Oct 082009

The Truth of the Thing

You and I stand side by side in the kitchen,

Spreading mustard on this bread,

Peanut butter on that bread,

Pouring a million little cups of water.

The kids wait loudly at the table.

You start to serve too soon,

So I grab a sandwich and bite it.

Then put it back on the plate for delivery.

We all sit down, say grace.

Thank you God, for this family, for this beautiful day,

help us be patient with each other.

Ten hands unfold and dig in.

You say to me,

Why do you always take a bite

before we sit down?

I cock my head in mock confusion.

I don’t know, I say.

But I do know.

I take a bite first because

All sandwiches are not created equal,

Even when one tries, a little, to make them so.

One has softer bead,

More meat, crisper lettuce,

A tomato slice of a more perfect thickness and diameter

Than the other.

And husband, I love you and I love these kids.

But I also love a good sandwich.

And that’s why I bite before delivery.

I bite the best one.

So nobody else at this table

Accidentally gets it.

Oh, you say.

Then why do you sometimes bite them all?

Let’s just eat, I say.

Dec 082009

Monkees…I’m back. Wow, I missed you even more than I imagined I would. I was so excited to write to you again this morning that I woke up at three and couldn’t fall back asleep. Which is fine except that by the time my kids wake up at 7, waddle downstairs, and ask for breakfast, I’ll have to tell them that mommy’s too tired because it’s been a really long day. And they’ll look confused and hungry, as usual. Consistency is important in parenting.

Anyway, I wrote many drafts of this post which explained how thankful I am to the guest writers for their brave and beautiful posts and how humbling all of the comments about me and Momastery were…but then I remembered another sign Bubba posted on our wall at home. It said “Don’t be humble. You’re not that great.” I think that pretty much sums it up. So… moving right along.

Friends, I’d love to tell you about the book proposal, but I can’t, because I’m too worried about Lou.

I’ve never met Lou. I’ve never even emailed Lou. But I really like Lou. I wish I could put Lou in my purse and carry her around everywhere with me. Like so many of you, Lou is always offering beautiful and loving blog comments and everybody needs some of those in real life. Also, if Lou were in my purse, every time I lost it I could yell “OH LOOOOUUUUUU… WHERE AAAAARE YOU?” And she could yell back “WE’RE OVER HERE G!! UNDER THE LAUNDRY PILE! And that would be so fun. Anyway, I don’t think this is actually going to happen. But the point is that I really want to make Lou happy. And Lou once suggested that it’s important to lighten things up periodically on Momastery because who wants to be part of a Revolution if the Revolutionaries aren’t constantly laughing? Nobody fun.

I think Lou is very wise. So Lou, today I’m gonna take us back to our Momastery roots. We’re gonna keep it real, Lou. How about some GOOD OLD KITCHEN HUMOR to give ourselves some breathing space?

You Monkees know Caren, right? She’s my cousin who has posted so honestly and bravely here about losing her dad, my Uncle Frank. Caren has a whole lot of amazing family left on this side, though. She has a sassy, hilarious, stunning sister named Ali and a gentle giant of a brother named Frank. Caren has a loving husband named Todd and a Gap baby with jet black hair and sky blue eyes named Amelia.

And Caren’s got a mother of a mother named JUDY. Aunt Judy to you.

I’m not sure how to describe Aunt Judy. Let’s put it this way. If Judy likes you, you’ve got it MADE. If she doesn’t like you…you’d best be ON YOUR WAY. Quickly. Because Judy is gonna tell you how she feels. And you’re gonna listen. And one more thing. If you’re hungry…Judy’s not your best bet. Judy makes me look a bit like Rachael Ray. We have this gene in my family which causes us not to be able to cook or follow simple directions. Also to be completely unable to think anything through in a practical manner. I come by all of that genetically. Here’s proof.

One day, when Caren was a child, Judy decided to “make a cake.” We have no idea what inspired her. Before this day Judy had never even “made a sandwich.” Before this day Judy had never even MADE A PURCHASE AT THE GROCERY STORE. Those of you new to Momastery will be tempted to assume that I am exaggerating. I assure you that I am not. Anyway, for whatever reason, on this day, Judy was determined. Caren, who was ten years old, was to be her assistant. Poor Caren was terrified and horrified and tried her hardest to remember all of her emergency numbers and the locations of the family first aid kits.

Now please understand that the cake Judy was determined to bake was a Jello No Bake cake. So really, the “baking” just meant pouring and stirring.

Judy poured the milk and the jello powder into the crust and then picked up the box to read the next direction. She said the following to Caren:

“Step Three. Cover and tape the cake on the counter.”

Judy looked down at Caren’s impossibly huge brown eyes which were twitching in anticipation of impending doom.

“Well, why are you just standing there? Go FIND SOME TAPE!”

Caren scurried away and ransacked the house. No tape.

Fearfully, she returned to Judy and said “Mommy, I can’t find any tape.”

And Judy said,“WELL. THEN. Go to Gramma’s house and get some tape from her! HOW THE HECK IS ANYBODY SUPPOSED TO BAKE AROUND HERE WITH NO TAPE? GO!” Also, Judy never says heck.

So Caren ran down the street, busted into my grandma’s house and breathlessly requested tape. My grandma asked her why she needed tape. Caren said “We’re trying to make a cake!” And my grandma said “Oh. All right then, it’s in the office.” Because, you see, my grandmother has never made a cake in her life either and wouldn’t have the slightest idea that tape was an unusual ingredient.

So Caren grabbed the masking tape, ran all the way home, busted through the door and yelled to her mom “Mommy , I got the tape!” Caren was quite proud to have made such a huge contribution to the cake baking.

So Judy called her over to the counter and told her to start taping. Judy and Caren used an entire roll of masking tape securing that cake to the counter. When it was completely covered and secured beyond a shadow of a doubt, Judy picked up the box and read to Caren:

“Step Four: Place cake in freezer.”

Judy and Caren stared at the cake that they had just spent 15 minutes taping to the counter.

Then Judy started using some VERY OFF COLLAR language that I can’t really post here. Caren remembers the tirade as including lots of loud requests for intersession from Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

At this point Caren picked up the cake directions with trembling hands, in hopes of finding a clue.

After a moment and several silent prayers Caren said in a teeny weeny voice:

“Mommy? Step three says cover and TAP the cake on the counter.”

It’s true. Every word.

Do you understand me a little better now?

Dec 162009

Before I get started with today’s post – I’d like to review what happened here yesterday.

Yesterday, our Monkee sister, Heather, was feeling a bit overserved with blessings. Heather had just found out that she was pregnant with twins and that her husband needed the family to move real quick to Australia. This is a big day, folks. Heather was feeling overwhelmed and afraid, and she was brave enough to share those feelings with you all on Momastery. Your outpouring of support and love and Bon Jovi lyrics meant so much to Heather that she wrote your comments on 3×5 cards and scattered them around her house. And she went to bed last night feeling much more hopeful than she did yesterday morning. Because of you.


I’m thrilled and delighted. Yaaaay for us. How you doin’ today, Heather?

Now on to the business of the day.

Today I’d like to offer you a tour of the Melton Christmas Picture Gallery.

Most of the pictures I present here seem to show a well adjusted, peaceful and joyful family.

Pictures can be deceiving, thank God.

I am NOT a fan of picture day. Family picture day brings out the absolute worst in me. My kids know how desperate I am for just one good picture, to show the world what a happy dang family we are…so they sabotage the shoot. When I accuse them of being saboteurs, Craig calls me melodramatic but I KNOW they ruin the pictures on purpose. So whenever you see me smiling in a family picture, please know that behind the smile I am either bribing or threatening. That is all picture day is, one long day of alternating bribes and threats. And lots of sweating, also. My sweet husband, who is the calmest person I know, shakes noticeably before family photo shoots and begs, begs, BEGS me to stay calm. After photo shoots he drinks a lot of beer.

So now that you have the background, I present:




Tish, Chase and family


Tish and Chase


I decided to keep it real for the 2008 family photo shoot. I told Craig that I had a great idea for a card, and this idea meant that our kids could be as cranky as they wanted to be during our shoot. The crankier, the better. We could all just be ourselves. No bribing, threatening, or sweating. And so of course, for the first time ever, they all smiled like cherubs.

Like I said, they are MASTER SABATUERS. Clearly, this picture wasn’t going to work for me. I had a VISION and I needed cranky kids to bring that vision to fruition. So after this photo was taken… I went to the kitchen, found three lollipops, and gave them to the children. After they had taken a couple good licks, I snatched the lollipops away and yelled “SHOOT” to the photographer, who glared at me with shock and horror. Yes, I did. And it was worth it, because we got this:

Perfect. I sent this out to our friends and family with the caption: “ALL IS CALM…ALL IS BRIGHT.Peace and Joy, The Meltons



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