A true transformation

My sister and I had our own personal transformation in October. Our kids begged us to do “Screams in the Dark,” a huge attraction of haunted houses out at the Northwest Michigan Fairgrounds. My answer was immediate: “I’ll wait in the car.” Kerry, however, made a play for Cool Mom: “Let’s ALL go!” “Really?” I seethed. “Really!” Kerry answered with too much gusto. But when the night arrived, there was a problem: The guys were out of town. This meant we would have to be the frontrunners […]

Scared and scareder.

The $5 bet

The trip to Bronner’s was a long time coming. We had talked about taking the boys to “The World’s Largest Christmas Store” in Frankenmuth since they were born. Now, with the oldest 13, we finally made the trip. But our foray into the Christmas wonderland was not without a few mishaps. First, we were forced to make our jolly way downstate, a full three hours, through glorious sunshine and balmy temperatures, not exactly the weather that gets you into the holiday spirit. The kids wore […]


The Ovation 2.0

The snowmobile. It’s a beauty. It’s a classic. It’s a 1989 Ovation from “the Yoop.” It was passed down from my Grandpa Maddox to my Uncle Lude to us, and is now one of our most treasured possessions. Having spent most of its life ice fishing on South Manistique Lake in Curtis, MI, the snowmobile has been a good machine. But it’s only recently, in the hands of an 11 year old, that the Ovation has reached its full potential. Nelson wanted to completely renovate […]


The appendix episode

It was the one time I didn’t panic and I should have. Nelson had been saying all day that he was in pain. His belly, down low. “On your right side?” I asked, my first thought: Appendix! “No, all over,” he said. “Use the bathroom,” I said calmly. Then, he didn’t want to jump on the trampoline with his brother. Even though I had dragged 100 feet of green garden hose out to spray them with while they jumped. (A mother’s game of revenge.) Then […]

The $1,200 hat.

Tenting with the kids

It started with pitching a gigantic 10-person tent that I got on clearance at Target. Never mind we had only four boys (my two sons and two nephews) to accommodate. This baby had a tented-in porch and two different rooms. It was a beauty. Plus it came with only five poles and a one-page, single-sided sheet of directions. Which were misleading. The tent kept collapsing. I sweated through my clothes, and most of my four-letter vocabulary, before figuring out what I was doing wrong. (I […]