Saturday, December 24, 2011


Merry Christmas Eve to all of you and thank you to all who took the time to enter the giveaway for Outside the Lines. chose a winner and that person is:

Please send me your full name and address and you'll be receiving the ARC of Outside the Lines and some goodies courtesy of Amy Hatvany and me! Congrats!

And everyone, beginning on January 1 or 2, come back as I'll be starting up the MaNiC WeeKLy ReaDS -- every week I'll be showcasing a NEW book and an author and giving that book away! I've already got books lined up through March and will be sharing amazing books from Emily Giffin, Allison Winn Scotch, Camille Noe Pagan, Anna David, Sarah Jio (The Bungalow comes FIRST!), Sarah Pekkanen, Megan Abbott, and many, many more fabulous authors!

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thank you for spending time reading MaNiC!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Last 2011 Giveaway: Outside the Lines by Amy Hatvany!

Hi all you faithful MaNiC MoMMy readers! I hope you have all your holiday hoopla in place and ready to go! It’s been a crazy few weeks here and I’m sure you’re all in the same boat. Thank you all for the kind thoughts and prayers about the loss of my Little Granny. We will be going to her funeral a couple days after Christmas.

But before the end of the year comes and goes I wanted to share one more amazing book with all of you. I had the great pleasure of reading Amy Hatvany’s book Outside the Lines last month and I loved it so much.

Somehow, I ended up with two ARCs of it, and I asked Amy if I could give one away on my blog. We talked and wanted to make it extra special so I’m also going to give away some other goodies too – I’m not quite sure what they are, but I think it might involve some chocolates, maybe some yummy soaps and possibly some other fun stuff, sooo, if you’re in the mood to get a nice little care package from Amy and me, continue reading!

Outside the Lines was a heartbreaker! But in the best way possible. It’s the story of Eden and her search for her father, who deserted her when she was a young child because of his mental illness.

I loved this story because it’s told from Eden’s perspective when she was a young girl, and also when she is a grown woman. It also tells her father’s perspective too. I am frustrated with myself because often after I read such an emotional book I try to write my thoughts down immediately and I didn’t this time and I should have. This was one of those perfect-ending books, in a way that it ended perfectly, if not wrapped up in a perfect bow. Amy has a knack for storytelling and she has created a beautiful family portrait in Eden and David’s story in Outside the Lines.

About Outside the Lines:

When Eden was ten years old she found her father, David, bleeding on the bathroom floor. The suicide attempt led to her parents’ divorce, and David all but vanished from Eden’s life.

Twenty years later, Eden runs a successful catering company and dreams of opening a restaurant. Since childhood, she has heard from her father only rarely, just enough to know that he’s been living on the streets and struggling with mental illness. But lately there has been no word at all. After a series of failed romantic relationships and a health scare from her mother, Eden decides it’s time to find her father, to forgive him at last, and move forward with her own life. Her search takes her to a downtown Seattle homeless shelter, and to Jack Baker, its handsome and charming director. Jack convinces Eden to volunteer her skills as a professional chef with the shelter. In return, he helps her in her quest.

As the connection between Eden and Jack grows stronger, and their investigation brings them closer to David, Eden must come to terms with her true emotions, the secrets her mother has kept from her, and the painful question of whether her father, after all these years, even wants to be found.

If you’d like to enter to win the copy of Outside the Lines and the other fun goodies included, please leave a comment on what you think it means to live outside the lines. I guess this might mean something different to each individual, and it could mean taking risks or chances. I am not sure I live outside the lines, but I like to think I live a very colorful fulfilled life! I hope you all do too!

**Please try to leave an email as well--a grand prize winner lost out on winning 25 books because she did NOT have an identifying way of me to reach her. If you're worried about getting spammed, just put some spaces or asterisks in between your email. I promise not to abuse your email in any way! It would be a shame for you to lose out because I wouldn't be able to find you!

Also, please note that in 2012, I will be bringing you a new book EACH WEEK in a feature called MaNiC’S WeeKLy ReaDS. I hope you’ll be looking forward to it! I’ve got fabulous authors lined up – some you already know and some I’m so excited to introduce you to!

Thank you to Amy for writing ANOTHER fabulous book in Outside the Lines. She has written Best Kept Secret, and that was an incredible book as well. Her other novels, which were published under another name, are going to be republished and I’m excited to read those too, and you can bet I’ll be sharing those with you too. She’s an amazing author and I’m so glad to be able to share her books with you here!

Thank you for taking the time to come over here to visit! Please come back to check out who has won this gift pack of Amy's book, Outside the Lines and some fun goodies. Also, check back at the beginning of the year, where the first book I'll be featuring is Sarah Jio's The Bungalow! And have a blessed holiday. Wishing you happiness, health, and loads of laughter, and love!

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Dear Little Granny

This is one of my bi-monthly posts where it’s hosted by Subway and I get to talk about traditions, family, celebrations and holidays so this time I’m going to take this space and talk about my dear Little Granny.

My Little Granny died on Sunday. We all expected to attend her birthday in July, where she would turn 100 years old. The little stinker fooled us all and got outta dodge before we could honor her as a century-old woman. She was tired. She was ready to go meet her maker. I guess I can’t blame her.

One hundred years is a long time.

It was a strange way how I found out she died. See, our family is very close. I’ve always had a close relationship with my four cousins growing up, even though we lived in Florida and they were in Ohio.
We spent summers with them, and my sister and I were especially close to our cousins, Kathy and Susie. We played Charlie’s Angels together, we walked to the store to get candy together, we would go to the community pool together. We would play in their basement, singing Linda Ronstadt Blue Bayou and Steve Martin’s King Tut together. We had sleepovers and dance parties and loved our cousins like they were our sisters. These were the cousins you always hoped you had growing up.

We’re lucky enough that now that all of us have children of our own, the kids are friends now too, and even though they don’t see each other as much as I saw my cousins, they keep in touch through Facebook and texting. We got the news of my grandmother’s death through a Facebook post on Sunday that my cousin’s daughter posted.

My son was checking updates in the car on our way home from church and he said in a voice that had fear and sadness in it, and yes, disbelief, “RIP Little Granny!”

My heart sunk, yet I still didn’t believe it.

Little Granny had died and we learned about her death through a Facebook post.

I called my mom, and said, “Mom! I know!”

She thought I knew that Granny had taken a turn for the worse, not that she had died. She and my dad had not heard the news yet even. Facebook is faster than people sharing the news through the telephone these days. So I was the one who told my mom that her mother-in-law had died. My mom was in shock and had to call my dad to tell him that his mother had died.

It’s not a sad event. My grandmother lived 99 years on this earth. She watched her 14-year-old son die of polio in the ‘50s, and her husband died when he was in his eighties. She also buried another son before she passed away. Now she is living gloriously in Heaven. With all of those who went before she did.

My granny and my grandfather used to live on a lake in Ohio and some of my best memories were of us visiting them in the summer and being at their home, swimming in their lake, learning to waterski, boating, spending time with our cousins, catching fireflies, going for ice cream, sliding down the levy near the lake’s dam on cardboard – doing all the things that a kid should be doing during a summer at their grandparent’s lake home.

Through my Little Granny, she brought much tradition and joy to our family. Without her, we wouldn’t have the closeness that all our family members experience today. Every time we get together, memories are shared and there is tons of laughter.

I’m thankful to have had 42 years with my grandmother, and I’m thankful that she lived a full life and had her mind and body for much of it. She died knowing she was loved by so many of us, and she died “knowing.” That’s such a great gift right there.

She brought so much to our family and to our lives, and to not talk about her on my blog would be a huge void. So there’s my moment for my Little Granny. I’m honoring her here. I will also be honoring her at her funeral because I’ve been asked to do her eulogy. My gift to her is that I will hopefully not cry when I share the words I will write about my amazing grandmother.

Make sure to make the most of your family traditions this holiday season and remember your loved ones. Take time with your family, slow down the pace, and enjoy each other during the holidays. If you’ve got something extra special to share, go over to the Fresh Takes site and post it over there. What a cool gift to have it uploaded on the site and to be able to say to your family “Look everyone – our family is showcased here for all to see how much we love one another!”

Happy Holidays!

My blog is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Our Christmas Tree

When we first started our family’s Christmas tree tradition, we lived in Pennsylvania. There was a gas station down the street where we would all pack it up in the car and go down to the Christmas tree lot and pick out the best tree we could find. You couldn’t smell the gas there, only the strong scent of pine, which I loved. The kids would run in between the trees and of course, Tukey would choose the scrawniest tree. We’d tell him that was an awesome tree, then steer him in another direction while we found one more fitting for our family.

After we found the biggest and the best, the guy at the Christmas tree lot (who I remember as always being good looking and fun to flirt with – wow, the things I think back on when I write these tradition posts!) … the guy would take our tree over to the saw and cut the bottom of the tree so it would be level. The smell of saw dust and pine filled the crisp winter air.

It was always soooo cold!

Back at the house, we would put up the tree while our three little kids danced around it later, in their Buzz Lightyear and Barbie jammies. The smell of sap and pine saturating the room. Ajers always christened our tree with a unique name. He always named our Christmas tree. How cute is THAT? One year he named our tree Rudolph, King of the Trees.

After the tree had a day to ‘fall’ so the branches could loosen, we’d start putting on the ornaments. Back then, we didn’t have a ton, just enough for a brand new little family. But now we have a billion. 

A decade later, with a move in between that lasted six years in Chicago, we live on the other side of the country. And five or six years ago, we decided not to get real trees any more. We decided it was too much of a mess. The sap got all over the carpet, needles got everywhere. We had to water the tree The tree usually turned brown before Santa came.

Our tree now is still beautiful. It’s really, really tall, and this year we decided to keep it with just all white lights. I know some people who have themed trees, and while that’s great for them, it doesn’t speak to me. Well, actually, that’s not true. My tree is a themed tree. My tree is themed after my family. My tree is a FAMILY themed tree. It represents US. The oldest ornament on the tree is one I made in second grade. 

SOMEONE sneaked it onto the tree this year without me knowing, because I usually ALWAYS put it on the tree myself. That is my job. That is MY ornament. We also have ornaments from places we have been like NYC, the Grand Canyon, Navy Pier, Brookfield Zoo … we’ve started a collection. There are name ornaments, and silly ornaments, and sentimental ornaments like the one my grandmother, who will be 100 in July, gave me in 1992 when Mr. Manic and I first were together. It is very special to me because it was her acknowledging that she accepted him into our family.

My favorite ornaments in the entire world are the ones that my children made in a Mommy and Me class I took with each one of them. These ornaments are simple paper plates with glued on tissue and their pictures in the middle. It doesn’t get any easier than that. I wouldn’t care if my whole tree was filled with them. In fact, I wish I had one of them from every year so I could see how they’ve grown. 

This year, the night we put up the tree, Tukey and Diva wanted to sleep in the living room by the tree. We let ‘em. They’re still little at heart, and they were so excited to camp out by the tree, to whisper about Christmas and talk about whatever it is they talk about when the two of them get together. It was cute, and maybe they’re starting their own little tradition – a camp-out under the tree the night it goes up?
Do you put up a tree? Do you have a special tree tradition, like this family? What kind of ornaments do you have, and are any especially sentimental to you?

And because this post is sponsored by my friends at Subway, don’t forget you can go over to the Fresh Takes on Family Time site and share your fun family traditions to enter to win a $50 gift card –– you could use a night off from cooking. PS – while you’re over there, check out this video’s absolutely darling. I want to be this family, they’re so cute!

Happy Holidays, and seriously, if you don’t have a tree up yet, go do it already! Time’s a wasting!

XO from the MaNiC one!

My blog is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Sunday, December 04, 2011



Thank you all for reading and participating in my little blog and book reviews! I'm always soooo soooo very happy to share tidbits about my life and also especially excited to bring exciting authors and books your way. As you know, over the fall, I hosted an extreme book giveaway where the first grand prize winner never showed up to claim her 25 books. We had to choose another winner. I'm excited to announce the new winner here in a few seconds.

But first ... there's always a first isn't there? I wanted to gauge your interest on the blog, with a couple of questions since I have your attention... doing these extreme giveaways are very time consuming and I have only been doing them quarterly -- how would you feel if I offered instead like a book a week instead? It might give you all more options to win? I am trying to think of a way to make sure you all get info on all the fab books out there, but I also want to be able to offer huge giveaways like WOW, someone here has just won FREAKING 25 BOOKS! Maybe I can do 4 or 5 books in a month and then everyone who enters for those 4 and 5 books can have a chance to win all those books each month -- just trying to figure out how to save some time here for me and also optimize the chances you all have to win!

Also, what do you want to hear from me? My second book is on submission with my agent and I'm writing a third now. I am dying to share some pages with you -- are you guys writers? Do you want to know about the process? Would you rather hear about my debauchery in Vegas or how I get my ankle hobbled at the nail salon? I used to write such personal stuff on this blog and I feel like I've gotten away from that. I kind of miss the old me blogging. I am in a better place than I was before we moved to Scottsdale, and feel mostly settled and happy, so maybe that's why there's not so much angst here.

Enough! Enough! I know you're ALL dying to find out if you won! And I'm excited to announce the winner -- you have RANDOM.ORG to thank for choosing you .... so will this person please email me at and we'll start getting the ball rolling so you can get your books delivered!

Congrats to HOMESTEAD JEN!

And thank you, thank YOU to ALL of you for continuing to read my blog -- I don't really get anything from this except the enjoyment of reading your comments, and I truly, truly LOVE reading, writing, and books and I hope you like to read MaNiC MoMMy, and I hope that someday you will be able to read a real book or two written by me!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fall Fab Book Promo: IMPORTANT NEWS


Did you enter to win any of the books that were given away during the Fall Fab Book Giveaway? If so, you DEFINITELY WANT TO READ THIS POST!

The Grand Prize winner who was SUPPOSED to win 25+ books NEVER got in touch with me. I didn't have her email or ANY contact information and she's had a week now to get in touch with me. I figure if you're playing along with MaNiC and you're serious about wanting to win the books, then you're here every day, right?  And you'd be excited to know if you've won 25+ books in the contest, right?

Are you with me?

Those of you who are, well, then you're very lucky. Because today, because you are HERE, you may be winning a BUNCH OF BOOKS!

If YOU, who are reading this, at any point in time during the 25+ book giveaways I held since September left a comment, and if you LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST RIGHT NOW, then I will be DRAWING A NEW GRAND PRIZE WINNER to win ALL OF THE BOOKS that were supposed to go to a winner who was named but never came forward.

We'd hate to see ALL of those fabulous books go to waste, now wouldn't we?

And I think this just greatly upped your chances of winning, because come on, how many of you are really still out there checking in ALL OF THE TIME and reading what I have to say? If you are still out there, and if you have commented on any of the books that I posted since September (and of course, I do know who you guys are by now!), then simply leave a comment below NOW on THIS POST and you're qualified to be entered to win ALL of the books listed below (give or take a few -- I need to confirm with one or two of the publishers -- but hey, don't look a gift horse in the mouth -- someone ELSE was SUPPOSED TO GET ALL THESE BOOKS and SHE lost out because SHE didn't come back here to check the blog! I bet she's feeling pretty badly about THAT now, huh?)

So got it? Leave a message NOW. HERE. And you'll be signed up to win all of these books. BUT, you have to have already commented on one of the previous book features from the Fall Fab Book Giveaway. You can't be someone new because that wouldn't be fair to all those who came here every single day during the promo.

HOWEVER, if you are new to the blog, keep coming back, because I am always giving away fun books, and as a special holiday book, I have Amy Hatvany's Outside The Lines to give away in a couple weeks! And then, after the holidays are over, and winter is in full swing, you can bet I'll be gearing up for a Winter Promo with another huge batch of great books and incredible authors to share with you too!

Let's here it from you all, and I'll pick another Grand Prize winner at the end of the weekend! Also ... Very Important: PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!!! Leave your email address and make sure you leave an identifying name so I can contact you if you've won! OK? Thanks!

Here are ALL of the books I'm going to send you if you are the NEXT GRAND PRIZE WINNER:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pedicure Nightmare

I had a friend who had her toenails infected once by what she said was a pedicure gone wrong and she then refused to go back to ever get another pedicure. I always shook my head at her thinking she was nuts and that her infection couldn't have possibly been from a pedicure.

Now I have my own nightmare pedicure story to tell. Complete with pictures. And after you hear it and see the accompanying pictures, maybe you will share this post with others as a warning to be very careful when getting your feet done. Because it involves second-degree burns to my ankle.

Shall I just get straight to the point and start with a photo? This is a week AFTER the injury happened.

Here's the story. OK, so you all know I went to Vegas. The night before, I went to get a pedicure. I ALWAYS go to the same place, and they always do a GREAT job. It's a reputable place and it's always packed. I always get the treatment that includes callous remover, where they put a solution onto the heels of your feet and then place plastic bags over your feet for like five minutes to soften the heels. Then they take the bags off your feet and start scraping with a cheese grater. Not REALLY a cheese grater, but it looks like one -- come on, those of you who have had your callouses removed, you know what I'm talking about.

So things were moving along fine until I felt the teeniest bit of a sting on my left ankle. I thought, "Hmm, maybe when I shaved this afternoon, I nicked the back of my ankle." No real biggie, and I didn't say anything. She continued with the treatment, removed the baggies, and everything seemed fine, just still a bit of stinging, nothing unbearable.

The sting continued throughout the pedicure and it felt a little like an itch and by the time it was done it had gotten sufficiently worse. My girl had gotten up and I told the women working next to me that my ankle was stinging and asked her to find my girl. When she came back, she was going to put alcohol on my ankle. Why? I have no idea. We then decided maybe aloe would be a better idea. So we soothed it with aloe and I paid and left.

An hour later, the stinging persisted and I looked at my ankle. The skin had turned brown and the area affected was the size of a tea bag. I went back to the salon and told one of the managers and kind of asked for a refund and explained that they need to be aware how dangerous the solution can be. He gave me a gift card to come back for a free pedi and was very nice. As I said, I go in there fairly often -- maybe once every three months, and it's a reputable place, always busy, so I knew they wouldn't ignore me.

The next day I went to Vegas. Thank goodness I packed band-aids and neosporin. Thank goodness I drank a lot through the pain. I don't know how I walked and danced as much as I did that whole weekend. When I got back, I went to the doctor where she told me I had a second degree burn. Fortunately it was not infected.

She gave me some topical cream called silvadene and I've been using that twice daily and keeping it covered. It's still a horrible mess, and still painful and I can't have it in the sun for a year, and it will probably scar. Fortunately, it's not an area where I'll have my skin in the sun.

I took a letter from my doctor, my receipts for my co-pay and prescription and supplies, copies of these photos all back to the nail salon to make sure they will be paying me back for all of this, which will come out to be around $70. The owners are away for Thanksgiving, but again, the manager was very nice and he assured me they will get back to me on this. I WILL be getting my money back on this one.

The worst part though ... there's no way I'm going to be able to run the AZ half marathon now! Drat.

This is what the injury looks like 10 days later, as it's healing:

Just wanted to get the word out, so please, share this with anyone, your nail salon, wherever... and if you are ever in a position where you think something is going wrong don't sit there because you don't want to make SOMEONE ELSE feel uncomfortable. This is YOUR body they are dealing with. They screwed up my ankle badly. It hurts every day, and looks disgusting, and if I would have spoken up right away when the stinging started, maybe this wouldn't have been so bad.

So, take this free lesson, as my Dad would call it, and learn from it.

PS... if you are the GRAND PRIZE WINNER of the Fall Fab Book Giveaway, you need to contact me! You've won a boat-load of awesome books!

Friday, November 25, 2011

We've Got A Grand Prize Winner!

Well everyone, we've got a GRAND PRIZE BOOK WINNER! For those of you who have been hanging around here on MaNiC MoMMy for a while, you know that my passion is books, and I love doing book reviews and sharing fabulous authors with you and being able to give away great reads. Since last March I've been fortunate enough to hold some really fun book promotions ... there was the March Madness one where I went crazy and offered a book a day for like 43 days. Then I did a June Blast of Books and gave away about 15 books very quickly. Now just since September, we've just finished the Fall Fab Book Giveaway where 27 or so books were showcased here.

Blog readers were invited to learn about the books and enter each time a book was featured by commenting. Each time you commented, you were entered to win the grand prize. Some of you may have already won the book of the day. Now it's time to announce the GRAND PRIZE WINNER who will be receiving copies of every single book that was featured on MaNiC MoMMy since the first book showcased on September 6, where we opened the promotion with Karen Doornebos' Definitely Not Mr. Darcy.

And the Grand Prize winner who was drawn from a random slip of paper by my son Tukey today is ....

WELL in an  unexpected turn of  events, the grand prize winner never got in touch with me and the winner also did not leave an identifying name or email so I could not get in touch with her. Therefore, we will be choosing a new winner.


Jen, you're going to need to contact me so I can get your address -- I've got a lot of publicists and authors to contact so you can start receiving ALL of your books! Your doorbell is going to be ringing A LOT in the next few weeks! I hope you have a lot of time to be reading!

And not to worry all - I've got a lot of books already in the works for a Winter Promo that will soon be coming your way with a ton of great authors that you haven't even heard of yet, PLUS some of the authors you already know and love!

Hope your Thanksgiving was a terrific one filled with the things that truly do matter--family, friends, hope, happiness, health, laughter and lots and lots of love!

Peace UP!

xo MaNiC MoMMy

Monday, November 21, 2011

Vegas Rocks!

OK, I’m back from Vegas and wow, what a trip! I never expected to have such a great time. Yeah I expected to have a blast with two of my best friends from forever but just CRAZINESS.

We went for three nights and everyone says two nights in Vegas is all you need. Not true. We could have handled even one more night in Sin City. We got there on Thursday around 11 am and went out for lunch drinks right away at Mandalay Bay.These are cucumber mojitos. Mine.

Plus I had to pick up tickets to the two shows we were going to see: Menopause the Musical and The Lion King. I don’t really know what happened but we ended up at Cosmopolitan drinking vodka sodas with cranberry splashes and getting on the Tryst VIP list.

The Cosmo is a gorgeous hotel – it’s the one with the big high heel shoe in the front and the Chandelier bar which is a three tier bar that is like a chandelier. I wish I had more pics to show you all. Some are on FB if you’re my FB friend. If not, friend me but when you do, please tell me you are my MaNiC MoMMy friend!

So after a bazillion or maybe just 4 or 5 cocktails, we go back to the room for a Disco Nap (new Vegas term I learned and LOVE), and then when we wake up around 8, one of my friends and I are not sure we want to go out because we are like 42 years old moms and OLD. Plus, there’s a good movie on TV.

BUT, we are in VEGAS!!! So we have to rally. We shower, I yank my boobs WAY up, which I never do, and we are out! We go and grab something to eat which is sushi (big mistake), but I only have three pieces of a roll, and have not yet had a drink. Then we hit TRYST at the Wynn. (We are apparently a night too early because the very NEXT night, Prince Harry is THERE!!!)

Before we went on this trip, I had ONE request to my friends. I told them I did not want to go to any Hootchie Mama clubs. This was a Hootchie Mama Club. Women wear skirts and dresses where their ass cheeks hang out of their dresses, but really, not all of the ladies are attractive at all, and since I amped up my boobies, I was feeling okay about myself. The bartender ladies all have fake ta-tas and wear bras and lingerie.

There are go-go dancers wearing thongs all over the place. AND, if you want to SIT in these places, you have to have table/bottle service, which means you need to purchase a bottle of vodka for a minimum of $475. Fortunately for us, we had our two free drink tickets, and VIP entry so we got in fast/front of the line, and free.

We stayed for a while and BOOM, got hit on by some old guys immediately, who were nice but unattractive. That’s when we realize WE.ARE.NOT.ALL.THAT. Hahahah. We all wore our wedding rings and I always dropped the line, “My husband …” You know, to thwart all the men from totally hitting on me!

These guys wanted to buy us drinks, but we three girls made a pre-pact that if anyone wanted to buy us drinks, we had to go to the bar with them to make sure they didn’t roofie us. So, my friends went with them, while I saved our special spot – a section in the bar that we found where we could sit on a ledge FREE OF CHARGE. I had one vodka drink there because I had so much during the day and I was scared of getting a migraine. I know my limits people, oh yes I do!

So, there we were, drinking it up with the two old dudes (ok, they were maybe 4 years older than us), when I suddenly had to get out of there. I told S & S (my friends will from now on be referred to as S & S because those are their initials) that we had to leave. The smoke, the lights, the crowds, the cheese on the women’s butts, the BOOM, BOOM, BOOM of the music was getting to me. I had to get out of there.

We grab a cab and head back to HRH, take the elevator to our room, open the door, I rip off my shirt and my necklace, run to the bathroom, and puke. It’s like 1 a.m.

S & S put me to bed and go out until 4:00 a.m.

End of Day One.

Day Two, we all get up around 11:30, go find coffee and some food, come back to the room, hang out, get ready and leave the hotel around 3:00. We head to Serendipity, thanks to the recommendation of some FB people, where I devour an awesome burger with avocado, brie and carmelized onions. S&S are okay with drinking already cuz they are champions. One is doing wine, the other is a bud light lime girl. I order an unsweetened ice tea.

Until I see they have Blue Moon on tap.

Game on.

After we eat we head to see Menopause the Musical where we are the youngest people in the audience, not quite hitting the menopause phase, but definitely understanding where we are heading. Hilarious and fun. We drink during the show. Because it’s Vegas.

After the show, we go to an oxygen bar where one S and I get some oxygen and a back rub from a young hottie. We flirt heavily and ooze on the charm. We are pumped to have attention and oxygen. We are ready for the night that awaits us.

Next, we go to New York and hang out at a bar there where again, we meet old guys. We discover something interesting. The old guys are boring. They are no fun to play with. One gives me a foot rub because my feet are killing me, but he’s like my dad so it’s very boring. They’re in Vegas for a motorcycle event. Total turn off. Plus they drink old man drinks. BORING.

Then, we are high-fiving people who walk by and the French version of LFMAO walk by and they’re fun. We love meeting crazy Vegas people and hearing why they are in Vegas.

A gorgeous young woman sits next to us along with her “dad” who turns out to be her “manager” and she is a model. She asks S if she looks like a prostitute. Says she is there because her manager promised to take her to Vegas to see the shows. I wonder if they have separate rooms, and if her “manager” is going to get any action tonight. Feel sorry for that girl, even though she is the most stunning girl we have ever seen!

Another guy walks by in a turtle neck and a blazer. I high-five him. During our stay at this bar, he walks by three times, I high-five him each time. The third time, he says, “You’re still here?” I say, “We are SOUL MATES!” I make S take a picture of the two of us. We hug. It’s Vegas. People are friendly.

We go to Vanity at Hard Rock which is another night club. We decide it sucks because we hate the club scene with the hootchie mamas and the Go-Go dancers and the slimy old men and leave after about an hour.

Next, we hit Caesar’s and Cleopatra’s Barge. Just the place we wanna be. Fun music. Young boys. We dance all night until the lights come up. We find some young boys who are 22 or 23. One is infatuated with S. Dances all night. The Cougar thing is not a myth. Older women are mysterious!

Back at our hotel, we hit the 24 hour diner and S orders Chicken Fried Steak. I take a photo of the food because it’s so beautiful. I’m not hungry but I order stupid pancakes. We go to bed at 4:30 a.m. This seems to be our epic night. We would have been Vegas thrilled if this was our big night.

But it is not to be so.

The next morning we get up and go to Paris. Wow, we’ve seen a lot of the world in one short trip! We eat at Mon Ami Gabi, which is funny because we could eat there in Chicago anytime. Afterward, we had planned to hang out on the strip, but rock star friend S, in a surprising turn of events, says SHE needs a nap, when it’s usually ME who is the napper. And I’m not one to disagree.

We go back to the hotel and Disco Nap again.

When we get up, it’s time to get ready for our last night on the town. I am adamant that I will be in bed by 1 a.m. as I have a 1:30 flight the next day, and I need my sleep. I’m desperately afraid of migraines and hangovers. They ruin my life.

We get ready and go see The Lion King. Katy Perry is also playing at Mandalay Bay but we chose to see Simba instead. Hahah. About The Lion King though … In a word:

Hubby got us the tickets and we were like eighth row center. Stunning performance. I felt guilty for not having the kids there with me. The animals came down from the top of the back of the rows, and right down the aisle right next to us. It was unbelievable. The singing was amazing. The performers fabulous. I’m so glad we went to the show. We loved it.

Then after, we had to grab some food. Do we go all out and dine at fancy five-star restaurants in Vegas? Nope. Burger Bar in Mandalay. S and I share buttermilk zucchini fries and sweet potato fries for dinner. The other S has a turkey burger.

A couple Blue Moons and the Cougar Pack is ready. But not before we head out with a plan. We noticed some bachelorettes go out on scavenger hunts. So I think it’s a good idea to have a hunt of our own. I say we need to go out and find a six pack of abs. We also need to get guys to buy us drinks. There’s also one other thing we had to do but that’s something that remains in the pack. It was called our Triple Play!

We hit Eye Candy which is a lounge in Mandalay Bay. We find some young boys to toy with. They’re much more fun than old guys. They like to dance, have a sense of humor, and think older women are smart. They all know we are married but don’t care. They even buy us drinks and show us their abs. They are young and stupid. Just the way we like ‘em! We hang with them all night long. When we first met this bunch of boys, we asked them where they were earlier. They said, “You’ll laugh.” And we said they would laugh when we told them where WE were. Turns out they went to see Katy Perry. Turns out we went to see The Lion King. Who’s laughing at whom?

There was another guy later in the night at the bar, like 4 a.m. and I went up to him and said, “You do not look old enough to be in this bar.”

He said, “How old do I look?”

I said, “22 maybe.”

He said, “Would it surprise you if I told you I was a doctor.”

“You’re not a doctor!”

“Yes I am. I’m an ER doctor.”


He shrugged. And then took a sip of his scotch.

“Is that scotch? My husband drinks scotch. You are sooo young looking. You’re really a doctor?”


“What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen in the ER?”

“There was this guy who came in with a 12-inch knife stuck in his chest. He was dead, but no one could figure out how he got it in there. They ended up ruling it suicide.”


I went back to our other group and pointed to the dude and said, “Hey everyone, that guy is an ER doctor!” Everyone just laughed at me. I am so gullible I will believe ANYONE!

So, anyway, through the night, our last night in Vegas, we danced with the boys (even to Waking Up In Vegas which was VERY COOL!), drank with them (I got the one married one to buy me a drink!) and then I bought HIM a drink!), and the drunkest stupidest one even let me play black jack with his money! I was winning for a while, but then when I started losing, we left the table and went back to drinking. We also got two of them to show us their abs, and yes, I have photos! And well, the third thing, that’s between me, S & S … because as you know, sometimes, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

We stayed out until six a.m. that last night, laughed our butts off and had the most fun three 42 year old moms of eight kids could have possibly ever had. I ran on about 12 hours of sleep the whole weekend but the adrenaline is still running high! What a blast!

Have YOU ever been to Vegas? Where did you go, what did you do?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Keeping Family Together

I’ve been a little MIA from this blog because stuff in life has gotten in the way, like that migraine I talked about a couple of weeks ago (my back is still outta whack because of it). And then there was a case of strep (Tukey caught it but thankfully didn’t pass it to anyone else), and now Ajers is recovering from having his wisdom teeth removed. We thought he’d be better in time to go to school. Surgery was on Friday. Here it is Tuesday and he’s still home. He hates missing school so it’s been a bad recovery.

My parents were also here for 10 days and they just headed back to Florida this morning. You know, to get back to the good weather, since we’ve had crappy weather here in AZ. Haha! I always love when my parents come to visit, and my kids especially cherish the time with Nana and Papa. Seeing them together and the bond they’ve created just gets me every time.

They’ve never lived in the same state together, except for the first 10 months of Ajers’ life when we all lived in Illinois, until we up and left them and moved to Pennsylvania. Boy, that was a heart-breaker. So, in being away from grandparents so much, we have to do what we can to keep the bond strong. And as the kids get older, and more socially busy (friends, sports, movies, sleepovers, babysitting, other activities), it’s hard to find things for everyone to do together.

Interestingly, during this trip, I watched though, as all of my kids found some fun things to do with both Nana and Papa. I stood back and watched. I kind of have to thank the iPad for some of the bonding. Nana has an iPad. We don’t. But damn that iPad did a good job of bringing everyone together.

Diva and Nana, and even Tukey clocked many hours playing Words with Friends, and then there’s this App where you can make pottery. Diva’s quite the artist and they were creating some cool stuff, so much so that Nana bit the bullet and splurged and bought the $5.99 App so she could create even more intricate pottery! Yep, she got suckered into it! It was funny to watch because Nana would ask Diva, “What colors do I mix to make brown?” and Diva would go over and help her mix the pottery colors. 

Then *I* got sucked into this STUPID Word Whomper game with these groundhogs that pop out of the ground where you try to spell a bunch of words and beat a clock. So Tukey, Nana and I were playing THAT game. I kept saying, “THIS SUCKS, I’m DONE, onemoregameplease!” Addicting!

And Nana was showing Ajers a bunch of old Carol Burnett youtube videos with Tim Conway as the Dentist because Ajers had his teeth pulled. Papa and Tukey had a few rousing games of checkers. I’m telling you, there was some serious family bonding happening, all because of the stinkin’ iPad. We loved every minute of it.

One thing that ALWAYS happens when my parents leave is that my mom always puts individual secret notes hidden in the house for all of us to find. The kids left for school this morning and when they come home, they will know to go to their rooms and search for their special Nana Note hidden in their room.

It’s a special tradition we’ve got in our family, one that makes the saying goodbye less difficult for all of us. I love this ritual – it’s something we’ve come to look forward to and expect. I keep these hidden notes as treasures from my mother, and I know my kids love to get them too. They keep us fortified throughout from the times we can’t be with my parents, and we always talk about the funny and sentimental notes she leaves around the house for us. 

Family rituals are great. When my kids were little, the Balloon Fairy used to visit their rooms on the night before their birthday – they’d wake up to a bedroom full of balloons all in their room. That one has since dissolved – the fairy’s lungs couldn’t handle it much longer, but it was fun while it lasted – what kind of family rituals do you all have set up in your house? I know that darn Christmas Elf on the Shelf will be here very soon – he’s been a big hit the past few years.

There are tons of special ways to make family rituals in your own family, and here’s a few that’s shared on Subway’s Fresh Takes site. If you’ve got some family rituals of your own that you’d like to share over there, feel free – it could get you $50 worth of subs (which, by the way, was the first REAL food that Ajers asked for when he felt he could eat after his wisdom teeth surgery!). So, go on over and share your fun rituals and you could also be featured on the Fresh Takes site as well!

Take care! And before Thanksgiving, one of you who entered in the Fall Fab Book Giveaway could be winning a boat load of books – that’s a ritual that I’ve started here on MaNiC MoMMy that I’m happy to continue here for all of you book lovers!

My blog is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.