Tag Archives: Chicago Blackhawks

Hockey Is….. Life!

As the More is More Mom®, I am all about…more hockey memories! This season marks the 14th year my Nick has been playing hockey, and he’s #14. Coincidence? I think not. This weekend was the official kick off of our hockey season; the beginning of the end….


Hockey has probably been the single most consistent unifying experience of our family life. When Nick was 4 years old, Chuck took him to see the Blackhawks play and then he begged for skating lessons. One Saturday, while the boys were out running errands, Chuck quickly tired of all of the begging, and drove Nick straight to the rink to sign up for lessons. Contrary to the recommendation of the instructor, Nick insisted on wearing hockey skates rather than figure skates… and a hockey player was born.


On Saturdays, while he was in kindergarten, Nick was taking manners classes at the Clubhouse in Oak Brook and immediately afterward, we would race to the rink for hockey. The contradiction always made me laugh. In one breathe, we were stressing the importance of being gentile and polite, and in the other, we were screaming, “hit him!”


By the end of first grade, Nick was playing on a travel team and the rest was history. As a family, we had a great time. Our world revolved around the rink. We would eat dinner at 4:30pm because Nick had to be on the ice weeknights at 5:50pm. Our weekends were spent going to games near and far. We would find ourselves, with our team, which became our second family, at games on the weekends, going out to lunch and dinner as families. We’ve visited many a pizza place from the North Shore to Orland Park and as far West as Rockford. While the weekend games and family festivities were a blast, nothing could compare to our out of town tournaments. All the kids, hockey players and siblings alike, would miss a few days of school so we could hit the road for exciting locales such as Kalamazoo and Detroit. Our favorite trip, EVER, was a week in Canada…the Hockey Holy Land. No matter where we went there were pizza parties at the pool, movies in the rooms, parents cocktailing and Shinny Hockey in the halls (Shinny is the very best game; the kids play hockey on their knees with mini sticks and mini goals and lots of violence.). These were the good old days.


When the boys were off to High School, they went their separate ways, and things changed. We have a new family now……The Be All And End All Academy’s hockey team. The years here have been good, but the moments are fleeting. My Nick is a senior this year, and while hockey will always be an enormous part of his life (in fact we are only considering colleges that have Club Hockey Teams, and I would lay even money on the fact that he will forever play in a Men’s League.), this is our last season together as a family.  It’s funny, after all these years, Nick never takes the ice without a quick glance to the stands to make sure that we are watching, and we are, because we wouldn’t dream of missing a shift. I will be certain to savor each moment; shaking Nick out of bed at 5 a.m. Monday mornings for practice, Saturday night games at 9:00 p.m. and tournaments on Thanksgiving Day (where we bring mimosa’s and doughnuts). For the time being…. more hockey, more late nights, more time together, more love, more family memories…..


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Chicago Blackhawks Win the Stanley Cup…Need I say More?

Imagine that you are enjoying the musical stylings of the Fratellis playing Chelsea Dagger (or link here now):

Philadelphia Flyer, Chris Pronger, is to the Chicago Blackhawks as Syracuse Bulldogs, Ogilthorpe, is to the Kansas City Chiefs (in other words….he’s a real meanie! Can you tell we’re in ACT prep mode? By the way, you have seen the best sports movie of all time, Slap Shot, haven’t you?).

To quote Frank Valli and the Four Seasons, “Oh what a night…..” Vince Vaughn on the glass, Jeremy Roenick all choked up and misty eyed, Duncan Keith toothless, Patrick Kane with the game winning goal; Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup!!! Finally Eric Fergusson can shave his beard and Kathy Hart can shave her armpits (of Chicago’s WTMX Eric & Kathy fame). The only thing better would have been to win it at home.

17,951 days have passed since the Hawks have won the Stanley Cup, and there are so many people to thank; Joel Quenneville for his fabulous coaching, Niemi and his mad goalie skills, Big Buff’s big hits, Olympians Seabrook, Keith, Kane and Toews, and Marian Hossa’s showing at the Stanley Cup Finals, on three teams, in the past three years (I guess the third time’s the charm!). What could be more exciting than seeing the 22 year old, team captain, Jonathon Toews winning the Play-off MVP!?!

In keeping with hockey’s greatest tradition, each player is allowed 24 hours with the Stanley Cup, to do with whatever they see fit. As the More is More Mom®, if I had 24 hours with the Cup, I would fill it to the rim with Pino Grigio and we would visit every TJ Maxx and More in the tri-state area. As a hockey fan, a hockey mom and a native Chicagoan I couldn’t be prouder and happier for our Chicago Blackhawks!


Please click on the link below, and view my audition for “Your Own Show” on the OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network).  Vote early and often…that’s the Chicago way!

Vanessa’s Audition: Vanessa – The More Is More Mom – OWN TV http://myown.oprah.com/audition/index.html?request=video_details&response_id=5227&promo_id=1

Thank you for your support!! I truly appreciate your help and friendship!

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Killers…Kill Me (Kind of….)

Why am I always late for everything? As the More is More Mom®, I suppose it’s because I’m always trying to squeeze in just one more thing. However, when it comes to going to the movies, I do my level best to be on time. I hate to miss the Coming Attractions, because sometimes that’s the very best part of the movie going experience.

As with most families, evenings can be kind of tough. If we’re not racing off to a game, dropping off a gaggle of teenagers, picking up a gaggle of teenagers, we’re hosting a gaggle of teenagers that require some supervision in our home. Sunday afternoon Chuck and I were able to sneak in a quick movie run (allowing plenty of time to be home to see our Chicago Blackhawks play Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Why does the Flyer’s #19, Hartnell, look like a cross between the kindly Grizzly Adams and the Unabomber? He plays like the Unabomber). Killers looked entertaining, so why not?

It’s so exciting when there are a couple of movies that look fairly promising.

• Charlie St. Cloud didn’t look too bad if you’re a Zac Efron fan. Shocking I’m sure (because I have a teenager daughter and the Disney Chanel plays 24/7 here), but I have never seen High School Musical I, II or III (but I do think you should Get Your Head in the Game, Gotta, Getcha, getcha, getcha, getcha head in the game…). Despite the fact that there didn’t appear to be any singing or dancing involved, this picture looked sweet and touching.

• I’m afraid that the previews might very well have shown the best parts of this movie, but Going the Distance looked entertaining enough. I absolutely adore Drew Barrymore. She is the most charming gal in the motion picture business (with Sandra Bullock running a close second), so I would give it a shot for that reason alone. Throw in her on again, off again cutie pie Justin Long, and you might just have a winner (or at least not a complete stinker).

• Annette Bening and Julianne Moore make a beautiful lesbian couple in The Kids are Alright. Why not? Mark Ruffalo is the sperm donating wanna be dad, and you’ve got yourself a family comedy…..

• What do 80’s Mega-Action-Superstars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sly Stallone and Bruce Willis (totally in my top ten favorite actors EVER!!) have in common? They all star in The Expendables….. Though it does beckon the question, were Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford and Jean Claude Van Dam busy? I’m not a super fan of the Action Blockbuster, but throw in the come back kid (or old man) Mickey Rourke, his fabulously creepy costar in The Pope of Greenwich Village, Eric Roberts, martial arts expert Jet Li, Rocky’s nemesis Dolph Lundgren, current action hottie Jason Stathom, and Terry Crews (the dad on Everybody Hates Chris….)…..and I’m there!


I had extremely high hopes for Killers. I mean we’re talking about the absolutely adorable Ashton Kutcher (tweet, tweet) and the beautiful but befuddled Katherine Heigl (in the part that she endearingly plays in all of her movies).

The ever handsome Tom Selleck and the lovely and hysterical Catherine O’Hara are perfectly cast as Ms. Heigl’s parents, so where did it all go awry? The action and the intrigue were perfect in the first part of the movie. I was all about Martin Mull as Ashton’s boss. The banter was witty, with a certain Hollywood classic’s feeling. Sadly though, it became a ridiculous farce as the bounty on Ashton’s head was unveiled and everyone and their brother wanted him dead. I mean seriously, how on Earth did their suburban neighbors get their hands on all of those firearms? I live in the suburbs and we are merely armed with SUV’s, wine and a competitive edge.


Over all Killers wasn’t too bad, but it left me wanting more. I can tell you however, with certainty…..Killers was no Hot Tub Time Machine! Where is John Cusack when you need him?

PS-Please visit my audition for my own show on the OWN for Oprah. Vote early and often…..that’s the Chicago way!

Vanessa’s Audition: Vanessa – The More Is More Mom – OWN TV



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Alex, I’ll Take Potpourri for $1,000; Oprah, Lasagna and an 8th Grade Graduation.What Are; Things My Week Had in Common….

This has been a crazy week of more work, more creating, more preparation, more planning and more reminiscing………

This past week there was more work and more creating because I have been busy making an audition tape to have my very own show on Oprah’s OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network)! The Ope (as I call her) is running a contest to find a great concept for a new show on her new network. This is the moment that I have been waiting for! Over the past five years, I have written a book that is ready to be published. As you know, the essence of my message is the importance of making lasting connections to family and friends and…..creating meaningful life experiences (much of what I blog about). Well, Chuck gets the “Husband of the Year” award because I wanted to strike while the iron was hot, which was, of course, an hour before our Chicago Black Hawks played Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. At one point, he was working the camera and holding my “cue cards” up over his head……while both the Hawks and the Flyers each scored a goal minutes in to the first period. Oops. With a little editing and uploading it was ready to go (thanks to my dear friend Julia and her very patient and generous husband Marcus.).

So here’s the deal….. I need your help!! Please view my audition tape and vote (early and often…that’s the Chicago way). If you would be so kind, please forward my submission to your family and friends and ask them to vote too (BTW….. there is no limit to the number of votes you can place; again, that’s the Chicago way).

To join in the fun, please link to my audition and VOTE, VOTE, VOTE:

Vanessa’s Audition: Vanessa – The More Is More Mom – OWN TV http://myown.oprah.com/audition/index.html?request=video_details&response_id=5227&promo_id=1

More planning was involved in preparation of our family’s celebration of Amanda’s 8th grade graduation. My dad came in from Colorado. My brother came in for 24 hours from Atlanta. There was of course the fire drill of 13 people arriving for dinner at 4:30 in the afternoon, and the mad dash out the door to make it to the church on time….. I can’t wait to share my lasagna recipe with you. It was outstanding!

My eyes were misty with more reminiscing…..

When exactly did my little one grow up? Amanda has always been our baby. In fact, we call her Sister, or Sissy, or Sis, short for Little Sister (sometimes I simply call her by her middle name, Cathleen, and she answers…..). Well, Wednesday our girl graduated from the 8th grade. I know that graduating from 8th grade, in and of itself, might not seem like an accomplishment, but it does mark the passage of time. As a family, we are finishing our 13th and final year at Our Lady of Perpetual Donations Grammar School. At the age of 14, Amanda has been a student here for 11 years, so as you can imagine, we have been there for a very long time (practically since the time of the dinosaurs!).

How do you say good bye to a place that cared for and nurtured your children and helped them develop in to smart, caring and giving people? It’s a little bit like leaving home.

This was Amanda on her first day of 3 year old Pre-School.

11 years later, this is Amanda as she walked out the door to her graduation.

When one door closes, another one opens. I guess we are ready to start a new chapter in our lives. Amanda is starting High School and I want my own show with Oprah. It’s going to be quite a book….

Thank you for being so supportive. Please remember….. Vote Early and Vote Often!!!!

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