Thursday, February 28, 2013


I spend a lot of time documenting the amazing lives of other people. I'm constantly writing about incredible people and their awesome experiences and remarkable talents. I so envy them. They all have a niche.

That's something I'm lacking.

I have so many friends who have a niche.

 My close college friend, Kyle, loves fashion and interior design. She blogs about fashion of course, and was recently the featured blogger on Style Spies, a unique website about fashion and style. (

Melinda, my sister-in-law loves party planning and decorating, and her blog is about just that. (

One of my very best high school buddies Heather is an adventurist. She's a world traveler and was commissioned to write a series of hiking books.

And, one of my newest friends, Lindsey, here in Chicagoland came about her niche just this year. After her daughter had a rough start in kindergarten and first grade, she decided to completely change her family's diet. The end result was a miraculous improvement in her daughter's school performance. Lindsey is now a food ambassador for Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and was a guest on a Food Revolution webcast yesterday. (

I'm so happy for my friends and how they are so passionate. They have truly found their voices.

Maybe they'll help me find mine.

It's not that I don't have interests or passions or talents. There are a lot of things I love to do. The problem is I don't excel at one particular thing. I'm just adequate at a lot of things. I'm a runner, though my last major race was almost two years ago. I love the outdoors, but sometimes I'd rather snuggle up with a book than leave the house. I like to cook, but I'm pretty much a recipe kind of girl. I love my kids, but sometimes I'd rather do laundry than play a game with them. Of course I like to write, but I'm not Pulitzer material.

I guess I'm jack-of-some trades, master of none. Maybe just maybe that's OK. Because maybe that's just my niche.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The world's best nurse

My mom is the world's best nurse. Not in the literal, professional sense. She never made her living that way, but she should have considered that line of work. Although my mom isn't overly compassionate or affectionate, when someone is sick she shines.

She's just really good at taking care of people. Somehow it's second nature to her. It's almost as if she enjoys it. Mom was never the hug-gy type when we were little, but when were sick-- in her bed is where we'd be. She knew exactly what to do to make us feel better. Whatever we wanted or needed she did for us without complaint. When her parents and my dad's great aunt and mother were dying, she was the one who spent countless hours in nursing homes and hospitals---talking to them, feeding them, caring for them. She has the magic touch.

I wish I had an ounce of Mom's mystical abilities. Julie has been pretty sick this week. While I try to do everything for her, I can't help but think Mom would have done so much better. It's not that I don't know how to take care of my sick kids, but my mom just has a natural instinct, and seemingly endless patience when it comes to sick people. I, on the other hand, tend to get slightly annoyed with a sick patient who seems to be milking it.

I know this will sound completely heartless, but while my mom is the world's best nurse, my daugther is the world's worst patient. She's whiny. She's dramatic. She's irrational. And, sometimes it seems as if nothing can make her feel better. Since she was a tiny baby, her illnesses have been blown way out of proportion---though we didn't really realize this until we had our second child.

So, this latest affliction--basically a cold with a high fever has been no different. Yesterday Julie was hysterical because everything smelled bad. At first she blamed it on Johnny. I didn't think he smelled, but I gave both kids baths just in case. Then, she blamed it on the house. And the sofa. And the blankets. When she blamed it on me, that was it. I called Mom. "Did you smell her breath?" my mom asked. I briefly wondered where she was going with this. "She probably has strep throat. Sometimes your breath can smell really bad when you have it. That might be what she was smelling."
She was right. Her breath was awful. I had her brush her teeth and she seemed to forgot about the smell for the while. By that time, unfortunately, it was too late to go to the doctor, but that's where we'll go today.

My mom---pure genius.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The White Stuff

Snow was a big deal in Baltimore. The anticipation was everything. Local news stations aired what they deemed "The Snow Show"--constant coverage of the impending storms. Families performed snow dances. Schools canceled at the mere threat of a couple inches. And those snow days off from school were incredible. My parents were just as excited as my sister and me. It meant no work for Mom because she was a gym teacher, and a much shorter, calmer day for Dad, who was a principal. Yup. Snow days were the absolute best. The days were spent sledding, building snowmen and drinking hot chocolate. If it was still snowing at dinner time, the four of us walked to our local Pizza Hut to devour a few slices of pizza and root beer. Snow in Baltimore was always an event, and I guess that's what made snow days so special. Snow in Chicago is a completely different experience. It's no big deal to the locals who are  hardened to fierce winters. The streets are plowed and scraped clean before you even wake up in the morning and the entire neighborhood snow blows sidewalks and driveways in less than an hour. Most disheartening of all-- schools never call off for snow. I think the last time the kids had off school here was a few years ago when three feet of snow dumped on the area. When we woke up yesteday morning, about three inches of snow covered the ground. The kids got dressed early and made a snow castle and threw a couple snowballs. Then, it was off to the bus stop. School was on time. I felt a tinge of sadness realizing that Julie's day would be spent at school instead of frolicing in the white stuff. I guess we better get used to it. We're Chicagoans now.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Here we are.

Scott and I on our very first visit to Chicago
I never imagined I would be living in Chicago. Truly, I never pictured  myself anywhere but good ole' Bawlmer. As a senior in high school, my parents informed me that they would pay for any college I desired, as long as it was less than an hour from home. So, off to University of Delaware I went. The 45-minute drive pleased my parents, and I was ecstatic to attend one of the top party schools.

After graduation, I watched in awe as many of my college friends moved into tiny studio apartments in Manhattan. It seemed unfathomable to me. The reliable, loyal and predictable daughter that I am, I moved back in with my parents until I got hitched to my Scott two years later. When we moved into a little townhouse resembling the one I grew up in, I just figured that was the way life was going to be for us. We were happy.

But, life always has surprises. A couple years later Scott was  transferred to a little town in Central Pennsylvania, not too far from Western Maryland. Pay was good, cost of living was cheap, and I got to stay home with my very new baby girl Julie. We tearfully said goodbye to friends and family and set off on our little adventure in the mountains. At the time that was probably my bravest accomplishment. As an uncertain new mother I moved to a new town in the middle of nowhere with no family or friends nearby. It was certainly an adjustment for a city girl like myself. We gradually made friends and became a part of the community. The seven years we spent in the little town called Altoona shaped us as a family, and of course our family literally grew too, when  we had our baby boy Johnny. Deep down we knew we wouldn't stay in Altoona forever. We made great friends and my parents only lived an hour away in Western Maryland, but the town and our family weren't a perfect match.

 My dream was that we would eventually head back to Baltimore. Once again, the unexpected happened when Scott was offered a promotion in Chicago. "CHICAGO?!" was my immediate petrified reaction. I had never officially visited the windy city. My only encounter was the night we spent in the terrible airport when our plane was delayed for 12 hours. Chicago was not my first choice or second or third for that matter. It seemed so far away. So cold. So unknown. The offer, however, was too good to refuse, so we at least had to give it a shot. Chicago had me at the first visit. It was bustling. It wasn't (too) cold. It was exciting. And, it was absolutely beautiful. We were sold.

So here we are, and I have to admit Chicago has yet to disappoint. We are loving being tourists in our own town, the food is amazing and the people are too. I can't say with certainty that we are here to stay. For now, we're happy to be here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

I'm not a bad Mommy

How can I not love these little guys?
Have you noticed how many "bad Mommy" blogs are out there these days? Apparently it's super cool now to trash talk your kids. It's not just blogs either. Moms everywhere (on Facebook, Twitter, at the park, at the bus stop) love to talk about their terrible kids and their rotten parenting skills. We just love to share our miseries with other moms. I'm definitely not above whining about my children. They're not perfect and I don't want them to be, and sometimes I just want other moms to sympathize with my plight, but I don't want this blog to be all about that. Of course some days I might want to talk about how my almost-four-year-old son refuses to poop for days on end, or how my 7 year-old daughter is a complete and utter drama queen. But, there's so much more to life with kids than woe-is-me. We chose to have these little darlings so why don't we make the best of it?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

When you have kids, don't you secretly hope they turn out just like you? I mean isn't that the whole idea behind having offspring? We all want little mini-mes, right? So, I couldn't have been happier when Julie wrote a little love poem to her teacher. Sure. She spelled a word wrong and forgot a period. But, overall, it was pretty darn good for a first grader. It rhymed (ABAB) and it was from the heart. This is totally something I would have written for my teacher. Maybe not for my first grade teacher.(She was the worst.) But, my second grade teacher, Mrs. Anthony definitely would have received a little love note from me.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Read me!

Here we are on the day we moved to Chicago. Aren't we cute in our matching Chicago tees?
Hi out there. I know there are way too many Mommy blogs. Well, here's one more to read...or not read. It doesn't matter too much to me. I'm just doing this to document my oh-so-exciting life. I have always been a diary writer...well since the age of 7 anyway. My family and friends always tease me because in all of my childhood memories I am 7. But, I have the diaries to prove it! I really started writing in my diary when I was 7. That was the year I became convinced I was going to some day become a famous poet or novelist or children's book author. My teachers and parents fed me one too many compliments I guess. Anyway, none of that has come to fruition; however, I do write for a living. Well, I can't really say "living" since I don't make quite enough to support a family of four...or even a family of one for that matter. Luckily, I was fortuitous enough to marry a super smart and ambitious guy who is making enough mula so that I can stay home with our two children---the best kids ever (on most days...on other days I just pretend they aren't mine.) On my "spare" time, as in naptime or bedtime or kids watching way too much TV time, I'm a freelance writer for a handful of parenting publications. I don't claim to be the best writer or journalist in the world. Heck, I don't even try to do that. But, mommy issues interest me and I'm always looking for a story. This blog is a way to tell "our" family story, but also explore some of my story ideas, and post a few of my very best writing masterpieces. If you catch any mistakes in my blogs, just ignore them.