For the New Parents of a Teenager

I was blindsided. No one told me. I was going along doing my thing, thinking I have the hang of it and BAM! Everything I do is wrong. Suddenly, I am in the middle of a tornado, earthquake, blizzard and flood all at the same time. The energy sucked right out of me. Anxiety at levels I’ve never felt. Left in the path of destruction not knowing what the Hell I am doing.

Was I in an accident? No. I am the mother of a teenager.

I don’t want other parents to go into this unarmed with the knowledge that I didn’t have. Maybe if I warn them, it won’t feel like an ambush when they get here. I’ve come up with a few things I wish I had known. *Disclaimer: Not all teens are like this and I am not saying they are.

Image courtesy of Ambro /

Image courtesy of Ambro /

1. They suddenly live like vampires. They are tired all the time and want to sleep during the day when they should be awake and they want to be up at night when they should be asleep. No matter how tired they are, they are up late at night. It’s funny how they can be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 1:00am watching Friends’ reruns but ask them to do homework at 2:00pm on a Sunday and they can’t keep their eyes open. This leads to:

2. They are slow. Painfully slow. Oh, if they have plans, they will speed by you in a blur to get out of the house but try to get them out of bed or upstairs to bed and you will see a pace that is similar to the snail or sloth. When asked to do anything around the house, it takes them twice as long to do it. I really think in my case, he is hoping that I’ll get frustrated enough that I’ll just do it myself. I can’t remember if Nico, Belle and Tommy were hard to wake up in elementary school. It’s all a blur but now…there are no words for what our mornings are like.

3. They are never home. Never. I have one that is active in athletics so a lot of times he has a good reason for not being home. He is at practice or a game. However, the times he doesn’t have those things, he makes sure he is somewhere besides home. Suddenly everywhere is better than home. They will choose to wander the streets or sit in a parking lot over just coming home (and maybe going to bed at a decent hour). Things that they used to enjoy doing with the family, they now complain about not wanting to do. Anything that takes them away from their friends is a miserable experience. They will choose sitting in that parking lot doing nothing over sitting by a pool in Florida at their grandparents’ house over Spring Break. It is mind-boggling.

4. They lose things. I have more faith in my 4-year-old coming home with the sweatshirt she left the house in than I do my 15-year-old. They especially can’t find things when their ride is sitting in the driveway. And it will always be your fault that they can’t find whatever they are looking for. You might hear things like, “Where did you put my thingy with the (insert school mascot) on it? I just had it here. You must have moved it.” First of all, I have no idea what the “thingy” is. Once, I thought it was a water bottle but it turned out to be a hat. Second, PUT IT AWAY and you’ll know where it is! They need everything they own in plain sight otherwise they will forget they have it which brings me to the next one.

5. They are forgetful. I’m not sure how, on a four-day weekend, one forgets that he has math homework but you’d be surprised how many times that happens. A coach might tell them what time they have to be back at school for practice and ten minutes later, no one can remember what time he said. That my friends is a true story. There are times when they will use this to their advantage, say when you tell them what time to come home or when you ask them to do chores.

6. They will mess up. This was the hardest one for me. You will think it is the end of the world and that you have failed as a parent but it’s not and you haven’t. This is the time for them to learn for themselves what is right and what is wrong. You can repeat something over and over again hoping that they will just take your word for it but more than likely, they need to experience it to really understand it. For example, you can tell your teen a hundred times that it is wrong to go in a stranger’s pool but it won’t be until the cops are called and he’s hauled in with us having to pick him up from the station that he really got that it was wrong (he got off with a warning).

7. They will suck the money right out of you. I am amazed at how much money my kids constantly nickel and dime me. It is $5 here and $10 there and oh, I only have a $20 and I want the change but I never see it again. There is no such thing as, “I can’t go. I don’t have the money.” Instead, it’s, “Can you spot me and I’ll pay you back?” I’m still trying to figure out what he does around here that warrants all the money he spends. For the older teen, there is the constant eating out, the movies, away school games, and so on. For the tweens, you can’t send them to a friend’s house with no money in case the parents take them somewhere like the movies, open gym, CVS and so on. I need to find a system that works. At least with the tweens, they earn it. Belle babysits Gia for me and Tommy does many chores around the house.

It’s not all bad. You’ll have real conversations where what you are saying still matters to them. They’ll ask your advice and then take it when you least expect it. There will be moments when you’ll recognize the little boy or little girl who once was and they’ll ask to cuddle or for a hug. There will be a constant pushing you away/pulling you close that if you aren’t careful, you’ll miss the pulling you close moments because you’re still mad at the pushing away ones.

There is no feeling like that of being out of control of a situation and that of raising teens. For a control freak like myself, it’s been a huge struggle. You want to keep them safe like you always have but they fight you on it all and you realize you can’t anymore. You spent so much time making sure you got a safe car with a top of the line car seat so that they’d be safe in the car and then suddenly, their friends are driving or they are driving and you can’t control whether they stay safe. You make them three balanced meals every day when they are little and then they are so “on the go” that you have no idea when the last time they ate was. You’ll think you know your kid so well and then they’ll do something (good or bad) and you’ll look at them and wonder who the heck they are? You’ll have moments of immense pride and moments of huge disappointments and realize that they are their moments. They are their own people making their own decisions and we can no longer control what they decide. It’s a constant learning experience and it is exhausting.

It does not escape me that I only have two more years with Nico until he goes off to college (please, dear God let him go off to college) and I really do think life works so that when the time comes, you are ready to let them go off into their world where they are going to need to make it without you holding their hand all the time. I, for one, cannot wait until Nico has to get himself up for his first college class because I won’t be their stressing out that he’s going to be late or he is going to make someone else late. It’s the age-old irony: I can’t wait until he is out of the house doing things on his own and I am going to miss him so much that it hurts to think about it. I am sure when the time comes, I will be begging for a little more time with him before it all changes and he’ll look at me and say, “See, I told you that you were going to miss me.”

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Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my dad’s birthday and I know I’ve talked about him on here before but I feel the need to today so if you have read this before, I apologize for repeating myself. :)

My earliest memory of my dad was when I was three years old and had the chicken pox. I was on the phone with him and he told me if I didn’t scratch, he’d buy me a white dress. I loved that dress. I remember thinking it was the prettiest dress I had ever seen. I wish I would have kept it.

Memories after that are sporadic:

I remember him taking me with him to scout basketball games and him taking me to McDonald’s afterwards.

I remember him showing up at my school for the school-wide “Dad’s visit” and me running up to him so excited that he was there.

I remember him taking me out of school to get my weekly allergy shot but after, he didn’t take me back to school. He took me on one of his school’s field trips to a Cub’s game.

I remember going to junior high dances and everyone going to McDonald’s after and looking across the restaurant and seeing my dad sitting there. (This is not my favorite memory, by the way, but now that I am a parent, I get it.)

I remember playing volleyball and cheering and seeing him in the stands.

I remember him feeling bad that I had plans that fell through (because when you date guys that are athletes… not all athletes…there is always a pick-up game somewhere or a game to watch) and him saying, “Don’t go out. Stay here with your dear old dad.” Somehow just him saying that made me feel better.

I remember the look of pride on his face when he got me a summer job teaching in his district and I rocked it.

I remember the night before my wedding him asking me to sit outside with him and talk and me being so tired but not wanting the moment to end so I stayed until he fell asleep (he loved to fall asleep outside in the backyard).

I remember being aggravated that he went golfing the morning of my wedding and showing up late for pictures but then seeing the emotion in his face when he saw me. I remember him staring at me in the limo on the way to the church and saying, “My baby is getting married.” I remember the priest asking him what he wanted to say to Leo and me on this day and him breaking down and only being able to say, “She found a good one.”

I remember the look on his face when he held Nico the first time and him looking over at me saying, “My first grandson.”

I remember when I got invited to go to New York on the NFL’s dime because of my blog and him saying, “You have to go. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You have to go and I’ll babysit.”

I am the luckiest girl in the world because I get to sit at all my boys’ games with my dad. We talk about the game, the kids and life in general. I cherish those moments and feel so blessed after I leave. I hope he knows what a gift he gives my boys, Leo and me by going.

Leo lost his dad to cancer when he was 23 and my dad has never tried to replace him but he loves Leo like a son and I know Leo has appreciated and loved my dad for being someone he can look up to.

He’s my safety zone, my voice of reason, my rock and my hero. I love him with all my heart.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Oh, if I could do it over again, I would have had a different dress and different hair.

Oh, if I could do it over again, I would have had a different dress and different hair.

P.S. Mom, yours is coming in July and I promise I’ll use the picture from your phone. 😉

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Still learning how to use but loving it so far.

Still learning how to use but loving it so far.

And to the five people who are my Valentines:

065 012


Gia and Leo great wolf


I realize Gia is in all of the pictures but since she is always up my butt, she feels she needs to be in all of them.





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Forks in the Road

I think when you feel the need or the passion to write, it comes from having many thoughts in your head that need to get out. Even if I didn’t have this blog, I’d have dozens of journals. I do have journals filled with my thoughts dating back to high school. I’d like to say it was to record thoughts to look back on when I get older but it really was to keep myself from going crazy. There was a time when if I didn’t write everything down, I would have been an angry, bitter person snapping at everyone. I’m sure I still had those moments but there would have been a lot more had I not had an outlet.

I don’t know if every writer does this but stories come to my mind in the form of mini-movies and I have to get them down on paper.

Sometimes I think about my life and the forks in the road and that leads to ideas for stories. Basically, if you could make money off of daydreaming, I’d be a millionaire. :)

Some of the forks that come to mind are these:

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

1. Everyone tried talking me into going out for the pom squad (that’s what it was called when I was in high school) after the whole cheer debacle. I didn’t want to be told what to do with my time anymore. I wanted to work and concentrate on college. Would I have loved it? What experiences or memories would I have had from being on the squad?

2. I visited Eastern Illinois University and Northern Illinois. I ultimately chose Northern because it was closer. What if I had chosen Eastern? Would I still have gone into education?

3. After my car accident, I wasn’t going to go back to Northern. I was going to go to the community college and decide where to go from there. Leo talked me into going back. What if I didn’t? I probably would have gotten my associate degree to teach at a daycare and done that. I think I would have been satisfied but I would have missed out on a world of opportunities.

4. When NIU had a job fair, I stopped at a booth for a district in Dallas, Texas. I was a huge Cowboys fan and thought, what the heck. After talking to the recruiter for a half hour, he offered me a job, presented me with a contract and said they’d pay for me to visit. I was so excited. Leo and I talked about it, seriously thought about moving there together and even went out to celebrate. Jobs were hard to come by back then so it was decided that if I didn’t get offered a job in Illinois, we’d do it. Not only did I get a job in Illinois but I got one ten minutes away from where I grew up and in the same district where I went to high school. What if we had gone?

5. What if I didn’t leave my job after I had Nico? Sometimes a lot, I think that maybe I wouldn’t enable him so much. Maybe my kids would be a little more self-sufficient and a little more grateful for the time we do get to spend as a family instead of take it for granted that I am always here.

6. We were in a hurry to find a new house when we bought this house. We wanted to be moved in before Nico started first grade. Two of my sisters live in St. Charles in the same subdivision. We looked at houses in St. Charles. This one weighs heavily on me. What if we had landed in St. Charles instead of here?

7.  There was a brief moment where Leo could have transferred to Dallas for work and then when he was out of work, he had some companies from all over the U.S. call him for interviews. Sometimes I think about what life would have been like on our own, so far away from our families. I was pregnant with Gia at the time so the thought terrified me at the time.

I’ll stop at lucky #7.  I want to make it clear that these are not regrets. I just think about the forks in the road and what might have happened if I had gone the other way. Sometimes I imagine things happening to characters in a story and if I feel inspired, I’ll write about it. I always feel on the edge of writing one of the many stories in my head. It makes me happy.

What about you? Do you have a story in your head dying to come out? Are you doing anything about it?

Pouring it out with Shell today:


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Valentine’s Day Cheat Sheet

With Valentine’s Day this Friday, I think it’s a good time to help Leo along with what he could possibly do. This will be our 25th (I think) Valentine’s Day and what in the world do you get each other after all that time?

I don’t need  a whole lot but something would be nice. :)

So, Leo, if you are reading this is what I want this year:

1. To sleep in one of the weekend days.

2. For you to cook dinner for us one night.

3. To come home early on the day you don’t have to coach.

4. A night or afternoon all to myself.


My happy place.

My happy place.


I want this next one more than anything:

5. To spend Monday-Thursday of Spring Break your mom and then Thursday-Monday go somewhere else…maybe meet up with some friends that are going to be in Florida.

See I’m really not that hard to please and besides the staying somewhere else one, none of them cost any money.

And for you,

1. I’ll let you have the TV upstairs without complaining about having to watch highlights of games you have already seen or telling you a hundred times how boring it is to watch some of the Olympic games (ski jumping, I’m looking at you).

2. I’ll make you chicken tacos and hot dog casserole.

3. I’ll let you sleep in one of the weekend days.

4. I will wish you well on a night you’d like to either go watch games at the neighborhood restaurant or go play poker and not say one word about what time you get home or ask if you won.

This one will be the hardest but for you, I’ll do it:

5. I will put a smile on my face and not complain about the close quarters at your mom’s. I will enjoy the time we have there and continue to put forth the effort to be close to your mom since I know that is all she wants (which I know would make your life easier). This will be especially hard (hint, hint) if the whole vacation is a big history lesson.

After 25 years of celebrating this holiday, I realize that grand gestures are nice. They feel good and they tell the world you are loved but it’s the small things that really matter. It’s not having to let the whole world know that someone loves you but knowing in your heart that someone does.

It’s taken this long but I finally get it.

Love you, Leo.


One of the first Valentines Days. My God, the hair and why was I wearing a sweater that was swallowing me up and what was Leo wearing?

One of the first Valentines Days. My God, the hair and why was I wearing a sweater that was swallowing me up and what was Leo wearing?


Leo and me 2013

Leo and me 2013












What about you? How will you spend Valentine’s Day? Is it a holiday in your house or just another day?



with your mom on Spring Break and

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Five Things Friday

Since today is Friday, I think it makes sense to do a Five Things Working/Not Working post.


1. You know the fastest way to get things back on track in the marriage department? Blog about how you need to. This week was seriously amazing. All last weekend Leo carted the kids EVERYWHERE. It was the best feeling knowing someone else was going to be in charge of getting them. I’m pretty sure he fed the kids all weekend, too. It was mostly leftovers and take out food but he was the one doing all the reheating, serving, cutting. It. Was. Awesome! Wednesday it snowed here. A lot. Gia had school and I kept thinking I’d have to leave 45 minutes earlier than normal to get her there if I wanted her to go and I really wanted her to go. Leo surprised me by working from home and we both took Gia to school with him driving (the roads were awful).  Then we went to Starbucks where he worked and I got a ton of stuff done, including signing up for a few things that I might be able to start making a little big of money doing. We went to lunch and it was seriously the perfect day. Helping kids with homework, helping me around the house and knowing when to step in and take over made fall in love with him all over again.

Fastest way to my heart (even though this is an old picture).

Fastest way to my heart (even though this is an old picture).

Not Working:

2. So then you understand after reading the above why I couldn’t complain about the heat and garage or the inch layer of ice down our stairs and walkway and how all of those are still not working. I want to clarify that we have heat. We just have to turn it on because it won’t click on by itself once it gets to the temp we set it at and clicks off.


3. Happy kids. I know this sounds odd and you can disagree with me. It’s okay because not all kids are the same. Nico is a different kid when he has a girlfriend and when it is a girl I absolutely love, life is good. Really good. His whole attitude is different. He works harder at school, he works harder at whatever sport he’s in and he is a lot easier to live with here. I know some think having a girlfriend is a distraction but for whatever reason, it’s not with Nico. It works. Belle is loving volleyball and besides the normal/hormonal tween girl breakdowns has been pretty happy. We found something that has been keeping Tommy’s bumps away. My doctor is a huge advocate for fish oils. I always half-listened to him about it mostly because the boys took so many pills, I didn’t want to add another one. Well, he thought it might help control Tommy’s leg thing and so we tried it and Tommy said it’s working. He feels better so thank you, Dr. Vosicky! Gia is normally very happy but these days she doesn’t give me a hard time about going to “pretty school” because of a certain someone named, Jett.

Not Working:

4. This winter. I know I live in Chicago. I know it is February but really all that means to me is that I need to talk my family into moving to Arizona so that I can get the Hell out of this cold, depressing, snow-filled place. I don’t remember having any say in my ancestors settling here so why can’t I complain a little that they did. I mean, most of my ancestors were from Italy. What were they thinking? I know…the American dream and finding opportunities but why didn’t they find that somewhere warmer? I want my flip-flops and shorts and t-shirts. I want my skin not to crack the minute I step out the door. I want Leo to be able to shovel and not have snow plows come through and push the snow on top of what he just shoveled so that when I go to get out or someone else goes to pull out, they don’t get stuck (sorry, JW). I want to be able to walk out my front door without the fear of being stabbed in the head with a giant icicle or needing a hip replacement because I break my hip on the ice. I will end this one with these words: Winter, you’ve overstayed your welcome!

Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev/

Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev/


5. I was thinking of hanging up my blogging gloves and moving on. It was hard getting back in the groove and my kids were demanding a lot of attention. I just couldn’t do it. Their happiness came first but…they are all happy at the moment and writing is breathing life back into me. So, instead of hanging it up, I’ve decided to go full force. I have connected with some amazing writers that I truly love working with and it feels good to be a part of something. I’ve decided that writing a few sponsored posts or reviews is not a bad thing and that I can do it without compromising my voice in this space. I can’t wait to start chugging along and see what new things are in store for me. :)


What about you? What’s working or not working for you on this Friday?


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“Did You Put Your Hands On My Son?”

"Image courtesy of Hal Brindley/".

“Image courtesy of Hal Brindley/”.

It started out as Belle’s night. She had her first volleyball game. She practically begged Tommy to go and begged me to bring Gia. She couldn’t wait to show off all her hard work. Finally her game was on a night that Leo could go. She was so excited.  Leo dropped Belle, Gia and me off at the door and went to park.

It was at the park district and a complete zoo. I don’t know how Leo and Tommy split up but they did. When I met up with Tommy, he was really upset about something. He told me he’d tell me later. I thought for sure it was about a girl since there are three girls that are on Belle’s team that he has crushes on. It wasn’t.

Tommy then told me this story:

He walked up to the door wearing his headphones and a man who was holding a guitar was holding it open for him. He said that it would have been hard for him to hold it open for the man because he would have awkwardly had to move around him and the guitar and he was already holding it open. I don’t even think that Tommy realized until after that the man had special needs.

Once through the door a woman grabbed Tommy and yelled at him for walking through the door. She felt that Tommy should have held it for the man because he had special needs.

She grabbed him, yelled and demanded that he apologize to the kid.

I was livid. I’m still livid. I felt my blood begin to boil and told Tommy to show me where she was. I planned on going right up to her and letting her have it for touching my kid (or anyone’s kid).

Leo didn’t want me to say anything. He kept saying to let it go. He argued that she was some crazy lady and it wasn’t worth it. I asked two of the moms whether they would say anything and both said they would. One of them said to not get into it with her but stress that she scared my son. I thought that sounded like a good plan so after the game, I went and found her. This is what followed:


“Excuse me, I think you yelled at my son and might have misunderstood what happened.”


She interrupted me and said, “I certainly did! Do you know that he looked right at me and ignored me three times?!” (She was behind Tommy the whole time so he might not have heard her since he had his headphones on but he certainly didn’t look at her and ignore her.)


I said, “That does not give you the right to touch my child.”


She started to deny that she did and I interrupted her and said, “Did you touch my son? Did you put your hands on my son?”


She said yes and I said, “You grabbed him and you scared him. Don’t ever do that again.”


She replied in a huff, “I didn’t grab him, I did this (she pulled on my jacket) and I did not scare him.”


I said, “Don’t touch me. You did grab him and you did scare him.”


She then went up to Tommy, got in his face and pointed and yelled, “Did you lie to your mom and tell her I grabbed you?”


Tommy looking scared said, “You did grab me.”


She started yelling, “You are lying! I did not scare you or grab you!” I then got blinding anger. You know when the room goes fuzzy and you know you are about to do or say something you are going to regret. With Tommy, Belle and Gia standing there, I didn’t want that to happen.


I stepped in front of her and said, “I’m going to stop you right there. You are way out of line. We are going to walk away and hope we never have to see you again.”


And we walked away with me saying very loudly, “Don’t ever touch my kid!”


I was shaking. I walked outside and looked at Belle and said, “Go get your father and tell him we are out here waiting for him.” She did without arguing and I looked at Tommy.


“Are you okay?” I asked him. I was really afraid that I did more damage by embarrassing him.


“I am now. Thanks, Mom.” I let out all the breath that I didn’t even know I had been holding and luckily a friend of mine walked in and I unloaded the whole thing on her while I waited for Leo.


Leo stood by his stance on just letting it go. “You weren’t going to get anywhere dealing with her. She’s crazy. You can’t reason with crazy.”


There was some discussion on whether Tommy was really scared or was he just embarrassed and he said, “I was scared. She freaked me out. I wasn’t embarrassed because I knew I didn’t do anything wrong.”


“Could you have done anything differently?”


“Maybe talked to the man and asked him if he needed help.” And while that might have helped the situation from happening in the first place, NOTHING gives that woman the right to touch my son (or anyone’s) or force him to apologize to that man. Tommy said the man looked at him like he had five heads and had no idea what he was apologizing for.


I think I am most surprised at how I hate confrontation and the Mama Bear in me came out in full force. I was ready to tear her a new one. Who in the Hell made her judge and jury? She doesn’t even know my kid and if you ask anyone that knows him, he isn’t the kind of kid that would disrespect an adult.


I have to believe that I accomplished two things by confronting her. The first is that maybe she’ll think before she ever puts her hands on another child. The second was showing my kids that I have their back. Knowing I made Tommy feel better was the best feeling. It was one of those moments I felt like I got it right.


I’m still mad about the whole thing because I cannot believe someone really thought it was okay to behave that way. The worst part is that I’m pretty sure I am going to have to see her every week because her daughter or son is in the same league as Belle.


I am dying to know…how would you have handled that situation?

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Six Things I Never Thought I’d Do

When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to be a mom. My sisters and I (and friends) would play house endlessly and when we were too old, I’d still daydream about getting married and having a family. I picked a career with kids because I loved working with them so much. I just couldn’t wait to have my own kids.

And when I did, I swore I’d do a few things differently. I was going to write about those but then I thought about the things I swore I’d never do and I don’t but wish I did. There are a lot more of those than the other.

1. Make my kids do their homework on Fridays. Oh, how I hated my dad’s rule. I wanted to come home throw my bag in the corner and relax. I wanted to leave school behind and have some fun but noooo. I had to do my homework right then. There were probably more times than not that I said I didn’t have any and then had Gina or one of my little sisters be the lookout while I hid and did it. I absolutely hated that rule and vowed I’d never make my kids do that. OMG, this one has come back to bite me in the ass. My dad was right. It’s so much less stressful when the kids aren’t racing around frantically on a Sunday night trying to get things done. I don’t make my kids do homework on Fridays on principle alone but I wish I did.


2. Make my kids go to church or some form of religious ed. I swore that I wouldn’t make my kids sit through a boring mass every week. I said it should be something they feel called to do. I wanted them to feel uplifted, not hate their religion. There were times I felt proud to be Catholic and times I really hated it. It wasn’t until I was an adult with three kids that I finally made my own decision and left the church. I regret this one because I found a church I love so I continuously try to rectify it. Our schedules don’t always allow for us to be able to go as a family and I wish early on that I had made it a priority.


3. Growing up, we always ate as a family. There were times my dad was coaching or I had volleyball or cheerleading so we ate later but for the most part, we all ate dinner together. I hated cleaning up after dinner and I didn’t necessarily swear I’d never make my kids clean up after themselves or help me clean but somehow, it’s worked out that way. For one, we don’t always eat together. It’s more scattered and they might throw their plates away or put them in the sink but they can’t help me clean because not everyone has eaten and by the time everyone has, they are busy doing homework. I wish I had made it a priority to eat as a family more often and to instill the “help” factor.


4. Make my kids make their beds and keep their rooms clean. I hated this rule. I thought it was pointless to make a bed that you were just going to mess up later and I wanted my room to be my space to keep as I wanted it. That was not the case. My mom made us make our beds (I weaseled my way out of this one by sleeping on top of my comforter with just a small blanket as a cover) and our rooms had to be spotless. She was right. The rooms look better with the beds made and it feels so much better to crawl into a made bed at the end of the day than a messed up one. Again on principle alone,  I let my kids’ rooms be their spaces and as a result, they are disasters. I just close the doors when people come over and I say I don’t care but deep down, I wish they were clean. (They do clean them when I can’t see the floor anymore or I am watching a Hoarders episode and I say, “Wow, that looks like your room.”)



5. Wake my kids in an obnoxious way. My dad used to wake us up by pretending to play some sort of annoying horn. We absolutely hated it. I swore I would never, ever be so annoying. Well, my kids are annoying and won’t get up when I try to wake them up and I want so badly to break out my dad’s pretend horn. I don’t because again, I swore I would never do that but I wish I did. :) I have been known to jump on Nico’s bed to wake him up and I am sure he is swearing he’ll never do that to his kids. I pray he has a kid just like him. If there is any justice in this world, he will because I swear my mom prayed that for me and I have Isabella and Nico.


6. Make Saturday the “housecleaning day”.  I hated cleaning but cleaning on a day off from school before we could do anything was the worst. Again, this one bites me right on the ass. Looking back, I think I thought it took forever but really, it took about a half hour. There were a lot of us so we split up the jobs. I’m sure my whining about having to do it took up more time than actually doing it. With our schedule the way it is, most Saturdays we are out of the house before 9 or 10 so cleaning falls to the back burner. Before you know it, everyone is out doing what they want and I am home cleaning and doing laundry wondering if I have so many kids, why don’t I have more help.



There are things that my parents did that I do now.

1. Anything lower than a B and you’re grounded unless it’s a class I know you are struggling with. If they were “C” students (as some of them are in math), I’d be happy with C’s but they are capable of A’s and B’s so that’s what I expect from them.

2. I need to meet all friends. If they hang out with someone who won’t come in the house or meet Leo and me, I automatically assume that they have something to hide or aren’t very trustworthy. I don’t expect to be best buds or even have a deep conversation with them but if you are hanging out with my kids, I’d like to know who you are.

3. Sunday is family day. Period.

4. I don’t care how much you fight in this house. The minute you walk out, you remember that you’re family and you stick up for each other and protect each other. And you ALWAYS take your siblings side. I can say whatever I want about Leo but anyone else does and it sets me off. I still avoid two people who have talked smack about Leo as a coach and I only avoid them because I know I’ll say something. We can say Nico is lazy or Belle is dramatic or Tommy is flighty but if anyone else does, watch out.

What about you? What is something you swore you’d never do as a parent but you do? Or what is something you don’t do that your parents did and you wish you did, too?


Thanks, Kat from Mama’s Losin’ It for the writing prompt!


Mama’s Losin’ It

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Happy 4th Birthday, Gia!

Time is flying. Completely whizzing by. I thought for Gia’s birthday this year I would do a post with pictures and videos.

2 days old

2 days old


Gia at 1.

Gia at 1.










Gia at 2.

Gia at 2.











Gia at 3. Picture by Jody Byas.

Gia at 3. Picture by Jody Byas.








Gia at 4.

Gia at 4.

Gia makes me feel like I am the greatest mom in the world. She is sweet and makes me laugh every single day. I make jokes all the time about being too old to go through all of the stages again but the truth is she is a gift. I love that I get a second chance to see life through the eyes of a child. I know the road ahead is a rough one since I’m on it with the other three. Raising tweens and teens is not for the weak, that’s for sure. It makes me appreciate this stage so much more. I know how fast it goes. Pretty soon she’s going to be in school all day, every day. They are only this little for a short time and I plan on soaking up every minute of it.

Hope you enjoyed the little glimpse into her life so far.

P.S. Is that really what my voice sounds like?

Which age was your favorite with your kids?

If you enjoy this blog, could you please click on the Best Mom Blogs button? I’m afraid I am close to getting kicked off from lack of activity. :) Thanks so much!

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Back to the Old Queen

When I first started blogging, I used the blog as a way to vent. It felt goooood. Maybe it wasn’t the best writing and some people felt like it was airing “dirty laundry” or being a Negative Nelly but most of the responses were from wives and mothers saying, “Yes! I get it! Same here!” I got slammed for some things I said about Leo but he read every post and if he said, “Don’t post it,” I wouldn’t post it. Most times he would laugh because it was all true. Some things I was afraid to post because you never know who’s reading.

As time went on, I was afraid people would interpret the rants as me not being happily married or not being happy being a mom and that wasn’t my intent. I held back. A LOT. Here and there, I’d post things that were broken and yes, maybe point them Leo’s way but in a joking sort of way.

1. I am happily married.

2. 90% of the time.

3. I love being a mom.

4. 90% of the time.

I’m going to rant. Hard.

I believe marriage should be about loving, supporting and taking care of each other. We have the first two down. We need to work on the third. We are supposed to be a team helping to make each other’s lives easier. We are sucking at that right now. We both need to step up and be better for each other. I am not requiring much, I swear. I just want the furnace to work, the garage to be fixed and to not always be the bad cop. We need to get back to it being a balance of us doing our own things, us doing things together and us doing things as a family.

And that brings me to the second rant. When I thought of my kids playing sports, I saw us as a family going and supporting that child and being their biggest cheerleader. When they were younger, there were family outings with other families and life was good. Then Nico went to high school and Tommy and Belle got older and our “family life” is non-existent. Nico missed Gia’s birthday party because he had a fundraising basketball game he had to go to. Here’s the thing. He might have been able to ask to miss it but he FELT like he couldn’t. He’s been benched for missing a practice for a doctor’s appointment that I couldn’t reschedule. The whole reason I scheduled it then was because there was no practice on the schedule. We wanted to go to Florida after Christmas but couldn’t because Nico had a tournament. We might not be able to go on our annual family vacation with my family because Tommy is going to Cooperstown for baseball. Secretly, I was happy Nico stopped playing baseball because that meant we’d still be able to go away for spring break.

Years ago, someone said, “Your kid is good at this” and the windfall of money and time were sucked right out of us. I know that it is a privilege and I know they love it. That’s why we continue to do it but my God (and yes, I am talking to Him), I am becoming so resentful of sports. I cringe when I have to do anything outside of going to watch my kids play. I know it is necessary but it’s just one more thing in a string of things I have to do or we have to do that takes time away from us being together as a family.  This is our life and for years I embraced it. Now, I find myself pulling away from it. Maybe I’m jaded. Everyone says, “Wait until high school. It’s so different.” They were right.

I cannot stand winter. I hate it with every part of my being and once again wonder why in the Hell I stay somewhere that makes me this unhappy. I am sure I am on everyone’s last nerve with my fear of driving in this weather but I’ve said it before and will say it again, I feel paralyzed and my kids’ social lives are the least of my priorities and the kids have paid a price because of it. Belle more than the others. Kids don’t always want to come here and with the garage and the weather, I am too tired to deal with it all. I’ve missed more of Nico and Tommy’s games this year than any other. I love when we have snow days because we sleep in and have no schedule to adhere to but I really miss the days when it meant that everyone was stuck in their own houses. We are all driving each other crazy with cabin fever and I’m so sick of hearing, “Can I hang out?” Hmmm…let’s see. NO! Maybe I should look at it differently and drive them all where they want to go so that I can finally get some writing done. But then I have to figure out how I am going to get them all home. :(

My last rant is a few rants all rolled up into one and they all involve raising kids. Everyone does what they need to for their kids. Parents switch schools, switch teams, throw parties, have sleepovers…whatever. Why is it so wrong when I want to? One phrase that I have been hearing a lot lately is, “Oh, they are a bad influence.” Really? I always thought my kids were responsible for their own choices. If someone is influencing them to make bad choices and they are going ahead and making them, then that’s on them. Yes, there are kids that rub me the wrong way but thinking that if they aren’t a part of my kid’s life will magically make my kid make good choices is really just another way of saying, “Not my kid.” If I’ve learned one thing with this whole motherhood gig, it’s that saying, “My kid would never do that,” is the fastest way to look like a fool.

Oh, and I loathe Instagram. Not for me. For teens and tweens. HATE IT!

You know what I would love for people to remember?

There are two sides to every story and then there is the truth. ~ Mark Twain

I’ve missed you guys. I keep saying once the kids are in school, I’ll be back to posting more frequently but they haven’t been able to stay in school!

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