Funny First Days and the Proof is in the Photos

Today my three boys all went off to school.  

It was the easiest first day of school for everyone.

It made me smile the whole drive home.  

I also now have time to write more and share it with you.  I am sorting some of my old stories from the journal I have kept since we began our family and I came across a funny from Mitchell when he and his twin brother Avery were in kindergarten.

My husband Jim came home from work and…

Jim, said very enthusiastically, “How was kindergarten boys?”

Mitchell, said with a very grown up matter-of-fact manner …“Dadda, I think there is more yelling than learning going on in Kindergarten.

First day of school – Kindergarten

Avery and Mitchell’s First Day of School – 7th Grade

(note our dog always wiggles her way into photos)

Peter’s First Day – Kindergarten

First Day – This Morning

I may not go back to pick them up.

I’m joking!

If I am not, I am sure it will make the news.

Abbie Gale

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Last Morning of Summer 2012


Waking up in the mountains and I can’t bring myself to wake up Peter. It’s his last morning of summer vacation and he is sleeping just like a little boy who spent the entire day before in a river kayaking. He also caught crayfish in a creek, frogs and salamanders. He tried sleeping in a tent by the river and it lasted until Jim and I headed back to the house.

His big brothers lasted longer. They made it in the tent until Jim, Peter and I made it to the house.
What a terrific weekend with friends. I will add some pictures to this post when I get home later and can download them off my “real” camera.
Hope everyone had a great weekend and an ever better summer and here’s to having a fantastic fall!





Boy in the City

You can take the boy to the city but he’s still going to find a way to act like Tom Sawyer.


Peter won’t shoot the animals in the game.

He shoots next to them to watch the video game lizards run.

I gave him a dollar to play.

Was it a waste to let him play it of he didn’t “play?”.

Ha ha!

They are all three such good boys.

His big brothers thought it was cute that he won’t even shoot a video game animal.

They came over to the table to tell me this fact as I was taking his picture from the booth and posting it here on my blog.  I thought this fact made it a much better story.

School starts Monday and I am going to miss my buddies.


Abbie Gale

Recovering Emotionally From River’s Carnivorous Seaweed

Jim has had two weeks off between the fellowship that just ended and going back to his private practice.

I need a vacation from his vacation. We will be back home soon and I might make out with our washer and dryer.

I posted this picture yesterday I took while sitting in my father in-laws backyard in Michigan.

20120711-192723.jpgPeter has dragged his net from the back of a kayak in the mountains of North Carolina to the ditches of rural Michigan.

I am not kidding when I tell you he jumped outof a boat in the river to catch a water snake. Seeing that snake wiggle back and forth through the water towards the banks made me happy that he had a net in his hand and couldn’t swim after it.

Here is Peter with his only catch from Michigan.  A praying mantis.  He longed to catch a newt at his Papa’s marsh but it had been so dry he was probably more likely to catch a desert lizard.  

  Our friends all learned to never go canoeing with me and if they do they better be faster than I am in a kayak.

The teenagersall learned that I won’t baby them, as I am an equal opportunity canoe flipper.

FYI, if you ever decide, (after flipping everyone’s canoes) to float the rest of the way down the river next to your kayak so as to foil anyone’s attempt to “get even”…DON’T!

I was on my back, not looking where I was going, with “Crazy Sarah”, (whom I had recently left canoe-less due to a water problem her canoe had after I rolled it he, he, he) when a field of underwater seaweed-garbully-gook-icky-BEsgusting-man-eating-venus-fly-trap-under-water-human-eating STUFF enveloped me.

If anyone in the entire southeast section of America heard a grown woman screaming like a baby girl relentlessly and without shame last week between the hours of approximately 4-4:30, it was me.

What you didn’t hear was our entire pack of friends laughing at me. “Crazy Sarah” was smiling her evil smile while saying, “There are probably snakes that live in that stuff too!”

I kicked in place. I was stuck like a fly in Jello with a fountain of water spewing above me from my futile swimming. I was screaming in tongues.

Crazy Sarah was probably secretly hoping to collect my bones when the carnivorous river vegetation was done with me.

Crazy Sarah and her bone collecting and zombie apocalypse story here…

Karma will always give us a good kick in the pants if we deserve it. I soooo deserved it!

The older boys have “pool noodle battled” all of their cousins in Michigan and discovered all the attention a scratch on the neck gets you when people think you have a hickey.

They also learned what a hickey is.

I cannot believe how much I have missed sharing stories. This blogging thing has really surprised me.

Thanks for letting me share,
All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing.


How to Stifle Education with Cocktails and Other Threats

I have a husband, Jim.  A very, very smart husband. How smart you ask?

Not too smart, he married me!

I remind him of the above mentioned fact if he complains about things I might do.

I tell him he…

– Should just find my annoying habits endearing, it would be easier for him AND me since I am getting too old to change for the better.

– Married me AND that means he married my taste and that means no decorator but he may hire a housekeeper, (so that I have more time to decorate.)

– Needs to remember that he married me knowing that whatever has made him mad is also probably one of the reasons he wanted to marry me.

The list goes on and evolves so as to satisfy my ever-changing needs.

Jim and I were on our way this week to his latest graduation.  He went back for additional training a year ago.  He just completed a fellowship in musculoskeletal imaging.  We debated not even going to the ceremony.

I told him we had to.  I wanted to be sure that there would be no excuse for any FUTURE graduations such as, “I feel unfulfilled missing my 43 graduation ceremony.  I need to go back to school, for more training or redirect my career path” crap.

I threw on a skirt and a shirt and a pair of heels that were chewed up from another night of actually having fun in them.

The last graduation I bought a new gown, shoes, jewelry, flew in Jim’s mom and bought her all the same.  We stopped to buy flowers for his program director.  We hired a sitter.  It was a night out at the “fancy” country club all kelly green, pink and oriental vases.

We pulled out of our driveway this week shouting out the window to the kids to make themselves a burrito.  We were heading to the same pink and green country club.  We were both far less enthusiastic.

I sat in the front seat looking for some sunblock to slap on my dry knees and announced, “I am getting tanked tonight.”

I liked saying it just to force the mental image of seventy-five academic physicians, residents, fellows and their spouses eating baked Alaska while I am falling down drunk.

Jim says, “Really?  You are planning this ahead of time?”

I had and I was.

Me, “Yes.  It is the only way I can be sure you won’t go back for more training.  It will have to be epic.”

Jim, “Awesome.”

I knew he wasn’t doubting that I was actually thinking about this.

Here is what really happened.

I may have sat at a table for ten and been one of only two women and still somehow managed to bring up “Fifty Shades of Grey.”  I then tried guessing which of the men looked tired enough to deem that their wives were reading it or had recently read it.  This is no small feat considering most radiologists look tired from lack of sunlight and interaction with humans, I may have also mentioned this.

I may have told my husband’s subspecialty department director that his nickname for Jim sucked, (R.J. for “Research Jim”) and that it should be “Antwone” and then went on to tell him why he should call him that.

The program director somehow managed to bring up my full first and last name in her speech and included an “Abbie quote” with full body impersonation from six years ago in this very same room and at the very same graduation ceremony.  She then asked where I was in the room and I had the full attention of all of the docs and their “others.”

This is fantastic!  I have only had half a drink and I am “infamous.”  I don’t need to keep drinking!  Poor Jim just looks at me while I am smiling back at him.

I didn’t think it was that memorable but I guess shouting out, “Yayyy BABY!  WE GOT FURNITURE!” when the program presents your husband with one of those “collegiate” chairs with his name on a plaque with “Chief Resident” may have been the most exciting thing other than not having baked Alaska for the, (what is now my fifth) graduation dinner desert.

(Pretend there is a picture here from this weeks graduation.  See, I told you we were less than enthusiastic.  I don’t even have a picture!  I have photos of EVERYTHING including my kids funny poops.  Kidding, but I do have one and if your lucky I will share it with you one day.)

I only told one other person my goal of total inebriation with the end result being embarrassing Jim from any future higher education aspirations.  I looked over at her and said, “Well I guess I can just rest on my laurels and not have a hangover tomorrow.”

You know what though?

I reminded myself that for all the reasons that I tell Jim he should accept me I realized I have to accept Jim.  I love him because he loves learning.  I love him because when we were eighteen and at his high school graduation party his aunt asked him what he was going to do with is life and he said, “I am going to be a doctor.”

I may have spit Coke out of my nose when he said this and I may have said, “I think maybe you should join the military or study computers” and he still held firm that was what he wanted to do.

Who knew you never really needed to show up to high school to become valedictorian of your medical school class, or chief resident, or mammography doc, or musculoskeletal imaging sub-specialist.

Maybe that is really why I married Jim.  


– I find his tenacity endearing.

– He makes me happy to be his wife when he looks at me proudly when an esteemed doctor does a full body impersonation of me at the podium at HIS graduation.

– I love him because he knows I would never really get drunk on his special night but he will sit and listen to my master plan to, just to entertain me.

Thanks for letting me share with you all that makes me,

Abbie, All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing.

Hatfield’s and McCoy’s

.   Our Peter’s first grade teacher’s names this year were

Hatfield and McCoy.

Hatfield to left and McCoy on right.

Dont they look ferocious?

I fuzzed them for privacy.

I cannot make this stuff up.

It is the end of another school year and my oldest boys have finished their first year of middle school and our youngest has finished his first year of first grade.  Avery in red and Mitchell in yellow.  They are receiving a citizenship award. Here is Peter receiving a “Future Scientist” award. He is in the pale yellow.

Youth Will Eventually Work It’s Way Out

Naivety of youth.

My God, my husband and I had an extra serving of that when we were young.  

We began dating when we were teenagers.  We knew we wanted to have a different life than what we knew.  No one taught us how to change our future family dynamic.

We wanted to get out of our dreary midwestern town and live in the sunny south where people were friendly and the grass is nearly green year round.  We only knew this much from driving through the south every few years on family vacations.

He wanted to be a doctor and I wanted to have a family and build a home for them.  He was the first one in his family to GO to college, yet alone graduate and no one had stepped foot on a medical school campus.

We were going to move to the town where the medical school was that he wanted to attend and he would take undergraduate classes there.  The first time we visited that college town was when we were moving there.

I quit my job and he moved from his dad’s and we left for out-of-state with a plan.  The plan was about two sentences long and without financial backing.

What fools we were.  My dad told me it would never work and his parents didn’t really comprehend the gravity and years of work that were necessary to do what we wanted to do.

Youth can make you try things, that when you are a seasoned adult, you would never try.

Naivety can be a blessing and youth will eventually work itself out, with age.  

This story is for our three boys so that they realize that they need to see what they want AND be willing to work to make it happen.  We are proof that with a vision of what you want your life to be and the ability to go for it you can have the life of your dreams.

You just have to be willing to be a little naive.

As you age do you find yourself far more cautious?

I think it is because we realize how much more we have to lose.

What do you think?

-Abbie, All that makes you…

Summer Vacation Begins in HOW Many Days? Help!!!

Summer vacation isn’t here yet, and I have already had to threaten our three boys that I will make them carry a “Complaint Journal.”  I am thinking if they have to document how much they complain by “complaint” and “time” it may be an  eye opening experience for them.
Conversation ended with me threatening second “Smart A$$ Comment Journal”.
 Lord grant me patience and ability to convey a grateful heart to little children.
They may need to wear backpacks all summer for all their record keeping.
I know the kids are ready for summer vacation but ARE YOU?
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Moment You Realize You Have Done Too Much For Your Kids…

One of the downfalls of trying to be good parent is perhaps you have helped them TOO MUCH.

One of the older boys was voicing great frustration while replacing his shoes laces after I washed them.  When I told him to just try again, (I have shown him how to do it right) his reply was, “I have tried it three times!”

I cannot help but laugh.  I could make a tiered red velvet cake at his age, alone.  I remember my mom handing me the keys to her Mazda when I was eleven and her saying, “Go get some bread and milk.” And I did.  Doesn’t mean that it was right, but I could do it.  He genuinely could not get his shoes laced up.  He was mad and he was mad at me for not doing it for him.

Here I am at a much younger age than my son and I guarantee you I laced all of those shoes.  I mean if I was going to go to school with THREE PAIRS OF SHOES, I had to know how to lace them.  Why did I need THREE pairs of shoes for one day of first grade?

So am I a good mom or am I the dreaded, “helicopter parent?”

I show him, again, how to start the laces.

Has anyone else found boys around twelve to be completely exhausting?  I try so hard to make them try and use their brains and figure things out and to learn to look for what they feel inside is the right thing to do.  They are such a funny mix of little boys and big kid.  They seem to have no common sense.  Is it me or does it seem like we had more commons sense when we were our kids age?  

For instance at Christmas they were mad we wouldn’t get them an iPhone, (what planet are they on and if they are telling the truth what planet are ALL of their friends parents on?)  When we explained why and data fees and that twelve year-old kids don’t need one their reaction was, “Fine, then I will ask Santa for one!”

Let me know how that turns out.

Is it because so many things are easier and simple to do that our kids are lacking the daily drive to “make something work?”  What do you think?

– Abbie

Colored Chicks Banned From Country Club This Easter

Colored chicks are banned from our country club this Easter

The prejudice began when the parents started making small talk with “Farm Lady.”  They began asking, “How did you dye them?, Do you dip them?  Does it hurt the little babies?  Will they stay that color?  Will the other animals shun them because they don’t look like them?”

Club management asked the “farm lady” to stop bringing them.  We go to the clubs Easter brunch and egg hunt because we have three little boys who want to see the cool neon alternative chicks.  They are amazing.  “Farm Lady” brings bunnies, snakes, iguanas, and other critters, and she used to bring a few colored chicks and ducks.

She is always so patient as she explains to the parents that they don’t “dip” them.  That they inject the egg with food coloring, (just like we have in our human food and the same way scientist track wild bird movements).  That only the chicks down is colored and it will fall out soon and then they will be back to their regular color.  She explains that they are raised to be shared for a couple of weeks, as part of her traveling petting zoo, and then they will go off to live at a local farm just like a regular chicken or duck.

For crying out loud, I want to shout, “You just fed your kids processed chicken nuggets! Those “nugget chickens” were raised in horrible conditions and probably never even got to walk in actual grass.  Chances are they ground off their beaks so they couldn’t peck each other to death.  They were likely injected with hormones to produce larger breasts.  Shut your traps.

The “Farm Lady” rocks.  I was raised on a farm.  I have asked her questions.  I have stood next to her while three boys have to pet, hold and usually figure out a way to “wear” each of her critters.  She is patient and kind and makes sure the kids are gentle and she herself  is gentle.  She gives these country club kids a chance to touch and hold animals that most people 100 years ago had in their backyards.  Animals they had to care for and then eventually eat.

She gives kids an opportunity to touch other beings. It may lead to some of these children gaining more respect for creatures that we share the world with.  It’s just a green chicken.

My boys looked forward to these neon, fluffy, make-you-happier-than-a-Cadbury-Egg- chicks.  Do you know how happy it makes me when my kids are more excited about something they don’t get to eat and that causes one of their combined 16 cavities, (per our last family dentist appointment).  Do not judge.  Yes, they brush.

If you enjoyed this you may enjoy, “Country Club, Bible Belt, gated Community…Let’s Give Her the WTF License Plate.”

Or this one…

or “The $hit my kid says is better than your dad’s $hit.”

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Before you start chewing me out…They are not being sold.

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