Practical Joke: FAIL

After many years of a strict “no practical joke” moratorium in our house, I lifted the ban recently, feeling they were mature enough and mostly for my entertainment.

Now, pulling off a good practical joke in this house is next to impossible. I do have teen boys, both of whom are quite savvy when it comes to research and whathaveyou, so anything I come up with has do be either super old school or deep in the recesses of the WWW.

Scrolling through Facebook one night, I came across a hilarious practical joke via Roo of Neon Fresh (formally Nice Girl Notes). The gist is to get a hold of someone’s smartphone, load a picture of a broken screen, and then set up some scenario in which a phone would have become broken. 

With an ideal, yet simple plan, and my intended target picked (oldest son and his newly acquired with his  own cash, iPod), I set out to pull off the perfect practical joke.

And then it all went wrong.

  • Waited patiently for him to leave the iPod unattended. 
  • Snatched it up, pulling in the youngest son as my accomplice, having him hold the ear buds and pretend he didn’t see anything. 
  • Snuck off to the laundry room to get the picture, only to realize I didn’t knew the passcode to unlock the iPod. 
  • Remembered I can get to the camera function without the passcode.
  • Formulating Plan B, retreated back to the living room to grab my iPhone. 
  • Decided the only way to ensure little to no interruption is to hide in the downstairs bath. 
  • Son One is now looking for his iPod, knowing for certain he left it in a particular place. I lie and tell him he said he took it to his room, knowing it would buy me a few more minutes. 
  • Hide out in the bathroom, unable to get the photo I need. Return to living room.
  • Get back on laptop to narrow down the problem, unable to find Roo’s feed on Facebook.

Fast forward several minutes…


I used this photo. My hope was he would miss the odd placement of apps because of the cracks.

I finally find a picture that would do, take a picture off my phone with the iPod, then move around, like I “sat” on his iPod. I say, “Oh Son, I am so sorry. I found your iPod. I accidentally sat on it. GASP! Oh my! LOOK!”

He looks at me, almost with pity and says, “That’s not mine.”

In my shuffling around, had managed to pick up his brother’s. I never even noticed.

He looked at me one more time, shook is head slowly and walked out of the room.

Worse practical joke execution, ever.








Photo courtesy of 

The Expectation: Easter Edition

 Many years ago, before blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, and other visual reminders of holiday offerings, I fell into the trap. Every year, I’d vow this would be the last. And approximately eleven months later, I’d find myself in a wave of other harried mothers (and some fathers*), under some unflattering light, fighting over 99 cent plastic eggs and purple basket grass.


Yes, that trap is what I like to call, The Holiday Expectation.

Easter has been my least favorite holiday since having kids:

  • Coloring eggs that can’t be put on display. Or if we do put them on display, we can’t eat them. Either way, WASTE. 
  • Filling a cheap basket with grass, all for the sole purpose of giving the illusion of MORE. Plus it takes nearly a year to find every last lost strand. 
  • Finding that balance of just enough stuff, but not so much to overshadow other holidays or heaven-help-us, raise The Expectation. 
  • Locating the perfect chocolate bunny that is the right kind of chocolate and not broken. (Hint: they are all broken.)

Further, we no more get a break from Christmas when things start happening. It begins in early February with Son One’s birthday. March is our wedding anniversary as well as my husband’s birthday. Daughter and Son Two’s birthdays are in April.

Somewhere in there, usually on someone’s birthday, is Easter.

I fully admit to allowing The Expectation to happen. I swore I’d find a way to reel it in and tone it down, but it never seemed to be the right time.

Then, all of a sudden, it came to a screeching halt.

- -

While the official words hadn’t been spoken, it was clear: No one expected an over-sized rodent wearing a jaunty bow-tie and fabulous vest to hop in and drop off a basket of springtime goodness.

Last year, with a little bit of sadness, we transitioned over. I went to Target, bought a fantastic basket to be filled with goodies for the whole family to enjoy together. I felt pangs of jealousy as the other moms (and a dad!) decided which goodies to purchase for their little chicks.

This past weekend, my husband casually mentions we should probably get stuff together for The Basket. As we are walking into a certain big box store, there was a rather large display of candies touting everyday low prices. In 4.3 seconds, I had a little bit to please everyone’s palate. Brushing my hands dramatically, I declared, “Done. Ready for Easter.”

“Oh. Wow. Really? You’re not even going to get them a chocolate bunny? They’ll be crushed.” My husband said, as we walked away.

“Wait. What? Why? Didn’t we realize we were done with this last year?” I’m blushing as a couple of women tsk-tsk me.

 “Well, yeah, but you were so sad, remember? ‘They’re growing up to fast.'”

 And there, in the main aisle, between the checkout stands and poorly made-clothes in a variety of neon colors, I realized it would never be over.

Just when I found my out, the end of the trap, of trying to fulfill The Holiday Expectation, I’d turned my husband into one of them. Sure, he didn’t care much about coloring eggs or bunny-themed sidewalk chalks, but he wanted his yearly allotment of jelly beans, Cadbury’s Robin Eggs, and most of all, a chocolate bunny. 

It’s too late for me, but hurry; save yourself. Cut them off while there’s time. 

*photo courtesy of The Cagle Post

 *Special shout-out to the dads. I’ve got mad respect for the men out in the aisles, willing to risk life, limb, or <ahem> to fill an Easter basket. Because moms on a mission? We can throw down.

Raising Boys: Teen Years

When I was pregnant with my second child, I knew, without a doubt, I was a having another girl. Well, I was probably 92% positive. After an extra-long pregnancy and even longer labor, at 4:22 a.m., the doctor announced, “It’s a boy,” and my life changed forever.

At the time, I knew only one thing about boys and that knowledge is how I ended up a mother. Clearly, I was going to need some additional info –  maybe a pamphlet or something?! 

Fast-forward through another birth (“It’s a BOY!”) and fourteen years, and I’ve learned a lot about being a mother to boys. Especially of the teen set. Because in hindsight? The elementary years were gravy, a warm-up to the Olympics of Parenting, if you will- The Teen Years.

Here are some tips for raising boys:

1. Step away from the AXE.
Boys smell. Period. While cologne (along with showers and good deodorant) helps alleviate the issue, we tried AXE and it seemed to only exacerbate the problem. Fortunately for us, my boys happen to like the same thing my husband wears from Bath and Body Works. Teaching them “less is more” is taking more time, but at least the paint isn’t peeling off the walls anymore. 

A boy's best friend is his mother. 2. Talk their language. 
My boys aren’t big on general chit-chat or proclamations of love. And those lunch box notes? Waste of time. Texting has been a huge break-thru for us. And since I am trying to keep the lines of communication open, I even refrain from correcting their grammar. If that doesn’t say love, I don’t know what else does. 

3. Learn about [insert hobby here].
I know more about Mindcraft, Call of Duty, military weaponry, Star Wars, and other testosterone-driven subjects than I ever thought possible. And really, it’s not half-bad. 

4. Drink a lot of coffee. And Diet Coke.
Boys. Girls. It doesn’t matter. Raising kids is the hardest job one can do and it takes fuel to keep going. Plus all the working I do to earn the extra grocery money to fill the bottomless stomachs of two teenage boys; all of that takes an obscene amount of caffeine. Because seriously? THEY ARE ALWAYS HUNGRY. I thought that was a myth; it’s not. 

5. Remember: Some day they will be someone’s spouse.
I have no qualms about asking my boys’ opinions on certain things: how an outfit looks; a choice between two nail polishes; what to have for dinner. Very few topics are off limits. I value their opinions and insights just like I do my husband’s. I figure it will be less of a culture shock once they set up housekeeping with someone I hope to like but doubt will meet my standards.

If you are past the teen years, what would you add to the list?