"I found myself laughing aloud to many of the stories and thinking I can relate to that." - Mother of 4
"New York author Christina Scalise has got to have one of the finest tuned senses of humor around!" - Grady Harp, Top Amazon Reviewer
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Common Things Heard in Our Home
Chapter 2:Letters to Our Children
To Our Son - To Our Daughter
Chapter 3: Creative Parenting
Drink Water - Velcro Child - Spray Bottle and Fly Swatter Discipline - How to Spot a Scumbag - Don't Forget to Use Sunblock - Your Underwear is Showing - Mom Has Eyes in the Back of Her Head? - Mom Can See Through the Table? - There Are Starving Children All Over the World - Blood or Fire - Potty Training - Creative Camping Toilets
Chapter 4: Those Cute and Crazy Kids!
So Blessed - Sleeping Babies - Baby Powder is Awesome! - Best Hiding Place Ever! - Halloween Hay Ride - I'm Gonna Get Ice-Cream!
Chapter 5: Parents Are a Little Crazy Too!
Concert Time - OMG! Another Concert - Apple Lollipops - A Normal Mom - It's Not OCD, It's CDO! - Messing With Mom
Chapter 6: Money Doesn't Grow on Trees
Rest Stop Rip Off - The Ten Year Plan for Vehicles
Chapter 7: Don't Tell Your Mother
Playing Poker With the Guys - Pop's Driving Now - Driving Lessons - Another Driving Lesson - Restaurant Butter Is Free?
Chapter 8: It's All About the Food
Italian Cooking - The Art of Persuasion - Apple - Baby Lettuce - It's a Lemon - You Still Have Room for One More Bite
Chapter 9: Holidays
What Kind of Eggs Do You Use? - The Bloody Easter Egg Hunt - The Night Before Christmas - Toilet Paper? - The Gift of Love - Satan for Christmas? - It's Tradition
Chapter 10: Ouch!
Install New Carpet - A New Basketball Hoop - Sunburn and a Swollen Eye - How Does That Work? - You Should Have - Changed the Toilet Paper Roll - Light the Smoker - Waxing the Stairs - Ice Hill Sledding - Hot Peppers Are So Good! - Walk the Dogs - Let's Build a Fort - The Hazards of Feeding Chickens - I Broke My A-s-s! - A Concussion and a Broken Foot
Chapter 11: Pets
Wallace - End of Discussion - Don't Mess With the Bird - Bobber - Squirrel! - A Penny Saved - Adopting Ava - Screen Door Greeting
Chapter 12: Simple Tasks vs. Everyday Life
I Only Wanted a New Pair of Boots - The Treadmill
Chapter 13: Laundry
The Reject Pile - Load of Shame - Check Your Pockets - Still Good - How to Save an iPod - Pick up Your Clothes; Last Warning!
Chapter 14: Oops and Ewwws!
In a Meeting - Lunch Video - Ice-tea and Green Olives - The Projectile Vomit Curse - It's Hover or Cover - One Sick Kid
About the Author
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Are We Normal?
Funny, True Stories from an Everyday Family
Do all moms really have X-ray vision and eyes in the back of their heads? Author Christina Scalise's kids think so. And the New York author isn't above using her maternal superpowers to deal with the challenges of childrearing. How else could she accomplish such seemingly impossible feats as getting three kids to try brussels sprouts for the first time?
Scalise may not actually be more powerful than a locomotive, but she's able to get her family to hang the toilet paper in the "over" position - most of the time, anyway. And she may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but if her kids accidentally leave their dirty clothes on the floor, they know their wayward apparel could likely end up dangling from the nearby treetops, faster than a speeding bullet.
"Life is way too short," says Scalise, "so try to enjoy every minute of it with a sense of humor!"
With that kind of outlook on life's crazy moments, Scalise and her family have often been left asking themselves one recurring question, which became the title of her new book: "Are We Normal?"
Scalise shares some key parenting lessons learned the hard way, such as what happens when a preschooler finds himself alone with a VCR, a broomstick, and a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich.
"I originally started writing this book as a journal of stories for my kids to read when they were older and had children of their own - a few funny stories they could tell our future grandchildren about," she says. "Then it grew from there, with one story after another. After a while I figured, 'Why not share our stories with the rest of the world? I'm sure most people can relate to at least one or more of these stories. And if not - well, I hope readers at least get a good laugh out of them."
Let me start by asking a question. Do you consider yourself to be normal? What is normal, anyway? The dictionary defines normal as “the usual, regular, common, typical, average, standard, expected, and ordinary.”
These words are definitely not ones I’d use to describe my family. With all the crazy things we’ve done and have had happen to us over the years, we were often left asking the same question: “Are we normal?”
I originally started writing this book as a journal of stories for my kids to read when they were older and had children of their own—a few funny stories they could tell our future grandchildren about. Then it grew from there, with one story after another. Boy, is our family full of them.
After a while, I figured—why not share our stories with the rest of the world? I’m sure most people can relate to at least one or more of these stories. And if not… well… I hope readers at least get a good laugh out of them.
As with every family, we’ve dealt with our share of struggles. The way we learned to deal with them was with as much humor as possible. Some days, that was the only thing getting us through it all. Other days—well, what can I say? That’s just how we are.
Although these stories have all been approved by the family members involved, I don’t mention any of the names of our children. This is simply for their privacy and protection. Regarding some of the stories contained in this book, it also protects their sense of pride.
We’re also a family who uses the occasional swear word, so you may see a little of that sprinkled in this book as well. As parents with young children, we tried our best not to swear in front of them. When they were young, we never allowed them to swear. But as they grew older and became young adults, we have relaxed a bit in that area. My intention here isn’t to offend anyone with this swearing; I’m only writing about the events as they occurred. So, to those people who think we’re all going to hell because we use the occasional swear word, don’t worry—we know people there.
I hope readers enjoy this book. If anyone would like to share a story of their own, please visit our website, www.AreWeNormal.com or send an email with the story to AreWeNormal@yahoo.com. While there, sign up for our newsletter to keep updated on future publications.
And remember... life is way too short, so try to enjoy every minute of it with a sense of humor!
"Funny? Yes. True? Yes. Normal? No. I find them extraordinary." - Gina Briganti
"A funny read that is entertaining as it is realistic, one sure to make any parent smile." - Dennis Waller
Chapter Two - Letters to Our Children
The high school our two oldest children attended had a special assignment during their senior year. The parents were supposed to write each child a letter of advice for the future.
The first one, written to our son, had to be from one parent, so I wrote that one. The second one, written to our daughter, years later, was from both of us, and was slightly similar to the one I wrote for our son, but had a bit of a gender twist to it.
We still haven’t written the one for our other son, as he has yet to reach that particular milestone. I may include that one in a future book.
These letters were both written with a sense of humor intended. And no, I don’t truly believe that all men are for decoration only and cannot multi-task… most of the time. and yes, my children know that—I think.
According to our daughter, all the other letters that were read aloud in class that day, written by the other parents, included phrases like:
“I’m so proud of you, honey.”
“You’ll do great things in life.”
“We love you so much.”
Ours were a bit different:
To our Son,
Here are some motherly/womanly words of advice that you should keep in mind while on your journey through life. I give you these because I love you, and I know you’re a man, and will need to be reminded of these things over and over again, so don’t throw this away, but instead, read it every morning before you come in contact with any women.
Don’t piss off your mother
Don’t piss off your girlfriend/wife.
Don’t piss off your grandmother.
Don’t piss off any woman you’ll continue to have contact with.
Always remember—we’re women, and we know how to get even.
Always put the toilet seat down—and for the love of God—get the pee in the toilet, not on the outside! No woman appreciates sitting in pee just before falling into a cold bowl of water at 3:00 in the morning.
Never let the gas tank get below a quarter of a tank and then give it to a woman. If we run out of gas, you’ll never, ever, ever hear the end of it!
Learn how to do your own banking, and always have enough cash on you.
Don’t offer to go shopping with a woman and then disappear at the first sign of hunting equipment.
Pick up your dirty clothes and put them in the hamper. If you live with a woman and notice your dirty clothes have been sitting out for more than two days—it’s a test, and you’ve already failed. Who am I kidding? You’re a man—you won’t notice. Just be aware that, after two days of not picking up after yourself, you’ll be punished! And remember—that rule applies to everything, not just clothes.
Don’t ever attempt to do laundry—men are color blind and don’t know how to fold. It’s just part of your genetics. Either get a maid, or have your girlfriend/wife do it while you attempt to cook her dinner.
When you’re in an argument with a woman, always say… “I know, I screwed up, and I’m sorry.” It doesn’t matter if you think you’re right or not. Most often, you won’t be, and saying anything else will just prolong your suffering.
Always give hugs and kisses and say “I love you.” If not, you’ll be seeing some mood swings that you’re going to want to blame on PMS—not a good idea.
Don’t ever blame anything on PMS. That’ll only get you hurt physically.
Now, if you have actually read every word of all of this, then I guess I’ve done a pretty good job with you. If not, then that was just your male genetics kicking in. You men tend to blank out whenever a woman talks, and you’ll probably need to start over again and read the whole thing.
I tell you all of this because I’m your mother and I love you very much, and if I can just keep one toilet seat in the world clean and down, then I can die a happy woman.
Always remember to keep your sense of humor and find the good in everything, and you’ll do just fine.
To our Daughter,
Well, you're getting ready for that next big step in life, so here are some words of wisdom that you should keep in mind while on your journey through life....................................(continued)
Chapter Eleven - Pets
Our oldest cat, Bobber, is now the one in charge… at least he thinks he is, anyway. We adopted him from our local animal shelter back in 2004.
What a great companion for our child. He’s a white cat with a few spots of orange on him. He was around three years old when we adopted him.
We chose the name Bobber for him because the child who is the proud owner of this cat loves to fish, and after watching this cat go from being still for hours to suddenly jumping up and down and darting all over the place, that name seemed very appropriate.
One of our other children thought it would be funny to shorten that name a bit, and now calls him Boob, so now he answers to that name as well.
He’s a playful cat and has a great personality, but also has a bit of an attitude. He just loves to get in trouble and hear people yelling his name. He’s done so many different, crazy things that he should have his own chapter in this book. On any given day in our home, his name is being yelled at least once or twice throughout the day, in phrases like:
“Bobber! Get out of there!”
“Bobber! Stop playing in the dog’s water!”
“Bobber! Get off the counter!”
“Bobber! Leave the poor dog alone!”
“Bobber! Damn it! Somebody get me the squirt bottle!”
“Where’s that cat now?”
He’s always getting into trouble, or at the very least, he’s in the way, as he has to be a part of everything everyone is doing at all times. He’s not an ordinary cat. He’s our Bobber, our Boob, and he’s definitely the one in charge.
Soon after we adopted him......................(continued)
Chapter Fourteen - Oops and Ewwws!
Iced Tea and Green Olives
One night, after having just sat down to relax a bit before bed, I heard my son (around twelve years old at the time) in the kitchen, grabbing yet another late-night snack. He’d gathered up an extra-large glass of iced tea and a small bowl of green olives to take downstairs to his room. This was one of his favorite snacks, and since a late-night raid on the kitchen was a normal occurrence in our house with our growing kids, I wasn’t paying much attention to what he was doing.
As he started his descent down the stairway, I suddenly heard him yell. Then I heard a loud crash, a splash, and a glass tumbling down the stairs. I jumped up to see what had happened. Evidently, he’d tripped over the toy soldiers he’d been playing with on the stairs earlier that day. He’d fallen and spilled both the bowl of olives and the iced tea. They were everywhere.
I just had to laugh. He was looking up at me with a look of disbelief and was absolutely covered in iced tea and olives. Thankfully, he wasn’t hurt, but what a sticky mess. It was all over the place—on the stairs, on the rug at the top of the stairs, on the banister, the walls, and all over him as well.
It looked like the toy soldiers had been fighting him off, using olives and iced tea, and our son had totally lost the battle.
The only question I had was, “Why is it that you wait until I’m finally sitting down to relax for the night to make the biggest mess possible?”
His response was a look of confusion, mixed with a little bit of disgust. I think he was expecting me to ask, “Are you okay?”
"So So Good. This is Family." - Jay Mittener
"This is a great sunny afternoon read or a great gift for a family member too." - Nicholas Novak
Author, Christina Scalise