.

Where did the time go? Wasn’t it just yesterday that he couldn’t wait to ride the bus to school for his first day of kindergarten? Wasn’t it just last week that he found a hair under his armpit –( yes that was meant to be singular)? Didn’t he just grow out of the kid’s department at Abercrombie & Fitch?

Matthew’s First Day of Kindergarten

I watched him grow from a funny and animated little boy into a kind and independent man. He took care of his “mama” after his dad and I divorced, and ultimately became the “man of the house”. Over the next ten years, it was just me and him. I went to every school event – talent shows, teacher conferences, and just about every single hockey game, and of course I was always the loudest mom there. I even took him and his friends on a very memorable camping trip (they didn’t realize that I could hear them talking about Pamela Anderson’s boobs through the paper thin tent walls).

State Hockey Champs 2011

When I finally met my husband, my son carefully “gave me away” at the wedding, knowing that he would eventually be leaving for college and that I had found a wonderful husband to love and share my life with.

Why does this hurt so much? I remember being his exact same age and heading off to college. I was so excited – just as he is. I know what’s in store for him and I am filled with joy knowing he is going to have such an amazing experience. I’ve given him all of the advice about studying hard, and have even given him the speech that “I’m too young to be a grandma.” I know that this is just the beginning of the rest of his life. But as a mom it’s still a bitter pill to swallow.

So as I stand here looking around his room, the lump in my throat comes back and my eyes start to tear up again. I realize that all of his memories from his younger years are either being left behind or packed away in boxes to take with him. I hope that he knows he will take something else with him that’s even more fragile than his beloved Beatle’s Blue Album…

He’ll take his mother’s heart with him.

Why I Will Never Be An Art Critic

By Dana McIntyre

When I was in high school, I did a lot of babysitting to make some quick and what I thought was relatively easy cash. I mean what was so hard about watching a couple of kids? (Answer: they weren’t mine.)

Anyway – after the parents left and the kids finished their platefuls of ketchup with a side of corn dogs, we decided to draw to pass the time until bedtime. We decided not to let each other see our pictures until we were all finished.

I was certain that upon revealing our drawings, the kids would oooh and ahhh and stroke my ego with compliments of my Renoir-like picture of a flower. But when the boy turned his picture around I was shocked and a little horrified to see this incredible drawing of what I assumed to be a very detailed sunflower. My bubble burst. My drawing started to look a little like a booger.

“Wow – ummm, that is a really good drawing”, I said. “Your sunflower is much better than my flower.” You could have heard a pin drop. I looked around. Had I accidentally broken his crayon?

“A SUNFLOWER?” he said sharply, sort of with a “duh” undertone. “It’s NOT a sunflower. It’s the High-Density Genotyping Array…” and he finished his sentence with several other really big words that I had never heard before..and had to Google just to write this post.

I felt like an idiot. He was looking at me like I had no brain. And did I mention that he was only six years old? Yes, you read that right. Six years old and schooling me on science. (Twenty years later, I would like to say he’s the guy working on my car but of course not. He’s a doctor.)

Which brings me back to the drawing. Has your child ever given you a drawing that they were so proud of but you couldn’t for the life of you figure out what it was? They were standing there beaming and you were trying to figure out what to say about it? That would be the perfect time to use the StoryMark app.

Take a picture of the drawing and have them explain to you what the picture is all about…then show them the StoryMark they just made. (Make it fun and they’ll want to do it every time!) The picture and audio are joined together and you can save both forever. (Plus, in case you don’t want to physically keep every drawing, you can save them on your iPhone or Android or save them to your photo library and then accidentally-on-purpose throw the original away.) And this way you can send copies of EVERYTHING to their grandparents!

So the next time you see a drawing where you don’t have a clue what it is of, just remember that Picasso probably got the same reaction from his mother….but unfortunately for her, they didn’t have StoryMark back then to save her the embarrassment of asking what the heck he was painting.

And, what I wouldn’t give to have a StoryMark of Matthew telling my parents what his “letter” to them says…

For more information on StoryMark, visit www.storymarklife.com, or download for free on your iPhone or Android.