My goodbye to Martinis and Minivans.

Danielle toasting goodbye

Me, my martini and my minivan all say thank you.

You know that drunk girl at the end of an awesome party. She’s the one who is falling all over the place and saying things like, “Where we goin’ to next?” as she stops to vomit and half-wipe her mouth.

No one wants to be that girl.

No one wants to stay at a party just a bit too long and have the night start to go very wrong.

So it’s time to leave the party. To end while I’m buzzed, happy and not wanting to go streaking in my granny panties & beige bra.

I’m shutting off the lights to Martinis and Minivans.

I started this blog a little over three years ago at the exact moment I needed it. I needed an outlet to write about the crazy human beings I birthed. I need a place to call my own. I needed to find the confidence in my words.

And you all gave that to me. And for that, I’m eternally grateful.

I have loved each and every comment, hilarious observation and personal email, Tweet or message you have sent me. I have treasured the times where I felt like I had an outlet for my frustrations or a place for people to help celebrate a joy together. You have been my cheerleaders and my crowd of laughter.

Thank you so much for that.

But now it is time for me to focus on other projects.

I’m freelance writing, working on books, doing television work, finishing graduate school, and my children are starting to read, which makes writing about them unfair. I can only tell my daughter so many times that I’m writing about a different little girl who picks her nose and stores her boogers next to bed. She isn’t falling for it anymore.

I’ve thought about this a lot and it’s coming from a place of peace. It’s time for me to step away from the computer and not just write about my life, but live it more.

BUT I’M NOT GONE COMPLETELY! I’ll still be on social media. You can still find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! (Though don’t freak out when you see that I’m changing the names on the account to reflect Danielle Herzog rather than Martinis and Minivans)

And I have created a personal author page that I’d love for you to check out. It’s And that’s where you’ll find any book and career updates.

Thank you. A million times thank you. Thank you for making me feel special. Thank you for laughing at my jokes. And thank you for letting me share my life with you. I feel honored to have been given the opportunity.

I raise my martini to you all. Cheers!


The results of not drinking for one month…

kissing wine bottle

I’ll see you tonight my little bottle of love

Today is October 1. For many who are Catholic, there is Christmas. For those who are Jewish, there is Hanukkah. And for those who thought up the ridiculous idea of not drinking the entire month of September – we have October 1. The best day ever to be put on a calendar. Because today is the first day of Awesome October! The end of not drinking! The beginning of destroying my liver!  Opening up the bottle of wine tonight will be the same joy children feel opening up their presents from Santa.

So what sort of results did the month produce?

Honestly – not much.

I lost 6 pounds, then put 3 back on from ridiculous amounts of snacking I did. So all in all, I don’t think a month of depriving myself of a relaxing glass of wine at the end of the night was worth a lousy 3 pounds.

It probably would have been a good idea to, I don’t know, try to exercise and eat healthy. But hell, that was just too many changes at once. It probably also would have been a good idea to not let Little Debbie and her damn snack cakes into my home, but again, why cut off all my forms of happiness.

But I’m glad I did it. Not for anything to do with weight or healthiness or that crap. I’m happy I did it because I got to stick it to my husband and prove him wrong. Which, for those who are married know, is the ultimate form of happiness between two people who love each other dearly.

So thank you Sober September for giving me the opportunity to say “BOO-YA!” to my husband. It’s moments like this that really bring couples together.




Learning to Be a Grown-up Through Divorce – Guest Post by Rachael Koenig

When I was 27, I felt very grown-up.

I had my own car, a great job making a lot more money than most 27-year-olds I knew, an apartment with my fiancé, and a wedding to plan.

I was marrying my best friend, which also felt very grown-up. We had the important stuff in common – sense of humor, a sarcastic outlook on life and enjoyment in each other’s company.  That’s what marriage was all about, right?

After I was married, I felt even more grown-up. I had a new last name! I was a wife! I was a Mrs.! I changed my driver’s license and bank account (I had a new signature!) and felt extremely grown-up doing it all.

Marriage didn’t really change our relationship all that much. My husband and I continued to do all the same things we did as single people. I cooked dinner and played house and he sent me flowers at work and gave me greeting cards for no other reason than because he cared.

Impulsively, we decided to move from the North East down to the Outer Banks, NC because we enjoyed vacationing there so much, we were sure we would love living there. A big move together! How grown-up of us!

On the eve of our move, I discovered I was pregnant. For the first time in my marriage, I hesitated. Was this relocation still a good idea? Was this the right decision? But, it felt too late to go back on it and we went ahead with the move.

Marriage doesn’t change your relationship all that much. But, having a child sure as hell does.

Our son had colic. Or maybe he was just pissed off all the time, I didn’t know. But, the lack of sleep, the seemingly constant jarring cries of our newborn and the sinking realization that this level of responsibility was for keeps, forced us to take another look at our life together.

Our move from a well-populated metropolitan area to a vacation resort town had slashed our salaries, but not our cost of living. With more expenses and less pay, we suddenly discovered that we were both terrible with money, each accusing the other of not checking the dwindling back account before making purchases.  We had left to escape the ‘yuppie’ materialism of Connecticut for the peaceful life at the beach, and then spent every weekend driving an hour and a half to the nearest mall because we were so bored.

Finally, we admitted defeat and moved back up North – into the home of my husband’s parents. We were broke and jobless and living with the ‘rents – which is about as un-grown-up as it gets.

We fought about money, our future, living with his parents and the steadily deepening divide about how we saw our lives together. It wasn’t enough anymore to like the same jokes and enjoy going to the movies. The birth of our son had changed what I thought was important in life and I felt my path diverging from my husband’s.

When I finally decided to leave with our son, and my husband resolved to stay, I knew it was the final straw for our marriage. But as we moved toward divorce, I realized there would be no neat and tidy resolution. Having a son together meant an evolution of our relationship, not an ending. I was divorcing a husband, but not the father of my child. As much as I wanted a clean break, my responsibility to my son to maintain and support his connection to his father forced me to continue to engage with my ex-husband, and still does to this day.  And, at this point, years later, as I am remarried to someone who balances me out a little bit better, I think my ex and I are in a better place than we have been.

Here are some things that make you grow up: Making major decisions that affect not just you, but the lives of the people that matter most. Agreeing to relinquish your child for extended holidays and school vacations. Rearranging your schedule to fly up the coast to accompany your son back from a trip to see his dad. Losing precious family memories because they are happening somewhere else. Holding back emotional baggage and anger to avoid conflict for your son’s sake.

At 40, I am finally very grown-up.

Rachael Koenig is a writer and humorist.  Her site Maxisms contains essays and a collection of precocious, snarky and hilarious conversations between herself and her children. Her work has recently appeared on Scary Mommy, Role Reboot, Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop, The Mid, What The Flicka, and The New York Times Parenting Blog Motherlode . She thinks of herself as more of an essayist than a blogger, because she is old-fashioned and grumpy and out of touch with modern social media vernacular. Also, ‘blogger’ still sounds like something one would pull out of a left nostril. You can find her on Facebook.

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Flat Martini visits the Flatiron Building, and uncovers a possible conspiracy…

So so clever! That’s the first thing I thought of when I read Flat Martini’s latest adventures with E. R. Catalano from the blog Zoe vs the Universe. As a New Yorker, this post was especially fun for me. I love that Flat Martini got to experience a piece of my world for awhile. And I’m glad he’s not as afraid of heights as I am! And I’m thrilled that he made it out alive though I’m wondering if there’s a hit out for him  after reading what happened on this trip. And for all those who read The Da Vinci Code – you’ll LOVE this post!

And be sure to check out E.R. Catalano’s stuff.  She is a contributor to The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets, and her humorous essays have appeared on Scary Mommy, In the Powder Room, Club Mid,, BLUNTmoms, and Mamapedia. You can follow her on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse and on Facebook.

Here’s their adventure!

er catalano

Greetings from New York City! I was here not too long ago, but I came back to see the inside of the world famous Flatiron Building. The structure has a special place in my two-dimensional heart.

Besides our affection for all things flat, we’re also both fans of the triangular shape. Separated at birth?

Photo 1 Flatiron full view

Well, that’s where our differences begin, since we’re not sure which of us is older. Details surrounding the origins of the martini are appropriately fuzzy. But it’s on the record that the Flatiron Building was built in 1902.

Originally called the Fuller Building, at twenty-two stories it was once the tallest skyscraper in New York City. I’m not known for my height. However, you must admit, you can get lost in my depths.

I joined my pale host on a lovely late summer afternoon, and she took me on a tour of the building, where she works.

Photo 2 Flatiron side view

My host had the palest visage I’ve ever encountered, and I’ve seen some pale folks!

Luckily the wind was light that day. Otherwise I was afraid my lithesome form would’ve taken flight as the corner of 23rd and Broadway is famously windy.

The highlight was the “point.” Yowza, what a view!

Photo 3 View from point

Here I am looking out on Fifth Avenue from the 17th floor.


Photo 4 Looking out

Where’s Flat Martini? Look up!

Tourists crowd the plaza facing the building, and though my hostess said she normally wouldn’t do something so banal, she deigned to hold me up so we could take the shot at the beginning. (What a snob!)

My visit was going swimmingly but then something odd happened. The picture below was taken in the lobby.

Photo 5 Mystery door

A mystery!

Notice how there appears to be a keyhole in the middle of the wall? And a buzzer above that? When I asked my host about them, a shadowed look came over her eyes and she looked around as if afraid someone had overheard.

She clumsily changed the subject and practically rushed me into an elevator, explaining how, until they were replaced in 1999, the elevators had been hydraulic powered.

Photo 6 Elevator

So cage-like! So many mirrors! I felt trapped and have to admit that condensation started to form on my handsome brow.

But I would not be deterred What could be behind that all-but-hidden door?

When I pressed my host on the issue, she said it was just a janitor’s closet. But thinking back I’d observed other anomalies in the building, and of its occupants.

  1. If you count the stairs between floors, some have more and some have less. Why?
  2. On the eleventh floor, when you enter the office area, there’s an extra step you need to go up. Is something hidden underneath that half of the floor?
  3. You can’t get to the top of the building without taking a special elevator.
  4. Strangest of all was the secret handshake I could’ve sworn I’d seen my host exchange with several of her co-workers.

I know what you’re thinking.

The Illuminati!

That all-powerful group behind the New World Order that works in the shadows and pulls the strings! Could it be the Illuminati used the Flatiron as a base of operations? Did they hold their secret meetings within a room hidden behind that concealed lobby door?

Consider further evidence.

The Flatiron Building is triangular, and a triangle is one of the well-known symbols of the Illuminati, along with the all-seeing eye. Remember that view from the seventeenth floor. Talk about all-seeing.

Photo 7 All-seeing Eye

And have you ever heard of the “23 enigma,” a reference to the uncanny appearance of the number 23 in history and current events? Could it just be coincidence that the Flatiron is located at Twenty-third Street? Hardly likely!

The Illuminati were also known to use the symbol of an owl perched over an open book.

Photo 8 alternate illuminati symbol

And guess what the logo is for one of the companies that occupies the building.

Photo 9 Suspicious logo

I rest my case. I was lucky to escape with my life. They may be after me now. Anyone who reads this, they’re watching you now too. Keep a hand over your martini in case someone tries to slip you something. The Illuminati are real, they guard the knowledge of their existence jealously, and they are ruthless with innocents who get in their way. Stay safe out there. Until next time . . . 23 skiddoo.


Why Dancing With The Stars is so special to me…

On October 2, my grandmother would have been 97 years old. She passed away around 3 years ago but sometimes it feels like the wound is fresh from her death. Sometimes it feels like I was just standing in front of my family, desperately trying to get through one sentence at a time as I spoke at her wake.

She was more than a grandmother to me. She lived in our house my entire life. Her kitchen was above my bedroom. Every scrape of the chair, every shuffle of the feet, and every phone call to her sister about a Judge Judy episode, I heard.

And when I went away to college and ended up staying after graduation in Washington, DC, we wrote letters to each other. One week she wrote, the next I did. Sometimes it was a few weeks between our letters due to my self-absorbed self, but always, we kept writing. We did this for 10 years.

And one thing we wrote about in almost all those letters towards the end of our correspondence was Dancing With The Stars. She loved that show with the same passion she once felt for dance.

Those were HER dances. The jitterbug, the waltz, the jive. Those were the dances she loved, the ones she did the night she met my grandfather at a dance hall. The same dances she tried to teach me down the aisles of a Macy’s women’s dress section.

So we would write about the ins and outs of the show. She would tell me her favorite dancers, and I would tell herwho Kim Kardashian was and why she was famous. (which was a hilarious letter to write, let me tell you).

I loved those letters. It perked up any day to have one waiting for me in my mailbox. And although to anyone else, the letters would seem mundane, to me – they were like being back at the kitchen table, with a cup of tea and an Entenmann’s donut and my mom, grandmother and I talking and laughing about life. Those letters were my happy place.

Dancing With The Stars has lived on after her death. And although I could care less about the celebrities, dancers, or scores, I still watch. But instead of writing about it with my grandmother, I live it with my daughter. Her eyes shine bright when she sees the glitzy costumes (though my face is usually a look of horror) and she always asks if she can stay up to watch “just one more” dance.

And every time I let her.

Because in those moments, in the silly world of a reality television dancing show, I feel as if my grandmother is there. And that makes it the most special show ever to me…



The power of a song…

songs of my lifeWhen I was 16, I was in love for the first time. He gave me his class ring, we would make out passionately on a rock at the pier of Northport, and during lunch, we would hold hands in the senior courtyard as we listened to some long-haired guy play the guitar and talk about the pain of having rich parents and a Volvo.

And one day, he put “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers on his car tape deck and we drove with the windows down listening to music on a beautiful spring day.

Every time I hear that song I think of him.

And even though he dumped me the next year when he went to college for some co-ed that made him soup when he was sick, I still hear that song and smile. The freedom and innocence of that time in my life. Of a time when my only care was getting home before curfew.

There’s many songs that do that for me. That bring me back to a place of emotion – both good and bad. The sadness when I hear the wedding song from my first marriage. Or the happiness I experience when I hear “I’m Free” by Soup Dragons – the song my best friend and I would dance on couches to in college. (And maybe even when we turned 30. And then 40.)

And of course, there’s the nine songs that my husband put on the one and only mix CD he made me early on in dating. I still love that mix and can’t wipe the smile off my face or happiness I feel when I hear them. Even the annoying country ones. Okay, maybe not the annoying country ones, that’s a lie.

So this morning, when my daughter was feeling cranky when she woke up – a usual occurrence in our house – I started singing, “Ooohhh child, things are gonna get easier.”  She stopped and said, “That’s a pretty song, sing it again.”  And so I held her on the couch, a girl almost 7 years old and spilling out of my arms, and sang, “Oooohhh child, things are gonna get easier.” And she laid there, a huge smile on her face as my arms ached from her weight.

Now when I hear that song, I will think of her. Her cranky but still beautiful face lying in my arms. And I will also remember that right after I finished singing it, she got up, dressed and brushed her teeth without me ever having to nag her.

The power of a song.


Week 1 of Sober September…

sober sept 1One week ago, I laughed in the face of my husband who said that I could’t go one month without alcohol. I felt so confident in my ability that I vowed to not touch any form of alcohol for 30 days. An awesome reader recommended I call it Sober September. Hilarious.

We had a summer of gin & tonics on the porch, beers at barbecues and wine after the kids went to bed. My poor liver needed a break from the fun of summer and I needed to perhaps not be able to balance my tea cup on my muffin top.

So one week later, how’s it going?

Brace yourself. You will be surprised by this answer.

Believe it or not, not that hard.

However, I’m pretty sure I gained a few pounds rather than lost them because I’m finding myself sneaking into my kid’s school snacks to munch and drinking bad soda late at night. (That’s “pop” for all my Midwestern friends)

I’ll say this. I went to get-togethers with friends and didn’t drink, and it was totally fine. However, if any of you “friends” are reading this, you weren’t nice to make me sniff all your drinks and ask me if I missed the smell of Cabernet in the air… Not nice.

Do I miss the beer and wine? Sure. Especially on the first day when my son peed his pants and then rolled all over my new outfit laying on my bed covering it with urine.

But I’m looking forward to being an awesomely cheap date in 3 weeks where one glass of wine will make me want to dance on a table and sing Free Bird. Hell, who am I kidding, I’d do that totally sober.

Now I just have to work on getting that b@tch Little Debbie out of my house. Her and her snack cakes have caused much too much trouble. However, I might have to wait until the end of this alcohol challenge – I’m afraid it might send my body into complete and utter shock. No one wants to see a grown woman sneaking into lunch boxes at their kid’s school looking for Nutty Bars…

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All divorces don’t end in hate – An awesome guest post by Cassandra Delusion

breakup-908714_1280In  chronicling the lives of 15 as they navigate through their first year of divorce, one thing that I notice often is the misconceptions people have about divorce. Even from the individuals going through it themselves.

So I put a call out on Facebook to see what those who have been through a divorce would say are some misconceptions they faced during the process. The answers were fascinating.

Cassandra was one of those who responded and I asked if she would write about her answer. What was her answer, you ask?

The misconception that couples who go through a divorce can’t be friends.

Please welcome Cassandra.


An Amiable Divorce

By Cassandra Delusion


True confession time: my ex-husband and I are friends.

Joe proposed on my twenty-first birthday when I was a college senior. Twenty-two years, three states of residence, and two wonderful children later we found ourselves sitting in a mediator’s office discussing joint custody and refusing to split up the furniture until our son goes to college.

It’s hard to leave the person with whom you’ve spent half your life. In the last months of our marriage the sadness and self-doubt were overwhelming. A simple conversation about summer plans would leave both of us in tears. In addition, going from home to college to marriage meant that neither of us had ever stood on our own, or really knew how to. There is no avoiding the pain and fear of divorce. But we discovered that there doesn’t have to be acrimony.

We did not walk away from a twenty-two year marriage lightly. There were wrenching late night conversations and waterfalls of tears, but ultimately we agreed that we could not make each other happy. Our needs were too different, and neither of us could meet the challenge of filling the holes in the other’s life. We were both emotionally spent and needed to step away from each other to save ourselves. Neither of us knew if we could find happiness out in the world, but we could not go on as we were. At the same time, we still cared for each other and were committed to work together for our children.

When we entered into divorce mediation we encountered a system designed for anger, finality, and inflexibility which bucked our desire to create a document with compassion and understanding. We refused to set in stone custody arrangements, division of marital property, or the exact date we will sell the family house. We were adamant in our intent to be flexible in finding the best solutions for our children as circumstances changed.

We found ourselves bonding against our lawyer who kept pushing us toward rigidity using the specter of future pitfalls. Joe might someday have a girlfriend who would hate me and try to take my mother’s heirloom dresser. I might change my mind about Christmas and decide to bar Joe from the door when he comes to see his children open their presents. As our lawyer tossed out each new potential hazard, we looked at each other and rolled our eyes. In the end we created a document that was fuzzier than the lawyer wanted, but less flexible than we would like. Mostly we ignore it.

Four years later, I am happily ensconced with a man who is right for me in the ways that Joe was not. Joe is flourishing as the bachelor he never had the chance to be. Our daughter is away at college and thriving, and we each spend half of the week with our twelve year old son. We sit together to watch countless hockey and basketball games, socializing with the other parents, and cheering Steve on.

We are closer now than we were for most of our marriage. All of the friction that plagued our time together has evaporated with time and distance. I can now more clearly see the enthusiastic, energetic, and kind man that Joe is rather than focusing on petty irritants like clothes strewn about the house and cabinets left ajar.

We continue to encounter people who can’t quite believe that we are divorced so amiably. Teachers ask if we want separate conference times. School administrators demand copies of our custody agreement to forestall future phantom issues. My mother hears of joint outings attended by my ex and current boyfriend and shakes her head, muttering about Big Love.

Meanwhile, we continue on our way. Our unworkable marriage has morphed into a successful collaboration and uncomplicated friendship. Our relationship did not die with divorce. It was given the space to flourish.

Cassandra is in her mid-forties with two children and one ex-husband. She works as a research consultant and data analyst despite her love of words and deep mistrust of all things numeric. Her writing has been featured on The Mid, In the Powder Room, The Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop, and Great Moments in Parenting. She blogs with her partner in crime at The Next Delusion. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.


30 days of not drinking… heaven help me.

beer love

Goodbye my love… I’ll see you in 30 days.

Ok, ok, let me explain.

I understand that my blog is called Martinis and Minivans. So obviously, drinking is something I enjoy immensely. And for the woman who emailed me a few months ago, I am not condoning drinking martinis WHILE driving a minivan. The two are exclusive of each other. However, if the car is parked, who am I to judge.

Anyway, back to my point.

I might love myself some alcohol but lately, my body does not.

It was a summer full of nightly cold beers on the porch with friends, trips that encourage hilarious nights of cocktails, and the ever-popular glass of wine (or 3) after the kids go to bed.

And it was absolutely wonderful.

However, I must admit, I noticed that my muffin top was growing at an alarming rate and a lack of any positive sleep pattern did not seem to agree with my actions.

But that wasn’t the final reason.

A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law did a cleanse where they didn’t drink alcohol for 30 days. After they told us about it, my husband laughed and said that he didn’t think I could ever do that. I then said the same about him.

Which, of course, means that we are now BOTH doing it.

Don’t get me wrong –  I’m not going crazy and starting some exercise plan that I’ll pretend to do when I’m really watching Scandal, but I am going to do the no-alcohol thing.

I’m giving up drinking any form of alcohol for 30 days. If not for my body, then at least for a chance to get my husband to eat his words.

I’m on day 2 now and I haven’t started to imagine my children’s heads are beer bottles yet so that’s good, right? And I haven’t caused any bodily harm to my husband so that’s a point in the “success” column.

Who’s with me? Anyone?

Okay, okay, I didn’t think so. But do me a favor and toast to me and my hopefully shrinking muffin-top when you enjoy a cold one tonight, okay?




To those who are divorced, I’d like to hear your voice… Come be a guest blogger.

divorced other half10 years ago I got divorced.

We didn’t have children together and when we parted, we weren’t forced to live a life together co-parenting. We were able to walk away with just our scars and baggage and eventually move forward.

However, for many, that’s not the case.

As many of you know, I’m currently chronicling the lives of 15 women navigating through the first year of their divorce. Some have children, some do not. Some are dealing with adultery, and some wished they had acted on longing. Some have lived with abuse, and others are dealing with the pain of words that sting.

Each story is unique. But what I’ve found is that each story holds commonalities that I can’t wait to share.

In the meantime, I want to hear your voice.

I’m looking for a few guest bloggers who went through a divorce to share an aspect of divorce that people misunderstand. To share a misconception about divorce that they have faced from others or even themselves.

If you are interested, email me at

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Flat Martini goes back to school. And he’s not happy about it…

My apologies that Flat Martini hasn’t been visiting us on the blog recently. He’s done ALOT of drinking these past few months and it was time to give him some much needed rest. And maybe a few days in rehab.

But he’s slowly entering back into the world and his first trip back was not an easy one. He had to go back-to-school shopping with children. The poor, poor guy.

But at least he got to do it with Susanne Kerns from The Dusty Parachute. An awesome blogger who make any situation – even a trip to the mall- entertaining. Go check out her blog and tell her I said hi! You can also find her on Facebook & Twitter.

Without further ado, here’s our little cocktail of love’s latest adventure…

dusty parachute flat martini

After ten years of getting away with acquiring the kids’ clothes primarily through hand me downs or from our neighborhood Facebook Garage Sale page, my daughter finally asked if this year we could go Back to School shopping for ‘new’ clothes in ‘real’ stores.

When I told “Flat Martini” he was coming Back to School shopping with us, he was not at all happy.

He was all, “Hey, why didn’t you invite me to hang out with you last week when you were in Colorado hiking and taking awesome gondola rides?”

And I was all, “Zip it and get in the minivan, Flattini. We’re going to the mall!”

Pic 1 martinivan (1)

Although it was unfortunate timing for Flat Martini, it was perfect timing for me. If there’s anything that makes me want an adult beverage, it’s going shopping, especially back to school shopping with two kids in tow. I was more than happy to have Flat Martini along to help take the edge off.

pic 2 susanne

By some miracle, we completed 95% of our Back to School shopping at the FIRST store.  They even had the 5yo’s one requested item: a Star Wars backpack!  Instead of needing a sip of Flat Martini, I brought him out to ‘cheers’ our great success.

pic 3 fitting room

However, I did need a little Flat Martini after spending five minutes explaining  to the 10yo why she couldn’t get a black, pleather skirt. It was almost as fun as the conversation we had when she was in the first grade and tried to go to school with her knee socks pulled over her knees Britney Spears style.  “But mom, how is it inappropriate if it actually covers MORE skin this way?”

(Damn you, Britney.)

pic 4 pleather

With 95% of our shopping done in the first 30 minutes, I naively though we were in the clear.  That’s when I remembered that the shoe store was on the other side of the mall which required us to pass several children temptation landmines: Build a Bear, The Lego Store, The Apple Store & the food court.

First up: The Build a Bear Store. Even the ‘growing out of toys’ 10 year old goes completely ape sh*t crazy at slightest glance of the Build a Bear display window. It must serve as an emotional trigger of all the other times she has kissed a little wish heart and shoved it in their little disemboweled (pre-emboweled?) fuzzy carcasses.  It also didn’t help that they now have an entire Star Wars line which resulted in me frequently shouting, “your stuffed monkey doesn’t need a $12 light saber!”

pic5 buildabear

Our next obstacle was The Lego Store. The 5yo and I spent four solid weeks this summer (I’m talking 8 hours days) in what I affectionately named, “Lord Business Lego Camp” where we reassembled 24 Lego sets which had been mixed in with 20 pounds of bulk Legos. You would think the kid would never want to see another Lego as long as he lived but this exercise somehow managed to only fuel the Lego addiction.

pic 6 legostore

I was actually grateful that the gravitational pull of the Apple Store lured the kids in since two weeks ago I went to the mall to pick up my repaired phone by myself and completely forgot to get it. Their kids area came in handy for the 10 minutes it took my phone to restore itself from ‘the cloud’ but I definitely needed a martini after the 10 minutes it took me to get the kids back out of the store, (“I just need to finish this one level……”)

pic 7 applestore

After all that, we never did manage to find any shoes at the mall that day, except of course this adorable, yet “there’s no way in hell you’re getting a pair of $75 shoes” pair that the 10yo begged for.

pic 8 shoes

Shoes or no shoes, we had had a pretty successful day and decided to reward ourselves with one of the only reasons I ever go to the mall: Annie’s Pretzels!

pic 9 pretzel

And of course, the ultimate Back to School shopping reward: My weekly Maudie’s margarita later that night. (I even shared a little.)

pic 10 margarita

Goodbye, Flat Martini! And thanks for making our Back to School shopping trip so much fun. Are you available in November?  I could use some help with Christmas shopping!

pic 11 goodbye


To the nurses, doctors and staff at the Children’s Hospital…

son hospital with dadYou probably won’t remember us. To you, it was just a normal day of work. Taking vitals, communicating to parents, and doing all the necessary paperwork and checklist items that are part of being a nurse, staff member or doctor.

But to us, it was the day I was anxious about for weeks. It was the day where my 4 year-old son would have to go under anesthesia. And although I knew his procedure was minor, I still woke up with a pit in my stomach and a desire to cancel it immediately.

And somehow, with dozens of other patients around, you made us feel like we were the most important people in the world. You talked to us like there was no time limit, no other place you needed to be. You put a ID badge of Honeybear, my son’s favorite stuffed animal, so he would feel less scared. You found blue band-aids because that’s his favorite color.

With each and every one of you that came into our room, we found comfort.

It takes a special person to work with children. It takes a VERY special person to work with their parents. Their scared, nervous and terrified parents.

So thank you to the nurses, doctors and staff of Omaha’s Children’s Hospital. You made a scary day one that went with ease. You provided comfort when I didn’t think that would ever be possible.

You did however tell my kid that there’s a Tube Fairy so you owe me a few bucks for that one, but we’ll call it even. Peace of mind and amazing kindness is worth all the money in the world…

Thank you.



My goal in life

Everybody has goals in their life. Milestones we try to meet to make ourselves feel a sense of accomplishment. A sense of worth.

What’s mine, you ask?

Okay, I’ll tell you. I’m putting it all out there for you. The real, hard, honest truth.

My goal in life is to stay far away from the person who raises their hand first when the teacher asks if anyone has any questions.

Feel free to embrace it for your own life goal as well. I’m an awesome sharer like that.


5 Things NOT to Do When Prepping Your Child for Kindergarten

mom and girlAs a parent, you read so many articles and posts about things to do and say when your little one goes to Kindergarten. So, of course, I had to do things a little differently.

I’m over on today with a list of the 5 Things NOT to Do When Prepping Your Child for Kindergarten.

Check it out and I’d love it if you shared it with someone that might be getting ready for that big first day! I seriously wish someone did for me last year. Might have saved me from bribing her with a new Barbie…

To read, click HERE!

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I would read her journal. And I’m a hypocrite for that.

diaryWhen I was 19 years old, I brought my first serious boyfriend home to meet my family. He was a nice, Italian boy and I knew they’d love him. We weren’t actually having sex so this story will be even more entertaining.

I have written in a journal since I was a kid. Seriously, even as a wee little girl, my first journal was a composition notebook that I decorated in Lisa Frank stickers.

And my family knew I had it and respected that privacy.

My brother never snooped, and my parents always turned a blind eye.

But then there was my grandmother.

She lived with us in the apartment above my room. And being nosy came as natural to her as breathing.

And one night, while visiting from college with that new boyfriend they all loved, she took it upon myself to read my journal. My COLLEGE journal. So you can imagine the stories that were in that baby.

We came home from shooting pool to find my entire family sitting at the kitchen table and my journal smack in the center of the table. Next to the Entenmann’s coffee cafe and a pot of Earl Grey tea.

“You’ve had sex!” my grandmother declared loudly and with her hands smacking the table like a scene out of a John Grisham movie.

No joke, this really happened.

And my poor boyfriend excused himself to the bathroom, and I stood there horrified that everyone now knew my private life. I felt completely and utterly violated.

So much so that I didn’t talk to my grandmother for a few weeks after that.

Now, fast forward twenty something years, and I’m a mother of a 6 year old girl and recently a friend asked if I would read her journal someday. My instinct, of course, was to say no.

But I’m not sure that’s the truth.

I’m not sure if I was faced with a teenager that I could resist the temptation to know what was happening beyond what she tells me.

I want us to have the kind of relationship where she’d share anything with me, but then we also need boundaries and limits.

In my heart though, I think the truth is that I would read it. Of course, I wouldn’t put it in the middle of the kitchen table, though I do love the idea of eating more Entenmann’s, but I can’t say that I could just leave the book alone and never crack open a page.

Do I hate myself a bit for thinking I’d read the journal? Yep.

Am I a hypocrite? Yep.

But it’s the real answer. I wish I could say that I’ll trust my teenage daughter completely, but I know what I did as a teenager and am petrified.

So maybe I’ll just do this. Maybe I have a chat with her first grade teacher and stop this whole “being able to write” thing right now. That seems the perfect way to avoid this whole damn situation someday… Then we can just sit at the kitchen table with mouths full of Entenmann’s coffee cake and talk about Dora the Explorer when she’s 19. Sounds perfect to me.