Monday, March 31, 2014

If You Asked Me

Mags: "Mama, have you known Daddy your whole life?"
Me: "Nope. I've known him since I was 21. So…15 years. And we'll be married for 10 years this week!"
Mags: "Oh! Okay. Cause Daddy told me he feels like he's been married for ONE HUNDRED years."
Me: "Some days it can feel like that, Mags."

If you asked me 15 years ago where I'd be right now, I never in a million years would've guessed I'd be:
  • Anxiously waiting for a date night on the couch with my husband as we watch mind-numbing TV.
  • Decompressing after a long weekend of school functions, monotonous errands and house cleaning. 
  • Walking down the hall (again) to give "just one more kiss" (again) to the sweetest two faces in my world.
  • Singing a song from the kids' favorite TV show over and over in my head.
  • Picking up a trail of little dirty shirts, pants and socks that were haphazardly thrown when getting pajamas on for bed. 
  • Being responsible and making a list from my list. 
  • Being married (happily) for ten years this week. 
  • Finally opening that bottle of champagne we never got to on New Year's Eve.
  • Have snippets of a conversation with my husband throughout the day with multiple interruptions only to be able to piece it together flawlessly. 
  • This happy.
So, yes, sometimes it feels like 100 years. But, in all honesty, 
I can't wait for the next 100, Chris!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Maggie: "How much more snow are we gonna get, Mama? It's been DAYS! A girl can only drink so much hot chocolate, you know!"

Holy cow! We Northern Virginians  thought our winter was bad. A flood is WAY worse. Noah, the new block buster hit starring Russel Crowe as Noah,  is flowing into theaters this Friday, March 28th. Since we all know the story of Noah's Ark…wait a second…you don't? Okay, no problem. I can give you the quick Cliff's Notes version thanks to my husband and his Vining talents.

Here's the gist…

I'm looking into the crowd after this six-second tutorial and seeing lots of "Aha" moments. So, when our good friends at Grace Hill Media (Hi, Bri!) asked Michele and me to do a little giveaway and promotion, we dove right in to plan our posts.

When I was brainstorming, I couldn't help but wonder what kind of animals  *I* would bring with me on a large, open, wooden Ark for months on end. I mean, who am I to choose what species get to survive? I wanted to bring some critters that weren't well known, would be useful, and wouldn't try to eat me. 

After some research, here's what I came up with:

For a day when you just need to reduce your stress. 
Just pick this guy up and squeeze!

For a day when you're feeling down about the gloomy, pre-apocalyptic weather. Nobody…I repeat…NOBODY is as sad as this creature.

For days when you're tired of repeating yourself. 
"Polly wanna cracker and HELP ME BAIL OUT THIS WATER!"

When your husband (the ONLY other other adult on the ship) has ticked you off. This little guy will fit PERFECTLY under his pillow.

For days you feel dry and scaly. Just know…it could be worse. 

For days when you want another baby…cause you're stuck on an Ark and what else is there to do? Here's a little pocket pet that won't keep you up all night and you don't need to dock your Ark to find a licenced OB/GYN to deliver it.

For flies all over the Ark. Cause even if you don't bring any on the boat, they're like Twinkies. They can survive anything. 

To remind you to not judge a book by its cover. 

For days when your hair is a ball of frizz…a quick 
reminder that it could always be worse.

I'm pretty sure this one is self-explanatory. If not, ask a friend or see the six-second Vine at the beginning of the post.

What do you think? Good choices, right? I think my reasoning is solid. 

Oh! And one more thing before we get into some philispophical discussion. Above, I mentioned how Grace Hill Media asked Michele and me to do a little giveaway. Actually, there are TWO giveaways…get it? TWO! Each prize package contains: A hoodie shirt, a baseball cap and…wait for it…a raincoat. 

Raincoat as seen above. Frog umbrella and model not included.

Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below. Tweet, follow, and comment away for more chances to win. The promotion ends March 31st, 2014.


For more information about the movie, Noah, visit

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Me: "So, what else did you do today, buddy?"
Tuck: "Well…I thought about you and missed you."

And POOF! My hectic day just melted away with one simple 
sentence from the sweetest blue-eyed boy I know. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Mags: "This is the year. I feel it. We're gonna trap it and keep it and it will be mine. What are we trying to trap again?" 

Are you ready for St. Patrick's Day? We are! Our leprechaun trap is set and ready to see if we can capture one of those lucky, green lads tonight. To pass the time while you're waiting, you can check out our leprechaun trap below AND listen to five of our stories that have a leprechaun as a character. We wish you luck tonight! 


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

Saturday, March 15, 2014


It's time for Ketchup With Us. Held on the 1st & 15th of every month, the link-up gives you two ways to play. You can either (A) set a timer for 10 minutes and write about whatever pops into your head OR (B) link up an old post. Michele and I are easy that way. 

For this link-up, I'm choosing A, the brain drain method.

This week…it's been rough. And long. And full of hurry up and wait moments. And full of moments I wish I was a fairy godmother with a magic wand. My chosen career is a special education teacher. It's my passion. I love it (even on the roughest of days) because the tiniest of milestones mean MOUNTAINS to me and my students. But this week, well, I just wanted to say "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo" and make some of the pain for a few of my students go away. I wanted to turn back time. Make things better. Hug them tight. Tell them it was going to be alright. This week I had some difficult conversations. I learned a lot. I held myself together just long enough to make it down the hall and let the tears fall privately in the bathroom. And today…the sun came up. I kissed my husband. I got a quick, warm morning snuggle with Mags. Tuck made me a bowl of cereal to be sweet. I went to work and laughed with my friends. I got some GREAT news (to be shared in a later post). And now…now I sit here next to the person that completes me…getting ready to watch mindless TV…holding each other close. 

So, this week…it's been rough. But I came out stronger. 
For that, I should celebrate. DING! Time.
Our esteemed Ketchup With Us Featured Writer 
from last time is ...
* * * * * * * * * * *  
* * * * * * * * * * *  
Click here to read how this foolishness all began.  
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“May those who love us, love us; and those who don't love us, may God turn their hearts; and if He doesn't turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles 

so we'll know them by their limping.”

Happy St. Paddy's Day, everyone!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Tuck: "I'm sad to be painting over our yellow and blue paint. It's like I'm covering up all my happiness."

We're planning on moving this summer. Our house goes on the market in a few weeks. So, for the past two months, we've been packing a little each night and taking advantage of the weekends for serious cleaning and de-cluttering and the snow days…well, those were a gift! We've accomplished a lot, but just had one HUGE project looming…painting both the kids' rooms. Tuck's room is a "Superman blue" and Mags' room is a "Sunshine yellow." Those colors aren't every one's taste, so we slapped multiple coats of primer and white paint on the walls to make it look more open and cleaner. Lots of change is happening around us.

In fact, Tuck is having a hard time with all the change. He's always been that way. He has to warm up to big moves in life. Giving up his bottle, pacifier and putting on big boy undies are perfect examples. Once he processes all the parts of the milestone, he makes it happen. So, painting over HIS space was a big deal…and we knew it would be.  He spent most of his time processing by crying, talking about it and helping us to accomplish a goal.

We painted both rooms as a family, talked about it with him as a family and had a quick, little dance party in the middle of it all…just because. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Tedx Talk : Disability-Led Innovations for the Masses

Chris: "Okay, guys, I'm going to practice my talk. You guys just sit and listen. Then, at the end, you can give it a thumbs up or thumbs down. Good? Here we go."
Mags: <puts thumb down, up, and back down>
Chris: "What's that, Mags? I haven't even started yet."
Mags: "Oh, sorry. I was just warming my thumbs up."

This Fall, my husband, Chris, was invited to speak at a Tedx Talk. He brainstormed ideas, wrote a script and practiced it in our living room over and over again in front of his biggest fans (me and the kids). The day of the talk came and I could not have been more proud. All of his hard work paid off as he took the stage. You can watch for yourself in the following clip. Oh! And don't forget to turn on the captions!

Disability-Led Innovations for the Masses
by Chris Bugaj