Human Highlights: Holy Halitosis

Human Highlights is a Sunday tradition at Commode To Joy. It’s a friendly reminder to forgive your human moments, celebrate the highlights, and enjoy life’s little lovelies in the interim.


Human Moment: Tuesday Morning – Mark and Miller were awake and in the living room when I emerged from the bedroom like a bear from hibernation. I’m not a morning person.

Normally, I head straight for the coffee. Instead, I went to the couch to sit next to Miller.

“Good morning,” I said while giving him a squeeze.

“Mommy, go away!”

“Why buddy?”

“Uhhhh!” he said running to the furthest chair from the couch. “Mommy, you stink!”

“I do not!” I protested.

“Yes you do!”

I couldn’t figure it out. I mean, I hadn’t farted or anything. And then it dawned on me. My breath. Zero parts of me is a morning person, breath included. For a long time I’ve been thankful that Mark has a poor sense of smell. Apparently the same can’t be said for Miller. To confirm my suspicions, I walked over to the chair.

“Miller, I think it’s my breath. Smell,” I said before blowing dead dragon straight in his face.

“MOOOOOM!!! Go Away You Stink!!!”

I got some sort of stinkerish satisfaction (no pun intended, I swear) from breathing in his face. It’s like a second cousin to dutch-ovening someone.

By the way, he’s sent me away from him two other times this week. Once was completely unfounded; he’d just woken from his nap and accused me of just waking up too. I hadn’t, and my breath was *normal, thank you very much.

Also, this morning I was the first awake. When Miller started stirring, I went into his room to say good morning. He asked me to lie next to him, and then cautiously added, “But mommy, keep your mouth closed so you don’t breathe on me.”


Highlight: It’s not very often I have a pic of my highlight. This week I do.

Tuesday evening, the three of us went to the park. We were the only ones there (what?! how?), the weather was perfect – mid 70s and still – and the sunset was on point. Afterwords we stopped by Dairy Queen and took hot fudge sundaes to my mom’s house. If I could script my idyllic summer evening, this is it.


The eastern sky, as if mirroring the west bound sun.


Life’s Little Lovelies: Miller and I went outside this morning while Mark slept. He requested that I draw all of his vehicles and encouraged me every step of the way. Considering I haven’t taken an art class since 1998, I think I did okay. (Just pay the most attention to Thomas.)

Chalk Vehicles

Sidewalk chalk = instajoy for me.

What are your Human Highlights from the week?

*Technically, halitosis refers to chronic bad breath, not just the morning stink. For the record, I don’t have halitosis…but it made for a catchy blog title, so I went with it.

Human Highlights: Pantless, Slimy, Golf

Human Highlights is a Sunday tradition at Commode To Joy. It’s a friendly reminder to forgive your human moments, celebrate the highlights, and enjoy life’s little lovelies in the interim.


Human Moment: We have a lot of windows at our house. So many that I resigned to wearing pants regularly, because you never know who might turn up when.

Earlier in the week, it was late enough in Miller’s nap that before I started the shower I ran upstairs to check the monitor…with my pants around my ankles and a full moon in back.

At the top of the stairs I have a clear shot of the front door. As I cleared the landing, I noted two things simultaneously: A truck was parked in our drive, and a man was getting out of it.

I squatted mid stride and hiked up my britches. When I stood, the man spotted me and waved.

I’m telling myself that he was still getting out of his truck and looking elsewhere when I emerged from the bedroom. I’m telling myself that I was moving quickly and a bit of a blur. I’m telling myself that even if he was looking the island was blocking the “view”.

Right? Right?!


Highlight: Miller and I saw a commercial for Elmer’s glue slime. He wanted to make it, so I bought the ingredients. He had more fun counting and mixing ingredients; I had more fun playing with it.


If you’re interested, here’s the recipe for a single batch:

  • 4oz Elmer’s Glue (white not clear)
  • add 1-1/2 tsp baking soda, stir
  • add food coloring (and/or glitter), stir
  • add 1TBSP contact lens solution, stir


Life’s Little Lovelies: Couples Golf 2017 has commenced. Thanks to high handicaps and a few surprise clutch shots, we came in second place.

Shoutout to Regan for showing up – on her due date! – and playing all nine holes. Turns out golfing doesn’t induce labor.

Couples Golf

Hawaiian Night

What are your Human Highlights from the week?

Human Highlights: Fears & Breakthroughs

Human Highlights is a Sunday tradition at Commode To Joy. It’s a friendly reminder to forgive your human moments, celebrate the highlights, and enjoy life’s little lovelies in the interim.


Human Moment: Finishing a walk around the area near our hotel in St. Louis, I cross the street. A man, somewhere around my age, walks at a much slower pace than the norm, headed in the same direction as me.

He’s big – tall and bulky – wearing loose clothing with his hood up hiding most of his face. His brown beard contrasts against his pale skin, his hands shoved into his pants pockets, pockets that are big enough to conceal…

Is he armed?

Is he going to attack me?

Wracking my brain for self-defense tips, I recall nothing.

Is he eyeing me through the building’s reflective glass?

Can he tell that I’m eyeing him?

My brisk pace quickly narrows the distance between us. I pause and consider walking back the way I came just in case. Back to where a group of four people, three adults with a baby in a stroller, were walking. But they’re already gone. It’s just me and this bulk of a man who could easily overpower me.

I’m an easy target – small statured female, walking alone, with no one else in sight. I take a deep breath and continue my initial path back to the hotel.

I pass him trying to appear casual, face forward, book in one hand, the other in my pocket.

Can he sense my unease, my fear?

Once past him, I keep my ears alert to any sudden movement behind me, but his steps remain languid. The distance between us grows as the hotel’s entrance comes into view.

He’s safe after all, but it’s not until I’m back in the hotel that I feel safe.

The truth is, any time I’m alone in public, I fear being attacked. I’ve been afraid of it ever since I was a little girl and first learned the word “rape”. Unlike the Boogie Man, I knew that attackers were real (which gave me one more thing to check for under my bed).

Surely I’m not alone in this. Are other women haunted by this fear? Constantly walking briskly, glancing over your shoulder and through reflective glass, keeping eyes and ears alert, looking for witnesses, just one other person, who might come to the rescue?

Unfortunately, I’m guessing the answer is yes. And while I wish fear of attack wasn’t a part of the human experience, it is.

Normally, my Human Moments are lighthearted – today I was going to write about typos! – then this happened. It’s a serious topic, and one that’s worth discussion.


Highlight: I (finally!) had a breakthrough with my blog this week. Finally! I’ve been wondering for sometime why traffic has been low on my site. Don’t even think about suggesting it’s because my posts aren’t that good – I’ll have to disagree with you.

Anyway, I realized this week that the silly privacy setting for my blog was on “Private” instead of “Public”. Earth to Jamie!!! For my fellow WordPress peeps out there, if you haven’t already made this switch, do.

My last post gained more likes and followers than any other I’ve written, and it doesn’t come close to having the highest views. By changing my site to Public, it appeared in the WordPress reader, and my gosh people actually clicked on it!

I know I know, this doesn’t apply to the majority of folks reading this post (and I thank you for reading!) But hey, this is about celebrating the Highlights, and this is a huge one for me.


Life’s Little Lovelies: Ferris Wheel Faces


City Museum – St. Louis, MO

What are your Human Highlights from the week?

Skunk or Skunk Weed: “What’s That Smell?!”

Skunks. They appear in many a children’s book and television show.

“Mommy, what does a skunk smell like?” Miller asked a few weeks ago during an episode of Paw Patrol featuring a skunk.

“Stinky.” I answered. “The next time we’re in the car and I smell one, I’ll point it out to you.”

One week later…

We were in Milwaukee, in a parking lot after playing at a park. My friend Molly asked, “Do you smell that?”

“Yep,” I answered.

Weed. Pot. Reefer. Cannabis. Marijuana. Mary Jane. Wacky Tobaccy. The Ganja.
Take your pick.

The stink intensified as we walked to our cars.

“Mommy, what’s that smell?” Miller asked with a stank face.


“That’s skunk Miller. That’s what a skunk smells like.”

“Mommy, that’s terrible!”

His eyes were watering from the stench by the time we reached the car. “Mommy, I want to get in,” he pleaded.

Turns out a group of teenagers was hotboxing two parking spots down from us.

Turns out Miller doesn’t like the smell of skunk. Or weed for that matter.

That’s right folks, in one swift decision I taught the smell of a skunk and turned him off from weed. Let’s hope he remembers this when he’s in college.

In the meantime, I’m ready for that Mom of the Year award.

One week later…


Miller picked out this Mother’s Day card for me.

Yes, that’s a skunk.
Yes, I bought it for myself.
Yes, he colored inside of it for me.

And yes, I accept it as my Mom of the Year award.

Human Highlights: Mom Moments

Human Highlights is a Sunday tradition at Commode To Joy. It’s a friendly reminder to forgive your human moments, celebrate the highlights, and enjoy life’s little lovelies in the interim.

Because it’s Mother’s Day (and because this is my blog, which means I make the rules), I’m changing it up today. Instead of featuring my Human Moment, Highlight, and a Little Lovely from the week, I’m sharing a Mom Fail, Mom Win, and Mom Moment.


Mom Fail: I had Miller in the car driving to the Athletic Club to teach my Piyo class. We were halfway there sitting at a red light when Miller said, “Mommy, you didn’t buckle me in!”

We’ve hit the point where Miller gets himself into his carseat and then Mark or I fasten the straps. Thursday, Miller loaded himself in while I put the bags in the front seat, closed the doors, and started the car.

I remember my brother-in-law recounting a similar story several years ago when he noticed his middle child, who was around 4 at the time, walking around the van as he drove. I’m thinking this forgetfulness is some sort of (unintentional) rite of parental passage.

“Miller, just stay in your seat, okay?”

“Okay mommy.”

It’s true that I was concerned for his safety and was on high alert for any sideswipers for the short drive that remained. I was equally concerned for the fact the we were about to go right by the police station. I imagined Miller, with his newfound freedom, climbing up to the front seat with me.

Thankfully, he listened and stayed put.
Thankfully, no idiotic drivers or accidents.
Thankfully, no suspecting police officers or tickets.

Welcome to humanhood. Welcome to parenthood. Welcome to motherhood.


Mom Win: Since becoming a mom, I’ve done my best to keep an identity separate from “Miller’s Mom”. (By the way, any time I hear someone say “Miller’s Mom”, I automatically start singing to the tune of “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountain of Wayne – “Miller’s Mom has got it going on…”)

Anyway, Friday, while Miller was napping, I had this big, rushing, revelatory sense of calm. In that moment, all I wanted was to be Miller’s Mom. So once he woke up, that’s exactly what I did.

When he wanted to run through the garden hose, I sat in a lawn chair and watched (rather than pulling weeds, sweeping the garage floor, vacuuming the car, checking my phone, etc…)

We walked up the hill and searched for a shady spot where we could, as he suggested, “talk about things”. At the first shady spot, we talked about cars. At the second shady spot, we talked about trees. At the third shady spot, a neighbor walked outside with her little girl – two of Miller’s most favorite people – so we went over and visited.

Most mom wins are stories of saving your child from hurting themselves, pulling off a fabulous party, getting your kid(s) to eat vegetables etc… A mom win (my definition) is any time you feel like you’re winning as a mom. And Friday? I won big.


Mom Moment: Every time we leave the Athletic Club, Miller likes to “creep”, which means we stop by two fans to see if both will be on, off, or one on and one off; he then picks up broken pieces of asphalt and puts them on the slab of concrete. Creeping complete.

“Mom, let’s creep!” he’ll say as we exit the building. (I can’t figure out why he calls it this or where he came up with the term.)

Unless it’s raining, I oblige, because there’s no rush. Because he loves it. Because some day he won’t want to “creep” anymore. And because of all those reasons, it’s a mom moment that I’m able to soak up.


Catching the breeze off of both fans.


To the moms, step-moms, and everyone who fills in as a mom – our spouses, siblings, parents, grandparents, and friends. To the people out there who make us better moms including non-moms and babysitters. To the moms who have lost their mothers but not the lessons learned. To the moms who have lost children but will never lose their title.

Happy Mother’s Day