One of my Top 5 All-Time Favorite Movies is, “A Christmas Story”. I just didn’t realize when I woke up this morning that I would be reenacting one of the scenes spontaneously with my 10-year old child today.

About said child: I have often said that I get enough love from both my children from my 10 year old son, Dylan. He is the epitome of love. He still holds my hand, snuggles with me on the couch, loves a bedtime story, and tells me several times every single day, “I love you!”. He is one of the funniest people in the world, too. I took him with me today to shop at Bed, Bath & Beyond. He had me laughing so hard that I was almost embarrassed. Almost. He is witty, funny, super sensitive to a fault, athletic, hard-working, smart, and FUN.

He helped me carry a great deal of stuff today, some of it at my Mom’s house. “The Incident” took place when we were trying to get out of her front door. Both of our hands were full, and I take full credit for trying to urge him to get out the door. I became frustrated and was trying to rush us all.

Me: “Go, go! Keep moving!”

(I couldn’t understand why he just stopped at the door and didn’t go any further. Plus, the Honey Badger was on my heels, and it took me ages to get her shoes and socks on and get ready to get out the door.)

Dylan: [Completely frustrated by the door, because it had locked on him, and his hands were full, but I didn’t realize this]: “MOM! I can’t open the door because I don’t have any [INSERT “F-bomb with -ING”] hands to open it!!!!!!!”

I stood there with my eyes wide open and my jaw hanging to the floor.

Immediately, he burst into tears and dropped everything and ran to the car. (Since he dropped everything, it was easy for him to open the door. Moot point.)

My Mom came to the door with the same jaw dropping look on her face. I told her I had it under control, grabbed the little Peanut, and headed for the car.

Dylan’s sobs were loud….and sincere. This is my boy, who HATES to get in trouble, and turned to me and implored, “I DID NOT MEAN TO SAY THAT!!!” And, I 1000% believed him. Never, in a million years, did I think that Dylan would drop the F bomb. But, I truly know that his own words completely shocked him.

We drove the brief drive home in silence, except for his muffled cries. I felt awful for him. But, he didn’t know that. He was devastated. I have always said about him, he feels things so deeply. So, this wasn’t some kid who said something nasty and then was crying because he was going to get into trouble. This was a very sensitive kid, who wouldn’t dream of saying THAT, and went into shell shock. I had to rein him back in.

“Dylan, I know you better than you probably know yourself. I know that you didn’t mean to say that. I know exactly how you feel.” I’m telling him this at his bedside, because he climbed into bed and pulled the blankets over himself.

Dylan: “How do YOU know???”

Me: “Because I’ve been in your shoes.”

Dylan; “You’ve said THAT WORD?”

Oh, sweetie.

Me: “Yes!”


Me: “Yes.”

Dylan: “What is my punishment going to be?”

Me: Internally – Hasn’t he punished himself enough already?? I mean, the guilt, tears, and strain on his face – he put himself through HELL after he realized what he said. He totally didn’t mean to say it, I know this.

I told him I would think about it and get back to him.

Turns out, he initiated his own punishment.

“Mom, I know you know that I love my iPod [Touch]. I set it on top of the fridge because that’s probably the best punishment.

And, he totally helped me clean up the house: he emptied the dishwasher, cleaned up the family room, sorted laundry, helped clean up Erin’s room, among other tasks.

I think he has been so traumatized by his own actions, that he needed a bit of positive reinforcement tonight. Poor kid.

I have raised a total straight edge. He pushed back on me today, and he ends up punishing himself for it. On the one hand, I am happy that he knows he crossed a line, on the other hand, I was concerned at how hard he was being on himself! It’s a WORD. He’s TEN!

So, we are sitting at dinner tonight, and the booth behind us has a very vocal man telling a story. He used the word “hell”. Dylan leaned over to me, “Um, HEL-LOO, there are KIDS here!” and I kept me snicker to myself, considering the previous incident. I wanted to talk about irony and hypocrisy. Anyway…

Of course, the Honey Badger announces, “This looks like throw up, right??!!” as she points to her rice and beans. On the way out the door, with no warning, she yells, “I farted TWO TIMES when we were in there!!!”



Treasure Hunting with the Honey Badger

I’m bored. I have nothing to look forward to in life any longer. Valentine’s Day is over, and so is the thrill of the hunt. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care about Valentine’s Day at all. My husband and I opted to not do anything for each other this year. When I talk about the thrill of the hunt, I am referring to a competition that a local jewelry store puts on every other year called “Finders Keepers”. Here are the details, verbatim from their website:

“Cupid’s little helpers at Reis Nichols Jewelers are going out into Indianapolis to hide one elegantly wrapped silver box outside a public place each day until Valentine’s Day. Yep, we’re hiding our little silver wrapped boxes with bright red bows filled with beautiful jewelry, outside public places, throughout the entire city.


We only ask that if YOU find one give us a call and let us know where and when you found the package.
AND… once you call us, we’ll give another gift! We will donate $100 to the charity of YOUR choice.


Finder’s Keepers. One gift a day, every day, until Valentine’s Day. Just our little way of spreading the love!


I am a Competitor. I live for this kind of thing. Whether in work or play, you dangle a carrot in front of me, and I am THERE. Given any kind of incentive, like an all-expenses paid vacation or money, to meet or exceed a goal : I will smash it. I have been the recipient of those very things in my day. But, times have changed. I am no longer in the full-on workforce. I work from home at random hours, feast or famine, to be able to be the full-time, stay-at-home Mom that I am. So, when something like “Finders Keepers” comes along, I am ALL IN – whatever it takes.

This year, I missed the kick-off on Feb 1st. The clue was posted, the piece of jewelry was found, and I wasn’t fazed. I decided to jump into the action on Feb 2nd. My husband and I figured out the clue very quickly, and I dragged my 10 year old son along for the hunt. It had everything to do with Pat McAfee, kicker for the Colts, and the canal in Broad Ripple. We searched in the exact location it was found, we just missed spotting it. Perhaps it was because I was hungry, and we were freezing looking in the snow, so we ditched the locale and headed to Perkins for breakfast. In retrospect, that was probably why we missed it. 😉

I didn’t play Days 3 & 4 because I was swamped with work. Not to mention, the Honey Badger was at home with me. I was starting to lose interest in the game.

Day 5: I didn’t even look at the clue when it came out at 9:30am. Who am I? What happened to my competitive streak? Oh yeah, I was still working my ass off.

Until, the phone rang.

My sister, Susie: “Are you playing?”

Me: “No, I’m working. Why?”

Susie: “I know where it is.”

Me: “THEN GO!!!!!!!!! What are you doing?!?! Where is it?”

Susie: “I’m not going anywhere, I haven’t showered.”

She told me where she thought it was, and based on the clue, there was no doubt in my mind she was spot on.

I grabbed the Honey Badger, who was in shorts in 25 degree weather, threw some snow boots and a fur coat on her, and told her we were headed out to “LOOK FOR TREASURE!!” She grabbed her Jake & the Neverland Spyglass, map, and pirate bandanna. We were set.

We hauled ass to the south side of the city – a 35  minute drive. I was on the phone 3-way with my sister and my husband. Sean was looking at the park we were headed to on Google Earth. It was huge. Luckily, since he’s not a dumb guy (which we established in this blog posting), he instructed me to head straight to the basketball goal. Part of the clue was, “If you’re Jonesing for another clue…” and he connected the basketball reference. Susie and I would have totally missed that, as did everyone else that started to show up at the park and search! I was running out of time. I was driving around the park going, “I don’t see the basketball courts!!” when Erin piped up,  “There’s the basketball goal, Mommy!”….she got us there, pointing to exactly where the lone basketball goal stood. She led us to the treasure.

We hopped out of the van, searched everywhere, and came up with nothing. We searched high and low, kicking snow over in case it was buried, and still no treasure. We got back in the van and drove around. People were arriving now, but they were searching on the other side of the park, at the playground. I knew we had a leg up with the basketball reference, so I drove us back to the basketball goal. Not wanting to tip off (ha, pretty clever play on words) the other searchers, I drove PAST the basketball goal and parked in the lot next to it. As I put the van in park, something in the tree directly to my right caught my eye. I stepped out of the van. I was still on the phone with my sister, exasperated that I hadn’t located it yet when I knew I was in the right location. I stepped toward the tree and took a closer look.

There, inside a plastic bag, was a beautifully wrapped silver box, with a bright, red bow.

“I found it.”

Susie: “WHAT! Are you serious?!”

Me: “Oh my God. I found it.”  I very calmly tucked it into my jacket and slid back into the car. I unwrapped it. It was a beautiful red box, and inside was a silver and diamond Colts horseshoe pendant, valued at $280. Not too shabby!

Colts necklace

I turned around to show the Honey Badger what we found….only “we” didn’t find it. I did.

Tears. “**I** wanted to find the treasure and open it!!!!!!!!!!!”

Oh no. I felt awful. I got so caught up in the excitement of finding it, that I forgot the most important thing – letting her find it. I WRECKED IT!

She bounced back pretty quickly, after the tears subsided, and I let her hold the box and ribbon. Not the necklace, though, that was around my neck. If that sounds mean, well the Honey Badger was not going to break it! She already broke my Dylan & Erin necklace that I adored. I called in my find and asked that they donate to the American Heart Association, in honor of my Mom, who is battling heart disease. I kept reiterating to HB how I never would have found the treasure if she hadn’t pointed out the basketball goal. That seemed to placate her, and her spirits lifted as we drove back north. She called Grandmas, Grandpa, and Daddy along the way to tell them about our find. She was hooked. Just like her Mommy, she wanted more.


During Intermission, I would like to share an excerpt of something I wrote to my dear friend, Laura, two years ago. She lives in Arizona and plays the game from afar, helping me out. Based on how it ended two years ago, I’d say I’ve come a long way on this year’s Finder’s Keepers hunt. (The final day’s clue had everything to do with an Irish restaurant/pub.)

“I am finally getting my life back in order now that the damned contest is over! I drove RIGHT by O’Charley’s yesterday on my way to McNamara’s florist in Broad Ripple after leaving Murphy’s Steakhouse. I also wet my pants on Prospect St. in the hood, looking at the Golden Ace thinking it was there FOR SURE. There was not a single place to stop and go to the bathroom, and then I would have simply gone behind a brick wall, but I deemed it too unsafe for myself. So, I finally reached the point of no return from drinking too much coffee during my pre-game.

Also, it was Valentine’s Day, so I had chocolate for breakfast and lunch.

This concludes this season’s edition of ‘Finder’s Keepers’.”


Now that my sister directed me to the treasure, she was all GAME ON, MOFO! for the next one.

Day 6 : Clue leads you to believe it is at the Carmel Ice Skadium, in well, Carmel, where my sister lives and my husband works. Susie and I are on the phone when the clue comes out, promptly at 9:30am. She is in her car in a split second, heading to find it. My other line rings. It’s my husband, breathless, running to his car from his office. Oh shit, it’s a showdown. They meet there at the same time. I’m still talking to Susie; Sean has to fend for himself. I’m telling her where to look – don’t forget to look under things, in trees, on the outskirts…she tells me she has to focus and needs to hang up. A “trail” is part of the clue, and the Monon Trail is right across the street, so she’s headed there. My phone rings again. It’s Sean.

“I’ve hit your sister with a brick! She’s lying on the Trail! Nothing is standing in my way!”

Good grief. Those two couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag. They walked by the jewelry multiple times before someone else found it. And, they were the first ones there. I was disappointed in both of them, shaking my head in disbelief.

Days 11-12 : Erin and I were dressed and ready to go well before the 9:30am clue. We were in our car by 9:20am, with the engine running. Some days, I had my laptop set up in the front seat, it’s internet capability being suctioned from my phone as a mobile hotspot, iPad at the ready, posted at the entrance of my neighborhood. We were ready to dart north, east, south, or west. Each time, Erin packed her Spyglass, map and bandanna. She was so excited to be out looking for treasure with Mommy! Our searches took us to every nook and cranny of the city…and beyond. We saw places and things in our city that we never knew existed. We browsed through bushes, trees, parking lots, beautiful parks. I googled incessantly. I spent many an hour on the phone with Laura in Arizona, my sister, and my 70 year old mother, playing from home. I racked my brain all day and night when prizes went undiscovered into the night, and into the next day. I met some wonderful people when we all converged on the same spot, and we congratulated each other sincerely when one of us found the jewelry.

By Day 13, I had to throw in the towel. My son had a Dr’s appointment when the clue came out at 9:30am. I wasn’t playing. But, Laura was. I drove Dylan back to school, and was headed home with Erin. Laura got the clue right away and was sending me fragmented text messages. Fragmented to me, anyway, because I hadn’t even seen the clue and didn’t know what she was talking about. I pulled over to the side of the road.

The Clue: “Feb. 13th: Climb, Hop and Navigate your way through a tunnel and slide as you play all day.”

As we had come to expect, if certain words are capitalized, you can’t ignore that. Laura insisted it was at the Community Health Network sponsored playground in Hamilton Town Center. I couldn’t ignore her pleas. I promptly headed towards the interstate, and drove straight there. I told Erin, “As soon as we park, we are RUNNING to the playground, ok? Then, search for treasure everywhere!!”. Well, she ran straight to the slide and started playing. She left all thoughts of treasure behind, because in her mind she struck gold with the playground.

A man stepped out of Noodles & Co.

“You lookin’ for jewelry?”

I answered, “SURE AM!”

He said, “Well, it’s not here. People have already been here looking.”

I happily nodded, and kept on searching. I knew it was there.

I searched the entire vicinity and playground. I finally stopped in my tracks and focused on the slides. I checked under one: nope. I had to duck to get under the other one. There, wedged in a small crevice, was the silver package with the bright, red bow. This time, I wasn’t going to get it wrong.

“Erin, come over here, honey. Do you see the treasure anywhere under here?”

We were standing under the playground slide. I was turned away from the jewelry, feigning to look all around.

“MOM-MMEEEEEE, I SEE THE TREASURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Her eyes so wide, the excitement dancing all over her face. She reached for it, but it was wedged so tightly, I helped her get it out. We sneaked it into her jacket, and took off in a sprint to the car. The same man from Noodles & Co was yelling to me, asking if we’d found it. I smiled, and waved, and we kept running. We got inside the van and locked the doors. I let her peel off the bow, and tear open the wrapping paper. I was dying to see what was inside. We pulled out a pair of beautiful ‘Stephen Webster Superstud earrings, retail value $350’. She was beside herself for finding the treasure all on her own. It was a moment she, nor I, will ever forget. I finally got it right the second time around.


The Honey Badger is sooooo happy upon our return home. I am sporting the earrings and necklace that we found!

Funny thing is, I’m not even a jewelry person.  However, I do still have the Colts horseshoe around my neck. It’s simple, beautiful, and I’ve fallen in love with it. More importantly, I just had an absolute blast for two weeks looking for treasure with my daughter, no matter what we found….or didn’t find.

On a recent trip to pick up her brother from school, she was “reading” aloud from a magazine in the backseat. Here is just a bit of what I caught, in a very careful, whispered tone:

“When you are looking for treasure, be sure to look everywhere outside. It could be up in the treeeeeees, it could be down on the grounnnnd, it could be by a rock, you just have to keep on looking and don’t ever, ever give up……” 

Know Yourself

When I was in college, I was a leader for my high school’s very amazing Senior Retreat. I had to give a one hour talk, and my topic was chosen ahead of time: “Know Yourself”. I was terrified. Not one to enjoy standing up and talking in front of people, let alone high school seniors, I had to figure out how best to break the ice and connect with them on their level. I opened with a bit of a wisecrack. At a mere 19 years of age, I held up my driver’s license. I said, “This is me.” I described my hair, eye color, and other obvious factors that you can see. I set it down on the podium, and pulled out a different driver’s license, that of a 21 year old woman. Next, I said, “And, this is who I pretend to be.”  I figured if I didn’t bullshit my audience, who was soon to strike out on their own after graduation, I had a much better chance of reaching them. Based on the reaction to my talk, I believe I did.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

This is the Honey Badger:


“HELLO! I’m the Honey Badger! I like to cut my own hair!”




She really can’t help but be herself. She is the happiest creature on the planet. I am constantly shaking my head at her saying, “Erin, what in the world am I going to do with you?” and she happily replies,

“Put me in the potty and flush me down the toilettttttt!!!!!”

or –

If she is having a bad day, which is rare, her big bro will try and cheer her up, “Erin, you are SO AWESOME!”

Her disgruntled, angry response : “I DON’T LIKE BEING AWESOME!!”

She lays it all out there. Kind of like her Mommy. What you see is what you get. I like that she is free to be herself, and doesn’t try to be like anyone else. I give her props for being edgy with her new haircut, for trying to get past us that she is wearing her PJ’s under her clothes out in public, and for looking for treasure everywhere we go (my fault, and that’s an entirely different story).

All I ever really want for my kids is for them to have self worth – to know their strengths, their faults, their own opinions, their motivations, their goals, and most of all: to be happy with exactly who they are. I believe if they truly know who they are, then they will succeed.

Lastly, I hope they never have fake ID’s and then write about it in a blog, or give a speech to seniors in high school and reveal it to them, but that’s just me.

Our Classy Story

Last time I wrote, I was certain that I wouldn’t let this gross amount of time go by before I wrote another blog. Well, work got in the way of that. I have been working around the clock and time completely got away from me.

So, anyway.

Today is my 5th wedding anniversary to my husband.

We met on MySpace. I saw his picture on a friend…of a friend….of a friend’s MySpace page. Just his picture. He was wearing a T-shirt that was maroon and said, “Dazed and Confused”. But, he looked smart, because you can tell that from a picture. He was in the mountains somewhere, and I loved his smile. He was hot, and his hat was Notre Dame. It was love at first sight. From this angle, anyway.

I was a single Mom. My son was 4. I was on eHarmony, but only for a short time. It just so happened I had 2 dates on one Sunday. Little did I know that my future husband was to be my 3rd date that day. I sent him a message on MySpace and all it said was, “I’m proud of your hat.” And, I was. My Mom was one of 6 children – she had 5 brothers – and they were Notre Dame fanatics. To this day, she is in front of the TV, ready for kick-off for any Notre Dame game. I grew up with this, and therefore, I appreciate the Notre Dame Fan. I’m a huge fan as well.

Anyway, this message to this unknown cyber guy resulted in a response back from a very friendly fellow that lived a stone’s throw from my own house. We decided to meet that very night. I learned his last name. It was an Irish name. Therefore, on our first meeting, I ran out to his truck with an 8×10 picture of my very 1st Guinness beer that I had when I was in Ireland. (It happens to be beautiful, and was on my refrigerator already.) I think this impressed him greatly, and we drove away happily to a very seedy bar in the neighborhood. We exchanged very awesome conversation, although I don’t recall what it was. The waitress kept giving us shots, you see, and we might have kissed. All I knew was, this was the man I was going to marry. I was never so certain in  my  life.

The rest is history. We have never gone one day without talking, texting, or emailing. He is the funniest, smartest, man I have EVER had the pleasure of being married to, and this speaks highly of him, considering I’d never been married.

Approximately ten months later, he proposed to me in the corner suite of the Conrad Hotel. We cried and called our parents, and followed up with dinner at Morton’s Steakhouse. That was on a Saturday night. On the previous night, he made me pack a bag and gave me the 1st clue of what was to be a weekend of his own hand written clues, each in a white envelope, as to where we were going next. I had no idea what was to come. It was the most exciting weekend of my entire life. The last surprise of the weekend led us to a fantastic brunch place downtown, where my entire family and closest friend were waiting with gifts, cards, and champagne flutes, just for us. Even my future in-laws had amazing gifts sent to us, from Germany!,  all ready for the party.

I will never forget that amazing weekend.

SO. Here’s where we are….FIVE YEARS LATER

1) My husband, wearing just black socks, boxers, and his white undershirt, in the morning while getting ready for work, declares: “Honey, PLEASE. I am NOT a piece of meat. Please quit staring at my junk. I am not on the menu!”  This is at LEAST once a week.

2) Christmas Day – he’s standing in the kitchen with similar attire to above and declares, “You get to unwrap ALL THIS later.” He was super pleased with himself. Um, we weren’t supposed to give each other any gifts….

3) EXAGGERATION. He’s an expert in exaggeration. “Honey, can you turn that down please?”. His response – “What are you talking about? This is the lightest version of this song ever produced. Why don’t you turn down????”

4) Jealousy – He gets very, very jealous that I make out with the dog all the time. Not jealous of ME, but jealous that Rudy doesn’t make out with him like he does with me. (Rudy prefers women.)

5) Sean is 2 weeks away from getting his MBA. It was a loooooong two years, but I’m ridiculously proud of him. He’s smart as a whip, and I never really wanted to marry a dumb guy. Win – win!

6) I have learned my husband a little bit of negotiatin’. He’s learned from the best, I must say. I swell with pride when he tells me a success story about bartering or negotiating and he says, “I learned it from watching you!!”.

7) This next one is for Dylan: He will flat out tell you: “Dad (Sean) is the BEST DAD IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!!”. He has the absolute trust, love, and security in my husband. They have officially been in each other’s lives longer than they haven’t.

8) I hate it when people say that so-and-so are “my rock”. But, damn it. Sean is my rock.

9) Most days, I wonder if my text messages or emails from my husband should spontaneously explode, due to the nature of their content.

10) He once got me a card that had a picture of a man looking in the fridge. It said, “Honey, where’s the butter?” and the entire fridge was loaded with one item….”Butter”, “Butter”, “Butter”, “Butter”.

Five years. I can’t sum it up in 10 examples above. I just know that the first time I met my husband, I knew. And, it’s gotten better every day since.  He is intelligent, hard-working, sexy, fun, FUNNY, HILARIOUS, but most importantly, he is patient, and kind. I appreciate every single day I have with him. You never know when someone you love will disappear. That’s just a hard philosophy I learned at a young age. And, some days, when my family and I put our heads together, and declare our love for one another, I just feel….FULL. Full of  nothing but absolute love. And, when I say “put our heads together”, I really mean THAT. One of the kids started it because they wanted to be as close as possible to us. We did it on the kitchen floor the other day. All 4 of us, with our arms around each other., and our heads all leaned in together. It meant unity, strength, and security.

I’m a pretty lucky gal, here. And, so are my children. I feel so fortunate to have found not only a good man, but the absolutely perfect one for me….you just never know.

What if I had never sent him a message about his Notre Dame hat?

Furthermore, what if my son was never subjected to what a REAL father is all about. He loves so much that we are together. It breaks my heart, and mends it, all at once:


Happy Anniversary to all of us.