Sunday, December 23, 2018

What I learned by leaving beer out for Santa

Your holidays don't have to look like anyone else's. And what makes them yours is what makes them special.

That's what I learned by leaving beer out for Santa.

Check out my latest on Today Parents:

What I learned by leaving beer out for Santa.

If you like what you read, please click Vote Up on the article just above my photo.

Thank you for reading. Wishing all my readers a very Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 17, 2018

Tale of a fourth-grade letdown

Did your little one ever teach you an important lesson? My fourth-grader recently reminded me about the importance of forgiveness after I messed up.

Read about it in Sammiches and Psych Meds:

Tales of a fourth-grade letdown


As always, if you enjoyed this, please comment, like or share on social media.

For more articles like this one, follow me on Facebook.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

The tired mom's guide to gift wrapping

Check out my latest in Her View From Home: The tired mom's guide to gift wrapping.

As always, if you enjoyed this, please comment, like or share on social media.

For more articles like this one, follow me on Facebook.



Monday, December 10, 2018

Forget the socks. Good humans are the goal!

Do you ever get caught up in the day-to-day chores and inconveniences of parenthood?

My latest article for Grown & Flown is a great reminder to sit back and remember what's most important:

Raising a good human is more important than nagging my teen.

As always, if you enjoyed this, please comment, like or share on social media.

For more articles like this one, follow me on Facebook.




Thursday, December 6, 2018

What I learned by leaving beer out for Santa

When I was little, my dad convinced me to leave beer out for Santa. All the other kids would be setting out milk and cookies, he explained, and the big guy in red might like a brewski and buttered popcorn for a change.

Since my father enjoyed that very snack just about every night, I figured he was right, the bearded one might also be partial to a savory nibble.

So that’s what we did in our house.



I chuckle now when I think of my 6-year-old self preparing my dad’s evening treat, completely clueless.

But it also taught me something important:

Your holidays don’t have to be storybook perfect.

They certainly don’t have to look like anyone else’s.

And what makes them yours also makes them special.


When my son was born, I attempted the Hallmark version of the holly jolly business. But I soon concluded there was no merriment in trying to juggle shopping, baking, party after party, gift exchanges, traveling and concocting big, elaborate meals while also caring for a tiny human.

I realized it’s the little things, like leaving out a beer for Santa, that I remember from my childhood Christmases. Or oohing and ahhing over local light displays with my sister. Or stringing popcorn until our fingers bled while watching the old Rudolph and Frosty movies.

With that realization, I pared it way down and focused on my favorites.

These days we get together and exchange gifts with the extended family when it’s most convenient for everyone. Even if that’s Thanksgiving or well into January.

Holiday baking never much jingled my bell, so I dropped all but one favorite, family recipe.

However, I adore making advent calendars and gingerbread houses, so we never skip that.

I’ve embraced the four-present rule to keep the gifting under control.

And on Christmas Eve, just like my younger self, my children will shun the traditional cookies and milk for Santa Clause. In fact, this year I think a gin and tonic would do nicely.

For more posts like this one, follow me at Facebook/boogersabroad.

Friday, November 30, 2018

My house is sleepover central, and I love it

Please check out my latest article in Her View From Home:

My house is usually full of other people's kids -- and I love it!

If your house is also Grand Central Station, or if you prefer the peace and quiet, let me know in the comments.

Thank you for reading! For more articles like this one, follow me on Facebook.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Signs you took your kid to an inappropriate movie

Have you ever accidentally taken your child to an inappropriate movie? If so, you're not alone!

Check out my latest article in Blunt Moms:

8 signs you took your kid to an inappropriate movie.

As always, if you enjoyed this, please comment, like or share on social media.

For more articles like this one, follow me on Facebook.


Monday, November 19, 2018

Alternatives to hugs and kisses

Much has been written lately about not forcing our kids to hug and kiss this holiday season. Here are some alternatives I offer my children when they greet people they don't want to smooch!


Thursday, November 15, 2018

6 lessons from our Thankful Pumpkin

We jumped on the bandwagon this year and kept a pumpkin after Halloween. Each night at dinner, we've been coming up with one thing we're each thankful for and write them with Sharpie on the decorative gourd.



After three weeks, here's what I've learned:



1. My family dislikes these exercises but will succumb quickly. After three days, it's routine and even the loudest grumbler gets with the program.



2. I always thought my teen, an anxious A-type like him mama, hated surprises. I was totally wrong! He's actually grateful for them, and I have his writing on the pumpkin to prove it. Who knew?



3. My youngest is more introspective and scientific than I give him credit for. He's thankful for oxygen, electricity and his senses.



4. OK, one of us said WIFI. But to my delight, no one lauded the Xbox, Fortnite, YouTube, Netflix or even their computer or television. 



5. Little mundane pleasures overwhelmingly topped everyone's list. Friends. Tacos. Fleece jackets. Clean dryer ducts and the new light in the garage. Rock climbing. Rice with dinner. Warm blankets and a cuddly dog. No one picked their iPhone!



6. Pumpkins smell funky after a few weeks. 



Yet, even after we retire the moldy written-on squash to our garden, I'm glad we tried this little experiment. It got us talking. It put us in a thankful mindset. And we learned a little about each other. 



And that is truly something to be thankful for.



For more articles like this follow me on Facebook.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Why I stopped looking at my teen's grades online

I'm thrilled to be featured on Grown & Flown today with my article:

Why I stopped looking at my teen's grades online.

Do you monitor your kids' grades online? Let me know in the comments.

Thank you for reading! For more articles like this one, follow me on Facebook.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

When you eat with a vegetarian...

I've been a vegetarian for many years, and here's a funny article about the reactions from non-veggies I've eaten with over the years.

If you're friends with a vegetarian, I challenge you to send them this article and see if they agree.

The six people every vegetarian has dined with.

Thank you for reading!

For more article like this one, be sure to follow me on Facebook.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Wait a minute. Save a life.

Last week, a crossing guard led a bunch of us through the intersection in front of my kids’ elementary school. Like he does every day.

But halfway through the crosswalk, a woman in an SUV headed for the middle-school car line decided she’d waited long enough and pushed right past us, wiggling around 10-year-olds with backpacks and their outraged parents.

She drove past children. In a crosswalk. Directly in front of school. With a crossing guard in a bright yellow vest holding a flashing STOP sign.



As I voiced my disgust, the crossing guard confessed, “It happens all the time.”

Yesterday, when I learned of the three sweet children killed by a driver blatantly ignoring the lights and stop sign on their school bus, I was devastated. But I wasn’t surprised.

I’ve seen cars speed around stopped buses before, just like the driver who blatantly ignored our crossing guard.

Happens. All. The. Time.

And how sad is that? That these little kids just trying to get to school, they follow the rules, they wait where they’re supposed to and cross when they’re supposed to. But this driver was what? Too busy? Too distracted? In a hurry?

Unacceptable. And heartbreaking. And hopefully, a wake-up call for others.

One minute to wait for a school bus or a crossing guard won't make a dent in your day.

But it could save a life. 

Or three.



Five IEP reminders I tell my son

We have a complicated relationship with Individualized Education Programs (IEP). They are a wonderful tool to help my son get the boost he needs. At the same time, he feels the social stigma of having accommodations (for dyslexia) that his peers don't have.

I tackle this tough subject in my latest article in Grown and Flown:

Five things I want my teen to know about this IEP.

If you enjoy this article, please like, comment and share on social media. Thank you!


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

5 things you should know about my son with dyslexia

In honor of Dyslexia Awareness Month, please check out my latest article in Grown and Flown:
My teen has dyslexia; five things I want you to know about him.

As always, if you enjoyed this article, please like, comment and share on social media. Thank you!


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Failing at picture day, but I’m OK with that


As soon as my kids could dress themselves, I quit picking out their day-to-day outfits. Sure I’ll dictate their clothing for weddings, funerals, perhaps Christmas Eve with the extended family. But otherwise, it’s their call.

Picture day at school falls into a grey area.

When he was little, I’d encourage my oldest to wear a dress shirt on picture-day morning, and from kindergarten through fifth grade he actually complied. (Sixth grade was a different story, and I quickly decided it wasn’t worth the battle after that.)

However, way back in first grade, after donning the crisp button-down his mother liked so much, my son finished off the ensemble with athletic pants. When I suggested he grab some bottoms that somewhat matched his top, he explained that from his kindergarten picture the previous year, he was 100-percent certain the camera only captured from his mid-torso up.

His school picture would only show the dress shirt, and no one but his classmates would see the sweatpants.

He’s wasn’t wrong.

I’m a sucker for a well-played negotiation, so I let him get away with the questionable pairing. Picture day wasn’t a good enough excuse to forgo comfy pants, he knew it and I knew it. And, to his credit, his first-grade photo turned out super cute.

My youngest is 10 now and has always been more easy going than his big brother. So I was genuinely surprised when he challenged me this year on picture day. I had laid out one polo shirt and two button-up dress shirts for him to pick from. But, uncharacteristically, he grumbled back at me.

Turns out, he really wanted to wear a dark grey T-shirt with thin white stripes. He’s really into black and dark grey these days. And the shirt he handpicked is actually quite cute, still in good shape, no stains or holes or fading.

Without much thought, I replied to his protest with some vague comment about wanting him to “look nice” for the photos, and I assumed he would drop it.

But he didn’t. In fact, his rebuttal was priceless.

“They use those pictures in case you get kidnapped. I never dress up like that. Wouldn’t it be better if my kidnap picture actually looked like ME?!”

Touché, my child.

As I’m sure you can imagine, he wore the striped shirt.

Self-advocacy. Reasonable, logical negotiation. I’d gladly take those over a stuffy dress shirt.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

The dog I never wanted is helping me survive the teen years

My latest article, featured in Grown & Flown, talks about my reluctance to get a dog -- and what happened when I finally did.

The dog I never wanted is helping me survive the teen years.

As always, if you like what you read, please share it on social media, like or comment. Thank you for reading!


Monday, September 17, 2018

Twenty-five!!

In February, I took a risk. I sent a couple articles to Scary Mommy, which is perhaps the biggest parenting site on the Web. We're talking 2 MILLION followers.

I had this vague idea that I wanted to get back into writing, after taking time off for raising kids and moving abroad and back.

And, to my surprise, both of my articles got accepted! It was wonderful, affirming and scary (pun intended).

Since then, I've built some amazing relationships with editors and fellow writers across the Web. And I recently crossed an exciting threshold:



This is especially exciting because Number 25 was in a publication I have a ton of respect for and am so proud to appear in!


Thank you for following me and showing your support on this journey. I hope you like what you read. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Why I never returned to baby group

Last weekend, I was featured in Her View From Home with an article about parenting a special needs baby.

Why I left the new moms group.

For more articles like this, follow me on Facebook. Your comments, likes and shares are much appreciated.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

How we keep memories alive on Grandparents Day

Over the past five years, both of my husband’s parents passed away, leaving a gaping hole in our family and our hearts. As Sept. 6 inches nearer, I get a lump in my throat as my kids’ schools announce their annual Grandparents’ Day activities. 



My oldest was extremely close to his grandmother. When he was sick from school, she would get online and play games with him while they talked on speakerphone. She was always cooking and baking, organizing games and crafts, and spoiling each of us with thoughtful gifts and treats. She was the kind of grandma who went down waterslides and would take your first-grader through a haunted house, both of them screaming the entire way.



My father-in-law was a quiet nature lover who could identify any bird that graced his presence. He tended for ailing animals and knew just where to spot deer. Now, whenever a cardinal visits our backyard or a hummingbird whirrs past or a monarch hovers around the screen door, I think fondly of him.



And I tell all of this to my children. My youngest, especially, has fewer and fading memories of daddy’s parents and is always eager to learn more. Whenever their grandparents pop in my mind, I’ll mention it. “That butterfly reminds me of Grandpa stopping by to say, ‘Hey, hey!’” 



I’ll even tell them, through my tears, if I’m upset after accidentally shattering one of Grandma’s vases. 




Besides talking about them, we try our best to keep their memories and traditions going in tangible ways. 

  • We get cotton candy in honor of Grandma at fairs and carnivals. 
  • On Christmas morning, we make everyone open presents one by one, just the way she did.
  • At the beach, we always end up at Grandpa’s favorite spot.
  • When we traveled across Europe, we lit a candle in their honor at every church we entered.
  • And I especially love making my mother-in-law’s recipes from her stained, handwritten notebook pages. Her candy turtles are stuff of lore, and even though they’re difficult and time-consuming, I aim to make them at least once a year.



So when Grandparents Day rolls around, we don’t hide from it. We talk about them, and I will probably cry a little and give my husband extra hugs and text my sister-in-law. We might look at pictures of Grandma and Grandpa or watch videos, though, honestly, the videos are still really hard for us. 



I go to the school activities myself, a stand-in for the two glorious people who are only there in spirit but would have loved to watch their grandchildren grow into teenagers and young adults.  

My own parents are in good health but since they’re six hours away, we don’t expect them to show up for school activities. But we’ll call or Skype or send a card or special drawing to make sure they know we’re thinking of them.



Nonetheless, Grandparents Day is still hard. So is Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Their birthdays. And all the milestones and special events we celebrate without them.



But we do our best. 



And we will continue to honor their memories, keeping them alive always in their grandchildren’s hearts.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

School Considering Sharknado Drill

My 10-year-old inspired this satire after he told me about the exhaustive list of drills -- tornado, earthquake, fire, armed intruder, etc. -- the first week of school. Then he quipped, "Next year, I bet we have a Sharnado drill!"

Here's a funny one to start your week.

School Considering Sharnado Drill.

If you enjoy this, please follow me on Facebook and like/share/comment on this article.


Monday, August 20, 2018

Featured today on That's Inappropriate

I'm thrilled to say that my article was featured on That's Inappropriate.

This site has very funny content and a great, active group of writers. It's so cool to be among their ranks.

It's also an honor that they're getting out this very important message about how difficult school can be, not just academically but also socially and emotionally, for kids with learning challenges.

What I want my son with dyslexia to know.

If you enjoyed this, please like, comment and share with your friends.


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Accommodations aren't advantages

My son has an IEP that allows him to use accommodations in the classroom related to his documented learning disabilities. However, other kids sometimes grumble when he's allowed, for example, extra time during standardized tests.

He's already reluctant to use his accommodations because of the extra attention they cast upon him. And I fear one day he'll stop advocating for himself and his needs because he's sick of others complaining he has an "unfair" advantage.

But accommodations are not an advantage. They are his right, thanks to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

And that's what inspired me to create this meme.

Please share, if this speaks to you.

If you'd like to read more about special needs parenting, follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/boogersabroad/.



Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Best Back-to-School Advice

This is one of the best back-to-school articles I've read, so I wanted to share it:

Dear Teenager, Know This As You Head Back To School.

If you like what you read, you can follow this very talented writer, Valli Vida Gideons at https://www.facebook.com/MyBattleCall/.


Monday, August 6, 2018

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Four life lessons from a rescue mutt

I'm proud to be featured today on Sammiches & Psych Meds with my silly but sweet article about my favorite rescue mutt.

Four life lessons from a rescue mutt.

I've also turned a shortened version of the piece into the 2-minute video below.


Monday, July 23, 2018

Who has the Summer Camp Blues?

I'm honored to be featured today in Her View From Home.

I wrote this one a few weeks ago when Mo was away at summer camp. As always, if you enjoy this article, please comment, like, follow, share.

I'm a mom with the summer camp blues.




Wednesday, July 18, 2018

This is 12

I'm feeling sentimental about my oldest turning 13 next month.

THIS IS 12

Knuckle bumps instead of hugs.
Remember chasing lightning bugs?
Soon you’ll tower over me.
Mom, I want some privacy.”

Sleeping in your bed till ‘10.
Drinking from the sink again.
Slang that I can’t even follow.
Kid, I think you need a shower.”

Homework finished on your own.
Words replaced by grunts and groans.
Remember how you loved the swings?
Mom, let’s turn on Stranger Things.

Twelve years gone, I can’t believe
My baby’s going to turn thirteen.
What happened to my little bug?
Your mother sure would like a hug.”


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Are you ready for the Lego invasion?

They’re watching you. They’re hiding. And they are waiting for the moment to strike.



Whether it’s nipping you in the butt as you sit down in your car, or clogging your garbage disposal, the Lego invasion is real.



Little yellow men and women are taking over homes in cities and rural areas, with their hooked hands and glassy stares. For quick and stealthy strikes, they’re well equipped with vehicles of every sort, from motorcycles, SUVs, helicopters, airplanes, even space shuttles!



In the darkest night, they leap out into your high-traffic areas, it doesn’t matter if you have carpet, tile or hardwood floors. They’re waiting and poised to inflict harm on your family’s delicate feet.



The mini plastic people love tiny accessories — helmets, coffee mugs, bullhorns, spears — which are naturally attracted to your dust busters, vacuums and heating vents.



With phony smiles, they're luring in your children. Their movies, video games, advertising and theme parks will convince your kids they NEED more; before you know it, your offspring will beg you to adopt their Lego guy’s entire extended family. 



Prepare yourselves, parents. They will show up, uninvited, in unexpected places. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A Fourth of July reminder

Happy Fourth of July!

As we celebrate our nation's independence, please be aware that not everyone loves fireworks and loud noises.

This article from The Mama on the Rocks shares some excellent tips for surviving the holiday with a sensory sensitive child:
4 TIPS TO SURVIVING JULY 4TH WITH YOUR SENSORY SENSITIVE KIDDO.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

What I did on my summer vacation (The Mom Version)

I'm finding it really hard to write this summer with the boogers home from school and the neighbor kids in and out of the house all day. So I've started making little one-minute videos. The kids have even helped by picking out music and taking some of the photos.

Here's our first installment, What I did on my summer vacation (The mom version).

As always, if you enjoyed this, please like, comment and share on social media.


Friday, June 22, 2018

"Special" brownies article featured on Scary Mommy

Today, my article about "special" brownies -- and other tricks for sneaking your kids their medicine -- was featured on Scary Mommy.

Special Brownies and other tricks.

As always, if you enjoyed this article, please show it some love! Please comment, like, share on social media.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Our 24 hours with Michael Jackson

My son was a huge Micheal Jackson fan ... for 24 hours.

In honor of the 9-year anniversary since we lost the King of Pop, Sammiches & Psyche Meds published my article about our very short time with MJ.

24 hours with Michael Jackson; From Idol to Interred.

As always, if you enjoy this article, please like, comment or share on social media.




Friday, June 15, 2018

Son Endures Vintage Education

In my house, it's always Hammer Time!

Check out my latest satire about introducing my son to "old people" music.

From Sammiche's & Psyche Meds and Mock Mom: Son Endures Vintage Music Education.

As always, if you enjoyed this, please like, comment or share on social media.

P.S. I'm also very proud that his favorite movie is The Goonies!


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Happy Father's Day!

I'm brand new at making videos. Here's my attempt at a Happy Father's Day message. I hope you enjoy!




Thursday, May 31, 2018

My secret sanity-saver when traveling with an anxious child

If you're getting ready for a family vacation this summer, check out my recent article in Red Tricycle.

My secret sanity-saver when traveling with an anxious child.

This one simple tip made our travels across Europe with two little boys MUCH more enjoyable.

If you enjoy this article, please comment, like or share.

Happy travels!