Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It's Implied-A Vlog

There is so much to say about parenting tweens and I can't say most of it.  Because you know, I don't want my tweens to hate me.  But oh baby, that blog or maybe even a book I'm going to write in 15 years...oh watch out.  

For now, I am revealing a little bit of what parenting tweens is like in my new vlog.  It's about how my tweens think I'm stupid.  Is that happening to you? I mean, my god, I hope it's sort of a universal thing.  I hope I'm not alone.

Watch this and let me know.

(Click here to watch the video.)

And please hare any tips you may have on developing a thicker skin.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel.  (Click here.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sewing & Focusing & Posing (A Pinterest Poser Challenge)

I've sort of self-diagnosed myself with adult ADD or ADHD. I took a quiz in a magazine years ago and scored off the charts, a definite "You win! You probably have adult ADD."  I haven't been to a doctor, but lately I'm considering it.

As the kids get older and busier and my ability to control schedules and set routines sort of goes away, I feel pretty damn scattered.  I mean back in the day, when my kids colored a little bit, played a game, had lunch and then napped...sure it was a little overwhelming, but I was in the driver's seat (aside from the occasional toddler tantrum and what not) and I was able to stay a bit focused.  But now? Um, forget about it.

I grab minutes to connect with my kids in between practice and homework.  What's for dinner? Who needs a ride?  Practice is cancelled oh man, now what? The homework, the friend drama, the big questions, the holy shit life is busy of it all.   Couple parenting tweens with their busy lives with my slight immature addiction to social media and television and well, there is no focus.  

Up until now, I've been able to sort of reign in my high energy into creative projects and staying up all night to blog and vlog and be totally fine.  Running always calmed my spinning brain, unable to focus feeling.  But my old hips and bad arches are fucking with that coping strategy now.  As I do my leg lifts next to 90-year-old stroke patients in physical therapy, my mind races and I feel like I'm going a little nuts.  

So, I am diving into a new project...I AM GOING TO LEARN TO SEW!!!! The all caps isn't meant to be yelled, it's meant to be read in an Oprah voice or a Kermit throw your hands up in the air and throw your head back kind of voice.

A couple months ago, I got an old sewing machine from my mother.  A couple weeks ago, I finally sat down and started to try to sew.  So far it's not helping me lose weight like running did, but it is giving me a goal and something to focus on other than getting sucked into and frustrated by all the distractions of life.

I haven't made anything yet, but I did learn how to thread the machine and sort of figured out the whole bobbin situation.  And I stitched some fabric.  "I'm a sewer!!!!!," I screamed and sort of danced into the living room.

For this week's Pinterest Poser Challenge* I guess I'm a little bit of a poser, a wannabe.  But soon, I will be posting pictures of bad ass skirts and pillow covers.  Unless I get distracted and sewing goes the way of learning to speak French or learning to play the ukulele.  Dammit, I can't talk like that.  That is negative self talk that is typical of an adult ADD person (or at least that's what the magazine quiz summary said).  I'm going to keep the faith, keep the focus (or at least try to) and learn to sew.

*In an attempt at not being a Pinterest Poser,** every week I detail a project/idea/recipe inspired by Pinterest.
**My definition of a Pinterest Poser is someone who is all pins and no substance.

Head on over and follow me on Pinterest (click here), I've even created a "I'm Going To Learn To Sew" board.  

Check out some of the Pinterest projects I've actually done/made/attempted.  Have you made anything inspired by Pinterest? Come on, don't be a poser.  Tell me about them in the comments or on my Facebook page. Or please share ANY sewing advice.

Painted Locers- click here
Melted Beads- DIY Suncatcher- click here
Tissue Paper Pom Pom Garland-- click here
A Delightfully Simple Birthday Party--click here
Make An Awesome Omelette--click here
Outdoor Lights Inspired by the show Parenthood- click here
Herb Garden with Chalboard Pots- click here
Backyard Graffiti Art with kids- click here

Happiness Notecards- click here
Gluten Free Rainbow Cake- click here
Fruit Roll-Up Fortune Cookies- click here
Make Your Own Magnets- click here
DIY Painted Clay Necklace- click here
Dixie Cup Lights- click here
DIY Ornaments-click here
Gluten Free Clay- click here
Make Your Own Stamps- click here
Birthday Shirt- click here

Gluten Free Pop Tarts- click here
Front Porch Kid Art Display- click here
Door turned into Table- click here
Summer Wish List Chalkboard-click here
Peanut Butter Nutella Cookie Sandwiches-click here
Painted Mason Jar Vases-click here

Cinco de Mayo Paper Flowers- click here
Earth Day Cupcakes- Click here
Nail Art-click here
Homemade Photo Booth Fun- click here
Fake Bangs- click here
DIY Subway Art- click here
Furniture Painting and Bench/Chest Makeover- click here
Thanksgiving-y Project/Gratitude/Holiday Countdown- click here
The Smoothie-click here
The Free Printable Turned Artwork in a Boring Hallway- click here
The chalk board-click here
Seven Layer Dip in Individual Cups (my favorite so far!)-click here
The pumpkin address-click here
The Kitchen Dancing Sign--click here

Friday, September 12, 2014

One of Those Weeks & What I Know For Sure

This week as we settled into routines at home and found our rhythms, the world seemed angrier and louder and more unsafe.  Another celebrity death, an anniversary of terrorist attacks, talk of new terrorist groups, more troops, strategies, videos of abuse and allegations of cover ups.  

It was the kind of week that makes me look around and feel heaps of gratitude for my family.  Sure I forgot Wade's snack on only the second day of PreK and yeah he blew a fuse in our house when he stuck a dime in the socket; Tim worked late a few nights this week which threw our newfound routine all out of whack; one of my kids told me I "disgusted" them because I signed them up for an after school activity without their permission; and a million other stupid things.  It was far from shiny and perfect.  But, I am still so grateful.  

I am grateful that we have each other during these weeks that feel so intense and angry in the world, I know that for sure right now.  

Here's what else I know for sure this week:

  • Having people in your life that totally get you makes everything alright.  I had lunch with a friend this week that I hadn't seen since last spring and it was like church to me.  Spending time talking and connecting, listening and being heard...nothing beats that.

  • Telling stories heals, transforms, and changes some people's lives. I am so proud to be a part of a storytelling show in Detroit next week.  It's more than a show, it's a movement really.  Check out what they are doing in Detroit this year.

  • Physical Therapy is my yoga right now.  I love being told that I have to sit still for 15 minutes while electrodes are hooked to my hip.  I dig it.  

Wade isn't quite as excited as I am however.
Thank goodness for Netflix and headphones, he gets to chill out watching a little Curious George. 

  • I love Meryl Streep.  And I love the Blank on Blank Digital Shorts.  Check out Meryl's interview and tell me you don't love her. I mean, come on.

  • Bedtime = story time = best time.  I love these boys.

What do YOU know for sure this week, right now?  Share all your knowledge here or on my Facebook page.  

Come over and play with me on Instagram.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dancing In the Aisle--A Train Review

We were heading to the church in a big white bus.   It was a party bus that would soon be filled with people and alcohol and good times, after all the wedding festivities at the church.  The bus was pretty quiet on the way to the church.  My bridesmaids--sister, my cousin, a few of my best friends in the world--and me all dressed up and excited.  And nervous, at least I was and everyone knew it.  I fiddled with my earrings, ran my finger over the lace in my veil and bit my lip.  Life was about to change, I was going to be married and committed and gulp, a grown up.  

"She only drinks coffee at midnight, when the moment is not right," one of my bridesmaids sang along with the radio.  Then like we were in a movie, some romantic comedy starring Julia Roberts maybe, we all started singing along and laughing.  One of us, me maybe, might have gotten up and danced in the aisle of the party bus.  

The song ended, I felt like everything was going to be alright, I got married and we lived happily ever after.  
Yup, I got married and became a grown up as you can see in this picture.

And I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the group Train.  It was their song "Meet Virginia" that came on the radio all those years ago and broke the nervous silence and inspired a pre-wedding/party bus sing-along.

When the opportunity to review Train's latest studio album, Bulletproof Picasso, fell into my lap, I felt like it was just meant to be. 

Pre-order available now on iTunes ( and Amazon (

Train and I have been sort of down a similar path the last 14 years.  I mean they put out a few albums (7) and I had a few kids (4).  Train won some awards (3 Grammy, 2 Billboard) and hey, I won too (43rd place in an Over 35 Age Group in a 10K).  The parallels of our lives may not be so apparent to everyone, but still I feel a connection.

Train's first single from the newest album, "Angel In Blue Jeans," is climbing the Adult Top 40.  Which again just feels right.  The music is for adults and after all these years, I can finally say I feel like gulp, a grown up, an adult.  So, it just makes sense that I would enjoy music on the Adult Top 40 chart.  And I did enjoy this album.  

Click here to watch the music video for "Angel In Blue Jeans."

Maybe it's because Train makes me feel sentimental, but my favorite track is "Just A Memory."  It is essential Train--easy to sing along with and dance to.  It's not too dark or too light.  

Another song that really stuck out to me is "Don't Grow Up  So Fast."  With lyrics like "don't you hurry, try to take it slow, you will get there before you know," it hits pretty close to home right now as I look at the next chapter of our love story--raising tweens and teenagers.  

There's no party bus taking us down the road to our next phase, our next chapter---all the teenager raising and middle age and college and oh, I'm getting nervous.  But there is Train, and the music and the moments that we sing along to and dance in the aisles to and feel better and laugh and know it's going to be alright.

The album comes out on September 16.  Pre-order available now on iTunes ( and Amazon (

Here's a fun video from another great song on the album, "Wonder What You're Doing For the Rest of Your Life."

(Click here to watch the video.)

For more information about Train go to the official Train website or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.  And go watch their videos on YouTube.

I participated in the Train Bulletproof Picasso album review program as a member of One2One Network.  I was provided a free album to review but all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Exhausting Business of Parenthood

I'm not really one of those people that collapses into bed.  I'm usually up too late writing, surfing, watching, overthinking, worrying,'s tough to turn my mind off.  I'm more of a toss and turn kind of gal.  But Sunday night, I collapsed into bed because last week and weekend wore me out.

It's so weird because it wasn't me meeting new teachers and being thrust into new classrooms to make new friends and do homework like the kids. It wasn't me that practiced football in the weird 90-degree weather last week like the boys or play in the games over the weekend.  

All I did was worry and love so hard I had zero energy on Sunday night.  Whether it was pep talks after school or watching every play from the bleachers, I put my all into it.  Then of course I stayed up a little bit late every night wondering, worrying, possibly overthinking...did I give the right advice? I should have said more about sticking up for yourself. Oh my gosh, she hates her freckles, how could she hate her freckles? Do I overpraise? I think I read something online about overpraising, oh shit, am I screwing them up? Don't even get me started on football and concussions, but they love it and there are good things about football, seriously.  woah, it's late, I need to sleep.

One of my favorite things about the boys playing football is watching them on the sidelines with their dad (who is also one of their coaches).

Back when the kids were babies I thought I knew what tired was, but woah, nope, no clue.  
Life--it ain't no game, unless you are playing the actual game of Life which my kids love.  I don't play it with them because I don't like the focus on money being what it's all about.

First of all, I was so much younger and I think that makes a difference. Back then my metabolism actually worked, I could have one glass of wine without feeling hungover the next day and I just didn't need as much sleep.  

Now, I'm older and slower and I have to go the doctor for things like "my hip hurts when it rains" and one glass of wine (or a Tylenol PM) gives me a mild hangover feeling the next morning. The real kicker is that no one in my house naps now that I finally see the value of sleep.  

Now that my kids are a little older they need me in different ways--there is a lot of talking.  Talking about meanings, intentions, injustices, politics (world and middle school), identity issues, pop culture, technology (this is basically me saying no to i-everything).  It is all negotiation and affirmation and encouragement and let's get real.  It is being there and being ready to stick to my guns or bend a little.  It is listening and watching and loving.

It also brings new kinds of deeper interactions and connections and joy.  I mean they can talk about politics (world and middle school), it's pretty cool.  They get jokes, and can tell them.  They're creating their own world view.
And hey, we can all go to the movie theater together now that they are older.  Woot. Woot.  Sure, Tim and I might have taken a quick nap during the movie but we were all together. 

I'm beyond grateful that I get to parent these four little beings with so many questions and intentions and world views.  I'm honored to help them on their journey and pray that I don't hold them back or screw them up too badly.  But shit, it's exhausting.  

So, yeah I collapsed into bed the other night.  I slept for almost 10 hours.  I woke up refreshed and ready to start a whole new week of worrying and loving and connecting and enjoying and possibly overthinking a little bit.

Friday, September 5, 2014

It's A Revolution & What I Know For Sure

This has been a long week of first days, finding routines, letting go and trying to figure things out. There was so much anticipation on the night before the first day of school and then the night before the second day of school.  So  much excitement, so much hope.  

I was determined, as I am every back-to-school season, to be different, be better.  I vowed to not lose the Get To Know My Child paperwork, to buy all the right school supplies, to finally find a morning routine that is smooth and doesn't involve anyone yelling.

And just like every year, by the second day of school I was um, what my older kids would call a "total fail."  I lost paperwork, forgot to buy the damn protractor, only bought one composition notebook instead of three and I yelled a little when I found the kids literally climbing the walls of the porch before school.  Total fail.
I was yelling at the kids while taking a picture.
Because yeah, I'm pretty good at multitasking.

A few years ago, I called these vows of "I will be and do better" Back-To-School Resolutions.  You know, like the resolutions people make in January to be and do better.  Just like in January, my back-to-school resolutions were seemingly made to be broken.  I am very good (and consistent) at breaking resolutions.

Back when I first talked about making these autumnal declarations of change, Lucy, a sweet non-eyerolling second grader, misheard me and asked "What are back-to-school revolutions?"  I thought that was so cute.  But looking around at our week I also think she was right, this time of year is more revolution than resolution.

There is so much change, so much breaking away, heading out into the unknown; so many new experiences, new ideas, so much learning and doing.  It is filled with hope and anxiety and energy.  It is messy and imperfect and uncertain.  It is full of setbacks and triumphs. It is overthrowing a schedule, putting in a new regime.   
It's a back-to-school revolution.
Wade heading into his new adventure...PreK.  He seems older this week.  Even his shadow looks more grown up.

I don't think I will ever find a morning routine that doesn't involve a little bit of yelling or rushing, but I can handle messy and imperfect and hopeful.  And yeah, we are exhausted, but we got this back-to-school revolution, I know that for sure right now.

Part of the revolution is acceptance.  I accept that some people might think Wade showed up to PreK orientation with messy hair, mismatched socks and a spider tattoo because he is our fourth child.  Even when I know that is not the case.   The truth is messy hair, mismatched socks and spider tattoos are pretty much who we are. I accept that and pretty much love it.

Here's what else I know for sure this week:
  • My obsession with Friday Night Lights via Netflix is in full effect.  This is the only back-to-school advice I could come up with for the chalkboard.  We are in the middle of season three and I'm LOVING it so much.

  • This is a funny football commercial.  It's not just back-to-school season, it's football season. Whether you are a fan or not, this commercial is funny.  It makes me laugh out loud.

  • I'm still trying to meditate.  My last attempt involved me spilling coffee all over me.  People meditate with coffee (filled with really bad for you artificial creamer) right?  I posted this picture on Instagram and was going to use the hashtag "peaceandlove" and my autocorrect made it "peaceandlice."  Yeah, I'm still learning this whole mind, body, peace, zen thang.
The winner of the Mala bead bracelet from Little Bird Soul is Jeanna Parks. Congrats Jeanna.

  • I'm cool with Pumpkin Spice Lattes.  People are upset that we are rushing fall and I say who cares.  I won't order a special fall drink until the leaves start to change, but if people want to and it makes them happy I say do it.  Just like the people that have already started counting down days until Christmas, it's not my thing, but if it brings you joy....go for it.

  • Imaginary friends have gotten very tech savvy.  Wade uses his fake phone to "text Frank" all the time.  Yup, this is what having an imaginary friend looks like in 2014.  And yup, he is wearing his snowman Christmas pjs and it's the first week of September.

What do YOU know for sure this week, right now? Are you embracing the revolution? Share it here or over on my Facebook page.

Come follow me on Instagram.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

It All Means Something

Yesterday was the first day of school.  It was all new pencils, new classrooms and a whole bunch of nerves. These are exciting times, but they can also be a little scary and uncertain.  All the change, all the unknown.  
JT literally was holding on to Peyton.  He didn't want to let his big brother go, but off Peyton went to seventh grade before the sun was all the way up.

They played together as long as they could before they got ready to go off in their own directions.

It's at times like these that I know traditions matter.  I mean I just know it.  The making of the first day of school signs, taking all means something.  Doing the same thing every year provides consistency and normalcy.  I sound like a therapist, but it's true (I learned it in therapy).  It makes something that might be a little bit stressful, better, more special.  

Peyton was a good sport posing with his sign.
Wade helped me get ready for the kids to come home from their first day of school.  He starts Pre-K later this week.

I've been making a pencil cake on the first day of school since Peyton was in kindergarten.  Some years the pencil turns out amazing, some years not so much.  

This year's pencil was maybe not so pencil-y.

This year, I ran out of eggs and butter so I had to go to the store and I was tired and cranky and the I tried to cut the cake before it was cool and it fell apart and the frosting was drippy and the dog almost ate the cake and I might have cried a little bit....BUT the pencil cake got made.  The tradition lived.  I hope we eat pencil cake every year that my kids have a first day of school.  I hope we laugh about the years that it looked more like a fire hydrant than a pencil.  I hope it always tastes good.  I hope it always makes the first day of school a little more special. 

I am a believer in traditions, in making a big deal about things, in making things special, in noticing if people are worrying a little more than usual and trying to help them.  

I am a believer in the fact that cake is always a good idea, no matter what shape it is.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Please Don't Go

It's unofficially the last day of summer and I am officially completely, utterly bummed out.  I hate to see summer go.  Recently, someone told me "cleaning house isn't your bag" and that someone was right.  But you know what is my bag? Summer-ing.

I'm going to miss it and just like the lyrics of a nineties pop song, I want to scream/sing "please don't go."

Here's the song KWS made popular in 1992 in case you forgot:
(Click here to watch the video.)

It's hard to say good-bye to summer.

Cheers summer, it's been all kinds of wonderful.
As the sun sets on summer, check out a few highlights from ours:

Our Road Trip

(Click here to watch the video.)

Up North

(Click here to watch the video.)

All Of July

(Click here to watch the video.)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Back-To-School Coping & A Giveaway

A few days before school started I freaked out.  I was so worried.  I was worried my friends had made all new friends because I didn't live in their neighborhood, I was worried I wouldn't like my teacher, I was worried that I had forgotten how to write.  Hiding in the small space in between my bed and my closet, I took a deep breath and I attempted to write my name.  A-N-G-I-E...phew, I still remembered how to write.  I cried with relief.  I cried because I didn't want the best summer I had ever had in my entire life to be over.  I cried because I didn't know what the future looked like.  It was August of 1984 and I was going into the fourth grade.  

Going back to school was always anxiety inducing for me.  It got a little easier over the years, a little more exciting.  Laying out my outfits the night before helped--like the yellow and red paisley shirt I paired with the red belt, pegged jeans and red flats, oh and I even laid out the red plastic pearls I planned to wow the new middle school wearing in 1986.  Calling my friends the days before school started helped.  Crying a little and taking deep breaths helped.  Watching my favorite soap operas and eating chocolate helped.

These back-to-school moments of mental anguish became the training ground for my version of coping skills that would get me through/haunt me into my adulthood.  Every year the back-to-school terror/excitement had me laying out outfits, reaching out to friends, eating chocolate, watching soaps and crying and breathing.  

Even when I was done with school, Fall became a time of heightened nerves/emotions.  I started realizing that it wasn't just going back to school that had me all messed up, it was Christmastime, it was a hectic job schedule, it was any kind of change or pressure that I couldn't completely control. 

Now that I have my own children, I try not to put all my shitty issues onto them.  We have fun rituals and traditions centered around the first day of school.  In the weeks leading up to school I spend a little extra time with the ones that genetically are so screwed, and need a little more soothing and reassurance that their friends will still like them, they can still write and even though we don't know what the future looks like, it will be okay.  I'm hoping to give them coping skills that don't involve General Hospital, chocolate and so much crying.

I feel confident and loving in my mothering, but as far as taking care of my own anxiety, not so much.  Once again, I am feeling all kinds of anxious about the new school year for my kids, the fact that one of the best summers of my entire life is almost over and that I have no idea what the future looks like.

The other day my friend Amanda who knew I was probably struggling came over to give me a gift.  She gave me a bracelet she made, Mala beads made out of wooden beads and gemstones.  

It was beautiful.  She told me that I should meditate with the bracelet.  When she saw my skeptical look, she said "It doesn't hurt to try."

This friend radiates peace and love.  Amanda is a bad-ass hippie mother who has dedicates herself to "spreading peace."  She started a business called Little Bird Soul and creates Mala beads that she hopes inspire people "to love themselves and take care of themselves."  
She includes a note like this one with each piece she makes. 
After giving me a quick meditation tutorial and a hug, she left.  I wore the bracelet everyday, but held off on the whole meditation idea because you know, I have my coping skills already.  But after a late night crying to Tim about how the lady at the kids' Meet the Teacher looked at me funny and I just knew she was judging how rough the boys are and I can't organize anything and I don't want the summer to be over and I can't felt like it might be a good time to give the whole meditation thing a go.

I sat on my front porch and tried to center myself.  

Per Amanda's instructions I rotated each bead on the bracelet and tried to focus.  Deep breath in...Wait what did she say dedicate a breath? a meditation? Deep breath out...are the kids fighting....take a breath dummy...oh my god was there a skunk out here last night...rotate the bead...oh shit did I put out the garbage last night...that's the garbage truck coming...can I open my eyes...breathe dammit...I should peak and see if the garbage cans are out...the kids are too quiet what does that mean?...okay, good garbage cans are there...breathe, rotate...this is pretty easy, I think I totally got this meditating... I am awesome at mediating, huh, who knew? rotate, breathe...

Amanda told me it might be like this and I've read Eat,Pray,Love.  I pretty much guessed that meditating for the first time for me and my monkey brain/ADD brain/mom brain would go like that.

But she was right, it didn't hurt.  In fact, it felt good to sit and be intentional.  It felt good to be quiet.  It felt good to not be catching up, searching, looking, reading, scanning emails and Facebook.  

I am adding this to my list of skills with which I use to cope. Here's to peace and love and meditation and soap operas.  Here's to coping and maybe not knowing what the future looks like but knowing that it will be okay.  Here's to meditating.  Here's to going back to school.  

How do YOU cope?  Do you meditate? Do you stress out during back-to-school season?

I'm doing my part now to spread the peace and love.  You get a chance to have your very own, custom made, beautiful Mala bracelet. 

And Amanda is also giving away a copy of her favorite book about meditation and mindfulness (for children and grown-ups)--A Pebble for Your Pocket

It's a great way to start out the school year with new coping skills and a great reminder to take care of yourself.  Here are a bunch of ways to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To find out more information about Little Bird Soul click here, and here Facebook  and here Twitter.