Thursday, July 24, 2014

Yes, this is a scheduled post. I'm at BlogHer!

I realized that I never posted my own video after the Chicago Listen To Your Mother Show this year. Hmmm. Being a producer does that to you, I guess? I really want for EVERYone's pieces to be viewed and adored, but I kind of think my own is pretty hilarious, too. So, if you have 5 minutes and 9 seconds to spare for a few giggles, here is my 2014 LTYM Chicago piece, "Sweeter Than Honey."

It's all true. Every word. In fact, this is one of the TAMER stories I have to share. 

My kids are going to need therapy, for sure.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday Blurb

It's funny that I tend to STOP writing before and after a conference that is dedicated to, well, WRITING.

Maybe I need to stop thinking about it as a "writing conference" and start calling it a reason to connect with people I know and like and also a reason to dance like it's a college party without finals or underage drinking....

After the past 11 days, I am exhausted but unable to process 98% of what we've done, where we've gone, and the things that have happened (both good and not-so-good) while we've been gone. I can't stop to focus on my cat who looks like she's aged another year in the 10 days we were on vacation, or the bank issue we are having (LONG story, won't go into it, but will say it WILL be resolved, it's just a pain in the ass), because I have to finish packing Evan for a trip to his friends' house for 4 days and Corinne for a Girl Scout camping trip and myself for BlogHer in San Jose. I also have to find the time to fit in a trip to WalMart because I broke one of Corinne's back up swim suits in the dryer (STUPID). Also, her flashlight was suspiciously light when I went to put it in her suitcase. Yeah, being emptied of batteries will do that. Add it to the list!


I was so angry when I returned from vacation and checked out my garden and found, yet AGAIN, that the bunnies had demolished my carrots. Like, ANGRY-angry. Like, I want to smash a rabbit-head-with-my-hands-angry.*

No time to think about that, because I am trying to download or upload or WHATEVER it is when you put an app on your phone. Actually, in the time it took me to type that sentence, it finished up-down-loading and I now have the BlogHer app. And now what? I honestly don't think I've ever used an app. I know for a fact that I am printing off the agenda, because I don't trust technology, especially at a convention center. Knowing me, my phone won't connect, and I'll get lost, and miss something simple like lunch or, God forbid, a PARTY.

Oh, hellz no.

So, this will be the post that will on my front page if anyone meets me this week and says "I wonder if she is a good writer?" The answer will be: Sometimes. Maybe not right now, but occasionally, I am proud of words I put on this pseudo-paper. Stick around for about a month and I should have something interesting to read.

*Not really. That's pretty gruesome and kinda made me gag but I don't have time for a new analogy because BUSY.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Welcoming Summer at Raging Waves

Disclaimer: I received tickets for entrance and complimentary lunches for myself and my family in exchange for an honest review of this facility. All opinions are my own.

I love summer! What's not to love? Vacations, camping, fireworks, no school, and lots and lots of time in the water! When Raging Waves Waterpark in Yorkville, IL invited me and my family to attend their blogging outreach day to #WelcomeSummer , I was ecstatic!

We've been to Raging Waves a few times over the years. Each time, I walk away saying, "Man, we need to come back more often!" Between the great variety of activities for my kids and the easy location, it's silly for us to NOT go, actually. Especially when there are such great deals for savings on tickets online! Right now, you can get a pass for a weekday visit for only $15 through the deal (find it HERE). And for locals, a season pass can be purchased for anywhere from $77-$130 depending on age and where you live (though I highly recommend buying an earlybird pass in the wintertime. It is a HUGE savings and my own sister loves their family's passes!).

The information shared by the Raging Waves staff was really informative and interesting. I was happy to hear how highly they value safety. Little things like having clear tubes instead of solid to allow a clear view for lifeguards makes a huge difference. I personally witnessed several lifeguards doing an in-depth scan, complete with hands pointing and heads bobbing, which is all a part of their safety procedures that ensures that every inch of the water is being scanned every ten seconds. Every ten seconds! 

Overall, RagingWaves in Yorkville is a clean, safe, and really fun waterpark for anyone seeking a day of slides and pools. Thanks for the awesome time, Raging Waves and we can't wait to go back again!

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Judgy Judge

Question: Do you spend time judging other people? Like, if they are dropping their kids off late to school or their daughter has crazy hair and mismatched socks, do you actually think "What a horrible mother! Can't do anything right!" ??  Because I know that I don't. In fact, I don't think that most of us do. I think that most of us are actually pretty much only interested in our own lives and how to manage getting ourselves and our families from the morning to the evening with more laughter and happiness than tears and anger. I know that those are my goals, every single day.

There seems to be a theme amongst parents that we can assume to know what others are thinking. I read it online and I hear in person, almost every single day. Phrases like: "All of those judgmental looks I was getting! I could FEEL them staring at my back as I ran my kids in late" are commonplace. I can't seem to get away from the complaints that people are always judging others.

But... Are they? If no one has SAID anything to you (and this is only the topic I'm referring to, here), then how do you KNOW? If the only place you "hear" the judgmental phrases is in your own head, then isn't the judgy-McJudgerson...YOU?

If I am staring off into space with a bitchy look on my face as you happen to straggle by with a whining 4 year old and a pre-teen who is acting like a toddler, perhaps that bitchy look isn't because I am judging YOU but because I happen to have BRF (BitchyRestingFace). Maybe that expression is because I am having a really bad day and my foot hurts and I don't know how I'm going to get my errands done before I have to pick up my kids from their activities? Maybe I am hung over or have the flu. Maybe there are a million other reasons why I might look less than chipper at the moment you herded your brood across my path. Most likely, I am oblivious to your kids acting like kids because I am actually alone and able to not listen to my OWN kids acting like kids. Most likely, I couldn't give one fart about your children and your issues because my mind is full of my own issues.

This is not to say that I don't judge people. We all do. But I really think our worst critics are ourselves and the way we think that others perceive us. Since you cannot ever know what is inside of another's mind, why even waste your time trying to figure it out?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Evanisms at 12

I was minding my own business, watching some fluff tv while I folded laundry on our bed, when Evan walked in and flopped down beside me.

"Sometimes I think it's really hard for you and Daddy to not choose me as the favorite child."

"Excuse me???" I sputtered.

"I just cleaned off the entire kitchen table and neither Corinne or Justin helped and you didn't even remind me. It's hard to not choose me as the favorite, isn't it?"


We were outside the other night, enjoying the starry night around our firepit. I needed to give the coals some more kindling to ignite the damp wood, but, midway through my poking and prodding, the roll of cardboard I was maneuvering fell off in the wrong spot. 


"What's wrong?" Patrick asked.

"Oh, nothing, nothing. Nevermind."

"Oh, so was that just a random 'shit'?" he laughed.

Evan interjected with, "DUH, Daddy, don't you even know this woman?!?"


This kid. If you have a few free minutes and want a giggle or two, might I suggest you browse through Evanisms through the years...?


Friday, June 27, 2014

Because Words CAN Hurt

"But I didn't mean any offense! You're being too sensitive. This world is getting too p.c."

Here's the way to know if a phrase needs to be eliminated from your repertoire: Is the phrase said to connotate anything less than desirable? I.E., is the metaphor/simile indicating that whatever I am doing/saying/wearing something that is laughable? Then it is degrading. End of story.

Telling you that a phrase you may use isn't something I am comfortable with or that I find it offensive doesn't make me "overly sensitive" or "too politically correct." It means that I am trying to consider the feelings of other people, whether or not that particular group is represented at the time of the phrase's use.

The #LikeAGirl campaign by Always hit on a topic I've been wanting to cover for a while. In fact, just a few weeks ago, a kindly father at the neighborhood pool jokingly told his daughter that she was "throwing like a girl." Now, had she not been playing with my own daughter at the time, I may not have intervened with my own comment. But she WAS beside my own daughter and I could not stand by and let this comment go;

"Like a girl? So, you mean she threw it strong and far, right? Because girls are amazing and powerful and nothing to be made fun of, right?"

I was actually trying to be kind and approachable when I said this, as I know most people feel that this is a joke that is still socially acceptable.

It's not.

It's no longer acceptable to degrade females. It's no longer acceptable to make remarks about any group of human beings in a way that implies that they are less than desirable. I think it should go without saying, but it is not acceptable to mock someone because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, mental capacities, physical limitations, social status or gender. IT'S NOT.

This means you cannot say things like "that's so gay" , "he's so retarded", or "trailer trash" without hurting someone. Not only because a person within earshot may be homosexual, mentally challenged, or raised in a trailer park, but also because it perpetuates the idea that those stereotypes are valid. Words have power. Words have WEIGHT.

"But it's ok! I AM gay-Jewish-overweight-female-poverty-born! I can mock myself!"

This makes me sigh, because I get it. I do it. We all do it. Life cannot be focused on being serious and politically correct. Life should be about embracing the fun and the light and the joy, and I GET IT. But do we have to knock each other or ourselves down in order to have the laughter?

I'm not being overly sensitive. I'm not making too much out of a "simple phrase, meant in jest." I'm not trying to police the world and make everyone think exactly as I do. I know for a FACT that I still make mistakes regarding some of the phrases I have grown up with. I can guarantee you that I have uttered less than complimentary phrases about groups of people, without even thinking about what it actually meant to them, or to me. I own my own biases and continue to work past them. All I ask is that we all consider our words before we speak them. All I ask is that each of us owns our own mistakes and tries to move forward.

How else can we create a society that gracious and kind, if we continue to knock each other down?

#LikeAGirl means "like a person who is capable and strong, who just happens to be female."

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I think someone's been sniffing the nail polish a little too much...

"Hi, I received a gift card for your salon and I'd like to know how to use it."

"Oh, yes. You can use it here."

"Yesss.... I know that, but I'd like to schedule a day at the spa and some treatments. I've never been to your spa before. Do you need the card number or something? Are you the person I talk to set up appointments?"

"Oh, sure; I can help you. Go ahead and read the number off."

"Ok. 1234567."

"Yes, that card is worth $200. Thank you!" and she starts to hang up.

"WAIT! I want to schedule an appointment, and need to know what dates are available for the treatments I'd like to have done!"

"Ooohhh.... Ok."


"Soooo, um, do I just tell you what I want done and you tell me if someone is available...or....?"

"What procedures do you want done?"

"I'd like the Swedish massage, the aromatherapy facial, and the eye treatment. I think I will still have some money left over after all of that, is that right?"

"Your gift card will definitely cover all of that. Thank you!" She starts to hang up AGAIN.

"WAIT!!! I need to actually schedule an appointment for those procedures!!"

"Oooohhhh! Ok. Um, when?"


"I am free on next Sunday. What are your hours?"

She proceeds to list off all of the hours they are open and closed starting on Mondays and finally ending on Sunday hours.

"Ok, so do you have time to fit all of the procedures I asked about in on next Sunday? If I come in at 11?"

"What procedures did you want done?"


I swear to God, I am scared that I will arrive and they won't even be open that day. I am definitely going to call ahead, and hope to hell that someone else answers the phone.
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