I’m Not Ready for Summer to End

As I look on my calendar, I realize that the kids go back to school in about a month. While many parents are doing somersaults and are ready to do the happy dance, I can honestly say I’m not. Truthfully, I’m sad that summer vacation as we know it will be coming to end sooner than I can say day at the beach.

Although there have been plenty of times my kids have driven me crazy over the past six weeks, there have been more times filled with laughs, smiles and hugs. For this, I am eternally blessed. There have been playdates and get togethers with friends that we don’t get to see as often during the hectic school year. I’ve been able to actually watch my kids learn how to swim right in front of my eyes. This is an accomplishment that I am more than proud of because there were plenty of moments when I honestly thought it would never happen! There have been walks on the beach and melting ice cream cones along with carnival rides and rollercoasters. There have been countless nights of no bedtime so we can stay up to watch “Full House” re-runs on Nick at Nite (this is a personal fave!). There have been lazy mornings listening to my girls actually play with each other without killing one another.

So, why would I want summer to end?

I’ll be trading all of this in for bedtime fights followed by morning struggles of literally pulling my girls out of bed. There will be the whole Kindergarten transition for my youngest (that’s a topic for an entirely different post). I’d rather poke my eye out with a spork! I can’t wait for the outfit battles this year now that our school has switched from a uniform to a dress code policy. That should be fun!

There will be extracurricular activities and sports to keep the girls busy and Mom crazy all at the same time. Saturday mornings will be taken up with soccer games and smelly cleats. There will be the birthday invitations coming home for kids I didn’t even know existed! Don’t forget the homework and the effort to get it all done without a fight.

Remind me again why I want the kids to go back to school? I’ll trade all of that in for an endless summer…along with the sunshine and great weather. A momma can dream…




Stepping Out of Her Sister’s Shadow

It’s interesting to watch your kids grow up. Having two girls, the younger one has constantly mimicked her older sister. It’s monkey see, monkey do and “I can do it better than you” 24/7. The younger sibling constantly looks up to the older one.

Little sis has always wanted to play with the “big girls”. So, big sister’s friends became little sister’s friends “just because”.

But, then something started to happen.

Before you can say “share with your little sister”, little sister isn’t so little anymore. She starts becoming her own person. It’s both beautiful and sad in the same glance.

As my baby girl gets ready for Kindergarten in the fall, she’s beginning to spread her little wings. Gone are the days of having a death-grip on mommy’s leg because she doesn’t want to talk to the other kids. She’s starting to fly away without looking back. That’s a good thing, I know.

She’s also starting to make her own little friends and get invited to do things with her friends…without her sister. Everyday I can see her step out of her sister’s shadow a little bit more. While I couldn’t be happier that she’s becoming her own little person, part of me wants her to still play the role of co-pilot. As a mother, there’s something comforting in knowing that she’s always with her big sister, as much as big sister may not enjoy it.

While my younger daughter has always had a mind of her own, she also constantly wanted her sister’s approval. That’s also starting to disappear. Just this morning, my older daughter said she wanted pasta for dinner. In the “old” days, little sis would chime in with a “me too”. Instead, she told us she didn’t want pasta and that she was going to make herself a sandwich instead. After I finished laughing, I thought to myself, wow, you really are becoming your own little person.


Trust me, I know, this is just the beginning. Growing up seems to be so much easier for the kids to do. I wonder what their secret is! It’s a lot harder for us parents to watch!



Can We Stop Raising Mean Girls?

Mean girls have been around for as long as I can remember.

Perhaps you’ve ran into a few when you were a kid.

Perhaps you were their target like I was.

Perhaps you were even one when you were growing up.

Perhaps your child has had the unfortunate experience of being the victim of one.

Perhaps your child is one.

Whatever the case, mean girls seem to hang on and exist despite anti-bullying programs and zero tolerance policies at school. I just can’t seem to figure out why. What joy can I child get out of hurting another child either mentally or physically? Maybe I’m just naïve, but I just don’t get it.

The only explanation I can come up with is that we are raising a society of mean girls. Truth be told we have been for what seems like forever. It’s not just in certain parts of the country. It’s not exclusive to certain schools or districts. It is everywhere. While I do think outside influences can play a part, I don’t think we can pass the blame. It starts at home.

What are we teaching at home? Are we teaching kindness? Are we teaching tolerance? Are we teaching our kids to be genuinely good people? Sadly, I don’t think enough of us are. If we were then mean girls would cease to exist. We as parents need to take responsibility for the types of people we are raising. We need to teach them to be kind. It would be unrealistic for us to teach them to be friends with everyone. That’s just not possible. What is possible is to teach them to treat everyone with respect and kindness. The golden rule never gets old. Treat others like you want to be treated. It’s as simple yet as complicated all in the same breath.

Do you think those mean girls would like it if they were treated like they treat others? Honestly, some of them have become so damaged that it may bounce right off of them and onto their next victim. Others may actually feel some of the pain they’ve inflicted on others.

If you think your kids need to reach middle school or high school to feel the wrath of mean girls, think again. It’s happening even younger than you may think. I’ve seen it in elementary schools and as early as first grade. It is heartbreaking. No parent should every have to explain mean girls to their crying child who just doesn’t understand what they could have done wrong when they know they’ve done nothing.

At those young ages where are these kids learning this type of behavior? Why do they think it is acceptable? The only answer that makes sense to me is that they are learning it from home. Perhaps it’s what they are not learning at home. They are not being taught basic values of being a decent human being. If this is the case then we are failing as parents. We are failing as a society.

Simply put, can we stop raising mean girls? Is it really too much to ask? I can guarantee that everyone will benefit if we can just figure it out.





40 Days of Less Yelling…Can You Do It?

So, today is the first day of Lent. If you’re Catholic, like me, that means you usually have to give something up for the 40 days leading up to Easter. When I was little and even as a younger adult, I would rack my brain trying to thing of the one thing I loved the most that would torture me to give up. In years past that meant chocolate (several times), cookies, sweets in general, and even gossiping…I know, the humanity! Other years I pretended Lent didn’t even exist, so I didn’t give up anything at all.

I can’t say I stayed on the wagon for all those endeavors. I snuck a Reese Peanut Butter Cup or two…or three. I snatched a few cookies here or there or everywhere. Of course, someone annoyed me enough that I had to start talking smack. Needless to say, I was anything but successful with the whole “give up something and stick to it” for Lent thing.

So, now I’m a mom and I’m supposed to know what I’m doing to set a good example. But,  I once again had trouble trying to think what I could give up for Lent. My daughter came home from CCD last week and told me she learned all about Lent. It was interesting that she told me she was going to do something nice. She never once mentioned giving something up. Her “do something nice” was to be nice to her sister. Hopefully she’s more successful with her mission than I have been with mine.

That got me to thinking. What could I do for Lent that would be difficult for me and benefit others at the same time? As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I knew what it was already. I could yell less. I know I said this was part of my New Year’s resolution. Honestly, it hasn’t been working out so well. Time to hit the restart button and have a do-over.

Yelling less doesn’t mean my girls won’t get reprimanded if they do something wrong. It means I won’t feel as though I’m going to have an aneurysm when I do get mad at them. It means I won’t look like one of the characters from “Where the Wild Things Are” when I let them know they are doing something wrong. It means giving myself an interior “time-out” if you will. It’s probably a win-win all around.

As much as I may not want to admit it, yelling really doesn’t solve any problems. My kids may stop doing whatever annoying activity… for awhile. They may clean up a mess…only to mess up the same spot again five minutes later. They may decide to stop screaming like animals…for a few minutes.

In the end, I’m still annoyed.

So, let’s try this yelling less thing for 40 days. Can I do it? Hopefully! Can you?

I Love You All the Time

It’s kinda funny when you see things come full circle with your kids.

When my older daughter was a baby there was one book I would read to her all the time.

It’s called “I Love You All the Time”. Are you familiar with it?

It’s a cute board book that describes all these different scenarios, but in the end, the “busy” adult always love the child. It’s a sweet book to remind kids they are always loved no matter what’s going on around them. I used to love reading it to her. It was the one book that she would always smile and giggle at. I would do funny voices and act it out a bit too. But, as she got older, it kinda got tossed aside. It got “traded up” for more “deeper” books, like “The Cat in the Hat” if you will.

Honestly, I also forgot about it. I knew it was still on the book shelf. But, it seemed to have gotten lost. So, you have to imagine my surprise when my older daughter found it on the shelf and decided she wanted to read it to me. It has to be a good couple of years since I read that book. My younger daughter never took to it the way her sister did.

So, after she asked to read it, I asked her if she remembered that I used to read it to her all the time. When she said she did, my mommy heart melted. We sat on the couch and she started reading. For a few minutes I was brought back to a time when I would hold her tight and read to her. I could breathe that sweet baby smell forever. I wish I could bottle those snuggles and bring them out now.

I was brought back to reality as she read me the story. She did a really nice job. It must have been all the times she heard me read it to her. I have to say a part of me liked it even more when she read it. Although I hate the fact that she is growing up, it showed me that she is learning and getting smarter by the day. Isn’t that what we all want?

While the entire book is great, the last line is the best.

“Even when you can’t see me, I love you all the time.”

I hope that rings true for her just as much as it does for me.




Are you & your child overscheduled?

Soccer. Dance. Gymnastics. Theater.

How many activities do your children do on a regular basis? One? Two? Five?

How frequently are you running your kids from activity “A” to activity “B” to activity “C”?

If someone looks up “Mom Taxi” in the dictionary will your face be there?

Think about the answers to those questions. The reason why I bring it up is because I’m hearing of more and more kids taking on a schedule that seems unrealistic and exhausting to me as an adult. I can only imagine what it must feel like as a kid. Who’s making the schedule? The kids or the parents? In many cases it’s both.

As parents I know we all want our kids to be well-rounded and try everything…blah, blah, blah. Many kids also want to do everything. But, does there come a point when it’s all just too much? Should we try to limit our kids’ activities so that they (and us) don’t get burnt out? If you ask me, the answer is yes.

When I was a kid I tried lots of sports although I wasn’t really athletic. I was also a cheerleader for a bit. I was a Girl Scout for even longer. I even played in the band up until high school. It may sound like a lot, but all those things weren’t happening simultaneously.I also had plenty of time to go outside to play and go to my friends’ houses and do all the other things kids do as kids. My mom wasn’t schlepping me all over town as if I were Miss Daisy. Somehow we managed to make it work. Somehow I think I turned out okay without hopping from activity to activity.

What changed?

When did we feel like we needed to get our kids into every program known to kiddie-kind? When did we suddenly spend more time in our cars than at home trying to squeeze in some quality family time?

My kids are only six and four and there are already so many activities available to them. Guess what? I make them pick and choose. My six year-old does soccer and Girl Scouts. That’s it. We don’t do dance. We don’t do gymnastics. We don’t do ice skating. Why? Because my child does not need to be in everything. My four-year-old chooses not do dance or gymnastics or anything else for that matter. She just wants to play soccer once she turns five! Guess what? I’m okay with that. It doesn’t make her lazy or boring. Both girls have plenty of time to play and just be kids. Does that mean they’re slackers? Certainly no. It means they’re kids.

We all know kids grow up too fast. That’s why I think it’s time to ease up on the over-scheduling and the mega activities. It’s okay to have a “free day”. It’s even okay to have a few. They may even enjoy it. You definitely will.



3 Resolutions Every Mother Should Make

Now that you’ve cleaned up the confetti and thrown away the champagne bottle, it’s time to look ahead to the new year. For some of us that means making resolutions. For others not making a resolution is your resolution. But, if you are one of those mommas looking to make a resolution, I’ve got three ideas you really should consider.

Lose weight? No.

Get Organized? No.

Spend More Time with Family? No.

Stop Gossiping? No.

So, if a momma doesn’t want to lose weight and clean her house, what could she possibly want to do in the new year?

For starters, limit your phone time. No, I’m not crazy. I’m including myself in this one. You don’t need to memorize everyone’s Facebook status or see everyone’s tweet pronto. You don’t need to accept every game invite. Playing Farmville 24/7 won’t make you a farmer. It just won’t. Your phone is not going to explode if you don’t check your e-mail every five minutes. The messages will be there.

If you’re like me, there’s just some unexplainable obsession with checking or being on your phone all the time. The hold that the tiny screen has on us is undeniable and sad at the same time. How many times has your child asked you to get off your phone? Raise your hand. I’m raising mine. How does that make you feel? It certainly doesn’t make me feel like a good parent.

If we spend less time on our phones, we’ll have time for real conversations. I’m not talking about text convos or snap chats. I’m talking about honest to goodness verbal interaction with another human being. I know, it’s crazy to imagine. I’m talking about having more quality time with our kids so they don’t have to compete with our phones.

So once you’ve limited your phone time, you can think about yelling less. After your child has used your hardwood floor as a canvas, it’s hard to not want to yell like a maniac. Trust me, I’ve been there. How about when you’ve asked your children to do something three times and they don’t even acknowledge that they’ve heard your voice? They’ll hear if you yell, right? They will, but what will it accomplish? You’re going to get even more mad.

I think as parents we sometimes forget that our kids are just that…kids. They don’t have the same reasoning skills as we do. They just want to have fun. They just want to be kids. Sometimes we may fall victim to wanting our kids to act more like adults than they should or than they are capable of. Raise your hand if this includes you. I’m raising mine. By yelling less, we can actually talk to them and think of other ways to remedy situations. In the process we can try to let them be kids. Maybe we can be kids sometimes too. Wouldn’t it be fun to just color like no one is watching?

Ok, so you’ve limited your phone time and yelled less, what’s left to do? How about take better care of yourself? Chances are you know or are one of those moms who doesn’t really take care of herself. Whether it’s keeping annual doctors’ visits or just making sure you get a haircut more than once a year, you need to take care of yourself. If you’re a hot mess from the inside out, how are you going to take care of your family? We all know the answer.

I’m not talking about being in full make-up when you’re hanging out at the bus stop. But, maybe brushing your hair and getting out of your PJs is a start? Taking better care of yourself doesn’t mean going shopping every week. But, maybe you don’t have to wear the flip-flops that are being held together with duct tape. Taking better care of yourself will not only make yourself feel better, it will also set an example for your kids. We all know kids are the biggest copiers ever.

While these are just three resolutions, they are not easy to keep. I’ll be practicing what I preach as I try to make these work in my life. What’s the worse that can happen? I’ll be having more real conversations without yelling while feeling better about myself. Not a bad way to start the new year.



One Day There Won’t be Any Crayons to Pick Up

As I almost tripped over the rainbow of crayons all over my living room rug this morning, I wanted to yell, but I bit my tongue.

When my daughter went to sharpen her pencil this morning and then emptied the little thing that catches the shavings all over my kitchen floor, I wanted to yell, but I bit my tongue.

When my youngest daughter squeezed her juice box and it trickled all over my hardwood floor, I really wanted to yell, but I bit my tongue.

When I looked around my house this morning and saw the mounds of Halloween candy and other goodies all over my counter, I could feel myself getting frustrated, but I took a deep breath.

As I took in the sights of my house and the tornado that it’s become lately, I could feel myself getting annoyed, but again I took a deep breath.

When I thought about all the cleaning that didn’t get done this weekend because we were too busy having fun, I could feel myself starting to twitch, but I took an ever deeper breath.

I guess you could say I had an epiphany of sorts.

I began to think that one day there won’t be any crayons to pick up. There won’t be any messes to clean. My house may actually look more like a sunny day than a hurricane. There won’t be any mounds of candy because the girls will be too old for trick-or-treating. Instead, they’ll be off to parties wearing costumes that need ten times more fabric and doing things that teenagers do (sigh). I’ll have new headaches and wish for the days when my biggest problem was too much candy in the house.

Instead of picking up pencil shavings, I’ll be picking up the pieces of broken hearts caught in the crossfire of teenage drama. Instead of drippy juice boxes, I’ll be worrying about all the other drinks out there that my girls need to stay away from (sigh).

If you’re like me and you tend to sweat the stuff and stress and that comes along with having little ones in the house…don’t. Enjoy it and embrace it. It’s not to say that you should let your house get to “Hoarders” status, but you don’t have to freak out about every little mess. Take it from a former pre-children “neat freak”.

I’m beginning to really think that these are the “fun” days that everyone tells you will go by too fast. One day you’ll be sitting home handing out Halloween candy just wishing you were still out there trick-or-treating.

So, the next time there are crumbs sprinkled all over your rug or scribbles all over your wall, remember that one day there won’t be any crayons to pick up.


Home Sick With the Kids? Here’s What You Can Do…

‘Tis the season of sniffles, coughs and fevers. It’s also the season of juggling sick days if you are a working parent. Do you take the day off? Do you try to get a family member to stay with them? It really can become a little complicated at times.

But, if you do stay home with your little ones when they’re sick, it can get a little hairy. We all know kids always want their moms when they’re sick. Although being someone’s human tissue and coughing sleeve is extremely rewarding, there are moments when going for a full body wax would be less painful.

After staying home with one of my sick kids for a few days and overdosing on Caillou and Dora, I felt like I wanted to poke my eyes out with a spork. I think all moms can relate when I say you can get a bit stir crazy. So, instead of plotting ways I could get secretly get rid of Caillou, I started thinking of how to use my time inside in a more positive way (not that getting rid of Caillou is not positive). So, here’s what I came up with:

Clean Away 

If your child takes a little nap to fight off that cold, why not chase those dust bunnies who have been playing hide and seek with you for weeks? Why not wipe down the kitchen appliances? We all know that’s one of the many chores that gets overlooked in the day-to-day pick-up. How about those baskets of laundry that just want to go back home in their drawers? The point here is to use your uninterrupted time wisely, especially if you did take a day off of work. You may be surprised at just how much you can get done. Then when your child wakes up you can go back to playing nurse.


We all know it’s called the junk drawer for a reason. But, it gets to a point where the that junk drawer could land you on the hoarders show. While your child is on the couch watching her favorite show, take a few minutes to sort through the clutter. If you’re like me, there’s something therapeutic about organizing!

Read or Catch Up on the DVR

If you’re not in the mood to clean then take some “me” time. Whether it’s to read a book that’s been collecting dust all summer or to catch up on your twelve episodes of “The Young and the Restless” that’s waiting for you in the DVR (that’s me), do something you like. We all know we never get a lot of down time during our daily hustle and bustle.

Low-Key Play Time

If your child feels well enough to play a little, there’s nothing wrong with letting them. A sick day from school doesn’t mean they have to be chained to their beds and glued to the tissue box. Take the opportunity to play a board game or a card game. Color a picture. Read them a book. Basically, spend some time just hanging out with them. It’s fun and makes the time go by much faster than watching kiddie shows all day long.

The next time your children’s sick days have you feeling a little stir crazy, check out this list and then add a few of your one:)



The “Little Things” are the Biggest Things

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

I have this little quote on one of my wall decorations in my house. I bought it because I thought it was meaningful and “deep”, if you will. If you think about, it really is true. The things that we often classify as little and “meaningless” have the most meaning…especially when you have kids.

This rang true for me this week when I chaperoned my daughter’s field trip. It was just a simple trip to a farm to see some animals, pick a few apples, and get a pumpkin. We’ve done these things plenty of times during her six years of life. But,  it was different this time.

Rewind a few weeks ago when the permission slip came home. Actually, a few minutes before that when I picked up my daughter the day the permission slips came home.

“Mommy, mommy, we’re going on our first field trip and you have to come!”

“Okay, okay, “I remember answering. “Take it down a notch and we’ll check it out when we get home.”

“But Mommy, we’re going to pick apples and pumpkins!” she said as we drove home.

As soon as we got in the house, she ripped open her book bag to hand me the paper.

The first word that stood out to me was Tuesday.


See, I picked up a little freelancing gig and Tuesday is one of the two days that I actually work outside the house. It’s only for a few hours a week. But, half of those hours happen to fall on a Tuesday. They couldn’t have picked a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday. Nope, they had to pick Tuesday.

Anyway, it really was a no brainer. As much as I felt silly saying I couldn’t work that day, I knew I had to try to go. That was one of the many reasons why I decided to be a stay-at-home mom…to do things like this. I know there’s going to come a day when choices like these are going to be made for me and I won’t have the luxury of deciding whether I want to go.

“So, Mommy, can you go?”

“Yes honey, I’ll make it work. As long as the teacher says I can go, I’ll be there.”

Hugs and kisses followed. I felt great for making her happy.

Fast forward to this week.

All morning my daughter was buzzing with excitement over the “big” field trip. I dropped her off and told her I would see her soon. When I walked into her classroom and gave her a little wave, she was already grinning from ear to ear. My little mommy heart did somersaults. She introduced me to some of her little friends. I know there are days ahead when the thought of me meeting her friends will “embarrass” her, so I’ll take these little moments all I can now.

So, we went on the trip and had a nice time with her classmates. The two-and-a-half hours were over before I knew it. The bus dropped us off. I kissed her goodbye. She went back to school. I went home to her little sister.

Field Trip Fun!


Fast forward to pick-up time.

My daughter was happy to see me (score for Mommy again). She started telling her sister all about this huge pig we saw…and how it pooped…of course. She told her about the apples and the pumpkins and everything else. The pooping pig was the only thing that got any response…of course.

The rest of the afternoon was status quo…homework, snacks, playing, dinner, etc. Then as we were sitting down for our nightly dose of Caillou, my daughter held on to my arm really tight and said, “Mommy, thank-you so much for coming on my field trip today.” It made my mommy heart all mushy to hear a thank-you for such a “small” thing. Just to know how much those tiny two-and-a-half hours meant to her meant even more to me. So, the next time you think you’re doing something “small” for your kids remember to , “Enjoy the little things. For one day you may look back and realize they were big things.”