Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Thinker….Intellectual Curiosity is Highly Overrated

At a family party earlier this year I was watching Nick, deep in conversation, and was struck by what a bright and articulate young man he has become. It dawned on me that it would not be long before he was way smarter than me, and we could very easily run out of things to talk about. I haven’t been able to understand his complicated Math for eons, and I’m really not that interested. As for Science, well quite frankly, I would rather step on a rake than ponder the Scientific Method. Nick is just wrapping up Latin III, and that’s all Greek to me, so to speak. But English? I’ve got a fighting chance because…….I can read.

Suddenly, I had a flash of genius (otherwise know as a Lucy Ricardo moment)! I could keep up with him by reading the same fine works of literature that were assigned to him in his English class (these are of course assignments I myself would have missed in High School while I was hanging out at the Mc Donald’s across the street. Oddly enough, Ronald Mc Donald did not distribute a syllabus at the beginning of the semester, and likely the only thing to read, other than the menu, would have been the calorie count for each item lovingly fried in their kitchen. I know that must have been frightening, which would surely have been the reason that I didn’t read that either.). I was very proud of myself for being so noble, and inquired, “What are you reading now?” Unfortunately Nick responded with, “Macbeth.” Macbeth? Really? The Bard? The only thing I know of Shakespeare is Jack Benny asking, “To be, or not to be? That is the question.” That’s not the question. The question is: what the Hell does that mean?

I guess I thought he’d be reading something cool like To Kill a Mockingbird or Catcher in the Rye. Saddened by my rotten luck, I asked Chuck to stop at Border’s on his way home from work and pick up a copy of Macbeth. I was determined to struggle through. My mom suggested, since I wouldn’t be tested on it, why didn’t I just get the Cliff Notes (I’m showing my age, because the youngsters today go directly to Spark Notes on line…..), you know, in order to get the flavor of the story (she never suggested that when I had to read a book!)? This was just the kind of idea that I could run with.

Well, then I looked at the Cliff Notes, and they looked super boring, so then I thought about renting the movie. But, who had time to watch or read boring Shakespeare? I zipity zipped over for a quick TJ Maxx and More fix instead. You know, intellectual curiosity is highly overrated. I have come to the conclusion that Nick and I have a lot in common. We love the Cubs, our baby Wrigley, silly movies and 30 Rock marathons. We’ll have plenty to talk about because love and laughter (and Vince Vaughn) are a universal language…..

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If One is Good…Two Must Be Better


I am a More is More kind of gal, so you can only imagine how much I love jewelry! I have an awesome collection, if I don’t say so myself. I am partial to all kinds of baubles, particularly in quantity……..

Of course I am enamored with fine jewelry (Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend), but I am also a total sucker for fabulous costume finds! My favorite go to purveyors are J Crew, Banana Republic and the Kate Spade Outlet Store, but I am an equal opportunity horder. In fact, about this time three years ago I was invited to an in home jewelry party (not the Silpada kind that is so popular. Actually my neighbor is a Silpada “Dealer”, gems being her drug of choice. Years ago I hosted an in home party for her and so many gals came, imbibed and shopped that I received almost $900.00 in complimentary product. If is sparkles…they will come.) featuring knock off Tiffany pieces. Being the thoughtful and considerate guest that I am, I made a little purchase. I had been eyeing a Butterfly Necklace in the real Tiffany catalog, and when I saw the knock off I thought, “Why not?” Well, I’ll tell you why not……because Chuck was mad as a hornet (!); certainly not because I bought something, but because he wanted to surprise me and had already purchased the real Tiffany Butterfly Necklace for me for Mother’s Day. I loved it, cherished it, and wore it all the time.

Last year for Mother’s Day I was lucky enough to have a beautiful Roberto Coin necklace bestowed upon me. How ever did they know? (Oh yeah… was the picture of the necklace that I ripped from the catalog, with a rewards coupon, that I left on Chuck’s desk that might have been the tip off). Well now I was in quite a quandary. Which necklace should I wear? I loved them both. As the More is More Mom® the answer was crystal clear…….Wear them both! If one is good, clearly “MORE” must be better!!

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Not Quite 27 Dresses…..But Almost!


(This is a re-enactment of Amanda repeatedly locking herself out of the fitting room. She is a gal on a mission, and has little time to waste waiting for the nearly non-existent sales girl to return with a key. She’s in 8th grade; we don’t have time to wait until prom.)

As I am the More is More Mom® it should come as no surprise that my daughter would “need”…….. more dresses! Amanda is graduating from the 8th grade at Our Lady of Perpetual Donations Grammar School. One might think that it is kind of a given that our children graduate from 8th grade (though they would certainly have surpassed famed scholar Jethro Bodine), and question the reason for such jubilation, but you have to understand the situation to appreciate all of the pomp and circumstance.

Our Lady of Perpetual Donations is a wonderful and magical place. It is a tiny bubble, with in the bubble of Winsome, IL…..where winning is a way of life. Amanda, following in her brother Nicholas’s footsteps, began her academic pursuits as a student in the Three Year Old Pre-School class at Our Lady of Perpetual Donations eleven years ago. She was so cute! The Pre-Schooler’s are not required to wear a uniform to school, but because Amanda had been chasing after Nick and the “big kids” for the previous 2 years, she was determined to be excluded no longer! She wore an authentic, hand-me-down, blue plaid jumper, with her favorite denim button down shirt, argyle tights and gold sparkle shoes. She was smashing!

There are 67 students graduating in Amanda’s class, most of whom have known each other since the age of three. The class is small, the experience intimate. They will go to one of 8 different High Schools, so the end of their 8th grade year really is the end of an era. The festivities that lead up to graduation are a celebration of their year’s together and becoming young adults.

And how does one celebrate such milestones? With excessive, fabulous attire and accessories of course! We were in “need” of dresses for; Confirmation, May Crowning, the Formal Eighth Grade Dance and Graduation Day (Heaven forbid a dress be worn twice!). We kicked off Dress Shopping Extravaganza 2010 with two of Amanda’s closest friends CC (see Fourteen and Fearless, January 2010) and Rosebud, for a Mother/Daughter Day of perusing and lunching (read: no cocktailing, as it was the middle of the afternoon, and we had to drive. Responsible Mother’s of the Year.); so many dresses, so many absolutely and completely inappropriate choices! Good people of the fashion industry please take note: most mothers don’t want their daughters dressing like Hoochie Mama’s (and their father’s like it even less). Watch the cleavage and watch the hemlines!

The prevailing number of outrageously inappropriate offerings necessitated numerous excursions to The Mall (my happy place). We shopped with friends, we shopped alone, and we had a wonderful day with my mom and Auntie Terri. Of course once we found the dresses we were on a mad search for shoes. Amanda is a gem of a girl who is true to herself (I LOVE THAT!). She flat out refused to consider a shoe with even the slightest heel (really, have you ever seen the little girls playing dress up, teetering around in shoes that would make a street walker cringe? Ridiculous.), and we found three fantastic pairs of shoes that suit her, and her charming dresses, to a “T”.

The Confirmation Dress, from Von Maur (Please note the poppy sweater, Old Navy, Spring Collection, 2009):

We loved these linen look ballet flats with the satin rose embellishment (also from Von Maur, by Blowfish, Malibu. They were only $40.00!). They are perfect with Amanda’s selection for Graduation as well.

The Graduation Dress, from Nordstrom’s:

May Crowning, from J Crew (they have the best t-shirts, sweaters, costume jewelry and flip-flops EVER, as I am sure First Lady, Michelle Obama, would certainly agree ~ I adore her fashion sense.):

Look at these little hot pink creations by B.P. for Nordstrom’s. I can’t get enough of the pink and white gingham check!

For her 8th Grade Formal Dance (which just so happens to be on the same night as Amanda’s Gymnastics Team Banquet. You know we love more of everything, including complicated matters….), another offering from Von Maur:

Lastly, the piece de résistance, a beautiful pair of glistening, buttery yellow, snake skin sandals with amazing ruffle detail (if only they were a half size bigger!), by Kelsi Dagger, also from the fabulous shoe salon at Nordstrom’s:

While the dresses are lovely, and the shoes perfectly appropriate, the very best part was the time I got to spend with my gal. Creating meaningful experiences is what it’s all about…….

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Champs Like Us…Baby We Were Born To Run

You would never look at me and say, “Oh yes, she’s definitely a runner.” The words that would come to mind run more along the lines of moth-er, shop-er, merry mak-er, cocktail-er…..all the other “er’s.” But, the fact of the matter is, I love to run. More than loving to run, I love to run with my Wrigley. We are not fair weather runners either, we’re hardcore. Everyone likes to be outside when it’s nice, but we’re not like everyone else. If it’s raining, I wear a slicker. Heaven knows I’m not sweet enough to melt. And Wrigley, well, he’s a water dog, so he dries pretty easily. Winter’s no problem. I bundle up and wear one of those face masks that make me look like an armed robber, but really after about a mile I’m so hot the hat comes off, then I have to unzip my coat, and finally I take off my mittens. As for the Wiggler, he’s a Labrador. He’s a man’s man. He could go on forever in the cold.

I do my best thinking while on our runs. When else would I possibly have the time to conceive all of my hair brained schemes? There is just nothing like being outside, listening to your music and being with one of your favorite people of Earth. I’m not kidding, as we jog along Wrigley glances back at me, over his shoulder, and smiles.

This past year has been kind of a stinker for us. I am a big loser and tore my meniscus. I was out for five months, which meant that poor Wrigley was out for five months too. While I was able to bike and go to the health club, my little pup was bored out of his mind. Wrigley is a serious athlete. Going for a walk around the block was boring, and going to the park for us to throw a tennis ball for him was a rather pathetic substitution. I begged Nick to take him for a run, and he obliged me on a few occasions, though he always returned in a huff telling me that I trained him to run too slow. Hello…that’s how we run. I said we loved it, I didn’t say we were any good it.

As the More is More Mom® I have little time for rules and a reasonable course of action, so I released myself from inactive duty. The day we got back in the saddle was one of Wrigley’s happiest days. He panted, and slobbered and grinned from ear to ear. Fast forward to January 19th of this year; my baby and I were on a quick jaunt and I felt a twinge of pain in my right knee. RATS! Having previously been to the doctor for a knee injury, I felt fairly confident about making a diagnosis (never mind that I’ve not been to medical school. I watched General Hospital for years, especially in it’s hey day with Dr. Noah Drake.).

Another three month break from running seemed completely sufficient. Anyway, Wrigley was bored to tears and I just couldn’t take it anymore. Thursday I was on a mad search for the knee brace we paid $75.00 for when Nick was complaining of knee pain two years ago. For $75.00 it should be practically bionic. I slid it on, tightening the Velcro to the point of nearly cutting off my circulation, tied my shoes, put on my head phones, cranked the tunes and took my baby for a spin. What a day; the sun was shining, the breeze was warm, I wasn’t limping and Wrigley was smiling……….

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Catch Up…….With Cupcakes!!

Why are the days so fraught with obligations and commitments? It’s absolutely exhausting. The frenetic pace of a busy family is akin to a tornado whipping through our homes, leaving destruction and ruin in our wake; the piles of paperwork and projects, discarded clothes and shoes, the yard work, the housework. Absolute madness I tell you. Today I was thrilled to have a “Catch Up” day, where I just got to be a mom.

I know it doesn’t sound relaxing, or exciting, but to me there is little as thrilling as trying, in some small way, to get my life in order. I relish that feeling of accomplishment when I check something off my list. It makes me feel like I’m making progress somewhere. Let’s see, after I went to the health club this morning, and worked my facial muscles (mostly around my mouth) more than anything else, I came home to sort through the miles of piles of papers that have begun to over take my kitchen counter. I folded laundry, brought those items to the appropriate bedrooms, started more laundry, washed the mudroom floor (it gets filthy. I don’t know what’s worse; that which Wrigley tracks in, or that of the children… Nick wearing his dirty golf shoes, with grass caught in the spikes, in to the house? Hmmmm, I think man’s best friend might not be the biggest factor. That’s why he’s man’s best friend.).

Having the luxury of time today, I looked in my pantry to find that I was in possession of Dunkin Hines chocolate cake mix. What screams “great mom” better than a freshly backed after school treat (which was made practically from scratch)? I whipped up the mix in a matter of seconds and made 28 cupcakes (I might have made more, but I was too busy licking the bowl…..breakfast of champions!). I do always like to be prepared for any potential event, or social situation, so I am usually pretty well stocked; cupcake liners, mixes, frosting and sprinkles for instance. I frosted my cupcakes (and was brave enough not to lick the spatula afterward) and embellished them with colorful pastel sprinkles.

Sadly, because I had made so many, I didn’t have enough room for all of the treats on my pedestal cake plate. As the More is More Mom® you can imagine that I am rather well equipped to manage most household matters with relative ease. So, I zipped down to the basement and pulled out two of my portable treat carriers. These are awesome. I got them about 100 years ago at Wal-Mart for $2.98 each (I have four…and you must be totally shocked that they do not hail from the land of Target), and they are perfect for transporting cupcakes. They have a handle and a lid and they stack very nicely. I filled up two and stored them in my extra refrigerator in the mudroom.

Well, as I was finishing washing the dishes (I do have a dishwasher, a lovely one as a matter of fact, but I love doing dishes….and ironing. Is that weird?) Amanda called and asked if she and her group of classmates could come to our house to work on their school project. Perfect! Now I knew what I was going to do with all of those cupcakes!

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