Friday, May 29, 2009


Hello everyone! The anniversary is winding down and it's time to announce the winners of the Pretty in Plaid Contest.

I went with my friend K, last night, whose blog is RoadTripMommy (Check it out and say hey -- she's new at this bloggin' thing)! She and I met through Jen Lancaster kind of, so it's fitting that we would go to Jen's reading last night, along with another friend, L!

So, as promised, I had Jen pick two winners while I videotaped her. This was totally annoying on my part as there were 6,000 people there and I held up the line LOTS, but everyone was nice and no one wanted to kill me. Oh except for the guy who worked the Starbucks at B&N because I asked for a small diet coke, three cookies and a venti ice water.

"We can't give you a venti ice water but there are cups over there for ice."

"Well, how about if I buy the cup--can I have water then?"

"No, cuz we inventory the cups."

"OK, how about if I PAY for a venti diet coke and instead of putting diet coke in my venti cup, you go ahead and put ice water in that one, and you can give me a small diet coke instead."

Yeah, he pretty much hated me after that, but did it for me. I thanked him over and over again and mentioned really loudly that I NEVER GO TO THE OTHER BOOKSTORES BECAUSE THEY ARE SO NICE AT BARNES & NOBLES, and it was really nice of them to give me the big cup and isn't it great that ALL THESE PEOPLE are here buying books?

I wish I coulda read his mind because I know he was thinking, "I want to kill this bitch right now."

But, I got my water, didn't I?

ANYWAY, back to the matter at hand ... we went into the city, and K is an excellent aggressive defensive driver. I mean, she rocks the brake on that car and can merge with the best of them. Even so, traffic sucked. We got into the city around 5:40 and went straight up to the reading, where we snagged some chairs, which the place was already half-full. Then, we "pretended" to go book browsing and asked the girls behind us to watch our chairs. We slyly put our jackets there to secure our spots.

But guess what we did? Instead of book browsing, we went across the street to eat dinner and drink wine! Aren't we the little tricksters?! And here all those other people were stuck there for like almost TWO HOURS while we were out having a nice dinner.

Yes, I am not getting to the point of this post, which is this ... I had Jen randomly choose the winners of the two books.

Here are all the entries that came in for the contest:

Of course, how could it be MY FAULT that Jen chose two of the LONGEST entries, and said NEXT TIME there has to be a WORD COUNT LIMIT! Good news though, cuz that means THERE WILL BE A NEXT CONTEST!

So, Alicia and Trish, send me your addresses and I'VE GOT YOUR BOOKS! Bonus--I had THE ONE AND ONLY FLETCH sign them too. And, if you want, I can sign my name too, as I happen to be listed in the acknowledgments! Hahah!

And thanks Jen for being so gracious and classy as ever! On to the next memoir!


Happy Anniversary to Mr. Manic and Me!

I just told him I love our life and our children. Anyone who makes it to 16 years and has fun on the way is pretty lucky. We have the whole day to spend together, and we're going to make the most of it!

And yes, later, I will have a post with Jen Lancaster choosing TWO OF YOU from the Pretty in Plaid contest, complete with video and Jen being annoyed with HOW MUCH SHE HAD TO WRITE IN EACH BOOK!

Off to spend the day with my luuuuvah! ; )

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


So, here's another post I couldn't put up right away because of my mom reading my blog. I am OK, but here's what I wrote Friday, for your reading "pleasure." Lots of EFF bombs. I have not even gone back to reread ...

Well this is just fucking great. Another mini crisis in Manic’s life and she can’t even fucking blog about it because this is not an anonymous blog and if her mom reads this her mom will fucking freak out about it and I can’t do this to my mother, so instead, I have to sit here and tell no one. What is the point of having a blog if I can’t share the stuff that’s bothering me?

So, this is just great. First, we have a job loss, then Mr. Manic’s grandmother dies. I’ll start here since we just got back from the funeral in Minnesota. We left on Tuesday afternoon and get to a hotel in Wisconsin where I get a migraine and end up sleeping on the hotel bathroom floor dying of one of those headaches where you want to drill a portion of your head off in order to make the pain go away and also vomiting. At least the tile on the floor was cool. I have no idea if it was clean or how much of other peoples’ DNA existed on that cool tile but while vomiting and dreaming of drilling half my head off, I guess I didn’t really care. Finally, around 5 a.m. I felt well enough to get back into the hotel bed.

We get up and leave around 9 a.m. to head to the Minneapolis airport to pick up Mr. Manic’s sister and there’s some dumb fuck (more on that later) in front of us with a flatbed of crap flying all over the place in front of us. An aluminum piece of some shit (YES, I REALIZE I AM SWEARING A LOT IN THIS POST BUT I AM HAVING A CRISIS AND IT MAKES ME FEEL BETTER TO SAY FUCKING BAD WORDS!) … so, there’s some aluminum shit flying off the truck and Mr. Manic tries to dodge it and misses the dodge.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a flat tire in five minutes,” he says.

FORTUNATELY, we DO NOT get a flat tire.

UNFORTUNATELY, we DO GET a temperature gauge reading of EXTREMELY HIGH like the car is about to freaking EXPLODE in five minutes.

We find the very next exit to pull off and thanks be to God almighty not far off there is a gas station with two service bays and some VERY VERY VERY VERY nice men there who help us out. That piece of aluminum crap from that asshole truck driver punctured the bottom of our radiator or some important piece at the bottom of the car, and antifreeze was not leaking, but practically gushing from the car.

Oh yeah, and while we’re getting the car fixed, why not get my period too. Doesn’t THAT sound like a fun addition to all the shit that’s going on?

One hundred dollars (remember also, my husband has just been removed from his employment duties, but I think we’re good in that department now, maybe, another crisis may impale itself into our lives because why the hell not?) … so $100 and an hour later, we are back on the road thanks to these dear, dear men, and we pick up my awesome sis-in-law from the airport.

And lo and behold, there is a glorious God because in sight, there is a Don Pablo’s and for those of you who don’t know what a Don Pablo’s is, it is just one of the greatest chains of Mexican food-slash-margarita places on the face of the earth, and when we lived in Pennsylvania, we could eat there any time we wanted. There are currently no Don Pablo’s in Illinois (apparently we are not cool enough for Don Pablo’s – OR CHIC FILA – get me started ON THAT – ANOTHER CRISIS!). So, we have a couple quesadillas, some chips, guac, oh, and yeah, MARGARITAS. We have to fuel up because while we know we are going to a funeral and there WILL be liquor, we also know there will only be loose meat and hot dishes to eat, so it’s urgent to get in some good Mexican food while we can!

Now, we are up to the funeral part, and here I am just rambling, because my mind is on overload AND autopilot at the same time and I don’t know if that’s a good thing. Oh, I also forgot that on the way earlier, I get an email that my editor boss whom I love, love, love is moving on to another venture. This may impact the future of what I want to do in terms of my freelance career with this certain organization. But, that’s neither here nor there … see what I mean about overload and autopilot?

At the wake, somehow, my kids make it into the funeral home before me, and it is absolutely crushing. Crushing for me to see my babies that shocked, scared, fearful, sad. They had only met their Great Grandma once, but knew of her, loved her, received birthday cards from her. THIS is their first family member who has died, and it’s a major, major ordeal for a child. My poor children. They had never seen a body before. I can’t really describe how it was for them, but poor Tukey, all dressed up, over at the casket, he would look, then sob, then walk away. Like he definitely didn’t know what to do. I didn’t see how Ajers reacted right away, but I know I saw him at the side and he was crying. It’s so hard for them. Diva had received a special locket from her Great Grandma with a photo of both her Great Grandma and Grandpa in it, so in turn, Diva wanted to find something special to ‘give’ to Great Grandma. She found a locket of her own and placed her photo in it. With the help of the funeral director (who, autopilot/overload, Diva and I were BOTH CRUSHING ON!), he led Diva to the body and placed the locket around Great Grandma’s neck to be buried with.

Oh my God, I am getting so tired of writing this. It is 6:51 p.m. Friday night and while I probably will not post this for a week, I could handle taking a xanax and going to bed for 16 hours right now.

Back to the funeral … After the family viewed the body and before the public came, we all had a moment to share some memories. There were not too many people speaking up. It’s hard to do this sometimes. I shared how Great Grandma would ALWAYS remember my kids’ birthdays, and even though she didn’t have much, she always sent them a card with four quarters taped to the inside of the card (incidentally, that night, I had some serious dreams of quarters. It was weird). So, then Ajers raised his hand, and his voice cracked and he started to cry, hard …

“I may not have known my Great Grandma very much …”

Then he broke down and sobbed, which in turn, made every single person in the room cry. He gathered himself, my little brave boy, and he continued …

“I may not have known my Great Grandma very much, but I do know this … she gave the best hugs in the world!”

It was the most beautiful thing anyone could have said, and so true. She was a giving, caring, selfless woman would NEVER, EVER thought of herself first.

On that note, I am gonna end this for now. I am hoping to have more information on the latest and greatest crap Manic news next week, but because I am so fearful of freaking my mom out because she thinks the absolute worst, I can’t share it. But, here’s the thing …

On the way home from our trip today, I check the voicemails at home and my mammogram came back and they need to do more tests on it. Interesting that during my mammogram, I’m talking to the lady, answering her questions, “No, no one has breast cancer. No, no one has ovarian cancer.” Then I’m asking her how many people get called back for retests. I’m all casual because I’m always sure my mammograms are fine, and HEY, I JUST FUCKING TURNED 40, and how proactive have I been, because I’ve been getting mammograms for five years already, and now all of a sudden, I have to go for additional testing and an ultrasound?!?!

And see, ten minutes ago, I was crying and upset. This second, I am pissed as hell about it. But then a while ago, I’m like, “OK, yeah, it’s my turn. I’ve always said, ‘I’m gonna get cancer someday so when’s it gonna be?’” And I guess I would rather have it be me than my husband because I know how to take care of me, and I’m not sure I know how to take care of him. You know what I mean? Like I know what I can do for myself to make me feel better, but if he were sick, I wouldn’t know what would make him feel better. And you know what? I would look HORRIBLE bald. And I don’t think I would be a very gracious cancer patient. I am not feeling very gracious right now. Oh, and here’s the other FUCKING thing that pisses me off. They call me to tell me I need to schedule additional tests, on FRIDAY OF FUCKING MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND. Then, no one answers the fucking phone when I call to schedule an appointment.

Do you know what this means for a person fretting over their health? Yep, this means, MY WHOLE ENTIRE FUCKING WEEKEND, AND POSSIBLY MY WHOLE ENTIRE FUCKING LIFE IS FUCKED, all because they couldn’t call me like a couple hours earlier. Those fuckers.

OK, this is making me feel so much better to just get all this shit out, and I will eventually post this, I just can’t do it right now because my mom will freak. Mom, you REALLY, REALLY REALLY MUST STOP READING MY BLOG, or I’m going to have to do a private invite only on it. Seriously, you don’t need the stress of it all, but by the time I do post this, I’m going to be fine and clear, and all this whole hoopla is going to be a huge mistake. That’s what I’m going to tell myself anyway. But in the meantime, thank you bastard people who called and left the message on my machine because you have just ruined FOUR DAYS OF MY LIFE, AND POSSIBLY THE REST OF IT.

Oh, and here’s another hilarious fucking joke about the whole thing. How cool of my body to wait to possibly get cancer until RIGHT WHEN MY HUSBAND LOSES HIS JOB SO WE CAN GET ON COBRA!?!?!? So if I need a mastectomy and radiation and chemo and experimental marijuana, cuz you can bet your ass I’m on THAT freaking bandwagon, well, then it’s gonna cost us a helluva lot more to fix me.




Update today, May 26, Monday: After four days of worrying this weekend I called the mammogram place this a.m. When she told me BOTH hospitals were booked until next week and I started bawling, MIRACULOUSLY the very kind lady on the phone found an opening and could I be at the hospital at 8:50 a.m.?


I drive to the hospital, and in the car I'm applying lipstick, thinking, "OK, this might be the last time I apply lipstick before I find out I have breast cancer. And then I'm waiting in the room in those stupid half-robes they give you and I'm thinking, "OK, this might be the day I find out I have breast cancer." And then I see the pink ribbon sign for breast cancer on the wall, and I think, "OK, now I am going to look at those pink ribbons in a whole new way." And then I think, "OK, now I will start racing for the cure sinc I am sure I am going to have breast cancer." And when I registered and the woman asked me if I brought anyone with me, and I said No, then I started to freak out a little bit, thinking, "How am I going to drive home knowing I have breast cancer." And then I think, "I don't want to have to write a book about breast cancer - there are too many of them out there."

The shit that runs through the mind when there's a scare like this.

Fortunately, my boobs are good. Thank you God. A-freaking-Men! I love my boobs.

And now, go to the previous post and enter to win Jen Lancaster's Pretty In Plaid because I am going to see her on Thursday and she is going to draw the winner.

Also, since I took a Xanax before going for the mammogram this morning, I am going to go take a nap because I fucking deserve one.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


So, you know I love Jen Lancaster, and she's got a new book out called Pretty in Plaid, and yeah, I about FREAKED when I saw that she gave me a mention in the acknowledgment page. WOW! Of course, this is THE closest I will get to having my name on a NYT Bestseller, but HEY, I can say my name is on a NYT Bestseller, so that's pretty cool!

Anyway,here's a little bit about Jen's newest memoir, and then, of course, I've got some exciting news on how you can win a PERSONALIZED AUTOGRAPHED COPY of it!

Pretty in Plaid, Jen’s latest memoir, takes the reader through three decades of clothes and controversy. From early days of knee highs and Girl Scout attire, through her teen years pining for a pair of Jordache jeans and Gucci gear, to her love of Lacoste and a navy suit and crocodile shoes that rocked her into her career, this memoir conjures so much humor and nostalgia, every girl who ever wanted a pair of designer jeans will commiserate. While cracking up of course, because Jen is just that funny.

So, here's the deal. I am going to Jen's book signing on Thursday, May 28. If you want a signed personalized copy, leave me a comment stating EXACTLY what you would want JEN to write in your book if you were to win. When I go to the book signing, I'm going to have Jen pick the winner randomly, and I'll videotape it, and she'll sign the winner's book with exactly as what you have requested she writes! And I'll post the video via YouTube so you'll find out if you've won via video!

And if I'm feeling really nice, maybe I'll give away two!

And hey, if you wanna go to the event, here are the details:

80’s Party and Book Signing for Jen Lancaster’s PRETTY IN PLAID: A Life, A Witch, and a Wardrobe, or the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase

Thursday, May 28th at 7:30pm
Barnes & Noble
1441 West Webster Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 871-3610


New York Times bestselling author Jen Lancaster will be in the Chicago to sign her newest book, Pretty in Plaid, in which she lays bare her wardrobe choices, both triumphant and scarring, with some very "key pieces" that have defined her life.

So, don't forget to leave a comment on how you want Jen Lancaster to sign your copy of Prety in Plaid and she will pick the winner and I'll videotape it and show it on YouTube!

Monday, May 18, 2009


Mr. Manic's grandma died over the weekend. I originally wrote, "passed away" then changed it because I just don't like that phrase. It's DIED. A person dies.

She was 88 and in a nursing home, and had lived a full life so we are thankful for that. Tukey is having a hard time dealing with it. He had cried when he heard the news that his G'pa's mom died.

He said to me, "I didn't know it feels this way when someone in your family dies." That killed me to the core, for a little boy who is 7 to explain himself that way, and for me to know exactly how he is feeling. Like he wasn't expecting the hurt over death.

Diva is searching for stuff so she can place it in the 'coffin' -- I keep telling her it's a casket. Either word sucks. She wants to find something special and meaningful to leave behind for great grandma Manic. Great Grandma had given Diva a locket with a photo of Great Grandma and Great Grandpa about a year ago, and Diva will cherish this gift.

This will be the kids' first funeral, and we will be traveling to Minnesota for it.

Mr. Manic is currently in Vegas because he has secured a consulting gig, so that is good news--he will keep his severance and work this consulting job which is a huge opportunity he is very excited about. But since he was gone last night, I had two little buggaboos sleeping with me - Diva just wasn't settling because her mind was all over the place about death and such, and Tukey came in during the middle of the night.

I remember when I was in fifth grade crying my eyes out for a very long period of time, it had to be months, because I was so consumed with the fear that my parents were going to die. It's a scary concept to young kids. This will be a big deal for them. It will be their first body viewed too.

So, we will be with family for the week, which will be good, and we will be celebrating and remembering a very sweet, kind woman, and the life she lived.

On a not-so-sad note: Check back here on Thursday, because I've scheduled a post about Jen Lancaster's new memoir, and details on how you can win an autographed copy of Pretty in Plaid!

Friday, May 15, 2009

JoB LoSS iS NoT ouR LoSS!

Here is a list of things I have discovered that occurs when Mr. Manic loses his job:

In life, there are no guarantees.

I really like my husband as a person.

We are having some good family times.

Everyone is replaceable.

$1.99 generic cinnamon rolls are DEFINITELY not as good as Pillsbury cinnamon rolls that cost $3.19.

It’s fun to work out with my husband in the mornings. He’s a good motivator, plus it’s fun to have some male attention at the club!

It’s nice to have my husband in the bed with me when I wake up in the mornings.

It’s nice to have my husband get up before me and get the kids up in the mornings.

It’s nice to have my husband get up before me and make breakfast for the kids in the mornings.

It’s NOT nice that my husband likes the house cooler than I do.

I am missing my afternoon nap from 2:00 to 2:45 each day.

I will still sneak this nap in when he is gone though.

It’s nice to have my husband help fold the laundry and put it away.

Showering together is fun.

Laying around in bed at 1:30 p.m. together is fun.

Being together at dinnertime as a family is fun.

Having him there to watch the dreaded two-hour 10-year-old softball games that make my eyes bleed is more fun than having to watch the dreaded two-hour 10-year-old softball games by myself.

He got screwed by his company, but in the long run, this is so much better for our family.

He is kind of annoyingly cheerful in the mornings when the rest of the family is gearing up for the day.

“They” lost out by getting rid of him.

I already knew this one, but him being here, and him being the person who he is just solidifies it, confirms it to me … that I love him with every ounce of my being.

Monday, May 11, 2009


OK, here is what happened last week, as it unfolded. We're TOTALLY OK now, in fact, the future has never been better, and my emotions are so in check right now it's unbelievable. I have THE most amazing husband in the world! But, these were my emotions as everything went down, not edited (OK, I took out some parts about someone's boss being a #$%#&*!):

Wednesday, 3:30 p.m.:
OK, this is one of the times I wish my blog was anonymous. I’m sitting here doing an article for work and Mr. Manic calls. This is not unusual, we talk throughout the day every day. I don’t know how the conversation started, but all I heard was, “I was just terminated.”

This doesn’t happen to us. It doesn’t. I am in shock. Is this what shock feels like? I started going numb and told him I had to go into our room so the kids wouldn’t hear me. And I started crying. What the fuck are we going to do? I never, ever in a million years thought his job was not secure. He has been in this industry and with this company for so long. He’s the fucking president of the Chicago division. OK, this is funny. He was. Not anymore. Now, he is fucking unemployed and I do not know how to deal with my emotions right now. He gets nine months severance, but our lives as we currently know it is completely over. Oh my God, thank you for not making him not love me or for us to be getting a divorce. It’s just a job. And now it’s gone. It was a job.

They said they wanted to go in a new direction, and are looking for change. [THIS IS WHERE I DELETED SOME VERY MEAN STUFF I WROTE ABOUT THE HIGHER-UPS.] Now, my husband, the one who provides for this family is no longer employed. I cannot fucking believe it. And tonight, all three kids have a million activities.

I don’t know what to do. I am walking around here trying to figure out what next. I just want him home and in my arms so I can feel that everything will be OK, and to know that he is OK. He is such a good hard worker, and I can’t believe the company is just fucking him over like this. Wow. Now I know what it feels like.

It’s also embarrassing. Wow. I have heard of people whose husbands are out work and I wonder how their families manage. Now it’s my turn. How on earth are we going to manage. I know nine months is a long time, and I don’t think he will be out of work for long, but oh my God. I keep thinking of how we’re going to tell my parents. Dear God, my mother will never be able to fall asleep at night with this news. I keep wondering, “should I get my hair cut and colored tomorrow?” Can we afford it? Do I need to stop shopping at Target. Oh my God. I cannot believe this.

I just want him to come home fast, so we can figure out the next phase of our lives together. Oh my God, I just can’t believe this.

Wednesday, 4:58 p.m.
Hubby on his way home. He insists he is absolutely fine and this is a good one-door-closes-a-window-opens situation. Thank God I am married to him. This is a big crisis for us to deal with and already I am feeling more love for him than I ever have. Anyone is going to be so lucky to have him as a player on their team, I just know it and everything will be OK. Plus, thank goodness it started raining cuz soccer and softball are now both canceled.

I have gone through these emotions in the past hour and a half, and shared them on Twitter (you can follow me here: @stephanieelliot:

Phone call arrived. In shock and I have to vomit.

nobody's dead though, so that's good.about 1 hour ago from web

The crying headache is starting.about 1 hour ago from web

Thank you for the rain. Keep raining.21 minutes ago from web

Deep breaths are helping. So did talking to @weaselmomma. I heart you.20 minutes ago from web

Keep thundering.19 minutes ago from web

You know how as writers, when the feeling comes, you just have to write? This is a time when I'm mad my blog is not anonymous. More later.18 minutes ago from web

Thank you rain. Softball and soccer MUST be canceled now. See, I can still be thankful for some things. We'll be OK.18 minutes ago from web

OMG, a neighbor just sent over pecan caramel clusters. How did she know I am in the middle of a crisis? Feeling zennish right now, for a sec4 minutes ago from web

9:00 a.m. The Day After the News Hit, 5-7-09

Irony has a way of biting you in the ass. Hard. In January, I wrote a post about my husband having to let go a dozen of his employees.

Well, yesterday, he got the ax. Fifteen years with the company, through buyouts and name changes, through promotions and moves, and yesterday, terminated.

Why did I think we were so golden that it wouldn’t happen to us? It’s happening to everyone. And now, it’s our turn.

We’re looking at it as a Door Slams Right On Your Face and another window will open opportunity. He was jaded, maybe deep down, he knew this might happen. I asked him today if he felt relief in some sort of way? He’s getting nine month’s severance, and so far, everyone I’ve talked to says that is unheard of. But will that keep our family financially secure?

One of the first things that fled through my mind was, “Can I still get my hair cut and colored tomorrow?” I am not a lunching/shopping kind of mom, I don’t spend my days redecorating my house. Really, the ONLY places I shop are the grocery store and Target. But I’ve never been ‘careful’ with my money. I’ve never clipped coupons, I’ve never second-guessed buying the name brand rather than the generic. If the kids want a milkshake, we’ll hit the drive-through for one. We have never wanted for anything. We’ve always been blessed with the necessities, and I’ve never had to say no. The kids are not spoiled, but we’ve never had to say, “You can’t have that because we don’t have enough money.”

Am I going to have to start saying that?

On the bright side of all this, and there is a huge bright side, we are all healthy, and at times like this, I cannot express my gratitude for that. My husband and I love one another so incredibly much that while this may be hard for us, this living underfoot with one another for however long it takes, it will not tarnish our marriage. In fact, I think it will do the opposite. We will appreciate one another more, help each other out during the day, be respectful of that love that brought us together in the first place, and know that we have a family to take care of first and foremost.

And then I think, I should get a ‘real’ job. Yes, I have my freelancing gigs, which I so very much love, and am so thankful for, but will I need to start really supporting our family? I would do it if I had to, in a heartbeat, I would. I thank God I have some skills if the need came along. But wouldn’t it have been nice to say, “Well, take some time off honey, and find yourself. We can totally live off my income while you do this.” I love my jobs, but it’s money that’s not going to pay every bill.

And I know I’m being dire here. We’ll be fine. Nine months is a long time. You can make a baby in nine months. Surely, he can find a job within that time? One of us can. Maybe it’s time for me to step up the the family plate?

Friday a.m. 10:42:

Reasons to Be Thankful for Hubby’s Job Loss:

It was a job and not his health.
Nine months’ severance.
Came home today and the dishes were done!
Opportunities to spend more time with the kids.
Opportunities for me to sleep in some mornings.
Mid-Day Sex!
There’s always something better around a new corner.
Car-Pooling Help!
He knows how to fold and put away laundry.
We are so in love we will enjoy this extra time together as husband and wife.
He’s kind of relieved.

More later ...

Sunday, May 10, 2009


And we have our winners for the Mom's Day Contest!

Congrats to citidok who has won the Mom/Daughter book.

Congrats to Donna W. who has won the Mom/Son book.

Congrats to boystwingirls who has won the Power Mom book.

And I had Diva randomly choose one of these for the grand prize chocolate pretzels and oreos, and 2boystwingirls has won that chocolate too!

Congrats to you all -- please email me with your shipping address so I can get your prizes to you. Email Thanks to everyone who entered--I will have more fun stuff to win later.

Hope all of you moms enjoy your special Mom's Day, and here's something I wrote a long time ago, which still holds true in my heart: A Mother's Day to Remember

Tomorrow I will share the drama that has unfolded at the Manic House.

Friday, May 08, 2009


Will share every little bit of drama from the Manic house on Monday as it unfolded, but in the meantime, a story I wrote is now published and illustrated on

The Switch Wish

Something to be happy about!

Also, don't forget to pop on over to the previous post to enter to win some Mom's Day loot, and Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there!

Till Monday, when the smoke will have definitely cleared by then ...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

a PReSeNT FoR 'Da MoMS!'

Since I can't blog about the mini-crisis in my life, I might as well offer a Mother's Day treat to you all! Believe me, I will be sharing the crisis soon enough as there are some major changes for the Manic family comin'.

This one is for the moms, and hey, even if you’re not a mom, you can still enter and SEND your prize to a mother! So how’s that?

Motherhood is hard work. It’s often unrewarding and continuous, the only job I know of that’s 24/7, 365 days a year. Show me a mom who has gotten through the day and feels like she completed everything she had to do, and I’ll show you … a fictional character, perhaps Super Woman, because she is something practically non-existent. It rarely happens.

We are so busy in our lives taking care of our children, the house, careers, laundry, errands, and general up-keep it takes to raise a family, that I’m sure some of you get through the day and wonder if you’ve had time to use the bathroom or even eat. It’s a long, hard job many days.

In honor of Mother’s Day we’re giving away one copy each of the following titles to celebrate the wonderful mom in you:

"Chicken Soup for the Soul: Like Mother, Like Daughter"

"Chicken Soup for the Soul: Moms & Sons"

“Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms”
which features great author moms such as Heather Armstrong, Jodi Piccoult, Liz Lange and Jane Green. Here’s a video trailer:

Check out the Chicken Soup for the Soul site here:

And there’s MORE! For the chocolate lover in all of you, we’re giving away one box of dark chocolate rose pretzels and a glorious box of four White Chocolate Sweetheart Oreos® from Simply Put Gourmet!


There is one caveat though. We can ONLY ship these prizes in the US, so if you’re not in the US, I’m very sorry but you don’t get a chance on this one! I know, I know, don’t hate me! (Sorry especially Amanda!)

Just leave a comment on which ONE book you would most prefer and I’ll draw from all those entries on Mother’s Day:

Chicken Soup: Like Mother, Like Daughter
Chicken Soup: Moms & Sons
Chicken Soup: Power Moms

And the pretzels and Oreo pack will be awarded to one of the book winners as a grand prize!

Happy Mother’s Day!


This is one of those times I wish my blog was anonymous.

Monday, May 04, 2009

iF THiS iSN’T a TyPiCaL MoNDay!

I wake up Diva this morning and she bursts into tears saying she doesn’t feel good and doesn’t want to go to school. I’m like, “Great, she turns 10 and immediately morphs into a PMS’ing ‘tween." Sooo emotional! I talk her off the ledge and promise her cinnamon rolls for breakfast if she gets a move on it. It works.

Tukey sprawls his body across my bed and complains of exhaustion and a stomach ache. I get water and splash his face a bit, which he likes, and it wakes him up.

Of course, Ajers has been up since 5:30 because he is Mr. Manic Jr. and he sets his alarm for 5:30 just because he “wants to start his day!” He’s the kid who looks at the clock after breakfast and begs to walk to the bus already, even if it’s not coming for 15 minutes.

I’ve got all types.

So, I ply my kids with whatever I can to get them to school, even counting on the calendar that they only have 21 and a half days left of that horrible place! I wave enthusiastically at the tinted windows on the bus as it heads out of the ‘hood.

A neighbor and I decide to take a walk because, for the record, while I loved vacation, the food didn’t love me back, and I am a fat pig, clothes are tight, body image is less than ideal at the moment, and bathing suit season is in exactly one month.

Back home after an exhilarating walk, in which both neighbor and I are grateful that we took (and we’re promising to do it again tomorrow!), I take a shower because it’s Pap Smear Day! As I am walking into my appointment, my cell rings. Yep, it’s the school nurse.

“Tukey is here and he says he has to vomit.”

My thought, “So, tell him to upchuck in the toilet and get back to school, I’ve gotta get my legs in the stirrups.”

But what I say is that he may just be hungry cuz he gets like that sometimes, and that if he tries to eat his lunch and still does not feel better, then I will come get him. In the examining room, I say to my doc, “Do this fast. I’ve got to pick up a sick kid.”

(For the record, the weigh-in at the gyne proves my hypothesis that I've become a fat pig!)

I pick up Tukey, who seems a little peaked (is that the right word/spelling?) but then beg him to let me stop at the grocery store because, guess what? Tonight is the night I am supposed to blindfold Diva during dinner and make her eat some new things! Doesn’t that SOUND FUN!?

So I needed to buy some new things for her to try, because we have officially turned into mean parents. I have been taking her to therapy and it is suggested she might just not like the looks of food and if we were to feed her while blindfolded, maybe she would try something new? Also, we are going to no longer allow her to eat waffles or pancakes for dinner. Does this make me a bad parent? I’ve got to get hold of this problem, although I fear it might be too late. So, new rule, pancakes or waffles in the AM only! She is NOT happy, but I don’t think she’s had either of those items for dinner since Tuesday or Wednesday of last week. And she doesn’t totally hate me yet. Next up though, I’m going to stop buying chocolate stuff. Those are her weaknesses … chocolate and waffles. Oh my.

So, Tukey is actually FINE and I’m like, “Why are you home again?” We play some hangman where he writes: I HOPE I FEEL BETTER and LETS WATCH TV IN YOUR BEDROOM. We go to my room where he insists on The Dark Knight. I try to sleep because I am exhausted from the big walk I took that morning. Ha.

Diva and Ajers get home from school and of course, Diva has a shitload of homework. She has had more homework in her fourth grade career than Ajers has had in HIS WHOLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CAREER. I tried to give her teacher the benefit of the doubt when school first started, but now, believe me, I am counting the days down to summer. It’s unbelievable how much work they put on the fourth graders, and in turn, this means WORK FOR ME! I have never done this much homework! It is unreal. Her teacher is not a parent, and I’m convinced she has no idea what is involved in raising a family, and that kids have other activities than school work, and come on, LET THEM LIVE A LITTLE!

We get through some of her massive amounts of homework, and then it’s time for me to make her SURPRISE dinner. This is what I made: a sandwich cut in quarters. One quarter had peanut butter on it. Two had the TEENIEST, THINNEST slice of mozzarella cheese on them, and one had the thinnest piece of honey ham you would ever see! I also included spinach leaves (she actually will eat these but she calls them Pukage). I cut up some fruit – apples, pineapples, cantelope. I also cut up carrots (which she likes) and a few bits of an orange pepper. And three Ritz crackers.

For some reason, I thought she would think of this as FUN and devour the cute teeny sandwiches she would feel on her plate, cuz remember, she was to be blindfolded.


She wouldn’t try anything practically. I told her to lick a piece of fruit and she had a hard time doing that. She figured out the apples but complained that the skin was still on them. She ate the three crackers. She REFUSED the sandwich quarters totally. Tried a carrot, but even that tasted funny to her.

Am I going to have to resort to tough love on this? I seriously DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO! Everyone says, “They will eat when they’re hungry enough.”

After pleading and begging and major alligator tears on her part, and practically mine, I held her on the couch for a while, then made her a half-peanut butter sandwich and gave her some BBQ chips.

BUT, no more waffles at dinner. No more treats of chocolate. I have to figure this out. We are seeing a therapist, but how long can I go with this. Am I supposed to make her a surprise blindfolded dinner every night and hope she will eat it. I DON’T HAVE THE TIME OR THE ENERGY! Or the fight in me to fight this one. But I have to. Because she can’t go on living on waffles and peanut butter sandwiches, apples, carrots and junk food her whole life. Because that’s basically her main food groups right there.

THEN tonight, after I put her to bed and explain that now I have work to do for myself, she comes downstairs crying saying she doesn’t want to go to school because they are playing this study game and she knows she will get the answers wrong and she will be embarrassed.

I explain that the only people she has to worry about are herself, her mommy and her daddy, and not to worry about the teacher or anything she says that may embarrass her. I swear, can she have any more anxiety in her poor life?

OK, so this is turning into a huge rant/gripe fest but I guess it feels good to vent. I am now going to bed because if I stay up any later, it’ll be one AM and then I’ll get up in the morning and be all pissy, like usual.

I hope YOU had a nice Monday! Oh, and check in on Wednesday because I have a fun Mother’s Day contest with books and chocolate covered treats for you to win!

Peace UP, and here’s to 20 and a half days of hell school left!

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Well, my Diva is 10! And I pulled off an exceptional time for her and her two friends. I am not a big believer in holding an "invite-everyone-in-your-class-and-get-all-kinds-of-crap" birthday parties. Instead, I like to keep their celebrations intimate and memorable. Hopefully, she'll remember her tenth birthday. I sure will!

We started off going to a hotel where I had already decorated and filled with balloons and junk food.



Then we went shopping to, where else ... Claire's! And then to Build-A-Bear.

The perfect little girl shops! Then we went to dinner at the hotel, and they all ordered BEER (root beer) and I had a glass of wine. They sang Happy Birhtday and gave her chocolate ... of course, her favorite food of all time!

Afterward, we went swimming, hot-tubbing and we even hung out in the sauna.


Back in the room, they begged me to give them massages, so I pretended to be a masseuse while they drank root beer from wine glasses and tried to be glamorous.


Then, we watched Twilight, which I hadn't planned on watching until I read the book, but it was AMAZING! I can now see what all the hype is about! Edward!!!

The next morning, when Diva officially turned 10, we celebrated with room service ...


... and then I let them swim some more, and later we went to Target. It was exhausting handling three cute 'tweens, but a lot of fun. Later that night, we had pizza and a cake with family and her friends, and I fell asleep cuddling and spooning my little girl.


I cannot believe she has graced by life for a decade. I just hope when she's 13 or 14 or even 16, she will still think I am fun and want to spend her birthday celebrations with me!


Cuz I love my precious little birthday girl!