the secondary market for nanny cams

We never did invest in a nanny cam.  I can see the benefit, especially if someone else spends all day with your kids, but we never felt the need for one in our home.  Or, more accurately, the discussion of having a nanny cam never even came up between BrightSide and me.

There were plenty of times when it would have been advantageous to have a bird’s eye view of what went down in the other room.  Knowing exactly how Sharpie got on the carpet.  Being able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt who threw the first Lego.  These would have saved valuable brain cells spent sorting through denials and accusations, brain cells that might even have fired up to make a dinner or two.  But alas, we went old school.

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our Gracie girl

Some of you may be wondering where Gracie’s been.  Usually I can’t go more than three weeks without documenting that dog’s nuttiness around our house, but it’s been strangely calm around here.  This may have something to do with the fact that I learned we weren’t feeding her enough at mealtimes, but bygones.

It’s not that she doesn’t get into trouble.  Gracie’s still stealing socks and pens and food when she can get her paws on it (people food – nom nom nom), but she’s just not as frantic day to day.  Maybe it’s a fuller tummy, maybe it’s our conscious effort to love on her more, maybe it’s simply getting older.  Whatever it is, life has gotten a little more peaceful.

Gracie’s been such a huge part of Riddle from the Middle, though…it seems almost wrong not to continue blogging her life.

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uh oh, she’s at it again

Gracie, Gracie, Gracie…such a big fluffikins.  Such an adorable face.  Such an incorrigible mess.


Gracie tally as of 12/11/16:

  • A Kind peanut butter breakfast bars box from our recycling pile.  After that smell she much have been so disappointed when there wasn’t a stash of delicious Jif smeared inside.
  • One boring, tasteless, frozen Eggo waffle straight off T-man’s plate.  Sad.  So very sad.
  • Texas Roadhouse steak fries.  Bear stepped slightly to the right and that was all it took for Gracie to see her opportunity and lunge.  Voilà!  One side of potatoes for the furry canine.
  • Leftover Chinese takeout rice.  Bear had scooped hers into a bowl and was almost ready to microwave it when Gracie made her move.  With big fat paws on the counter, Gracie stuck her nose in and lapped that rice up like a fat cat with a bowl of milk.
  • My niece’s sock.  Granted, it was stuffed inside a shoe left on the floor and yeah, my niece is fully aware of Gracie’s shenanigans, but still.  It’s more than a little embarrassing to have to hand someone her sock with an enormous drooly hole in it.
  • Half the wrist on a simple cotton glove.  Oops.
  • A roll of paper towels.
  • A ziplock bag full of dog treats.  To get to them Gracie had to clear off the entire dryer, knocking aside scarves and dryer sheets, until she reached the good stuff.
  • Part of a toilet paper roll.
  • Apparently our Gracie felt the need to clean her belly again.  This info was on a time delay, which is always a nice surprise.  Bear approached me the day after Gracie had consumed half a roll of toilet paper and mentioned that she was pretty sure she’d eaten a bar of soap while foraging in the bathroom.  Not great news, but it did explain some of her hinky behavior the day before.

And so it goes…

I will neither confirm nor deny

December brings articles galore about children and entitlement…keeping Christmas in perspective, helping kids avoid the Gimmes, battling the concept of I Am Therefore I Deserve. They’re particularly plentiful this time of year thanks to what I’ll politely call that mother****ing media push.

From the first year Toys ‘R Us put out its Christmas toy catalog to the 24 hour cartoon channels marketing this year’s Greatest Toy Ever that just might end up burning your house down (hoverboards, anyone?), the media has been peddling Christmas crack forever.  Shoot, we fell for it when we were kids, but now that we’re parents?  Not my kid, we say.  My kid’s gonna care about poor children in Africa.

No offense meant to poor children, well…everywhere else.

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Feature Friday

Forever Family is on hiatus this week due to what can only be called complications resulting from Life.  So be it.

In its stead, I’m sharing some Friday reads I think you’d enjoy.  Give them a try (and have a wonderful weekend!).


Gracie and Phoebe are beyond adored in this house, much like your own furry friends.  They love us without limit, but in turn they’ve endured much (especially from the kids) in the way of misplaced displays of affection.  Check out this terrific article about showing your dog affection in their own language.

5 Ways To Tell Your Dogs You Love Them In Their Own Language –


Celestial.  Paytyn.  Shiraz.  Draco.  Primrose.  Austin.  Chaplin.  Moxxi.

Let’s just take a moment here, shall we?

I understand the monumental importance of naming your child, and I even (sort of) get your drive to make the name stand out from the crowd.  But Celestial?  And Draco?  And these are the ones you can pronounce!  Forget about the ones that are a giant mishmash of consonants with a vowel or two thrown in.

Click to read Elizabeth Broadbent’s particularly passionate take on the matter.

Dear America, Don’t Name Your Kid Something Stupid 


I talk a lot about girls and self-image.  The importance of asserting boundaries, believing you’re worthy of claiming your power, and handling conflict.

Let’s all take a field trip to visit this young lady ‘cuz she’s got this on lock.

Fifth Grade Girl Writes List Of Boundaries For Boy At School


For the new neighbor, who just doesn’t quite get the insanity that is your life:

“…I also wanted to explain the conversation you heard in the backyard the other day.  As you’ve seen, I have three boys between the ages of 7 and 12.  It gets a little wild here!  I was not really going to tape up my son’s butthole with duct tape if he did not stop farting on his brother’s head.  I mean, I would love to (because the farts are never-ending it seems), but I would never really do that.”

Dear New Neighbor, Let Me Explain

Exactly what would it take to Gracie-proof this house?

Yesterday’s post was another chronicle of Gracie’s exploits, the nuttiness she pulls with edibles and inedibles alike.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason to her domino days; I only realize we’re in for one once I’m on my third GRACIE!

Yet it’s recently been brought to my attention that Gracie is five, count ’em, five years old. (Time flies.)  One would think that kind of age would settle her down a bit, but nope…she’s still a live wire.  The kind that burns buildings to the ground.

This dog truly is precious, though, so I hate crating her every time I leave the house.  But when I think about what it would take to really Gracie-proof the house?  Phew.  Who’s got this sort of time and energy?

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that Gracie…


Such fluffy sweetness.  Big, brown eyes that melt the hardest heart.  Soft fur that snuggles up against you when you’re down.

That Gracie.

She’s had a pretty good streak for the last few days.  Ever since Friday’s massive migraine (otherwise known as The Day I Prayed The Earth Would Open And Swallow Me Whole) Gracie has been on her best behavior, staying close and loving on me as only a sweet dog can.

But let’s face it…we all know it has to end sometime.

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SoCS – cabin life

My in-laws have this cabin they built on the family land.  Well, “cabin” is a little misleading and typically adds to the confusion in these stories so we’ll revise that to “a beautiful two-story log home.”  Either way, we call it the cabin and it sits on about 120 acres of land where they grow pine trees.

At any rate, it’s lovely.  BrightSide’s mom once told me she wanted a place where no one ever yelled “Stop slamming the screen door!” and, true to her word, the sharp BANG doesn’t seem to bother her at all.  Even when the kids are visiting and that sound rings out approximately every 2.4 minutes.  She is a stronger woman than I.

Everything’s pretty easygoing there – laid back, nature all around, a look at the trees or visit the river sort of place.  There are only a few things I worry about, all of them (of course) dog related.

We’ll often bring Gracie and Phoebe along when we go to the cabin, which is basically Mecca for the canine crowd.  Endless opportunities to pee along with the smell of the great outdoors…it’s like catnip, and tails wag like metronomes set on high when we’re there.  I can only imagine the wildlife the dogs are tracking as they tromp through the woods, looking for the perfect spot to mark.

So what’s to worry about?  Well, if we take the dogs out off leash there’s is the outside possibility that they’ll bolt.  They’re pretty loyal but if they catch an irresistible scent – deer, squirrel, fox, or even bobcat – it’s even odds that they’ll take off to find the critter (or at least roll in something that smells like it).  You haven’t felt stress until you’ve wondered if your dog has disappeared for good into the woods, then wondered if she’ll go head to head with a bobcat before returning.

The cabin is far from Gracie-proofed, so there’s always a bit of anxiety when we’re inside for long periods of time.  On the upside, the main area is one large open space (family room, kitchen, eating area) so Gracie doesn’t have a lot of privacy for maneuvering.  Then again, she’s pretty speedy when it comes to snatching food off the kitchen counter so we’ve really gotta be on our toes there.

The thing that BrightSide and I truly fear, though, is that Gracie will cause structural damage. Specifically to the back porch.

This is a lovely screened in area, perfect for drinking coffee or sitting and waiting for deer. It looks back on the woods so you never know what will wander by, and it’s our deepest fear that the dogs will be hanging out on the porch while we’re having dinner when something overwhelmingly fabulous wanders by.  A deer taking an evening stroll, a squirrel running up a tree, or birds heading for the feeder…in our heart of hearts, BrightSide and I are waiting to hear the sound of Gracie’s 75 pound body crashing through the screen as she bounds after her newest playmate.

So far so good, though.  Maybe she’ll stick with stealing napkins and granola bars.

SoCS 2

Linda’s weekly Stream of Consciousness prompt is open to one and all.  Click the link to check out its rules and participating blogs.  This week’s prompt was “screen.”