Luke-isms: What’s An Expert?

Luke (4) and I were cuddling on the couch this morning and watching a little Thomas the Tank Engine when that cheeky little engine referred to someone as “an expert.”

“Mom, what is a expert?” (That’s his poor English, not mine.)

“It’s someone who’s really good at something because they know a lot about it, like your Daddy is an expert about medicine.”

“Oh yeah, and you’re an expert on TV, and sweeping, and the commode.”

I stopped him right there because my ego was on the verge of rupture. 

“I’m an expert at a lot of fings,” he added.

I agreed. He’s an excellent observer. 


Do all four-year-olds go through phases of being cuddly to the point of clingy, then five minutes later want nothing to do with you? I only have one specimen, so I really don’t know. I can tell you that yesterday Luke and I were organizing his bedroom and he was super enthusiastic about our together time. I got up to walk out of the room and he said, “Mom!! Where are you going?”

“Calm down. I’m just going to the bathroom. I’ll be right back.”

“Is it number one, or number two?”

“Lucas Payne, that’s none of your business.”

“Ok, just be careful. I’ll miss you.”

In case you’re wondering, yes I did lock the bathroom door.

Moms Getaway Part 2: Three Women And A Mission

After arriving at our destination, the rest of the weekend went as smooth as clockwork. We lounged on the beach and by the pool. We shopped and ate amazing food. We watched TV in bed, and most importantly of all we laughed. We laughed a lot.

Nice culottes, Granny.
 Caliza at Alys Beach
George’s at Alys Beach

When Sunday rolled around we packed our things and prepared for our journey home. Loren Leigh and I were in the bathroom packing our toiletries when Mary Marshall walked in and informed us that there was a leak downstairs. We all rushed down there to find water coming through the ceiling. A pipe somewhere had burst and the water was finding its way out by pouring from a speaker.

Mary Marshall’s first responder skills were right on point because before she even alerted us,  she had scoured the cabinets for a bowl large enough to contain the leak, thereby sparing quite a bit of furniture from damage. I’m pretty sure she was a paramedic in her former life.  I made a quick call to my uncle for some guidance.

My mind flashed back to the Luke Wescott flood of 2011, and I knew that we needed to get the water out of the ceiling as quickly as possible to keep it from spreading. I could hear my uncle’s confidence in me wavering a bit, but I like to think that he reflected back to the Billie Jean King in me that just one week before had put together a fire pit all by herself. He said, “If you can’t get the speaker to pop out, then at least poke a hole in the ceiling with a screwdriver.”

A larger garbage can had replaced the bowl because the water began steadily dripping down from all around the speaker frame. Mary Marshall held the ladder steady while Loren Leigh handed me tools like a surgical assistant. Every time I pried the edge of the speaker down,  more water poured out.

“Why don’t you get down and let me try,” Loren Leigh offered. I was happy to oblige. Then, with her bear hands, (That’s not a typo. I’m fairly certain she was channeling a grizzly bear) she took hold of the speaker and slowly pulled it down with arms shaking like a weak armed Olympian doing a pull up. With that, the leak slowed to a drip and our crisis was over. I like to think of that whole experience as our team building exercise for the weekend.

Piece of cake!

Afterward, we did the only thing that seemed appropriate. So back to the outlet malls we went. A little retail therapy always slows my heart rate back to normal, much like a prescription- a really expensive prescription.

Eventually, it came time for Mary Marshall to say her goodbyes and head to the airport. However, about thirty minutes later she called to say that Loren Leigh had left her J. Crew shopping bag in her rental car. “No problem,” said Loren Leigh. “Just leave the bag at the rental car place and we will come and get it.” We were then reminded by the rental car agent that under no circumstances could an unattended package be left at the airport, AND if she checked the bag she would be charged extra. To make matters worse, there was absolutely no fitting it in her already full suitcase.

That’s when the rental car agent made a suggestion. It was half insane, half brilliant. So Mary Marshall boarded her plane wearing four additional sweaters, a pair of socks, and a bracelet purchased earlier by Loren Leigh. She really took one for the team that day, dressed as what could only have looked like a homeless person layered up for a good night’s rest in a city park.

The ride home for Loren Leigh and me was much less eventful considering that we had a car charger for our phones. Had the navigation system not instructed us to make four consecutive U-turns, and then circle through a trailer park scary enough to give Honey Boo Boo nightmares, we would have made it home in under five hours. Hey, there’s always next time.

Route that navigation system took us on.
We thought it was a driveway, too.
And, you gotta love the curtains.
Can I get a “Row Tide?”

Guest Blogger: Heather Davis, Minivan Momma

In honor of Mother’s Day, I’d like to introduce you to Heather Davis, aka Minivan Momma. Heather is a hilarious gal I’ve come to know through her blog. She recently debuted her comedy skills in Listen to Your Mother, for Northwest Arkansas, which is a national series of live readings in celebration of Mother’s Day. In her free time Heather teaches middle school English, colors her hair, and I believe, drives a Porsche coupe.

Free Range Turtle- Heather Davis
There was a snapping, non-snapping turtle loose in my house for almost a week.  My sister wouldn’t stop by, not even for chocolate, until the savage beast was caught. I don’t blame her.
See, my husband, in what can only be described as an effort to take the lead in the “I love you best” contest that our daughters are continually staging, allowed said daughters to kidnap a mean turtle from its natural habitat.  They named him Luther.  My husband assured me that this was not a snapping turtle; he knew this since he was raised on a farm.  I reminded him that he was not raised on a turtle farm, and any turtle that inches his head out of his shell and snaps in my general direction was, indeed, a snapping turtle.  Luther was aggressive.
That night, Luther was housed in a cardboard box with a saucer of water and enough lettuce to stock a salad bar.  When we returned from school the next afternoon, my oldest daughter reported that Luther had “soiled” his box.  (Who talks like this?) She and her younger sister transferred Luther to a shoe box with a hinged lid.  They closed the lid and hustled to softball practice.
Upon returning, the lid was open; Luther was AWOL.
Normally, I’m a pretty brave soul unless snakes are involved.  But, to have a turtle loose in my abode almost sent me packing to the local Holiday Inn Express.  My morning routine was totally altered as I’d lean over the bed and drop magazines on the floor to see if I could get Luther the snapping, non-snapping turtle to bite the corners off of Real Simple instead of the toes off of me.
I also became a runner.  When I’d turn the lights off in a room, I’d run to the next well-lit area of my home shrieking like a banshee in an effort to attempt to outrun Luther or scare him away.  It worked.  We didn’t see hide nor shell of Luther, whom I had renamed Lucifer.
On day five, I let my guard down as I walked from my bedroom toward the kitchen to make breakfast (and by “make breakfast”, I mean unwrap a pop tart).  I just happened to glance down at my feet, and there stood Lucifer.  I screamed; he hissed.  My daughters came, and without any concern at all for my well-being, they scooped Lucifer into their arms and coddled him.  One even said, in baby talk, “Did Momma hurt my turtle baby?”
With donut shop bribery, I was able to convince them that Lucifer, I mean Luther, missed his family and had been trying desperately for the past five days to get outside so he could go home.  Tearfully, my daughters let him go.  They promised to eat a chocolate long john donut in his honor.  Heaving big sighs, they ceremoniously let him go in our front lawn.  Luther quickly crawled toward the street as my daughters sobbed on our front walk. 
My older daughter put her arm around her little sister and said, “Don’t be sad.”  They simultaneously sniffed and sighed in sync with each other.  “We’ll have Daddy to get us a lizard tonight.”
“Hello? Holiday Inn Express?”

Heather Davis over-shares the hilarity that is her life on  She invites you to stop by and stalk her.

Motherhood and The White Powder

I like to talk a big game. I try to portray myself as a super Mom who doesn’t take any flack from her three and a half year old, but it’s time for me to come clean. It is with great disappointment that I admit to you today that I’m not as awesome as you thought. I’ll pause briefly while you catch your breath.
The truth is I’m as imperfect as my son. While I don’t necessarily flood the house, or ride our dog, I certainly have ugly moments. One such moment came two days ago when Luke was being reprimanded. He looked right at my face, and with his sweet little duck lips said, “I don’t wike you.” Normal Lori would’ve ignored him, and walked away, but I wasn’t normal Lori that day. I was sleep deprived Lori, and sleep deprived Lori said, “Backatcha, punk.” He thought it was funny, but still, not my best moment.

However, yesterday I may have redeemed myself in all aspects of motherhood with a little help from my friends. The past few weeks Luke has been experiencing nightmares. He wakes up screaming several times a night, usually four or five times hence sleep-deprived Lori, requiring me to comfort and sit with him until he goes back to sleep. When the sun came up yesterday morning I was finished. I knew I couldn’t do this another night. I decided to make a few calls, and put into play what some would call a big, fat white lie.

I made two calls. The first was to Elizabeth, the nurse at his pediatrician’s office, and the second was to Cheryl, the pharmacy technician at CVS. Because they are awesome, they were both on board with my plan. I walked Luke into his doctor’s office, and he immediately began spilling his guts to Candi, the receptionist. “Miss Candi, I got some bad dweams about the scary bear, and the wolf. They locked-ed me in a cage and I got wost.” I know, right? I’d be scared too.

Elizabeth called us back and explained to Luke that she was writing a prescription for some Magical Dream Dust that would keep away all bad dreams. Luke listened intently as she explained how to use it. “You shake it at bedtime, and sprinkle it around your bed.”

Our next step was to go to CVS and get our “prescription” filled.  On the way there I prayed a little prayer, “Please God, don’t let me get pulled over with a zip lock baggy of baby powder in my front seat.” Cheryl met us at the drive through window where I passed her the Rx along with the bag of goods. She returned a minute or so later, and explained how it would keep the scary bear and wolf away. Luke bought it hook, line and sinker.

When bed time came around last night he helped me sprinkle magic dust all around his bed. I still had to sit in the room with him, but he finally went to sleep on his own, without crying a bucket of tears. Awesomeness. Many thanks to all who were involved.

(Photo by Keith Glines)

The Greatest Show On Earth

You might not believe it, but I ventured to the circus over the weekend.  As many of you know, the circus is a place I have felt great contempt for in the past.  The elephant poop, the uncomfortable seats, eighty dollar funnel cakes, and scary clowns always left me with a feeling of sensory overload and nausea.  However, there comes a time in your life when you make sacrifices for your kids.  For me, that time was Sunday at 10:00 AM.

For the patrons who arrived to the show early, there was a preshow on the circus floor.  It was a chance to see the dancers, acrobats and elephants up close.  Luke LOVED it.  At two and a half years old, I wondered if it would be too much for him, or if he would be afraid of the clowns.  My wonder ceased with the start of the first act.  There wasn’t a clown in sight during the pre-show.  He loved watching the acrobats fly through the air, and when that was over, they invited all of the kids into the ring for a dance party.  They had barely gotten the words “dance party” out before Luke had dived over the barrier and was front and center in the ring.  Rather than standing with the other kids, Luke went to the front and stood next to the instructor while he shook his groove thang.  This was the highlight of the circus for me. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  I won’t rest until that kid knows how to pop and lock. 

Of course for the real show, there were lots of animals- tigers, elephants, llamas, donkeys, a dog that rode a horse, and of course, camel toes on each of the acrobats.  They debuted motor cycles in a cage, clowns, a strong man, and a midget named Nano.  All in all, it was very entertaining, and had Luke not tuckered out, we would’ve stayed for the whole show.  The elephant excrement I had expected to smell was nowhere to be found.  Thanks to whoever cleans up that mess, because they did a really good job.  I was also pleasantly surprised that no one’s epilepsy seemed to be effected by the flashing lights.  My only disappointment was not getting to see the midget stick his head in a tiger’s mouth.  I was really hoping for that.  Damn you, OSHA. 

Parenting Examined

What does it say about me as a mom that after pulling up to an ATM to make a withdrawal, Luke (2 years old) shouts out the window, “Can I get some chicken and a Doctah Peppa?”

I can say without a doubt that this kid has NEVER had a Doctah Peppa in his life, but maybe he’s seen Mommy and Daddy place a few too many orders. I should’ve been ashamed, but instead I was a little proud of him for NOT ordering fries with that.

You Can’t Hide Crazy

I actually thought on Wednesday morning, “I wish I had something to write about.” Lo and behold, the Lord doth provide manna from Heaven, because shortly after that thought, I received a picture message of my mother behaving badly from one of her cohorts. Off her meds and without a helmet. That’s how my mother was caught behaving at school this week. This probably clears up any lingering questions you had about me. Now you know, it’s genetic.

Now, truth be told, it was camou day at school and she was trying to prove that her lack of camouflage in no way handicapped her ability to blend in with her surroundings. In a way, she was right. Whatever the reason for her garden party, you have to admit that she makes a pretty cute butterfly bush.

Now, please do not contact me to ask me if my mom is using the bathroom in the photo, because A) it is crude and B) I was already told that, no she is not. I also don’t want to know that I incorrectly diagnosed the foliage in which she is housed. I’m a lot of things, but a master gardener isn’t one of them.