All Good Things Must Come to an End

You know how you have a favorite TV show and it goes on and on and on until it’s not your favorite anymore and you start to let episodes delete on your DVR before watching them? I don’t want to be that show. I want to be the show that you are wishing wouldn’t end, the one that leaves you wanting more or at the very least, ends on a satisfying note.

I have had some amazing opportunities through this blog. I got to go to New York, was in two published books and made some wonderful friends.

A funny thing happened when my computer went down last week. I lived without it. It was liberating not to be tied to it.  I missed my friends that I connect with through the internet and I missed writing in this space but I really feel like the time has come to close up shop.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I told Gia that I wasn’t going to be working on the computer, she said, “Really?! Thank you, Mommy.” She basically thanked me for being more attentive because I had too many, “Just one second” or “Let me just finish this” than I probably should have. After I had blogged for a year, I was going to quit. I thought for Nico’s sake, we should go back to being anonymous before he went to high school. He encouraged me to keep writing because I loved it. When I told him I was thinking of quitting again, he said he was “kinda glad” because when people “googled” him, my blog came up and they read it. One kid said what I wrote was deep and about how hard it is raising Nico (I’m guessing it was the one that was “Advice for Parents of New Teenagers”. While I am not ashamed of anything I have written here, it made me feel weird and lose the drive a little bit.

I am not happy with the environment that I am raising my kids in. There are things I feel are important that have fallen by the wayside. It’s not enough to just go through the motions and get through each day. That’s what I feel like I’m doing. I’m at a point where I am tired of writing about it and need to do something about it. Something has to change and it’s not going to change unless I change it. That’s what I have to do.  I have to get back to being happy with the way I’m raising my kids.

I cannot put aside things I feel or am dealing with and write about something else. I’ve never been good at that. I want to write about how much I hate social media. It’s made raising a teen a constant anxiety attack. Teens haven’t changed but our world has and they now live in a place where everything is broadcasted and accessible to everyone. I am guilty of it myself. I blogged about our life for three years. It’s time to go back to being private. Social media has devastated Belle and made it a full-time job maintaining her self-esteem. I’d love to write in detail how we have dealt with “girl drama” and losing people you thought were your best friends. Tommy has his own “stalker” on social media and it’s upsetting.

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The love/hate relationship I have with technology is weighing heavy on the latter. How can I tell the kids to stop being so tied to their phones/iPods when I’m so tied to mine (or my laptop)? I envy the people who are able to balance it. Only blog when the kids go to sleep (which is um…never). Wake up early and write and read (I go to bed around 1am. There is no getting up early and fitting in writing and reading while running around like a chicken with my head cut off doesn’t really work). Blog and read when the kids are in school (Sometimes I want to spend that time with friends or family I don’t get to see often and I feel guilty because I know I should be catching up).

I wrote something two posts ago that sparked something in me. I miss working with kids. I’m going to give some serious thought to running a “drop in” service where parents can drop their young kids off so they can run errands. It wouldn’t just be babysitting. It would be more structured than that…a mini-preschool for kids that age. Summer tutoring for school age kids and reliable care for infants and toddlers. It wouldn’t be at the same time. I can only have 4 kids here at a time. I don’t know…it’s just jumbled thoughts at the moment but the thought of it actually happening excites me the way blogging once did.

Maybe when the kids are older or out of the house, I’ll go back to it. Maybe by then Facebook will go back to being nice about letting our stuff be shown to our followers. I mean, they clicked follow because they want our updates, right? And yet only about 43 followers out of 300 saw them.

I just want to thank you all for reading and for commenting and letting me know constantly that I am not alone in one of the hardest jobs out there. People say that friends you make online aren’t “real”. Bull. Some of my very best friends were met through my blog and I intend to keep them. I want to thank you guys for praying when I needed prayers, lending an ear when I needed to vent and making me laugh all the time. I’m not giving up on that Girls’ Spa Weekend. We need to make that happen this summer.

The irony is not lost on me that it’s because of the chaos that I was blogging and now it’s because of the chaos that I am stopping.

Love to you guys always and I’m only an email away. :)

Until we meet again…

Photo courtesy of Jody Byas.

Photo courtesy of Jody Byas.

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Well, Hello There!

I think this has been the longest that I’ve taken a break and as hard as it was,  I’m glad I did. It was well-needed. It became clear that the internet is a “can’t live with it, can’t live without it” type-thing. I missed all of my blogging and Facebook/Twitter friends. I missed writing but I didn’t miss fighting with Gia to get on the computer. I didn’t miss having my kids want my attention and me only being half there because I was thinking of all the things I needed to do. With that being said, there is a part of me that is antsy. It’s been too long.

To catch you up on what’s been happening over here:

Tommy has not had an episode of the red dots since we were told he’d need a biopsy of one of them to see what we are dealing with. That figures, right?

The update on Nico has me confused. I just don’t think we were going to walk away with this experience without the doctors finding something wrong with him and I am not 100% convinced that there is other than normal teenage angst. Does he have ADHD or is he feeling distracted because he is worried about his grades, basketball, and girls? Is he feeling a little depressed because his classes are hard, he’s not enjoying basketball like he once did and some girl keeps leading him on? Well, who that went to high school didn’t feel that way at some point? I am encouraged because he wants to get A’s and B’s and he really wants a job. I don’t know how that would work with basketball at the moment but I don’t care. I just love that getting his grades up and getting a job are his top priority at the moment. Any locals out there that know of jobs that he can do after practice or on weekends (with basketball, it’s a little tight but after basketball, he’s not doing anything other than the football off season workouts), let me know. He’s willing to work hard.

I feel like Belle has had the biggest turnaround since I’ve been on hiatus. She has made me so proud of her. She was hurting and miserable. Sixth grade is so hard. People that you thought you’d be friends with forever suddenly don’t want to be friends anymore. There are all these new people and it is easy to get shoved aside. After several weekends of watching her cry because she was included one day and left out the next and of course it was all over Instagram, she FINALLY listened to me. I told her to hold her head up high, smile at people and make an effort to get to know some girls in her classes. No one should have to try that hard to fit in and when you do that, you lose yourself. I saw her losing herself. I am happy to say that she has had a great break that was completely drama-free! She has made some really good friends and watching them interact like I did with my childhood friends warmed my heart. I do think that her days on Instagram are numbered, though. She had a great break and blasted it all over and I can’t help but think of other girls that didn’t or felt left out. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Social Media in the wrong hands=Devil’s Playground.

Gia…we are still working on taking some of the “Veruca Salt” out of her. She made Christmas fun. We took steps to get her sleeping in her own bed and she is going to be lost when the big kids go back to school…if they ever go back to school. With this winter storm and deep freeze, our schools are closed tomorrow. I’ve already told my kids they are going to be shut in so don’t even think about using it as another day to hang out. Yeah, I know. I’m mean. Nothing brings out the witch in me like a kid saying, “I have a take home test I have to do” or “I need to finish this book and do a book report and I’m only on chapter 1.”

Something happened over here that turned the tides a bit. I am most proud of the fact that I told my kids I was going to do something and I did it. I had been promising that we were going to switch the rooms around. Nico and Tommy were no longer going to share and Tommy was going to move into Gia’s room. Gia was going to share with Belle. Well, in order to do that, I needed to have Gia’s room painted (it was pink). Well, long story short, with the help of my sister Nikki (who completely rocks in all areas of home improvement), Tommy’s room was painted and finished.

Tommy’s room:

Before

Before

 

After

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nico’s Room:

After pt.1

After

 

 

Nico's new room2

 

Before

Before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Girls’ room:

Before

Before

 

 

 

 

Gia's side

Gia’s side

 

 

Belle's side.

Belle’s side.

It was a productive break for the most part. I have a few blog posts in the works and that feels pretty good. I have a few posts for Ten to Twenty in the works. The holidays were spent with family and New Year’s Day we went to Wisconsin Dells for a few days (post to come). Leo had off the whole two weeks which would have been a great time to take care of things like getting a new furnace (ours works, just shuts off and doesn’t kick back on), getting the garage doors fixed, fixing a few of the broken things around the house but that was not to be. Instead, a bulging disc in his neck sidelined him. If you’ve read “Florence Nightingale, I am Not“, you’ll know how well I handled that.

What about you? What have you been up to? How were your holidays? Tell me one fun thing you did.

P.S. I am a little discouraged that I started typing this Saturday night and am only able to get it posted today. :( It will be better when the kids are in school, right?

 

 

 

 

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Time to Explain

I honestly would like to go back to the insanity that was summer camps and my only concern was driving back and forth to Wheaton North which is pretty much down the street.

Yesterday, I took Tommy to see a pediatric dermatologist. The bumps are back. They came back on Sunday. He begged me to take him to the hospital so that they could find out what they were and fix them. I couldn’t because if I brought him across the street to the hospital there, they wouldn’t do anything except give him a steroid which he was just on and it’s not good for kids with CF to be on steroids. We put him on it last week because his foot was so bad that there wasn’t much of a choice. I couldn’t take him to Lutheran General because it’s about 45 minutes away and it was snowing on Sunday night and the roads were bad. I know this because it took me 45 minutes to get to my parents’ house and normally it takes me 10 and I slid a couple of times which shaved off about 6 years of my life. Plus…and oh, how I love this one, Leo was leaving for out-of-town later that night (he couldn’t because flights were cancelled but it was scary for a second thinking how much help I’d need if they admitted Tommy if I did get there). So I gave him Advil and talked to our nurse that I love so much. He didn’t go to school Monday and she got us an appointment that thankfully was in Naperville which isn’t too far.

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I’ll spare you the details of the hour-long appointment that was filled with the young doctor looking at me in shock and saying, “Wow, you have A LOT on your plate” and just tell you that he needs a biopsy of one of the red bumps. She isn’t 100% sure it is Erythema Nodosum and can only be sure with a biopsy. Tommy was a little unhappy at the process because he said he wanted to make it through his life without stitches. While being anxious at finding out how to treat this once and for all, I find myself in one of those situations that brings me right back to when we found out Nico had CF. Go in thinking it is one thing and come out with something much worse. If you could spare a prayer, that would be so appreciated.

doctor_making_rounds_tn

There is a high chance that Nico will be diagnosed with ADHD. If you are shaking your head in wonder or shock, join the club. He was having a lot of trouble in some of his classes (all but one) and thinking it was a learning style/teaching style sort of thing (he is very hands-on/visual and all of his classes this year are lecture type and the one that is hands-on is really, really hard…chemistry), I sent him to his counselor. After talking with him, she suggested that seeing a doctor wouldn’t be a bad thing “to rule out” things that might be causing him to be so frustrated. Somehow, I ended up in a pediatric neuropsychologist’s office for six hours with Nico testing for ADD and depression. And then I ended up in a pediatric psychiatrist’s office with her telling me that she is 95% sure that he has ADHD. I was confused because he’s never shown signs of hyperactivity but she said they don’t really say ADD anymore and that it is under the umbrella of ADHD. His problem is focusing and concentrating and keeping the focus. Put him on a field or a court and all the focus and concentrating is right there. Once in a classroom, he walks out having tried to listen and coming up empty.

chalkboard02                                                                  frowny_face_clip_art_13121

I don’t care if he has ADHD. I don’t care about the label, the IEP, whatever. I just want him to not struggle so much. What scares me and what I am most upset about is the depression part. First, what 15yo kid isn’t somewhat depressed? I think I spent my whole high school career depressed. Friends hurt me, boys hurt me, classes were hard, teachers were jerks and there was a whole lot I wanted that I couldn’t have (freedom, money for the latest trend…). So the question is: What is normal teenage angst and when do you get help? I have a feeling I know why he feels the way he does. I think he has an inner struggle of knowing what to do and doing it. Academically, athletically and socially. He’s frustrated, tired and confused. And you know what? That is life. Life isn’t easy and we don’t just roll over and say, “We’re done.”

Ha! Let me just intervene here and tell you all that I started typing this on Monday after Nico’s doctor’s appointment and then crazy x’s 20 hit and here it is Thursday and I still can’t get it done and right now, I’d like to roll over and say, “I’m done!” I’d like to wave a white flag and say, “That’s it! You wore me down! I’ll be in my bed wrapped in my electric blanket in the fetal position humming the tune, ‘You’ve Had a Bad Day” with a bag of Milano cookies.”

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh, yes…life is hard and we have to find ways to deal. On top of all the regular teenage issues, Nico is going through a rebellious phase where being different is the last thing he wants or understands so he bucks the treatment/meds system. Remember what your last sinus infection felt like? That’s Nico’s normal. That would be enough to depress me a bit, wouldn’t you say?

 

Belle, sweet Belle has had her heart-broken so many times this year that the brick house finally fell on her. She’s regaining her twinkle but the self-doubt that follows after being put through the ringer is exhausting. As a mom, the best feeling is when your kids learn a hard lesson and come out smiling in the end. After many discussions, I am proud of Belle for realizing that her behavior needed to change and then worked hard to change it. The questions that turned things around for her:  “Do you like who you are when you are with that person?” or “Do you feel good after you leave?” If the answer to those questions is, “No” then you need to find other friends.

broken_heart

Why am I explaining all of this? Because I am going on hiatus. I am a Grinch and I don’t need to spread the bah humbugs. I can’t be in the moment because some are scary and some kind of suck. Some are fine one moment and then blow up in my face. I am taking a break from Facebook and the blog and Twitter. Sometimes it just gets to be too much. Information is constantly coming in and I don’t have room in my brain to take it all in. My brain is overflowing with thoughts of biopsies, teenage troubles, ADHD, and the kids’ friends.

grinch_02

I will post again when I find out what is going on with Tommy. If it isn’t before Christmas, have a very Merry Christmas!

If you need me, you can shoot me an email or a text. I’ll still be plugged into them once or twice a day but otherwise, I’m taking a computer vacation and don’t worry, there will be plenty of margaritas on this end so that it will feel like a real vacation. :)

 

 

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More Tricks than Treats

I think I’ve said more times than not this month that either the day or the week was kicking my ass and now that October is a day away from being over, I can safely say, this month kicked my ass.

There were some treats:

I became a published author.

button1for meltdown book Grief book coverThe twins turned 12:

Twin 12We got family pictures done (Jody, you are awesome):

Do any of them look like me? C'mon, someone throw me a bone. :)

Do any of them look like me? C’mon, someone throw me a bone. :)

That’s all I could really come up with. I mean, there were small things like football games with interceptions, tackles that amazed me and touchdowns. There was Nico getting pulled up to varsity for the playoffs and… yeah, see…that’s about it.

There were more tricks:

1. Our furnace died.

2. Weird things were happening when I was home alone.

3. This guy was gone A LOT for work and football:

The big one in the middle is the one I am talking about.

The big one in the middle is the one I am talking about.

4. I was backed into in the Target parking lot. I had my old van for almost 12 years and nothing. I’ve had this one for a month and this:

Ended up being just paint so it ended up a treat.

Ended up being just paint so it ended up a treat.

5. I have had a sick kid every single week of this month:

Last week of this month and it's her turn. :(

Last week of this month and it’s her turn. :(

6. Someone has decided that Mommy should never write again and instead should play “work” and “babies” all day long. This leaves the time she is at school to be running errands, doing the endless loads of laundry and making sure the house is clean enough for pop-over visits:

How can I say no?

How can I say no?

 

So there you have it on the day before Halloween. And yes, I am a party-pooper and cannot stand this holiday. What used to be a fun day and night of cute costumes and trick-or-treating as a family is now another event that kids get their feelings hurt, spend time roaming around the neighborhood hyped up on candy and fighting for them not to wear offensive or slutty costumes (seriously, are there any vampire, fairy or witch costumes that aren’t for wanna-be strippers?).

How was your October? I hope you had more treats. :)

Okay, you’ve seen the kids with Leo and with me. Who looks like who?

 

 

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A Meltdown in the Making

This is so fitting that today would be the day that all of this happened. I had a special treat lined up for you all.

One of my blogging friends that has supported me from the beginning is Meredith over at The Mom of the Year. I have looked up to her as a writer because she is seriously hysterical. She, herself, is in the very funny, I Just Want to Pee Alone. I look up to her as a mom because she is a great one. She tells it like it is and has us laughing our @sses off. She’s one of the friends I see myself sitting by a pool drinking margaritas with at some point. Today, Meredith did me the honor of reviewing The Mother of All Meltdowns. To read her fabulous review click the button below:

The Mom of the Year
See, this post was supposed to be in your inboxes this morning at 7. Why wasn’t it, you ask? Because while I was in the middle of writing it, my internet went down. And did it save the post? No, it did not. I finally got my internet back at around 3:00. After the minor meltdown over the lost post, something meltdown worthy happened to drag me away from rewriting the post: a creepy stranger came to my door. He looked shady so I grabbed Gia and hid in the kitchen but not before I saw him crouch down and look in my house from under the Halloween decal on my door. I thought it was someone putting their advertisement on my door but when I checked, nothing was there. Around 4:15, my one neighbor called and asked if a strange guy came to my door. Apparently, he went to her house, her son said she was busy and couldn’t go to the door and he said, “Well, tell them the power is going to be out for a few days.” He wasn’t in any sort of uniform. It had me a little freaked out. The other neighbor and I called 911 and reported it because it all felt wrong.
The police came and did a drive-thru but what the heck?? Either way it’s not good. It’s either some strange guy looking in people’s houses or my power is going to be out a few days.
Oh, and we need a new furnace…like I only have heat once in a while and not at night. Lucky for me, I called Tom from Chris Mechanical Services and he came out and checked it and temporarily fixed the problem or at least made it so that the heat clicks on faster than it was when it turned off. He even came back in to deal with something that I am not sure but think was semi-related and sounded dangerous. I went out and got a new carbon monoxide detector and cleaned in case I had to call the fire department. Wouldn’t want them to see that I am a Target bag away from a Hoarders episode. If you are local and looking for someone to come out and check your furnace, I highly recommend them.
Anyway before I turn this into a full-fledged meltdown, go read Meredith’s review over at The Mom of the Year. It was the highlight of my day!

 

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Overwhelmed

This week is kicking my ass. I mean, seriously. Have you noticed that I haven’t been around? Maybe a little on Facebook, not at all on Twitter and sparingly on other blogs? Well, I’ll tell you why in what will end up being a late post because I had to drive Nico and his friends to school and the twins decided to go back to bed after I woke them up before I left. I got home to find that the twins had 10 minutes to get to the bus and they were still in bed. With a lot of yelling and screaming, they made the bus. Gia didn’t want to get up for school so that made us late for that. I went to breakfast with a friend that I miss terribly and then went to my mom’s retirement party.

Sunday started with a missed football game to take Belle to Convenient Care because she had a fever, sore throat and upset stomach…all the symptoms she has when she has strep throat. The rapid test came out negative but the doctor said her symptoms plus white patches on her throat is classic and we probably caught it too early or she didn’t have the kind of strep that the rapid test picks up. They put her on the easiest antibiotic, once a day Zithromax (the liquid because she doesn’t take pills). It doesn’t matter what they put her on. The minute we picked up the meds, she refused to take them. She, instead, sat on the couch moaned and cried, “Why me?” Admittedly, I suck when the kids are sick which is ironic since we have two kids that battle a chronic illness. My mom was the best when I was sick. She’d roll the TV in my room, make me tea, stay up with me, and do whatever she could to make me feel better. I did not get this “nurse” gene. I can me as sympathetic as the next person if my kids or Leo take their medicine or see a doctor. I can’t seem to drum up any sympathy for kids or husbands that moan and cry (kids, not Leo) that they are so sick and they feel so awful while not going to the doctor or taking the meds that the doctor gave them to feel better.

Belle was home Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. On Monday and Tuesday, she added, “I’m never going to catch up,” “I’m going to fail my classes” and “I’m going to have so much homework.” In case those weren’t dramatic enough, she added, “Why me? Why am I always sick?”

Tuesday, Nico came home from football and told us his iPhone was stolen from the athletic locker room. He swears he locked his locker but can’t remember for sure. They took his phone and his lock. Two weeks ago, he put his football gloves (not cheap football gloves, mind you) down and went to the bathroom. When he came back, they were gone. Someone stole them. Here’s the thing: I get that you have to watch your stuff. I get that it’s on him for not locking his locker or leaving his stuff unattended but I’m pretty sure he never thought a fellow football player was going to steal from him. The phone could have happened when they were at practice so maybe it wasn’t another player but the gloves? They were. What the Hell is wrong with people? It is infuriating that whomever did this thought nothing of taking what wasn’t his (I can only assume it’s a boy since both were taken in the boys’ locker room). Boys have been heard bragging about things they have taken and all I can say is that I hope Karma is a bitch and I hope she bites them right in the ass.

This leads to the endless calls to AT&T. I put a freeze on the phone so it can’t be used even with a different SIM card. We bought the insurance but what do you know? There is a $200 deductible that Leo had no idea there was. Each time I talk to someone new, they tell me something new. One person was going to waive the upgrade fee but I had to see if Nico wanted another kind of phone for two years. Of course, he was at practice. The next person said he didn’t know what the other person was talking about. He couldn’t waive the upgrade fee but he saw that if we went with the insurance, he could get his 4s replaced with a 5. I decide that is what I want to do so I go to the AT&T store and what do you know? They can’t do that. It has to be replaced with another 4s.  He is so upset at learning the hard lesson of backing things up. He didn’t so he lost all of his contacts and pictures and videos. Luckily he has all of his songs (I think) on the computer but since he falls asleep to his music, he hasn’t been able to sleep. It’s not even just that. It’s a violation. I feel sick because he didn’t lose it. He didn’t break it. It was stolen.

It is scary how attached kids are to their phones. Really, it’s not just kids that are attached. I hate when I don’t have my phone. I feel anxious and out of it which are two things he is feeling right now.  I pray that the kid that took it, suddenly has an attack of morals and his conscience guides him to return it (every time I say that, I get laughed at…teens willingly returning something and owning up to what they did is apparently unheard of) or he gets caught and the punishment will be less if he returns what he stole from the lockers. Either way, it’s a long shot.

Leo is traveling, everyone has practice this week, the homework load is unbelievable, the house looks like a bomb went off, I’m pretty sure my kids are going Commando because I haven’t been able to get to the laundry and I have to find a sitter for Nico’s away game that is far. On top of that, I am fighting off some sort of infection so I really feel like I could sleep for a week or at the very least, take a sledgehammer to whomever is pounding the little drum in my head. Writing has not been possible.

Anyway, I’m overwhelmed but I miss all of you. I’m hoping to catch up this weekend.

How have you all been? What do you do when you are overwhelmed? Wine? Chocolate? Hide in a corner?

 

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Five Things

I know that lately it seems like I am always on the move but I swear this time it is my blog’s fault. I want to do a picture post of Homecoming weekend but I can’t get pictures to post. This is why I never update anything. Just when I think I figure it out and even feel like I know what I am doing most of the time, they go and change it. I cringe every time I press the “update” button.

Anyway, since I can’t do the picture post until I figure it out, I am going to direct you to a post I did on our book’s website.

Five Things That Cause Meltdowns

I’m pretty proud of it because:

1. It’s a post of several rants all wrapped up in one.

2. It’s one of my shorter ones.

3. I managed to keep it to 5 because if you know me, and you’ve witnessed or read about my meltdowns, you know I could have come up with a lot more. :)

Come take a look. I guarantee you’ll be able to relate.

To purchase The Mother of All Meltdowns, you can click on the sidebar and it will take you right to Amazon. If you’ve read it, we’d love it if you’d review it.

If you’ve read it and would like to do a guest post/review on here, please email me. I’d love to have you!

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Chaos With a Side of Excitement

This is going to be a super short post (let’s see if I can really do a short one) or let’s see how much I get done before I have to light a fire under Nico to get him to move.

Let me first say, I am sorry that I have been MIA lately. I know I said that I would be until after Labor Day but I still feel bad. I miss the blogs I read and will have a boat load to catch up on. In RL, I miss the friends and my sisters that I normally see or chat with. This time of year slams me like everyone else with the getting into the groove of school, football and cheerleading starting.

Today Gia goes to meet the teacher and yes, I am a little weepy that she is going to be in school three days a week this year but it’s time. She is ready to be with kids her own age and so am I. Tomorrow, I have a meeting at Tommy’s school with all of his teachers about CF. I hate those meetings. I am dreading it. The rest of the week I am going to cram all of summer into three days and hopefully do some fun things with Gia.

That is the chaos part. The excitement part is that I am working on a few projects with my writing that I am thrilled about. I am not quite ready to share yet but will soon. I’m trying to balance the kids, the house, the blog, and the deadlines for these projects and I know I can do it but since I never have, it’s been an adjustment.

Now, if I could just get out of my own way, my dreams might actually come true.

I want to leave you with one thought that became very clear to me this weekend. Doing something small for someone might end up being something big to them. Sometimes all it takes is a friendly smile and a genuine “How are you?”

I tell my kids every morning, “The world is full of mean people. Don’t be one of them.”

So, how’d I do? Short post? For me, I’d say yes. :)

Have a great day!

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BlogHer: Part 1

I did it. I stepped out of the box and went to a blogging conference. I am going to share this experience in two parts because it actually felt like it happened in two parts and it would end up being too long.

Leo drove me and Kim from Reflections of Now to the conference which was at The Sheraton Hotel and Towers in the city. Let me make something clear right off the bat. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. I am the most suburban girl ever. I won’t drive in the city because it’s scary and crowded and I would be the dumb ass that turns the wrong way onto a one way street (and if you have ever done that, know that I love you). Because I have never driven in the city, I have never paid attention to where anything is or how to get there. That’s why I have Leo, Rochelle, my dad and even Gina (on foot, near the condo). See where I am going with this? I have no clue where anything is or even where I am when I’m in the city.

 

I just want to say that hugging Kim and having her in the same car was a trip. We spend so much time talking online or in text that I know I talked her ear off but I was so excited to be a foot away from her, I couldn’t help myself.

Not exactly the first day that we met. Kim and I.

Kim and I in front of the bean.

We got to the hotel and met up with our other roommate, Jessica from My Time as Mom and then we headed to McCormick Place to pick up our badges and go to the expo. Let me tell you, it’s overwhelming. There are a ton of people and a bunch of different booths, Windex®, a few Moscato ones (I looove Moscato so I enjoyed those very much), Daily’s Cocktails® which I have to say, I am going to run out and buy a bunch of them because they were so good, Coca Cola® and Walgreens to name a small fraction of them. I gave out my card to some of them but I’ll be honest. I followed Jess and Kim’s lead because I did not know what I was doing.

Me (on the left), Jess (middle) and Kim (right) finally got a picture together.

Me (on the left), Jess (middle) and Kim (right) finally got a picture together.

The first “mishap” of the weekend (that sounds so much better than screw up, doesn’t it?) was when I reminded Kim to bring a sweatshirt or jacket because it gets cold at night in the city…and then forgot mine. And did I mention it was going to be record lows in Chicago? Figures, right?

We had dinner plans at the restaurant in the hotel. We walked up to a group of women that Jess and Kim were friends with and quickly I realized that I absolutely sucked at recognizing people or remember people’s names or blogs or whatever. There was a moment of panic like I was going to be on the outskirts of all the fun because I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me when it happened. That awesome feeling of seeing someone that you enjoy so much online and your eyes meet and she has the absolute best reaction. Kristen of Preppy Girl in Pink did it for me. After meeting her and just loving talking to her, we saw a flash go by us. We looked at each other and said, “Was that Ilene?” And it was! Ilene is from The Fierce Guide to Diva Life. Another great greeting like three long lost friends reunited. She was a ray of sunshine for me this weekend. Like an old friend that when you are feeling overwhelmed, you can find and instantly, they give you a hug and you know you are going to be okay. We didn’t get to spend as much time as I would have liked (and even so, it still felt like we did) and didn’t even get a picture so we definitely need to do something after she is settled in her new home.

Kristen from Preppy Girl in Pink.

Kristen from Preppy Girl in Pink.

It was time for dinner and so began our struggle to find food in one of the major cities in the United States. You would think with so many restaurants, it wouldn’t be that difficult but I really just wanted food. Not fancy schmancy food. Not whole wheat ravioli stuffed with tofu, brussel sprouts and grape jelly (that is an exaggeration). Give me regular ravioli filled with ricotta cheese and marinara sauce (or as we call it, gravy). I don’t want a grilled cheese with Brie cheese. I want one with American cheese. Looking for a place to eat that first night was when the jokes of “don’t ask the local” began. That is 100% correct. Don’t ask me because I have no idea. Let me just say to all you locals out there, if this conference was in Schaumburg or Wheaton, I could have been a freaking social director but it wasn’t so I felt like an idiot being a tourist in my own city.

The next morning we were going to Yoga with Yasso Frozen Yogurt in Millenium Park. Of course it was raining. One of my all-time favorite bloggers is Shell from Things I Can’t Say. I had the pleasure of walking to yoga with her. We talked for a bit about what, I don’t remember but I hate uncomfortable silences or pauses so I think I rambled. What I wanted to say in one of the pauses was, “It’s raining and it takes me forever to straighten my hair and now I am going to have to do it all over again otherwise I’ll look like Monica did in the Friends episode (seriously, click on that if you need a good laugh) and I haven’t done yoga in a year and am probably going to make a complete fool out of myself.” Did I say that? No, I did not.  I need to embrace the quiet and not feel the need to fill the silence. Well, I really wish I had come to that realization ten minutes before I completely stuck my foot in my mouth. There was a guy running in neon shoes and we talked about the neon craze and I joked, “You really have to be something to pull that off,” or something like that and then there was silence. I looked and Shell, beautiful Shell was dressed head to toe in neon. She joked that she knew she glowed and I wanted to crawl in a hole. You know that hot, sinking feeling in your stomach that comes from wanting to rewind and start over. It was like that. I think I back-tracked but I felt like a complete idiot and swore I would not open my mouth the rest of the time. In case you are wondering, yoga was hard. The yogurt was good but the yoga was hard on a wet mat. I walked home in silence. Okay, I didn’t because I just can’t do it.

Shell from Things I Can't Say and me.

Shell from Things I Can’t Say and me.

 

I learned on this trip that you need an iPhone. My phone was the bane of my existence this weekend. It needed to be charged more than any of the other phones. I missed the end of one of the sessions because I had to step out and charge it. It was so annoying and not the last of my phone woes.

That night I went to a party at Hasbro® which was very cool. We practically tackled the guy walking around with the food. We played there for a little bit and then needed to get something to eat. And again…around and around we went. Finally, we asked a guy where Bella Bacino was and he said, “Right across the street.” Of course it was because I didn’t already feel stupid enough.

Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of my BlogHer adventure.

In the meantime, tell me about a time when you put your foot in your mouth. Make me feel better.

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Short Post: More Chaos

Once again, life is crazy. I’m hoping to have some time on the computer this weekend but I’m not holding my breath.

Tommy is having sinus surgery on Monday. If you could spare a prayer, that would be greatly appreciated. Last time he had surgery, it didn’t go very well. To read about that, click here.

After reading that, you can understand why I’m asking for prayers. I think it will be fine since he is only having the sinus part but I still worry.

Today he goes for a cat scan and then has a baseball game.

Nico has two basketball games in Riverside/Brookfield around the same time. Basketball in the middle of the day on a weekday are tough for me to get to anyway. Torn between two kids again. Thank you, Dan and Kim for taking him for us.

Tomorrow, Nico has a 7 on 7 football thing all day. It’s my mom and nephew Vinnie’s birthday party and Tommy has a baseball game.

Sunday, more of each of the games if they make it to the finals.

It hasn’t all been yucky busy. We are holding true to our Summer of Fun and made it to a pool yesterday (post and pics to follow).

How’s your summer going?

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