Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Your Next Getaway Awaits

There is another mother that I must lie to now and then. I feel so guilty. She once told me she has never been away from her kids. I made the mistake of telling her last year that I was off to Mexico with my husband. She has four kids! Once she said she had never been away, I made sure to keep my mouth shut. I am spoiled rotten and I know it.

My in-laws started it. I am so grateful that they did.

A few months after Ryan was born, my mother-in-law encouraged us to get away for a few days. We went to Miami on frequent flyer miles that first year and slept through the whole weekend. We were so exhausted and just thrilled to have a moment to ourselves. Being new parents rocked our world. We needed to reconnect and be a happily married couple once again. It worked.

                                          (This is us years ago on one of our trips to Vegas)

Each year since then, we have been lucky to take a little trip to reconnect. We go every fall. Some years with friends, some years we go alone. With the help of all of my family members, we sneak away.

I know in this economy, not everyone can get away. There are ways to "get away" and be a couple without sneaking off to Mexico or Vegas.

Swap a night away with your friends. Ask someone. I bet they'd like to get a night to themselves too. 

Once the kids are away, stay in. Run to the store and buy something yummy, some wine and grab a Red Box movie. For less than $20, you can spend some quality time together and reconnect.

If you have some extra money, you can go downtown to Cleveland and eat at a great new restaurant. I am almost as thrilled to visit Chipotle on my dates and I swear my sister just said the other day that she'd be happy to go to Panera. 

Buy a deal on hotel Groupon and use it instead of buying a silly sweater or tie for Christmas. Time together is more important than another gift.  

If all else fails, tire the kids out, bathe them and get them to bed early. Stay up late connecting over a glass of wine and a game of cards. Take turns sleeping in the next morning.

I like to think of our little trips as preventative medicine. It keeps our relationship healthy and on-track. If you've never gotten away before, start small. Your kids will never miss you. I promise. It is good for them. They will survive. And it is so good for the family. When parents are happy, the children are happy. You are teaching your children that you value each other and the relationship. And if you have gone before, what are you waiting for? Start planning the next trip!

Friday, August 31, 2012

So Cool

One of the coolest things about writing your own blog is that you get to see which posts are most popular and what people are searching for online. Many people stumble upon this blog when they are searching for something else. 

You will never guess in one hundred years what is most popular here at Not Talking. Big Time Rush? Nope. Real Housewives of Orange County. A local restaurant review? Not even close.

My post about being a good host. Yes, you read that right. A post about hosting guests. BORING! I can't even believe it. I have had over 2000 views of this post. I wrote it after an uncomfortable stay at a friend's house. It was all true and from my heart. I have no idea why it has had so many views and where they came from online.

My mom's final post before she died has had almost a 1000 hits and I love that. She would be so happy to know that so many people have read her words. She had just started her blog right before she died. What a great message of loving life!

Fat Cheerleader is number three of my top viewed posts. It is short and not so sweet of a post, written on a low day. It is my most "searched for on google" posts with 161 searches! Who wants to know about fat cheerleaders? Would love to know!

I spent some time tonight redecorating my blog. I included a new subscription section (on the right) that hopefully works better than the one I had before. I am shocked that anyone ever stops by to see what I am writing. I have been writing this blog for over four years and I truly enjoy writing.

Welcome to readers from Australia, Russia and Netherlands. Wow! I would have never guessed that the top three countries that visit my site would be those three countries. I have a lot of friends in Ireland and the UK so I would have thought they would be at the top. Not even close on the stats. Crazy.

When you write a blog, you look to the stats to affirm that you aren't wasting your time. It is plain old fun to see it all in print. Thank you for taking your precious time and checking out my site now and then. I love writing. It makes me happy. I am so glad that you are here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Our Family Oath

Our conversation went like this the other day.

Imagine if the Boy Scouts decided one day that they wouldn't let boys be a Boy Scout if they had blue eyes. Ryan yelled at me first "No way. They would never do that. I have blue eyes." Imagine if they said only brown eyed boys could join. "They couldn't." I then asked, "What about if African-American boys couldn't join?" "They couldn't do that," they yelled.

I then exhaled and began a very difficult conversation. We would not be allowing our boys to rejoin the Boy Scouts. I explained the latest ruling by the Boy Scouts. Weeks earlier, the Boy Scouts announced that "While the B.S.A. does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the B.S.A.”

When I read those words in the newspaper, it hit me straight in the gut. My boys just finished up a week at a fantastic Boy Scout summer camp. They were really getting into earning badges and making friends. When I read the announcement, I had to make a choice.

Before I talked to my boys, I kept thinking that it just wasn't right. I can't allow my children to think that it is OK to exclude others. And it isn't OK for me to be apart of this organization as a family.  It goes against everything I believe. My heart goes out to any gay boy that is close to earning the Eagle Scout badge. And to the great leaders that may be gay, I am sorry that the organization that you have dedicated your life of service has now decided that you are unworthy.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the Boy Scouts of America have the right to restrict their membership. I understand their rights. But I found it interesting that the Girl Scouts have vowed to allow gay membership. Big Brothers Big Sisters also allow gay members. I know the organization has the right to make their own rules. But, as a parent, I make mine.

And to my children, I don't know if you are gay or not. I just want you to know that your mom was trying to teach you a lesson that day in the van. You may not remember why exactly you can't be a Boy Scout. You will know what we value and that we stick up for others. The Boy Scout Oath states that you are to "help others at all times."  We are taking a stand and being vocal for those that are being excluded from this organization.  It is our family oath.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Feeding the Hungry

When you have a family birthday party, what do you serve? Is it pizza every time? Do you shake it up and make lasagna sometimes? Order subs? I am honestly making myself crazy about it. I know I should do better than pizza but I just can't. I am still a cook in training. I love trying new recipes and cooking when I have the energy but the thought of cleaning the whole house and cooking is making me break out in hives. With three kids home, a massive trip to the grocery store just seems impossible the last week of summer vacation. There is not enough power and energy left in my body to do it. We just had a party three weeks ago for Elle and I served pizza. Ugh.

Before I give in and order the pizza, lets take a look at my family requirements. I apologize to my family. I hardly ever call you out. But I just have to do it.

**Ryan, the pickiest eater ever.  Ever. Doesn't even eat hamburgers. Enough said. It's his birthday. Wants pizza.

**My sister is a bacontarian. She is vegetarian but eats bacon. 

**Kyle prefers all carbs especially pasta with butter.

**My father doesn't like most marina sauces and not wild about pasta. 

**My mother in law doesn't like tomatoes and most veggies. 

**Our grill is broken. 

Now that I see it in print, it doesn't look too hard to find something everyone will eat. If I could somehow drink three Red Bulls, I am sure I could do it.

But you know what I am going to do. I am going to text my husband and order Pizzazz salads, calzones just to surprise the relatives and order Ryan's favorite pizza from Marco's. I am going to pretend that it isn't that I can't do it, I am just having my party "catered."

I am off to clean the house and break up some fights between the boys. I haven't even started my list of appetizers to serve. I seem to always serve the same ones. That means there is a small grocery trip with the kids in my future. Maybe I better include some vodka with that Red Bull.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

To the braggers

If you were coming here to have a little break, I apologize. I had to get this out. I promise to not be "that" friend who goes on and on about everything she has to do. This is a one time deal. I promise. 

I love Facebook (FB) but sometimes, I want to reach into the screen and strangle some people. I am a peaceful person but a wild response comes out of me when I hear a FB friend brag that they have finished their "Back to School" shopping. They are worse than the "I am enjoying every moment with my kids this summer" people that respond to my "barely hanging on" Facebook update. I am not even making a list at this point. I am just pulling the lists off the fridge stage. I feel about a month behind. I am still trying to check off trips to the zoo and science center. There's no time for shopping. We still need more pool time! We haven't gotten our money's worth of memberships. Where did the summer go? We start early so I am down to the last days. One week to be exact.

And to make this crazy August crazier, in the next week, we have two birthdays and a family wedding. Kyle is the ring barer. So include a rehearsal dinner, soccer practice and school orientation into this crazy week. So instead of falling asleep at night, I lay there trying to think of something other that pizza to serve at the family birthday party, figure out what day I am going supply shopping for school and make lists over and over in my head. And who knows when I will clean this house?

So to the braggers on Facebook, I know I am only seeing your highlight reel. I can barely breathe over here in my blessed little life. I feel like I am in a race to the finish to the first day of school. I am running and running and looking forward to exhaling when I see that bus pull away.

Friday, August 3, 2012


I have never been a big delegator. When I worked, I had a tough time passing off assignments to others and felt more comfortable doing it myself. I find myself doing the same thing at home. Yes, you can say it. I am a control freak.

I didn't realize it was so bad until one of my close relatives who shall not be named, started to tease me a little. I brought McDonalds home and my kids sat and waited for me to dish it all out to them. I had to grab the plates, ketchup and drinks. They sat very patiently and waited. And he started laughing hard. He couldn't believe that they didn't help me. I never realized that they should. I guess.

As the days seem to grow longer and longer the closer we get to the start of school, I realized that I can't keep this up. I am not doing my kids any favors by doing everything for them. I always tease my oldest, Ryan, that I can't go to college with him in eight years. He has to start doing things on his own. He acts helpless.  Elle who is three is sometimes more helpful that my 10 and 8 year-old boys. But if you've watched Oprah you know that you show people how to treat you. I know I have taught or not taught my kids by being their waitress, cook and maid.

My mom worked a lot as a kid. We were pretty independent around the house. I didn't grow up with a mom that did everything for me. She didn't do much other than work and take care of herself. I remember washing my clothes at age 9 or so. I washed the whole household's clothes within a few years. And we handled all of the house cleaning by the time I was in middle school. So I grew up doing it all.

So things must change here. I moved all of my food around yesterday so that they can get their own food without any help. I moved bowls where they can reach them and they are getting their own breakfasts, snacks and sometimes their lunch.

With three kids, I can't do it all. I know this isn't much but it is a start. I know I am a bad delegator. I am also lazy about handing out assignments and being an enforcer. And don't get me started on chores. That's a whole other problem. I am just going to get them started in the right direction. College in eight years with Ryan? Only if I get to pick the school!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Today's Goodbye

I had to say goodbye again to my mom today. I asked my dad to pack up her wigs to donate to the Gathering Place's new wig salon. I love the idea that women going through cancer can pick out any wig that they want at no cost in a comfortable, cozy salon. When my mom passed, she left about six or so wigs and we had no idea what to do with them.

When I read about it in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in an article by Regina Brett, I immediately called my dad and asked if we could donate them.

So my dad brought them over in old plastic shopping bags. I thought I would put one on before the kids walked through the door and scare them but in the end, I was the one a little too spooked. I opened the bags and so much of it reminded me of my mom. Some wigs were good ones and some were a little too stylish for my conservative mother. But each one had the same color and similar style. I was overwhelmed with grief again looking at my mother's hair.

I made myself package them up knowing that six beautiful, strong women are going to be walking around the Cleveland area soon in my mom's hair. I know she would love it. I wrote a letter to Gathering Place (a very strange letter to write!) and let them know that I love this idea. I couldn't be happier to give them away.

But as tears poured out of my eyes and I started to tape the box, I stopped. I picked up my favorite wig and smelled it just in case. I was relieved that it just smelled like my dad's house, not my mom's perfume. And still a little sad that it didn't.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


This post is going to be TMI. Totally. So if you are a dude, stop reading now. Please. I beg you.

OK Ladies. This is a public service announcement.

As many of you know, I celebrated my 40th this past November.

With it came a very strong visits from Aunt Flo.

I have a hypothyroidism so I just assumed that I have been feeling crummy (like when you are pregnant and so tired you feel like you cannot go on) because my levels were off.  So, I visited my wonderful endocrinologist for my yearly exam and she said that my TSH test for hypothyroidism was in the correct range.

I told her bad I have been feeling. I am so tired I can barely do anything. I am not motivated. I am out of energy and just as tired in the morning as I am at night.  And she knew exactly what it must be. She ordered another blood test and tested my iron and B vitamin levels.

My iron was extremely low due to my "heavy old lady periods" as I like to call them.

As soon as I found out, I ran to Target to buy iron, Vitamin C (to help with absorption) and a big bottle of my usual multivitamin that I ran out of months ago.

So if you are near 40 and you are starting to get the heavy old lady periods, get a blood test. It could either be thyroid as it was for me 8 years ago or even as simple as low iron. I am telling you, you can't imagine how tired I am simply due to low iron.

And there is your public service announcement for the day. I am going to bed.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Talking about it

On Monday February 27, a 17 year old boy walked into Chardon High School's cafeteria and fired shots at his fellow students. We live about a half an hour from Chardon. It is a great community, ideal for raising a family. We have relatives that attend the school district. Our prayers are with the community of Chardon. This first section was written BEFORE I had the talk.

"What should I tell my children?" a friend wrote on Facebook. Someone had the guts to say "Don't tell them." Really? You would rather your children hear on the bus that someone took a gun to a local high school and shot at other children? You want you children to be alone with their thoughts on a school bus when they hear this? I struggled to even comprehend how someone would think this was a good answer.

Many friends chimed in with suggestions and ideas. There were many thumbs ups. One commenter was an elderly woman. As I looked at her in the picture, I thought about how times were so different. Our conversations as parents have to be so different because our children are growing up in such a violent world. My children will be off of the bus in an hour. I made some brownies and we'll have a talk.

I sat and thought how to properly word my response. I prayed. I then took a few deep breaths and wrote the beginning of this post.The kids came running in and had no idea what happened.

"Have you heard anything at school today about something big that has happened?" My first question came out confused and in a weird order. I wanted to see what they knew. They had no idea. Kyle suggested that the big news was that Friday is Dr. Seuss day and they were to wear green and bring their favorite Dr. Seuss book.

I quickly got us back on track and talked about the boy with the gun. We talked about the drills they have at school and that they work. We talked about bullies and how some children don't know how to handle their bad feelings. We talked about telling someone if you hear or see threats. We talked about their safety and that their schools are safe.

And they ran off. I sat there on the couch and they were gone. They were off to play their next game. I was worried for nothing. It was a harder conversation for me to have them for them to hear. But, isn't that the beauty of childhood? They are protected from really understanding until they are mentally capable to really grasp it. I am relieved that they don't care as much as I thought they would. High school and Chardon are so far away to them. And that's OK. I had the talk. I pray there won't be more.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I am that excited!

There are fashion bloggers. The are nail polish bloggers (I even met one before in real life). There are women that have gorgeous nails all of the time (Many of my friends visit the nail salon weekly). I am none of these. But I am wild about a new nail polish I stumbled upon.

When Shellac came out a couple of years ago, it was big news. But, it's pricey and not good for your nails to wear it too often. So last week, I was reading Allure magazine and they reviewed the new Revlon Colorstay nail polish. They said that it really worked. I am pretty skeptical of magazines like Allure because their profits depend heavily on advertising. But, the reviewer tried it, wore it for a week and said that it was similar to Shellac results.

I was heading out to a birthday GNO so I thought it was worth a shot. As I picked out my cool Stormy Night color and walked to the counter, I was filled with guilt. I have a drawer full of cute named polishes promising me chip free and long wearing nail color. I carefully polished my nails hoping that Allure was really telling the truth. And they were!

I just saw this morning that CVS is running a buy one, get one 1/2 price. The cost is around $8. That's a lot cheaper than a Shellac manicure without the hassle of a salon visit. It has been three days and with a dark gray color on my nails, it looks pretty good. I have done the dishes countless times, sat through a funeral picking at my cuticles and lots of household chores. And I never got around to putting a clear top coat on it. I ran out of time. Imagine how long it would last chip free if I had!

I think the name Revlon Colorstay isn't flashy enough. Haven't we heard Colorstay before when it didn't work? It should read "We're not lying this time" or call it "Revlac" like Shellac. So run out and give this polish a try. The color selection isn't the greatest. Let's hope they are developing some better shades. But who cares? Looking forward to buying more guilt free and throwing away some really crummy, fancy nail polishes that have been cluttering my drawers.

Friday, January 27, 2012


I remember seeing the actor that played Archie Bunker say once that whatever you do, get in between your kids and drugs. He had lost his son to addiction. I was a young adult then and it really hit me hard. He was crying and saying that when you are a parent, be nosy. Get into your kids business. Keep them safe. I have kept this with me trying to walk the fine line as I parent between safety and teaching my kids to fly.

After school the other day, Kyle told me that he had someone's email address from his bus and he needed help with his email. I couldn't read a bit of the address scribbled on the smallest piece of paper I have ever seen. We sent off an email to some Gmail account and probably confused some stranger. Luckily, his email address is his full name so the friend could remember his email without a small piece of paper.

Today, I checked on the account. I wanted to make sure the person emailing him was not the bus driver. I smiled when I saw it was to an Abby. 

This is their email exchange.

hi abby,
I like pie
do you have a ipod?

Her response:

No. But I love pie.

So sweet. Second grade. His first email to a girl.  I will try to not be too nosy as he moves into his teen years. But, I will get into his business to keep him safe, especially on the Internet.

Maybe I should be teaching him to bake a pie!


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Can't Breathe

In my mom's generation, they opened Women's Day and saw the perfect house or recipe that would make it all better.

Tonight, I logged onto the website that I think is supposed to do the same.

Maybe its the wine or maybe I am just tired. I could be new. I don't get Pinterest.

With Jersey Shore humming in the background and my husbands' friends playing poker in the basement, I logged into Pinterest to see what all of the fuss was all about.

People looooooove pinteserst. Not just a little. But soooo much. Facebook is all a buzz.

What am I missing? I see outfits I can never put together. Quotes I won't live up to and a house I cannot decorate.  Recipes I will never make. Activities I will never do with my children and Valentines Days cards I will never make. I honestly lost my breath because I knew I couldn't and wouln't be the type of woman to do any of this.

Maybe that's OK. Maybe the goal is just a dream. But, I am not in the mood for dreaming and hoping that someday I will organize my clothes like the organization pin I saw on saw on a friend's board.

It is just too passive for me. Maybe it's just the wine. I better go get some more. Maybe then I can breathe.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Team Edward

Pearl Jam. U2. Twilight. iPhone. Uncool clothes.

"You dress like you are from a strict religious up-bringing." I will never forget the guy that said this to me once. It hurt. But, when something hurts, you know part of it is true. I was never one to follow fads. My parents never let me follow them. I was wearing penny loafers and oxfords when the whole world was wearing neon with cute flats in the 80's. I might follow fads eventually but I don't follow them when every else does.

When something is BIG, I get sick of all of the talk about it. I am a bit addicted to pop culture. I absorb it like a sponge. I can't get enough. So when pop culture starts getting into something, I have my own little backlash. I am not sure why I do it but I know that I do. For example, in high school, people were WILD about U2. You couldn't turn the TV or radio on without seeing U2. So wild that I got sick of hearing how fantastic they were.

If you know me, you know I looooove U2. But back in the late 80's and early 90's, I was more into Madonna and hip hop. I eventually got around to catching on to the U2 craze but I was a few years late. Can't believe I wasn't wild about them when the whole world was. Same thing happened to Pearl Jam in college. So tired of hearing about them. But then fell deeply in love.

I finally got my super fun iPhone last November and can't imagine life without it. Just a few years late. And my latest obsession? The Twilight saga. Finished New Moon this morning and can't wait to start the next one to see what happens. And don't even get me started on wanting to watch the movies. I can't wait to see it all on screen. All of my friends went to the latest movie and I had no idea what all of the fuss was about. I didn't go but picked up a book just because a close friend promised that it was good. I started and now I cannot stop. Addicted. And if you have read the books, I am on Team Edward. Yummmmm.

I am going to try to jump on the next bandwagon when everyone else does just for fun to see how it goes. When I start to resist, I am going to just going to do it. I am going to see what all of the fuss is about. And I will let you know what it is. As I write this, I am grateful that the whole feather or pink hair fad seems to be waning. And leggings aren't as hot as they were last year. Let's hope the next fad includes some comfortable penny loafers and some super cool music.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

In the Same Boat

Yesterday was a rough day for me. Here are some of the reasons why I was in such a bad mood.

Other than the usual fighting between Kyle and Ryan before the bus came and Elle wanting me to hold her while I was making the kids' lunches, I turned Good Morning America on. Bethany Frankel was on there bragging about how easy it is to run her "brand" from her home. She said she does it all as a stay-at-home mom and that we can all do it too if we just work hard enough. You can't just imagine good things happening to you, you have to work at it (sorry Oprah). It struck a chord in me. I think I could create something meaningful if I could string two sentences together and finish anything that I start without someone asking me for something. After fuming about her annoying, smug attitude throughout the morning and telling myself that she has nannies, cleaners, assistants and stylists, I finally got over it and told myself off.

The kids came home from school and the fighting continued. They missed each other so much at school and they needed to make up all of the time they had missed to fight. Elle was especially cranky. I just kept drinking tea and taking deep breaths. We put the kids to bed and I sat on the couch almost in tears.  I just sat there wondering if I had really thought the whole kid thing through. I just wanted a baby. I had no idea that my whole life would be this different from my old life. The kids had gotten the best of me that day and I was thinking maybe I should be back at work full-time and also take on an additional job to make sure I would survive until they left for college. Dropping them off or hiring help sounded like something I could do. I just wondered what I was doing wrong. I was supposed to be enjoying this. I was going to miss this when I was old.

From there, I watched more bad TV while on the treadmill. So tired of CNN's election coverage of the primaries, I turned to some Kardashian show. One of the sisters decided to start couponing. Everyone was making fun of her. Kim's ex-husband even yelled "You are a millionaire. What a waste of time." Now, I totally agree with them all. It just was the end of my limit of the public making these idiots out to be experts. Why was I watching this? Why was I offended that they were making fun of someone using coupons? Why is my brain mush?

I woke up feeling so much better. I then read the best post ever written by a mommy blogger. You have to check out Momastery.


The kids will now get off the bus in about 5 minutes. I will keep her post in the back of my mind. I am printing it out right now.  And I will reread it and remember that we are all in the same boat. It isn't easy being a parent. But, it feels so good to know we all feel this way at times, its hard as hell and we'll be OK. And we'll get through it together.

I'm Not Talking About It, I'm Just Saying...