To My Son’s Teachers

As the final days of middle school wind down I really wish I could share these words with my son’s teachers.
To my son’s teachers,
I’m sorry for the extra work my son being in your class has caused. I’ve seen the looks, heard the heavy sighs and ever seen the hand written post-it notes laced with resentment. I am sure you feel his medical “diagnosis” is used as a crutch. And I know his comments and attempts at being a class clown are often exhausting.
But there’s so much more I wish you could see. First, I wish you could see how seriously we take consequences in our house. Yes, I know you think he’s getting away with everything because he still gets to play sports. But trust me, your day would be harder if he didn’t have that outlet. But besides sports he has spent the better part of 2 years without any privileges that the rest of your students enjoy. Because of this I wish you could appreciate how far we’ve come in the last 2 years. I wish you could see that smart mouth, full sized man you see as an inconvenience is really a generous kid with a tender heart. A child in a man’s body who jumps at the chance to play at the McDs play-land with his friends. A kid who will, and has, literally given his friends the shirt off his back so they can be warm in the freezing rain. A gentle kid who takes great joy in rocking his baby cousins til they fall asleep in his arms. A supportive teammate who feels the loss not only to the team when a member is injured but empathizes with the the player and their loss of time playing the game they love. And who quickly thinks of a small way he can make an effort to make that player field better. I wish you saw the moment his heart broke for a friend diagnosed with cancer and how quickly he began thinking of ways we could raise money to help his family. Or when he climbs into the car after a hard fought basketball game and asks if I think my mom, his grandmother and best friend for the first six years of his life, would be proud of him.
Like I said, I know that tough guy attitude can be obnoxious, but I wish you were able to understand that the inappropriately timed jokes are a defense mechanism built to protect a fragile heart that has endured far too much heart break for his years.
Signed,
A mom trying her best
PS To those select special teachers who have taken the time to see it all, please know you are so very appreciated and have made the tough days, weeks and months just a little easier and for that I will always be grateful.

The One Where Joey McIntyre Hugs Me #ReturnOfTheMac #ChicagonistaLIVE

Few things in the world define my years as tween (which wasn’t even a term back then) like a good debate about which New Kid on the Block is the best!  I was always, and will always be a Joey girl.  Yes, as a fan we love them all.  But unlike having a favorite child, it is NOT against the rules to loudly and proudly proclaim your fave New Kid.  I never got to see NKOTB when I was in middle school so when they began touring again several years ago I knew I HAD to go.  It was such a fun concert and brought back so many memories! I swear it filled a whole in my heart that I didn’t even know was there.  Since then, I’ve seen them again in concert (and have tickets to see them again this summer) and watched pretty much every TV show featuring ANY of the guys.  But literally nothing could have prepared me for the experience I had last week when I not only got to meet my favorite New Kid, Joey McIntyre, but I got a bonafide HUG! I’m pretty sure I actually died right there in the Studio Xfinity!

You see, Joey has a new TV show coming to Pop TV called Return of the Mac and he is stopping at several Xfinity locations around the country to talk about it. While in Chicago, my amazing friends from ChicagonistaLIVE were able to have him on their show and invited some local bloggers to attend the taping.  It was an honor to get to see him in person and I was over the moon excited to have a chance to get a photo with him.  He was seriously so fun to listen to talk about his kids and his wife.  I really didn’t think I could love him anymore than I already did but when he shared with us that he was an assistant coach for one of the kids soccer team, I fell even farther in love. I can’t wait to see his new show which features his real life wife and kids.

Just as the show was wrapping up they had a couple super fun items to giveaway, including a Return of the Mac lunchbox with a matching thermos.  I was ecstatic when they called my name as a winner.  But then….oh THEN it happened, Joey personally gave me the lunchbox and a HUG!  Look at how cute this lunch box is…

oh yeah, and I got him to sign it!! (thanks again Candy for letting me use your sharpie)

 

Check out the recap of ChicagonistaLIVE here and click the link below to watch the full episode…

View the full ChicagoistLIVE episode HERE

 

 

 

 

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DIY Painting Parties

Over the last couple years, I’ve fallen in love with painting.  It’s a fabulous form of therapy for me.  Recently a friend shared a website that you can subscribe to for videos of the same sort of step by step instruction you get at a paint party but that you can do at home, alone or with friends.  With the right room you could easily do your very one at home paint party.

So I signed up and tried a few of the paintings myself this weekend.  I did them on smaller then suggested canvases (cuz I had them on hand) so there is less detail then there could be but overall I really like the end result and think the instruction was perfect. There are lots of paintings to choose from but I picked these because they were customizable to represent our family, their themes sort of went together AND everyone knows me as the chick who only wears flip flops.

What do you think?

 

Check out PaintingParties.com for more info.  (I paid for the subscription myself and am not affiliated with the site in any way)

Mom’s Night Out: Craft the Night Away

A mom’s night out for a good cause, does it get any better?  When my friend asked if we wanted to do a craft night at her church that was a fundraiser for their MOPS program, I couldn’t resist.  Having been part of MOPS briefly while I was able to stay home when my two oldest were tiny, I think it’s a great organization. And I’ll take just about any excuse to hang out with my girls and craft!!

I wasn’t initially sure what I was going to work on…I always have a million ideas but my stuff isn’t super organized to travel well. I settled on a project for some decorations I want to make for a party but it was a little messier that I anticipated so I pretty quickly let that sit and simply the company and colors and some projects that were available as part of the event.

Included in the evening was a painting. It looked a little more challenging then I felt capable of but we gave it a shot.
Here was the instructors version…

 

Here’s how ours turned out…

I’m not really sure if purple poppies even exist but I apparently like to be different. Of course about 5 woman went with purple in the session following mine after they saw my ‘rebel’ painting so it didn’t end up being too different!

 

 

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Mom’s Night Out: Escape Chamber

You know how to tell that you have the world’s best friends? When you comment on wanting to try the latest thing you heard about….escape rooms and 20 minutes later they’ve found a Groupon and you’ve got a time slot booked!

Because we weren’t really familiar with the apparently wide spread phenomenon we didn’t realize there were so many, including one much closer but the groupon was for Escape Chambers in Milwaukee so we made an evening out of it and stopped for dinner before our time.  We planned to hit Rock Bottom Brewery but when we got there the wait was way too long. So we wandered across the street to Mo’s Irish Pub where we were seated right away and had the most amazing food. Oh and of course a cocktail…

Seriously the best grilled cheese and delicious tomato soup that was almost too cute too eat…almost!

We may have eaten a bit too much and were ready for naps after dinner, but we walked it off a bit by walking to the mall where Escape Chambers is located.  Once there we met the rest of our group (if you don’t meet the minimum group size for a specific room you’ll be combined with another party for your time) and learned the details of the room we selected.  Most escape room places have multiple different themed rooms to choice from Escape Chambers Milwaukee has four.  I won’t ruin any of the details for you but we chose the Stalk Photo room. Here’s the preview from their site:

So we had an hour to find the clues etc to escape…and we made it to the very last obstacle/lock but didn’t make it out before the time ran out.

“Almost” Escaped

It was fun but if I did it again I’d definitely make sure to go with enough people to make up the full group as we found the rest of our group fairly pushy and honestly didn’t listen to us or even let us see some of the elements (we never even made it into the last room to see the last lock, maybe we could have figured it out).

Although we didn’t QUITE escape, we figured we still deserved a treat and we’d seen Mo’s had a yummy looking cookie for dessert so we stopped back in for dessert before hitting the road.

And then as it usually is with this crew, a stop at Starbucks was a must…

 

 

 

 

:::Insert Cheesy Cliche Here:::

“They grow up so fast”…”Cherish every moment”…”They’re only little once”

All these are things that parents of young kids can easily tire of hearing. I know as a mom of two just over a year apart, I drew many comments from well intentioned strangers.  Thankfully, only once after becoming a mother for a third time did the urge to punch one of said strangers come to me, just for a moment, while at the pharmacy with two children dancing around my feet while a third cried to be held while I needed all the arms I had to handle what I was doing.  But I quickly reminded myself that this presumably very kind lady had not seen my morning and had no idea how much I’d “cherished” them that day and how little her ‘advice’ was helping me at that exact moment.

Now I don’t presume myself to be a wise old mom, ready to pass down all the answers to parenting, but I am far enough removed from the diapers and carseat, etc to know…they were right…it does go so quick!  I know I make empty-nesters giggle as I share my struggle to accept the growing up of my boys, the first of which will graduate 8th grade this year, but high school feels like such a huge milestone to me.  Being able to look eye to eye with my “baby” leaves me unable to deny that while in fact the days STILL are long, the years have flown by so insanely quickly.

I swear this feels like just yesterday and a thousand years ago all at the same time!

Mom’s Night Out: Paint Party

I love all things artsy or crafty so when a friend wanted to do a paint night, I was all for it. I was a total bonus that it was being held at a new-ish local restaurant we’ve been wanting to check out called the Chocolate Sanctuary. I mean does it really sound like you could go wrong there.

If you’ve never attended a paint night, there are lots of different companies that offer them now all over the country. This was the company doing the instructing for this one. They had two instructors and provide all the materials you need.
Of course, mom’s night out has to include a beverage and being held at the Chocolate Sanctuary it HAD to be a chocolate one!

Yes it was totally as yummy as it looks.

This was the end goal for the evening…

I must admit I struggled some along the way but eventually we all got something that looks at least some what as planned!!

If I could I’d do the bow over again…but over all it was a super fun night with great friends!

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We LOVE the 90s

There’s just something about the music from when you were a teenager that takes you back. So when I saw an ad on Facebook for a show practically in my backyard at a beautiful venue featuring Vanilla Ice, Coolio and Tone Loc, I HAD to go!!!!
So I rounded up the crew, made up some matching “Ice Ice Baby” t-shirts and we hit the town 90s style!!!

First we hit the bar, where I was so excited to see some themed specialty drinks…
I couldn’t resist having a Funky Cold Medina at a Tone Loc show, but the Ice Ice Baby had to be tried too…

If you’re familiar with any of these acts you’d probably wonder how they’d fill three hours (yes it was slated for a three house show). Of course they each did their big hits, they did some covers and they did some free stylin’. Mostly it was just a party. We sang along and danced the whole time. It was a total blast! SO glad we went!!

And I’m surprised this needs to be said but if you plan to see any of these guys (or similar) know that it won’t be completely kid friendly. We did see some pretty young kids and even some grown ups were slightly shocked by some of the content. That’s just your common sense PSA for the day!

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Drama Queen

I’ve probably been called a drama queen once or twice in my life. But never did I expect to called ‘assistant director,’ but I currently am. I offered to help with the drama club play this year at the middle school because last year it seemed like the teacher advisor didn’t have much help…and apparently I was right. I showed up to the first rehearsal and was declared the assistant director.
We’re running on a super short timeline with just 2 weeks of practice before they put on Death to the Drama Club. They’ve been working hard and I’m impressed with how far they’ve come, especially the lead parts, so quickly. And I’m enjoying getting to know a group of kids I mostly hadn’t met before. Hopefully I’ll have some fun photos to share of a successful show next week!!

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The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

november-unlocked

I don’t know about you but my phone has become an extension of my body. While I do have some safety and etiquette rules for phones in our house, for the most part my phone is always at my side.  It is my keeper of lists, appointments and memories.  With no fewer than 3 alarms set at any given time it helps get us where we need to be on time, and it OFTEN helps me know how to get there too.  And of course the photos…oh the priceless photos I am able to capture because it’s always handy.  But what ISN’T handy is contracts, rules and restrictions from cell carriers.  But thanks to Best Buy, you know longer have to worry about restrictions when it comes to purchasing your perfect new phone.  You can now purchase unlocked mobile phones from Best Buy.  If you’re not familiar with unlocked phones, they’re the same great quality phones from the brands you already love, they just aren’t tied to a specific carrier or contract.  And right now, Best Buy has an Unlocked Smartphone savings event going on with sales on Samsung, Huawei, Moto, Sony, BLU, Alcatel and ZTE smartphones.

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