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When the fear of being wrong keeps us from doing what’s right

I’m not an expert on psychology or people’s motivations. I didn’t major in sociology or anthropology or any other subject at school that would make me know the inside of the human mind’s functions. But I’m a parent. And trying to teach kids from knowing right from wrong is pretty much what we live and breathe by, college degree in the subject or not!

One of those lessons happened to Owen in second grade. I remember it so well because I think it applies to most adults these days. Politicians caught in a scandal. Police officer questioned for misconduct. A spouse suspected of adultery.

When you do something wrong, the fear of the consequences makes for greater motivation than the interest of doing what’s right.

Owen is a good kid. He is one who listens, follows the rules, and really doesn’t like to get in trouble. But he’s human, so he does goof off. And occasionally he can manage to go too far. But he never got in trouble at school. Unlike the three detentions Emma got in 1st grade. I know, right? He’s my golden boy.

Okay, so he comes to me one day stressed and in tears. I ask him what’s wrong. He doesn’t want to tell me at first. His guilty conscience is heavy and he has a hard time facing me when he knows he’s done something that might disappoint me. But he also knows he needs help. So the need for help prevails and he bursts into tears and tells me the whole story.

He was stressed over some hoodlum in his class extorting him for money and toys!

This kid, Joey was getting a dollar here and a dollar there, not to mention some prized Legos out of the deal. I asked Owen what on earth he did that gives Joey so much power over him!

Owen said that one time at lunch in the cafeteria, he spit his food out to be funny. Some of it flew off and landed by Joey and he threatened to report Owen to the lunch monitor. Owen freaked out! He didn’t want to get in trouble so he said to Joey he would do anything to keep him from telling.

The first thing Joey extorted was a Lego key chain that Owen had kept on his backpack zipper. A friend gave it to him as a sympathy present after a kitten we had for a few weeks died suddenly. Then came Joey asking for a dollar for Owen to bring him the next day. Then two dollars another day.

Finally the toll of Owen giving up his money, and not to mention that he missed his key chain, put him over the edge.

He came clean with his story to me and I told him how we would handle it.

I pointed out that what was the source of his anguish was his first offense in spitting at lunch. He wanted to avoid the wrath of the lunchroom monitor and a possible detention, so he panicked and jumped to damage control.

I parted his sweet little blond hairs from his blue eyes and held his face in my hand. I told him that if he got in trouble at lunch, I would understand that we make mistakes from time to time. And that even though it wouldn’t have been much fun, his punishment would have been completed so that he could move on with this life. But instead he handed power over to Joey. And that power was his own guilty conscience.

When I said that in the morning we would have a face to face with Mrs. Peterson, his teacher, and tell her everything, he felt better. I told him that if there was a disciplinary action that still needed to be carried out over his behavior, he would accept it. And that we would tell the teacher what Joey was doing so that she can address that issue with him so he doesn’t do it to other kids too. Because a real friend doesn’t make you feel bad and take things that are yours.

The relief Owen felt was palpable. I knew that he understood that his first course of action was a rookie mistake, led on by panic and fear. And now he felt he had the strength and confidence to face the music.

We went to the teacher. Mrs. Peterson understood exactly what Owen was telling her about Joey. She said that he’s done something like that before. She told Owen to point out the key chain and tell her exactly how much money he gave Joey. She would have a conference with him and he would get his items back. As for the lunch behavior, the statute of limitations for spitting food out seemed to only have a short time span. Owen knew not to do anything like that again. But if he did slip up, to face his consequences.

Isn’t it funny how we can use a simple elementary school cafeteria extortion scenario to play out life’s moral code? How much better the world would be if people could own their wrong doing up front instead of creating more and more mess to cover it up?

I actually think that Owen won’t forget this lesson. Even though it happened almost 6 years ago. He remembers Joey and to steer clear of him even now in middle school. I’ve told Owen that getting punished by a teacher or administrator for something he did wrong doesn’t make me happy. But the disappointment is greater from me if he were to try and cover up his errors with more wrong doing. I’m more proud of his ownership of his actions, than whether or not he gets detention.

Fear of being wrong blog by Frugalista Blog


My daughter’s journey with chronic pain

Frugie Blog My daughter's journey with chronic pain

This has probably been the hardest blog post to write in a long time. It’s been our lives the last 12 months. I wanted to do it justice. I wanted to make it clear and hope others gain perspective and find answers too if they’re in the same struggle.

I didn’t expect to become a parent of a child with chronic pain. Of Emma’s 14 years, she has had maybe 3 times in her life the need for antibiotics, never had a broken bone or stitches (knock on wood) and until this year, hadn’t been in an ER.

Emma’s problems started a year ago with a hemorrhagic cyst on her ovary the size of a lemon, then that cyst rupturing and causing her tremendous pain that just would not go away. The last 12 months have been surgery, hormones, therapy, narcotics, acupuncture, different hormones, analgesics, and whatever else we could think of, as part of our laundry list of getting her to be pain free.

Unfortunately, some of these temporary aides like narcotics, can make the body even more susceptible to pain, or decrease its ability to resist it.

The whole ‘high pain tolerance’ theory becomes confusing when you’re dealing with someone who is in constant pain. You can say that someone has a high tolerance for pain because they don’t have Novocaine during a filling at the dentist. Or maybe they had a kidney infection for days and didn’t feel it. Maybe you get through your work day with a migraine. Everyone’s pain is different and it’s subjective. There’s no way of knowing whose pain is greater than someone else’s.

But when your body is sending pain signals to your brain on a daily basis 24/7; you can become fearful of the pain, where your anxiety and anticipation add to the pain.

So someone who is used to being in pain, might react differently to new pain than someone who goes about their life pain free with only pain on occasion.

After Emma’s surgery in June, we thought we were in the clear and she would start feeling better. But by September she was in as much pain as she was during the cyst rupturing. She would go to school but text me how miserable she was. She would come home and pop a bunch of ibuprofen and sit on the couch with a heat pad for hours. The cycle would repeat and it would take her all she could just to go to school.

There was no time and energy left for socializing or extra curricular activities. Her daily struggle was a pain level of about a 6 (on a scale between a 1 and a 10, 10 being the worst).

Our girl was miserable and she begged for answers and writhed in pain. Some days it would leave me just a shell of a mom trying to comfort her child.

I went to our specialists at Children’s Hospital in Seattle. I wanted some kind of answer. I wanted a different pain pill, or treatment.

We figured since hormones are the bulk of her female issues; the surgery diagnosed her with endometriosis- we decided on an IUD.

Some people might think this is drastic to give a 14 year old an IUD. But it was with careful consideration. And because I have my own endometriosis issues, my IUD I got 2 years ago saved my life from debilitating pain. I thought this might be the answer for Emma. She needed to quiet down her reproductive system. Ovulation and menstruation needed to cease for now. They were only causing her pain and misery. We needed help.

The IUD seemed to be an answer on paper, but we learned over the months that her body just didn’t want it. She ended up with new pain from having it in place and took more ibuprofen to get over it.

The ibuprofen got out of hand when around Christmas we went to the ER with horrible pain she was experiencing. I didn’t know if her ovary had twisted, if she had an ulcer or hernia or just an alien trying to come out! She was writhing in pain and after tests they couldn’t find anything ‘wrong’ with her. General surgeons did a consult in the ER and determined she probably had gastritis from heavy doses of Advil. We changed our approach and focused on different pain management.

Visiting a gastroenterologist was our next step. The plan was for her to have an endoscopy to rule out any GI issues. Well, we found something. But sadly, it’s not a ‘fixable’ something. More of a ‘this is how you’re programmed. Sorry’ something.

She has a nervous system disorder that is common among many folks. Her stomach doesn’t empty the acid all the way like it’s supposed to. Acid pools above the stomach causing pain. A sort of reflux situation, that not even your average acid blockers could really do much for. It’s not a stomach issue, it’s a nervous system issue.

The specialist said to me that although this condition is common, it’s the hardest to treat. Because really, there is no treatment. It’s just the way she is.

We tried acupuncture. Three times. Ugh. I love acupuncture and have been going regularly for 5 years. Emma. Not so much. She hated it. When she was in pain, the needles would make her pain worse. She hates needles. She didn’t like lying on the table feeling helpless. She freaked out.

We went to psychologists and pain specialists. She hated them too. They kept talking about her anxiety. She didn’t understand why she needed to go to a head doctor for actual physical pain that she felt in her gut. It made no sense and she resented those appointments. Which probably stalled any progress anyway, right?

When your child is ill or hurting, you get so much advice. Some solicited, some unsolicited. We were suggested to try faith healing, gluten free diets, dairy free diets, rigorous exercise, more tests, getting a second opinion. Yes, all meant with good intentions, but not all realistic or actually helpful.

You know how hard it is to get a second opinion when you had to move mountains for the first opinion? It’s easier said than done.

By this time, we had the IUD removed and she was feeling a lot better. At least we knew one pain was handled. But then our full circle moment came to realization when that was supposed to be one of the ‘solutions’ and now we’re just back to square one.

Time had helped and healed some of her abdominal pain that was residual from the surgery in June.

After 3 specialist departments and hours and hours of appointments, we now knew that basically Emma’s nerves were still reacting to the pain of the cyst rupturing, even though there was no reason for this pain. This happens in appendicitis patients who have a ruptured appendix. They can feel pain in that area for up to a year later.

Amputees feel pain where there isn’t even a limb. Our nerves are amazing, magical, wonderful, devilish, mechanisms of our body sometimes.

Emma was determined to figure out a way to tell her body to stop thinking it was in pain.

And then the universe, God, and all divinity intervened to bring us one more option that I had never even heard of.

Recently, I spoke at a business women’s lunch on how to start a blog for your business. It was the local chapter for Business Among Moms.

I met with a woman who was hoping to learn how a blog could help promote her practice to more clients. We talked about her techniques she practices and what she’s trained in and I told her about Emma’s chronicles. Kalleen who is a licensed EFT therapist, EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques or commonly called Tapping, had helped many people overcome a variety of issues and I mentioned Emma’s situation. She reached out to me and offered a session for Emma.

Sessions can be done at your home. Emma was open to the idea. I told her that it was a method that used meridians in your body, like acupuncture does, but without the needles. This pleased her greatly!

The therapist shows you how to tap on yourself and walks you through the series of taps. What is key to the session is not only the tapping itself, but the phrases and statements you say out loud WHILE you are tapping.

Pain is real. It’s not in your head. It’s not ‘perceived’. It’s honest to gosh real and hurts. No one can argue someone else’s pain. Nobody ever doubted Emma’s pain or that she was ‘faking’ it. There was never the ‘it’s just in your head’ explanation. But pain is held on in the body psychologically not just physically.

Pain manifests carrying three elements- fear, anger and benefits.

Depending how your body came upon the pain, depends upon these elements.

For Emma her fear was that she might have had cancer or something serious with her ovary or reproductive organs. After the cyst ruptured and her pain wouldn’t go away, she thought it was something life threatening or rendering her infertile.

Her anger came when she felt like she should be better after her surgery, but she wasn’t. When her pain interfered with her social activities, school, and quality of life, it made her angry.

The benefits are hard to understand. Benefits despite not being logical, can still be something we hold on to- like a crutch or a cast to protect us. In Emma’s case, she got used to being excused from physical activity, making excuses not to see friends, having an ‘out’ when it came to not having school work done. She didn’t like these benefits, but she started relying on them.

During Kalleen’s time with Emma, the tapping she showed her to do, while she said key phrases usually starting with “Even though…” and ending with “and that’s enough” or “that’s okay” pulled off a scab that Emma didn’t realize she had been building up.

Once she released some of the mental cages that had locked around her pain, she realized some of the control she had over it.

In an hour setting her pain went from a 2 on a pain scale (out of 1-10 and 2 has been her lowest in a long time!) to a 1 on the pain scale! She could tell she felt better in just an hour.

And to be honest, she broke down in tears because of it. She actually cried a lot during the session. It seems to open a flood gate of emotions. Again, because pain has fear, anger and benefits attached to it, she didn’t realize the emotional hold her pain had on her.

If you go to Kalleen’s website you can see a demonstration and explanation of what Tapping is.

I have even used Tapping on myself. The other day I had a migraine, or the start of one. I did a quick application of it

Tapping on the heel of my hand with the fingertips of my other hand saying “even though….”

Tapping on the top of the center of my head “I feel a migraine coming…”

Tapping gently with my fingertips the tops of my eyebrows “I can relax and know…”

Tapping gently along my cheek bones “that it will go away…”

Tapping gently under my nose “after some time…”

Tapping gently on my chin “I will feel better…”

Tapping on top of my pecs “I won’t get a migraine”

Tapping with one hand under my armpit along my rib cage “I feel better.”

You can come up with what you say, or not say anything at all and just gently tap in the places I mention in the order listed. Gently and for 5-7  times each.

It’s remarkable the difference you feel.

I can gladly account that Emma is feeling better and her pain is at an all time low! We are going to do another session with Kalleen, and Emma even said she wants to try acupuncture again.

Things are better today than a year ago and Emma was cast in the school play and is looking forward to feeling ‘normal’ again. Whatever that is for a teenager!

Kalleen generously offered her session with us free of charge in order for me to write this post. But I can honestly and truly say with whole heart that I will happily pay for this in the future as needed.

Finding new ways (even if they are centuries old methods!) of helping deal with pain, stress and struggles in our lives, is always worth it.

Kalleen would be more than willing to answer your questions. You can leave them in the comments or find her on her website-

Whenever trials and tribulations come our way, you have to ask what the purpose is. And my wish for Emma is not only she will be pain free very soon, but that she will take this journey and always remember the bad ass she is for persevering through this personal hell she was in. I hope in 10 years, she will know better and be stronger for whatever comes her way.



Remembering Sandy Hook

I originally wrote this post last year.

We can’t forget that horrible day. We can’t forget those beautiful children. We must think of their parents and the hole in their families with them gone. In honor of this day, December 14, I will remember the victims of the Newtown shooting.




You know what’s coming up don’t you?

I’ve been dreading it. Not like the 20 sets of parents are dreading it, no. But dreading it.

The anniversary of Sandy Hook will be Saturday, December 14.

I know that many children have died before and since that day. That genocide, cancer and horrors take children EVERY DAY. Yes. I know this. But for some reason, this tragedy reverberates to the depths of every corner in my soul.

I remember exactly what I was doing that Friday when I learned of something awful on social media. Facebook was littered with praying for Connecticut statuses. I had no idea. I went to my laptop and checked the news. My pulse quickened, my blood went cold, it did, it really did. My gut churned with nausea. The tears came to my eyes and the absolute horror grabbed at my throat. I thought first of my own children in their classrooms. I prayed they were safe.

And then, I prayed for the parents of these children. I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine going to that school that day and having a trooper or first responder approach you. You know. You just know. How does the world not fall away. How do your knees not buckle, your heart stop at that moment that your whole existence is ripped from you?

The reports were coming in all over the place. There were arguments over 2nd Amendment rights. Arguments over mental health. We were arguing! Little boys and girls were covered in blood stained Osh Kosh and Gymboree clothes, and Hanna Anderson tights, and Old Navy Christmas sweatshirts, and we were arguing over the fucking Constitution!

I wanted to scream. There were wrapped gifts under Christmas trees for children that would not be able to open them. There were stockings that hung on mantles that Santa would not fill.

There were caskets that needed to be picked out.

Oh my God. 20 little caskets. Why oh why did this happen? How could this happen?

Heroes were made that day. Angels were made that day.

Months later, parents steeled themselves and headed to Congress to fight for gun control that could possibly save future children. There was mocking of them by pundits. What asshole mocks a grieving parent saying it was in vain for political gain?

You lose your child, you fight for others to not lose theirs. It’s that simple.

We need to talk people. We need to compromise and figure this shit out.

There’s a lot that is wrong. There’s a lot that needs changing. I don’t have the answers. But there has to be some steps, some small changes we can evolve. Where crazy people don’t armor up and bring magazine clips to schools to murder children.

If you love your guns, fine. I love my kids. I love your kids too. I love your kids more than you love your gun. Do you love my kids more than you love your gun?

I’m just asking. I don’t want a fight. I want respectful discussion. I want you to respect me and my children, as much as I respect you and your 2nd Amendment rights. That is all.

I will acknowledge your right to bear arms. Please acknowledge my right to want safety and regulation for those arms.

Can we do this? I think we can. We’ve accomplished more.


Make the Sandy Hook Promise if you’re interested in education and logical discussion on issues of gun safety.



Don’t sabotage your parenting partner

don't sabotage your parenting partner, frugalista blog, parenting styles, different parenting techniques, when your spouse and you parent differently

You know I love giving McSweetie a hard time. I rib him constantly on his lack of finesse when it comes to loading the dishwasher or when he puts food garbage in the recycle bin. That makes me SO STABBY! But I move on. I step away and don’t smother him with a pillow, because I’m nice like that.

But what I have learned over our married life is to not sabotage his parenting. It truly comes down to sometimes just biting your tongue.

Now that the kids are older, we parent together but differently and over different things. Not like in the olden days when there were bedtime routines to struggle with, or sleeping habits of a toddler to argue over, or what to do with a whiny child and how long the time-out should be.

I look back on those days though and remember they were a struggle. Parenting was more physical, more taxing. Now I feel emotionally drained as a parent. Helping my daughter through heartbreak or anxiety over teen stuff is more of a thing around here than whining over a cookie before dinner or struggling with a preschooler during naptime.

Sometimes I get attitude from Owen. He seems to be in a confused place of little boy on the brink of teenhood but with surging emotions and he has even said to me, “I just don’t have words and all I can do is cry!”  Sometimes I want to go soft on him and James will want to be the tough guy on him.

So sure, we differ on our parenting styles, like most parents do.

But of all the things to do with your spouse and disagreeing over how you parent your kids, try not to fall in these sabotage scenarios that will only set a lit match into a powder keg.

Number 1. Probably the most important of all. Do not say, “He never does that around me. What do you do when you’re with him?” Another version of this is, “Why does she always act like that when you’re around?”

Kids behave differently for different people. Even their parents. This is true especially with grandparents. Sometimes the primary caregiver gets more ‘stuff’ thrown at them when they’re with the children day in and day out.

So maybe if you see the kids mostly in the evenings and the weekends, your time with them is different than how they are at school or during the day at home. Kids can be tired and spent from trying to behave in front of teachers all day. Or maybe the stuff you get to do on the weekends is fun and the kids get to let off steam around you. Obviously they are going to act and feel different during those times.

Number 2. Don’t say ‘shut up‘ around the kids to each other or to them.

I firmly believe in this. It has been a rule in our house since the day we were married. When you say shut up to someone it completely negates their validity. It takes away compassion in the argument, it tells the other person that no matter their pain or feelings, you don’t want to hear them. And you know what, it hurts feelings and cuts like a knife.

Number 3. Don’t belittle your spouse in front of your children. If you want to criticize something your partner does, by all means, go ahead. But don’t say it in front of your kids. Okay, well, say it in front of your kids but in a way you would want them to say it to their peers, or their superiors. Speak to your children the way you want them to speak to you. I’m guilty of saying something like, “How come you always do it wrong?” But if Emma talked to Owen that way, I would step in. So instead I should be saying, “I know how you do it gets the job done, but could we try my way to make it more efficient?”

Yes those are more words and more work. I know our fuses can be short. But isn’t this where our love, commitment and effort come into our relationship?

Number 4. Crop dusting your spouse with a task as you walk out the door. You know what I’m talking about. You’re heading out with your girls for the latest Benedict Cumberbatch film and you tell your husband, “Oh hey, while I’m gone, be sure Timmy learns to ride a two-wheeler, and Julie needs to build a rocket ship for the Science Fair.” I mean, maybe that was your husband’s plan while you were out of the house, but if you catch him off guard, he might feel a huge obligation he can’t meet, which puts him on the defense.

The fact of the matter is, your kids love both of you. Whether your spouse parents differently than you do, your children probably love you the same. Just like your spouse loves your children as much as you do. Different styles don’t mean different love.

Focus on that, take a lot of deep breaths and choose your words. And as much as you can, always choose kindness.

Thanks for this round of joining me as Dr. Phil. I try to keep it real folks.

I want to hear about the parenting landmines you try to avoid, share them in the comments or email them to me!



Motherhood is hard. You Have No Idea

Sometimes at the fork in the road of motherhood, you see your toddler thrashing about the floor in a tantrum, raging over a denied cookie. You think back to when they were tiny, helpless infants. That was easier right? If only I could follow that other path into a time machine, go back when it was simpler.

Oh, that’s called Mommy Amnesia. An actual Web MD condition. Okay, not it’s not. You just think it was easier then. It wasn’t. Remember the midnight feedings?

You think it’s going to be easier when they’re older. It has to, doesn’t it?

But what happens when you turn over your keys to your 16 year old? That’s as hard as crowning during childbirth!


All the stages of motherhood have been covered in this video. Tell me what stage you relate to most!

This video was created for the loving promotion of Jen Mann’s book People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-off Despots and Other Suburban Scourges

Frugalista Blog in the video You Have NO Idea

Why I regret spanking my child

We say it takes a village to raise a child.

It can take a fleet of people to bring home a new baby. Grandparents, neighbors, best friends are all helping the new and bleary-eyed parents with their unfamiliar and exhausting schedule. The dinners are pre-made in the freezer, the laundry folded by a kind grandma, neighbor or mother-in-law are absolutely life savers!

There are countless instances where the village kicks in:

A ride to the pediatrician with your best friend can help you with that cumbersome stroller you’re still getting the hang of collapsing to fit in your trunk…I’ve been there.

When your oldest is sick and you can’t pick up your youngest from school and that helpful neighbor offers to do it for you.

But when it comes to issues like discipline that border on child abuse, we can turn a blind eye and say that how you discipline your kids is your business. What goes on behind closed doors is your business. How you treat or mistreat your spouse is your business.

It’s a Pandora’s Box of taboo topics. A minefield of gray that most of us would rather leave to each his own.

However, if it takes a village to raise a child, why do we neglect one of the parts that is so critical to a child’s psyche and molding in how he or she will perceive violence, corporal punishment, and power?

In the case of NFL player, Adrian Peterson, he took a switch, a small branch from a tree and hit the child repeatedly for interfering with another child’s video game.

This is an old-fashioned form of punishment. Probably one our grandparents endured. I think my dad did. We’ve seen it on episodes of Little House on the Prairie when the school master disciplines a student with a switch or stick. Nuns did this in Catholic schools with rulers, headmasters with paddles.

The difference between those situations and the Adrian Peterson situation is the boy’s injuries and wounds look like they were inflicted out of rage and lack of self control.

Discipline should be carried out judicially. Not in a fit of anger.

This is why I can say I regret some of the spankings I gave my daughter. I know that I reacted in the heat of the moment when I gave her the swat on her diapered backside. Read more


Why I regret spanking my child by Frugalista Blog for Bonbon Break

Work at Home Moms- WAHM. Not to be confused with 80s pop sensation WHAM.

Everything needs a label these days and it’s driving me nuts. Do you work at home? Do you stay at home? Do you work away from home?

Are you a SAHM, WAHM, or WAFHM? What? I know! I’m confused too!!

When I chose to have kids, all I wanted to do was just not go back to the job I was currently at. My husband and I saved up my income so that after the baby was born, I could be home with her.

Then it worked out that the company I was employed with went out of business. There wasn’t a job for me to return to. I loved staying home with Emma. I couldn’t imagine having to arrange my lifestyle to go back to an office and leave her with someone. It just never occurred to me.

HOWEVER, I never did mind anyone that did make that choice to go back to work after maternity leave. We all have different reasons why we want to. So who cares?

But it seems lately if you are a mom, you need a label as to what you do with your time. Here’s my rundown of the latest.

Do you work at home doing a job for a client or a boss and check in remotely? That’s a WAHM. Work At Home Mom. This is tricky. Then you have to keep the kiddos occupied while you get your job done. Maybe you have someone come and help with the kids or you take the kids to day care. This might save you from commuting to an office, but still allow you to get some work done. Maybe the kids are off to school while you work.

Or do you work at an office? This is a WAFHM. Work Away From Home Mom. Then you have the same situation of dealing with childcare, commuting, and even if the kids are at school, someone has to be there for them when they come home.

Finally, there’s the moms who stay at home with their kids and don’t get paid anything from anyone. That’s a SAHM. Stay At Home Mom. We know what she does. Wipes up spills all day and poo and puke,  entertains, is a concierge, laundress, cook, nurse, craft adviser.

Then there’s the SITMVAD. Stay In The Mini Van All Day mom. She can be a combination of some of the above and this at the same time. Some may call this a Soccer Mom. I just call it a mom who is busy and needs to drive all over creation for her kids.

Don’t forget the mom we all went to be- SAHWWM. Stay At Home With Wine Mom. This needs no explanation.

Not only is this a handy guide to some of the acronyms you’ve been seeing lately, it’s also a good reminder that ALL MOMS WORK FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

And I respect each and every one for the jobs they do.

The next time someone asks what I do, I will say, “I’m a mom”. And that should be enough.



It’s the Boy’s birthday! RTLF- #34

Today Owen is 10. Ten!!

I still haven’t lost the baby weight.

Owen was born with bright blond hair. Lots of it. He needed a hair cut at 9 months because he had a comb-over, it was so long!

Once my nether regions healed after birthing out this 8 pound 11 ounce child of 23 (22?) inches long with a 95th percentile head- I grew to realize that the ‘mama’s boy’ myth was coming true. He was in love with me and I with him.

I promise to not be a nightmare mother in law. It might be hard. He’s my golden boy.

I figured in honor of this day- I will post a few gems of previous Owen posts. He has always been entertaining. Including this one:

Also, I shall include last year’s post of when I share his birth story. It’s pretty good.

The Difference Between Sons and Daughters

Ha! Answer- HUGE!

Yeah, DUH!  I figure since my son’s birthday is coming up and I wrote a blog post about my daughter’s birthday, I should give him the same credit. Although, he is the second child and sometimes you just forget to do stuff for the next kid, like baby books, home movies, that sort of thing. The five second rule comes in to play a whole lot more. You don’t sweat the little stuff like you obsessed over the first time.

So, my story begins- I was about 16 weeks pregnant with my second child. I didn’t know yet if it was a boy or a girl. I kinda wanted it to be a girl. My daughter was 2 1/2, we had a houseful of girl things, I figured, I know girls. I’m a girl,  I can do girls. What do I do with a boy? Will I want to play with him? When he gets older, how am I going to deal with penis questions? (let me tell you now- I am always dealing with penis and testicle questions.) What if he’s hyper, what if he likes guns and wants to be an Ultimate Fighting Champion when he grows up? What is he going to wear? Boys clothes sure as heck aren’t as cute as girl’s clothes.  These were the thoughts that were spinning around and around in my head. Very shallow, but reasonable thoughts.

A friend of mine gave me a children’s book called “Love You Forever” about a mom so devoted to her baby boy and all his phases of growing up. She would tuck him in each night, she would watch him sleep. And then when he was a grown up she climbed in through his window and watched him sleep. Which is really weird. Then when she was an old lady, he watched her sleep and carried her when she couldn’t walk. And it goes to show you how much a mama loves her boy and vice versa. I thought it was a little creepy with the whole sleep watching part and I thought, “I’m never going to be one of THOSE moms that clings to her son.”

<<SNORT>> Yeah right. Fast forward 9 years from then- no girl is going to be good enough for MY boy!! No girl. Okay, settle down. I’m kidding. But I totally get the mother/son connection. My boy is a mama’s boy for sure. And he IS my favorite. I mean, okay, not really!! He’s just, well, he’s easy to love. So I joke about him being my favorite.*

In those early months of pregnancy, I read in a magazine that if your pee was tinged green you were having a boy. If it’s yellow, you’re having a girl. Of course, I was always inspecting my pee color those early weeks. And it was, well, pee color. I guess, I mean, sort of guess it was kinda greenish. It depended on when I took my vitamin, how much water I had been drinking. It was really hard to determine. Also, I heard that if you crave meats you are having a boy. I totally craved sweet baked goods when I was pregnant with Emma. And strawberries. I ate strawberries all the time. With Owen’s pregnancy, I craved vodka. What does THAT tell you?? I craved lots of seafood. I wanted shrimp and prawns all the time. And steak. So yes, I guess I did crave meat.

We had names picked out for if it was a girl or if it was a boy. Nothing written in stone. We just had ideas. I sure as heck had more options if it was a girl. I loved all kinds of girl names. Not that James agreed with me on most of them. Like, Cher or Genevieve, or Violetta. Something awesome of course! I kind of wanted Charlotte or Olivia. I thought that would go well with Emma. He didn’t want any part of that. Too old fashioned he said. I wanted Margaret or Kathleen. Again, too old fashioned. GEEZE, what did he want- Beyonce?? So we kind of, sort of, chose Sarah. But for the boy, we were leaning towards Henry. Love the name Henry. Yes, it was old fashioned, but we both agreed on it. Then low and behold his Great Aunt one day said if it’s named Henry, she’s calling him Hank. Well, stop the presses, because I’m not having a kid going by the name of Hank! Hank is a name for an old man wearing a wife beater shirt guzzling a Pabst Blue Ribbon in his lawn chair. No offense, I just had this image of what a Hank looked like, and it was NOT my son. So then it just came to us- If it’s a boy, it needs to be Owen, which is James’ middle name and his grandfather’s name on his dad’s side. And you don’t get Hank out of Owen. So Owen it would be. Or Sarah. We weren’t sure yet.

We went to the ultrasound at 20 weeks and found out we had a healthy baby. Brain, heart, all the good stuff- looking fine. And yep, a penis. There it was. The fifth appendage. They told us we were having a boy and I thought, well, okey dokey, a boy it is. Hmm, not sure how I feel about it. I wasn’t disappointed. And I wasn’t over the moon. I was just sort of, content. Yeah, content. Now I WAS convinced I was peeing green.

So the day Owen was born was very different, of course, than the day Emma was born. All birth stories are unique. With Emma, I had the perfect epidural after excruciating labor. With Owen, I experienced labor the way it was intended.  It ebbed and flowed and I got through it. I got the epidural but had to start pushing before it actually kicked in. He was coming hard and fast down the pike. They kept telling me it should be working and I shouldn’t feel a thing. Well, tell that to my burning vagina! I felt everything! I would find out later that the epidural worked perfectly if I was having leg surgery on my right side. Thirty minutes after I pushed out the placenta, I couldn’t feel my whole right leg. Gee thanks Dr. Anesthesiologist! Asshat.

So, I was scared as hell about feeling everything since I felt nothing with Emma’s birth.  You bloody well can bet I wanted to be numb for this one too. Well, I think I pushed maybe three times and out he came. Apparently, I push babies out easily. Despite their head circumference being the size of a bowling ball. What does THAT say about my hoo ha? Wait, don’t answer that.

Because I was more concerned with myself and the BURNGING RING OF FIRE sensation that just ripped through me when Owen came out, that when they placed him on me all warm and slimy, I remember thinking, “I did it!”. I didn’t feel that incredible connection to the universe like when Emma was born. I wasn’t as panicked about his well-being since he wasn’t in any fetal distress like she had been. Maybe because I was thinking more practically after having done it before. He had a full head of hair when he came out.  He looked like a surfer – kinda tan and with bleach blond hair. He nursed immediately. What a boob guy. He wouldn’t let go. The hoo ha survived, and latching on happened like it should have. And then, I fell in love with the little peanut. More like the little ham hock. He was 8 pounds, 11 ounces and I swear 23 inches, but the nurse said 22, but I SAW the tape measure. She totally short-changed him. But whatever. I know.

He cried, but didn’t fuss. If he was hungry- he cried. But honestly, if you held him, he was happy. Emma fussed. Sorry dear- you were a cranky pants sometimes. Oh and the colic! He never had that. He slept better, cried less and was just kinda chill. Maybe he was a surfer? I do remember him surfing across my spleen sometimes, or my cervix. He used to karate chop straight down the birth canal those last few weeks he was gestating in the womb. Holy fallopian tubes he would kick the wind out of me- from the inside!

Owen is a very typical child. He whines, he pouts, he doesn’t always do as he’s told. But 9 out of 10 times, he’s really good. He is always thanking me for doing things for him, taking him places, feeding him. He’s the most grateful child I know. He’s a goody two-shoes like me. Totally keeps track of any swearing or yelling by any family member. He really hates yelling. He likes things quiet. He loves to snuggle. And he loves James Bond and Harry Potter and drinks cups of tea with me. Really? What more could a mom ask for?

I can totally trust him. Emma is the story knitter. She can knit a story into a sweater like nobody’s business. How many times when she was in preschool I had to clarify to the teachers what was going on in our family. Whether she had said her dad broke his leg, which he didn’t, but she wanted the pastor (she went to a Christian preschool at our church) to pray for him so she decided to make up a story. Or when her teacher asked me how Disneyland was, and I told her that we hadn’t been to Disneyland. And she said that Emma had told the class that her Grandpa drove the family down to Disneyland in his RV. Well, Grandpa doesn’t have an RV and we didn’t go to Disneyland at all that year. So you get the idea.

I can look Owen square in the eye and he will tell me exactly what happened. If he got in trouble at school (this has happened twice in his whole elementary career) he immediately came to me with the note from his teacher. Guilty. He hates guilt. So he faces it head on.

The difference with boys and girls is clearly attitude. Emma throws me attitude like a logger at a Highland games. Just pitches it up to fall hard on me, Owen doesn’t do that. You don’t have to walk on egg shells around him. Emma is Miss Moody. Happy and easy-going one minute, in tears and hating the world the next. Typical hormonal pre-teen FEMALE. (*If you’re reading this ever in the future Emma, I think you’re awesome and the best daughter ever. Don’t hate me.)

Well, I could brag on and on about my amazing children, but I will spare you. My point is, despite my feelings while I was pregnant and anticipating a boy, wondering how to love it, how it will love me- I can’t imagine it any other way.  Two girls would absolutely kill me! Oh dear heavens, the estrogen would put us over the edge!! At least with Emma as the first born.  She is so Alpha that I can’t imagine another female between her and I.  Owen balances our family beautifully.

He really is my golden boy.

I pop out some damn cute kids, huge head and all.

Scary Mommy book review and a Mother’s Day Giveaway


Hey it’s Mother’s Day next week. You know what that means? Macaroni necklaces and handprint pictures that you will treasure forever. Or not.

Don’t think I’m a bitch for saying this- but sometimes for Mother’s Day, I would actually like a present that isn’t an outline of my child’s hand, or I don’t know, a shower head fixture. Now that the kids are older, I don’t get many egg crate jewelry boxes or seashell decoupages. And not to say I didn’t enjoy the ones I did get in my past. I did. I remember vividly tearing up at the hand print poem Owen gave me the Mother’s day he was in Kindergarten. It was precious. And I understand that McSweetie doesn’t really know what to do with Mother’s day anyway. Do I get a simple bouquet of flowers and call it good? Or do I need a giant diamond pendant that signifies all the fabulous things I do each and every day?

Well, neither.

I think flowers are a rip-off at Mother’s Day. They jack up the prices. And a giant diamond pendant is a little ridiculous. Just a little. A medium-sized diamond pendant wouldn’t be that ridiculous though…

So let’s be real here. We want to share all the real things we love and hate about Mother’s Day. You know there are those things that suck about it! And I thought what would be more perfect than a review of an awesome new book. Recently, I got the privilege of a copy of the new book Scary Mommy; Motherhood Comes Naturally  (and Other Vicious Lies) by Jill Smokler. I was tickled that I got a preview of the book from her publisher and I couldn’t wait to share my book review with you. It does not disappoint.

If you come from the point of view that motherhood isn’t all baby powder freshness and cooing lullabies, you will love Jill’s book. This is a second installment of her Scary Mommy tales. All I can say is, where was this woman when Emma was a baby?

Some Scary Mommy Confessions you can probably relate to:

“I beat my kids at Super Mario Bros. and proceeded to do a victory dance that made them all cry. Whoops.”

“For Mother’s Day, I will trim my pubes. And then I’ll pleasure myself while fantasizing about child-free days, endless bottles of wine, and the time when my husband was actually sexy.”

And my favorite-

“For years we’ve been assuming our daughter is just in an annoying phase. Turns out, she’s actually just really annoying.”


So for all you hard working, (every mom is a working mom) tireless, selfless mothers out there- I’m doing something special.

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Motherhood Comes Naturally (and Other Vicious Lies) by Jill Smokler, and I will throw in a copy of I Just Want To Pee Alone! As a bonus giveaway- if you prove in the comments with a link to a social media site that you told your friends about Scary Mommy’s book, I will randomly select a winner for something special by ME! No macaroni necklaces here, this will be a great load of loot, I promise.

Jill has been crazy busy promoting her book on the Today show and is starting a book tour- Find her cities here. 

I want to help her sell a ton of books. She has three kids to put through college people- or pay for therapy, either way.

So enter and share!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

All of a sudden, I’m the mother of a teenager

How did this happen? Grammarians, is it ‘mother of a teenager’ or ‘mother to a teenager’? I’m stuck. But either way. There’s a teenager living in my house.

Do you ever day dream into the future? I get caught sometimes jumping ahead of myself and thinking forward to the years of when Emma will be in high school. I have to almost catch my breath. I realize that I will blink and she will be off to college. Am I jumping the gun a little? Maybe. I remember when she was born, I fast forwarded in my head to maybe around her being 2 years old. And I thought, will I still like her? Gladly, the answer was yes. And still is.

Once upon a time, what feels not so long ago, I was anxiously awaiting the birth of this precious girl. I mean very anxiously. I had been on strict bed rest (not able to be on my feet for any more than 20 minutes per day) for the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy. I was ready for her to come out!

When she finally did, I felt the universe shift, my earth mother instincts kick in (okay, not really, sort of) and I could SMELL her. I literally smelled her when they placed her on me and she was the sweetest, most amazing smell ever. It was HER. I would smell her daily many times a day those next few weeks and months.

I miss that smell. Now I smell passion fruit or vanilla body spray or Dove deodorant. Maybe some Pink Sugar perfume or L’Oreal Elnett hairspray. Sometimes I smell some stinky armpits that smell like a Mexican buffet or her stinky shoes that smell like sour vinegar and Gruyere cheese.

When she was just a few days old, she was laying in her bassinet, asleep. She was on her side and her little profile was cherubic. Seriously, she was the most adorable baby. She looked like a painting. I burst into tears. My boobs hurt, my gut and crotch hurt and I couldn’t get over how amazing it was to have this child. I was the happiest woman on the planet, with the best baby on earth. Ever. That’s how it felt anyway.

I won’t sugar coat it (okay, I already kind of have) but there were moments of that first week of post-partum, I wondered what I got myself into. My nipples were torn open and bleeding due to poor latching on Emma’s part. Of course, I didn’t know any better and endured this for a whole week before the Lactation experts told me to get on a breast pump STAT and give my boobses a rest.

I was so tired I couldn’t see straight. Sometimes I would just cry for no reason. Well, duh. Of course there was a reason- I was hormonal and exhausted. Who’s brilliant idea was this??

Somehow I managed to get a rhythm to this parenting thing. The breast feeding finally clicked, it only took 3 weeks (pshaw), she never did sleep through the night, but I adjusted to her waking up at 4 am as part of our routine. She didn’t start sleeping completely through the night regularly until she was almost 5, that little stinker! Now I can’t wake her up for school. Totally figures.

When she was six months old, she was nursing on me. She took a bite of my boob and when I yelped in pain and when I looked down at her to tell her ‘no’, she smiled up at me. Oh boy did that push some buttons! I felt like she knew she was hurting me. Like she knew she was testing me. Maybe I was overreacting. But at that moment, I knew I had my work cut out for me and she would be a challenge. A good challenge. But definitely a crafty little thing.

She challenges me all the time. She keeps me on my toes. Sometimes she brings me to tears because she hurts my feelings. I know she doesn’t mean to hurt me. I know that I probably annoy the hell out of her with my goofy jokes, loud laugh and chit chat with the other moms. But still, she pushes my buttons like a college kid and a microwave. Beep, beep, beep. Pick a setting-‘highly annoyed’, ‘ready to yell’, ‘losing my shit’; that’s how she can be to me.

So here we are. On the brink of another turning point. 13 years old. A teenager. Am I afraid?  A little. Am I excited for all the possibilities she has in store? Yes. More than anything.

I look at her and see a better version of myself. Like a 2.0 of a prototype. She’s already mastered social interactions and fashion taste and make up application far better than I ever did at that age! And don’t even get me started on her perfect teeth. Yes, she’ll eventually need braces, but she sure dodged a bullet and skipped the awkward years. Of course, Owen has made up for that and will need orthodontia probably before Emma gets it!

So Emma, if you ever read this, know how much I love you. Know that even though your heart might break a few times in life, or you don’t find yourself exactly where you thought you would be, you are the best you I could ever ask for. You make the world better. You shine your light wherever you go. No matter what you do, or who you are with, because of you- the world is better with you in it.


Do you see this perfection?? She’s ADORABLE! Okay, I’m biased, but COME ON.