You Know It’s the End of the School Year When…

My kids haven’t had homework in over a week, they’ve been coming home with pictures they drew at Christmas, and they seem to have a field trip or special activity every time I sneeze.

This can only mean one thing.

It’s the end of the school year.

Parents, I know you can relate.

During this time of year, the bedtimes slide a little later, the clothes get more wrinkled, and the snack supply dwindles. Who says sugar packets aren’t a healthy snack?

You also know it’s the end of the school year when you search Pinterest for a unique teacher’s gift only to come to the conclusion that your child’s teacher does desperately need another mug that says “best teacher”.

I don’t know about you, but when it gets to be this time of year, I’ve checked out of the lunch making game too. I’m sure whatever they’re serving in the cafeteria is just fine. The thought of making another ham and cheese sandwich and trying to fit everything in the lunchbox perfectly so the banana doesn’t get squished is just too much pressure to handle at this point in the school year.

I also know it’s the end of the school year because waking my kids up gets harder each day closer to the last day of school. They protest and look like “grumpy cat” every morning. But, I know once the first day of summer vacation rolls around they’ll be awake before 7 a.m., no matter how late they’ve gone to bed the night before. How annoying!

It’s also the time of year when you realize your kids will be around the entire summer…let me repeat…THE ENTIRE SUMMER. What are you going to do with them for over two months besides hearing “I’m bored” more times than you’ll ever hear those words again (at least until next summer)?

For some of us, it’s summer camp to the max, for others, your home is a 24/7 camp with endless snacks and activities.

Either way you slice it, summers aren’t all sandcastles and water balloon fights. Siblings get on each other’s nerves, kids annoy parents, parents annoy kids, all while sweating and getting sunscreen in your eyes…it’s a beautiful thing.

Although sibling battle royales have led me to threaten to send my kids to separate summer camps countless times this year, I know we’ll make it work just as we do every summer. They’ll be doing some camp things, but most of the time they’ll be at “Camp Mom” because let’s be honest…camp ain’t cheap.

They’ll be days when I’ll lock myself in my room to meet a deadline, praying my kids don’t scratch each other’s eyes out in the other room. But, then there were will great beach days with friends that will make us smile. It’s all part of the deal.

Parents, stock up on the wine and scrounge up those last few snack bags of Goldfish for the lunch box, it’s about to get real. Enjoy the remaining days of school. Embrace every night you have to tell your kids “it’s a school night” because they’ll be home before you know it!



How’s That No Yelling Thing Working Out for You?

So it’s been almost one month since I took my Lenten oath of not yelling…mainly at my kids. Forty days of keeping a perfectly calm tone and not screaming like a maniac.

I know.

What was I thinking?

Could it actually be done or would I crack under the pressure of a sassy-mouthed little girl who insists that she has nothing to wear when, in fact, I actually did all of the laundry and put it away?

So this is what I can tell you.

Has it been easy? No way!

Have I almost lost my cool? Of course!

Did I have to leave the room a few times so I wouldn’t yell? Absolutely!

Has it been worth it? Yes. Really, I’m not lying.

Although lightning wouldn’t strike me if I did let out a howl or two, or at least I hope it wouldn’t, I’ve really tried to stick true to my word. I guess it’s Catholic school guilt that’s still lingering!

I want to show my kids that when mommy says she’s going to do (or not do something in this case) she means it. I also think not yelling has benefited my blood pressure and all-around mental status!

Not yelling has meant finding new ways of problem-solving. Instead of screaming when my daughter knocks over the entire container of Nesquik on the floor that I vacuumed less than two hours ago, I simply tell her not to worry about it, but also give her the broom to sweep it up.

The yelling mommy would have lost her cool and went on a rant about how no one looks at what they’re doing and I’m not the maid, yada, yada, yada. In reality, it’s just an accidental spill that can be cleaned up in minutes. Without yelling, the mess still gets cleaned up and no one feels bad or has veins popping out of their head.

Mission accomplished.

When my daughter wants to wear a shirt to school that’s too small for her, the yelling mommy would lose it while visions of the teenage years would give me heart palpitations. The Lenten, non-yelling mommy, says what she thinks is appropriate and then dishes out a consequence in a calm voice. “If you choose to wear that, then you can’t go to the birthday party this weekend.”

Hmmm…and what do you think she chooses? I’ll take the appropriate clothes and the birthday party mommy.

Yep, that’s what I thought. After this scenario, the shirt in question mysteriously disappears, never to cause problems again.

By not resorting to yelling I’m finding other ways to get my point across without acting like a maniac. “Maniac mommy” is not a good look for me nor is it one I really want to be embedded in my daughters’ brains as part of their childhood.

The real test is going to be not yelling once Lent is over. There will be no real guilt holding me back. Hopefully, I won’t relapse, lol. I think everyone likes non-yelling mommy a lot better, myself included.


Winning the Technology Battle

In the age of Fortnite and endless online gaming, it’s hard not to have your kids glued to an iPad, tablet, phone or another device. That’s probably why I was hesitant to let my girls have a device of their own…well, sorta of their own.

Trust me, I’m not anti-technology, I’m just anti-screen zombie child! Nothing kills me more than to see a child addicted to a device so much so that they’d rather interact with their screen than with other kids.

But, a few months ago, I gave in and bought my kids a new iPad for Christmas. We had an iPad, but that thing was so archaic that I couldn’t load any new apps no matter what I did. After all, it was nearly ten years old, so I shouldn’t really complain. My kids would play on it as much as they could. But, when they wanted to go on programs they were using at school, the iPad would just laugh at my efforts. I let them use my computer, but I would cringe every time they did because I was always afraid they would touch something and it would self-destruct.

So, I guess I had no choice but to buy an iPad. When I told people they immediately thought I was buying two iPads because I have two kids. When I corrected them that there would be one singular iPad they would be sharing, there were plenty of laughs and “good lucks”. I scratched my head because they had been sharing the stone age iPad for as long as I could remember with virtually no problems.

With two iPads I envisioned my girls sitting on opposite ends of the couch on their iPads being anti-social zombies. That scenario did not bring me joy. I figured with one iPad they would not only be forced to share but maybe they would actually play on it together.

Fast forward almost three months and my strategy seems to be working. They’ve learned to share the iPad and what happens when they don’t…I take it away until I feel like giving it back. The joys of motherhood! There are plenty of days when they would just veg out with it all day if I let them. I can see why so many parents give their kids devices for hours on end. It keeps them quiet and out of your hair. While that’s great and all, too much screen time isn’t doing anything positive for anyone. That’s why I set limits and will even put a timer on in case I lose track of time. The quietness can do that to a person. When the timer goes off, the iPad takes a nap and they move on to another activity that doesn’t involve a screen.

While it’s not always unicorns and rainbows in shared iPad land, it is a place where I can win the technology battle…at least for now.


40 Years of Lessons Learned

When you reach a certain point in your life and you do some simple math, you realize that you’ve already lived a good portion of your life. While some people may think that’s a morbid and depressing way to look at things, I actually find it inspiring and think of it as one of those teachable moments in life. It’s one of those moments that makes you to look at things from a different perspective.

Now that I’ve reached a milestone birthday and have done some living, I’ve come to a few conclusions…

If I wake up each morning and am healthy, I’m better off than a lot of people out there. I know of so many people, younger and older than myself, who can’t say that when they wake up. They deal with chronic and life-threatening conditions each day. To not have to deal with that is a blessing within itself.

I’d rather have my children screaming and jumping because there are so many sick kids in the world who can’t enjoy being a kid. When you’re a kid you don’t think you can ever get seriously sick, but when you’re an adult you know of so many kids who have health problems they should never have to deal with. As much as my head may throb because my kids are so noisy, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

It’s not the quantity of friends, but the quality. As a teenager, and even years after, I always thought having a lot of friends was so important. But why? Did it make me feel better about myself? Maybe. But, as I get older, I realize that having a few close friends I can count on using one hand is far better than a number that I need all my fingers and toes to count.

It’s okay to say no to people. I’ve always been a people pleaser, saying yes to just about everything and everyone. The truth is, as I get older, I don’t have the time or mindset to keep saying yes. Sometimes the best weekends are those where I can just stay home with my family and shut out the entire world. It’s that peace that’s priceless and worth saying no to invitations.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. Too many times I’ve just nodded and smiled, accepting whatever was told to me even when I questioned it on the inside. Fast forward a decade or so and I’m not afraid to speak up. This goes for just about anything! If I don’t like it, I’ll tell you. If I have a far-fetched idea, I’m not afraid to mention it because you just never know what can happen. The same goes for asking for things. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

The time is now, don’t wait. When you have kids you begin to realize just how fast time goes. This realization brings you to a point where you don’t want to wait to do things. It may sound morbid, but you just never know what tomorrow will bring. Why wait?

Know your worth & don’t be afraid of it. When I ventured out into the world of freelance writing, it was all new to me. I wasn’t sure what to charge, what to look for, etc. Over time, I’ve gotten to know what I want to write about, what my worth is and to not be afraid to ask for what I think I deserve. Sometimes that’s gone well, other times it hasn’t. But, in the end, it’s all been alright and a learning experience, if nothing else.

Let it go and “Let Jesus take the wheel”. Just like the song goes, sometimes you have to let things go and let someone higher than yourself figure things out. No matter how hard you plan or try to get things to work in your favor, sometimes you just can’t make it work. When you have the mentality to just let things go, they tend to play out in a way that works, even if it’s not how you envisioned it.

Enjoy life. I admit, I am a worrier. I worry about things that already happened, things that are happening, things that may happen, things that will never happen, etc. I’ve finally realized that all of that worrying is useless. While it’s not always easy, I’m trying to live more in the present and enjoy each day because tomorrow is not guaranteed, as much as we may think it is.

There you have it, my 40 years of lessons learned…and counting. What are some life lessons you’ve learned over the years? I’d love to know!



App-sessed! How did our mothers ever survive?

Ok, I love a good organizational tool just as much as the next OCD mom, but I feel like every component of my children’s lives is connected to an app. I’ve had to become “app-sessed” if I want to know the latest information about their activities so I show up at practice when I’m supposed to and deliver orange slices to the soccer team on the right weekend. There are apps for each classroom, an app for the soccer team, and a group chat for scouts. I’m sure I’m missing one, but just know there are multiple groups with lots of people in them.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the fact that these apps allow me to connect with the people I need to, but it does get me wondering…how did our mothers ever survive? Forget about there not being apps 30 years ago, there weren’t even cell phones! Yet, I still got to where I needed to be at the right time and the soccer team had their orange slices on the right weekend. It was pure magic!

I remember my mom being part of a  “telephone tree” when information for school or an activity had to get out. The idea of a phone blast was not even a thought! My mom would actually pick up the phone to call someone to relay a message. I know…the horror.

Nine times out of ten they even picked up the phone since there was no caller ID. They couldn’t just let it go to voicemail to avoid having a conversation (not that anyone would ever do that these days). She actually gave up five minutes of her day to have a live conversation with another human being. Imagine!

There were no group texts to send out and get information. She didn’t have to worry about being part of a group text where everyone needed to text back the entire group to say that they not only got the message but to also say thank you five minutes later! I now turn off notifications because I don’t need twelve people saying “thank-you” at midnight. Yes, that’s happened and I’m sure many of you can relate.

Sure, I could choose to not download the apps and not join the groups. Then what? I wouldn’t know what’s going on in my children’s classrooms, I would overlap with someone else’s “orange slice weekend” and my kids would miss practice or worse, we would show up on the wrong day.

Call me crazy, but I would love to go back to the days of “telephone trees”. Granted, I may not answer the phone all the time, but one solid, informational phone call versus 20 text message sure sounds good about now. It was a much simpler time back then and things still got done and we all survived without our apps. Our “app-less” mothers still got it done, and probably better than we are today.

Is anyone else feeling “app-sessed” these days or is it just me?



The Most Important Back to School Lesson

Parents, it’s that time. Perhaps it’s the one you’ve been waiting for since the middle of June.

It’s back to school time!

Cue the applause!

When it comes to back to school preps, there are so many things to do. From clothes shopping to making sure you get the right school supplies not to mention the back to school haircut, this time of year can become exhausting.

Amid all of the running around, you’re probably instilling some reminders and some new rules too. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
  • Don’t be too chatty in class.
  • Try to actually eat your lunch at lunch so you’re not starving when you get home.
  • Pay attention in class.
  • Raise your hand and ask questions.

These are all things I’ve been telling my little ones. But none of those is the most important lesson of all.

The most important back to school lesson that I’m trying to instill in my girls is to be kind. 

I tell them while you don’t need to be BFFs with everyone, you do need to be kind to everyone.

What does that mean?

It means greeting everyone with a simple hello or good morning.

It means not taking part in any name calling or bullying; in fact, if you witness any of that behavior you need to tell an adult so that it can stop.

It means not laughing at someone when they trip or give the wrong answer in class.

It means offering a helping hand whenever you can.

It means asking another student to sit with you at lunch when you notice they’re always sitting alone.

It means not saying anything if you have nothing nice to say.

It means treating other people as you want to be treated.

Basically, it means just being a good little human.

While all of this sounds pretty easy, ask any child if it is and if many kids do it and they’ll tell you that’s not the case…not even close.

Kids can be downright mean to one another for no reason.

They name call, bully, and can be rude.


I truly believe that no child is born that way; rude, mean, and with no regard for others. I wholeheartedly believe it starts with what they’re learning at home or not learning for that matter.

Is there anyone there who is telling them not to make fun of the other kids or to always say good morning?

I think in more and more cases the answer is no.

Sometimes parents are so busy with their own lives or making sure their kids are competing academically that they forget about the basic need to be kind. In some cases, there are some parents who may not even find that important.

That’s why I arm my girls with the cold hard fact that some kids can be mean so that they’re not surprised when they encounter them. They already know it’s true because they’ve experienced kids being cruel as young as six years old. They’ve been on the receiving end and know how horrible it feels. That’s even more of a reason to be kind.

Being kind is one of those things that doesn’t take much effort but can mean the world to someone without you even knowing it.

As you get your kids ready for school and see them off on the first day, don’t forget the most important back to school lesson…be kind. It will go a long way in school and in life.




You Know It’s the End of the School Year When…

If you’re a mom you don’t need to look at the calendar to know it’s the end of the school year. There are many signs, some obvious, others more subtle, to let you know your children are about to be home for the next two months or more. In case you didn’t realize, that’s 56 days, perhaps more depending on when your kids are getting out and when they go back.

That’s a lot of trips to the liquor store!

Take a look at these signs and how to deal with them to survive this crazy time of year.

Your child tells you his shirt is too short when he raises his hand in class. If your child says this you can simply tell him to just stop raising his hand. It’s an easy fix.

Your child tells you her pants are getting too short. There’s a simple answer to this one too. They’re not too short. They’re actually these really cool new type of pants that get shorter as it gets warmer so you can wear them as capris.

Your child tells you there are no more potato chips to take to school with his sandwich. Show him where the potatoes are and tell him to improvise. Wait, I still have to make sandwiches??

Your child brings home tests and papers from October. It’s unclear whether they were in their desk for this long or if the teacher just got around to giving them back now. Either way you no longer need a table cloth for your kitchen table because it is now covered with dittos and tests. Somehow you need to get rid of these when your child is not looking because you’re expected to keep every piece of paper they ever put their name on. #impossible

Oh look, another field trip permission slip is shoved in front of your face. So basically kids are not doing any more school work these last two weeks, is that right? Great.

Your child wants to wear a poop emoji shirt to school and you don’t even flinch. As long as it’s the rainbow poop emoji and not the original it’s all good. The original would be bad.

A birthday invitation for a classmate’s party in August comes home in June. You don’t even know this child. Your child “thinks” it’s the kid who sits in front of her. She’s not even sure! Did I mention the party is not until August?

Your child doesn’t want to get up for school and you don’t drag them out of bed. They won’t even notice if he’s late. Are they even taking attendance any more?

Your child’s book bag has a hole in it and he wants a new one for the last two weeks of school. No. Simply, no.

Third grade math has stumped your child and you are of no help, none whatsoever. Go in the bathroom and just Google the answer. She’ll never know and you won’t have to admit you can’t do third grade math. Five months ago you would have sat and down and tried to get the answer and explain it, but not now.

Your child wants to wear a wrinkled shirt to school. You let it slide. You have no interest in ironing. Your child could care less and at this point you’re right there with him.

End of the year activities are consuming you. Forget about keeping up with the Kardashians. You can’t keep up with the Kindergarteners.

Let’s do one more year-end fundraiser. Let’s not and say we did. #overit

Let’s face it, as much as the kids are going to get on your nerves over the summer, we’re all ready for a vacation from school and all the craziness that goes along with it. So when your kids are fighting over which Barbie gets the glitter dress, remember, it could be worse. You could be doing fractions and multiplication tables every night and making lunches…wait you will be in another 56 days! Happy summer!








You’re the best mom…sometimes

As we approach Mother’s Day, the one day of the year when our kids are obligated to be nice to us, clean, make us a card, and maybe even get us a present, I’m reminded of something my youngest daughter said to me this week.

“You’re the best mom.”

Awe…how sweet!

Wait for it…”sometimes.”


I looked at her, and thought, what? wait…really? Sometimes? Talk about a backhanded compliment!

Then I thought about it and realized she was right.

I am the best mom…sometimes.

As much as I would like to think I’m on point everyday, there are days when I look in the mirror and know I’m far from it.

There are days when I cringe after hearing “mommy” for what seems like the 100th time. Can’t I change my name?

There are times when the sound of little feet running into my room before 7 a.m. on the weekend makes me wish I had a trap door under my bed that I could escape into.

There are days when the thought of making another school lunch drives me insane.

There are days when I’d rather poke my eyes with a spork then go to soccer practice, another birthday party, or the park. What happened to the days of going to yoga and watching “Lifetime” movies? Oh yeah, I had kids.

There are days when I just want to scream “leave me alone!” But I know I can’t.

There are days when I swear too much and hope my kids won’t repeat what they’ve heard at the most inopportune times.

These are the days when I don’t feel like the best mom…not even close! These are the days when I feel like a hot mess…days that I question how I’m going to make it through to the next.

Then there are the days when my kids snuggle up next to me and give me the best hugs ever.

There are the days when I multi-task like it’s no one’s business and nail it.

There are the days when my girls get upset and I come up with some witty and comforting words from God knows where and they tell me they feel better afterwards.

There are the days when strangers come up to me and tell me how well-behaved my kids are.

There are the days when my kids accomplish something so wonderful that I can’t believe how proud I am of them.

These are the days when I do feel like the best mom…like I must be doing something right to have such great little humans.

I think being the best mom is realizing that you don’t always have the answers and you’re going to make mistakes. There are countless times that my kids ask me a question and I will tell them I don’t know…that includes third grade math homework!

Letting your kids see you’re not perfect is good for their souls because they hopefully will realize that no one is perfect and that it’s okay to make mistakes.

So when my daughter tells me I’m the best mom…sometimes, she’s just keeping it real. And I’m okay with that.


I hate you…I love you…You’re my sister

Growing up as an only child, I missed out on the sibling spats that so many of my friends had the luxury of enjoying. As much as I wanted and truly thought my stuffed animals talked back to me, they didn’t.

Fast forward thirty years and as the mother of two girls, I can see how siblings fight and can change their moods in a matter of seconds. It’s like watching an animated film turn into a horror movie right in front of your eyes.

I’ve heard all the stories but really never believed them until I experienced them when my girls started to talk. Ever since, the pendulum has swung from hot to cold in a matter of seconds.

It doesn’t really matter if I’m in the room or not because they get their crazy on right in front of me. There’s no shame.

One minute they’re playing Barbies or a game and it’s so serene I swear I can hear “The Sound of Music” in the background. Barbies are going to a party; my girls are telling each other how much fun they’re having. Then before you know it, I think the Barbies are fighting over the corvette when in reality it’s my little Skippers who are engaged in a battle royale. I let it play out until push comes to shove…literally. Then I have to “momaree” the event and it’s never pretty.

It’s certainly not my finest moment and definitely not theirs.

There’s yelling, there’s crying, then it all stops with the signature ending of my girls saying they hate each other. Yep, another banner day of parenting!

They huff off into their separate corners while I retreat into another room to regain my own sanity.

As I replay this latest episode of “I hate my sister” in my head and try to think of ways for them to stop, I hear something else from the other room.

I peak in and see they’ve each come out of their separate corners. They look at each other and one asks the other if they want to play.

Wait! What?

Five minutes ago you wish you had different mothers, now you want to play? I’m still reeling from the headache you gave me and counting down the hours until you go to bed. Now you’re ready to play nice?

Then I hear three words that must signal I’ve entered the Twilight Zone; either that or I’ve actually slept long enough to have a dream.

“I love you,” says one child. “I love you too,” says the other.

For the love of Christmas! You girls are nuts! More importantly, you’re driving me nuts!

Don’t get me wrong I truly do enjoy the fact that they can make up that quickly, but why all the drama before? I was pretty sure Barbie was going to slap them upside the head because they were acting so crazy!

This is why I’m getting gray. Yep. Totally why.

I know, I know, it’s normal and it’s only going to get worse. Blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard it all before. But, if you go through this too you know how much it sucks in the moment.

It feels like someone kidnapped you and put you on a crazy train. I guess this is what I missed out on by not having a sibling! My Care Bear never told me he hated me. He never told me he loved me either, but I digress.

So what’s a momma to do? Buy ear plugs? I’ve seriously thought about it but realized I would still be able to hear them.

Nope, guess I’ll just grab a book and cozy up on the crazy train because it’s going to be a long ride…




Why Do I Love Them?

Okay, so it’s a given that we all love our kids. They drive us nuts but we love them to death. Hopefully you tell your kids you love them a couple of times a day. When they leave for school in the morning and when they go to bed are probably the two biggies.

Sure you say the words but do you know why?

Do you know why you love your kids besides the fact that they’re you’re kids and that’s what you’re supposed to do?


Think about it. We say the words all the time, but have you ever said to your child, “I love you because…” I know I don’t. That’s why I found a particular project interesting.

You’ve probably seen it (and maybe even done it before). It’s all over Pinterest and the web and often dubbed “Heart Attack” for the bedroom door. It looks like this:

Basically you cut out paper hearts and write something positive about your child for the first 14 days of February leading up to the big heart day…Valentine’s Day! There’s a number of ways to do this, but I chose the “I love you because…” and filled in a reason each day.

At first my kids thought I sniffed the glue gun too much and didn’t quite know what to make of mommy’s new project.

“What are you doing to our doors?” they asked at first with skeptical looks on their faces.

But, when I explained what the project was, they smiled.

“That’s cool. So everyday you’re going to put a heart with something on our door?” my oldest daughter asked.

When I told them yes, they actually let out a big “yeah!”

OMG! They actually liked it! I haven’t lost them yet! One point for Mom!

So, for the past 13 days, that’s just what I’ve been doing. The first couple were easy. But, honestly, it’s been getting hard to come up with 14 unique reasons why I love my kids. I know that may sound horrible but when someone asks you to actually think about it, it’s tough! Not find new “Elf on the Shelf” hiding places tough, but tough in its own regard.

Despite the challenge, I have to say I’ve really enjoyed doing it. It really made me think about what it is about my kids that’s so awesome. I think it’s a great confidence builder for them too. So many times they hear so much negativity in the world that it’s comforting to know they can find happiness and positivity in these little hearts. They can know what it is about themselves that makes them such wonderful kids. It’s something I think they truly internalize and remember.

Although this little “heart attack” is over tomorrow, I’m going to make more of an effort of telling my girls the little things that make them big stars in my heart everyday, not just the first 14 days of February.