Vacation Planning in Divorceville: How to Keep Track of Your Kid(s) During the Holidays

divorce is bad enough but wait until you have to start juggling kid's vacation days into the plan

“You’ve been so organized lately!” I complimented my then ten year old. A big, giant question mark hovered over his head. “You remembered whose house you’re staying at this weekend! Remember last year? You never knew where you were supposed to go or what you were supposed to bring with you. Remember?  Even though I kept that calendar up on the fridge?” He finally … [Read more...]

Toys to Teens: 5 Tips for Organizing the Mess

5 Tips For Organizing the Mess

When toddlers were underfoot, I longed for less messy days. Then my oldest became a teenager, I had a toddler and elementary kids in between. Life got crazy. How do you keep track of the mess? Here are 5 household and lifestyle tips I've used to manage the multiple-child mess. 1. Expect kids to be responsible for their mess, no matter their age. The unwritten rule … [Read more...]

My Teen Son is Just Chillin’ in the Boy Cave

before he gets a man-cave your son will have a boy-cave

I lovingly refer to my son’s room as The Den Of Gloom & Doom.  The remnants of a space theme, its walls are deep blue, rendering it dark.  All offers to give it a lighter hue are repeatedly vetoed. Glow in the dark planets which once hung from the ceiling have since been knocked down by the giant meteor known as “basketball”, as have any wall hangings I’d thoughtfully … [Read more...]

5 Reasons You’re Not Talking About Money with Your Kids

talking about money with your kids

And 5 Reasons Why You Should When we had our first daughter over 12 years ago and I became a stay at home mom, we quickly went from a two-income family to a single income household. I wont’t lie - at first, we made many missteps managing our “new” budget. Fortunately, we were able to overcome our mistakes and come out on the other side. We also learned many lessons from our … [Read more...]

Why I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions

I am almost 50 years old.  I am 49 1/2 to be exact.  In my younger days I used to make New Year's resolutions.  Things like:  lose 10 pounds, quit smoking, save money, etc. These resolutions oftentimes were never reached, and maybe not even started.  I may have quit smoking for a day, but was not able to quit for good. I exercised some, but never met my weight loss … [Read more...]

Have Yourself A Simpler Little Christmas

Are you prone to over-complicating things? A perfectionist who thinks everything needs to be just so? This Christmas give yourself the gift of keeping it simple – and remember the reason for season.  It’s not about crazy spending, cooking the consummate turkey dinner or finding the ultimate present for that oh-so-difficult person who has everything. Christmas is about spending … [Read more...]

How to Create Last Minute Christmas Vouchers

Stuck for what to get your kids for Christmas this year? Do they already have the latest gadgets and ‘must have’s’? Or maybe money’s a bit tight and you need to find something great for not a lot of cash. Last Christmas I didn’t have a clue what to give my teen and tween boys. When they were younger it was so easy to buy lots of small stuff plus one big ‘star’ gift. It … [Read more...]

5 Lessons in Handling Holiday Stress

handling holiday stress

Christmas brings stress to my world. The materialism, gross display of human behavior on Black Friday, and hours wrapping presents is overwhelming. When you’re parenting teenagers, you’re not only worried about buying your kids presents they’ll like, but also ones that they’ll feel okay about sharing. New underwear and last year’s out-of-date whatever aren’t the things to brag … [Read more...]

Seasonal Sanity Savers for Busy Mothers

how to keep your sanity

How would you like to feel in the run up to Christmas? Overwhelmed, short fused and grumpy like Scrooge? Or in control, calm and full of festive sprit?  The choice is yours. The problem is, when you try to do too much, have high expectations, lack organization or don’t take care of yourself – it’s hard to stay positive. Your kids want a happy mama – not one who’s … [Read more...]

Exploding Turkeys and Obnoxious Relatives – NOW it’s the Holidays!

Fox4KC_Holiday1

Are you ready for Thanksgiving?! The relatives are coming! The relatives are coming! But before you take that knife out of the turkey and plunge it into the back of your sister-in-law, watch this video as Dr. Wes discusses what goes wrong at family holiday gatherings. Or at least he tries to scratch the surface. The exploding turkey comment will make sense later in the … [Read more...]

The Reason for the Season – What are You Grateful For?

Bulletin board with paper tree cut out and leaves with words stuck on it

When I hauled the three boxes of Halloween decorations and costumes back up the attic, I realized that the candy bowl I’d been looking for the week before – the one with the grabby hand and sound effects – was in one of two other boxes of Halloween stuff that I had completely overlooked. “Oh, well,” I thought. “All this will still be here next year.” Halloween wasn’t the … [Read more...]

Why Teens Don’t Care About Their Drivers License

why your kids don't care if they drive

My kids, all three of them, have had an extraordinarily luke-warm attitude towards getting their driver's licenses and based on conversations I've had with some of their friends' parents they aren't the only ones. Sure there are still plenty of kids chomping at the bit to get their licenses the day they turn 16, but the percentage of kids who don't seem too excited about it … [Read more...]

In the Game of Discipline, Who Wins and Who Loses?

moms and tweens

When you have teenagers, discipline takes on a whole new meaning. As do the ‘crimes’.  I mean, when they were little, it was time out, and it could be multiple times a day.  Some days I wished someone would put me in time out.  In our house, they would get the occasional swat on the butt. (I am not here to discuss the merits or demerits of spanking. I was spanked, their dad was … [Read more...]

Finding Value In Family Relationships

family fun time

In one week, our family's downsized. College Graduate moved to the East Coast and College Boy returned to the university. That leaves the High Schooler and Junior, the middle school boy. “Our fun little family of four” I call the rest of us. There’s a lot I like about a smaller family. We can go places with minimal cost. We can eat out every once in a while instead of … [Read more...]

6 Tips Teens Should Know About Raising Parents

how to raise your parents

How to Raise Your Parents These are just a few things I talk to teens about when I counsel them. They're things I wish I knew as a teen, too. 1. Your parents may not know what to do with your emotions, but give them a chance to know how you feel. In the eyes of your parents, you’re still their little boy or girl who’s quickly growing up. They don’t mean to treat you like a … [Read more...]

Lazy Days of Summer – What’s THAT?!

lazy days of summer

Does anyone else think the phrase 'lazy days of summer" is an oxymoron??? That’s how the Facebook exchange began. Started by my friend Melanie. Here’s the ensuing conversation (the other names have changed to protect the innocent): Susan: that phrase was obviously coined by a man who did not have to haul kids to every practice/friend/whatever possible - and usually in … [Read more...]

Appreciating the Small Gifts in the Sandwich Years

Caldo-Maria-47

The Sandwich Years of Midlife I am a 40-something. Mother of three, wife of one, daughter of two—one of which, my mom, has Alzheimer’s Disease. Looking back on the past year, it was really the time that it started to sink in—I AM in the “sandwich years” that everyone has told me about. I knew it was out there, I just wasn’t planning on it coming home to roost quite so soon. … [Read more...]

Autism: Summer Isn’t Always Carefree

MaryBeth_200x200_rgb_72DPI

Summer is nearly half-way over, but the carefree summer days most of us remember as children and teens is not the usual case for teens on the autism spectrum. More often than not, school and therapies continue. My husband and I are parents to a 12-year-old son on the autism spectrum along with a 10-year-old daughter, who excels in everything her brother struggles with. Tending … [Read more...]

Good cop, Bad cop. How Our Two Mom Family Works

My partner Karol and I have been together for 10 years.  We have lived apart and we have lived together.  When we first decided to take the plunge and be a couple she was about to move to Pennsylvania and I was staying here in Virginia.  We knew it was going to be difficult, especially since we were a new couple, but we knew we could do it.  And we did!  Looking back, I … [Read more...]