A list of 9 must-haves for you to carry on with you so you’ll be vacation-ready!
Say whatever you want about how hard your mom is to buy for, but don’t think you’re going to bow up to me with a challenge on it, unless you’re willing to take that conversation straight to a level 10, because I will win that one every single time.
Honestly. Try me.
Make these fun custom t-shirts so you and your girls will be matchy-matchy when you go out in public, giving you that great sense of belonging you never knew you were missing.
Let me start by saying that this is by no means a fool-proof or perfect plan.
In fact, it’s been literally less than 24 hours since there were tears shed over homework at this very table where I currently type these words.
My timing for writing this “how-to” type post is, as usual, (im)perfectly timed with a life occurrence that makes me think the universe is keeping me from getting all cocky by thinking I have all the answers.
This is just a guideline that works as a general rule.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
It requires that everyone do their own part.
A few weeks ago, I joined my sis-in-law and another girlfriend of ours for a girls’ weekend in Waco. Our friend, Sunday, and I live outside of Austin, and my sis, Jill, lives in Fort Worth, so Waco is the perfect meet-in-the-middle spot.
We’ve all been to the Silos before, and since the weekend we went was the annual Spring at the Silos event, we had no intention of going there and battling lines and crowds of crazy Chip and JoJo-seekers.
We were more interested in finding Waco’s hidden gems and places that locals call their favorite.
We finally have some gorgeous sunshine here in the Austin area and I’m in love!
If you ever get a chance to visit Texas, plan your trip for March/April or October, when the temps are mild and the breeze is yummy and cool, and you will have absolutely no regrets in your life.
You know how much I love coffee, right?
There was a time when my coffee order would be the most candybar-licious drink, with about five different squirts of various syrups, a big fluff of whipped cream, and a sprinkling of salted-but-slightly-sweetened magic dust that made my heart beat really fast all morning - all due to equal parts caffeine, sugar, and deep affection.
And I would order it this way every. single. day.
A few years ago, I knew that the long-term damage of drinking all my calories would be worse than dry shaving the bikini area, so I started changing up my order until the life was sucked right out of my cup of coffee, and - although I made-do for a while - I just couldn’t take it anymore.
I’m looking at you, momma. I see you smiling that plastered-on smile to make everyone around you think you’re alright.
That you’ve got it all together.
That you’re feeling all “tight-and-right” about your momming skills.
But I know that look. And I know that your smile is a lie.
One of my favorite memories growing up is of my mom baking homemade Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies. She would mix up the dough and put the bowl in the freezer and bake small batches at a time during the next few weeks.
Her cookie-baking time meant I could be in the kitchen with her.
So much so that a bowl of dough doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell hanging out in the freezer.
Full transparency: there isn’t a “bowl of dough” happening, anyway.
In my house we do Nestle’s “break-n-bake” because - while I do think there’s something slightly missing from the taste by taking this time-saving route, you know that my claim to fame is cutting corners.
When our oldest son, who turns 20 in a few weeks, was in elementary school, we were asked to fill out a form at the end of each year, indicating which teacher we wanted him to have for the next school year.
There were other questions on the form, too, where you could give more information about your kid’s personality and their learning style, which the committee would take into consideration when setting class rosters.
They might still do this. I’m not sure.
It’s a nice gesture toward the parents, and I’m sure the school administrators found it helpful when they were putting the classes together.
I remember that early each school year, there would be rumblings from parents who didn’t get the teacher they put as their first choice. And sometimes they wouldn’t get their second or third choice, either.
Aah, the things we get riled up about. 🤷
One of my favorite things about myself is my sense of humor. Not to be braggy, but I’m one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.
Nothing makes me want to smother a cigar under my heel and strut off like Kate Moss down the runway more than laying out a funny one-liner that makes people throw their head back laughing.
I’ve always taken great pride in being able to laugh things off, even in times of sadness and stress.
Even during the cycles of depression I’ve experienced in my life, humor was there, although it wasn’t as accessible to me as it is when I’m out of the funk.
Part of our morning routine on school days is for Cody to tell me, “But we’re not late - we’ve left way later than this before,” when I tell him he needs to get moving so we’ll be on time for school.
I’ve tried explaining to him that we might not be late at that very second, but that if he keeps the pace he’s currently keeping - slow AF - we’ll most definitely be late.
Getting him to understand that he’s still got eight more steps in the 10 steps it takes to get out the door in the morning, requires a degree in childhood development that reaches far beyond the likes of my wildly average parenting.
I get it, though.
I’m basically a living example of how my life has played out with this very same mindset.
The mindset that says, “I don’t need to get started right now. Things aren’t that bad.”
When my youngest son, who’s now in fifth grade, was in first grade, we already saw the signs of a child with ADHD. He didn’t have hyperactivity or behavior issues sometimes associated with ADHD, but he couldn’t focus for shit.
We had parent-teacher conferences, I sent many unanswered emails to the teacher, and time after time, we found that she was lumping him in with all the other students, and completely overlooking the specific educational needs of my son.
I wasn’t asking her for an effing kidney. I just wanted her to consider for just one flipping minute that my son wasn’t learning the way she was teaching.
I have a very strong opinion on this, by the way.
You know how when you meet someone you instantly click with, and you find them so adorably charming that you fantasize being bff’s and having slumber parties together and brushing each other’s hair into the wee hours?
I found someone like that.
Her name is Kat Depner of Seven Styling, a personal stylist and blogger from Portland, Oregon.
Remember a few weeks ago when I told you how to win the Room Mom of the Year Award? I didn’t want to just write about the craft that would help you win the award, I also did the craft myself, because what kind of person would I be if I just claimed I was sharing the magic recipe for Room Mom success, without even trying it for myself to make sure?
I want to take this moment to update you on the craft, the party, and about that day in general, so you’ll know how it all went down.
Let me start by saying that a few days prior to the party, things were right on schedule and everything was coming together as planned.
Trouble continues in a local neighborhood, where a mother is accused of allowing her daughter to walk down the street carrying her elf with bare hands in front of all the other children.
It all began last week when the incoming-text-notifications of eight moms’ phones and that of one stay-at-home-dad rang out simultaneously from an angry group text, initiated by Kayla’s mom, Patricia, stating that “FYI, the kids just got off the bus and there’s a little girl walking in the middle of the pack, carrying her elf. IN HER HAND, right out in the open where all the kids can see.”
A flurry of texts ensued, with everyone trying to figure out “who the hell is it?” and causing a data bottleneck that ultimately knocked out the nearby cell tower.
“We all suspected that it was that one lady’s bratty daughter,” one mother said, “because that woman always gives in to her child, and sure enough, my neighbor texted to confirm it after pulling out her binoculars.”
There’s not really a Room Mom of the Year award. At least, there isn’t at my kid’s school. And if there were, I promise you I wouldn’t win it.
The only thing I’m going to win is a shiny trophy for cutting corners.
Because that’s what I’m best at. People don’t know that, though.
Every year (except last year, because I was overwhelmed and shirked most of my duties as co-room-parent, but thankfully my counterpart was kind enough to let me off the hook, and my son is oblivious, so he still thought I was doing everything for his class, making it a double-win for me) I come up with a craft for the class Christmas party, and every year people think the craft is soooo cute and so hard and complicated.
Y’all. I don’t do things if they’re hard.
Most of my professional life was spent in the advertising industry. Almost 25 years, in fact.
There are a lot of weird people in the ad industry.
As a tender little sapling in “the biz,” I always worked for the wackiest of wack jobs and had the most bizarre experiences.
It’s one of the reasons my college BFF, Jen, who - over the phone, when I’d steal a moment of privacy behind the dark, closed door of a utility closet, I would whisper the latest “story you’re not gonna believe,” she would say to me, through tears of laughter and shock, “Oh my God, did you write this down? You have got to write a book someday - you couldn’t make this stuff up!”
Incidentally, it’s the reason I named my funny memoir, “You Should Write A Book, True Tales Of An Unstable Life.”
Then I found a job where I felt like people were normal.
About 18 months ago, when we decided to put our house on the market, we had already found the new house we wanted to buy, so we had to get our old house staged as quick as little bunnies to get it listed and sold in an effort to not carry two mortgages.
The plan was that, while we were packing up stuff to clear the house out and make it look the exact opposite of how my family lives in real life, instead of culling out stuff to donate or trash at that time - which is stupidly time-consuming, but is what people have to do if they don’t want to MOVE THINGS TWICE, like a bunch of idiots - we would just have to chunk everything into storage and deal with it on the back end, after moving to the new house.
This cold snap has finally gotten me convinced that it’s holiday time and I’m currently sitting in my big chair with my readers on, a spiral notebook in my lap, dabbing my fountain pen - the one with the long feather - on my tongue, readying it for a flurry of gifts I plan to jot into a list.
Actually, **shuffling through the pages** I’m on my third page and it looks like I’ve only listed things I want, but I’m getting to everyone else here in a sec.
You know how when you’re out in public and you run into someone you know and they’re wearing the same shirt you just saw some other lady wearing, and then when you’re in the checkout line, you notice the checkout lady is wearing that same shirt?
I’m not giving out that kind of generic b.s. this year.
I love giving people gifts that are unique so they don’t feel like you’ve just filled their name in on a form letter that could have been sent to anyone.
I’ve put together a gift guide of creative and custom gifts so you can make sure your gift-giving is met with all the heart-eye-emojis this year, and they all start less than $50, so you’ll have room in the budget to grab things for the sexiest person on your list: yourself.