Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

Cover of "The Little Mermaid: Original Mo...

The Little Mermaid

Back when VCRs were the latest technology in your living room, my then 2-year-old son got his first VHS movie: The Little Mermaid.

I’m a sucker for any Disney movie that has singing but this one is STILL with me. And my “baby boy” will 21 in November!

So what is it about this movie?

Ariel and I have a lot in common. Red hair. Love to sing. Hidden treasures held and admired. A desire for legs instead of fins…okay, not really.

Sebastian the Crab. I love his Caribbean accent and the way he “bats his eyes…like this” and “puffs up his lips….like this” when he tries to show Ariel how to get Eric to fall for her.

Breaking out in song WHEREVER and WHENEVER the mood hits. “Under the Sea…” totally rocks and, hello…Up on the shore they work all day, out in the sun they slave away, while we devotin’ full time to floatin’, under the sea…they totally know how to chill AND party.

Prince Eric. He’s rich and handsome, he dresses well without being too metrosexual, he sails, and he fell in “love at first song” with little Miss Ariel. Dream boy? Oh yeah…

Scuttle. He’s the HILARIOUS seagull who makes up names like Dinglehopper and Snarfblatt for whos-its and whats-its galore…

And who can forget Ursula, the Sea Witch. That curvy broad rocked a black strapless dress and big hair like nobody’s business! Plus she had Flotsom and Jetsom to do all her dirty work while she sat around eating and drawing up spells to make “poor, unfortunate souls” thinner, more attractive and leggier. She was the “bad girl” you loved to hate.

Holly and Ant

Holly, 18, and Anthony, 2

All sarcasm aside, it takes me back to a time when it was just me and my son Anthony. I was a young mom/full-time college student/nearly full-time salesperson, and he was my sweet little boy. When I wasn’t studying or working, we would pop in this movie, snuggle on the couch and spout out every line and sing every song.

I no longer have a VCR, but I can’t part with Anthony’s tattered VHS “Little Mermaid” tape. The biggest “what is it about that movie?” is the sweet memory of sharing it with my son.


This post was inspired by MamaKat’s Writer’s Workshop and this prompt:

What was it about that movie? Describe a movie you once had memorized.

Mama's Losin' It


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It was July 2001, and I was 9 months pregnant. Due in just weeks, I was as big and round as a cage ball but not as much fun. 

When you’re 9 months pregnant, you shouldn’t do more than sit on the couch in an air-conditioned house and watch “A Baby Story” on TLC. That is unless you have and another child. Who plays baseball. Whom you’re reassuring will be loved and cherished the same even after his new baby brother/sister comes along. 

Therefore, I was 9 months pregnant and sitting on the sideline of a baseball field in July. Watching 11-year-old boys play what can be one of the slowest sports around. 

And the absolute WORST part was not the baseball or the heat. 

They only had porta-potties at the field. 

Inside view of a portable toilet.

Morning sickness ain't got NOTHING on what THIS can do to a pregnant lady!


Do you know what a porta-potty smells like in…July heat…to a pregnant woman who sense of smell is on steroids? 


And what pregnant woman do you know who doesn’t pee every 5 minutes? 

I feared going to the games because I knew exactly what would happen. I wouldn’t drink water, and then I would start having Braxton-Hicks contractions because I was dehydrated. Then I would drink so I didn’t go into early labor, and then I had to pee. 

All I wished for in those moments was a bathroom with toilets whose contents got flushed and not marinated in 90-degree temps. 

So I got resourceful like smart mommies do. I drove to a nearby McDonald’s and peed in their bathrooms. 

And sometimes I got fries with that. 

FOOTNOTE: I actually went into labor at my son’s final all-star baseball game – jumping up during his infield-fly catch. And I stuck it out ‘til the game ended without anyone except my hubby knowing that I was having contractions every 5 minutes. The next morning I had another boy, who still loves to hear the story of how his mommy went into labor at a baseball game! 


This post was inspired by MamaKat’s Writer’s Workshop and this prompt: 

What did you wish for most? Write about a time when it was just too hot.

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Birth of a Writer

I LOVE to write. It fulfills my curiosity. It lets me share in other people’s lives and tell their stories. It helps me organize my thoughts, which are often racing and random.

I also love to find and share great writing. My favorite pieces are anecdotal – stories that suck you into a place in time, a room, a conversation, a life lesson.

So I wanted to share a great piece of writing…from my son.

Anthony is a college student, and he took an English Comp class this summer. Let’s just say that when he started this class, he didn’t love writing as much as I do. But I think he’s coming around…

This is his descriptive paper. I know I am his mom, but I swear I’m not being biased. This is great writing.

You will see this place. You will smell this place. And you probably will think twice the next time you consider pushing an elevator button in a college dorm. I know I will.


What We Learned in Scranton Hall

Five floors up, the adventure unfolded. Countless memories were made and life lessons were learned. Scranton Hall was her name— mother to all who stayed—she was always there.

Startin' shit in Scranton Hall

Startin' shit in Scranton Hall

Getting to a room was never easy.

Option A: five grueling flights of steps that were always a pigsty, always alive. The smell of cigarettes swirled up the stairwell, combining with the spoiled milk someone thought would be funny to pour everywhere. You had to be careful taking this five-story trek. Water balloons, spit, and other disgusting, unmentionable objects were known to fly down the winding stairwell like heat-seeking missiles looking for targets. That’s only the walk up; you haven’t yet arrived at a room.

Option B: dual elevators that were slow as sloths, crawling up and down floors both day and night. Many suffered steep consequences for choosing to step into these claustrophobic boxes. You HAD to look down upon entering, just to be sure you didn’t step in someone’s pee. It was popular to urinate in the elevators—on the buttons, on the floor, on the walls. It was like being stuck in a cesspool of spit, piss, garbage and mold.

As one might guess, option A was the best, safest way of making your way to 5th Floor Scranton.

When you arrived, you had to push your way through kitchen-like doors to the L-shaped hall. These two wings combined housed more than 50 testosterone-driven young men, unfamiliar and immature. Combined we would be considered a riot, barreling through the streets unable to be stopped. Reckless and young, we stuck together like super glue. Our insane new family ranged in age from 18 to 26 and each of us was unique. We had a Latin king, a Gotti, a fairy flute- player, a wannabe, a frat rat, a hippie, a Zelda gamer, a Harry Potter imposter and a host of party animals.

5th Floor Antics in Scranton Hall

5th Floor Antics in Scranton Hall

Every night we boasted out-of-control extracurricular activities. Drinking, smoking, and psychedelics—whatever you wanted was yours. When the sun went down in the west, it rose in Scranton Hall. We were young adults without any worries. We found that, bouncing from floor to floor, we could collaborate on a whole new level most of us never knew. It was the natural feeling of freedom that drove us all wild. We were our own bosses.

Freedom had us on such a high that it felt like invincibility. Soon we found out that this was a fantasy. Two weeks into our first semester, the 5th floor residents gathered in the hall for a lecture from Indiana’s finest. Water balloons “accidently” fell down the stairwell and created a gigantic hole in the wall. We were warned that the damages and trouble we caused would cost us. But the petty threat didn’t faze us. In fact, one of the 5th “floorians” actually played the NWA song “F#*% Tha Police,” and we thought it was hilarious.

The sight and smell of the 5th floor bathrooms will be forever burned into my brain like molten cast iron touching bare skin. Showering in sandals for a year for fear of stepping in piss or other grotesque liquids was bad enough. But far worse, every Saturday morning it looked like a nuclear bomb went off in that bathroom, creating the most atrocious scene on campus. Wasted morons staggered in late and took out their evening’s anger or disappointment on that bathroom. They emptied trash cans on the floor, dressed stalls with paper towels and toilet paper, and never, ever, flushed a toilet. The sinks were carpeted in human hair, so brushing your teeth to get last night’s terrible taste out of your mouth was never a treat. Someone was so mortified upon entering the Saturday-morning 5th floor bathroom that he ran out and vomited in the hallway. True story.

All in all, Mother Scranton was a jump-off point for rowdy teens getting their first taste of freedom. Whether you went up or down was your choice.

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Coping with parenting stress

I saw Sex and the City 2 last weekend with my girlfriends. 

While I can’t relate to some of the couture fashions (especially wearing a vintage cream-colored Valentino skirt while making cupcakes), I could relate to the parenting stresses Charlotte and Miranda confessed. 

Charlotte and Miranda 


Parenting is hard. You want to do the right thing, but sometimes the imperfect human in you takes over and you do things you’re not proud of. 

Lord knows I’ve been there. 

I have a 20-year-old son in college who struggles between craving independence and juggling college demands and needing the support and advice of his parents. I have an 8-year-old son with a mild form of autism who is doing amazingly well, but still needs reminders about what’s appropriate (like not getting naked in the living room or smacking his friends when he loses a game). 

Currently, I have three types of “no” for my toddler: 

  • “Inside voice” no-no: Reserved for when she’s unloading all the books off her bookshelf, for the 10th time, or tearing out pages of my latest People magazine and handing them to me while saying, “Thank You.”
  • Loud no: Used when she’s trying to give the dog a digital rectal exam or when she’s tearing out pages from her BOOKS and handing them to me while saying, “Thank You.”
  • From the depths of my being, so-loud-the-neighbors-can-hear-it NO: Sadly, I use this daily. See, Em has a thing for dangling on the edge of chairs in my dining room…which is tiled and makes for a very hard landing. Or climbing on the table. See “For my daughter, I say, NO MORE” to learn why this is so stressful.

With their wide age spread, I feel like I’m going a million directions sometimes. It definitely takes different skills to help a 20-year-old manage college and life issues vs. soothing my toddler when she’s screaming for her sippy cup. 

When it gets really tough and I feel like I’m going to lose it, I use these strategies to help me get back to my happy place: 

  • I walk, or meet a friend at the gym, or walk with a friend. I always feel better after a workout because it helps me get out the frustration without the need for yelling. Kickboxing and bag workouts were the best for really getting out the stress. Doing it with a friend makes it social and helps you stay committed both to a workout and your sanity.
  • I stay connected to friends. Some people think time away from your kids is a luxury, and it can be…if you’re running to the spa every week, or traveling regularly without them. But there’s nothing wrong with a little “girl time.” Pedicures on the cheap. Text messages. Conversations in the car on the way to or home from work (someone will want to lecture me for this, but I use a hands-free earpiece). Lunches….I relish this time and it fills my tank so I can be a better mom.
  • I don’t take things too seriously. While I take parenting seriously and always try to do what’s best for my kids, I don’t live by the book. I go with the flow and let my kids lead me to what they need. We laugh a lot. We enjoy simple times spent together. And we entertain each other.
Ant, Ev and Em

Kicking back with the family on Memorial Day weekend...made for a very relaxed mommy.


 Please tell me parenting stresses you too. What do you do to cope?

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Dinner conversations with my 8-year-old son Evan are never short of interesting.

Take last week, when I asked Evan how his day was. He proclaimed: “Mom, I was farting ALL day.” I’d like to say I took the mature high road, but…sadly, no, I laughed ‘til I cried. 

It was no different when I asked him what he’d been up to on the playground.

“Well,” he said (that’s how he starts most stories) “I was performing for my friends…you know, doing a ‘best of’ of some of my greatest performances from over the years. Or, I mean, from this year.”

Age 8 and already doing a “best of”… I thought you had to be a seasoned performer of at least 10 😉

I learned from his teacher that he wasn’t just dancing and singing for a few a friends – nearly all the kids on the playground gathered around to watch.

I had to go back in my “vault” to find some of MY favorite performances from over the years. And I’ll have one to add after his dance recital this Saturday (they’re doing a jazz performance to “You Really Got Me” by Van Halen). Ought to be entertaining!

Enjoy! (and please excuse my inability to edit these!)

Little something from New Year’s 2007…

Showing off his dance party skills…

Best of Beyonce in 2009…

And, for an encore, BOOM BOOM POW!

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