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Birthing a teenager

When you have a baby your thoughts are surrounded by this little bundle of joy. Wait. Scratch that. Bundle of joy? Bundle of crying, pooping, difficult to latch on toothless beast. That’s more like it.

Emma is 14 today. I remember when she was born and the soft skin on her back felt like I put my hand in a vat of warm butter. I had no idea what to expect. I could barely wrap my mind around the number of cells that divided and divided over the 39 weeks bringing me this fleshy, peach fuzzed, pink child.

The sense of overwhelming duty to feed this human was daunting. Everything hurt. My boobs were sore beyond imagine. I couldn’t get her to latch on. Her cries of hunger brought me to tears. Like Pavlov’s dog, her squawks sent chills straight to my nipples. I wanted to run away. But I also wanted to love her and never let her go.

Then a thought occurred to me, somewhere in that first week of having a newborn. What if I don’t like her when she becomes a teenager? What if we clashed and hated each other and didn’t speak? Maybe she would rebel against me. Maybe she would slam the door in my face every time I attempted to connect with her.

When babies grow to be 3 year olds, everyone says, “Wait until they become teens. Then you’ll really have your work cut out for you.”

Guess what? Everything I feared, hasn’t come to fruition. Yet.

I find myself loving and growing with Emma more and more as she enters womanhood. We bond over gross things like tampons and body hair! She tells me about her friends. Her fears and her loves. We still ooh and ahh over Disney princesses.

We have frank discussions about sex. She asks me questions, and I answer. Always trying to wrap it in a context her young mind and heart can relate to. But trying not to sugar coat things to unrealistic proportions. I want her to be a strong, sexually independent adult female. I want her to gain her own claim on her boundaries, intimacies, and relationships.

Radical? I don’t think so. I think one of the greatest hardships we face as parents is letting our children actually leave the nest. I don’t want her to leave. But I want her to. You know what I mean?

She has the spirit and poise and intelligence to do wonderful things. Could she be a UNICEF ambassador to developing countries? Sure. Could she travel the country in a Broadway production? You bet. Do both of those scare the shit out of me? ABSOLUTELY.

But I can’t let her know those fears. I think what scares me most, is if she DIDN’T try those things. If she limited herself and succumbed to her own fears and shut herself in to just stay close to home, and follow the simple path.

Don’t get me wrong. Her happiness is based on her choices. If she goes to junior college and finds a nice job, gets an apartment nearby, and is happy- then perfect.

If she decides to live in Belgium? Then perfect also.

Where am I going with this? All of a sudden I’m breathing in a paper bag realizing I have four more years before she is emancipated in the eyes of the state.

Back to the little girl I’m raising. None of the things I feared have come true. Her door is open, our conversations flow. We’ve had words, she’s rolled her eyes at me. She’s stomped up the stairs and looked at me like I had two heads. But in the end, we connect.

And that’s all I can ask for.

Dearest Emma, I truly want your heart and mind to soar to its fullest potential. To find love and content within yourself and the people you surround yourself with. God bless you and keep you.



You and me girl. Let’s keep it goofy always.

Celebrating milestone birthdays in a special needs family

50th birthdays are a big deal. You plan trips to Paris with your spouse. You make a party for you and all your girlfriends to whoop it up in Cabo. Wouldn’t that be nice?

But what do you get when you’re the mother of a 50 year old disabled child? Where’s your medal?Where’s your party?

My sister turns 50 today. A milestone birthday. But for the disabled, the developmentally challenged, a big birthday is sometimes a bitter sweet reminder of the years and years of struggle and toll it’s been on a family.

We honor my sister today and all her life means to us. As well as we remember the medical hardships she’s endured.  The two brain surgeries. The hysterectomy from rampant endometrioses at age 20. The fact that she lives at home with my sweet parents who look after her. My parents are in their 70s and 80s. They could use some looking after themselves! But they keep on keeping on. Rising each day to help each other, making sure Leslie takes her medications, monitors her time she needs to shower. She can do it on her own, but her unsteady arms and legs mean someone should be near by just in case. Driving her to countless doctor appointments.

Leslie can be a little stubborn. She is a 6 year old trapped in an old woman’s body. She likes movies and games and candy. My mom has found stashes of cookies and candy in her room before. Leslie can be petulant and insist on not leaving her room or wanting to change out of the shirt she’s worn for 4 days straight. Like I said, she’s stubborn.

Her medical file is as big as a phone book. Psychiatrists, Neurologists, ear nose and throat specialists, orthopedic specialists. The list goes on.

I think of the burgeoning special needs community we have in our society today. The statistics of those living with Autism are 1 in 100. Not that Autism  is always debilitating. So many are independent and on their own. But my point is, it will make a difference for our future as a society. We need to prepare ourselves for that.

And the caregivers growing old as well who are looking after them will need help too. If you’re a parent of a special needs child, you must think ahead to your next move as much as you can. You need to be proactive and an advocate for your child’s well being at all times, well past the age of their adulthood.

The exhaustion of today’s battles with a special needs child doesn’t yield to the forms to fill out for tomorrow, or the worry for the next round of therapists needed. It’s a constant.

And as blessed as you try to feel, honestly, you know that sometimes you wonder what life would be like if all the little birds left the nest. If your Golden Years were spent traveling and lounging, what adventures could you do, if your child wasn’t sitting at home unable to leave the house without assistance.

Bringing home a baby swaddled from the hospital is the most fulfilling and promising act you can do as a human. And when that bundle doesn’t grow and develop like their peers, it’s devastating. Having a bird with broken wings, unable to fly, is not what you dreamed of as a parent.

What would life be like if your kid was ‘normal’?

You push that thought out of your head. How selfish of you! But wait. You’ve been SELFLESS for 50 some years as a parent. Giving and giving.

When do you get your reward? In heaven? That’s what so many tell you, isn’t it? And that might be. I’m sure it is. I just wish I could give my parents a reward now. Something that is lasting and takes the burden from them.

To all of you parents out there celebrating the milestone birthday’s of your special children, I salute you with all my heart. I hope as a community we can be here for you. To lessen the load when it comes too heavy for you in your senior years.

So as I wish my sister a happy 50th birthday today, I wish my parents a blessed ‘birth’day greeting on them too. They deserve it.

Celebrating milestone birthdays in a special needs family

Ahh the 1970s. Were they good to anyone looks-wise? That’s Leslie on the left, me, and my bro. A picture of sibling harmony.

The privileged child parent’s lament


It is a world of Starbucks, iPhones, YouTube and Uggs. Or not the whole world, just ours. The middle suburban class of North America.

The privileged child parent's lament by Frugalista Blog

I don’t know exactly when this awkward transition of our culture started that went from cool novelty gadgets, to advanced science fiction at our fingertips on a constant.

If you’re like me as a parent in this time of ours, you might sometimes think you’ve created a monster. That all the things you said you’d never do as a parent, you do now without even thinking twice.

Do you feel like you’ve given in? Or did you just give up years ago and not realize? Maybe the fight is already over and there isn’t anything to give in to.

Like the Starbuck’s drive-thru, for instance. It absolutely irks me when my children get grumpy over the fact that I won’t get them Starbucks for breakfast. There’s a number of reasons why I don’t just hop in my car and drive the quarter mile down the street to the drive-thru and get them their favorite cheese danish and vanilla bean Frappuccino every morning. Cost. It’s $10 a pop for both kids every time I do that. Logistics. Maybe I’m still in my pajamas and I don’t want to leave the house. Scruples. I feel absolutely awful for going the easy and expensive route at every whim my child has.

But how did we get to this point? If I demanded McDonald’s as a child and expected my parents to administer to my beck and calls as frequently as my children do, I’d a had another thing coming! When I was a kid, McDonald’s was a treat. It wasn’t a staple.

On some mornings I have gotten Starbucks for my kids because I wanted it too. Because we already were in the car. Because maybe, it had been a busy morning and it’s a nice treat. There- a treat. Trust me kids, mom wants a pecan tart and caramel macchiato every morning too, but we just have to deal! You can’t have Christmas every day. So you can’t have Starbucks every day. My rules.

The way we’ve created much of our convenient drive through food establishments as staples because we spend the majority of our time in our cars, isn’t really our fault. Or it is because we’ve made that bed for ourselves with our schedules, and now we have to sleep in that proverbial bed?

And I don’t mean to just pick on Starbucks. Let’s talk about smart phones. We have smart phones in our family. All three of us. Owen hasn’t gotten one yet. It’s an 11th birthday right of passage. Once they’re off to middle school, life is easier when your child has its own modern day honing device, complete with GPS and messaging. That’s pretty much what it is in my opinion.

Emma has had her cell phone for about 3 years and has used it for the greater good and not evil. Thankfully. She has had a smart phone for the last year of those 3 years. Does she spend a bajillion hours on that thing? Yes? Do I do on mine? Guilty.

So until I set mine aside, I can’t really expect her to ditch hers, right?

And then when you do get your kid a smart phone, it’s not like their FRIENDS’ smart phone. Or it doesn’t have unlimited data, or it’s not the upgrade like little Jimmy got. Waa waa waa. Call the whambulance.

Oh for Pete’s sake!! You got a smart phone dammit. Stop your bitching!

Maybe this isn’t just a problem from this era. Maybe long long ago, Cassius was upset because Antonius got a better abacus. Maybe Fauntleroy teased all his friends over the gold pocket watch he got. And little Abigail always got the fanciest curds and whey before heading off to school while the other kids just got regular old porridge.

It’s just that fine line of making things nice enough for your kids, but keeping them from over indulging.

Remember the scene in This is 40 when the parents are telling the kids to limit electronics? And they tell Sadie the 13 year old, to build a fort with her friends, and Paul Rudd says, ‘go find a hoop and beat it with a stick down the street.’

Oh if only our kids just played with rocks and sticks again.

I guess we’re just going to have to actually PARENT the little buggers. Set boundaries, tell them no. Even when they hate us for it. God parenting is hard.




Hope is what keeps us going. Donna Day 2014.

I didn’t know Donna. The little girl who died from a brain tumor at the age of 4. You can read about her story here- Donna’s Cancer Story by Mary Tyler Mom

I did know Kyle, my friend that died from a brain tumor at the age of 8.

And I did know Siona. The little girl that died from Leukemia at age 6.

I didn’t know Joey, a little boy that died from a brain tumor at age 6. Joey’s story is here- Kissing the Frog: Joey’s Story

You know what else I do know? That writing about children dying of cancer is exhausting. And I don’t want to do it anymore. But I will.

Because of Donna’s parents- Sheila and Jeremy.

For Kyle’s Mom – Christin.

For Siona’s parents – Nigam and Reshma.

For Joey’s mom- Kathy

There’s something that each of these parents hold in their hearts as survivors of children lost to cancer have, that no other parent has.


They hope and pray that there is a day where not another parent has to bury their son or daughter after a horrible painful struggle through cancer.

They hope that money will be raised to find a medical breakthrough.

They hope they never know another parent to endure this pain.

They hope for a cure.

My post today is not just to get you thinking about the little ones in your life and their precious health.

Honestly, the bottom line of my post today is to ask you for money.

Cancer isn’t cured by bloggers or the worry of mothers everywhere. It’s not cured by words on a page or hours campaigning behind a laptop.

It’s cured in the lab by scientists who dedicate their work to finding the one key to unlock the puzzle for a cure.

Hope doesn’t find cures. But hope brings us together to create the opportunities to raise the money to finance the potential cure.

Where would we be without hope?

I don’t want to know.

Here’s how you can help.

You can buy a t-shirt- (click on the photo to take you to where to order)

Donna Day Super Hero St. Baldrick's t-shirts


Or you can give to the event directly that is Donna’s Good Things at Candlelite Chicago

Please donate any little bit you can.

Hope is alive and well on Donna Day 2014.

My son got a loft bed. And then my heart broke.

My husband doesn’t build things. He is handy. But he doesn’t just start crafting things in his wood shop. I mean the crap pile of tools and things that need to go to Goodwill that makes up our garage. However, he had promised Owen a loft bed and he was going to build it. Like Noah. Just kidding.

Owen has been so excited for his new bed. He’d been talking about it for months. He and James drew up the plans together and he was so anxious for it. It was promised for the new year and I really didn’t think it was going to come to fruition.

Well, long story short. James built the loft bed. And he did a great job! An entire weekend he spent sawing, measuring and drilling in the garage. This was weeks ago and there’s still saw dust everywhere. But that’s beside the point, right? Right.

The frame was immediately up in Owen’s room as soon as it was assembled. It’s about 5 feet off the ground. The kids and the dog, wasted no time checking it out. The cat does too! Both Emma and Owen are enjoying the bed above the ground, and the space under the bed for sitting and reading or playing games. I join the fun too and heave myself up the little ladder. Nothing makes you feel your age more than having to climb a ladder and expertly swing your leg over on a bunk bed without getting your arms and legs in a tangle. Holy crap, I was never meant to be a fire fighter.

Was it weird to have my son suspended from wooden 2×4’s 5 feet off the ground that my non-carpenter husband constructed? Yes. But the amount of bracing and bolts in the thing assured me it’s not going anywhere.

That night Owen is more than excited to go to bed and try out his new sleep digs. All his bedding is ready. He’s lined up his stuffed animals and pillow pets along the wall and railing as an extra barricade.

I don’t bother climbing up there. One, I’m scared my weight will be the tipping point for the wooden slats to bow without yielding. Two, it’s just really hard to get up there.

Owen doesn’t care. He’s snuggled in and ecstatic to go to sleep! I get up on my tippy toes and he leans to the railing for me to give him a kiss. He kisses me on the cheek. “Love you, good night, sleep well.” Is what he always says. I kiss him on his cheek, and steal a kiss on the top of his head, I rub his head a little extra and fluff his hair. Giving his arm a squeeze and leave him as I turn out the light and shut the door.

And then it hits me like a curve ball. No more can I lean down and kiss him goodnight or kiss him good morning and lean in to smell his head and put my nose in the curve of his neck. How did I not see this coming? Had I remembered this, the last night in his old bed, I would have done extra snuggles. I felt completely blind-sided. I hadn’t prepared for this stage of the parenting game.

My heart was broken. A little something died in me.

I know that sounds melodramatic. But he is my baby. My very tall, gangly limbed 10 year old baby. He’s a mama’s boy. And a little piece of his childhood went away with that old twin bed he’d been in since he was 2.

With all the excitement of the new bed, the wondering if James was really truly going to build this thing, I had forgotten about the sentimental aspect of what the old bed meant.

You always think of the transition from crib to Big Boy bed. It’s a huge deal. And seeing that crib disassembled and all packed up off to a Craig’s List recipient gives your heart a start, of course.

But I didn’t think of the Big Boy bed to No Longer a Boy but Almost a Teenager bed.

I see the horizon already of puberty and adolescence with Owen. His moods are changing. His sleep habits are evolving to where I need to wake him for school and he’s no longer MY alarm clock. He gets angry easily and pouts more often. A sign of the surging testosterone in his body. Oh help us. We braced ourselves when Emma went through this hormone tornado, and is STILL going through this. But the first couple years seem to be a different storm.

The cusp of child to pre-teen is even more difficult than full blown teendom. It’s confusing. It’s vexing. He’s a little boy still, you think. How can this be?

I’ve noticed a few changes over the months. Less cuddles on the couch. XBOX and hanging with his friends has replaced our sessions of Harry Potter movie watching. A trip to Barnes & Noble or a coffee shop for a treat with mom is not as fun as getting to play Halo at the neighbor’s.

For some reason, this has been harder than when Emma approached teenage-hood. She was always independent. Ditching me at a play place or preschool to go off with her friends or make new friends. Owen was my apron string clinger. Mild mannered, even tempered and my little shadow.

Funny, what I would pay today to get one more session on the couch of his chubby cuddles watching a Harry Potter movie. He’s all angles and corners now! No more baby pudge anywhere! He’s all his dad. Lean, tall and not an ounce of fat anywhere.

My takeaway from all this – I’m climbing that stupid ladder to his bed to kiss him goodnight. Sometimes I’ll lay next to him and give him an extra squeeze. He lets me. It’s not a pretty sight watching me arrange myself at the top, but I figure, while I’m able- I will climb it.

In a blink he won’t let me up there anymore, I know. He’ll be hairy, deep-voiced, and all hormones and in high school. Let me put it this way- I won’t WANT to be up there.

So I take what I can while it’s there. Parenting is so much hindsight. Well, here’s some foresight for you from me- breathe in the backs of the head right at the neck when you wake them up in the morning. Or, ha, realistically, when they come in to wake you up!

Oh, and if you think I’m climbing up there to change the sheets, no way. Owen knows that’s his job now.


 My son got a new loft bed. And my heart broke.

Ice Cream Day 2014- Remembering Kyle

Quite some time ago, I dedicated some posts to Childhood Cancer Awareness. One of those posts was about  Kyle’s Story. About a little boy that was a friend of ours who passed away from a very merciless childhood cancer- as all cancers are. Please read his story when you get the chance.

Today would’ve been Kyle’s 13th birthday. The summer before Kyle’s last birthday on earth, 5 years ago, he and his brother decided to have an Ice Cream Day. They could eat ice cream all day and their mom couldn’t say no. She thought it was a crazy request but obliged. She was so happy she did since it created a wonderful memory for Kyle’s brother Nicholas. Since Kyle’s passing, they have marked what would be his birthday as Ice Cream Day. Friends and family rally around and join in Ice Cream Day by letting their kids throw caution to the wind, and live in the moment with a sweet treat. It brings to mind the quote by Ernestine Ulmer, “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first”.

 Kyle passed away a few short weeks after his 8th birthday from a Diffuse Pontine Intrinsic Glioma. A very rare, very deadly brain cancer.

We keep our friend Kyle alive in spirit with doing the things he loved. Remembering to find the joys in those we have with us.

Once in awhile we need an excuse to live beyond the guidelines, to embrace what makes life sweet. We need to celebrate just being able to be together to celebrate.

Even if it isn’t your kid’s birthday, serve up some ice cream after breakfast, or head out for frozen yogurt before lunch. When they ask why, tell them you’re doing it for Kyle.

So pick your flavor  and dig in!


The following is the story Kyle’s mom posted to her blog after he passed away. Neither of us wrote it, so you know. But it captures loss and grief so clearly.

To find out how you can donate to research to eradicate things like brain tumors in little kids, please check out Project Violet and Kyle’s Blogspot.

Waterbugs and Dragonflies

Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond. They did notice that every once in awhile one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.
“Look!” said one of the water bugs to another. “One of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you think she is going?” Up, up, up it slowly went….Even as they watched, the water bug disappeared from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn’t return…

“That’s funny!” said one water bug to another. “Wasn’t she happy here?” asked a second… “Where do you suppose she went?” wondered a third.
No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled. Finally one of the water bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered its friends together. “I have an idea”. The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why.” “We promise”, they said solemnly.

One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up, he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broke through the surface of the water and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above.

When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn’t believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body. His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings…The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from the new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water. He had become a dragonfly!!

Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by the new dragonfly lighted happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water bugs! There they were scurrying around, just as he had been doing some time before.

The dragonfly remembered the promise: “The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he or she went and why.” Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water…

“I can’t return!” he said in dismay. “At least, I tried. But I can’t keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I’ll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they’ll understand what has happened to me, and where I went.”

And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air…….

I fall asleep counting my blessings

It’s the lyrics to one of Bing’s songs in White Christmas. I was watching it right after I tucked in Owen on the night before Christmas Eve.

I thought it perfect after the conversation I had with him just then.

He was starting to get the anticipation jitters. He knew he was on the verge of exciting stuff. Grandma’s house is always on the schedule for Christmas Eve and grandma likes to spoil. Like grandmas do! Part of me was glad he was still catching the magic as a 10 year old.

But part of me was also itching to temper it down a little for him and remind him of all the moments to savor. Not to rush to the finish because then it’s just, well, over. December 26th comes and it’s like a huge dose of cold turkey. No Christmas left anywhere. Well, except in our house, but you know, in the big old world out there it’s pretty much over.

I told Owen he has it pretty damn good.

He doesn’t have to wonder what presents are coming if at all from the giving tree at church or school, like the other families that were sponsored this year. He can take comfort in having both his parents home for Christmas dinner and one of them doesn’t have to go work their shift at their minimum wage job while the other sleeps because they’ve got the night shift.

I remember my dad working on Christmas day when I was about Owen’s age. We did all our Christmas celebrating the first half of the day and then off he went. I didn’t think of it much then. But it sure would have been nice to just be home all together.

Owen gets to wake up Christmas Eve morning to a delivery of donuts that will come with the groceries I ordered from the local Amazon Fresh. One of the perks of living in Seattle. Geeze louise we’ve got it good!

He has two sets of grandparents to shower him with gifts. My grandparents lived in Europe when I was a child. There was a box sent from my Opa (my mom’s dad). But honestly, it was more for her than us. It was full of chocolates and little things. Obviously, the 6 year old me didn’t appreciate it like I should have. Probably because it didn’t contain the Cher Barbie the 6 year old me was hoping for.

The one year I was 7, we moved across country from Illinois to Washington. We had the Ryder moving truck packed up and we left December 26th. There was no tree, there were a few presents, it was- interesting. We were all together and we  were happy, so I thought. Now thinking back, I realize my poor parents were probably stressed out of their gourds. Gee whiz.

So here it’s 2013, I sit in my heated home that is decorated for Christmas, and filled to the brim with riches and belongings most of which I am sure we don’t need. The children got all their heart’s desired (except the hedgehog Emma says she thinks she wants). This year it wasn’t electronics but soccer team jerseys for Owen and Lady Gaga tickets for Emma. Even James and I shopped for each other, something we don’t always do.

My point is, I wanted Owen to feel in his heart that no matter what gifts he gets from whatever relative or Santa, he has everything he needs. We all want to give our children everything we didn’t have, and yet we also don’t want to spoil them into being little assholes. It’s a fine line. But gratitude, I mean, right?

I know there’s those of you missing loved ones this holiday. There’s pain in hearts that only is magnified by the memories of Christmases past. I wish I could give you all  a salve of healing that could smooth over that pain.

So not just Christmas Eve, but every night, like Bing says, I fall asleep counting my blessings. And I teach my kids to do the same. Because when we count what we have, maybe we don’t miss as much what we don’t have.

I hope YOU had a blessed holiday full of riches felt in your heart.


Counting Our Blessings


Will Santa Return This Year? – a parenting lesson.

Originally this post was published last year on Bonbon Break. But I’m reposting this year because I’m kinda proud of it. If you have children on the cusp of ‘believing’ or ‘not believing’ this might help. Or maybe you have a highly charged emotional daughter who needs some reassurance to life’s mysteries. Hmm, sound familiar?
Keep reading…

Well, I’m not actually over there sitting like a miniature person in the computer screen waving at you. That would be very Willy Wonka ish, wouldn’t it?

But click on over to their holiday issue and read about a coming of age story. Yes, Emma has reached a milestone about old St. Nick.

These are those parenting moments that keep you on your toes.

Enjoy the magic while it lasts. And by magic, I mean, the lying facade of trying to be a magical fat man who spies on sleeping children.

Read here- Bonbon Break

Will Santa Return? By Frugalista Blog

Stupid Christmas commercials like cars with bows and jewelry on the tree.

This post originally was published 2 years ago. But I figure it deserves an encore. My feelings haven’t changed.

You know those commercials where the wife goes outside on Christmas morning. It’s snowing, she’s dressed perfectly with makeup on like a Kardashian, and everything, probably wearing a pretty mohair sweater, that’s white, yeah, cuz moms always wear fuzzy, WHITE sweaters, and there sits a new SUV with a big red bow on it. Or the jewelry commercial where the guy is hanging the ring box on the tree and says so smoothly, ‘ OH, what could THIS ornament be?? Why, maybe YOU should open it’.  Gag.

If you find those commercials nauseating too, raise your hand. Thank you.

I’m not sure why those jewelry and car commercials at Christmas time drive me batnuts. Is it because that will never happen to me? Am I jealous? I shouldn’t say never. Maybe one day, James and I will hit pay dirt and he’ll buy me a Mercedes for Christmas and put it in the driveway with a big red bow. And Hugh Jackman will step out of it with a cup of espresso and whisk me away to Australia to be on his Oprah reunion special. I’ll be so happy and grateful, Oprah will ask to be my friend and then Gayle will get jealous and run off with Steadman. Then Oprah will just have to adopt me (and my family) because she’ll be alone and need a friend. We’ll move in to her Chicago mansion with all her dogs and read books and have Dr. Oz over to talk about our bowel movements. It will be so. much. fun.

Instead of ridiculous commercials that only cater to a small, and I mean, small demographic, let’s have a commercial where the husband gives his wife a carpet steam cleaner and an Ov Glove, or a Ped Egg. Her eyes will well up with tears and she’ll offer to do all kinds of ‘favors’ for him. Or maybe he gets her a Victoria’s Secret nightgown that’s see-thru, she can only wear when the kids are in bed and she feels like lounging in underwires and shiny, cold satin. That would be a very realistic commercial. Really.

To James’ credit, one Christmas he did give me diamond earrings. It was the Christmas Owen was a baby. Sort of a delayed Push Present maybe? If I remember correctly, I had a sinus infection and bronchitis that Christmas, which I did pretty much every Christmas the children were little. I didn’t have make up on, I was in some kind of fuzzy jammies with teapots on them, and had one of those heated rice pack thingys on my head to relieve the sinus pressure. I think I asked him to turn OFF the video camera as to NOT document this moment in history since we didn’t want to traumatize our children in the future should they happen to find the tape and see mommy with suitcases under her eyes, no voice, and heat pads on her head. No makeup, no white mohair sweater. nada. zip.

It’s okay. I’m not bitter or anything. Really.

There’s more to Christmas presents than jewelry and luxury automobiles. There’s gifts that can’t be bought in stores. They’re made with love and glue. Lots of glue.

When I unwrap one of those gifts that the kids make in class with their school picture hanging in a foamy wreath, or a  pipe cleaner tree, THOSE are the ones that make my eyes well up with tears.

I’ll take those over diamonds and German engineering any year.

I Just Want to Pee Alone- the book



Holy cow. I’m published in a book. A real pages with paper and ink- book. Not the ones stapled together in middle school you wrote in English class. Or the ones you tied together with string or ribbon from elementary school. A book.

Motherhood is the toughest – and funniest – job you’ll ever love. Raising kids is hard work. The pay sucks, your boss is a tyrant, and the working conditions are pitiful – you can’t even take a bathroom break without being interrupted with another outrageous demand.

Hasn’t every mother said it before? “I just want to pee alone!”

I Just Want to Pee Alone is a collection of hilarious essays from 37 of the most kick ass mom bloggers on the web. You will laugh, you will cry, you will want to share this book with every mom you know.

Featuring the hilarious Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva, My Life and Kids, Bad Parenting Moments, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, and many others, and ME!

Kindle version and paperback available on Amazon, see the link above! For iTunes- click here

And if you needed any convincing, the reviews are in and folks are saying it’s hilarious. Oh, and we just happen to be #1 on Amazon’s Parenting and Humor category. No biggy.


People I Want to Punch in the Throat

Insane in the Mom Brain

The Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva

Baby Sideburns

Rants From Mommyland

You Know it Happens at Your House Too

The Underachiever’s Guide to Being a Domestic Goddess

My Life and Kids

Bad Parenting Moments

Let Me Start By Saying

Frugalista Blog

Suburban Snapshots

Ninja Mom

Four Plus an Angel

Honest Mom

Binkies and Briefcases

Naps Happen

Kelley’s Break Room

Toulouse & Tonic


Hollow Tree Ventures

The Fordeville Diaries


Mom’s New Stage

Nurse Mommy Laughs

The Dose of Reality

The Mom of the Year

Life on Peanut Layne


Cloudy, With a Chance of Wine

Confessions of a Cornfed Girl

I Love Them Most When They’re Sleeping

Random Handprints


You’re My Favorite Today

Funny is Family

My Real Life