Tag Archives: Basketball

Oh, What a Night……

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……..savoring more moments! Not to beat a dead horse, but, we’re down to the last few weeks of hockey being the center of our family’s universe. It was a particularly poignant weekend. Saturday night the Be All and End All Academy celebrated Senior Night.


Hands down, I think that hockey has to be one of the coolest sports EVER. Hockey players are modern day Gladiators (Gerard Butler and Russell Crowe watch out!). From where I sit, to be a great hockey player requires the hand-eye coordination of a baseball player, the endurance of an Iron Man, the speed of a sprinter, the tenacity of a middle linebacker, and the finesse of a Michael Jordan, all while balancing on a ¼” thick blade. Why do you think they call Gretzky ‘The Great One”?

I think our family totally could have been Canadian! Our neighbors to the North eat, sleep, and breathe hockey. In fact, they have television stations devoted to showcasing local Mite teams, which is awesome. They even have ice rinks in their shopping malls. Here in the Sates (eh) however, hockey remains somewhat of a cult like phenomenon (though, thanks to the Blackhawks, Sid “The Kid” Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, it’s rapidly gaining in popularity).

Mainstream high school sports, like football and basketball, draw huge crowds, while our hockey program is lucky to draw our parents. Maybe it’s the late nights and the distances less near, more far. Perhaps it’s because most casual onlookers don’t understand the traditions and rules of the game. Senior night, however, was a completely different animal. There were posters lining the school hallways and announcements shouted over the loud speaker; balloons, buzz and fanfare.


The senior moms were asked to make a poster, highlighting the boys (or girl…..as our goalie, while utterly fierce, is the prettiest little thing and the only girl in the Catholic League) careers in hockey. You know I am a total sucker for nostalgia, so I loved sorting through our family photos, pictures of Nick rollerblading in the cul-de-sac, kissing the Stanley Cup at the Hockey Hall of Fame and action shot after action shot.

The seniors got together for dinner before the game, dressed in suits (and a very fashionable cocktail dress). They had their pictures taken and greeted their parents out on the ice before the ceremonial puck drop. The best part, though, was the fans. The house was packed as they cheered their team on to victory. Nick had a goal, an assist and his best hit on defense of the season (the opposing player was airborne!).

While I’m no where near ready to let my Nick move on, it was quite a night!

More hockey, more fanfare, more memories, more special moments…….



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Family Life; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly…

As the More is More Mom®, I am all about….. more mixing things up. When the kids were little, Chucks hours permitted for him to be home everyday by 3:15 p.m. Seriously, these kids were just finishing their afternoon snack by the time he walked in the door. Those were the days……


While being self employed meant that Chuck could almost never miss a day of work, much less take a real vacation, we had him for what mattered most to us, which was our everyday life. Most dads have more conventional work schedules, but Chucks suited us just fine. With him being home so early, he really got to be a part of our home life; the good, the bad and the ugly. 

You know how much I like to have fun, so the kids were forever be-bopping back and forth with friends. With a motto like mine, more of everything is always better, clearly extending to the quantity of friends as well, we always had a house full. Nick and the fellas loved to play baseball in our backyard. They wore out the grass at the pitchers mound, home plate and first base. The boys were always so sweet to allow Amanda to get in on the action too, one boy remarking to the others, “Don’t get Sis out.”She would prefer to hit off the “T” much to Nick’s distress. He maintained that she would never get any better if she didn’t take the pitch, and he was perfectly willing to pitch her a thousand balls for the sake of authenticity (like mother, like son). Amanda, of course, had no desire to ever take the pitch, forever happy to hit off the “T”, which always lead to a heated debate (otherwise known as…..the ugly). It was great that Chuck was home to umpire/referee the game before there was a bench clearing brawl.

We were lucky that Chuck almost never missed a hockey, basketball, baseball or track practice, much less games, which is a good thing because Nick always likes us to be watching. Every time he would take the ice, step up to the free throw line, approach the batters box or take his position at the starting line, he glanced up to make sure we were watching, and naturally we were. At the ripe old age of 18 his still makes sure we never miss a shift, and we never would.

Not only was he home for practices, but he was always home for dinner. Some nights we would eat dinner at 4:30pm because of Nick’s hockey practices, but that’s okay. The most important part was that we were together. As the homemaker, the only downside to ones husband always being home was that men typically like a real meal for dinner. You know the drill; salad, meat, potatoes, vegetables, dessert….. for 20 years. That’s a lot of four course meals.

Well, the other night, Chuck went out to dinner and to the Hawks game with some of the fellas. I turned to both my pals (High School students now; practically grown ups) and suggested breakfast for dinner. Amanda said, “OMG! That’s exactly what I was thinking!” Nick asked, “Can we have chocolate chip pancakes and scrambled eggs?” Sure! The sky’s the limit. How about bacon too? We got the eggs cracking, the bacon sizzling, the toast toasting and the maple syrup drizzling. While the cats away, the mice will play. It was delightful!

More comfort food, more tasty goodness, more being in cahoots…together!

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Summer Break…..I’m Bored!

Here we are, in the House of More (more commitments, more busy-ness, more work, more fun), and we suddenly find ourselves with nothing to do. This, I believe, is the phenomenon know as……Summer Break.

We have certainly mastered the art of managing busy-ness, it’s the art of relaxation that we have a problem with. Having become so accustomed to schedules and deadlines, we haven’t an inkling as to what down time looks like, and when we stumble across it, what to do with it….

With two teenagers in our household, we are well passed day camps and play dates (those were the days; the simple pleasure of meeting friends at the community pool and chasing down the ice cream man…..moments lost in time. ). Monday was the first day, of the first week, of Summer Break. It started out with a little structure; Amanda was off to the gym for 4 hours of practice (5 days a week) and Nick and I were off to the photographer’s studio for his Senior Portrait (Senior Portrait?!? I could have sworn it was only yesterday that he was making us handprint cards with his little hands dipped in finger paint!). When Amanda and I returned home after gym, all I heard about was how BORING our house is. How there is nothing to do. How we don’t have our own pool (poor babies). How we don’t even have a trampoline (I’m sorry, we cannot afford one more visit to the orthopedists office!). How boring life is……and this was day one. Happy Hour couldn’t get here fast enough!

Nick is the easy one (in this instance….typically he is far more complicated). He is an Honor Caddy at the Winsome Golf Course, so he spends 5-6 days a week caddying (this is his fifth summer as “a looper, you know, a caddy” ~ Caddyshack). It’s actually an awesome gig. He’s at the shack by 6:50am, signs in and hopes to get a bag. He usually gets out, and is home by 2pm, most of the time. This is only his second summer driving. Over the previous three years we would drive him to the golf course in the morning, with his bike in tow (one of his friends would always tell me, as I was unloading Nick’s bike from the trunk of our SUV, that Nick could ride his bike to the caddy shack, that I didn’t have to drive him every day. I did, actually, because that is one of the pleasures of being a mom. Sometimes I would bring him lunch too. Scandalous!). After his loop, he would ride his bike the four miles home, almost always stopping at this hamburger joint (where all the caddies hang out) for a hamburger, fries and a chocolate shake. The perfect summer; caddying, golfing, hockey and driving yourself, what else could a boy ask for?

Now the teenage daughter, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. Boys are easy (read: simple), they play baseball, the play basketball, they play golf and they play video games (with a gaggle of friends, or just one pal). Amanda is lucky she has gymnastics to occupy her time, but what is your average teenage girl supposed to do for the rest of the day (and don’t say read or help clean up around the house. I can hear the eyeballs rolling from here already)? Go to the pool (if it’s not raining, but it seems like it rains a lot), go out to lunch (from time to time), go to the mall (on occasion, but Dad’s not made of money), go to the movies (when there’s something good to see, and more importantly age appropriate) and hang out at each others houses. Hmmm, I suppose when I make the list, and see it in black and white, those are pretty darn good options! Summer shouldn’t be that boring after all.

When life gives you lemons (free time?), make lemonade (find something fun to do?); or else I’ll give you a dust cloth and a bottle of cleaning solution and then you can tell me all about how bored you are……..


I have entered a contest to host my own show on the OWN (Oprah Winfrey’s Network). Please visit my audition, view it and vote. If you like it, vote often and early…..that’s the Chicago way!

Vanessa’s Audition: Vanessa – The More Is More Mom – OWN TV http://myown.oprah.com/audition/index.html?request=add_video&entity_id=208208159


Thank you for your support!!! I appreciate it!!

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Go Big, or Go Home (I Happen to Think You Can Do Both)….A Visit to the Arhaus Store

I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment in time in which we lost control of our lives. I suppose like anything it was a natural progression; Chuck and I dated, were engaged, got married and started a family. When Nicholas and Amanda were little tykes it was mind numbing, but relatively simple; wake up, keep the house, care for the children, cook the meals, bathe the babies, watch a little TV and head off to bed. The fact that we have a pocket door that separates our Family Room from our Kitchen has been both a burden (completely lacking in the “Open Floor Plan Concept,” hence limiting the “flow” when company is present……and, as I am the More is More Mom®, you can imagine that company, of some sort, is frequently present) and a blessing (in the beginning the pocket door was a wonder, enabling us to corral the children in the hours after dinner and before bed…our people are total night owls…..allowing us time to catch up on evening programming like Seinfeld and E/R, back in the day; while also allowing for peace and privacy in our Family Room for reading (ha,ha,ha) or TV viewing (far more likely) and permitting a flurry of daily activity in our Kitchen simultaneously.). One day, out of the blue, madness ensued…..

Then, it would appear, over night, it all changed; at the tender age of 4, Nicholas started playing hockey, and over the years, added baseball, added basketball, added cross country, added track, and added golf. Amanda begged to take a gymnastics class herself, at the age of 4 (must be a magical age), was instantly invited to attend class twice a week, and all of the sudden that was that, she became a full time competitive gymnast……life became pretty busy.

As if Chuck’s career pursuits haven’t been crazy enough, sustaining our family, eleven years ago I started my own little Interior Decorating Business. Plain and simple; I Am A Worker. This probably comes as no shock to you, but you are looking at your 2005, Our Lady of Perpetual Donations, Volunteer of the Year. Oh yeah! One of my mottos is: If it takes up all of our time, uses up all of our resources and makes absolutely no sense what-so-ever… sign us up!!

Now, like a hundred years later, I find myself with a little more free time than I’ve ever experienced before. Nicky drives (frightening and fantastic), Amanda is at gym 20hours a week (frightening and fantastic), leaving me with time I could have only dreamed about! So, what is a girl to do?

Well…I must share with you; one of my pursuits has been to take advantage of all of the wonderful opportunities to develop relationships in the world of Interior Design. I have been racing from cocktail party….with SWAG (!)….to cocktail party….with SWAG (!) and have learned of, and seen (oh bliss!), many wonderful and exciting things.

Last week I attended a soiree at the Arhaus Store. Their store in South Barrington, IL was a visual delight! I had an opportunity to chit chat with the Visual Art Director, Adam, who represented their three Chicago-land stores. What I observed was over-the –top, repetition-for-visual-impact Design….

A gigantic cylinder vase, filled with river rock, water and a fresh stem of greenery.

Another of their gigantic cylinder vases, this time filled with grass (organic and brilliant)!!

Simple green recycled bottles, displayed as a beautiful collection.

Back to the Beach: Bell Jars displaying a collection of sea-shells and an enormous hurricane filled with sand, a candle and more sea-shells! I am dreaming of a visit from Frankie Avalon (Venus, if you will….) and Annette Funicello (of Mickey Mouse Club Fame)….

Again (See my Cinco De Mayo Celebration and my visit to Home Depot), we are observing the whimsical spiky plant as a decorative element (can I pick ‘em or what?)…

Animal skins…. as rugs (lions, and tigers and bears….and zebra’s)…. Oh My!


What I adore is the over-the-top-fantasy of it all…

You know what they say…..Go Big, or Go Home! As the More is More Mom®, I think you can do both!

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