Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Seven months today.

Yep, It’s been seven months since we moved. What have I discovered? Lots of things:

That I am open to change.

That a heart can break watching your children leave everything and everyone they have ever loved and known.

But that it can slowly heal. Although it takes time, and that they are slow to accept these changes and still remind me almost daily how much they miss home, miss their friends, miss snow, want their friends to visit, want to go to college in Illinois, don’t like their school (only on occasion).

I love the weather here after the sucky heat breaks. December has been absolutely beautiful.

We feel at home in our new home.

We have had a gazillion visitors and are expecting a gazillion more and are so happy that everyone wants to come see us.

I like talking to and meeting new people, and am open to discovering what people are all about.

I still miss my friends, and every now and then I will get a pang of homesickness, like today, when I was at Paradise Bakery, which is like Panera, I had some Black Bean Soup, I was thrown straight into missing my friends from home, who I would go to lunch with and always have soup.

I think cacti are really pretty. There are some purple ones that are so gorgeous. I really had preconceived ideas of what I thought it would be like here, and I was wrong. AZ, I apologize.

I still have the same resolutions here that I had when I lived in Illinois. Some things DON’T change.

I won’t keep those resolutions either.

I am worrying less about my kids, but still worrying about Tukey – he hasn’t found a group of kids to settle in with.

I am worrying about Ajers because there have been some cruel kids around; I don’t know if they are jealous that he’s come in and befriended some of the other kids, or that he came in and got on the basketball team, or what, but some things have happened that don’t make me happy. I have told him to do what Jesus did – turn the other cheek. Tukey said, “The butt cheek?”

Diva’s growing up beautifully. I’m watching her right now create a piece of art work in her class. She makes me proud. They all do. I’m learning that through the hard times, they’ll persevere and become better people.

I’m learning that rain in AZ is like snow in Virginia or other places where they get little of it – people freak and act erratically (and I just learned how to spell erratically!) when they are driving. It’s RAIN people! Good God, what will they do in snow?

I’ve learned that my kids loved swimming in a heated pool on Christmas Day (our neighbor’s, not ours).

I’ve learned that there are kind people willing to include a new family from Chicago into their traditions and into their lives and that makes my heart swell, especially during a time of year when it could have been a lonely sad place for us.

I’m learning that no matter where we are in life, that as long as we are together, and that we are raising our family in a way we believe in, and that we continue to communicate with each other, that everything will be working its way to fine.

Happy New Year. I hope 2011 brings you an abundance of health and happiness, because if you have that, everything else will follow.

PeaCe uP!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


We’ve moved away from everything “winter” recently, when our family packed it up, left the midwest and headed to Scottsdale. It’s been almost seven months, and a huge transition, but we’re getting there.

Today, just a couple of days before Christmas, I suggested to my three kids that we take a walk to Starbucks for some treats and hot chocolates. The kids had shorts on, and the boys grabbed their skateboards. While there is no snow here, there are still tons of decorations and everyone we meet is filled with the Christmas spirit ...

To read the rest, click to the Real Moms Guide Transitions and Traditions

(I'm hoping to be back in full swing in 2011 with a new MaNiC MoMMy game plan! Thanks for your continuous love and support - can't tell you how much it means that you still pop over here to read - I don't even know who is still reading! xo)

PeaCe uP!

~MaNiC MoMMy

Monday, December 13, 2010


Hi there! Thanks for popping over to see if I'm still here. I'm here but just writing elsewhere for the moment, so if you'd like to read about what's been going on, I'd be so happy if you'd check out any of these posts, and leave a comment or two over at Real Moms Guide:

My Last Christmas With Santa ... I'm gonna miss Santa Claus!

Books By Guys Who Sounds Like Girls ... Wally Lamb, Chris Bohjalian, Philip Beard - three great dude authors who sound totally like chicks!

Extending Your Weekend ... make the most of your weekend hours!

Baby Love ... I babysat adorable twins for a whole day and LOVED it!

Big Talks with Kids ... GLEE, sex talk and more with your kids.

Adult Friendships ... making them.

I'll be back after the New Year, and I hope you're getting all of your shopping done and finding time to enjoy the holiday season! xo PeaCe uP!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Thank you all so much for your patience on
Dawn Meehan's You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (and OTHER LIES about pregnancy and childbirth).

Three winners have been chosen and contacted. There were so many great pregnancy stories, I ended up doing a random drawing to decide on winners. Congratulations to:

Erin T.
Cristen C.

Ladies, please email me your mailing addresses so I can ship you your books!

I hope everyone is gearing up for a great holiday season and that you're looking forward to a bright and healthy, happy New Year. Posting will continue to be light; we've got both sets of grandparents here and are enjoying their company!

However, if you've really got an itch for reading enlightening words from me (ha, do I crack myself up or WHAT?!), I'm still over at She Knows Real Moms Guide daily. Would love for you to stop by and leave a comment so they think I have friends! : )

Happy Holidays from the MaNiC family!

PeaCe uP!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

TiS THe BuSy SeaSoN!

Am hoping that you've been as crazed as I am and haven't even bothered coming over here to see what's been going on. I'm actually afraid that blogs are slowly being replaced by the quicker, faster, get-your-SEO-fix-on Facebook and Twitter buzz stuff these days anyway, and that no one even bothers with blogs that much anymore? Not because I don't like blogs, but because I don't want anyone to be missing me.

I haven't been 'round here (insert Counting Crows song here) all that much. Also, been so busy I missed my own six-month anniversary in AZ. Happy Anniversary to us. We're surviving. It was actually COLD here. Mr. Manic even said the other day, "I didn't really think it got this cold in the winter." We're wimps now.

We've had a ton of company, and it's been a lot of fun. Went to the Grand Canyon, and took amazing photos that I shared on FB if you care to see (you can friend me by clicking on the FB link to the right over there, yeah, right over there -- I'm nudging my head in that direction, you know, to the right -- I'm horrible with directions, even on the 'net!).

I will be choosing winners for the You'll Lose the Baby Weight books in a few days, so yes, you can still enter, and these entries have been a blast to read, so much fun, that I'll probably have to choose winners randomly! But thanks for taking the time to enter! And since the holidays are upon us, posting will continue to be really slow-going, and I'll evaluate what to do with MaNiC MoMMy when 2012 is upon us. I really wanna finish up my next novel, as I'm 25,000 words knee-deep into it and have the momentum going.

For now, I continue to blog at Real Moms Guide, and having a lot of fun there -- I just posted on a tough suject -- Big Talks with Kids -- and would LOVE to hear your comments over there -- what do YOU talk to your kids about, how much is too much? We share everything with our children, so much sometimes that I wonder if we share too much, but then I think that I'd rather they hear it from us and they hear the RIGHT stuff from us and feel comfortable knowing they can come to us with questions. So, it'd be awesome if you could pop on over to Real Moms Guide and share your thoughts on how you talk with your kids.

Thanks for sticking by me. This month marks ... HOLY SHITOLA ... Friday, December 3 marks SIX years that I have been blogging as MaNiC MoMMy. Whoa. I think I'm getting the seven-year-itch a year early. For those bored to death interested, it all began six years ago, with a 3 year old, a 5-year old and a 7-year old ... right here.

HaPPy HoLiDayS!

~PeaCe uP!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

BooK GiVeaWay: DaWN MeeHaN'S you'LL LoSe THe BaBy WeiGHT


OK book groupies! This is what you’ve been waiting for! I’m giving away Dawn Meehan's You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (and OTHER LIES about pregnancy and childbirth).

In fact, I’m giving away TWO copies. All you need to do is leave me a comment about pregnancy. Yours or someone else’s, but make it funny! This may or may not be a random drawing!

Dawn’s book is HILARIOUS, but you already knew that because you’re a fan of her blog already, or else you wouldn’t be here trying to win her book!

Laugh-out-loud chapters in You’ll Lose the Baby Weight include:

–Am I Pregnant or Is Aunt Flo Knocking?
–The “Do You Weigh More Than an Elephant?” Test
–Tinkle Tinkle Little Star
–The Dolly Parton Syndrome
–I Just Have a Taste for a Cheeseburger Topped with Caramel Sauce and Calamari

Whether you’ve already had your babies, you’re pregnant, you’re thinking about getting pregnant, Dawn Meehan’s You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (and OTHER LIES about pregnancy and childbirth) is a great read for all mothers.

Dawn’s book makes it easy to laugh through all of the rough times of pregnancy but still makes sure you remember the joyful parts of it too – that the end result is a bouncing beautiful baby that’s yours for the making!

So, leave a funny comment and I’ll pick two winners, or maybe even THREE, depending on my mood, sometime soon!

And come back later because I promise I will post pictures and tell about our amazing trip to the Grand Canyon, and no, we didn’t take mules down to the bottom, a la Brady Style, but we did come across a load of donkey poo on some trails!

Thanks Dawn for this great fun book on the biggest lie of ‘em all … Losing the Baby Weight!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

aRe you a ReaL MoM?

Hey there! I wanted to share something with you - I'm going to be blogging about some mom stuff over at Real Moms Guide daily, but STILL dishing about the real personal stuff here, like how Tukey has visited the ER twice in three weeks, and like how I have been FREEZING here (OK, it is only 70 but wow, does the blood really thin THAT quickly?) But I'm NOT going to tell you how our 'sex' code has gone from "Can you come fix the shelf in the closet?" to "Honey, I need you to help me out here by the garbage cans!" ...

Oops, I think I just spilled the beans on that one...

But anyway, here's a new endeavor for me, blogging for Real Moms Guide that I'm really excited about and I hope you'll stop by and check out some of the new posts that I've written and comment on a few!

I've shared the recipe on how to make an official Pool Boy over there, and also written a post called Football Schmootball. There are also loads of great holiday gift guide suggestions, so why don't you hop on over there to see what the Real Moms are talking about!

You can visit the Real Moms Guide HERE:

Real Moms Guide

Then come back over here to visit because I do have a copy of You'll Lose the Baby Weight by Dawn Meehan to give away before Thanksgiving ... I PROMISE!!!

Thanks for reading!

PeaCe uP!

~MaNiC MoMMy

Saturday, November 06, 2010


I’ve got a million other things to do but laundry just interrupted my life so now I’m going on a laundry rant since I just spent an hour folding about 7 loads of kid’s clothes, 5 bed’s worth of sheets and towels and dish towels. It has made me angry and venting about this stupid stupid STUPID chore will make me feel better. I already feel better as my fingers fly along the keyboard.

Anyone who loves doing laundry is a freaking idiot. Sorry, but you are. OK, I can understand someone loving the smell of laundry. I can understand someone LOVING the fact that all the laundry is done, but anyone in their right mind that actually says, “OH WOW, I get to do laundry today, I am SOOOOO excited… “


Are you out there?

Cuz if you are, you are a knucklehead.

It is NOT fun.

It’s a stupid chore with stupid ‘rules’ and I’m going to tell you the stupid rules that I cannot stand:

First of all, I cannot stand the fact that you are supposed to fold underwear. I refuse to fold underwear. WHY fold underwear? Seriously, that is the dumbest thing in the entire world to do. Let’s all fold a piece of clothing that goes onto your body that no one is going to see. Who cares if there is a crease in them where you’re supposed to fold them? Nope, I toss the underwear in the drawer. That’s the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard. Let’s fold underwear.

OK, and actually, that’s not first. First and foremost is I hate putting clothes into a drawer. THAT is the dumbest thing. You have to TAKE THEM OUT OF THE DRAWER practically the very next day. Why on earth did someone create all these stupid rules for us WOMEN to do, because the majority of laundresses are WOMEN. We women are the ones doing the sorting, washing, drying, folding, taking into appropriate rooms, putting away into appropriate drawers only to have the appropriate kids rifle through them and yell to you that they can’t find their [jersey/jeggings/favorite orange shirt/basketball shirt/special shirt for spirit day] when you know for certain that you washed and folded it and put it right in their drawer just the other day and if they hadn’t trashed their drawers, they could easily find that damn item!


Can you tell I have some high blood pressure here?

Other stupid stuff I find in the system of doing laundry … SOCKS.

Sorting and matching socks is the other dumbest thing I’ve ever come across and about five years ago, I decided I am no longer doing it. I got rid of every sock in the house, started FRESH by buying everyone about eight new pairs and got sock bins for everyone. When the laundry is done, the appropriate kids’ sock goes into the bin it belongs to, and in the morning, the kid grabs two socks that inevitably matches. I NO LONGER MATCH SOCKS TOGETHER.

I hate socks and hate matching them and will never in my entire life do that again.

And tonight, after seeing the pile of clean clothes in my bedroom that needed to be sorted, folded and put away, I instituted another new family rule.

I am no longer folding the kids’ stuff anymore.

Nope. I have thrown in the proverbial laundry towel. Of course, it is a CLEAN proverbial towel. Because I DO ALL THE LAUNDRY IN THE HOUSE, but I am NOT FOLDING A TRILLION items anymore, only to have them yell at me that they can’t find this or that or where is my (FILL IN THE BLANK)… They are going to be responsible for their clothes from now on.

I will sort the boys’ clothes into one clothes basket. I will sort Diva’s clothes into one clothes basket. I will tell them to take them upstairs. I will inform them that those are their clean clothes. And that I don’t want to see them anymore.

What they do with them is their choice, although I will strongly suggest they put them into some drawers. I don’t care if they shove them in there. I don’t care if they fold them nicely. I don’t care how they do it. As long as I don’t have to fold their clothes anymore.

Because I think doing laundry SUCKS and I’m so tired of it, and it’s just a waste of time. It seriously is the most ridiculous thing in the world.

Oh wait, I thought of something MORE ridiculous than putting away clothes only to have to take them out the very next day…

Ironing sheets that you put onto your bed.

Why on earth do people do this? Please explain this one to me? Do you sleep better if there are no wrinkles on the sheet? Does it stop insomnia? Do the sheets smell better? Do you have better dreams? Does ironing the sheets help the flabby part of the arm (cuz if that’s the case, maybe I should give it a shot, cuz the ShakeWeight I bought isn’t doing the trick … but I guess I have to actually pick it up in order to have it work!

OK, I feel much better. Share your laundry gripes with me! Because if you’ve read this far, I know you don’t love laundry either! : )

If you liked this rant, please share the link with your friends. Send them an email with the link to this rant! My next rant will be Kid-Shit Rant ... Why they can never find their shit when they had it last yet of course, we moms know exactly where that item is. I might change this blog name to MaNiCRaNt. Nice ring to it, huh?

Also, check back later this week as I'll be giving away Dawn Meehan's new book, You'll Lose the Baby Weight (and OTHER LIES about pregnancy and childbirth ... don't get me started on THAT rant!...

Update: Oh I am pissed off. The boys went upstairs and LEFT THE LAUNDRY BASKETS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE STAIRS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! RAGE!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

NoT youR uSuaL MaNiC PoST

Searching for a new church home reminds me much of the fairy tale Goldilocks and the three bears. Our family is Goldilocks, and I guess there are no bears in this story, but the churches become the bowls of porridge, the chairs and the lumpy beds. It’s very hard to find one that is just right for our family.

There are no bears.

We had a great church back home. We all loved going there. We weren’t hodunk involved like going to small groups or doing major volunteering, but I do feel that as far as the average family goes, ours is pretty religious and that I can honestly say I feel good about how Mr. Manic and I are raising our children to grow up to have some belief in a family faith. And that’s important to us. I was really sad to leave Trinity. The pastor was awesome; his messages made an impact on all of us; my kids would mention his sermons weeks later, they would TAKE something from the lessons, and that means something, when a kid can sit and listen in church and GET something out of it. To me, that means something important.

The music is a big part for our family too. Since Ajers plays guitar, and Tukey plays the piano, they are all interested in a band-led worship. No offense to anyone reading, but I want to worship my God with great music and loud noise. I always, always look in amazement at those people who are brave enough and God-loving enough who can raise their arms in praise while singing. I look at them and wonder what has taken hold of them to give them that kind of security and sense of freedom to just do that and not care what others think? Why can’t I be like that? I would look ridiculous. What do I care? I don’t know. Does admitting this make me look ridiculous? I wonder.

So, when we moved here, we started our church search. Hey, that’s an interesting rhyme. I found one right away that looked good on the outside. We went. It was too small. People were kind. But man, it was small, and I guess the word is rudimentary. The altar looked as if it was fashioned from a preschool playtime, and it shocked both Mr. Manic and me when during communion the pastor gave BABIES communion. WHAT? That is just not right. Even for someone as open and liberal as me, that really freaked me out. And it takes a LOT to freak me out. Right? This was a church that we all silently wished we could have walked out during the service. Had it been a bad movie, we would have walked out. But we couldn’t disrespect God and walk out of his place, even though none of us felt it was a place for us.

The next church we went to was, well, it was too … I’m not sure … OK, it was a bit too formal for us. It claimed to be contemporary, and the music was almost on track, but the pastor was in robes, and the place was really big. It had a Catholic feel to it, and before you yell, “What’s wrong with Catholicism?” NOTHING! I was raised Catholic. I went to Catholic school for 11 years. But this place also didn’t feel exactly right for us. We actually went to this church twice, and while we liked it, I felt like there might be a better place for us. We ventured out again.

Next, we went to the Sam’s Club of churches. This one wasn’t a Lutheran Church, it had a huge band, and was too immense for us. The place was an estate, and I felt immediately displaced, like I would never find my place there, like I would be just another fish in the huge ocean of fish there. The ‘church’ was an auditorium. Not happening.

And then, we found a church that upon entering, we felt like it might work out. It wasn’t too big, it wasn’t too small. The music was nice, the pastor’s lesson was meaningful without being over-the-top, and he didn’t drone on and on. My kids didn’t sit there and fidget or roll their eyes, or kick each other while they waited for it to end, or ask me how much longer till it was over. They also had just opened another campus called MegaLife that was more music-based and so we went there to check it out last week and really, really liked it. Great music, great lesson, that ALL three of my kids talked freely about in the car on our way home. We spoke with some members on our way out, and it just gave us a really good feeling.

It takes a while for a church to feel like a home, but I think we’re going to give this one a chance. Just like it’s taken a while for our home here to feel like a home. But at five months in now, we’re given it a chance, and it’s finally feeling like home. I think God does have a plan for all of us, and He’s led us to the place we’re supposed to be, spiritually and physically. Maybe I do feel a bit like Goldilocks afterall.

PeaCe uP

Friday, October 29, 2010

a MeMoRy

The first time I went to breakfast with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, the waitress asked him if he wanted coffee. I didn't know he drank coffee--I barely knew his name.

She asked him how he took it. He said, "I like it black, like my women."

I hit him over the head with the menu and then was mortified that I did that.

We barely knew one another.

We went back to his place and had sex for the first time.

God, I adore that man.

* * *

I'll announce two winners for Kim's book at the end of the weekend so you can still pop over and enter to win All I Can Handle in the post below. Seems like I married all I can handle hmmm?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

aLL i CaN HaNDLe

Two winners chosen:
and Jodi,

Ladies, please email me your addresses so I can send you your books!

Thanks to all who entered, and we have another great giveaway coming up! My dear friend, Dawn Meehan and her hilarious book, You'll Lose the Baby Weight (and OTHER LIES) about pregnancy and childbirth). Ajers just turned 13 and I'm still holding on to the babyweight!

Thanks everyone for entering and reading MaNiC MoMMy! And thanks to Kim Stagliano for writing an incredible book, for having 3 gorgeous daughters, and for your tireless efforts on behalf of the autism community! xo

PeaCe uP!

BooK GiVeaWay! * BooK GiVeaWay!

The past half a year I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog, if not complaining about my life, well then, at least griping about what’s been going on. My husband lost his job. We had to move across the country. I’ve had to adjust to a new environment, get my kids acclimated to their new surroundings, get myself adjusted to the heat, the new city, the new everything. I’ve had to deal with a whole new way of living. I had to leave all my good friends; my children had to leave all the friends they had, they had to get used to going to a new school, we had to leave a neighborhood we loved. It had been hard.

I’ve complained about my husband traveling, about my crappy van (which, we welcomed a 2011 Odyssey into the family last week!), and I’ve complained about snakes and the heat, and many, many things lately here on MaNiC MoMMy.

But really, I don’t know what hard is.

Here I am thinking I had all I can handle. What the hell do I know?

I have a great friend whom I met online about five years ago named Kim Stagliano. Somehow we just clicked. I don’t know how two people click through the internet, but I liked her, and maybe she liked me? We had missed opportunities to meet each other in real life twice in Chicago (my fault – kid stuff came up) and I totally regret it. She has been a sounding board to me in my writing, someone I can email with questions, or send a joke to, or check in with to see how things are going. Kim even sent me a birthday gift one year, what a thoughtful thing to do for a friend online! She is an amazing woman.

And maybe you’ve heard of her already? If not, you will, because she is the type of woman who gets things done and makes herself known.

I need a swift kick in the ass for all the complaining and griping I’ve done here on this blog. Kim has three beautiful daughters with autism. She’s also raising awareness for autism! She’s so freakin’ funny that you’ll never feel sorry for her; in fact, she’ll make you jealous! But like in the very possible good way, like you'll think, "I really like this girl, I wanna be friends with her type of jealousy" not like you hate her jealousy, let me just clear that up for ya! You’ll laugh with hysteria over her “kiminolgies” (That’s a word *I* made up for all the cool words SHE made up, like:

CRAPISODES: a big shit episode

STAGTRASTROPHE: a big disaster in the Stagliano’s life

KIMOIR: Kim’s memoir, which is what I’m going to tell you about now …

Kim’s very first book, All I Can Handle is coming out November 1, published by Skyhorse Publishing, and yes, it discusses autism, but this is NOT a book JUST for the autism community. This is a book for everyone. Anyone who has ever thought, man, my life kinda sucks, or man, my life is not exactly what I thought it was all cracked up to be.

It’s for all moms out there who are doing their damndest to raise their kids the best they can. It’s for all parents who fight to get their kids the best no matter what types of obstacles their kids might face.

All I Can Handle is a book is for anyone who just wants to take a break and read a story from a hilarious and heartfelt writer who will not make you feel sad or sorry, but will make you breathe in deep and say, “Thank you God, for making people like this, and for giving the world children as sweet as this, and for creating loving families like this in our world who will not give up and who will take a stand to do what they believe in.”

Kim is this kind of writer. She’s funny and true, she writes things that you won’t believe a mom of three autistic girls would ever say, but they are things that have you cracking up out loud!

And when you’re done reading ALL I CAN HANDLE, I’M NO MOTHER TERESA, you will say to yourself, “Man, I really want to meet Kim and Mark, and I definitely want to meet Mia, Gianna and Bella and hug the Bejeezus out of them. At least that’s what I want to do. And I know someday, I will!

But for now, until I do get to meet Kim and crew, thanks to Kim and Skyhorse Publishing, I’m able to give away a signed copy of ALL I CAN HANDLE.

But WAIT! That’s NOT ALL! I am going to throw in another copy because I want to support Kim and also cuz I love all you guys who are STILL HERE reading MaNiC! So, there’s two copies (one signed, and the other will have a signed bookplate attached).

Leave a comment and please include your email so I can easily reach you, and I’ll draw winners in a week or so!

Thanks Kim, and congrats on this great success! And thanks to Miss Snark for connecting the two of us! Long live Snark (who has been gone for far too long)! ... I know she is soooo proud of you Kim!

More book reviews and giveaways coming soon, including The Life You’ve Imagined by Kristina Riggle, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook, What’s Up Down There by Lissa Rankin (A great book on the wonders of the vagina!), Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen (yup, scored an Advanced Reader’s Copy!), and so much more! I’m behind on reviews, and trying to catch up!


PeaCe uP

~MaNiC MoMMy

PS--I dare you to go back and count how many times I used the word "like" in this blog post. Lots.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

MaNiC's MoBiLe (aS iN CaR, NoT PHoNe)

Bloggy Bloggerson here. I have been a horrible blogger lately and not because there’s not anything to blog about. I should be blogging daily, but I guess my excuse is when there used to be time to blog, there is no time any longer.

You see, I don’t carpool anymore.

Way back when, I had a posse of people who I could count on to either take, pick up, drive here or drive there. AND, these drives were quick and easy, right down the street. Across the way, up and down the avenue. AND, I knew where I was going to get to places. Things were simple.

Not so much anymore.

Not only do I not have a posse of people to help me get kids to one of these following events each week:

Two basketball teams
Art class
Another basketball program

… But I also have to figure out where all of these basketball games are being held in this place they call “The Valley.” Apparently, I live in a valley now. And I drive around in this valley in my “GT” aka The Green Turd minivan that the kids so lovingly christened it and I have no clue where I am going because when we got the GT like nine years ago, GPS wasn’t even invented! In fact, when we got the GT, DVDs were NOT even invented yet! Seriously! We have a VHS player in this minivan! And it’s so old, the back windows don’t even open and it’s dripping some fluid now that looks like snake blood (because you know now that I know what snake blood looks like), and well, it is about to DIE!

So, having said that, the good news is I’m getting another TURD! Oops, I mean, I’m getting another MINIVAN.

Shall we all jump for joy here?

One of the very first articles I ever wrote that got published (and if I can find it, I will repost it here) was about how I swore I would never do three things as a parent: Let my kids watch Barney (did that), let them dictate my life (did that), and drive a minivan (have done that for nine years)… and now apparently, I’m going to be doing that for ANOTHER NINE years.

Yep, my life rocks.

And like the last time I got a brand new car, I don’t have many requests. I told Mr. Manic that I only wanted the kind of doors that slid open. I got that. And that was about it. That was my only request for that car.

My request for this new and improved minivan?

No leather seats.

Because living in this “Valley” it’s too freaking HOT!

Actually, I do have one more teeny request for this next minivan I receive, and I won’t even go to the car dealer with him. I won’t even test drive it with him. I have that much faith that he will provide me with a winning automobile. And I really don’t even care what color it is, as long as it’s not black cuz that will suck in all the heat possible and continue to burn me (see above request for no leather).

My other request for this new car?

Please get me one with a GPS – I keep getting lost with all this driving around in this God-forsaken desert I live in!

Thanks! And MaNiC is out!

PeaCe uP

~MaNiC MoMMy

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

FouR MoNTHS aGo ToDay

Today was a happy day.

And it also marked four months of living here in Arizona. I don’t know if that has any correlation but nonetheless, it was a good day for all of us, and for that, I’m thankful.

One-third of a year. We’ve made it that far. And for that, I’m thankful.

It’s still hot. Not hotter than hell, but still 102 degrees outside. But I will tell you that 102 degrees is A LOT cooler than 112 degrees.

I’m thinking back to when we first found out we were moving to Arizona and how I felt. The things I worried about, the things I wrote about, the things I feared, and I want to go back to that list.

Soooo, here is the whole post I wrote on Wednesday, February 24, 2010, and here is my commentary (in pink), now that I’ve been here four months:


It’s fucking hot there. I know I was born in Florida but I don’t want to live in a place where people describe it as living in a 400 degree oven. I don’t care if it’s a dry heat.

OK, this we can agree on. It is fucking hot here.

Brown desert. I like green. I like white. I like seasons and spring.

It’s still brown. But we have a house with green grass, and beautiful yellow, pink and red rose bushes, and mini-palm trees in the backyard, and some green plants with gorgeous pink sprouty things, and purple-y flowers in the front yard and some other red and orange things that I don’t have to water so that means I won’t have to kill them.

I will have to get a light beige or a white car. I hate white cars. My hands and ass will burn upon getting into a car every single time.

I didn’t get a new car yet, and I’d GLADLY take a beige or white car over the GREEN TURD I’ve been driving since before Tukey was born. And yes, I am still burning my ass every time I get into the car when I don’t remember to put up the tin-foil screen!

I am not attractive or thin enough to live in Arizona.

Yes, there are plenty of plastic people who live here, but I am plenty attractive and thin enough to live here. There are far more fat and ugly people around. I just have to go where they are to feel good about myself!

I do like air condition.

They have air condition EVERYWHERE here! And those cool misters you can walk under outside when it gets super-de-duper hot!

I never want the responsibilities of owning a swimming pool, but living there it would be a requirement.

I have no responsibilities of having a pool! We have a POOL BOY! His name is Nick, and he’s not bad looking at all!

I could become a recluse and write another book.

I have NOT become a recluse, and although I would like to complete my second book, I haven’t yet, but AM now doing a job I LOVE, that wouldn’t have happened had I not moved to AZ. (Thanks Crystal!)

I love the fact that here I can go to Starbucks and run into 4 or 5 people that I know in a matter of 5 minutes.

I ran into someone I knew at Michael’s the other day, and the people here at Starbucks are getting to know me! It all just takes TIME!

It’s exhausting making new friends.

It is still exhausting to make new friends, but I had lunch with a new neighbor Monday, and next week I’m going to see The Social Network with two new girlfriends. Also got a text from a new neighbor today that said, “I love having you as a neighbor and friend.” THAT meant the world to me at this stage in my life! So, while exhausting, it’s worth it to invest time to find worthwhile friendships!

This is a whole KID category:

I worry about my kids starting a new school.

They’ve started, and while it was a rough go, they all seem to be doing fine.

I worry about them getting on a bus for the first time.

Only Ajers takes the bus, and he can handle it. And he tells some pretty funny bus stories about Anna the bus driver saying, "Don't sue me, I need this job" when a kid falls down on the bus.

I worry about them having to sit by themselves the first day of school.

No one died sitting by themselves the first day of school. In fact, I don't think anyone sat by themselves the first day of school, hence no death.

I worry about them getting lost the first day of school.

No one got lost the first day of school.

I worry about them not liking it there.

Yes, at times each one of them has had reservations about not liking it here, me included, and there have been bouts of tears from all of us. But we are dealing with this journey like champs and making the best of what is in store for us and being thankful that we are able to be together as a family, and that we are stronger for this experience!

Here are more of my crazy things:

I can never leave a lipstick in my car.

So what? I hardly wear lipstick anyway!

I hate tumbleweeds and cacti and stone yards.

I love cacti – they are beautiful! I have yet to see a tumbleweed! And we don't have a stone front yard-we have grass in our front yard!
PS, this is not our front yard!

I have NO family there.

We have had TONS of visitors already and welcome ANY and ALL friends and family!

I hate the idea of having to find new doctors, hair stylists, gyms, etc.

I’ve got a hair stylist; I’ve got a gym (got to get there more often), we have a doc for the kids, an orthodontist, we are finding our way!

I hate figuring out new grocery stores.

I STILL hate the grocery store. Even if I knew where EVERY SINGLE ITEM was located in the store, I STILL HATE GROCERY STORES! THAT’LL never change! But there are nice ones here. They just put a Cold Stone Creamery in the grocery store here. BUT … I will NEVER start the habit of buying my kids Cold Stone ice cream when we go to the grocery store. NO WAY!

What if our house doesn’t sell.

Our house DID sell. In three weeks. Thank you, thank you, thank you T & S!!

OK, wait, I guess I should put some good things in here too, right? … OK, here are some …

No more stupid boots.

Flip flops all the way.

Get to go house-hunting!

We love our house. It’s the perfect home for us, and great for entertaining!

No more stupid jackets (although I did just score that nice mink coat I won’t get to wear anymore, DRAT!).

I laughed so hard when I was in the store the other day and saw heavy jackets for sale and it was 110 degrees outside. Everyone says next year I will be wearing a jacket. I continue to laugh. NOT ME!

SHORTS! (I do like my legs, got that going for me)

I now wear SKIRTS!

The winters are better there than here.

We’re getting there.

Won’t ever really be able to enjoy a hot latte, cuz come on, how can you drink HOT coffee in Arizona? THAT just sounds STUPID!

I had a hot café vanilla latte JUST the other day!

Positive: Thank God the internet is UNIVERSAL!

LOVE that I can still connect with everyone out there! THIS MEANS YOU!

What if Mr. Manic has to travel all of the time and I am stuck there all alone and do not know anyone and we’re all lonely and it sucks and I’m in a place where I don’t know anyone?

Yeah, he travels still, but not crazy. And we’ve got neighbors and some of his co-workers we have become close to. I’m not in the middle of the Sahara yanno!

How am I going to meet people if people never go outside since it’s so G-damn hot all day long? Who’s going to be outside in order to meet me and find out I have such a fucking glowing personality in the first place?!? HUH?

The glowing personality still prevails.

There’s not even a fucking beach nearby? What’s the point of a place with beautiful fucking sunshine weather if there’s not even a beautiful fucking beach for me to lay my sad ass upon and mope? That’s ri-fucking-diculous isn’t it?

Yeah. The beach. Coronado, California. We were there two months after living here. BEE-U-TEE-FUL! And only a 4-5 hour car ride.

What if when it’s time for college and my kids want to come back to ILLINOIS and then I’M FREAKING STUCK IN ARIZONA and all my kids come back to the Midwest and I’m like all stuck out there twiddling my freaking thumbs thinking to myself, “WELL, isn’t this freaking grandiose?”

Diva just said today, “When I go to ASU …” So, there’s that!


So, am thanking God today, on the anniversary of our fourth month in Arizona that things are coming together and working out. Tukey is finding his way, busy with a basketball program, a tackle football team, and piano lessons. And today after school, I actually heard him say to a kid, “See you tomorrow Brice!”

Diva is busy with a new art class that she is really excited about; and has TWO sleepovers this weekend, and a fun concert to look forward to.

Ajers is on TWO basketball teams – one for school, one for whatever kind kids play on that is not for school. He’s got a girlfriend (yep, we think so anyway!) and there’s some school dance coming up. He’s busy with new friends and guitar lessons.

We’ve got lots going on, lots to be thankful for, and while we miss what we don’t have any more back home, we’re looking toward the future and are so blessed that things didn’t turn in a different direction.

I look back at my original list from seven months ago in February when I first found out we were moving and can really breathe a sigh of relief. Things aren’t perfect, but they’re not as horrible as I first thought they were going to be.

It’s the fear of the unknown that is most scary, and now we know.

Now we know.

And thank you for coming along on this journey with me!

PeaCe uP!

~MaNiC MoMMy  .... PS. I've made it even easier to comment, so please leave one if you so desire! Thanks!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

iT'S TiMe FoR ... Me TiMe!

I thought when I moved here I would have all the time in the world to spend doing things for myself. Well, it’s been almost four months and here I am.

Doing what?


The kids are pretty well established in school. Well, Tukey has a little bit more socializing to do. I say that like he’s an exotic monkey we’ve brought over from Asia (are there monkeys in Asia?) and we’ve got to socialize him into the school system, but other than that, the kids are settling in.

So, where in the heck is all the ME time I was planning on?

Where is the second novel that’s half-way done on paper, all the way done in my head, but nowhere near done and out into the world? Why isn’t it out there yet? It’s simmering, brewing, settling. Somewhere in there.

And where is that slim and trim body that’s in there? It’s simmering, brewing, settling. It’s somewhere in there too! Hahah. I keep saying, “As soon as the weather changes.” Drat this weather. There’s always an excuse!

But, I have been finding some time to do some things for myself. Little things like these no-guilt pleasures I read about on the Motherboard. It’s a funny thing about me-time … sometimes it seems like a luxury when it’s a necessity, and sometimes it’s painful when it’s good for you!

Take yoga, for example. I think I told you about the first time I went back. I bawled my head off for a full eight hours afterward. It was as if I “namastayed” my way through an ocean full of emotions and then unearthed a cork and let all of it out. EVERYTHING came out. I thought for sure that would be the last of the breakdowns. But then I had another one about a week and a half ago. When Tukey wasn’t feeling well and I took him to school late, and when we got there, he said to me, “I just want to go back to the house and have a good cry. I just want to get in your bed and cry.” So that’s what we did. We got in the bed and cried. That is what I hope was the last of the breakdowns.

BUT. That’s NOT what this post is about! This post is about ME finding time to FIND ME! So, the yoga stuff. The first time was a realization. An opening. Of floodgates. I got it all out. Let it all go. And then I have gone two more times. And I’m feeling stronger, more open, more free. More confident and alive. More of this, “I can do this" feeling. More … well. I need yoga in my life. That’s for sure.

One other thing that I swore I would do when I got here was take care of my feet. Growing up in Florida, I would run around like a tomboy without shoes on, tearing up the streets, hot asphalt tearing up MY feet. Who knew at age six, seven, eight that I would care what my feet looked like, felt like at this age? Who knew at age six, seven, eight that I would end up living in a place where flip flops were the shoe of choice, where toenails were as vibrant and sparkly as … well, who knew? So, I thought I might get weekly pedicures. DON’T JUDGE. I don’t get daily Starbucks. I don’t shop till I drop. I don’t wear designer ANYTHING. But I say “Don’t Judge” because I DON’T. I don’t get weekly pedicures. I wish I did! THAT would be LUXURIOUS! Getting pedicures are grandiose! And I got one the other day. With salt scrub, callous remover, hot rocks. And Funky Dunky purple toes!

And yep, of course Diva noticed, and she got mad. She’s spoiled, and she said, “You got a pedicure WITHOUT me. You know I needed one!” Monster hath been created.

Another little guilty pleasure that I will do any chance I get is see movies. And I’ll go by myself if I have to. Yes, call me Miss Independent! Fortunately, this past weekend, I didn’t have to go by myself, and went to see The Town and Going the Distance! Both great movies, and I never, ever thought I’d want to go see The Town, although Ben Affleck is on my list of FIVE, but that movie trailer looked SCARY! I am also dying to see Catfish --have you heard about this freaky documentary? Am so intrigued about it!
And Diva and I are going to catch Betty White in You Again. And the new one with Katherine Heigl and hottie Josh “Why’d-You-Marry-Fergie” Duhamel (Note to self: He’s now on my list of five too!). So many great movies out there these days. And here’s another thing, I don’t know about you, but I’m the type of person who would sit through a two-hour showing of PREVIEWS ONLY even. I HATE missing the previews! It's like being late to a wedding and missing the bride walk down the aisle!

I forgot one of my very most favorite little pleasures in the whole wide world – NAPPING! I am the champion of napping. And for me, a stellar nap is not a 10-minute-rest-your-eyes dealio. Nope. For me, it’s dig out a hole in your bed, pile on the covers and the pillows and burrow in for at least two hours, and when you wake up you don’t know if it’s Monday morning or Sunday afternoon! Now THAT to me is the epitome of a great nap and the best guilty pleasure me time well spent!

So these are just a few of my little ME TIME pleasures. We’ve all got ‘em right? What are yours?

Friday, September 17, 2010

PaReNTiNG 101: NoT aNy eaSieR!

Believe it or not, I get asked a lot of parenting advice here on MaNiC MoMMy and sometimes I’m stumped. Like this one. Let me tell you this story. It’s about two boys.

Boy #1 is a pretty good student and was recently chosen as Student of the Week. He received a letter of recognition that said “He has demonstrated a delightful personality but also has the leadership skills to help … his constant desire to be a positive influence in class is commendable. He has impeccable manners. He is a fine example of an excelling leader…” Boy #1 received an awards certificate signed by the principal and vice principal and was awarded gift certificates to local restaurants. He received this packet in front of the whole school and shook the hands of his vice principal and principal.

Boy #2 screwed around in PE class with another kid and depantsed him. The PE teacher saw this take place and sent Boy #2 to the vice principal. The vice principal gave him a one-day in school suspension and called his mom. While the vice principal explained to the mother that the child was very remorseful of his actions, and the kids were obviously playing around, the VP also said she will not tolerate that kind of behavior in her school. The mother explained to me how heartbroken she was, and how shocked she was, that her son would do such a thing, to bully another student, to humiliate another kid in such a way.

If I could choose one of these children to be mine, you can guess which one I would pick, right?

Do you see where I’m going with this? You got it.

Same boy. Mine. And both events occurred on the same day.

The boy is mine. The heartbroken mother: me.

The remorseful son, the excelling leader, the depantser: Ajers.

I can’t even begin to tell you what went through my mind when I answered that call from the school, and how it felt to be on the receiving end. And to call Mr. Manic to tell him, and then to come home, and prepare Tukey and Diva for what was going to go down when Ajers got home from school.

Tukey, oh boy, was Tukey upset. I explained to them that we are not raising our children to behave this way and their brother is going to be in the hugest trouble he’s ever going to be in in his whole life. Diva said she was shaking; Tukey just put his head down on the table, then went upstairs.

For Ajer’s privacy, I won’t go into details, but I will tell you, I’ve never seen such a remorseful kid. He absolutely knows what he did was wrong, stupid, DUMB. I gave him the “free lesson” speech (thanks Dad!), and let him know that if this is what it takes to make sure that he now knows that EVERY SINGLE ACTION will cause a REACTION and he considers everything he does before he does something, and that he CHOOSES THE RIGHT OPTION, then it will be a lesson well learned.

And boy, will he learn this lesson, because the kid has never been grounded before, and here’s what he’s in for: Facebook gone. Phone gone. Guitar gone. iTouch gone. Xbox gone. Friends gone.

Hmmmm, I might as well even take away his bathroom privileges too, huh?

Because let me tell you, the Shit hath hit the fan in the MaNiC house!

And speaking of shit, it’s strange as shit, because I’ve never been so mad or disappointed or heartbroken over something he’s done, but I’ve also never wanted to grab him and hold him so close and tell him that everything’s going to be OK either. And boy, that is soooo screwed up. That MUST be what parenting’s all about.

PeaCe uP!

~MaNiC MoMMy

Sunday, September 05, 2010

THe eX FiNDs MR. MaNiC oN FaCeBooK

To FRieND oR NoT To FRieND?

Only a matter of time that this would happen. And I found her years ago. Mr. Manic has only been on Facebook about six weeks, and we knew of course that it would only be a matter of time when Barbie (not her real name but one I invented for her when I was 20 -- sorry "Barbie," but believe me, that was a compliment to you, and if you're a smart enough gal, you're reading this right now because *I'm* a smart enough girl and I know LOADS and LOADS of stuff about my ex's wife ... like the fact that she once had a bird tattoo that she got removed and then she tried to sue the tattoo remover for not doing it right, and I know who her brother is, and I know when her family comes into town to celebrate Christmas, and I know that her daughter takes dance lessons, and that the ex and I would have never worked out because they like to camp outdoors --- EWWWW --- and that he drives a motorcycle --- EWWWW again ... but, this is not a post about ME stalking MY ex, this is a post about Mr. Manic's ex finding him.

See, really, I am not crazy, I'm just pointing out the obvious. And the obvious is that in this day and age of technology, I think that EVERYONE looks up the old ones on the internet to see whatever became of them. And it's not because they want them back. It's just because they want to know how they are doing. Or to let them know they are so much better without them, and their lives turned out a million times more awesome since the time she and the other girl walked in on him and confronted him at the same time for his cheating ways ... Oh, but never mind. Mr. Manic was young and didn't know what he wanted. And well, that was obviously because he hadn't met ME yet, so of course he didn't know what he wanted yet because I wasn't yet in the picture.

SO. Anyway. Yesterday. Mr. Manic shows me his Blackberry and says, "OK, how do I handle this one?" And it was Barbie, requesting his Friendship on FB.

I laughed. Took her long enough. But if it were me requesting an ex on FB, which I have done, and have exes on FB, I would have sent a note along with it, something along the lines of, "Hey, FB suggested we be friends, hahah, so how are you?" And then leave it at that.

She didn't say anything.

So Mr. Manic asked me my advice. How about that? Isn't that so cute that he wanted to know what he should do? I love him for that! First we went through all her photos. The ones we could see, and we surmised a few things. They were all headshots she took of herself. There were a couple of some cute kids.

The advice I gave him was the "three-day" dating rule. Haha. I am such a guy on this one. Make her stew a little bit. You know, don't call a girl after the first date. Make her wonder if he's gonna accept her friendship. Because if he jumps right into it, then BAM! She thinks he's unhappy in his marriage. And he's not. Even though I have been sad with the recent move to AZ, he's definitely NOT unhappy with ME. So if he were to ACCEPT FRIENDSHIP right away, red flags. Of course she deserves to know how he's been. I think they dated like 3-4 years. I know they were serious. They were high school sweethearts. I totally respect that, and I think if she's got some things she wants to know about his life, she deserves to have them answered. Or if she wants to know what he's been up to, he can tell her. I've got absolutely no hang ups about that. But not the second she friends him.

So then today, I decide, "Hmmm, when he friends her, I've got to make sure all the pictures on his FB page are looking good." And yeah. It just so happens that I set up his FB account. So, anytime I want, I can go in there. Barbie, you are warned. And again, if she's a smart enough chick, she could have been reading this blog for the past six years and known EVERYTHING about Mr. and me, and our kids that she ever wanted to know. It's OBVIOUS I keep no secrets. So, I go into Mr. Manic's FB account and put up a bunch of flattering photos. Even if they are a couple years back. Why not. I've gotta make sure what's mine is mine! hahahah. I am totally being sarcastic here with my attitude! But yep I did. So there is a nice bunch of pictures for her to enjoy when he's ready to Friend her so she can see what Mr. Manic has been up to.

So when I was done putting up all the photos, which I didn't tell Mr. Manic I was doing, and he was in the other room ... I went into the living room. And he said, "Now that you put up all those new pictures, can I friend her now?" Hahahah. I said that he can do whatever he wants.

So, we'll see how this one plays out. But just to be on the safe side, I have made sure that all my privacy account settings are in place so she doesn't need to see what my updates are all about, and like someone mentioned on my FB page, every now and then I may be updating Mr. Manic's page with posts like this:

"Am so thankful for my beautiful loving wife. God has blessed me tremendously these past 17 years!"

or how about ...

"Stephanie greeted me at the door in a skimpy little number with martini in hand. Dinner was served and we made incredible love all night long. I'm so glad I married the right one!"

After all, you can never be too careful! Gotta protect what's mine! Hahahah.

PeaCe uP!
Even though going down might be necessary soon ---

~MaNiC MoMMy

Friday, September 03, 2010


I wanted today to be a good happy day. It's Friday. It's the start of a long weekend. Mr. Manic is not going to travel next week. We've just had a nice day for Tukey yesterday with his birthday. I went to bed really early last night, thought I slept well. Decided that today might be the day I cut out sweets and sugar because I've been indulging way too much lately.

I planned on a good day today. Really.

I wanted to hit Yoga at Lifetime. Wanted to get back into a routine, find some balance in my very unbalanced life of late.

Tukey woke up. He didn't seem very happy. I figured it was because his special "All About Me" birthday was over. He was on my bed, looking sad and forlorn. I asked him what was wrong.

He told me after some prying. That he was thinking about his last birthdays how he spent them with his friends having parties and how he is missing Illinois and his friends.

Oh, how I get it. He was trying to hold back tears. I told him to come by me, I held him on my lap and told him I don't care if he's nine or 19, that he can cry. That he should cry. To let it out. He can cry. God made tears for a reason and he's allowed to cry them out. So he cried. And I cried. I told him how much I missed my friends too, and how sad I am too to be away from my friends, the girls I miss and love every single day that I am here. We cried together on my bed this morning.

Cuz what else can we do. When we feel sad, we cry. That's all we can do. Sure, we can try to get out there and make friends, and we will do that. We are doing that. But when we're sad, we're gonna cry.

He went to school with my promise to him that we can go whereever he wants after school -- if he wants to use some of his birthday money to go buy something, or go get a treat, I will take him somewhere. I will do anything in my power to make that little guy a little less sad during these transitional hard times for all of us.

So then I went to yoga. Thinking I needed to breathe, get some balance, find some inner peace. It was a good class. I focused on myself for once in a long time. A very long time. Being here, I have been focusing so darn much on my kids and trying to make them as comfortable and less sad, and just working through making a new life here. I have forgotten about myself.

I don't know who I am.

I did yoga, and it was good. I might need to Eat Pray and Love. Forget that. I definitely don't need to Eat. But I did do yoga, and I liked the teacher. During the last part, the sivasana, which I always think it should be spelled shivasana, but I think it's spelled the other way, I was trying to be relaxed, but I really think the teacher played that song, CRY. In fact, I'm going to look it up right now on iTunes ... nah, maybe it was the song Smile when your heart is breaking ... whatever, it was one of those perfect songs to just bring me right to the ledge. And I lost it.

Really lost it.

I've cried a few times during yoga. And it's like the tears just come and it's an otherworldly place you can't control but not like blown out tears, just automatically rolling quietly down the cheeks, like someone wouldn't even know you are crying unless they saw the two tears slipping down your face.

That kind of crying.

But then I had to get out of there.

The thing was. I had no where to go.

It hit me that in Illinois, after yoga, I would be surrounded by lots of love. I would be in a class with about 5 or 6 really close girlfriends most of the time, and even if none of my friends were there, I loved my yoga teacher Toni, and while this was a really great class here and I can't wait to go back, it was like, "now what?"

There's no one here.

After in Illinois, a bunch of us would go get Starbucks, or I could chat with people, smile to a half-dozen friends I KNEW. Now I just had to walk out of there with a wet face while I watched everyone else have nice conversations with their FRIENDS about what they were going to do together over the long weekend.

It just really is hard to be the new kid. And it's really exhausting to have to put yourself out there to make the friends. And it's really exhausting to have to help your children do this too. I dont' feel like I have the energy to do this another time. I've already done this in Philadelphia. I've done it again in Illinois. I don't know if I want to expend all the energy to be bright and happy and outgoing, to find the people that I want to surround myself with all over again.

I'm tired.

I'm tired of crying. I'm tired of my kids crying, of being sad. Of missing their friends. I'm tired of having to work through all of this all on my own.

It's exhausting.

I need a good long nap. A massage. Some sympathy, because I understand I'm being whiny and not really that much is horrible in my life.

But this is how I'm feeling.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

TuKey Pie

My Tukey Pie is nine today.

I tell him so often that I didn't have to have him that he probably gets tired of hearing it.

My baby son is no longer a baby.

He is meaty and strong, with big smiles and huge feelings and breaks my heart with his sadness and makes me grin from ear to ear when he asks me to snuggle with him at night or says, "I could use a hug right now."

I call him my Chosen One because I chose him. Yes, I chose my other children, and yes, I could have stopped at one child. I could have stopped at two. I could have definitely stopped at two. I was blessed with a beautiful son and a beautiful daughter. It was every parent's dream. A boy and a girl. But call me selfish.

I wanted more. Is that the most greedy thing for a parent to say. I wanted more children. I wanted another. I look back and think about all the women who struggle with infertility for years and maybe I had a little bit of a hard time getting pregnant the first time around, and maybe it's selfish of me to just say, "I wanted another child just to grow my family and love it and have more siblings for my children," so I went for it.

And I got Tukey.

Just look what I got!

And it's his ninth birthday.

Happy birthday to my little awesome boy, who I never want to see grow up and who I am thrilled to watch grow up into a gorgeous kind thoughtful loving sweet boy every single day.

Here he is when he was in Kindergarten after he lost his first tooth:

And here he is last night, with his brand new acoustic guitar! He's ready to rock!

Happy birthday to my best nine year old Tukey Pie!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fat HouSe BLoG

When I first found out we were moving to Arizona, I figured, “Great! This will be my journey to get into shape finally!” I will be able to walk EVERY DAY, or bike, or take the time to do yoga or hey, maybe I could even hike, because there are mountains here, and we all know how much I love to hike, right? If you don’t recall my fondness for hiking, please feel free to peruse the archives of last summer (July, in particular), when we journeyed to Yellowstone. It will certainly delight.

I thought that when I got out here, I’d have a chance to eat healthy, get in shape, change my eating habits, turn over a new “me” leaf, if you will. Has that happened? Of course not! And who can I blame? Thanks to my friends at, it sounds like the real reason may be MY HOUSE!

At first you would think that yeah, I would probably lose some weight because who wants to eat food in 120 degree weather? I mean, who wants to do anything but lay on the bed in their undies while the ceiling fan is cranked and you’ve got a bowl of ice and a washcloth next to you to cool you off? It is seriously sometimes too hot to step outside and walk the 4 feet to get into the pool.

Another culprit to my lack of weight loss is probably the fact that now I never have a reason to go upstairs in this house, and in Illinois, I was always going upstairs many times a day. The kids’ bedrooms are upstairs and there’s absolutely no reason for me to go up there ever now. So I don’t, unless I am waking them up or putting them to bed. I’m not getting that extra cardio like I used to get when I would go upstairs to put away laundry, or you know, take my afternoon nap. My knees are thanking me, but my waistline sure isn’t. I NEED to get back into the gym soon!

Oh, and I would be remiss if I did not speak of our wallpaper. This was the near dealbreaker on us buying this home. To some, you might think it’s not that big of a deal. But to those ‘some,’ I ask you, have you ever tried to remove wallpaper from a wall? And it’s not horrible wallpaper, but it’s yuck enough that I don’t want to look at it every single day for the rest of my dwelling in this home, and I’m the one who spends the most time in this house. Looking at that wallpaper every single day in our kitchen makes me want to barf. Oh wait. This should make me lose weight. Maybe I’ll keep it up.

So I think I have to blame the wallpaper for making me fat too because instead of staying in the house to look at it, a lot of the times the kids will hear me say, “Who wants to go out for dinner?” And it’s a quick trip to a fast-food restaurant! So yep! I am blaming my lack of weight loss and motivation all on my big fat house!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I just realized I should post this on MY BLOG! Duh. I shared it on FB and Twitter, but not here. I'm on Ladies' Home Journal as a Mom Blogger with a bunch of cool mom bloggers!

Tales from the Mothering Trenches!

Monday, August 23, 2010



Well it's about time! Am so sorry that it's taken so long, and thanks to Shelly, or maybe not, the winners are being announced via video, and with the help of the lovely Diva. (Ignore the braid in my hair; we have been bored!)

So, here are the winners to the giveaway I hosted a couple of weeks ago for the“Amazing Hot Chocolate Grace” Giveaway. The books that were offered were:

My Formerly Hot Life by Stephanie Dolgoff (2 winners)

It's Not PMS, It's YOU by Deb Amlen (3 winners)

A Maze of Grace by Trish Ryan (1 winner will get a signed copy)

To find out if you won, you've gotta watch the video. If your name is chosen, you need to email me your choice of which book you would like to receive, in order of first choice, second choice and third choice. We will do our best to get you your first choice, but if you're the last to email me, it's likely you won't get your first selection, so HURRY! There were six winners. Only one of the winners asked for a specific book and she is getting that book because we had three to offer. The rest of you will have to email me at stephanieelliot(at)gmail(dot)com with your first, second, and third choice since you said you would like any of the books!

Also, obviously, please send me your address so we can send you the book!

Congrats, thanks for reading, and participating, and also, keep on the lookout for more great books coming your way in the future!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Okay, so I'm not slitting my throat here today so I thought I'd pop in with a quick blog post to let you all know! hahaha. We're almost done with Day Four of school and while things aren't magically magical, we're getting through the first week. I just know that when the weather changes life will too.

Things will get better.

And on that note, I took the kids to see Vampires Suck last night and it was the perfect distraction! So funny! I wish I would have recorded my laughter and anytime I'm feeling down, just replay it. I am going to have to see it again just to watch all the jokes again. And of course, I am still Team Edward because even that guy is hotter than the Jake guy in this movie. It was a great spoof on the real Twilight movies, and I do have to say that if you love the Twilight movies, you won't be offended by this spoof at all. It doesn't RIP on Twilight, it exemplifies the love you already have for it. NOT that I am a Twilight lover, or a Twihard. I mean, come on, how many blog posts have you even read by me about Twilight? I haven't even read the books. But I have seen Twilight and Eclipse and now I have seen Vampires Suck and it was a very good movie. So. Go see it.

Snake update. Yes, there's another update. I was taking out trash last night and I just happen to look in a sticky trap INSIDE OUR GARAGE and saw a little baby dead snake inside of it. I told the kids. We were all like, "Eh, whatever." I almost felt sorry for the dude. So this brings us up to 4 total. One was alive out of those 4. So I guess that's not too bad.

Did I ever tell you about the dead headless bunny in our front yard? Yeah, I think I did. Or the Alfreddy Hitchcocky birds that migrate to our covered patio and poop all over it when it's really hot out? Which means they migrate and poop out there every single freaking day. That's lovely too.

In fact, I'm going to go out there right now while I'm thinking of it to yell at the birds to leave. Hang on... OK, I just did it. I opened my door and yelled, "GO AWAY! GO AWAY!" and about 60 birds flew off my patio. Next time I will take a video to show you. And yeah, our patio is their personal toilet. Nice.

And also, I have got to choose winners for the book contest! I haven't forgotten! For now, you can still sneak on over HERE to enter to win one of three great books, and I will announce winners on that same entry so check over there, probably by Monday!

Thanks, and sorry for the recent mopey posts, but they do help me sort through my emotions, and it's cheaper than therapy and cases of wine!

PeaCe uP!

~MaNiC MoMMy

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

oTheR DayS SuCK Too

So it's quiet here and I wasn't going to blog again so soon, but why not, right? Mr is out of town, and that is very quickly becoming the norm around here. I'm learning to be independent again, and not that I'm thrilled with it, but I'm dealing with it. He's not gone a ton, but more than we're all used to. There's a shift in the family dynamic. Well duh. Our whole freaking lives have shifted. I'm just going to put it out there. No freaking duh.

So school. I came home and cried. Then I was OK. Then a friend would call and see how I was, and then I'd start crying. Then I met up with a very nice woman who has also just relocated here for the same company and who is going through the exact same thing as I, and we went for manicures and laughed and griped and felt lots better. Two very nice women chatted with us and I scored TWO phone numbers. I remember when Ajers was one year old and we had just moved to Philadelphia and I knew NOT ONE SOUL there. I took him to The Little Gym and all I wanted in my whole life more than anything was to make a friend. And the most exciting thing was when I got a girl's phone number.

Yesterday, I got two! Hee hee.

Then, after manicures, we met up with another new friend and the three of us had a great lunch and we laughed and talked and it was just really nice to feel NORMAL. It wasn't like any of us had to force conversation. SUCH a relief to be with women I could relate to, girls who are not fake. Don't get me wrong. I have not met ANY fake women yet--I have been SOOO lucky! So that was a plus about yesterday.

HOWEVER ... after school ...

I went to pick up the kids and Diva and Tukey came out of school and Tukey said, "I like the school. It's not as good as Meadow Glens, but I like it." I told him that made me sooo happy. Diva told me she "loved, loved, loved" her teacher and her class. So, they both seemed very happy.

Ajers, he's a no-brainer. Everything with him was great, as I knew it would be. He loved it all. Hot girls everywhere, etc. Great classes. Not a problem there.

Then, last night, Tukey admitted, "I don't really like the school, I just said that to make you happy. I hate Arizona. I miss Illinois." Heart smack dab crushed.

I held him in his bed as he cried himself to sleep. This morning, we tried to role-play to get him to talk to some of the kids. To ask them questions at lunch, like, how about, "Hey, do you guys get any snakes or DEAD HEADLESS BUNNIES in your yards?" Cuz don't you think those are good conversation starters, and great ways to make new friends? I sure as heck do!

I know it will just take time with him. He is sooo used to being outside playing with all his friends from Illinois, skateboarding, shooting hoops, riding his bike. He has been stuck indoors for the last two-and-a-half months doing NOTHING. They're tired of swimming. Tired of Simpson reruns. Tired of sitting around this house staring at one another. I know when the weather breaks, it will be just like how it was in Illinois when Spring sprang; all glorious and full of promise and beautiful. I just want him to feel that now. It's so sad to see your kid unhappy when all you want to do is give him the very best in life.

And Diva, while she is loving things so far, or so I think, she is still a scared little girl. SHe misses her friends from Illinois. She told me she shakes when she drinks from her water bottle in class. I told her, "Just remember, when you are at school, I am really just five houses away, and that you are safe, and that you are not going to be hurt, and that I am thinking of you." She's just nervous about the whole new environment. Everything here is so new and scary to all of them.

When we arrive at school, there are a ton of kids playing basketball or soccer, and we walk up and know like 2 people. That's it. TWO people right now. They are in foreign territory, and it's scary as heck. I want them to feel like they did at their old school, like they can jump right in and know the names of each and every teacher they see, and that each teacher will know our family. I want it to be how when we left Meadow Glens, the secretary told me she had to erase my name from like 20 other family's emergency contact cards. I want that. Here. It's going to take a while. For all of us.

I get that. I know. I've done this before. It just takes time. It's exhausting to rebuild a life. It's totally exhausting to be upbeat for your kids, to try to keep them focused and happy, to show them love and joy and to make them understand that this is all good for them, and that this move is a good thing. It was the only option that we had for our family. It was the right choice, the ONLY choice for our family, and someday soon, hopefully very soon, we will have all clicked into the groove, and one day, when we say, "it's time to walk home from school," it will really feel like we are walking home.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I just dropped them off at school and am crying my eyes out. I've got no one here to even cry with. I left my babies at a school where they know no one. Just left them there. I took Diva to her line and tried to engage her in conversation with the one girl, asking her where she should put her backpack, gave her a kiss and watched her as she stuck herself to the wall in this dreadful heat, beads of sweat along her lip. She whispered to me that her backpack was filled and no one else's was. Everyone else was doing hand-clap games and parents were taking back-to-school pictures, reminiscing about the summer, and we had no one. I walked home as fast as I could, sweating my ass off, already in need of another shower, because of this god-forsaken heat, crying my eyes out.

I know what they're feeling in their minds, and in their hearts. They want normal. They want what they had. They want to not be scared. They want to be back in their old comfort zone. Of heading down Bobby Jones to the old bus stop, to their old friends, to MY old friends, where we knew everyone, where nothing was scary and things were familiar and there was no tension and uncertainty and things were calm, and your heart didn't have to beat extra hard with fear and not from excitement on your first day of school and when you walk into school, you know not a single soul, and you don't even know where you're supposed to put your things, or where the lunchroom is or what you need to do if you have to go to the bathroom, or where the freaking bathroom is even. Or how you're supposed to find your mom when school is out for the day even.

I just want it to be better. For them. For me. I want it to be less hard.

And oh my God, I just took a freaking shower at 7 a.m. and I seriously need another one because of the sweat dripping from me just from the short walk to their school.

And there's a dead headless bunny in our front yard.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"aMaZiNG HoT CHoCoLaTe GRaCe BooK GiVeaWaY, MaNiC STyLe!

Announcing the “Amazing Hot Chocolate Grace” Giveaway because if this doesn’t scream MaNiC Book Contest, then I don’t know what does!

So, I’ve been promising books for weeks and I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to do this but I’ve got some time now and I figured I’d make it super-duper fun and exciting by combining all three books here, and you can enter to win them all in this one post!

First up, we’ve got the ‘CHOCOLATE’ portion in my clever title of this contest, as you’ll see from this AWESOME book cover – don’t you love it? Don’t you wish it was scratch ‘n’ sniff? It’s not. I tried:
IT’S NOT PMS IT’S YOU, by Deb Amlen, a hilarious and a totally non-hormonal analysis of male behavior. The author “examines the ‘hands-in-Pants Syndrome’” … how can you not love this philosophy that all men are D.U.M.B!? Cuz sorry, but they are. (Except for the four who are reading this post!). IT’S NOT PMS, IT’S YOU, would make a great gift for any woman … know someone going through a break-up, dealing with unrequited love, divorce, know someone who is newly engaged or just about to take that walk down the aisle? Know a WOMAN? Then THIS BOOK is THE PERFECT book for HER! Truly, if you’re looking for a fun book to make a friend laugh, and laugh about the idiot man in her life, get this book for her.

And next up on our list of MaNiC books for today is the HOT in “Amazing Hot Chocolate Grace” Giveaway …

My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches From Just the Other Side of Young by Stephanie Dolgoff. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really relate to this book at all, because I haven’t gotten to the other side yet … Bwhahahahah! Do I crack myself up or WHAT?? Of course, I’ve been there, greeting everyone else, and handing out hankies to the other hags to wipe away the old lady tears! Anyway, yeah, I’m OLD. But this book is fresh and fantabulous, just like Stephanie (the author, not me). I asked her if she has accepted her life now as being “Formerly Hot.” Here’s what she had to say:

“Yep. Life is better over here on the other side of young. We're not working so hard all the time to look like we know what we're doing, we're not ruled by the opinions of others, we know what makes us happy and we're better at our work and our relationships. So what if my boobs aren't quite as high as they were before I had kids? So what if people I don't know don't come up to me in bars wanting to have sex quite as often? (Quite as often?! You mean they still do! That’s AWESOME!) … I have the life that I set out to have, and the tradeoff is totally worth it--not that anyone has a choice. Time passes, despite our best efforts. My life may not be "hot," but it's so, so much better than it was when I was allegedly young and having the ‘time of my life.’"

Finally, one of my very good friends, Trish Ryan has written an “AMAZING” memoir, her second, as a matter of fact, and I was very surprised and pleased to see that she mentions me in her acknowledgments page along with a slew of talented women – thank you Trish!

A Maze of Grace: A Memoir of Second Chances is the story of her and her husband Steve’s first five years of marriage. I am still reading furiously through it, and it’s inspirational and thought-provoking, and many times I stop and really think about what she has to say about her relationship with her husband, and with God. I am especially giving serious thought about the part in the book where a female pastor proclaims: GIVE THAT MAN SOME SEX. Seriously, read it, and you will KNOW what I’m talking about. It is SOOOO true, but how do you GIVE THAT MAN SOME SEX when the last two times you’ve tried to GIVE THAT MAN SOME SEX this and this have happened? Anyway, Trish has a way of writing down her story to make you think about how YOUR own story is forming, and I think that’s a talent not many possess.

And here’s where YOU come in. Want a shot at winning one or ALL of these books? Leave a comment HERE and you MUST include your email so I can contact you if you are a winner. And you must be a US or Canadian resident -- sorry for all you lucky folks who get to live in exotic places, but you can't enter this one!

If you Facebook and link to this post (and looky here, I am including a TINYURL here to make things easier for you:, then I will add another entry for you to win. Please make sure to do the @Stephanie Elliot so I know you have Facebooked about the contest.
Similarly, if you tweet the same TINYURL:, I will also add another entry for you to win. So, the more you tweet and Facebook about it, the more chances you have to win these fun books! If you’re just interested in one, or two, or all three of the books, just Tweet or FB or comment here on one or two or all three of the books you want to enter to win!

Pretty simple! And pretty fun! All these books are all so different but they’re all great reads and I know you’ll enjoy them! I am giving away:

3 copies of It’s Not PMS, It’s You

2 copies of My Formerly Hot Life

1 signed copy of A Maze of Grace

Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting and sharing the information, and I will certainly have lots more coming to you very soon!

PeaCe uP, because down is too far to go, and it might hurt falling!