This is where all the stinky socks in our house live.

Along with mud tracks and basketball shoes and drum sets and algebra books and track uniforms.

And plenty of testosterone.


It’s a whole other world.

Desk_with_English _chairs

One of the stinky sock boys came home from school the other day with a disgruntled look on his face.

He really didn’t say anything.

Just a lot of sighing and hair flipping for dramatic effect.

I think he was waiting for someone to ask him what all the angst was all about.

I said nothing.

Just sat and waited patiently for the drama to unfold.


Finally he turned to me with a woebegone expression on his face….

….and a flip of his hair.

“Mom….you are never going to believe it.  This girl….she stopped me by the lockers and told me that she liked me.”

I paused.

“Really,” I said…..with an attempt at complete nonchalance.

I find that in these types of situations….nonchalance is the best approach for getting the most information possible.

“A girl?  By the lockers?  What did you say to her?”


He stared at me in disbelief.

“Are you serious?  I didn’t say anything.   What do I say to something like that?   I just turned and walked away.”

“Hmmm”  I said with a nonchalant shrug.  “Probably a wise decision.”

He nodded in agreement.

Then he flipped his hair…..and continued on with his tale of trial and tribulation.


“But you haven’t even heard the worst part yet.” he snorted.

“There’s more?” I asked patiently.  “What could be worse than a girl telling you she liked you by the lockers?”

He flipped his hair again and patted it back into place with an air of satisfaction.

And craned his neck to catch a glimpse of his flipped hair in the window.

By the River

I waited patiently for the hair flipping to stop.

“What happened next?” I asked.

He paused and announced, “When I was about to get on the bus… of her best friends told me that she liked me, too.”

And with that dramatic pronouncement….he flopped down on the couch in despair….head in his hands.

Mournfully he looked up at me and with all the angst of a stinky sock boy…..let out a sigh.

“Mom….I’ve got problems.”

He paused….flipped his hair once more and continued, “Lately….I really think….

…..that this hair is lethal.”


I’m currently working on enlarging all the door frames so his stinky socks and hair flipping ego can fit through. 🙂


edited to add:  I left the blog post on the computer and went into the other room.  

When I returned….I found this typed message as an addition to the blog post……


P.S.  Just an unsolicited side note from the older brother – this is what I deal with living upstairs.  

You may express your sympathy in the comments. -Denton

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  1. Image for Kelly Kelly

    All teenage angst and hair flipping aside ( I understand, I truly do, I have 5 sons and 1 daughter:) those chairs are wonderful! Love them! As to the other stuff, this too shall pass;)

  2. Image for Sheryll & Critters. Sheryll & Critters.

    Oh the lethal hair thing.... hummm, guess he could always shave his head? Sorry I have no better solution. And I love those chairs and your floor. I am trying to get up the gumption & nerve..... to paper bag my floors and want to do mine in rectangle strips, so I can mimick white washed wood, plank floor like yours, only not quite as white. Hoping when I do finally get started, that I don't totally botch it.

  3. Image for Regena Fickes Regena Fickes

    Such a cute story!!! I had (have) three of them. All older now and much wiser, but so typical. Denton, big brother you will always be. According to my oldest, it just keeps on going! :) Much love.

  4. Image for Sheryll & Critters. Sheryll & Critters.

    And I can almost My pc is fighting with me every step of the way again today. I guess it is about to kick the bucket on me. I sure hope not.

  5. Image for Ariean @ Onekriegerchick Ariean @ Onekriegerchick

    This cracks me up! With 3 little boys, this is what I have to look forward a few years! :)

  6. Image for Joy Joy

    Someday, he will wish he had that problem !!! This was hilarious. I thought girls were drama queens...but he is quite good looking. He better steel himself for the future.

  7. Image for Khadija Khadija

    Oh my goodness. My older son says stuff like that to me all the time about his little brother! lol Denton has all of my sympathies! (chuckle) :)

  8. Image for Khadija Khadija

    I forgot to say...on the serious side of it though, those two girls have the potential to cause a TON of drama for your son. They might form little militias whose sole purpose is to decide who he should like back. It really could get out of hand and interfere with his studies. Perhaps your son was thinking this too and that's why he was angsty. One begins to think of the wisdom of single sex schools and classes... :-D

  9. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Poor guy.... It's gotta be rough on him. I have a son with lethal hair too, only his is curly so he always looks like he just woke up. P.S. I think we had the same exact encyclopedias when I was growing up, but only up to 'S'!

  10. Image for Tina Matteson Tina Matteson

    Thanks for a great start to the day! So funny and real...! And I love the chairs, too! That's not something you see every day. Reminds me of the chairs in my church growing up!

  11. Image for Christine Christine

    I almost spit my coffee out, and I think a snort came out of me! That's adorable....enjoy those times!!! Mine is 18 and I keep hearing: "I'm a grown up now Mom!" LOL What an adorable post....thanks for sharing it!

  12. Image for Angela Angela

    This was an excellent way to start my day!! Love the way you handled it and that 'side note'! That boy is a chip off the old block! LOL!! Have a wonderful day!!! Denton--you're awesome! p.s. love the chairs too!! Angela

  13. Image for Linda @ it all started with paint Linda @ it all started with paint

    Oh Denton -- I feel for you, my friend! I don't have a hair flipping stinky sock boy ... but do have a similar aged hair flipping, finger snapping 12-year-old girl to contend with. Okay, her 15-year-old brother has to contend with her hair flipping, window-glancing ways ... Sigh. :) Linda

  14. Image for Beverly Beverly

    My grandson is bearing the burden of lethal hair, too. What a cutie. Denton, it is your plight in life. You must remain strong.

  15. Image for Amy Amy

    I am sitting in a chaotic, just-moved-in house, sick (for the first time in years) with strep and ear infections, after cleaning up after my five children, and laughing out loud. Best post ever. Thank you for starting my day out with a smile and a belly laugh!

  16. Image for Erin Kaven Erin Kaven

    ANOTHER coffee spitting blog! Hil ar I ous! Can't wait for my 10 year old, denim blue eyed tow head to come home with such a dilemma. His first grade love he "made laugh", his third grade love he liked because "she likes me whether I make her laugh or not" (sadly that one moved away....but I told him I liked his reasoning). And somehow, Ms. Red Lips, the hair flip thing they come by naturally. Am I right?

  17. Image for Patty O Patty O

    What a fantastic story...and a great one to put in the family archives! Love the older brother comments at the end too. LOVE it! Sounds like you have your hands full - and how old is this son of yours? My 12 year old just came home the other day to tell me she has a crush on a boy. Ugh. Here we go again...daughter #3! Hang in there Mom - well played!

  18. Image for Maureen Maureen

    Too cute!! I love that your boys will talk openly to you about their girl troubles!! And to Denton, my sympathies....but being a big brother is a very important job :)

  19. Image for Kathy Kathy

    You are a great writer!! I raised three of those creatures and the style when they were in junior high was tennis shoes with no socks!! Talk about aromas!! And later bringing their laundry home from college!! Love your blog!!

  20. Image for Gillian Turner Gillian Turner

    KariAnne, you crack me up! I also love the 'man cave' and how you've managed to keep it elegant, it looks so comfy. I would love it if my son and husband could keep their stinky socks in just ONE place ;)

  21. Image for Ali Thompson Ali Thompson

    Love it, so funny! I have three boys, my oldest is 12 almost 13 and not quite into caring about his hair yet, gym shoes yes, hair no. Thanks for the advice on being nonchalant need to remember this, maybe I should practice!

  22. Image for Courtney Courtney

    Sooo funny Karianne!! Love boys and how goofy they can be! I have a couple goofy guys over here too~ they are older now- but when they were a little younger they definitely had their 'issues' and 'egos' and stinky socks! :) xo

  23. Image for Anna Starner Anna Starner

    Oh such are the plights of older brothers Denton. Mom I do believe in a very short while your home will be invaded by the hair flipping love struck boy trying to figure out how to get "the girl" to like him. Such is the drama of teen love. Such a cute article, made my morning remember such conversations with my own hair flipper that is all grown up and no longer living here to have such conversations with. Savor these conversations, they grow up too quickly and leave us with nothing but the memories and a few zingers to remind them what they were like growing up. Some of the best times are when we are all together recalling all the silly "hardships" the kids had to go through growing up.

  24. Image for Jenn A Jenn A

    Wow! Fabulous story! It will be fun to show him when he's 25 and remind him of the woes of "lethal hair." Ha! I have a 14-year-old son with really short hair, so we have avoided the hair flipping so far and we have not run into the same "problems" just yet.....but I know it is coming. LOVE Denton's addition to the story!

  25. Image for Jill Flory Jill Flory

    :) I can only laugh and imagine what living with boys must be like! LOL! All we have here is girl drama - but you know what that is like too don't you?! You got a double dose of it! I love that your son added a note - poor guy I'm sure it is such a trial living with a little brother!

  26. Image for SuzyMcQ SuzyMcQ

    But, does he like the girl? I'm curious that way. Forget the beautifully styled rooms and pretty photography...she likes him, but, does he like her?

  27. Image for Candace Bertalan Horner Candace Bertalan Horner

    So so cute! As a mother of two boys with hair drama to go along with the socks and sports equipment aromas, I can SO relate!! But we wouldn't have it any other way, would we?? Good luck with your drama, it's sure to get even more interesting as the years go by..!!

  28. Image for Heather @At The Picket Fence Heather @At The Picket Fence

    Oh my darling the oldest sibling I feel your pain and am expressing my sympathy in the comments below. ;) Hang in there Zac...the hair only gets more lethal to the girls as you get older. ;) Love you Thistlewood Farm Family! Can't wait to see who shows up here next...ha! Heather

  29. Image for Diane Diane

    Love it, looks like Denton may have the writing gene too, ha ha! Enjoy it while you can! My MIL used to tell me in her thick Italian accent little boys, little problems, big boys big problems, ha ha! ~Diane

  30. Image for Teri Teri

    Oh my. The PS is priceless! Thanks for the "do not drink while reading this" warning. My computer would have been soaked.

  31. Image for P Higbee P Higbee

    Sounds like second child syndrome to me. We are visiting our second child this week, AND the drama continues, but we love her too much to notice. Just go with the flow!

  32. Image for Marty Walden Marty Walden

    That is hysterical. I have a 15 year old daughter and a 14 year old son and there's a lot of hair flipping and "life is over" going on at our house, too! I also have 2 older kids, 1 in college and 1 married and somehow we all survived :)

  33. Image for

    I totally get it...the hair is long & blonde. The room robin's egg blue & pink...but the situation just the same. Best of luck to the both of us! p.s. maybe the girl will get a whiff of his socks & call the whole thing off! Girls are fickle that way.

  34. Image for Regina Regina

    My husband keeps telling me I've missed out growing up with only a sister, and not having boys - that is IS like a whole other country! :) Never lose this post, KariAnne. You will need it when putting together, sometime in the distant future when he decides which friend to choose, his wedding slide show. ;)

  35. Image for Suzi Suzi

    Charming story! But seriously-the older brother comment? Hysterical. I feel your pain...there is NOTHING like stinky teenage boy/hormone smell...yucky

  36. Image for Tamra B Tamra B

    Fabulous post....and I can relate with a 13 year old "hair flipping, running fingers thru her hair constantly, checking EVERY SINGLE mirror she walks past daughter" who daily comes home with some type of D.R.A.M.A. puntuated by either total silence and gazing out the car window or eyes full of tears as some boy that she doesn't even like said something ugly about her. I MUST remember to say less...I tend to be full of momma advice and she really just wants to pour it all out and me offer an occasional "oh", and "wow, that's tough", and "goodness, how could he/she SAY that to you?". I'm learning but it IS hard!

  37. Image for DebZorn DebZorn

    This is SO funny! I have a hair-flipping, stinky socked, sports-equipment-everywhere grandson. He is smart, athletic and cute - the trifecta of high school success! He has many girls enamoured with him and doesn't give it a second thought :)

  38. Image for Cynthia Cynthia

    Loved this story, I was imagining the sighs and the hairflipping the whole time. I did giggle a few times. What troubles they have at young ages. Too funny. Thanks for sharing this. Cynthia

  39. Image for Lori Lori

    Wow Karianne I missed out on this with my three sons, they wore military cute short hair! LOL Keep us informed where the "dilemma " goes!!! Love ya,Lori

  40. Image for gena gena

    adorable story! I raised three boys and one in particular is a hair flipper for sure! He's a married man now, but is still convinced that his life is pure drama - lol!!!! Enjoy these years and these boys - they really are a dream come true.. gena

  41. Image for Bliss Bliss

    Dearest Denton.... As the older wiser brother, then surly you must have told your hair flipping little brother that the thing with girls is..... to worry when they STOP looking at 'ya. Bliss

  42. Image for Michele Michele

    OMG hahahahahahaha. I am laughing so hard tears are streaming down my face. OK, I get it. Your son looks a LOT like my little sisters eldest - same hair and almost exact colour. And guess what KA? He, of the hair flip persuation HAD IT ALL CUT OFF. He said the girls wouldn't stop touching it and it was driving him batty. He said (as it is pretty much a military shorn cut now) he is a much happier camper. And it is cooler now that it is getting warmer. Sis and I miss his Beiberesque cut. But he is happier with his life now. Even though we told him they girls liking him had less to do with the 'do than that he was one terrific young man. Oh KA, I feel for ya, lady. And don't they grow entirely too fast? Hugs, Michele

  43. Image for Gwen Gwen

    Oh, dear poor, poor Denton.... You have my sympathy. And you have your this post to share with his bride at his wedding and TOTALLY get him back... just sayin'.

  44. Image for Sara D Sara D

    Dearest Denton, However do you survive with such hair flipping activity going on? My heart goes out to you and the torture that engulfs you. We will keep you in our prayers.

  45. Image for Monica Monica

    Denton, sweet child, You have my deepest sympathies. I think your Mom should get you your own "Stinky Sock Space." Will be thinking of you!

  46. Image for Winnie Winnie

    Very well told! I remember it well!! BUT I have to envy those chairs before I close!! Best of luck with the boys - it will all be a very fond memory in time!!

  47. Image for Kim Kim

    Hilarious! Have no fear.... it seems like all our hair-flipping friends are recently donning a new style.... I guess you call it a variation on a pompadour? Sort of spiky hair where the front part is exaggerated upwards? Where do they come up with this stuff? The flipping will stop but you'll have hair gel on the counter in its place. :-)

  48. Image for Jenn Jenn

    Oh, that is too funny. Denton, my daughter can sympathize with you, as she has puts up with her little brother, his hair and the antics that go along with it!

  49. Image for Erin @ His & Hers Erin @ His & Hers

    bahahahaha teenage boys. Hilarious. I have some students with lethal hair but that's because they haven't WASHED it lately. (ps--your son looks so much like you in his profile!) And that comment from Denton at the end is priceless. My sympathies are extended. ;)

  50. Image for Kerryanne @ Shabby Art Boutique Kerryanne @ Shabby Art Boutique

    Ohhhh, the despair of teenagers! I know I've been kept entertained by mine for the past few years. Guess all you can do is sit back and watch the drama unfold Kari.... Who will he choose?... Will there be a fight for him... and What if his hair loses some of its awesomeness? :)

  51. Image for Kelly @ thelilypadcottage Kelly @ thelilypadcottage

    Oh your post actually made me excited to have my kids grow up and be teenagers because that is just too hilarious! My 5 year old told me yesterday she was really having a hard time deciding who to marry, but she has it narrowed down to 4 boys...she is going to be a fun one :) I'm obsessed with those chairs with the book by the way, you have the best finds!

  52. Image for melissa @ DaisyMaeBelle melissa @ DaisyMaeBelle

    I was out with my 13 year old daughter tonight also taking the nonchalant approach to retrieving info. Daisy: "Do you know Luke? He has a really great style." Me: "You mean the boy who never brushes his hair?" Daisy: "Yeah, but it looks really good on him." All kinds of information retrieval followed! Life is going to be fun with a teen girl! Life to the full! Melissa

  53. Image for Cindy Cindy

    I was listening to Dr Laura today for a few minutes and a mom came on talking about her 14 yr old boy, their lives are so complicated, aren't they! (said a wee bit sarcastically.) I remember when my boy was about that age, the testosterone kicking in makes for an interesting change in a sweet boy... I love your decor in the boys room, very masculine and really very nice.

  54. Image for ZoeAnn ZoeAnn

    This is too funny! (Of course not at all funny to him)- Poor thing, so adorable all the girls like him! Give him a few years and he will love it all! I'm not sure how old he is but my son went through the stinky sock thing in middle school- I think ALL middle school boys stink! And alas, the girls still like them…

  55. Image for pam clark pam clark

    What a great story! This will soon be my life......I found out this week that I'm going to be teaching 7th and 8th grade Language Arts next year, after spending the last 10 years with my sweet little 3rd graders!!!! I'm sure it will never be dull.

  56. Image for Vicki Vicki

    I'm a day late but it is still worth the read. I sooo enjoy your posts about family...even more than the ones about decorating, because you have such great writing style. Seems Denton takes after his mom in his writing, and younger, 'sticky-sock son' takes after you in the hair-flipping department! Wonder which daughter will love red lipstick and have confidence earrings??? Thanks for making our day(s) with this post.... Vicki in Louisville, KY

  57. Image for Mike (CraftyDad) Mike (CraftyDad)

    Karianne: I love your DIY posts, but, honestly, this is my all-time favorite. Perhaps because I can relate to the boy-drama. With two boys in the house (12 and 18) there's a LOT of drama that goes on some days. And the normal brother/sibling rivalry is over-the-edge most days too. Can you say "TESTOSTERONE"? Denton: I can only give you a couple of words of advice when you've had all you can take. Those two words are Walk. Away. Have a great weekend -- all of you! P.S. My wife just called. The 100 bags of cypress mulch have been delivered. Guess what we'll be doing this weekend? : - )

  58. Image for Teresa Teresa

    This cracks me up. I am the mother of a teenage girl. She laughs all the time about the boys and their hair flipping. I have to show her this post!

  59. Image for May May

    It was way more of a roller coaster living with my son at this age than either of my girls. I can't help but think back to when my nephew was this age. He had gone through their house leaving notes on any available notepad declaring that he was "a stud". During my visit I quietly added the letters E N and T to all his notes naming him the student he was! I didn't say a word, just let him discover the change in his own time. Now he has a daughter this age and when he gets frustrated with her I remind him that when he was her age he was such a "student"!

  60. Image for tara tara

    life is hard when you have great hair. both of my boys do, too. and like you, the girls love it. i keep trying to convince them to let me shave their heads, but i have a sneaky suspicion that luke and seth sort of *LOVE* the drama that their gorgeous locks bring to their lives. :)

  61. Image for anne anne

    Wow such drama LOL! How old is he? If he is my daughters age 13 well in six months she will be 14 gulp! It seems that is when the drama starts.And I have to say that my daughter would have reacted the same way.She is not into the boyfriend girlfriend thing at all LOL! She is actually up stairs right now being a little girl and playing with her dolls :-) Sweet photo of your son :-) xx Anne

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