Thursday, March 28, 2013


Mags: "Aww, Mama! That man singing the song on the radio said 'stupid.' That's not a nice word. Let's turn on MY music." - Got to listen to grown-up music all morning. I really hope I don't forget my colors, shapes and animal sounds.
Special thanks to my friendly editor, Michele.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Zombies, Hippies and Snow

Tuck: "Thank goodness we have a snow day today. I need a rest after this weekend."

The highlights of our weekend were: 
  1. Running away from zombies in the Zombie 5K.
  2. Dressing like hippies to go out and celebrate our fabulous friend's birthday.
  3. Dancing (and singing) the night away to a Beatles tribute band. 
  4. Being chased around the kitchen with a 'Tuck controlled' helicopter while trying to make dinner.
  5. Waking up to the phone call announcing school was closed due to SNOW!

We were thrilled to get an unexpected long weekend. 
And some much needed sledding rest! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

I Don't Have a Clue

Mags was explaining what she learned about dinosaurs in Pre-K while we were in the grocery store. 

Mags: "If I eat plants, I'm a 'hore'...a 'hore'...a 'horbivore'."
Me: "Close! HERBivore."
Mags: "How do you know all this stuff?"
Me: "From going to school and reading. You'll get there. But, I'm still learning." 

This week, a blogger named Mama Kat posted her Writer's Workshop. One of the prompts was to write about 10 things you DON'T know how to do. A list of my failures immediately started swirling and collecting in my brain. Once I had a moment to sit down and organize my thoughts, I got ten things together. 

I don't know how to:

1. Juggle more than two balls. (You in the back, get your mind out of the gutter.) I'm serious. I even tried to learn from a professional once. I'm fine with two, but add that third in there and it's over. 

2. Transform Transformers. That's great that they give you instructions, but, like juggling, by the second step and visual, I'm a goner. I twist, turn, pull and swear under my breath. In the end, all I have to show for it is sweat dripping down my back, a crying child and blood blisters. 

3. Let go of an argument. I stew, simmer and stir about that misunderstanding for hours before I'm over it. 

4. Not feel guilty. Chris jokes that I wake up feeling guilty. Do I? Oh, gosh. Does this bug you? Okay. I'll stop. Sorry. 

5. Stop biting my nails. I KNOW! It's gross. But I don't know how to stop it. It's my go-to thing when I'm nervous, anxious, excited...or really anytime.

6. Say NO. I cannot say N-O. It always comes out Y-E-S. 

7. Brine meat. Okay. I don't even know what this means. But I see people writing on Facebook how they "brine their meat"... wait a minute ... this is a cooking term, right?

8. Stop eating Cadbury Mini Eggs. Seriously. An intervention is needed. If I'm calling it on myself, you know it's bad.

9. Hook up the jumper cables to two cars. Which ones do you hook first, again? In which order?  Don't touch which colors together? Oh, goodness. You're just better off buying a new battery. 

10. SLEEP! After seven years of interrupted sleep patterns due to newborns, toddlers, croup, wet beds, and night terrors, *I* am now learning how to sleep through the night again. Hmmm. I wonder if Ferber has a sleep-training model for parents? 

What are some things YOU don't know how to do? 
Feel free to share with me in the comments. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

P is for Pre-K

Mags to herself: "Oh man! I hope the platelets come to my finger soon to stop this cut from bleeding." 
Tuck: "What are platelets, Maggers?"
Mags: "Platelets are part of your blood. They rush to the cut to plug it up and stop it from bleeding."
Tuck: "Wow, where did you learn that?"
Mags: "Pre-K. Ms. Nancy read us a book about it."
Tuck: "That's where I learned everything I know, too."

Last week, I substituted in Mags' Pre-K classroom. I have taught preschoolers in the past, for one year. But, like having a baby, the experience was quickly erased from my mind. No worries! It all came flooding back to me the second I walked through the door.  

I'd like to share some things about my day that stuck out:

1. If you think for one second your kids aren't listening to you at home, you're mistaken. And if you think for one second they will forget how they heard you whimper that collection of swear words over the weekend when you slammed your hand in the car door, they won't.  And if you think for one second they won't share it during circle time, THINK AGAIN! 

2. No matter what they are doing, a Pre-K child will relate the activity to poop in some way. 

3. The toilet in the classroom never gets a break. Neither do noses. 

4. If one child asks you to read them a book and then settles themselves into your lap, the rest of the children will flock to you like seagulls to an open cooler on the beach. 

5. Sixteen Pre-K kids make constant noise. There's no stopping it. 

6. Pre-K kids love to touch you. Even when you say, "Hands to yourself." they hear, "I'm a human jungle gym."

7.  They have NO control over their sphincter muscle. So they let 'er rip whenever and wherever...including your lap while you're reading.

8. Glue sticks are delicious...apparently. 

9. A Pre-K child's laughter is contagious and needs to be bottled. 

10. NEVER wear a skirt while teaching Pre-K. EVER. Or at some point in the day, it will be pulled down while you're attempting to shake off a hanging child and then you'll moon a bunch of kids.  

It takes a VERY special person to be a Pre-K teacher. 
Thanks for all you do, Ms. Nancy!

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Me: "I'm going to start dinner in a little while."
Tuck: "Can I help you, Mama?"
Me: "Thanks, but there's nothing really to help with, Tuck. I fill a pot with water and then boil the heck out of the meat and vegetables."
Tuck: "This is going to be a great dinner, then. You know why?"
Me: "Why?"
Tuck: "Because you can't burn water, Mama!"

With the luck of the Irish, I'm hoping that I don't reduce the boiled dinner to ashes. In the meantime, while we are waiting for it to bubble into delectable mushiness, I'll share a few of our stories from our podcast, Night Light Stories. Each of them have a leprechaun character or are related to St. Patrick's Day in some way. 

From our house to yours, we hope you enjoy (and not burn) 
whatever festive meal you make today!  

Red vs. Green: (22:21)
When a team of Christmas elves goes against a team of 
St. Patrick's Day leprechauns in the Holiday 
Hockey Winter Classic, who will win?
Free audio download: Red vs. Green
Blog with activities: Red vs. Green

The Leprechaun Trap (6:35)
Two leprechauns are caught in a leprechaun trap and try to find 
different ways to escape.
Free audio download: The Leprechaun Trap
Blog with activities: The Leprechaun Trap

The Spelling Bee (19:01)
A boy prepares for his shot at taking home the spelling bee 
championship. Will he succeed? 
Free audio download: The Spelling Bee
Blog with activities: The Spelling Bee

Clementine's Big Mess (16:05)
Clementine the cupid has lost his magical quiver. 
Can his friends help him find it?
Free audio download: Clementine's Big Mess
Blog with activities: Clementine's Big Mess

A Letter from a Leprechaun (5:30)
A reading of a letter written by Seamus the leprechaun
 detailing how he escaped a leprechaun trap. 
Free audio download: A Letter from a Leprechaun
Blog with activities: A Letter from a Leprechaun

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Mags: "Mama! Where are you?"
Me: "I'm in the bathroom!"
Mags: (hoof steps come galloping down the hall) "Mama?"
Me: "Yes, Mags?"
Mags: (giggling, standing in bathroom doorway) "What are you doing?"
Me: (mumbling through my chewing)"Taking a shower."
Mags: "No, you aren't, silly. The water isn't on."
Me: "Cleaning the shower?"
Mags: "I don't smell the poison stuff."
Me: "I'm almost done, Mags. I'll be right out."
Mags: "Hey! (hearing her take in deep breaths) Are you eating CHOCOLATE in there?"
Me: "What? I can't hear you."
Mags: (pulls back the curtain to reveal me shoving a large piece of chocolate bunny in my mouth)
Me: (gasps) "PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE WOMAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN! Quick, Mags, what movie is that from?"
Mags: "I just saw the chocolate, Mama.  Hand it over."
Me: (giving her a stern look)
Mags: "I mean, PLEASE hand it over."
Me: (sigh) "Fine. I was caught chocolate-handed."

I'm not worried, though. Easter is coming and I always get a big, chocolate bunny in my basket. Well, I wasn't worried UNTIL I saw the Save the Chocolate Bunny campaign from Mattel. Apparently, they are trying to persuade people to buy toys rather than chocolate bunnies. My kids are very much on board with the "more toys, less chocolate" idea. Me, you ask? Oh,  I'm in a panic. But, I'm not alone. These celebrities in the video don't look like they can resist the annual delicacy either. See? 

But since Mattel asked me NICELY if I would help them spread the word about these helpless, delicious rabbits' possible extinction, I couldn't say no. 
To sweeten the deal, they are offering a prize basket of toys. 
Who can resist that? Go on and give it a try! 
You can enter in the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win. 

"Mattel's "Save the Chocolate Bunny" campaign is promoting "toys instead of chocolate" to encourage creative, healthy, sugar-free play for kids! Here is a link to Mattel's Save the Bunny website: where you'll find more giveaways and coupons!"

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Chris: "Night, Mags. Night Tuck. Thanks for the great day. Now, remember, stay in bed.  Don't come out of your room. You've used the bathroom, you've had some water and we've kissed you both. It's our time to watch a grown-up show."

Mags: "Oh brother. Are you watching that zombie show again?"

Chris: "Yes. Please stay in bed, Mags. Okay?"

Mags: "Alright, but don't come cryin' to me when you're havin' zombie nightmares."

I totally had zombie nightmares that night after watching 'The Walking Dead' with Chris.  But, the show also got us thinking about the similarities between zombies and moms. We walked around for a week mentioning things to each other, until finally, I had to make a chart. So, without further ado, I present to you...


Have you seen my other charts?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bewitched: A Letter to My Daughter

Today, I have a special treat for you! It's a special guest post from my husband, Chris. Please give him a warm welcome. Enjoy!

Me: “Who was your favorite character?”

Tucker (7 yo): “The Wizard.”

Maggie (5 yo): “The Wicked Witch, of course. She’s so darn, stinkin’ awesome.”

Dear Future Maggie,

Some day a man will lie to you. He will attempt to deceive you by dancing with you, flattering you, and making you feel like you are the most important woman in his world. I know this because I have done this in the past. I know this because more than once a woman has done this to me. You will be heartbroken when you discover the truth. The emptiness you feel inside will beg to be filled. Nature, as it turns out, abhors a vacuum. Something will want to rush in to fill the void. At this moment, you will have a choice.

You could let darkness consume you, turning cold and spiteful. If that man is with another, you might feel a jealous rage turning you (almost literally) green with envy. It will be painful. It will be tragic. It will be ugly.

Or, you could choose to be courageous. You could look past the hurt to the light that burns inside. The swindler does not deserve any more of your time. He is passing through life unable to see anything but himself. When he looks back at this moment (and trust me, he will) let him realize that this was his loss, not yours. Your worth is not measured by his attention. Do not be tempted to swallow the fruit that will taste so bitter. Bring forth the powerful greatness that is your spirit. Choose to forgive and continue on with all your majesty.

This decision will help shape who you are and who you will be. Like a beacon, personalities will be drawn to you based on your choice. If you choose darkness, then you will be surrounded by those who are monsters themselves. They will wrap you in a cloak of discontent and feed off your misery. If you choose goodness, those who radiate strength and inner clarity will find their way to you. Lean on one another for support and trust in their resolve.

Follow the road that leads you to experience golden, shining moments. Look beyond the grey that this man brings to see the brilliant colors all around you. Most importantly, gaze inward. Let your inner beauty be your guide. Use your mind, heart, and courage to unlock the magic inside yourself.



P.S. And remember, there’s no place like home.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

100 Word Song: The Great Pumpkin

This post is in response to my friend, Lance's 100 Word Song. This week he let his beautiful, writer wife, Bo, choose the song. A girl after my own heart, she chose a country tune.  The song was from The Band Perrry, "Better Dig Two." This is where my mind went, so I followed it....


Our first date was to a pumpkin patch. It was a cold and wet October day. There were perfect orange spheres as far as the eye could see. It’s where I picked the Charliest of Brown pumpkins I could find. You appreciated my need to save it from the loneliness it would find in that patch. You were so sincere. I soaked that in. We carved that pumpkin, you and me, then lit the candle aglow. Warm and bright. We sat back and enjoyed the view, appreciating we rescued that orange mess.  A more handsome jack-o-lantern I never did see.

12 years after we met...taking our daughter on a field
trip to the place we had our first date.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Tuck: <yelling from downstairs> "Mama! I can't find my jacket."
Me: "I threw it in the dryer this morning because it was still damp <start mumble> frombeingleftonthefloorandnothungup <end mumble> from playing in the snow yesterday. Go ahead and open the dryer to get it."
Tuck: "Okay. Found it! Thank you."

Sometimes you throw your kid's damp jacket in the dryer before school, and as he's running for the bus, you see your floral printed underwear attached to the velcro on the side of his hood. You grab it off just in time to save him from getting a horrible nickname for his entire school career. 

The End

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Chris: "Before we get dressed, does anyone have to use the bathroom?"
Mags and Tuck: "Nope. We're good!"

Long johns create the base. Then comes the sweatpants, turtleneck and sweatshirt. Feeling a little bulky, but still able to bend, socks come next. Two pairs are a must. Then it's time to call in Mama for the big stuff. The snow pants seal me up and I am waterproof. The puffy jacket adds the final layer of bulk and bending becomes impractical. Final touches of gloves, a hat and boots are added. 

"Ready to go!" 

Mama pants as she wipes the beads of sweat from her brow. The garage door opens to the bright, white world and suddenly it hits. 


Monday, March 4, 2013

The Monster Inside My Head

Neurologist: "Check this out. It's pictures of your mom's brain. Isn't that interesting?"
Mags: "No way! That's gross!"

After my hysterectomy this summer, a change happened. Yes. Literally "the change" but also a change in my usual migraines. I've had them pretty much my whole life. I knew well the warm feeling over my face and the disruption in my peripheral vision that warned me it was about to hit. It was like one of those crime shows where they pixelated the person's face that didn't want to be seen. Except, for me, everything looked like that. However, after the surgery, my usual migraines that I would get monthly, turned into a completely different animal. Like, rip my eye out of my socket kind of animal. These new headaches lasted for days.

Just like the migraines that preceded these new multiple day horrors, they gave me an aura of sorts before they happened. They always came in the morning, right as I woke up. The tingling above my left eye and stuffy left nostril was my warning and then...BOOM! The pain was there within minutes. There was no "sleeping it off", no medicine to knock it was just there...behind my left eye, back of my head and neck...FOR DAYS. 

I have a decent pain tolerance, or so I've been told, but these things brought me to my knees simply from the days of unremitting pain that wore me down.

I imagined it was what a vampire felt like when his eyes were exposed to the sun (not the sparkly ones, the Bram Stoker ones). The only time I felt relief from the pain was when I slept in my makeshift crypt. Curtains were drawn, blankets were plentiful and the pillow cradled my pain. When I drifted off, I was thrown into stress dreams. You know, the dreams where you were running around a forest and couldn't find your way out while you were being chased by a mad killer. Needless to say, those days and nights were exhausting and stole my patience, my time and my sanity.

After months of these "lost days", I was sent to a neurologist. He and I went over my history and decided to try a daily preventative medication. In the meantime, I was sent to get an MRI...which was two hours in an extremely tight fitting, noisy chamber.

A few weeks later, I went back to the neurologist's office to get the results. He showed me all the pictures of my brain. My first thought was, "THERE'S REALLY ONE IN THERE! PHEW!" The first thing out of Tuck's mouth was, "It looks like a bunch of curvy roads for cars." Atta boy!

Everything was fine. The only thing that was noted were the white dots that showed up on the pictures. Apparently, severe headache sufferers often have white dots that show up on their scans or as my friend, Amanda, referred to it, "You have a polka dotted brain!" I loved that description so much more.

The doctor was happy to hear that the daily medication seemed to be working on holding off these monsters. He told me that I might have "break through headaches"... every once in a while one would come through. But they'd be less intense and shorter in length. Hey, that's better than four to eight days a month.

And yes, I've had a few since I started on the medication, and it sucked as usual. There's no tempering these suckers. But, I've really tried to focus on my hydration, food intake, stress level and exercise. In other words, I started taking time to take care of myself. And guess what?!? It's helped. 

Who knew?  
I know, did. Good advice. 
(Always listen to your mother.)