12 Pins that Made Me Laugh Out Loud

Since we all know that laughter is the best medicine, and since every April Fool’s prank I’ve ever pulled has backfired, I thought I’d celebrate today by spreading a little sunshine instead of playing tricks. Here are a dozen pins I’ve spotted on Pinterest that have actually made me laugh out loud. I hope you’ll find them funny, too:

1. Indisputable Findings

I was initially excited to think that the little extra weight I’m carrying might benefit me somehow… then I realized this was written in jest. It’s undoubtedly an accurate observation, but a joke all the same.

2. An Honest Mistake

Those expressions are so priceless! I’d be a little afraid of making such a mistake myself if I had two babies at a time to care for. Don’t know how mothers of twins manage!

3. A Tough Decision

It would be in poor taste to play it, 50-point bonus or not. But he could play “veins” or “noise” instead and still get a double letter score out of it.

4. Old Habits Die Hard

I’ve often been tempted to do the same thing.

5. Thanks for Telling Us

Too late to do anything about it now…

6. The Inimitable Bill Cosby

He’s got that right!

7. Beware of Eye Strain

I’m sure this is what I must look like when I try to thread a needle early in the morning. Fortunately, most of my kids sleep through that spectacle.

8. I Love Nerdy Humor

(H2O is water, of course, but H2O2 is hydrogen peroxide. Nobody would want to drink that.)

9. She Just Couldn’t Help Herself

Gotta love that granny…

10. What Would We Do without Social Media?

Ha! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I never post pictures of coffee cups… or of anything else, for that matter. (That’s right, I can understand all sorts of esoteric math and chemistry jokes, but I can’t figure out how to upload a single picture to the Instagram account I opened two years ago.)

11. I’m Prone to Unrealistic Expectations, Too

Or maybe it’s just a RECEIPT for the pony, which is quietly grazing in her backyard even now… Surprise!

12. Don’t You Say These Things, Too?

And I had to include this one, because Anita Renfroe does such a brilliant job of putting all the things a mother says in a day into rhyming verse, then setting it to music. This song makes me smile every time I hear it.

If you share my same quirky sense of humor, you will find more funnies on my Life Cracks Me Up Pinterest board, so connect with me there! Hope you have a happy April Fools Day. Don’t take any wooden nickels.

Do You Wanna Have a Baby?

I’ve been hearing daily reprises of FROZEN songs ever since the movie hit the theater last fall. My kids love it and have memorized most of the songs by heart and can even play a couple of them on the piano.

My personal favorite is “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?” which I’ve been singing for months — but with homemade lyrics. You can listen below (or scroll down for the words, if you want to sing along):

Do you wanna have a baby?
So cute and cuddly and small
Then we could kiss his little nose
And count his tiny toes
And watch him learn to crawl
A baby is a blessing
From above
You’ll love him, and so will I
Do you wanna have a baby?
I know you’d love to make a baby!
C’mon… let’s try.

Do you wanna have a baby?
So fresh and innocent and new
I bet her skin will be as soft as silk
I’ll feed her mother’s milk
And listen to her coo
I wanna hear her heartbeat
Deep within my womb
Grow stronger as days go by
(Lub dub lub dub lub dub)

Do you wanna have a baby?
With chubby cheeks and downy head
I’ll sing him lullabies and hug him tight
And rock him every night
Then tuck him into bed.
I wanna be a mother
It’s ingrained in me:
What I was meant to do.
Do you wanna have a baby?

Of course, the song makes better sense if you’ve already seen the movie. If you haven't, I’d highly recommend doing so.

Do You Wanna Have a Baby | Frozen parody music video

15 Unexpected Benefits of Big Family Living

The Unexpected Benefits of Big Family Living | Loving Life at HomeI love children and have wanted a bunch of them for as long as I can remember.

Not surprisingly, this fact significantly narrowed the field of potential marriage partners back when I was in college.

“Want to grab a cup of coffee?” an interested classmate might venture.

“That depends,” I’d answer matter-of-factly. “How many kids do you plan to have when you get married?”

Subtlety has never my strong suit.

This line of questioning quickly scared off most would-be suitors, but I didn’t want to risk falling in love with someone who didn’t share my desire for a big family.

So I held out… and my patience eventually paid off. Mr. Right finally showed up a few weeks before graduation.

Not only was he interested (in me!), but he gave the desired response to all of my questions — and didn’t seem intimidated by my asking them.

The rest, as they say, is history: I married him 16 months later, got pregnant two weeks into our honeymoon, and spent the following quarter of a century either pregnant or nursing (or both).

Life as the mother of many has been every bit as blissful as I imagined. Sure, there have been lots of unexpected challenges, but there have also been plenty of unanticipated rewards. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Expanded Options
  2. There are so many beautiful names with wonderful meanings out there, it’s difficult to narrow down the list of favorites and pick only one. Having a big family completely solves that quandary — you can use them all! (Or in our case, almost all — we’re still hoping for a Hannah).

  3. Boredom Busters
  4. There is never a dull moment in a home filled with children, and there is always somebody to play with. Neighbors and schoolmates will come and go, but siblings are friends you can keep for life.

  5. Conversation Starters
  6. Big families invite all sorts of inquiries: “Are all these kids yours?” “Don’t you know what causes that?” “Are you going to have any more?” “Do I need to buy you a TV?” In our experience, most of the people asking such questions aren’t trying to be rude — they’re genuinely curious — so we answer as graciously and amicably as we possibly can. What a great way to meet people!

  7. Group Discounts
  8. A really big family can qualify for discounted group admission rates without even trying. And do we ever get our money’s worth on those annual zoo and museum memberships — especially the ones that offer reciprocal benefits at sister sites!

  9. A Deeper Admiration
  10. The love and affection I felt for my husband as a spouse, great though it was, increased manifold when he became the father of my children. I still enjoy watching him teach and train and interact with our preschoolers, adolescents, teens, and adult children, but there is something so specially endearing about the way he cuddles and cootchy-coos our babies, it makes me glad that for so long we’ve had one in the house to draw that tenderness out of him.

  11. Household Help
  12. A wise man once observed, “Many hands make light labor.” He was right. Of course, many hands make bigger messes to begin with, but when everyone pitches in to help clean up, household chores are knocked out in short order, and kids learn responsibility and other important life skills from an early age.

  13. No PMS
  14. Between pregnancy and breastfeeding, you can literally go for years without having a monthly cycle. I’m not gonna lie — that has really been nice.

  15. Pick Your Sport
  16. Depending on the size of your family, you can field your own basketball team. Or volleyball. Or baseball. Or soccer. The physical exercise does a body good, and the games give ample opportunity to practice good sportsmanship among other players who are held to the same standard.

  17. Social Security
  18. Contrary to what “Zero Population Growth” proponents will tell you, demographic declines are causing deeply troubling problems for societies worldwide, which is why many countries (Germany, Japan, and Austrailia, to name just a few) are now actually paying people to procreate. Big families are simply ahead of the curve.

  19. Youthful Beauty
  20. While pregnancy keeps you looking young (think thick, glossy hair and glowing complexion), the children themselves keep you feeling young. It’s a wonderful thing to see the world through the eyes of a child, so filled with awe and excitement over each new discovery. Their energy, enthusiasm, and laughter are infectious.

  21. One Less Excuse
  22. Being open to pregnancy allows couples to enjoy intimacy as God intended. No frantic search for a misplaced diaphragm. No mad dash to the drugstore when you run out of condoms. No having to compensate for the fact that the Pill completely decimates a woman’s libido. Just blessed spontaneity (although regularly scheduling time for said spontaneity is highly recommended).

  23. No Sour Milk
  24. In a house full of kids (especially teenaged boys), food seldom lasts long enough to go bad. That’s a plus! You can buy in bulk without fear of spoilage. And as an added bonus, dinner conversation never drags with so many different personalities contributing to it.

  25. Built-In Babysitters
  26. Our kids absolutely love babies and are always clamoring to hold our newest addition. As a result, they can all handle infants very comfortably and capably — experience that will come in handy someday when they start having kids of their own. As an added bonus, our big guys have discovered that nothing attracts attention from the opposite sex more effectively than toting around a new baby brother or sister (otherwise known as a “chick magnet”).

  27. Best Foot Forward
  28. Not only do children help refine their parents’ character qualities, but they polish one another, as well. Siblings have a way of knocking off one another’s rough edges, so they’re less likely to make fools of themselves in public. Corny jokes and lame pranks can be tested (then reworked as needed or altogether abandoned) at home, where the stakes are lower and the audience more forgiving.

  29. Empty Nest Postponed
  30. When you are blessed with many children, you don’t have to give up all your favorite things about one stage of life to enjoy all the great things about the next. You’ll still have little ones at home to cuddle even after first ones move away. That’s a happy distraction during what would otherwise be a bittersweet time. Also, studies show that the older a couple is when their last child leaves home, the more likely their marriage will survive the transition.

I could go on (and on and on), but I’ll stop there. What are your favorite things about having children? Do you plan to have any more? Don’t you know what causes that? Do I need to buy you a TV?

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50 Life Lessons I’ve Learned the Hard Way

50 Life Lessons I've Learned the Hard WayKnowledge gained through trial and error may be the hardest earned, but it’s usually the longest remembered.

Last year I posted 7 Life Lessons I’ve Learned from My Husband, so now I’d like to share a few life lessons I’ve learned on my own. Some of these truths were acquired by accident, some due to ignorance, some because of stubbornness, but each and every lesson was learned the hard way.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the mistakes I’ve ever made. These are just the ones that immediately sprang to mind when I sat down to write this post. I’m normally a quick study — once was enough to convince me I didn’t want to make most of these mistakes a second time — but I confess it took a few repetitions before I got the message on a handful of the following maxims.

So I offer you fifty gems of practical wisdom, all gained through firsthand experience. It’s less painful to learn from someone else’s mistakes instead of making your own, so if you want to spare yourself unnecessary anguish, take note:

  1. Don’t say anything in front of a five-year-old that doesn’t bear repeating.
  2. In the eyes of a police officer, a “rolling stop” does not count as a stop at all.
  3. Never use your teeth to pry the cap off a coke bottle.
  4. Listen to your mother. She’s lived longer than you, and she’s not just talking to hear herself speak.
  5. Don’t sit down in a cow pasture without first checking the ground for fresh patties.
  6. Never play Twister with a full bladder.
  7. Pack an extra change of clothes for slumber parties (especially if you’ll be playing Twister while you’re there).
  8. Don’t ignore the engine light. If it comes on while you’re driving, pull over immediately and call your dad.
  9. Don’t circle your answers if the teacher told you to underline them.
  10. It may not seem fair, but you can actually fail a test for not following instructions, even if you get all the answers correct.
  11. If a baked potato has been sitting at room temperature for more than three hours, don’t eat it.
  12. When biking down steep hills, don’t apply the front brakes without simultaneously applying the back. And wear a helmet.
  13. If you’re no good at gymnastics, pick something else to do for the fifth grade talent show.
  14. Fair-skinned redheads should wear sunscreen at the beach. Or a turtleneck. Or both.
  15. When you jump off the high dive, check to make sure your swimsuit is still covering everything it’s supposed to cover before you climb out of the pool.
  16. If all the boys in your sixth grade class are at the deep end watching, stay away from the high dive altogether.
  17. Confirm that your ice maker is plugged in and turned on before calling a repairman.
  18. Don’t take an antihistamine when you’re nursing, if you want to keep nursing.
  19. Don’t teach a three-year-old how to operate the paper shredder.
  20. If your spouse teaches your three-year-old how to operate the paper shredder, lock up all important papers or irreplaceable files immediately and hide the key.
  21. Make sure your three-year-old doesn’t see where you hide it.
  22. Lift with your legs, not with your back.
  23. Never tell a lie, even if you know the truth will get you in trouble.
  24. Going eighteen months without getting pregnant does not mean it’s time to cancel your maternity coverage.
  25. Never store your maxi pads where your toddler can reach them.
  26. Always double-check the bathroom before letting a guest use it (especially if your toddler knows where you store your maxi-pads).
  27. If you find yourself in a turn-only lane, turn.
  28. Don’t hang all the ornaments on the same side of the Christmas tree.
  29. The longer your hair, the more important that you put it up while preparing food. Especially if a gas grill is involved.
  30. Anytime you go anywhere with children, call roll and count heads. Twice.
  31. When pulling forward out of a parking space, don’t turn too early. Let your front tires clear the car parked next to you first.
  32. If your pediatrician’s nurse tells you to leave your baby undressed until the doctor comes in to examine him, go ahead and put his diaper back on while you wait.
  33. Be careful what you pray for.
  34. Don’t assume a person who works at a beauty salon has any haircutting experience. She may normally just shampoo, so check.
  35. Those adorable shoes on the clearance rack are no bargain if they’re two sizes too small. If you don’t want blisters, leave them for someone with smaller feet.
  36. Chain-link fences are no match for a two-year-old determined to get on the other side of it.
  37. Always read the fine print.
  38. Butter toffee peanuts are not your friend, even if they do come packaged in sturdy, square, reusable containers that fit perfectly in the rack on your pantry door. The extra pounds will remain on your thighs much, much longer than the makeshift canisters will stay in your kitchen.
  39. Turn off the electricity before replacing a light switch.
  40. Never feed fried mozzarella to a two-year-old. Or cake donuts.
  41. Don’t jump in the deep end unless you know how to swim.
  42. Before leaving home for church, restaurants, or extended vacations, check your children’s feet for shoes and socks. Just because they’ve piled into the van and claim to be ready to go does not mean they’re not barefoot.
  43. Make sure the dishes in the dishwasher are clean before you put them away.
  44. It is physically impossible to separate two dogs in the act of mating, so don’t bother trying. Your children (and husband) will be much more traumatized by watching your failed attempts to get that stray mutt out of your yard than by observing nature take its course.
  45. After eating anything with poppy seeds or peppercorns, check your teeth before smiling at your date to the drama banquet. Or at his ex-girlfriend who’s seated across the table from you.
  46. Never wash a load of laundry without first checking all pockets for gum. Or Sharpie markers. Or advance purchase movie tickets. Or cell phones.
  47. Don’t let your three-year-old play with your iPhone if your Twitter account isn’t password protected (or if she’s wearing jeans with deep pockets).
  48. Don’t make your husband wait until you’re in the mood. For many women, the mood rarely hits until we’re in the middle of the act, and we’d miss out completely if we made that a prerequisite.
  49. Never use a ballpoint pen to write 38 pages of notes in the dark on the legal pad you keep beside your bed for brainstorms that come in the night. The pen could run out of ink halfway through, and you wouldn’t know it until daybreak. Use a pencil, instead.
  50. Preferably one with a lead.

I could go on… but considering my pencil lead was broken and I didn’t know it, I think I’ll stop there.

What are some lessons you’ve learned the hard way? Please share. I’m in the mood to learn from somebody else’s mistakes, instead of my own.

My Preschooler Put Me in a Padded Cell

Have you ever noticed what a great sense of humor God has? Back in the days when I thought that my home had to look picture perfect for me to entertain guests, my children did their best to make sure it didn’t, and I sometimes wonder whether God didn’t put them up to their antics, just to keep their mama humble.

One such occasion stands out vividly in my memory. My husband and I had both worked overtime cleaning, cooking, and decorating for a Christmas party we were hosting. We finished our preparations with just half an hour to spare and dashed back to our bedroom to get showered and changed before our company arrived.

Meanwhile, our two-year-old sequestered himself in the hall bathroom, whereupon he discovered a stash of maxi-pads stored under the sink. Working quickly but quietly, he unwrapped every last one — no easy task, since I buy in bulk — peeled the adhesive strips off the backs, and stuck them to the cabinet, the floor, the toilet, the tub, and as far up the walls as his little hands could reach.

By the time the doorbell rang about fifteen minutes later, every square inch of the room (from about four feet down) had been padded with super-absorbant softness.

Mercifully, I happened upon the crime scene on my way to answer the front door and was tipped off to the surprise awaiting the first hapless person who wandered in. Sending my husband to greet our guests, I ducked inside and deftly undid the damage. But my toddler was happy to lend a helping hand, and I was smiling as I worked.

What have your little ones done that embarrassed you? How did you react? If you maintain a good sense of humor, you’ll often find that those are the memories that make you laugh hardest in the end.

A Fish without Fins

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m posting a poem I wrote for my husband even before he became my husband. I gave it to him way back in February of 1987, and he still proposed a month later, so he obviously wasn’t marrying me for my poetic devices. I hope you’ll enjoy my little walk down memory lane. You’ll be gratified to know that I’ve omitted several stanzas here, for the sake of brevity.

As a peacock without feathers,

As a bear without its fur,

As a postman without letters,

As a cat that cannot purr,

As a bee without its stinger,

As a fox without its tail,

As a bell without a ringer,

As a ship without a sail,

As a dinner with no courses,

As a bride without a gown,

As a carousel with horses

That cannot move up and down,

As a cow without her udders,

As a lion with no teeth,

As a window without shutters,

As a door without a wreath,

As a Cupid without arrows,

As a Santa with no sleigh,

As a birdhouse without sparrows,

As a needle in the hay,

As a park without a pigeon,

As a fire without heat,

As a car without its engine,

As a heart that cannot beat,

As a duck without its bill,

As a possum with no pouch,

As a rod without a reel,

As a shrink without a couch,

As a clock without its hands,

As a suit that has no pants,

As a half-time without bands,

Or as Paris without France,

As tea without a kettle,

As a hen that cannot lay,

As an athlete with no medal,

As a childhood without play,

As a summer without rain,

As Bo Peep without her flock,

As a track without a train,

Or as Star Trek with no Spock,

As a gaggle with no ganders,

As a sock without a shoe,

So I tell you, Douglas Flanders,

Would I be if not for you!

The #1 Choking Hazard

Do you know what the #1 choking hazard is?Do you know what the #1 choking hazard for children is?

I thought I knew. After all, that has been my husband’s catchphrase for more than two decades now.

“Don’t let the baby get hold of that,” he warns with predictable frequency, “it’s the number one choking hazard.”

I’ve always accepted this statement without question, assuming Doug was citing some statistic he’d learned back in medical school.

However, one of my children recently brought to my attention the fact that their father has conferred this top honor upon a wide and varied array of household items over the years: hot dogs, marbles, grapes, gum, balloons, buttons, quarters, peanuts, and anything made out of Play-doh or Crayola Magic modeling compound.

Essentially, the #1 choking hazard  at our house is whatever small, forgotten trinket or crusty crumb the baby is currently intent on dragging out from under the sofa cushion or scavenging off the kitchen floor.

Just yesterday, I had to pry from her grubby fingers a stale goldfish cracker, a shard of plastic from a broken CD case, the head of a lego mini-figure, and a square-inch scrap of cellophane wrap — all in a span of about three minutes.

So, what is the most common choking culprit? The question begs an answer, so I Googled “#1 choking hazard” to satisfy my curiosity. The answer? “FOOD!” Can you imagine that?

A 2008 study from the American Academy of Pediatrics was a little more helpful. It listed the top-ten offenders:

  1. Hot dogs
  2. Peanuts
  3. Carrots
  4. Boned chicken
  5. Candy
  6. Meat
  7. Popcorn
  8. Fish with bones
  9. Sunflower seeds
  10. Apples

Sunflower seeds? Really?

Conspicuously absent from this list are any of the items our own children actually have choked on during their short lives, and I mean fully-obstructed, turning-blue, Heimlich-remediated choking. Had anyone warned us of the dangerous potential of these items , we’d have been much more careful.

So as a public service announcement, I want to advise my readers to exercise extreme caution when offering their children donut holes. Or fried mozzarella. Or tiny toy helicopters with detachable propellers. After all, that’s the #1 choking hazard. At our house. For now.