Tag Archives: mother

I got the Best Mother’s Day Card 16 years ago… | LB Living Better

I received the best mother’s day card 16 years ago, in 1998, on my first Mother’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, my kids have made me some absolutely lovely cards over the years, but it was the first card, the first year, presumably from my new infant daughter that still resonates with me today. Everything you will ever need to know about motherhood, you can learn from Kanga.

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“How do you learn to be a mom?” asked, Pooh. “You just follow your heart, ” answered, Kanga.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of my fellow Mom’s, whether it is your first or your 60th, enjoy your day and your family.

via I got the Best Mother’s Day Card 16 years ago… | LB Living Better.


Top Ten Earbud Rules for Teenagers!

Let’s face it, ear buds have become the bane of many a parent’s existence for too many reasons to possibly state. This is the top ten list for acceptable and non-acceptable earbud behavior shared with the teenagers that reside in my house.  It includes but is certainly not limited to the following:

1)  Earbuds will not be worn at any meal, whether served at the table, at the counter or especially in a restaurant (we want to at least appear to the general public that we can converse like normal human beings).

2)  In conversation with any adult, you will remove both earbuds (not just one while you keep tuned in to whatever song you are listening to).  If you did not hear the opening line of the conversation, the appropriate response is “I’m sorry would you repeat that” not “Huh” or “What” as if you just crawled out of a cave for your first human conversation.

3)  I should NOT hear what you are listening to when you are wearing your earbuds!

4)  No earbuds at work!  The person that is paying you has a right to have your full and undivided attention to whatever it is that you are supposed to be doing, even if said activity does not involve hearing.  No matter how you slice it, if you are working with ear buds stuck in your ears, the natural and usually correct assumption is that you don’t give a damn about the job you are doing!

5)  There is NO good reason for your earbuds to be at school – why don’t you just ask for a detention!

6)  You may use your earbuds in the car for a long ride during which you may prefer your own music to my choice of radio station.  If however, I pick you up for one of our numerous rides about our small town, then you may not plug yourself into your preferred device and tune me out.  I am not your chauffeur and it will not kill you to make polite conversation until you are old enough to drive yourself where you need to go!

7) You may NOT borrow my earbuds because you have lost or broken your own.

8) This list applies to your “BEATS” as well!

9)  Do not pretend that you cannot hear me when I call your name.

10)  Last but certainly not least.  Earbuds are not appropriate at church, during the national anthem or pledge of allegiance, at a funeral or wake, during classes, visiting a relative in the hospital, or in the shower and I reserve the right to add to this list!

Spanglish – “No Space Between US!”

Spanglish quote

I love the unexpected.  I especially love when life gives you a moment in time that is so truly ordinary and void of expectation and suddenly (or even slowly) it turns into a pivotal moment.  An aha moment if you will, a moment of clarity and understanding.

Now, I never could have anticipated being thankful for the nasty cold virus that descended upon my house this past Spring.  As it made its way through the house, I suddenly found myself home on the couch with my teenage daughter, a shared box of tissues between us.

TV remote in hand, we found the movie Spanglish about to start.  I knew that I had seen it before but honestly my recollection of movies is sad at best.  I remember saying something like, let’s watch it, I think it’s pretty good or at least funny.  (A little sidebar from this post.  If you have not seen this movie I highly recommend it.  As a middle age parent, I think I related to every character at some point, even the drunken grandmother.  I included the trailer at the bottom of this post…let me know what you think.)

By the end of the movie the tissues were for more than the runny noses.  You see the end of the movie is a seen between a teenage daughter fighting fiercely for her independence and friendships all while she tries to shame  her mother by screaming at her on the way to their bus stop.  When the mother tries to speak to her daughter at the bus stop, the daughter stops her by saying “I need space.” The aha moment for me was the response from her mother when she says, “There is no space between us!”

The movie is narrated by the daughter as she writes her admission essay for college.  In the end she writes about “being her mother’s daughter ~ there is no space between us.”

At first I struggled with the concept because as a parent we worry about our children’s development and independence, “when to push them… when to back them”. If there is “no space between us” then does that mean she is not her own person?  Is she not living her own life, not mine?”

It has been several months since I saw the movie and have mulled over its message.  I am proud to be my mother’s daughter with all her strengths and her weaknesses, it is her blood that courses through my veins and I am proud.  I am not a perfect mother but it is my blood (sweat and tears) that courses through my children’s veins and for that, I am proud.   “No space between us ~ I am my mother’s daughter”, I thought that this was wrong, until I realized it was so right.

I would like to thank the cold that put life on hold and allowed me to watch this movie.  More importantly, I am grateful to have watched it with my daughter for whom I am absolutely certain, no matter where life takes her, there will be no space between us.

Don’t Let A Cell Phone Kill My Child

March 2014  ~ Please support this non-profit group’s efforts to stop distracted driving

Weeks after this post was printed the following research on hands-free devices was published….thank you to all who reposted and shared…overwhelming!


“I don’t want to be the parent that speaks from experience.  I don’t want the phone call from the emergency room or worse to have the police at my doorstep.  I don’t want to write a eulogy or speak at other schools about how my child was killed in a car accident.  I don’t want to talk about her last text.  I don’t want to hear your apologies.  

There is no good that can come from a car and a phone.

cellphone_carI’ve seen you change lanes without looking or thinking; you waved an apology and continued talking.

Your head is crooked, holding the phone with your shoulder, two hands on the wheel does not make it better.

The car swerved when you dropped the phone, you only looked down for a second.

The near misses from your oblivion, even a beep of the horn doesn’t get your attention.

I’ve seen you talking when I’m jogging and I am well aware that you do not see me.

It’s tempting at a stop light or in bumper to bumper traffic – I was just checking messages I didn’t mean to hit you.

You drift over the yellow line and back.

I don’t want to read about your accident in the newspaper.

I don’t want my children in your car.

Your actions validate the behavior – do you want your teen driver to take just one call?untitled

There are distracted driver laws and statistics on accidents and deaths, but we don’t need those to know right and wrong.  In 1970 the Mother’s Against Drunk Driving campaign put a social taboo on drinking and driving.  While it has not eradicated the problem, it has certainly changed the societal norms.

Can we do this for cell phones?  Can we make it socially unacceptable to talk and drive?  Our children learn what they live, they will do what we do, not what we say!  Your baby, your young child, your tween will be a driver before you know it. They will carry with them the experience of driving with you.  What do you want to teach them with your actions?

I need your help.  I can warn my soon to be driver a thousand times, but I’m not her only influence.  She watches you, her dear Auntie, my loving neighbor, her teacher pulling into school, and millions of others every day.  If we don’t want to bury our children because of a senseless distracted driving accident, then we have to stop driving distracted ourselves.  So, I beg you, don’t call me when your driving, and please understand when I don’t answer you from my car.  I know it is a small change, but I know we hold the keys to this solution.

From this day forward you have my word, for your child and mine, I will not let my cell phone distract my driving. Will you join me and just stop?

Please do not let a cell phone kill my child.  I know you do not want to be that parent…

In Honor of Mother’s Day… Respect for Momma Bird

IMAG0523I dislike her immensely.  She is messy, noisy and downright inconsiderate.

Doesn’t she realize that my house is sporting a brand new paint job, the first one ever done by a professional and not yours truly and husband.  It’s not even six months old and it is covered in moss, mud, twigs, and bird crap!

Can’t even open the front door without being dive bombed.  She has even had the nerve to fly in my house uninvited and flap at me like I’m the problem.

It gets better, she thinks my new front porch is her urinal  (yup that’s the evidence).

IMAG0529Seriously, who does she think she is, the woods aren’t good enough for her family?  Going to birth those eggs in a sheltered pent house apartment.

My “male” neighbor laughed and told me to take the nest down and replace it with a slanted piece of flashing that would make it impossible to rebuild blah, blah, blah….

I really stopped listening after “take the nest down” because I immediately thought, I can’t do that.  She is a mother, building a home for her future family.  I may not like her choices, her arrogant nature, her rude inconsiderate personality nor especially her hygiene, but at the end of the day she is a Momma (or about to become one).  This Momma bird is one hard working little critter.  It would appear that she is building this nest single handedly and I have to admit quite impressively.

So, while we don’t see eye to eye on just about anything, we don’t have to, she is a Momma and for that reason alone she has my respect!  I just wish she would clean up after herself…

That's her in the center, watching me watching her!

That’s her in the center,
watching me watching her

Homework Helpers… Simple but they work!

Hello All.. It is back to school time and I thought I would repost this homework helpers blog!  As you start a new school year, make sure you skip to the second  tip on school supply locations!  Brainstorming with your child where and under what conditions they like to do homework can relieve some of the “battles”.  Who says you can’t do homework in a tree or under the bed… as long as it is getting done!  Everyone is unique in their learning preferences, don’t be afraid to look at lighting, music, type of pen/pencil, lap desk or traditional desk and help your child decide what works best.  Happy school year!

I have spent many years working as a tutor. In fact, there were some nights that I felt I should have a lit up sign like a pizza delivery person on the top of my car as I raced from home to home. Math here, paper there, science project, oh no! I do however have two tricks up my sleeve that I use over and over with my students. These tips could not be simpler but when I produce them, I am all that, and a bag of chips tutor!

binder clipsFirst, almost every student from 4th-8th grade is given an assignment notebook to begin the lovely process of learning to be responsible for homework and plan for long-term assignments. At this point in the year the book is well worn and nearly half full. Use a binder clip on the used pages (this does well with workbooks too) so that when the student opens the book to write down assignments, Voila, they are on the right page. Pure genius! (Do have them refrain from putting binder clip on their nose as it does hurt, a lot!)

homework caddy
My second handy, dandy trick is to put the school supplies where the student does their homework. Whether they do their work at the kitchen table (and I would estimate at least 80% do), on the floor of the bedroom or at an actual desk, make sure that they have everything they need within arms reach. This not only saves time but also for those prone to distraction, a trip around the house looking for a ruler can be disastrous. It doesn’t have to be a “caddy” as pictured, but any container that keeps everything they could need to complete assignments,from colored pencils to glue sticks and calculators. Don’t be afraid to keep it somewhere strange like your kitchen cabinet…or under the bed they sit next to when doing homework.

Last but not least, it is THEIR homework. You have done yours, and I assume if you are reading this, you passed.

Getting Organized is not the hard part… it is getting started!


I am finishing my coffee and psyching myself up for the garage!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s been a long winter here in New England. I am putting the shovels away (yes, I know it could snow in April). You heard me mother nature, I do not care how much more white stuff you dump on us, I am NOT shoveling it!

So back to the garage, I know what to do, I know how much time it will take, I can envision the end result. This however is just not enough to get me moving. We are hard wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain so I need to add some motivation for this project. Seeds will work. Weeks ago I purchased seeds to start indoors, for our garden, this is how desperate I am for Spring. Since, Spring is taking its sweet time arriving, spending the afternoon with hands in dirt will make me feel it is truly just around the corner.  But first, I have to clean the trays, which you guessed it are buried in the garage!

Additionally my thought process and motivations include the following:
– the garage is embarrassingly messy and dirty at this point
– it is too cold out for most other activities
– I do need to find and try on all the cleats for this springs sports season
– I have some painting projects for which I need the saw horses in the middle of the garage
– I could clean my bike and put air in the tires
– I would rather give up a cold, snow on the ground, day than the future days I would like to spend outside

Probably the most important underlying motivation is that I have three sets of helping hands (my kids).  Oh they will complain fiercely this morning but this afternoon they will actually enjoy planting and just hanging out.  A strong work ethic and a grand sense of fun are two of my most important parenting goals – check back to see if mission is accomplished!

Okay, I think I’m good.. a quick proofread of this blog, coffee finished, round up the kids and we’re off…Cheers to cleaning the garage!

What will you accomplish today… more importantly, what motivated you to do it?

The Handshake….what else have I forgotten?

There are some unwritten expectations for parenthood that over time you hope to conquer with your children.  The list of possibilities is of course exhaustive, but in general they  center around right from wrong, health and nutrition, the ABC’s and more.  Now, enter the smaller less obvious nuances in life.  Until said nuances expose themselves clearly, you do not realize that your child may have missed that particular class in the life long course of Parenting 101.  It is not that your child was absent or not paying attention it is that the instructor (you) completely forgot to offer the class.

I came to the realization that my boys had not been to the handshake class.  We were attending a family funeral and the children were being introduced to distant cousins, etc…  I watched in horror as an uncle extended his hand to my son, and he did not respond.  Now, let’s be clear, my children are completely adept at the fist bump and the high five, but they clearly did not know what to do with the extended hand meant for shaking.  I was too far away to intervene and watched as my son stared at the hand.  He started to lift his left hand, quickly changed his mind and lifted his right.  Phew, maybe he does know what to do.  But no, he did what I consider to be the worst possible handshake and that is to hang his hand limply into the elder gentleman’s hand.  The end result was a “wet fish” rendering of a handshake.

I quickly poked my husband’s shoulder and muttered under my breath “when we get home, you need to teach these boys how to shake hands”.  (Yes I determined in a split second that this was a class that he forgot to offer).  In return I got that blank stare, half nod from my husband as he said “sure”.  You know the look, the one that says, “oh, that’s all you want is for me to teach them how to shake hands, based on your tone/face I thought this was going to be much worse.”

And so it goes without saying that this type of incident makes me wonder… what else have I forgotten?  If I forgot something as simple, obvious and important as how to shake hands, what’s next?  Please, I implore you, give me a heads up, what other classes do we need to offer?…. comments welcome below!

Mom you’re embarassing….

I think one of the true keys to successful parenting is to make sure that your kids believe that you are capable of anything. No I do not mean you have to be superwoman or superdad. I find that when kids have a healthy respect of what you “might” do it alleviates and contributes to the on-going battles of discipline. Sometimes you have to show your kids visibly just how far you will go to make your point, get their attention or follow through on your threat. This is an ongoing effort starting very young and lasting well, as long as they live under your roof.

Every now and then it is important to remind them just how crazy and capable you are…. Recently, one of my children has entered a “you are embarrassing just by existing” phase. You know he would rather have people believe he was hatched in the forest than admit to having parents. Driving him to play practice the other day he was being particularly obnoxious about not needing/wanting parental input. It was really starting to get on my nerves. I have worked too hard for too long to be suddenly disowned by this prepubescent. I fired a warning shot into the back seat, “you have no idea how embarrassing I can be”. Silly boy, he continued with his obnoxious behavior until we pulled up in front of the school. A school with a large courtyard full of junior and senior high school students milling about and waiting for rides. A school with a long sidewalk to walk along until you reach the front door. As my son exited the van and slammed it shut like he had never seen me before in his life, I rolled down the window and in my loudest, whiniest voice I yelled…”Good-bye honey, have fun at play practice, I hope you know all of your lines, I will be right here waiting at 5:00 pm, Have fun!” At which point he started to run towards the front door.

Days later when I dropped him off at play practice, he looked at me with a smile and said “that was pretty good the other day, but please don’t ever do it again. I was obnoxious and it won’t happen again.” I smiled and said, ‘no problem, I thought it was sufficiently embarrassing myself.” You see it was very easy, one they always underestimate your willingness to embarrass yourself and two there is nothing a middle school kid won’t do to avoid embarrassment themselves. Peace has returned to the valley, at least for now.

No one signs up to parent teenagers!

I became the proud parent of three teenagers this month when my twins turned 13. I’m really not sure how this happened, nor do I think anyone ever pictures themselves as a parent of teenagers. Ah yes parenthood, conjures up visions of adorable babies and sweet pictures of the big yellow bus picking up our kindergartener. I don’t think anyone pictures the hormonal, loud, fresh, stinky, moody human beings they turn into a mere decade later. I’m sure my house sounds exactly like yours if you are harboring these teenage individuals, filled with the melodious sound of someone yelling, “Get out of my room” or “Mmmmooooommmm he/she is (fill in the blank here, options are endless).
So, if you can relate to this description than you can certainly appreciate my latest car ride with the three of them. Fighting over the radio station ceased only for them to shriek, “it’s Thrift Shop” (the clean version). My car started to rock, literally, with their seatbelt dancing, as the hilarious lyrics spilled out of this rap song spoof on a Thrift Shop. I know they thought I was laughing at the song which I was, but more importantly I was smiling at the three of them together, being silly, and singing at the top of their lungs. It could have been a decade earlier and they were singing to the Wiggles “Fruit Salad” in perfect harmony.

P.S. This is in no way an endorsement of the song Thrift Shop, even the clean version leaves a lot to be desired with language and content but damn it is funny! “I wear your granddads clothes, I look incredible, I am in this big-ass coat I got at the thrift shop down the road.”