Three things that my screaming two year old is teaching me

Three things that my screaming two year old is teaching me
We've got a screamer on our hands, folks. I know that all kids scream at some point, but anyone who has heard it will agree: it is Ear. Piercing. Over the past three months, I've done just about every strategy in the parent handbook, but to little avail. The only conclusion I've come to is that I'm supposed to be learning something from all of this. Here are three things that my screaming two year old is teaching me:...

The most important thing my grandpa taught me was to show up

The most important thing my grandpa taught me was to show up
The most important thing my grandpa taught me was to show up. That meant various things, from large to small. On some days, it meant crossing a bridge in pitch black night to then destroy the bridge and stop the Nazis. On other days, it meant watching a grandchild's soccer game. It meant providing for a family of nine so that his seven children grew up to be productive human beings. It meant playing with baby rings, marbles, and puzzles with his great grandchildren. My grandpa never stopped showing up. From hometown staples: St. Patrick's Church, the Colonial Coffee Shop, Gold's Gym, to further away places: Illinois, Florida, California, you could count on him being there...

Meet Liam O'Shea: Our Irish Elf on a Shelf

Meet Liam O'Shea. He's definitely not from Party City, and definitely not meant to be worn on the shoulder of a drunken college kid...
One of my favorite family traditions arrives this month. His name is Liam O’Shea, and he’s our leprechaun. I’m not an Elf on the Shelf fan, as my husband is. I don’t like that his presence correlates to gifts, and honestly, my brain would explode if I added another thing to my to do list... Read more »
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10 New Years resolutions for the "Hamilton" fan

10 New Years resolutions for the "Hamilton" fan
Have you guys heard of this musical, “Hamilton?” I’m a few years late to the party, but this show is so amazing that my two year old often requests “Ham-oh-ten.” Here are 10 New Years resolutions for the “Hamilton” fan:  Talk less. *Smile more. (*listen) 2) Do not throw away your shot. Make your resolutions... Read more »

5 things I want the world to know about US, post-Trump election

5 things I want the world to know about US, post-Trump election
There are five things I want the world to know about US, post-Trump election: We all make mistakes. 2) We didn’t take it seriously, and we’re sorry. I never thought this would happen. On Tuesday, I voted, and I thought that was enough. Clearly, it was not. My inaction prior to the election was just... Read more »

Six reasons I want to be Ma from "Little House on the Prairie"

Six reasons I want to be Ma from "Little House on the Prairie"
Sure, life is hard when you have to worry about malaria. But here's how Ma got it right.
  1. Ma cooks organic. Maybe the family eats gamey meat, or fish for three months straight, but it's all fresh. Laura and Mary get candy once a year, on Christmas. I think about all the food my kids eat with added sugar, even though I'm fairly vigilant, and it astounds me.
2) Ma gets her workouts in. You know your jiggly triceps? Ma doesn't. It's called churning butter, washing clothes by hand, and every other task that she does. I find it ironic that we've invented all of these modern day conveniences, but now we have to squeeze in a workout, because we're not getting the exercise we once used to. 3) Ma's kids have no toys. Laura's doll for the first six years of her life is a corn cob. A. Corn. Cob...
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I'm heavier than I was at this time last year...but I'm happier

I'm heavier than I was at this time last year...but I'm happier
If you compare the photos of me from last September to this one, it's not that crazy. Like many of us, I'm probably the only one that notices the weight gain. People are always paying less attention to us than we think, amaright? Last year was my year to get my body back, and I ran a marathon. This year, as the ball dropped on New Year's Eve, I kissed my husband and said, "My New Year's Resolution is to be kinder to you." But, I knew that "being kinder" was too vague; it wasn't a measurable goal. So I started working backwards: What makes me edgy? When do I feel resentment? Two of the biggest culprits were not getting enough sleep and fitting too much in. Sound familiar? We moms, especially, feel like we need to do it all. And be, like, really good at it all. When I was a teacher, I learned that there's always something more you can do for your students. It's the same for your children when you become a mom. But do you know who I become when I squeeze it all in? MEAN MOMMY. Mean Mommy looks awesome on Facebook. She's logged in as various aliases: Pinterest Mom, PTO Mom, Marathon Mom, CEO Mom. I'm not saying that if you're one of these moms, then you're also Mean Mommy. I'm saying that I was...and sometimes still am. Last October, my friend Emily texted me, calling me "Supermom." My heart sank...

Training my 5-year-old for Disney: three benefits I didn't expect

Training my 5-year-old for Disney: three benefits I didn't expect
Your mom tells you that you're going to DisneyWorld: YAY! Your mom tells you that you're going to walk to get ready for it: BOO! Or so I thought. This kid loves walking with his mom. *tear* Sure: I bribe him with sweets and LEGOS. Don't you use bribery to accomplish your workouts? To be honest, I just didn't think it would work. I thought that once he'd earned the first LEGO set, he'd lose interest. But as we're finishing our two mile walk yesterday (per his request), he gets all excited: "Mommy! If we walk two miles tomorrow, we'll be at 20 miles! I can get my new LEGO set! Can we please walk two miles tomorrow?" Who is this kid? I severely underestimated the power of ice cream and LEGOS. Here's how I'm training my five year old for Disney, and here are three benefits that I didn't expect: ...

The Star Wars scavenger hunt for the ultimate youngling fan

The Star Wars scavenger hunt for the ultimate youngling fan
A Star Wars birthday party sounds easy enough. Pinterest abounds with ideas on how to decorate and make cute signs for food such as HAN Burgers and HOTH Dogs. As a friend of mine pointed out, though, the kids don't care about that stuff. They want to munch on pizza, scarf down cake, but mostly play with their friends. Pizza? Check. Death Star cake? Check. Playing with pool noddle light sabers for a full 90 minutes...? That's just asking for trouble. When researching, I found a few activities, but I wanted a full fledged scavenger hunt that touched all seven episodes. I couldn't find one. So what's teacher mom to do? Create it herself. Click on the gallery to view the scavenger hunt, Jedi tunics, light sabers, Death Star cake, goody bags, and more...
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What I learned from yelling at my child

What I learned from yelling at my child
"Can you please go get your brother some socks?" I huffed at my 4.5 year old. It is one of those mornings where everything is taking longer than you think it will, or should. "Why do I have to do EVERYTHING?!" he responded, stomping up the stairs. "You, do everything?" I think to myself. I feel my body tense up as I think of all the things I've done and still have to do to get our family ready for a trip. "I can't find them, Mommy," he whines. "He's not looking hard enough. He knows where the damn socks are," I say to myself as I clench my jaw in frustration. "Well, I don't know what to tell you," I say. "They're up there. In the top left drawer." ("Does he know which is his left?" I'm annoyed, so I tell myself that I don't care if he knows or not.) "Mommy, I can't! They're not here." His request is changing now from a whine to a genuine plea. My ears burn hot. "Why can't he just find them so we can GO? Try a different drawer!" I say in my head. "Okay, if you can't help Mommy, then I guess you can't have a play date." Boom. Anger in full force. I've chosen to give in. To threaten, to be a bully. To be everything that we, as mothers, try to protect our children against....