Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Snuggle Bug turns one this week. One year old. I can’t believe it. I know it is cliché, and I know everyone says it, but man this year has gone fast. How can it be that Snuggle Bug is one already?

It has been an amazing year with Snuggle Bug. I know I have not done a good job of capturing her personality on this blog, but she has been an AMAZING baby. Honestly, husband and I were blessed in that all three of our children were wonderful babies, and Snuggle Bug is no exception. She’s cute and funny and so easy going. She’s a good eater, a sound sleeper and poops more than I thought humanly possible. She loves stuffed animals, but prefers to play with her brother and sister’s toys, especially ones that fit in her mouth. She’s mischievous, and will take any opportunity to crawl (quickly) up stairs. She plays games with you, often slipping out of her car seat strap just as soon as you reach for the second one. She doesn’t laugh easily (although the frustrate-the-parent-with-the-car-seat-strap game is apparently hilarious), so when she does for you it is all that much more special. She loves high fives. She appears to have a special bond with her brother and is already trying to mimic everything big sister does.

We are so blessed to have her as part of our family.

It is hard to reflect on Snuggle Bug’s first year of life without also reflecting on the 5 or so months before her birth when things regarding her health seemed so uncertain. All of the ultrasounds the doctors suggested we not watch. Undergoing tests we knew had a risk of loss. Facing decisions that literally meant life or death. Her life or death. And I never will forget the moment I walked into the delivery room and realized that in just a few hours we’d finally know for sure what our future would look like. As it turns out, our future was adorable.

Every day I thank God for bringing Snuggle Bug into my life. And I thank God for all of the friends and family who supported Husband and me throughout the pregnancy. When I look at Snuggle Bug, I am reminded of how blessed I am in so many ways. And exactly how many things I have to celebrate.

Happy first birthday Snuggle Bug! Thank you for everything you’ve brought into our lives!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Yes, I must admit, I have an addiction.

Hello, my name is Jean and I am addicted to vacation/traveling.

Yes, I realize it has been a while since I have posted on the blog. Well, this is because I was feeding my addiction. This time it was our annual family vacation to northern Wisconsin. And it was amazing!!

Our 10 day trip in June included so much fun, I just have to list out some of the activities that occurred:
• Fishing (Perch, bass (rock and smallmouth), sunfish, bluegill, walleye, trout (brown and rainbow) and even a musky!)
• Golfing
• Horseback riding
• Kayaking
• Bike riding (yes, we hauled our bikes on vacation. We are the Griswolds in the family truckster!)
• Tennis
• Visiting the Northwoods zoo (Jim Peck’s) where you can feed fawns!
• Shopping
• Reading
• Catching tadpoles
• Swimming
• Eagle and loon watching – up close!
• Ping pong/shuffleboard/Foosball
• Puzzles (300+ pieces)

And a few things we did not do:
• Watching TV
• Reading the newspaper
• Updating Facebook
• Checking our cell phones
• Working
• Dishes
• Cooking

This is one of the few vacations which is jam-packed, but I actually get to spend quality time with my family! No hurrying from place to place, yelling at the kids that we are late or eating in the van on our way to practice, a game, work, etc. So while we did A LOT of activities, this was, in fact, a relaxing vacation.

When can I go again?
Jean Anne

Monday, July 1, 2013

Confessions from the Dark Side No. 1:

I often find myself blogging about the sunshine and roses of parenting. The good moments, the happy stories, the recipes that tasted straight out of the cook book. However, this is really only telling half the story of my journey as a working Mom.

That’s not reality. My life as a working Mom is not all sunshine and roses….its …well… rain and weeds sometimes. So I thought I’d start a blog series where I share those weeds. Some confessions from the dark side of working motherhood.

Here goes nothing:

Confession #1: I feel REALLY guilty.

I am the first to admit it that I have a great working Mom life. My job is amazing to raise children in. I’m able to work my job, leave early to rush to the dance studio, head the baseball field, etc. I don’t work nearly the nights and weekend hours that my partners do.

For many years when my kids were really little – my personal life was very manageable. Now my working life and personal life have exploded and I am constantly on the go. I spend more time in my minivan than my house it seems. And this reality causes things to get missed and people to get caught in the cross fire.

One person always comes to my mind….poster child of my working Mom guilt: L.

Yep, if there was a face to my guilt…it looks like this:


L is the youngest of the three – following a (near) 7 year old sister and a 5 ½ year old brother.

L and I have had so much against us from the start. See, when I had J, my first baby, I had all the time in the world. She was rocked to sleep every night, she got a whole song book of lullabyes, we visited every children’s museum, had art on Sundays, we took walks just to take them. She got all my attention. All the time.

When H came around 15 months later, you would think he would have to share my time. Well, it just so happened that H was a difficult baby due to his colic and ear problems. My husband couldn’t deal with the screaming baby anymore than he had to and so we had an unspoken arrangement of "you (Todd) take care of J (the easy one) and I’ll (me) take care of H". So H still got all my attention, and although I had to split my time between my babies, he still got pretty much everything his sister did, with some minor exceptions.  

And then came L. It was such classic foreshadowing of my life that L was taken from my immediately from the time he was born (he swallowed fluid coming out). I spent the first 3 hours of his life, begging, pleading, and yes telling the entire hospital I was a lawyer and would sue them if they didn’t let me see my baby. They finally took me in my hospital bed down to the NICU to see him.

Then of course, my anesthiologist screwed up my c-section and failed to give me morphine. Meaning that I was in massive pain following the surgery. So much pain that I hardly could hold L in the hospital. And my recovery was painful and long.

And as was my luck, L was an amazing baby. Slept through the night, hardly cried, easy peasy. This meant that my husband now had more difficulty with the dramatic 4 year old and active 3 year old in our house. This lead to another unspoken policy of “you (Me)deal with the two of them, and I’ll (Todd) have L”.

Reality stepped in with three kids. I was suddenly pulled in three directions. Where as J got a songbook of lullabyes, L never got rocked to sleep. L spent the majority of the first year of his life in car-seats sitting at dance studios, soccer fields. I hardly had time to lay on the floor and play with him because the house was always a mess, laundry was always piling up. And if I did lay down with him the two other vocal children always had something to pull me away.

I look at L now and I can’t believe he’s three. My last child and I really didn’t get a chance to enjoy the moments. They flew by – I’m never going to get to do this again and I’m missing so much. Reality keeps getting the way – life is moving too fast.  

Yet somehow even though Mommy is always on the go – L became a notorious Mama’s Boy. Of my three, he is the one that refuses to be away from my side. With my other two if you bring in Nana or a shiny new toy, they don’t even know I’m in the room, but L?  L cries every time I leave the house. In fact, he always has his shoes on because he always wants to be ready to follow me whenever I head for the door. And if that doesn’t break your heart…I don’t know what else will.

This leads to an incredible amount of guilt for me. The other day Todd told me L had a field trip to the zoo at school – I had no idea about the field trip. I cried all the way to work that day – I had never missed a field trip for J and H, and here I had to miss this one. With J being a competitive dancer, and H playing sports I am always on the run with them. I often spend my evenings sitting in a dance studio hallway.

There are nights I find myself rushing fast through his favorite lullabye – there are nights I forget to read his favorite Good Night Good Night Construction Site. At age three, he takes more showers than bubbly playful baths. Nights like those I lay there in bed and feel incredibly guilty and see the dark side of being a working Mom.

The other night the kids were outside playing with the neighbors and of course L was inside the house with me cleaning the kitchen. I looked at him. He looked so old to me. All of the sudden it was like a little boy was standing there, not a baby. My kitchen was a mess, I had a ton to do – but I didn’t care. I picked him up took him into his room and we sat on the floor and played cars. And we played and played until it was so dark the kids couldn’t see outside. It was a great night. A night I truly felt at peace.

I know those nights are few and far between – I can’t promise with my crazy life of running around that things aren’t going to be missed. But all I can do is focus on the time we do have together and make sure I make it the best.

Sometimes reality sucks.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Officially a First Grader

As of last Monday KJ is officially a first grader.

I’m pretty sure you heard the news. After all, it was the first thing KJ told everyone he saw that day. It was also what he was shouting from the top level of our brand-new play set. And what he was chanting repeatedly as he went potty and washed his hands. And singing as he swung on the swings. And, it was what the super-awesome, I-forgot-I-had-bought-it- tye-died t-shirt he wore home from school read in big letters across his chest: Officially a first grader.

To say I’m proud of what KJ has accomplished this year is an understatement. KJ has learned and grown so much this year. He went from a safe environment where he had known every kid and teacher almost since birth to a brand-new school where he knew exactly 1 kid. As we stood outside the school that first day watching the other kids who knew each other from preschool or sports teams or whatever I was nervous for Kevin. I was nervous because he seemed to be the only kid who didn’t know anyone. I was nervous because I know transitions can be hard for him. Nervous because everything in his life was changing so fast (just a few days before school started we welcomed Snuggle Bug into our family). I was nervous it was all too much for a little guy who had just turned five.

But I didn’t need to be. Like he always does, KJ took all of the changes in stride. He welcomed Snuggle Bug into our family with an open heart. There isn’t anything KJ wouldn’t do for Snuggle Bug, and I have honestly never seen him act anything other than completely lovingly toward her. Where he could have been jealous, he was the epitome of love. I’m such a lucky mom.

At the same time, he adjusted to school. Despite new teachers, new rules and all new friends, KJ made it work. I know it was tough on him. KJ is a quiet kid. It isn’t easy for him to open up or try new things. School must have been terrifying. But he never talked about how hard it was. And in the course of this year, he’s gone from sitting by the guard during recess with his hands over his ears (he thought the playground was too loud), to playing full-on Skylanders with a bunch of boys, not even noticing his daddy watching him from the school parking lot.

He also conquered the bus. Bus riding in our district is no easy thing. The private school kids take the bus with the public school attending junior-high aged kids. This creates a bunch of worry for both KJ and Mom. Mom worried about what KJ would learn from the big kids on the bus. KJ worried about looking different (he wore a uniform, the public school kids did not), remembering his backpack and getting off at the right stop. And that was just on the days it wasn’t raining. Throw in an umbrella and some lightening and the bus was really scary! But he made it. Between a fellow kindergartener who took the bus with him part of the week and two extremely kind junior high girls, KJ conquered the bus.

And none of that even brushes on what he’s learned in the last year. I am amazed everything he has learned. He’s gone from knowing the alphabet and basic phonics to full-on reading. He recites Bible stories and prayers. He can add. He can subtract. He even kept a journal with complete sentences and punctuation. To think he learned all of this in a year is nothing short of amazing.

When the school year started in August, I was not excited for it. I was sure school would ruin my little boy.  And to some extent, I was right.  KJ is not the same little boy he was the day I first dropped him off.  His world is so much bigger now, and he has learned so much.  He’s learned things that have made my heart swell with excitement and pride for him.  And he’s learned some tough lessons about life that hurt my heart.  But in the end, all of his experiences have made him who he is -  an amazing, smart,  funny, caring boy.  I’m so glad I got to be a part of it.  

Sunday, June 9, 2013


My life has been crazy lately. 

Between work, my husband's crazy night working schedule, and my kids insane activity schedule - I am constantly on the go. Most nights I go from the law office, to the dance studio, to the baseball field. By the time we get home we are running around cooking dinner, getting clean, and getting to bed at a somewhat decent hour.  

Yet even with this busy schedule - I am finding myself experiencing a strange feeling....laziness. 

I know that is probably the last word you expected to hear me say, but yes I feel completely lazy. 

I have always prided myself with being a fun Mom. My husband, kids, and I used to spend our evenings and weekends playing and having fun adventures. Now, it seems like we are living...but not living. It's like my plate is full of veggies, and the health food I need to eat, but I have no room for dessert. Get my point? 

And it's getting bad. I mean this year is so busy we don't even have a family vacation planned this summer. Reality is simply taking all the fun out of our lives. 

After I put my kids to bed at night I sit down to wind down and think "Wow, that day was a blur...I never got to play with the kids, did I say "hurry up" more than "I love you"? Man I wish I would have sat down for 5 minutes and just played dolls with J, and why didn't I just pitch H some baseballs in the front yard? Did I seriously just tell L we didn't have enough time to read his favorite book again? 

And then comes another feeling...guilt. And of course it doesn't help that Facebook is full of those postcards that say things like "Don't blink your kids will grow up" or pictures of someone graduating with a comment under it that says "Wow, where did the years go?". 

I'm in a reality rut. I need to stop being the Mommy that carts the kids around, the wife that is always tired, the friend that has no time to text or send an email. I want to get back to...well me. 

So my mission this summer is to give myself my own intervention. I know life is busy, but that is no reason why we can't still make time for the real important things in life. 

Often with interventions there is a 12 step program - so here is my 12 step program to getting my family back on track to remembering what is important. My summer bucket list so to speak: 

1. Take walks as a family 
2. Go camping 
3. Visit our favorite beach spot - Grand Haven, Michigan and run in the sand with the kids. 
4. Eat at the kitchen table - picnic at the park - BBQ with my extended family. 
5. Finally go to the drive in theater I have been saying I'm going to visit for years 
6. Plan a family slumber party 
7. Lay under the stars with my kids 
8. Declare a technology free week - no facebook, no internet, no ipad, no phones. 
9. Road trip - even if we don't have a destination 
10. Swing with my kids on our favorite swing down by the river 
11. Play catch with my son, dance with my daughter, race cars with my son ( A LOT) 
12. Run through the spray park -- yes me too. 

I'm determined to make this summer the best it can be. We are only going to get busier, we are always going to be stressed out. It's time to remember what is really important before I'm posting my own "Where did the time go?" under a picture of L at his graduation party. Let's do this!!!


Friday, June 7, 2013

The Double Double Standard

As you all may know, I sell Thirty-One Gifts.  I have tons of it in my house and have bought my kids numerous things.  The products tend to run a little "girly" so H has gotten way more of it through the months than B. Yesterday, B, who is now 10, said he wanted a tote. I had a special to use, so I said "Sure! Come look and pick the one you want." These totes come in all different colors, and I was expecting him to choose red, or black or camo.  He chooses the Pink Pop Medallion.  I seriously thought he was joking, but he wasn't. He really wanted it and when I said "but it's pink!" he said "real men like pink".  I told him to pick something else...his second choice? Party Punch -another undeniably feminine pattern.  I was about to refuse. Then I thought...
What if this were my daughter and she wanted to pick camo or black? I wouldn't think twice and if anyone told her she couldn't have those because she was a girl I would have told them to stuff it - probably not so politely.  I have always been a strong advocate for my daughter that she can do what she wants, wear what she wants, whatever makes her feel comfortable and confident...she's never been a "girly girl" so that is a battle she and I have been waging a long time.
But B...not so much.  He wears what I buy him and other than mismatched socks (which have now apparently become the fashion) his "self-representation" has been fairly standard. When H got a blanket with a flower on it, he got one with a baseball.... no fuss, there. As I pondered his choice of totes, I realized that to my utter dismay I did not want my son to pick a "girly" pattern - I really wanted him to pick something more masculine.  Why was it my instinct that H can be/do/choose whatever she wants, but B should be/do/choose "boy" things? Because I'm afraid he would be picked on...I was going to pick on him about it---I kind of DID, without even realizing it - "You want WHAT?!"
So why the double standard, I'm wondering? Why are these things so deeply ingrained in us that, unconsciously, we make assumptions and judgments based on gender alone? and it's no wonder that things in this country, like civil rights for all, move so darn slowly.  I have spent all of my adult life opposing "norms" that diminish and make one person "less" than another - and I will go toe to toe with anyone about racism, gay rights and women's rights...but have my son choose something Pink?! I had to actually stop myself and think - "if this is what he wants, why can't he have it?" and "For goodness' sake, your his Mother - be supportive!"...He got Party Punch.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Now, while I love musical/musical theater, this post is not about the musical Hair. Nope, this post is somewhat boring and dull…just about hair (you know, the kind on your head?). And currently, that’s what my hair is – boring and dull. But let’s not talk about me.

As a mom of twin girls, hair is a hairy situation (hardee har har). My daughters have shoulder length beautiful blonde hair with reddish streaks (probably described as a strawberry blonde by most people). But it is horrible to take care of.  It is thin and there is not much of it.  Unless I start brushing out the tangles.  And then you would think B is Rapunzel. 

Now, I guess you could say I have somewhat tomboy-ish/athletic/non-girly girls. Although, I am not sure this is completely an accurate description, as they won’t wear jeans and B loves purple! But we are at the soccer/softball fields all spring…which means a ponytail. Which means whining!!  I am not talking about french braids or anything fancy.  I am talking about a simple ponytail.  Just so they can see the ball.  Is that really that horrible?

For girls that are very particular about what they wear (whether it be a fancy dress or Adidas shorts), they could care less about how their hair looks. They only care when their bangs get too long and they get tired of brushing them out of their faces. One soccer practice, Grandma forgot ponytails…what a mess!

Even if A & B grudgingly let me put their hair up, it never looks right. I am always missing a strand or there is a bump where it should be smooth. Plus, after a tough game, the pony tail looks like it went through a wind storm. And the tangles…

So, does anyone have any hair tips for me? With swimming season fast approaching, any advice would be appreciated. I think I have tried about every hair care product (Wen Hair, It’s a Ten spray, Suave detangler) and all kinds of pony tail holders. Any cute hair ideas (besides just cutting it off)?

Thanks for your help!

Jean Anne

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Doctor Mom

For some time now Snuggle Bug has had a small, but persistent patch of cradle cap.  In the past few months I tried  to remove the dry, scaly patch of skin.  I tried combing the spot, changing baby shampoos and using grown-up dandruff shampoo on her hair.  Nothing got rid of that patch.  Then yesterday, I tried something different: I rubbed extra virgin olive oil on my baby's head.  Fifteen minutes later, I very gently combed the spot and sure enough -- the dry, scaly skin came off.  I couldn't really see the full results until after Snuggle Bug's bath (which, of course, was immediately after the combing.  Because really, who lets their kid go around with olive oil on their head?) but when she was dry and sparkly, I couldn't believe the results.  There was a slight red mark where the patch had been, but that was it.  I was pretty impressed by the results. 

Ever the pessimist,  I thought for sure the scales would be back by morning.  But I was wrong: baby work up this morning with a nice, smooth scalp.  Even the red mark was gone!  And that got me thinking: if cradle cap can be "cured" with olive oil, there must be a million other mom-remedies out there just waiting to be shared.  In fact, when I really thought about it, even I had some (not-so-original-but-effective) mom tricks I've learned over the years.  For example, I've learned:
  • A drop of warm olive oil in the ear will immediately ease the pain of an ear infection until you can get baby to a doctor;
  • Daily use of a coco butter stick on a scab will reduce or eliminate a scar (thank you Ms. Jautani!); 
  • That you can (sometimes) prevent a case of croup from sending you to the hospital by taking baby out into the cool night air;
  • That you can remove even the driest skin by soaking it in a mixture of vinegar and water and scrubbing with a pumice stone (I admit, this has nothing to do with kids, but it substitutes as a pedicure when it's midnight and sandal season);
  • Nothing clears up diaper rash quicker than exposure to air; and
  • The best use of a Mr. Clean Eraser is to remove soap scum from a shower door (try it - it's better than any bathroom cleaner IMO). 
And those are just the things I can think of off the top of my head. 

I know I'm not the only mom with tricks like these.  While on maternity leave with Snuggle Bug I met up with a friend of mine who has five kids who happened to mention that you can get pen out of couch fabric with Germ-X.  And I know that was just the tip of the suggestion iceberg for her.  So, let's share our best ones, Moms!  List your coolest/most helpful/ most unique tips in the comments below!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Party Girl Part 2

As I type this blog and sip my Diet Pepsi, I have a slight headache, my arms and feet ache, and I'm tired. I had to dodge bags, toys, and paper plates as I walked to my computer...yep it was a party weekend for sure.

Yes, this weekend we celebrated L's birthday with a Cars Party built for a race fan! I was so worried about the weather but it held out and was a beautiful (and humid!) day. Last night while I was exhausted after countless late nights getting ready for the party I wondered to myself if it was worth spending weeks planning a party when it was over in a matter of hours. But then as I tucked my son in he smiled and said "Mommy can I have my party again tomorrow" and my other son chimed in "Can we leave the Cars in the backyard?" Yep, its worth it.

Yes, I go way overboard for my kids parties and I have been called crazy by numerous people. But I'm celebrating the lives of the three most important people in my world. And I'm getting to relive a little bit of what it is like to be a child. That my friends, is why I am a party girl.

Here's how the Cars Party came together:

Welcome to Radiator Springs!!

My son L is obsessed with cars. So it was only befitting he have a Cars 2 party. Allow me to welcome you to Radiator Springs. L's birthday is in May and so I knew I wanted to do something outside. So I transformed our yard into Radiator Springs. The road is simply one of those black rolls of table covers cut in half, secured to the grass with golf tees and white duck tape was the center line. The flags in my bushes are two long rolls of flags from Oriental Trading. The tree house Car Wash is simply blue streamers hanging down. It turned out really cute!!

Mack the Truck: 

My favorite party decoration was definitely Mack the Semi Truck table. I think he was my favorite because I didn't find this idea on the Internet or Pinterest...I just came up with it and with the help of my husband we made it work!! Here's how we did it:

Step #1: Find really large Boxes. Okay, so this was one project I actually did buy cardboard boxes for (instead of asking friends and family to donate extra boxes from around their houses). I went to UHaul and Bought 1 large wardrobe box, and two small wardrobe boxes. Arrange them with the small wardrobe box, completely taped shut on both ends in the front, the small wardrobe box with the flaps left open for the 2nd one (stand it open flap end down) and the large wardrobe box again with one set of flaps open. His hat was simply a box a friend gave me. with one flap left open for the bill of the hat.

Now the fun part -- painting. I learned the hard way that the writing on boxes are hard to paint over. Best thing to do is spray paint the words of the box with white spray paint before painting - boy I wish someone would have told me this tip before I did it!! It took me forever to paint it!!

Of course I brought in a "professional" paint crew to help!!

With a box knife cut out long rectangles to make the grill and spray paint with silver. I also used silver to accent the yellow lightning bolt. I drew his eyes tracing a role of duct tape for the eye ball and hand drawing the black center.

Place two long rectangle tables behind him and presto he's done. I was going to make wheels for him but I honestly ran out of time! but the presents made great wheels!!!

Cars, Cars and more Cars: 

 A big part of the party - were the Stars of the movie - in Cardboard form. This is actually easier than it looks. If you Google how to make cardboard cars there are a ton of videos and pictures by people who can explain it much better than me. The eyes are simply posterboard glued onto the cars. If you google a picture of the particular character it shows you exactly how their eyes are shaped. Trust me I have ZERO artistic ability (I can't even draw stick people right) and I could do this.

Yep, these cars are so easy anyone or any cat can do it! Trace the pattern of the car on the side of the box cut with your box cutter and use hot glue to glue the hood. Easy peasy!

The kids had so much playing with the whole cast of characters!

Inside I continued the Race-car theme. Even the bathroom became the Pit Stop.

The menu was a BBQ with hot dogs and loose meat hamburger. The snacks were all of my son's favorites with Chocolate Doughnut tires and Oreo Hubcaps. The arrangement is simply a vase filled with all the hundreds of matchbox cars around my house and some flags.

But outside was where the fun was at. One of my favorite ideas was the gas station. I put one of those beverage containers with the spout inside a box and cut out a hole. The kids drove up the gas station and got a drink! The Mater cut out is from Oriental

We had a such a great party!! Now, to start thinking about my daughter's Fiesta themed party coming in July!! Stay tuned!!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Long, Slow, Beautiful Dance

Today is my ninth wedding anniversary.  Nine years.  Where has the time gone?

It doesn't feel possible that nine years have passed since Husband and I said "I do."  I can remember *exactly* how I felt about him nine years ago.  How much I loved him.  How I wanted to be with him more than any other person in the world.  Forever. 

Nine years, three kids, two jobs and one house later, we're celebrating our anniversary over 700 miles apart.  I'm traveling for work and Husband is home with the kids.  Husband will spend more time with the babysitter today than he will with me.  Not exactly the type of anniversary celebration a girl dreams about. 

But it is apropos for how we've been treating our marriage lately.  It would not be an overstatement to say that our marriage could use some work.  Between work and school and the kids activities, Husband and I are stretched pretty thin.  Right after Snuggle Bug was born Husband took a new position with his company that came with a teeny tiny bit more pay but tons of extra overnight and weekend work.  And my job has required a lot of unadvertised travel.  Throw in three kids, a bunch of activities, school and regular day-to-day obligations and we are pretty much at capacity.  Husband and I barely have a chance to talk about the basics, let alone discuss anything that might nurture our relationship.  And you can forget about going out.  Husband has always been a homebody and difficult to get out of the house.  Add in complications of needing a babysitter and being on a time table, and it's a sure bet it isn't going to happen, even if all he has to do is show up.  And that gets you where we are now: needing some maintenance.

 I've been telling Husband we need a tune-up for quite some time now.  For a long time I've felt like my only value to Husband has been as a workhorse:  I'm expected to have a job and provide the main income for our family so that we can have a house and car and food.  I'm also expected to do all of the tasks that go along with taking care of our children, maintaining a home, and coordinating the kids activities.  It doesn't sound like much in that list, but if you think about all of the steps in just one task in one of those categories, you can understand how at times I feel overwhelmed.  And why I want to feel like something more.  But, if the morning's lackluster exchange of cards says anything at all, it says that Husband isn't likely to look at me any differently any time soon. 

A marriage isn't a one-way street, however, and I've got work to do too.  I'll openly admit that I don't know how to make Husband feel valued and special.  It's hard to convince Husband that I'd rather spend time with him than anyone else in the world when I fall asleep on the couch every night 27 seconds after I finish packing all of the lunches, snacks, and school supplies for the next day.  I want it to be different, and it is up to me to make it so.  Now I've just got to figure out how (and stay awake to do so). 

It's been an amazing nine years with Husband.  The past nine years have been filled with some challenges but many wonderful blessings.  Our children, our family and our home are so much more than I ever thought they could be.  I am truly blessed beyond words.  And I still feel about Husband the exact same way I felt nine years ago -- there's no one else in the world I'd rather be with.  And I'm even more in love.  To borrow the lyrics from one of the songs in our wedding, "it's a long, slow, beautiful dance" and while we may be a bit out of sync right now,  I'm so glad we're dancing together. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Party Girl - Part One

Here lies Mandi…

She threw one HELL OF A PARTY.

Okay, so maybe that is not what my gravestone is going to say – but a girl can hope right?

I’m a party girl. I don’t mean literally….as my idea of a Saturday night is usually a glass of wine and some scrapbooking. What I mean is I love to throw parties, especially birthday parties.

And I’m a crazy party Mom…meaning I have been known to move furniture out of my house, construct cardboard semi trucks, and transform my house into an island. Birthday parties take on a whole new meaning in my house. I try to make parties that my kids will remember someday.

I get a lot of my party ideas from Pinterest, websites, etc. A few my husband and I come up with on our own just from late night brainstorming sessions. Oh, I guess I should explain my husband’s role in all of this…I come up with the ideas, he is usually the one left to figure out how were are going to execute them. He is the one that decides how we will build a large pirate ship, or make a Batmobile in our house. When I am stumped at how to create something, that's when I bring in Todd to help me create my dreams.
The key to throwing amazing parties on a working Moms calendar and clock is to start planning way ahead of time. I literally start planning my parties about 2 months ahead of time. I do a little bit here and there to help me get it all done.
I thought today since I am in the midst of preparing for my next party (Cars theme for my son L), that I would share some of my favorite party tips. Just because you are busy doesn’t mean you can’t throw an amazing party. Hopefully some of these ideas can help inspire your next party!
Tip #1 - Create a party room - All my parties are focused on one room, a party room so to speak. I may dabble here and there with some decorations in my kitchen, etc., but to me its easier to just focus on decorating one room. For my  house - my long and narrow family room is the Party Room. I clear out most of my furniture from the room and set up the party.
Here's how I transformed the party room for a Star Wars themed party. I used a cheap roll of table covers to cover my walls and drew stars all over the walls with silver Sharpie marker. My kids loved helping with this. I painted sytrofoam balls to be planets turned folding chairs into Storm Troopers.

The Party Room Looked this for my son's Team Umizoomi Party.... I used just plain paper for the shapes and my daughter and friends help color them. I bought dollar store water bottles to add color to the table and filled up dozens of balloons for the ceiling.
And for my daughter's Rock Star Party it looked like this...different themes. Same room!
Tip #2 - Dress up Parties are always more fun
 For my parties everyone gets involved, parents and children alike. The best way to do this is to encourage people to dress up. Now I have done this on each end of the extreme from just setting out some fun Pirate Hats and bandanas for a Pirate party.... telling everyone to come dressed as their favorite Superheroes. Having your guests dress up for your parties gets them involved and everyone (adults and children alike) have a blast.
Tip #3 - The Centerpiece
At my parties I try to think of one big centerpiece for the party -- something big and eye catching that brings the Wow factor. For example, at my son's pirate party I wanted to build a big pirate ship. To do this I purchased a large wardrobe box from Uhaul for $12.00, and used spray paint and a table cloth for the sail. The kids spent the party climbing through the ship. It was great! 

 For my son's upcoming Cars party this weekend I'm making Mack the Semi Truck for the centerpiece of the party. His tractor is made of 4 cardboard boxes and his trailer will be the tables.

Tip #4 - Party Theme Your Food

One of my favorite ways to play with my party theme is with the food. I get a lot of these ideas from Pinterest. For my son's Superhero party we served a Superhero AtTACO bar. For my son's pirate party we did HambARGHers. And for my son's Star Wars party I decked out the snack table with Light Sabers, and Wookie Cookies, etc. Pinterest is definitely the spot to check out for these ideas.

Tip #5: Think OUTSIDE of the Box
For each of my parties I  try and bring the party outside. It helps get your guests ready to party even before they walk in. For my daughter's Rockstar party I made a walk of fame with spray painted gold stars (made out of poster board). 

Tip #6 - Some of the Best party decorations are completely free
I always make sure and have a party budget, but surprisingly some of the things I have made for my parties that are completely free are the things I get the most compliments on. For example, I took old CDs (that have long been placed on my iPod) and taped them to my french doors to give a fun decoration to my Rock Star party.

 My favorite decoration for my son's superhero party was the Batmobile made out my son's Cars toddler bed some garbage bags and some  cardboard in my recycling bin for seats.

Tip #7 - Cardboard is your friend
And while we are mentioning cardboard - I will tell you it completely your friend. I use cardboard in every party - to create buildings like I did at my son's superhero party, or construct cars which I am doing for my party this weekend. Best part - I usually just ask people to give me their old cardboard boxes they aren't using so its a very cost effective way to decorate!


Happy Party Planning...I'll post more tips in Part 2 next week!!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

When the Child Becomes the Parent

As I left off from my last post, I had just received a message from my mom stating that my dad’s bleeding had not stopped and they needed to head to Madison. As my dad takes blood thinner, this is no easy fix. Additionally, this was his eye we were talking about. So many thoughts and emotions at this time…

-Was my dad going to be ok?
-Was he going to lose sight in his eye?
-How were we going to get to Madison? And where would we go in Madison once we got there?
-How was I going to explain this to my girls?
-And (selfishly) what about the rest of our trip to the Dells?

I am an only child and have always been a Daddy’s girl. Now, my invincible father was now hurt. And my mom needed me to help. We needed to figure out a plan. But where to start? All of my solutions only had more questions?
-Would it be easier for Dad to go back to Des Moines?
-Could he make it in the car for that long without bleeding again?
-Should we head home too?
-How do we get a rental car in southern Wisconsin on a Sunday morning?

After much debate and many calls between doctors and hospitals, it was decided that my parents would get a rental car and head back home to see my dad’s eye doctor. This led to hours (yes, literally hours) of my husband and I on the phone searching for an open rental car place. HA! Madison was the only viable option and that was an hour in the wrong direction. Plus, my parents had never needed to rent a car, so this was another concern. 

Then came the guilt – should we go home and cancel the rest of our vacation? Would it be any fun without my parents? My dad became so upset when we told him we were headed home, he started to cry. And that is something I couldn’t take.

So, with prayers and heavy hearts, we headed to the Dells. And my mom and dad headed home.

Luckily, everything turned out ok with my dad. But I realized that my parents are growing older. And maybe I have to grow up too.

But I don’t want to…

Jean Anne

Monday, May 6, 2013

What's an Attorney?

I’m an attorney.

It seems like everyone has their own definition of what an attorney is.

There’s my mother who believes my job is exactly like all those legal shows she watches on tv.

There’s the “haters” who throw attorney jokes into every conversation.

There’s those who wonder how I can defend insurance companies.

There’s those who think I am the mecca of legal advice, but unfortunately most of the time they want advice on areas of the law I don’t have any experience in.

Being a defense attorney is something I love. I think I am meant to be on the defense side of the v. From a very young age I was always the one who defended everything…whether it was my questionable choice of coloring with red lipstick on the walls, or defending someone on the playground, I am just a person that is meant to defend.

In just a couple of months I will be celebrating my 10th anniversary as an attorney. Almost a third of my life has been spent as an attorney. I love my job because everyday is different. I’ve sat at a bar and turned down shots from witnesses, tiptoed carefully through a molasses factory, been stopped by federal marshals because of matchbox cars in my bag, tried cases with judges who have called me everything from “sharp shooter” to someone “who should have been in a theater”. Yes, the one thing about my job is it’s never dull.

But what is even funnier is how my job is viewed to my children. My children have grown up around my job. They’ve been all around this state traveling with me for work. They know that the best place in the office is the front conference room where they climb on the table, and play the computer or watch a movie on the jumbo-tron. They know my office is a mecca of post it notes of every color of the rainbow. And yes it is common for one of my partners to find toys around the office from time to time (like a blue elephant in the senior partner’s office…yes true story).

So a couple weeks ago while eating dinner with my kids I asked them to tell me about my job. What do I do when I go to work?

So allow me to present what an attorney does in the eyes of my children:

1.     You yell at people.

2.     You play on a computer all day.

3.     You get on a coat and go to the courthouse.

4.     You talk on the phone.

5.     You yell at people. (wow…second time mentioned… guess I better be nicer).

6.     You sit with paper

7.     You put post it notes in files

8.     You write “stories”

9.     You go to "deppersissions". (depositions).

10. You help people in BIG TROUBLE…by yelling at people (wow again!).

Through the midst of my laughter at some of these comments…my son looked at me with his big blue eyes and a full mouth of macaroni and cheese and said…

11. You make money so we can have toys.

BINGO. There you go. I think that about sums up my job. I am the phone-talkin’ post it note carrier, people yeller who makes money so my kids can have toys.
And that my friends is what an attorney truly is.


Monday, April 29, 2013

How much is TOO MUCH?

Sitting with my new (purple and oh so cute) yearly planner, pencil in hand, I sat down to do a pretty regular task in my life…plan out my kids’ calendars. 9:00 a.m. – Swimming lessons, for H; 10:00 a.m. swimming lessons for J. Baseball practice 6:00 p.m. H, Dance at 4:00 for J.

But this year my normally mundane task of scheduling my children’s summers took on a whole new adventure…



Yep, things just got REAL.

I’ve blogged about this before, but my daughter J is a competitive dancer. This past year was her first year of competition. She had 2 (adorable and proud to admit award winning) dances. She dances Mondays and Wednesdays and had to practice every now and then on a weekend. It was fine, she LOVED it, and her love of dancing truly became her passion.  
The competition season just finished and now J has been moved up to Home Team at her dance studio. She was super excited, especially at the prospect of being able to do duets and solos.

Before a blink of my eye, my daughter’s “dance card” went from 2 dances to 7, yep, 7! 1 Jazz group, 1 Lyrical group, 1 Tap group, 1 Hip Hop group, 1 Production number, 1 Duet, and 1 Solo. A 7 year old with 7 dances…is that even possible??

I’ve asked my daughter this question 1000 times the past few weeks. And I have to admire her ability to debate her position. When I told her that she had to give up a dance because it was too much she quickly responded: “Mom I can remember them…want me to show you the dance from last year?? How about 2 years ago???”.

But the number of dances is not the only concern. There are additional classes that being part of the Home Team requires – classes with strict attendance policies. Monday – Jazz, Lyrical, and Ballet; Wednesday – Tap; and Thursday is choreography night at the studio and therefore her time to learn 5 of her dances. The other two (her solo and duet) are to be learned on her “free time” on the weekends. Well, I guess not free time since she is taking Leaps and Turns on Saturday. My head hurts again just thinking about all of this.

I’ve sat down long and hard these past couple of weeks and wondered how much is too much? When does the Mom who is supposed to know best, beat out the Daughter who wants to dance? It’s such a fine line between keeping her balanced, and stifling her passion.

I guess the real problem is that I don’t know what’s best. J is my first child, I’ve never done this. I was never a dancer, I have no idea what this entails. I’ve see her work ethic, I’ve watched her passion, no matter what has been thrown at her, she has never complained, not once. So, is it right to tell this girl who knows what she wants to do that she can’t do something just because her Mom is afraid?

And of course the search for advice did not help at all – it was split pretty much equal between the “Oh you are crazy for letting her do this!” to “You have to let her do this Mandi”.

But then there’s the reality of the fact that she is only 7 and there are only so many hours of the day. I literally almost broke my pencil when I wrote down her Choreography Week in the summer where she has to be at the Dance Studio from 2:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. one day that week, the day before her 7th birthday no less.  

But then just when I’m about to listen to the overly protective mother voice inside my head – I look at my daughter and listen to her. She wants to do all these dances, well to use her words, she’ll “die” if she has to give one up. She lights up when she hits the stage, she loves every minute of dancing. She doesn’t do any other activities or sports – she knows where her heart belongs.

So I gave in, and got excited. Let’s do this. But saying something is nothing like doing it and so this week I have been faced with the reality of what all of this means as class registration has taken place. Why does something that sounds okay, look horrifying when you write it down?

Her summer is now booked – between swim lessons and dance, she’s got a full plate. After a week of a lot of thinking about it, venting with friends, and annoying my husband to no end with hours of back and forth on this, we registered for dance classes and finalized her schedule. I decided to go with the flow and let her try to do 7 dances. I decided its much better to be scared to do something, then regret that I never let her try.

So how much is too much? How do you balance your kids schedule? When is your rule of thumb on when to say no?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Confessions of a Scaredy Cat

For a while now, I've been feeling really super in control.  Totally in my element at work - Focusing mostly on juvenile stuff at work, which I'm confident that I'm at least proficient in; getting the family in the swing of spring activities - including adding Brownie leader to my resume and scheduling around Cub Scouts, Brownies, Softball and Baseball - not to mention showers and homework, which are both like pulling teeth; and proud of my success and comfortable with the current lull in my Thirty-One business (one party on Saturday, then nothing scheduled until August) - Two events to plan for this weekend and a ton of cupcakes to make. NO PROBLEM - I've got it all under control....

That is, until Tuesday. On Tuesday, I learned that a case that I've had for several years - that I am just the "front man" on for a big-time interstate property attorney - is going to trial - next Thursday. AND that the lead counsel, who knows everything about it, is not going to be at the trial-so I have to do it all by myself. Now, I don't talk about it much, but I have a situational anxiety disorder. When I am faced with a situation or a person that I don't have any experience with, I literally get sick to my stomach, my brain freezes up and I go into full-on flight mode.  I NEVER go into fight mode. Flight mode for me usually entails huge amounts of avoidance - avoiding the file, avoiding the names on the file, avoiding the persons involved with the file... you get the picture.  

I've not had an issue like this one for a long time, so when I learned of the trial I would have to do by myself, all confidence and control went out the window. But this time, it happened gradually.  I was able to make all the necessary decisions yesterday about filings, etc. that go along with trial prep, but when I got home I was in a horrid mood, exhausted from all the stress.  Last night I was so completely freaked out that I couldn't sleep; and when I did I had terrible nightmares.  

I've had a bad cough for several months it seems, and with it progressively getting worse and my need to avoid life, I called in sick today.  Of course, with smartphones and internet, I haven't been able to avoid the thing altogether, but at least I have been able to do what I need to without everyone I work with seeing me so crazy.  My staff and partners are smart, though.  They know that I can't go too far off the beaten path before I start to loose it. And generally, they are really helpful at trying to get me through whatever drama there is. 

The irony is that I spend a significant amount of time at home convincing my kids NOT to be scared to try new things and to accept challenges.  and the worst thing is that no matter how many things like this come up, and no matter that I know it can't be avoided forever, AND that when it's over, I'm more confident and assured in my abilities, it's still a struggle.  This afternoon, I got a reprieve. The outside attorney for the trial next Thursday had a last minute change of plans and will now be here to try the case.  I am ashamed about how relieved I am and that once again I was unable to rise to the occassion.  I am a scaredy cat, plain and simple.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Turned Tables

One of the things I liked least about being an attorney was the marketing.  Mingling at cocktails parties, attending rubber chicken dinners and sitting on non-profit boards for the sole purpose of trying to gain business was just not my thing.  I resented those nights away from my family, talking with people I'd never see again and who had no real reason to keep my business card around.  I only ever joined the board of one non-profit, and even while that non-profit was for an extremely worthy cause that I wholeheartedly support, I still hated those nights away from my family.  The non-profit involved children, and I would spend substantial portions of the meetings considering the irony of spending that night taking care of other people's children when I should be at home, taking care of mine.  I was all too happy to leave the marketing world behind when I got my in-house gig.

 But as it turns out, I didn't actually leave that marketing world behind.  I'm just on the other side of the table. 

A large part of my job is hiring outside counsel to handle litigation on behalf of my company.  In lawyer speak, I give out business.  That makes me a target for all those lawyers looking for someone to talk to at conferences, take to dinner or shower with court-side seats to basketball games (I made that last one up.  No one has offered me basketball tickets.  Football, yes.  Basketball, no.).  The realization really came at Christmas, when the firms to whom we had given business started sending in holiday gifts.  Even though I had been at the company less than a year - and taken 8 weeks of that time off to have a baby - I received more holiday gifts that I ever could have imagined.  And they were generous.  Pecan pies from our counsel in the South.  Fruit basket from Florida.  Lemon cake from Cali.  Of course like most companies, we have a policy against accepting gifts and most things went straight into the larger law department snack cube to be enjoyed by all.  But the point is, the marketing was strong. 

Since Christmas, the marketing machine hasn't stopped.  I went to a dinner in New York where the shrimp were as big as your fist. . . and just an appetizer to the lobster and steak.  I drank splits of champagne without ever seeing a bill.  And once when I appeared to be stuck in Florida due to the snow, my outside counsel employed his firm's own travel department to find a way to get me home.  It truly is overwhelming. 

While I enjoy being pampered as much as the next gal, I don't need all of these things to make me want to continue working with my outside counsel. The truth is, I like working with them because they are nice people who are good at what they do.  In fact, I'm pretty confident that in many geographic regions, I'm working with the best attorneys in our area of law.  I learn so much from them.  And truthfully, I admire them.  Each of them were able to develop their own book of business - something I could never do.  And they've all become specialists of sorts.  I feel lucky to be working with them.  I should be sending the fruit baskets.

 But that isn't the way of the legal marketing world.  I am attending a three day conference this week, and my boss and I have so many lunch and dinner invitations that we can't accept them all, even splitting up.  Tomorrow, I'll be having dinner at what my outside counsel describes as " the hot new restaurant in town."  He even goes so far to say that the restaurant wasn't taking reservations, but his brother-in-law is a wine salesman, and was able to get us in. While I'm grateful for the trouble he went to, and admittedly looking forward to a dinner where I won't have to cut anyone's meat (and that might be hot when I eat it), I'm sure I'll still spend at least part of that dinner missing the kids and wishing I was at home, sharing in their day.  Even if that meant a dinner of cold leftover pasta picked from their plates post-bedtime. 


Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Mommy Confessions

Friday Night. 7:00 p.m. Well, probably 7:05 p.m. as my clock is usually set strategically so that I feel like I'm on time when in reality I'm usually running late. 

There I was. It was cold, windy. And while others were home cooking dinner, I was standing at the car wash vacuum with three kids getting ready to clean out the minivan I swore they’d never eat or bring trash in.

Yeah for a van "no one is eating in" there are certainly a lot of french fries in here. 

I normally do not spend my Friday nights at the car wash, but I was at that moment where if I had to look at the crap in my van one more day I was going to turn myself into the Hoarders reality show. 

The kids of course were watching a DVD in the warm van while I stood outside trying to force the vacuum to take what I thought were quarters but ended up being Chuck E Cheese tokens. Well two of the three were watching the movie as my daughter had climbed into the front seat…half because she always feels somewhat like a rebel when she sits up there, half because she wanted to warm her butt with my seat warmer. And as is typical of my daughter she just had to call out to me in the cold… “Mom my butt is so warm!!”

Okay so I’ll give her that one…it does feel nice.

Vacuum starts. I was trying to maneuver the vacuum cord while my 2 year old was kicking it off of him thinking it was a snake. The vacuum tackled the mess... sucking up gobs of Lucky Charms, dirt, M & Ms, Oops got a pony tail holder, crumbs, Crap! Hope that was a penny and not a dime. Sticking the vacuum way under the seat hoping it would get all the gross stuff my kids manage to get under the seats. I’m not brave enough to look under there, but the vacuum has no choice.

Suddenly there was a sound, half whoosh, half rattling. I glanced down just in time to see a white square go into the vacuum hose. Wait…that was a DS game! I looked up fast, hoping my 5 year old- video game addict didn't notice that I just managed to suck up his favorite (and to mention $45) video game.

Safe. No one saw it, even though my daughter loudly declared “Mom, I think you sucked up another quarter again”.

Eye roll. Well, she rolls her eyes at me, so it’s only fair.

I finished….well almost finished, as I never have mastered the art of timing that vacuum right. I am always left with a small area of crumbs, an area that is way too small to justify spending another dollar to get another round. Wait, who am I fooling... I only had the Chuck E Cheese tokens left anyway.

I wrapped the vacuum hose around the car wash vacuum, well tried to (another thing I have yet to master). I climbed into the front seat. I kept checking the rear view mirror. I was feeling guilty… oh God please don’t let it be the Mario game he just got. Could it maybe have been the Toy Story game no one wants to play? 
Why was a DS game under the front seat?

“Here H” Chimed J. “Your Toy Story game was here between the seats”.

Perfect timing J, as usual.

Eye roll again.

Guilt. The feeling of knowing I did something wrong. Wait a minute, am I actually feeling bad about sucking up a DS game in a car wash vacuum? Fake laugh. I mean come on, H needs to keep better track of his stuff, I didn’t mean to do it. Why am I feeling guilty and the sudden need to confess my “crime”.

I must be spending way too much time with J, the girl notorious for telling you she did something wrong before she even did it.  

Of course, as is my luck, this crime had to occur on the week I was already feeling guilty about H. H is my middle child. He has an incredibly busy older sister and needy younger brother. He’s often lost in the shuffle. He used to be a notorious Mama’s Boy and never left my side. Now, Dad is much cooler than Mom. And Mom also a day earlier was late to our lunch date because I had to file a brief and so his planned lunch of Red Robin literally turned into a McDonald Happy Meal in the front seat of my van that we had to inhale in the 3 minutes we had until Kindergarten Round Up.

Poor H. Mommy sucks this week, buddy....literally. 

I felt the need to tell someone my crime…share the load. Make me feel better. Certainly not H, and God forbid if I confess to J she’ll just turn me in. I could text my friend…no she’ll just type LOL and that’s the last thing I want to hear right now! Okay, I’ll text Todd…he’s legally obligated to deal with my overreactions to simple situations anyway.

“Uh oh….sucked up H’s DS game in vacuum. I suck.”.

(Yes again literally...apparently I'm a master of ill timed puns).



Watching the … dots that means he’s typing. And of course since I’m texting my husband I should have been prepared for the next message…

“Just get it out of there”

Eye roll.

Thank you Mr. Obvious. I would love to but no one but me is at the car wash at 7:00 p.m. on a cold and windy April night.

“It wasn’t Mario was it?”

Crap. Salt in the wound. Mario is basically a saint in my son’s world. He loves his Mario games.

I knew I should have texted Megan. She would just have just said LOL and probably told me to go buy a new one before he noticed.

“Mom, are we seriously going to sit here all day?” – chimed J from the back seat quite annoyed that I made her crawl back to her unheated back seat.

Eye roll..yet again, another thing I'm a master at. 

I shifted in gear. Okay, tomorrow is Saturday, I could just replace it and he wouldn't notice. But wait a minute…I have absolutely no clue what game it was.

Pull into the garage.

I’ve got to tell him…wait seriously overreacting again, it’s a DS game…and come on he has ruined plenty of my stuff right? Was he not the one that jammed all playing cards into the DVD player? Oh crap, that was L. 

“Mom” I turned to see the blue eyes of H who had climbed up to the front to apparently snap me out of my overly dramatic inner monologue.

I can’t believe I am getting this worked up over a DS game.

“I sucked up your DS game”.

There I said it. I said the words fast as if I was admitting to a crime under interrogation. 

Okay, this isn’t J so the chance of big time waterworks or guilt trips is less. Maybe he’ll just ask for a new one.  

“Was it Mario?”

Crap. Does everyone have to ask me about that Italian Plumber?

“I don’t know, but it was white, and so I think so.”

Wait for it…wait for it…after all to a 5 year old boy a DS is pretty much the most important thing in the world. And to my 5 year old who is forced to sit and wait on his Diva sister for hours on end…it’s a lifeline.


Snapped out of inner monologue again.

“Can I have chicken nuggets for dinner?”

What? Okay, so I just had a dramatic 15 minute guilt trip over sucking up a DS game and the only thing he cares about is chicken nuggets?


After I became a Mom I find it hard to confess my mistakes. Pre-kids I’d be the first to say “Yep, I screwed up”…yes my daughter got that trait from yours truly. But somehow as a Mom even minor screw ups feel like epic failures. I think I’m just too worried about being a “good parent”, whatever that even means.

But we all have our Mommy Confessions…our screw ups as parents that taste so bitter leaving our tongues. But I need to remember that what you think is a major screw up is usually forgotten by the kids in 2 minutes or in the case of my daughter after she turns you in to her teacher, her friends, and probably strangers on the street. 

So go ahead fellow Moms (as Moms are the only ones still reading this way too long blog about sucking up a DS game...the Dads gave up by now I'm sure)....confess your Mommy mistakes. We all screw up, we all do stupid things, we all…well some…okay just I, suck up DS games in car wash vacuums. Just admit you’re human, confess, and hope to God your kid has a craving for chicken nuggets when you do.

Good luck out there.