Raising Teenagers, Travel With Kids

Family Travel “Break” for Teens

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Someone once told me that some teens get to a point where, in order for them to enjoy a family vacation, they need to take a friend along.  While I think my teen would definitely complain less and might even pack her suitcase on time if she had a friend beside her, I’m not ready to “go there” yet, since I think our younger daughter would feel left out (not to mention she’d pester the teens a bunch), and I know my husband wouldn’t want to walk around in his pajamas in front of the friend if we all shared a hotel …

My Published Articles

My Day With Ted Kennedy and his Family

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I don’t know why, but my tiny hometown (Burlington, Iowa, pop. 28,000) sure got its share of celebrity visits while I was growing up, and I got to experience a lot of them.  Red Skelton shook my hand, and Bob Hope signed my blue flowered autograph book not far from where my friend Debbie wrote “Roses are red, lillies are white, here’s my name, to prove I can write!”  I got to meet Chauncey, the famous cougar from the Mercury auto ads, and watched in total reverance as Miss America Phyllis George banged out “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” on …

Overscheduled Kids

Flipping Upside Down for Kids’ Activities

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Should parents encourage kids to do whatever extracurricular activity “floats their boat”, or encourage them in skills they can enjoy as hobbies later in life? For example, volleyball or running? Cheerleading or swimming? Skating or dancing? Football or golf? And once the choice has been made, do we think about what that will eventually mean to our families, time-wise and dollar-wise, if they progress?    

My husband and I have been thinking a lot about this topic lately as our youngest daughter recently was accepted onto the city gymnastics team.  She’s always been agile, climbing and hanging on everything, always been tiny for her age, so I …

Dealing With Back Talk, Raising Teenagers

Yahoos and Boo-hoos

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I cried yesterday on the first day of school.  I didn’t think I would.  I mean, I’ve been looking forward to this day.  As a work-at-home mom with two kids, back-to-school means I can get more work done.  Peacefully.  Back-to-school means I can go back to my exercise class.  I can play my own choice of music at my desk without it clashing with the theme song to The Suite Life With Zack and Cody– and sing along if I choose!  And I can clean …

Domestic Engineering, Kids and Cleaning

The Big “But”

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I’m throwing in the towel about…well, about throwing the towel.  And the clothes. And the shoes, magazines, old shopping bags, old Kleenexes, and everything else that my teen manages to throw on her floor.  See, I’ve decided, with the high school years dawning bright and early on Monday, that I’m giving up the battle of the teen bedroom. I’ve decided that my daughter is truly not a morning person and I’m tired of deducting allowance every time her bed isn’t made or her clothes aren’t picked up by noon.  Like I said in a previous post, she always …

Random Thoughts

It’s A Different World…

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This has been a week of eye-opening experiences that has made me think a lot about the state that I now call “home”.

On Friday night, Allison and her friends introduced me to a TV show called “Toddlers and Tiaras”, a documentary-type show that shows the behind-the-scenes workings of beauty pageants for young children (even babies).  I watched in horror as a tiny three-year-old who looked exactly like a pint-sized version of Anna Nicole Smith was forced to endure a photo session while she was sick with fever.  …

Raising Girls, Random Thoughts

When Mom Dresses Like A Teen

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I once bought jeans a few years ago from Limited, Too– for myself! No, I’m not a size zero.  Just a busy mom who never has time to shop for herself, yet gets dragged to the mall on numerous occasions by her oldest daughter so that she can shop. So there I was one day, bored, waiting while my then pre-teen daughter was trying on clothes (and I kept waiting….. and waiting…..) and sick of listening to the pounding pop beats played nonstop in that store, and I started thinking “outside the box”.  Hmmm, I …

Domestic Engineering, Giving Kids Some Freedoms

Just A Spoonful of Sugar…

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Heard while walking out of the grocery store yesterday, spoken to me by my 10-year-old, Emmie: “You are so lucky, you get to do this all the time!”
She was talking about grocery shopping. 

It wasn’t that she’d never been to a supermarket before.  I have my share of kids-whining-at-grocery-store stories, or kids-reading-embarassing-magazine-covers-in-the-checkout-line stories, or kids-shopping-together-and-running-their-cart-into-people stories.  Yesterday was different, because for the first time, I let her take a copy of my shopping list and one of those small plastic “carry baskets” and head out into the grocery store, alone, while I pushed my cart around and got the …

Stop this family and let me off!

The Roller Coaster of Parenting (Not For The Faint of Heart)

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I know now what I’m going to tell people if asked why I don’t like roller coasters. It’s because riding on one would be redundant. I’m already on one that has bigger drops, tighter turns, and makes me scream and cry just as much, if not more, than anything at Six Flags or Disneyland. So who needs another?

Case in point:

Last Thursday night (the coaster goes down) Andy, Allison and I have tickets to the evening production of “A Chorus Line” at Dallas’ Fair Park Music Hall.  When it’s time to leave for the show, Allison’s not ready and …

Giving Kids Some Freedoms

Postcards from Camp

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Well, we’ve heard from Emmie at camp– and the verdict is…..well so far…(drumroll please)…thumbs up!!! Whew. I was just a teensy bit worried.  One reason is because she insisted on signing up for the “tent unit” at the camp (i.e. no electricity– no AC and no fans) and the forecast called for 100-degree-plus days every day this week.  The weather predictors were correct– it’s been fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk hot! The other reason is that our car (that would be, my glorious minivan) overheated on the way to camp and we were delayed while my husband fixed the problem (Thank you, God, …