The Dolly Mama

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Pretty In Pink makes you Think…. November 2, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — dollchandler @ 3:27 pm

After seeing the Psychedelic Furs this weekend, it got me feeling a bit nostalgic.  Song after song made me think of a specific feeling or memory…or movie scene.  Remember how much of our preteen and teenage years were spent in the 80s watching Molly, Anthony, Judd and Matthew navigate semi-successfully through the trials of teenagedome? And all of them were punctuated by a great pop-punk soundtrack. Although these movies were entertaining, they were also a sorta- realistic guide through puberty.  They dealt with issues like teenage insecurity, awkward social situations, pressure and expectations, young crushes and teenage relationships (with boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, parents and authority figures).  We could all relate to at least one character in The Breakfast Club, couldn’t we?

It also got me thinking about my kids as they are blossoming into adolescence.  What is going to be their Sixteen Candles or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?  Looking through the Disney channel and whats playing in the theaters now, its obvious this generation of teens are expected to “grow up” a little faster and their value is somewhat based on superficiality.  No matter the generation, there will always be the strive for acceptance as a teenager, but I feel like now-a-days there is more pressure on that age group to be “cool” or good-looking or “normal” to be accepted.  Movies today are filled with beautiful young people, and are putting a false sense of importance to the physical part of young relationships instead of the emotional side of being in a relationship with another person.  (Of course, I know that not every movie is like that and there are some positive movies and young role models our there, so Im not meaning to bash the whole entertainment industry!).  But looking back at movies like Pretty In Pink, Sixteen Candles, Some Kind of Wonderful or even Weird Science…these movies focused on uniqueness, individuality, by-passing social stereotypes and embracing who you are no matter what you looked like, dressed like or hung around with.  It made us all feel like we could be important, liked and popular for being you.  AND these movies were box office hits and created a whole set of young stars who were all unique and imperfect in their own perfect ways.

So, here’s to you John Hughes for creating a whole generation of unique, confident, individual young people who weren’t afraid to be different or to develop relationships with kids who were different than them.


What Did You Just Say? September 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — dollchandler @ 3:28 pm
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I was sitting outside flipping through a magazine while my youngest was about ten-feet behind me playing pretend with some of his toys. He had a fantastic city erected complete with roads, construction sites and even giant monsters who were attempting to take over this otherwise peaceful metropolis. As the monster was attacking, I hear from behind me, in the most precious little voice you’ve ever heard, these words… “Ooohhh, shit.”

I turned and probably said the same thing every parent says when they hear such an “adult” word come out of their naive, perfect, innocent young child’s mouth, “What did you just say?” We always ask that, but we know what they said, so why do we give them the opportunity to say it again? We ask as if we didn’t really hear what we know we heard. But like it or not, it happened. Your child just said their first cuss word.

Hey, I thought I was doing pretty good. Griffin made it four curse-word-free years. I think Jake made it to two. And as any other parent, I wasn’t as concerned with the fact that he said such a “dirty” word, I was more concerned with where he heard that word. Its not uncommon that in our house, every once in a while, even under the utmost restraint, that a “lite” cuss word might fly out of my mouth. Of course, my first thought was “Oh gosh, please tell me you didn’t get that from mommy.” So, with baited breath, I asked the next logical question, “where did you hear that?” In the split second I waited to hear his answer, I became anxious, I swore off saying any bad word ever for the rest of my life, and I began to question my ability to raise my children. Oh, the pressure! Then, as quickly as the anxiety came, it was lessened a bit when I heard his answer. “Ghostbusters. They said it on Ghostbusters.” I let out a sigh of relief, but then was burdened with a whole new set of questions. “Why do I let my kids watch such crap? Why didn’t I know they said dirty words in that movie? What am I exposing my kids to?” Again, the pressure!

Truth is, kids, like adults get frustrated. And unlike adults, they don’t really know what to do with that frustration quite yet. Some kids totally freak out, some kids give up, some kids cuss, that’s just the way it is. Until they learn how to control their emotions a little more, they are looking for outlets and a lot of times they mimic how mom and dad or other adults handle their frustrations or they mimic what they hear on their favorite shows. Unfortunately, we can’t control what gets stuck in their heads, but we can try to offer alternatives. Thanks to my new favorite movie, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, I realized there are other ways to harness that uncontrollable desire to say a bad word in a time of frustrating desperation. If you’ve seen the movie, you probably picked up on the fact that instead of actually saying a “cuss” word, they actually say the word “cuss” in its place. What a genius idea! The kids think its funny, and it satisfies their need to make their frustration known to everyone around them. Maybe its worth a shot before my four-year-old rolls up into his preschool class and busts out a big fat “What the Hell?” when his teacher asks him a question.


Summer Sanity? May 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — dollchandler @ 1:23 pm
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This will be me at the end of the summer

This is the beginning of the end: The first day of the last week of Kindergarten for my oldest. We are so proud of him and very excited to see what first grade has in store. Now, I’m not writing to gush on and on about my son’s Kindergarten accomplishments. I am actually thinking about the fact that summer break is bearing down on us. That means two full months of no school for either one of my boys. So, I’ve decided to make a list of things I will need to successfully make it through this very difficult time, if anyone would like to help out.

1. A pool and/or boat
2. Personal masseuse, chef, maid and trainer
3. Lots of free babysitting
4. A good summer read
5. Wine, lots of wine. I will also accept beer, rum, vodka, and tequila (but only in margarita form.)
6. Valium

OK, I am partially kidding. But it is true that, although I love the summertime (the heat, the sun, the long days), with two small boys it can be a little trying keeping them entertained day in and day out. The good thing is, the summer does offer some unique (and cheap) amusement opportunities. For example, every Wednesday you can find us at Laguardo Beach with some friends, we spend mornings hiking trails in the area looking for bugs and other critters, we take pajama walks around the neighborhood after bath time, we love hitting some of the many summer festivals and fairs going on, as well as the Sounds minor league baseball games, and its amazing how a sprinkler and a hose can change the whole day.

Its great to stay up late and sleep in in the mornings, and I know I should be excited to be able to spend so much time with my kids because “this time flies by so fast,” but I have to admit, the summer scares me a bit. I don’t do well without an ample amount of “me” time during the week. So, just keep me in your thoughts this summer, and if you have any ingenious ideas on entertaining the kiddos, shoot them my way!


Transformers….More Than Meets The Eye April 28, 2010

Filed under: The Mama Has Spoken,Uncategorized — dollchandler @ 2:07 pm
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I have come to the conclusion that there are two things in the world that can make a somewhat intelligent person feel stupid; Transformers and kids. On their own, they are a challenge, but when paired together, they are a disaster to your intellectual ego.

The other morning, I was sitting at my computer being very productive and having a nice conversation with a friend on Facebook, when all of a sudden my three year-old comes walking down the stairs whining and saying. “I can’t do it. I can’t do it!” When I looked up from my computer, I saw it. There, in his hand, was a twisted, mangled mass of yellow and black plastic. It was the devil incarnated; it was Bumblebee.

My first instinct was to grab it from his hand and burn it, but I refrained. I knew, even before I attempted to turn what I think was supposed to be a car into some recognizable form of a robot, that I would be defeated, so I played dumb. “Griffin, Mommy has tried to make Bumblebee into a robot before and I can’t do it.” Oh, the swallowed pride. “But Mommy, I want you to make it Bumblebee!” His voice was beginning to rise, and I knew he wasn’t joking around. I had no choice but to demonstrate my total incompetence in turning a car into a robot.

“I can do this,” I began to pump myself up. “My six year-old can do this, millions of children can do this, and surely a mildly intelligent, worldly, nearly 40 year-old woman can do it. I can put together 1,000 piece puzzles in record time, I’ve fixed more electric trains than I care to admit, and I can create anything with a couple of pipe cleaners and a hot glue gun. This shouldn’t be a problem.”

With a newfound confidence, I took the Transformer from his hand and began to twist and turn. The more I twisted it, the further from a robot it became. The more I turned it, the more pieces fell from my hand. I was getting nowhere fast and Griffin knew it. “Mommy, you are breaking Bumblebee!” he cried. I began to panic. My hands were clammy and sweat was beading up on my brow. I had no choice but to cave in. I said the five words I hate to use most with my kids; “Wait until Daddy gets home.” Once again, I had lost the battle with the Autobots. Griffin began to cry, I began to cry. I realized I could no longer carry on the façade that there is nothing Mommy can’t do.

So, that night while the kids were asleep, I went through their toy boxes and picked out every Transformer I could find. I then placed them in a box and set them on fire in our backyard. I fueled the fire with every Transformer book, sticker page or coloring book I could drag out of the house. Looks like Mommy might have won the battle of the Bots after all.


Road Trips, Jack Johnson and Bucket Lists April 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — dollchandler @ 4:28 pm
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Its almost summertime, and you know what that means….ROAD TRIP! When I was younger, it was nothing for me to jump in a car with my friends and take a road trip, to where ever, for whatever reason. I’ve been on road trips to spend the weekend in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, to follow Widespread Panic or Big Head Todd, to visit friends at other colleges, to go to the beach, or go skiing in West Virginia. Most of these trips were spontaneous, but they were all some of the most fun I had during my college years.

I was talking to a friend not too long ago about my new focus on things – its not about stuff, its about experiences. The last thing I want is more stuff to weigh me down. I want to live life, I want to have experiences that I share with my family and my friends, and I am scared to death I am going to wake up one morning and all those opportunities have drifted past me while I watched them from my safe, average bubble. I’ve decided its time to bust my own bubble.

I’m on the path to do things I’ve never done, or used to, but don’t do much of any more, like road trips for example. This summer, I’m packing up the car and heading to Atlanta with a friend for a girl’s weekend that revolves around the super-talented cutie-pie, Jack Johnson. Since I have become notorious for talking about things but not doing them, the tickets have already been purchased. So, we’ll see you in Atlanta in August, Jack.

My list of things “I’m going to quit making excuses not to do” is very long. One thing on the top of that list is music. I am a very, very, amateur musician, who wants to be a rock star. So to satisfy that itch, my husband and I and a small group of friends have gotten together to form the Mediocre Music Club. Its just a chance for us to get together and play around without offending anyone’s ears. Also, I love being on the water, but haven’t really taken advantage of the fact we live on a lake. We don’t have a boat, but my dad is teaching me to drive his boat so when we do get one (soon, I’d like to hope), I’ll be ready to go. I love to ski, but I’ve gotten real good at the excuse, “I’m too old for that.” Well, I’m not getting any younger. We only got out a couple of times last year to ski, and my dad’s so excited to have someone ski on his boat, he’s going to hold me to getting out more this year.

There’s also a whole list of things I want to try that I have never done before. I’d like to surf, I’d like to learn to play the piano, I’d like to kayak around our lake, I’d like to take a trip by myself, I’d like to do some serious hiking, I’d like to learn to speak a different language, I’d like to do a triathlon, I’d like to write a book. I haven’t yet sat down and written all the things I’d like to do, but I will, and I will slowly but surely mark them off.

What about you? Do you have a list?


How Not To Travel – The Return (Crazy and a little long, but all true!) April 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — dollchandler @ 4:07 pm
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After four awesome days with our friends in Hope Town on the Abacos Islands in the Bahamas, sadly, it was time to head back to Nashville. We threw all of our stuff in our bags, got up early and boated back to Marsh Harbor where we would catch our plane taking us to Ft. Lauderdale. We made it there with plenty of time to spare, so we checked in and waited…. and waited, and waited…..

An hour went by and the tiny terminal began filling up with people. Another hour went by and the tiny terminal emptied, but we were still there. Finally, after about three hours, they called our flight number. So, the three of us, along with the five college “spring breakers” also riding on this flight headed out to “customs” (which was just a fold out table and a lady with surgical gloves) to have our bags checked before boarding.

We walked across the tarmac and over to our very small, very yellow puddle jumper. Our captain, an Asian man strongly favoring Mad TV’s Bobby Lee, welcomed us aboard, quickly ran through the safety schpeel, then began the unsuspectingly hard task of closing the door. We watched him with a bit of speculation as time and time again he would open the door, close it and attempt to lock it. With each unsuccessful attempt, he would snap at the door again, then mummer something under his breath that must have been Japanese for “Damn.” With applause from his small audience, he finally fastened the door and crawled through the window into the pilot’s seat. I’m pretty sure that by now you can guess what I was thinking.

We began to cruise upward, and upward, and further upward. We just kept going up and up and up to a “favorable” cruising altitude, and then we leveled off. Once we leveled off, we were cruising pretty smoothly, and with nothing below us but water, it became very relaxing and before I knew it, I had dozed off. I must have been out for a bit and when I woke I looked around and noticed everyone on the plane had also fallen asleep, and call me crazy, but I swear the captain was asleep as well.

The captain woke up just in time for us to make our descent into Ft. Lauderdale and land us safely. By this time, we were over an hour behind schedule and still hadn’t been through customs getting back into the States. To say customs coming back into the US, is a little more involved than entering the Islands of the Bahamas, is being nice. Customs is a bitch. (Please excuse the harsh language that may appear in this post, but sometimes there are only certain words that can accurately describe an emotion.)

Before we even made it to the customs line, we had to grab our baggage from the Yellow Air Taxi baggage claim area. OK. Sounds great. WHERE THE HELL IS IT?? We wandered around baggage claim forever looking at every carousel, and the only baggage in the room was either from Haiti or Bogotá. We, along with the five spring breakers, scoured the baggage area and finally found our luggage, piled up in some random corner, just waiting to be taken by anyone.

We finally got through the baggage area and headed out to catch a shuttle that would take us to the main terminal so we could go through Customs and board our flight. Then, as luck would have it, as we are turning a corner in our shuttle, our driver for some reason decides he didn’t like the silver Lexus next to us and proceeds to run into him. Yes, in typical Chandler fashion, we had a wreck in a freaking airport shuttle, not to mention we were in an unreasonable rush to catch our flight. At this point, we all knew that was a lost cause.

After giving a cop all of our information due to the shuttle scuttle, we finally made it up to Customs. We stood in what seemed to be a three-mile line to get the O.K. to return to the States. Now, you may have forgotten by this time, but we have been traveling with a six-year-old. Standing in this line isn’t easy for anyone (especially when you aren’t allowed to use cell phones) but it’s excruciatingly painful for a young boy. He needed to pee, he needed a drink, he was bored, his bag was getting heavy. He came up with every excuse possible and every one of them scraped on my head like fingernails on a chalkboard. Not because he was being impossible (on the contrary, minus those few moments of complaining, he was a real trooper), but because all I could focus on was the fact that we were not making our plane back to Nashville. I was having an inner freak-out, and I thought I was going to puke.

We got through customs and came to the realization that we weren’t riding back to Nashville, by way of Raleigh-Durham on Southwest flight who-gives-a-crap. We started frantically finding another option out of South Florida. We went to the Southwest desk to try to change our tickets to another flight to Nashville. Not one single flight out of South Florida to Nashville was open all weekend. It was Friday, and the next available flight, from ANY SOUTH FLORIDA terminal, was Monday. Of course, that sent my can’t-sit-still husband into panic mode. There was no way we were going to be stuck in Ft. Lauderdale for another two days. We decided the next best option is to rent a car. And yes, we were both very aware of the amount of hours it would take to drive from Ft. Lauderdale to Nashville, but hell, I did it in one day when I was in college, 15 years ago, with no kids, and some medicinal assistance. As crazy as it seemed, we decided that was our only realistic and affordable option. Determined, we proceeded to the rental car floor.

My husband, who I know by this time was probably ready to punch something but remained totally calm and good-spirited, headed to the first desk. Stupid Car Rental didn’t do one-way rentals. They suck and we went on to the next desk. Same thing at Rent-A-Stupid Car. Walked on to the next desk. To our surprise, Overpriced Auto Rental would do one-ways, but there would be a $600 drop off fee. Are you freaking kidding me?? I seriously threw up in my mouth a little and then began to cry. By this time, we were kinda loosing hope. Surely if Overpriced Auto Rentals charged an exuberant amount for a drop-off fee, they all would. Another random car rental place basically said the same thing. Totally defeated, we moped down to the last desk on the floor – Budget Rent-A-Car. We spoke to the sweet guy at the counter and told him our predicament, and although he probably didn’t really give a crap, he seemed very concerned and determined to help us. It probably helped that I pinched my son’s cheeks and messed up his hair and repeated over and over, “don’t worry Jake, I know you are starving, but we don’t have any money for food because we have to rent a car.” Anyway, he typed in some “codes” and after each type, he would shake his head or say “yes, yes” under his breath. My husband and I are standing there holding our breath, hoping that the drop-off fee for Budget was under $400. To our amazement, after some navigating by the manager, we were told that not only could we rent a one-way, but that due to the previous holiday weekend they had an overage of cars in South Florida and they needed to move them up north. They basically paid us to take the car for them! I was soooo relieved, I couldn’t hold back the tears. For $37 we had use of a hotrod Hyundai for two days and thousands of miles!! I was so excited, once again, I think I might have given the Budget counter guy an accidental lap dance. Although, I don’t think he appreciated it as much as my Fed-Ex guy.

We were on our way!! So relieved, we skipped out to the garage, found our super-sexy Hyundai four-door and hit the road. After grabbing a bite for lunch, we merged onto the interstate. We didn’t get long before we saw there was a bit of a back-up. Traffic was pretty much stop and go but since we weren’t familiar with Ft. Lauderdale, we thought we would wait it out, hoping it would clear up soon. We thought maybe there was construction or something. But after an hour on the interstate and still in the Ft. Lauderdale area, Steve checked out Twitter for any messages that might shed some light on the delay. Well, turns out, someone tried to commit suicide in the middle of the busiest interstate in Florida. It was a real mess and it had traffic backed up for more than five miles. It took us almost three hours to get out of South Florida. Thankfully Jake had decided that would be a good time to take a nap, so he was conked out in the back the whole time.

We made it to Valdosta, GA around midnight and decided to spend the night there and just get up early and start again. We made it back to Nashville around 5:00 on Saturday night. We went straight to pick up our little guy and our dog who were staying with my mom and dad, aka, B and Doo-Dad. Our dog Millie was ecstatic to see us and Griffin said he missed us, but that he really missed Jake. We all piled in the car to head home and I looked over at Griffin. His little lip was pouted out and his eyes were tearing. “What is wrong?” I asked him, thinking he was probably so overjoyed to be with his Mommy he couldn’t hold in his emotion. He looked at me and said with complete conviction, “I want to stay at B’s house!” Being that he was the only reason I was wiling to leave the Bahamas in the first place, I just dropped my head in my lap and began to laugh.


Top 5 Friday – RETREAT! RETREAT! March 26, 2010

Filed under: The Mama Has Spoken,Uncategorized — dollchandler @ 2:55 pm
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Not only is today my favorite day of the week, but it is also the beginning of something I look forward to all year – Girl’s Weekend!

Twice a year, my church takes a group of awesome chics for a “retreat” somewhere far, far away from home. O.K. its usually just at a state park or something in the area, but it feels like a world away! In celebration of this super cool tradition, I thought I would dedicate this Friday’s blog to the top 5 reasons I soooooo enjoy this weekend.

1. I am away from home for a WHOLE weekend! That in itself is an extremely valuable factor.
2. I am away from home for a WHOLE weekend without kids = no cartoons, no changing poopies, no making breakfast, lunch and dinner for picky eaters, no refereeing sibling cage fights, and no jumping up and responding to the never ending quest for apple juice, snacks or something fun to do.
3. Relax and rejuvenate. Sometimes I think we get so caught up in the day to day, we forget to take a little time for ourselves to recharge our batteries –mentally, physically and spiritually. This weekend gives us ladies a full weekend to focus only on that, with no interruptions.
4. Good ol’ fashioned girl time. Man, do I miss this. Seems as I’ve gotten older and our family has grown, it has gotten harder and harder to spend time with my girls. When I was younger, friends were such a huge part of my daily life, and although they are still really important to me, I am just not able to spend as much time with them as I would like. This weekend is a way for me to spend some time with some of my favorite girls and not feel a bit guilty or totally distracted.
5. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Being separated from my family for a whole weekend is the best medicine for reminding us how much we appreciate each other. Needless to say, by the time I get home, my husband has a whole new respect for me and all I do as a “mom.” My kids greet me at the door with arms wide open and so much to say I can’t understand a word! Most important to me, this retreat is just enough time for me to genuinely miss my boys (the little ones and the big one!). After a little break, I feel I am a better mom and wife, and after these last couple of weeks, I think my husband is ready for that!

Well, I have to go get ready for mom’s weekend away! What do you like best about being away from home for a few days by yourself?