Thursday, July 30, 2009

Growth Spurt

No doubt about it - my son grew since I saw him last. I dropped him off at summer camp last Monday (the 20th) and yesterday morning, when I saw him again, I could not believe how much taller he was! His first tooth is loose and it seems even his vocabulary and maturity level have increased.

I, too, grew in many ways during this past week, having time to reflect, both before and after BlogHer, along the road as Sugar Jones and I drove across country, tweeting and laughing our way from San Diego to Chicago - and back again.

This was my first BlogHer experience, and it did not disappoint. There was as much drama, laughter, drinking and learning involved as I had anticipated. Although it was a bit more intense than I imagined.

It was overwhelming. I felt slightly intimidated, but overall, it was quite humbling to be surrounded by so many great writers that I have been reading and following and even more that I am just now discovering.

As a writer, I appreciate the advice provided during the humor panel, from the talented women on stage (The Bloggess, Bern This) and the many people I met throughout the weekend (Shash, Mr. Lady, Anissa, Shauna, Redneck Mommy, Her Bad Mother and more).

Being away from my son for nine days put things into perspective for me. It reminded me of why I started writing in the first place, why I formed this company two years ago and what it is I so enjoy most of all (being a mother).

I've been laying low this week, trying to put my thoughts into words and wanting so badly to sit down and just write, but instead, I've been spending quality time with my son, stopping only for a few minutes here and there to jot some ideas down, and publishing my best material on Twitter.

My son is sitting next to me right now, on his own computer, creating online adventures that belong only to him, and this weekend, we'll be celebrating summer. Laughing, playing, and growing. Together.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Child's Play X2

What makes Matthew, of Child's Play X2 a happy, healthy, hip dad? I had to travel all the way to Chicago in order to meet him in real life but from chatting with him through Twitter and reading his blog, I knew I could not miss the panel he was speaking on.

Before leaving for our roadtrip, I sent Matthew some questions to ponder so that those who were not familiar with his writing could get a bit more info about who he is, both on and off the web:
1) You started your blog in 2004. Had you done any other writing prior to that?

I had not. In fact, for the first year or two I didn’t even consider what I was putting on my blog as “writing. Over the years, however, I have come to love the writing aspect. Many of my posts are told in story form or there is a setup to a punch-line and I enjoy crafting those posts.

2) How has blogging changed (for you) since then?

Blogging has changed a lot since I started my blog. My cousin Maggie ( turned me onto blogging and back then not many people knew what blogging was. Back then there was a relatively small amount of parent bloggers and we all seemed to be having kids or had young kids. We would add each other to our blog rolls and comment on each other’s blogs and that’s how we built up readership. Now there are so many blogs that it’s very difficult to stand out.

3) Please share the story of how you came to be a speaker on the upcoming panel at this year’s BlogHer.

I’m still not sure how I became a speaker on the BlogHer panel! I was looking at the BlogHer website shortly after registering and noticed there was a proposal for a panel called Vaginally Challenged – The Men of BlogHer. It was proposed by Adam Avitable of I think I clicked on something that volunteered me for the panel but then I completely forgot about it. Until I got an email saying I had been selected to sit on the panel. I’m very excited about to experience my first BlogHer conference from this perspective.

4) Please share your children’s (nick)names, age and gender.

I have four year old boy/girl twins. My nickname for the boy is TheMonk and my nickname for the girl is Swee’Pea.

5) How do you maintain a healthy relationship with your children? With your wife?

I have maintained a healthy relationship with my children by being as involved in parenting my children as my wife. As a father, I think it’s important that my children see me in a similar way that they see my wife. I also try to maintain consistency with my kids from my wife to me. The kids know that my wife and I will back each other up and that we will consistently enforce rules so there is no pitting mom vs. dad going on.

My kids also know that I am there for them. I keep my promises to them and I think they know they can count on me.

Maintaining a healthy relationship with my wife has been much more difficult. Having twins was extremely challenging for us and the first year, especially, was the most difficult year of our lives. Our relationship certainly took a back seat. We are only now beginning to try and schedule time for the two of us that doesn’t involve kids because it’s so important to keep our relationship strong.

6) Kids say the cutest things. What is the funniest story you recall about each of your children?

Kisses, in our family, have magical healing powers. Boo boos are kissed and made better. One day, my son fell on his butt and when I tried to soothe him, he turned around, stuck his butt in the air and yelled, “KISS IT DADDY! KISS IT!” I did.

My daughter is a devious one who is learning how she can play Daddy like a cheap violin. Just recently she caught me off guard by telling me what a good job I do as a daddy and giving me a piece of chocolate as my reward. I was so touched that my little girl was reaching out to me like that. She then asked for a bite.

7) What is your proudest parenting moment?

I don’t have just one moment. I am proud that my kids see me as an equal parent and that I am equally responsible for the upbringing of my children. I’m proud that I have made the decision to make my children a top priority all of the time.

8) What is your biggest parenting challenge?

My biggest parenting challenge is balancing time for me, my work, my wife and my kids. I always feel like one is suffering and often times it’s the “me time.” I’m trying to figure that one out. If you know the answer, please let me know!

9) What’s your favorite family-friendly restaurant in San Diego?

My favorite family-friendly restaurant in San Diego is Chick-Fil-A. I can get healthy alternatives for the kids, the kids often get a balloon and they can play in the play structure while I eat fries and drink milk shakes.

10) What’s your favorite activity you enjoy with your child(ren)?

I love going to the park with the kids. I love watching my kids take risks on the playground equipment, interact with other kids and then I often play along too. It’s fun being out and about with my kids and I hope I can keep doing well into the future.

11) What advice would you give to new or expecting parents? And to those expecting twins?

New parents need to talk about their parenting philosophy before they have kids. Both parents need to be on the same page about what’s important and what’s not. I think also that moms should help dads become more involved in the parenting – particularly if the dad isn’t sure what his role will be.

As for parenting twins, I think it’s extremely important to get the kids on the same feeding and sleeping schedule from the get go. It will make your life so much easier.

12) Who or where do you go to for parenting advice?

I read blogs and I read books but the biggest person I go to for advice is my wife. She’s an extremely intuitive person and she is a big researcher who has the ability to take information and make it relevant. I don’t know how I would be as parent if I didn’t have her support.

13) How would your children describe you?

My children would describe me as silly, a bad dancer, and someone who loves hugs and kisses.

If you have any other questions about Matthew, his family, his writing, or his appearance at BlogHer, head on over to Child's Play X2. You can discover all you need - or would ever want - to know about him by checking out his list of 100 Things.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The ABCs of Male Bloggers

Because I have always gotten along better with men, I could totally relate to what the guys on today's panel were saying about connecting with women writers and having female friends all their lives. I have connected online with several male bloggers and it was so awesome to see many of them here this weekend.

The fact that we had to come all the way to Chicago to finally hang out in the same room though is rather sad, considering that Matthew of Child's Play lives in San Diego too and Jim of Busy Dad lives just hours away in L.A.

As a single mom, I started to really appreciate and understand my ex-husband a little better after I began to read, from the male perspective, what goes on in their heads and the dynamics within the mom and dad relationship. I have chatted with Busy Dad and Child's Play X2 through Twitter and have really enjoyed getting to know them, both through their blog posts and by communicating directly with them.

Although Avitable is not a daddy blogger, he has a great blog which is very funny and quite raunchy and because he has named his balls and includes s
tories and pictures of them, it's kind of like the daddy bloggers who share stories of their kids and post pictures of them online!

Luckily, there was room on the floor so I could sit in the very front for the great panel, that was packed, entitled Vaginally Challenged Bloggers: The Men of BlogHer. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the session. You'll have to head over to the BlogHer stie for the full transcript and live footage for more!!
Avitable: "I'm the only whore here."

"I thought I pioneered the idea of daddy blogging."

"I'd love to get a book contract."

"I'm here because my friends are here."

"I only exploited my kid once."

ChildsPlayX2: "
We're trying to break through the glass ceiling of parenting."

"I've always had more female friends."

Many great conversations were sparked in this session and the women who asked questions added much to the topic. We got to talking about the men of our generation being more involved as fathers and more willing to share their stories and talk about their experiences in a more open manner than our own dads may have. We talked about the husbands who do not blog - or share as openly - and understand that the reason that blogging has brought us all together (online and to Chicago this weekend) is because there is a passion and an understanding amongst all of us writers that extends beyond our title (mommy blogger, daddy blogger, humor blogger).

One of the reasons why the men on the panel are here is because they are such great writers. There are many great female writers here as well, of course, but it's great to see men bloggers represented and supported here in this community.

Miss Brit did a wonderful job moderating this panel and I was so very impressed and inspired by the three men "on stage" who were also very sincere, funny and oh yeah, pretty darn cute.

As one audience member stated, "There's nothing sexier than a good dad." Or a set of balls.

Friday, July 24, 2009

LIVE from Chicago

I'm sitting in a room full, I mean - FULL - of bloggers - women who are writers and who either get paid (0r not) for what they, I mean WE do all day!

We're just SECONDS away from the major announcement this year. They're just making us wait a few minutes before letting us know where BlogHer 2010 will take place and everyone here is bracing themselves and praying that it'll be in their hometown.

At my table are a few women from the Denver - based carpool are hoping that it'll be there and I have to admit that it would be a beautiful place for a conference.

OMG! They're making us WAIT....I swear. This is crazy. I'm getting text messages from my Blog Her Carpoolers ' roommate from somewhere in this room,
but where is she? Is she broadcasting LIVE as well?


I can see her. She's at the next table and it looks like her coffee mug ...


Hilton New York

near Rockefeller Center
August 5 - 7, 2010


Oh, and I'm going to head to the GM booth today so that they can set me up with another Test Drive with the 2010 Chevy Camaro.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


My mom, aka Grandma Sylvie, inspires me and has encouraged my writing ever since I was a little girl. She was the one who told me about the Examiner and told me to apply. I got accepted within a week and have been having a great time writing for them - and making money!

I asked her to put some guest posts together for me so that I can have a grandparent's voice and wisdom of her years of parenting experience to share and include here. She's awesome and continues to inspire me with everything she says and does. Here's her latest:

I worked the gift shop (volunteer work) yesterday and saw a good idea for me to start journaling again. I haven't journaled for about 10 years or longer.

There was a book there called "Simplicity Journal." On each page were the words: Happy, Funny, Heart, Good, Challenge, Learned, and Other Thoughts with enough space next to each word to write one word to a short paragraph.

My words for today are:

- I am happy that Hip_M0M called me while on her road trip. It was good to talk to her and hear her voice.

- I took a walk and walked farther than planned. I saw an old man getting his mail and he told me to keep walking. He wished he could walk but can't. It is amazing how a few words of encouragement can make this 58-year-old body move.

- I play my favorite music. Right now I am listening to the soundtrack of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Grandparenting- I look at the grandsons' photos and pray that they are happy and safe.

Take care and keep smiling.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

2010 Chevy Equinox

So, the 2010 Chevy Equinox has been awesome to drive. It was dropped off at my place in San Diego around noon on Monday. I grabbed the keys, signed the Loan Agreement and it was mine. I headed out that afternoon, driving through traffic in Riverside, past the lights of Vegas and finally stopped long enough to close my eyes for a few hours in Cedar City, UT.

Bright and early Tuesday morning, I got in the car and headed straight to Denver, stopping along the way for gas and potty breaks. I somehow scheduled it just right and was able to pick up Sugar Jones at Union Station in downtown Denver just before the traffic rolled in for the Rockies' game.

We literally ran into iGrandmaTV (actually, her friend backed into us when we were parked outside the Union Station). We ended up crashing the Denver Podcasters Meetup and learned about some great sports blogs and podcast sites. We also enjoyed some great beer from the Wynkoop Brewery and visited with some friends.

Sugar took the wheel this morning and now we're making a much-needed pit stop for some shut-eye so we can be ready to land in Chicago mid-morning tomorrow. We had a blast along the way, tweeting and laughing our way through a lightening storm and pulling over so the State Trooper could pull over a car ahead of us. Phew!

There are so many awesome features on the Chevy Equinox that we're enjoying, like the leather seats with the red stitching (so cute!) not to mention the rear-view video camera that allows you to see what's behind you as you're backing up. Oh and your side mirrors rotate down towards the curb as well when you're in reverse so you can see how close (or how far) you are from the curb when parallel parking.

No need to worry about blind spots with this vehicle either, since there's small windows behind the second row seats that let you see that space that is typically out of view. The driver's seat has memory adjustments for two drivers so Sugar and I have both been able to save our settings for where we're most comfortable.

The best thing about the car, in my opinion, is the handling. It's very smooth and with the V6 engine, we were able to pass some pretty slow travelers which allowed us to stay on track after getting slowed down by road construction. The cruise control has awesome settings that allow you to slow down or speed up with a roller button. The fact that it also gets 32 MPG (highway miles) also helped us cut down on our gas expenses!

Since we have no passengers (yet), enjoying the back seat, we'll have to wait until our route home to test out the DVD players but I have a feeling we'll all be pleased with how that works! The back seats are very flat so child or infant car seats will be snug and secure.

The automatic hatchback door also comes in handy as we're usually heading towards the car with our hands full. We're still getting used to "Dolly," the GPS voice we've named for her sweet hospitable charm but she's growing on us as is the XM Radio that we're enjoying as we sing along to the 80s hits that keep us awake.

And, speaking of sing-alongs, Sugar will have some travel games for our trip back West, including a karaoke something or other that is sure to be entertaining. We'll be taking song requests all weekend...

Keep on following us as we journey through BlogHer:


Sugar Jones

Grandma Says I Can!

The Juicebox Jungle has a new video up this week, entitled "Grandma Says I Can!" which is all about the relationship between our children and their grandparents. Many parents bite their tongues when it comes to the situations our parents or in-laws let our offspring get away with. They never let us get away with those same things when we were their age.

My mom and dad live thousands of miles away. My son's other grandma lives even further. So, needless to say, I pretty much accept the fact that their role will consist of some spoiling behavior and I just shake my head when I see my parents give my son chocolate in between meals.

My mom (aka Grandma Sylvie) continues to inspire me. She takes care of my nephews at least once a week and even survived an overnight with the 1-year-old.

She sent me some great quotes about being a grandparent and I suspect there's probably many more which she felt the need to filter out!
"Grandchildren: The only people who get more out of you than the IRS." - Gene Perret

"My grandchild has taught me what true love means. It means watching Scooby-Doo cartoons while the basketball game is on another channel." - Gene Perret
If you're a grandparent, please share your favorite quote with us. If you have a parent (or grandparent) in your life who can appreciate this, please pass it along. We wouldn't be here if it weren't for them!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Are you looking for ways to help monitor your child's homework and help them stay on track during the upcoming school year? Are you a busy parent who has a hard time managing your child's school calendar as well as your own?

Parentella is an online portal for all things relating to your child's classroom. The dashboard includes a section for Homework, Field Trips, Announcements and Special Activities. There's even a gallery for teachers to share photos from classroom events and where parents can learn more about what goes on between drop-off and pick-up!

Even though my son's school has their own system for providing parents with information, I plan on recommending this to their staff since it's a beautifully designed, easy-to-use program that allows parents and teachers to communicate and make sure everyone's on the same page. And it's all password protected to ensure the privacy of your family.

So whether you have a child in daycare or high school, Parentella is a wonderful tool to help you remember what it is your child is assigned to work on over the holiday break, or what the school supply list included when you lose the paperwork that comes over the summer.

Monday, July 20, 2009


It's been an amazing ride so far, participating in so many online networks that have led me to some pretty fabulous people. I'm heading to BlogHer this week to meet many of these individuals in real life for the first time, but before I get there, I wanted to stop and talk about one woman who truly has inspired me.

Ali (@PickleSugarPlum) of The Rehan Family, is hoping to be voted in as the first Mamavation Mom and I'm encouraging you all to vote for her as well.

Now, you may know one of the other moms in the running for this and I know they're all equally worthy and as inspiring, but since I know Ali, I wanted to show my support by sharing with her how she's already motivated me, with or without the official title.

I met Ali at the Mom's Nite Out event here in San Diego back in May and have since seen her at Tweetups. I met her husband, learned about her desire to start her own business and have laughed with her over dinner. Nothing about our conversations ever led me to believe that she was uncomfortable with her weight or that it had started to affect her self-esteem.

Many of us use humor to cover up our insecurities. I'm guilty of this, for sure. Growing up, I never had an issue with my weight. I had a healthy pregnancy and was able to lose the weight afterward, but it's been only recently (after my divorce) that I started putting on a few pounds here and there. I've gotten used to asking for larger sizes in the dressing room but that doesn't mean that I'm comfortable with my weight. I make jokes about it and even though I'm constantly swearing at the bathroom scale, no one around me would ever know that my weight was an issue.

I don't want to go into the whole body image thing and how media continues to remind us (and young viewers absorbing it all) that we could all stand to lose a few pounds or change the color of our hair or get those teeth whitened. It's all around us. Every day, the "need" to improve ourselves, physically.

Ali is very brave and I extend to her the biggest congratulations on putting herself out there. You'll see what I mean when you watch her VLOG entry. Voting for the first Mamavation Mom ends soon so head on over and cast your vote. The winner will be announced on July 31st.

Mamavation is a social experiment and weight loss campaign on twitter, created by Bookieboo, an online support group for moms trying to lose weight.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Billie & The Parent Plan

I love reading books - every once in a while - to my son that are a little beyond his age range. Some people would say that it's not healthy to do so, but I find that talking about things that he doesn't know about or using words or ideas that are unfamiliar to him only provides us with starting points for some great discussions.

Billie and The Parent Plan is about a young girl who is upset with her mom for getting remarried. It turns out that her step-dad is old enough to be her grandfather and her 18-year-old step-sister is just another "adult" that Billie is not thrilled to all of a sudden be living with.

Her father was never around growing up and he wasn't discussed much in the book, but the entire premise of the book was about her having to get used to her new family and accepting these people into her home, which is something that many kids must deal with when (or if) their parents get remarried.

My son was not thrilled with this idea either. The thought of my getting married (someday) never crossed his mind and he was adamant about the fact that he was not OK with it. I wasn't going to argue with him or tell him that I was never going to get married but I have a feeling that talking about it now (as opposed to when - or if - that person comes along) will prepare him for it, if that day should ever come.

The book, by Ann Bryant, is a wonderful discussion-starter on bullying, peer pressure, and dealing with a new step-family. You can guarantee that if I ever do get remarried, my son will be so in love with the guy he'll either be our Best Man or he'll walk me down the aisle himself.

Check out more great books from Usborne and Kane Miller.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thelma & Louise - Part 2

Our Chevy vehicle will be delivered next Monday. They promised me it would be dropped off to me between 11 am - 1 pm. I hope it's not like when the Cable Guy promises to be there within a certain time frame. They're notoriously late and even though I'm driving on my own, I do like to have a schedule to follow. (Those of you who know me are laughing right now because I am notoriously late.)

Sugar Jones is relying on me to pick her up in Denver on Tuesday so I'll have to haul butt to get there before the day is over. We're going to spend the night downtown (Is there anything going on in downtown Denver on a Tuesday night?) and our plan is to be in Chicago by the night of the 22nd or early morning on the 23rd. That is if we don't get arrested for disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace along the way. Have you read those weird state laws in Iowa?

Feel free to follow along via the BlogHer website, our own personal blogs (Happy Healthy Hip Parenting and Sugar in the Raw). We'll also be updating the Twitter feed along with our own (@sugarjones, @hip_m0m) and Whrrl along the way!

According to Google maps, it's a 2,062 mile drive, which should take us approximately 30 hours total. We plan on driving 15 hours per day so here's our estimated route:

Monday, July 20th
Depart San Diego, CA
(overnight in Las, Vegas)

Tuesday, July 21st
Stop in Denver, CO

Wednesday, July 22nd
Arrive in Chicago, IL

For those of you who live along the route, help us out! Let us know where we should stop for food, restroom breaks or if we can come over for a home-cooked meal!

To check out the other carpools heading to Chicago, follow the Interactive Map to see where the Seattle group is or The Blogrollers from Atlanta!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act

Proposed Mastectomy Law Change
(written by a surgeon)

I'll never forget the look in my patients' eyes when I had to tell them they had to go home with the drains, new exercises and no breast. I remember begging the doctors to keep these women in the hospital longer, only to hear that they would, but their hands were tied by the insurance companies.

So there I sat with my patient giving them the instructions they needed to take care of themselves, knowing full well they didn't grasp half of what I was saying, because the glazed, hopeless, frightened look spoke louder than the quiet 'Thank you' they muttered.

A mastectomy is when a woman's breast is removed in order to remove cancerous breast cells/tissue. If you know anyone who has had a mastectomy, you may know that there is a lot of discomfort and pain afterwards. Insurance companies are trying to make mastectomies an outpatient procedure. Let's give women the chance to recover properly in the hospital for 2 days after surgery.

This Mastectomy Bill is in Congress now. It takes 2 seconds to do this and is very important. Please take the time and do it really quick! The Breast Cancer Hospitalization Bill is important legislation for all women.

Please send this to everyone in your address book. If there was ever a time when our voices and choices should be heard, this is one of those times. If you're reading this, it's because I think you will take the 30 seconds to go to vote on this issue and send it on to others you know who will do the same.

There's a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act which will require insurance companies to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for patients undergoing a mastectomy. It's about eliminating the 'drive-through mastectomy' where women are forced to go home just a few hours after surgery, against the wishes of their doctor, still groggy from anesthesia and sometimes with drainage tubes still attached.

Lifetime Television has put this bill on their web page with a petition drive to show your support.. Last year over half the House signed on. PLEASE! sign the petition by clicking on the web site below. You need not give more than your name and state and zip code number.

This takes about 2 seconds.

PLEASE PASS THIS ON to your family & friends.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What's for lunch?

I don't know about you, but whenever I see a cute lunchbox, I have to buy one. For me, handbags & clutch purses are an addiction like no other. Just like shoes, one needs to accessorize whenever and however possible so a lot of us ladies require purses of all different shapes, colors, sizes and even material. I think it's safe to say that for us, lunchboxes fall into this same category.

Metal, insulated or plastic; they come in designs and styles to suit even the fussiest of eaters!

Sugar Daddy Lunchbox ($13)
(OK, this one's really for me!

Dump Truck Lunch Box ($15)

Star Wars: Clone Wars ($13)

Hannah Montana Lunchbox ($10)

Yo Gabba Gabba Lunchbox ($14)

Chinese Take-Out Lunchbox ($19)

This might just be my new addiction!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Did someone say roadtrip?!

The craziest thing about my upcoming roadtrip to Chicago is that it was someone else's idea. I don't want to take complete credit for this adventure I'm about to take! You see, originally Caryn, of Rockin' Mama, invited me to join in for the ride. She convinced me to drive from beautiful San Diego to the Windy City and I somehow jumped on the opportunity. She had also asked Amanda, of Mommy Mandy, to accompany us and everything was all set (not in stone, however).

Things happen for a reason, and with Caryn's pregnancy and Mandy's p
lans changing, I'm now driving on my own to Denver, where I'll pick up Sugar Jones. It's bound to get crazy after that!

Even though we're not taking the kids on this trip (maybe next time), there are many families heading out on the road this summer. Here's some great activities, toys and games that would help keep the kiddos occupied on a long car ride (no batteries required):

USA Map Pillowcase ($25)

Kid Kase ($60)

Lap Doodle Board ($15)

Road Games 1– Sound Effects CD ($10)

Klutz Kids Travel: A Backseat Survival Kit ($14)

Klutz Road Trip Trivia ($13)

Kids' Interstate Road Atlas ($5)

Happy Travels!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book

I love this time of year, when all of my favorite publishers release their Fall catalogs and I get a sneak preview at all of the wonderful books that are going to be released over the coming months. Here's a quick list of children's books that are recently published or forthcoming titles by Macmillan Children's Publishing Group:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

While in Chicago...

Even though I'm heading to Chicago without my child in a few weeks, I'm looking forward to the day when he is old enough to handle all-day trips to museums and explore the many sites that the Windy City has to offer.

For those of you who are bringing kids to BlogHer, or who plan on taking them to Chicago someday, here's a list of just some of the things that you will want to make time for:
  1. Wrigley Field
  2. Shedd Aquarium
  3. Field Museum of Natural History
  4. Adler Planetarium & Museum
  5. Museum of Science & Industry
  6. Art Institute
  7. Navy Pier
  8. Chicago Children's Museum
  9. Lincoln Park Zoo
  10. John Hancock Observatory
Do you live in Chicago? Have you taken your kids there recently? Let us know what your favorite sights are or better yet, where to find family-friendly restaurants throughout the city.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

From our 4th of July celebration:


So, you know when you tell your kids that they're driving you crazy? I say that often and usually my son knows I'm joking and he'll say the same thing to me when he's in a silly mood. Lately, though, I've been thinking about the whole driving thing and how I'm about to head out on a roadtrip in a few weeks that'll take me over 2,000 miles - without my son. Now, that's crazy!

Even though my BlogHer trip is not (yet) sponsored, it is, sort of. You see, Chevy, the carpool sponsor, will be providing me with a brand-spanking-new Chevy Tahoe Hybrid to drive from my house here in San Diego to the Sheraton in Chicago.
They may even be able to provide the 2010 Chevy Equinox if it arrives in time! Either way, I'm taking a much-needed bathroom break in Denver to pick up my dear friend and fellow San Diegan, Sugar Jones!

The last time I drove halfway across the country was when my friend from college convinced me to move to San Diego ten years ago. I had never even stepped foot in California before, but there was a lot of drama going on in my life at the time and I really needed a change of scenery.

I knew nothing about San Diego, other than what I had heard about the perfect weather and beautiful beaches. Is there really anything else you need to know after growing up in Minnesota?!

My friend's sister joined us on the road trip and we had a blast, stopping in Breckenridge, Denver and Albuquerque along the way. We had so many crazy experiences, met a lot of cool people and spent a lot longer on the road that we had originally anticipated.

I love Chicago. I used to drive there with my friends for the weekend during college. We'd check out the museums during the day and hit up the bars at night. I don't know when we ever slept, but I have a feeling BlogHer is going to be pretty much the same. Seriously, we'll all be partying like it's 1999!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Looking Forward

As a single mom, it's hard at times to find others that I am able to confide in when it comes to talking about the butterflies that I experience and nervous excitement that I have before a date or when I meet someone who I’m attracted to. It's not often that it happens so it's during the dry spells that I'm there as a confidante, therapist and friend to others. I’m there for those seeking comfort, looking for someone who can listen and understand what they're going through.

I'm there for my friends who have either given up on love or are still trying to comprehend the relationships - and mistakes - from their past. My entire life has been dedicated to helping and listening to others. I'm a great listener. I don't think there's anyone that knows me that would tell you otherwise. Which is why, at times, I really feel the need to unleash and spill my guts to those who can also understand and who listen to me as I provide way too much information about an escapade that I've encountered or complain about a dry spell that's gone on for far too long.

Often, I spend my time online visiting the sites and blogs of other single parents - both moms and dads - who have encountered the same issues that I have. The Single Parents Connection on Facebook has a growing list of blogs dedicated to single parents. I'm honored to be included among such honest and humorous writers.

Prior to my divorce, I was the mom who worked over 50 hours a week, feeling guilty about not being there for my son, missing out on so much as he grew up and changed in the blink of an eye while I built my career, being the breadwinner and putting all of my energy into my job, not realizing that I was neglecting my husband and child at the same time.

We all make sacrifices for our family and there is always a choice to be made. Seeing the other side of it now, the work-at-home mom who wants to provide for her child, who has so much to offer and supply as a nurturing, sympathetic caregiver who wishes she could turn back time.

There’s also another side to that. I also need and crave that female energy, the bond that has brought women together for centuries, which is maybe one of the main reasons why I’m so looking forward to attending my first BlogHer conference.

I have met so many great and inspiring women in this lifetime. I have been lucky enough to have sat with some brilliant individuals, learning so much as they guide me and help me learn from, not only their mistakes, but teach me to learn from my own.

If you’re attending BlogHer in just a few weeks, drop me a line, let me know what you’re most looking forward to (be honest) and what your concerns are. I know a lot of people are worried that it’ll be like high school again. Cliques and popularity contests is not something I would want to experience again, but I also know that the bonds that have been created by women – either online or meeting in person in the past – are hard to break.

I hope to meet many new friends and have a chance to really listen to what everyone has to say. I do my best work that way.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer Vacation

School's out for the summer so last week was spent keeping busy with my son and enjoying the beautiful San Diego weather. Last Monday, we met Sugar Jones and her little sugar cubes and spent the day at Legoland!

The kids had a blast, although there were some rides that we had to skip since the lines were so long. One of the first rides the kids wanted to go on had a sign out front that read:

120 Minute Wait Time

There were people actually walking in to wait in this line and I couldn't believe it. I thought it had to be a joke, but I wasn't about to go stand in line to find out so we never did make it on the Sky Cruiser that day...

During our lunch break, my son studied the map so he could make sure we didn't miss out on the Indiana Jones ride that is his all-time favorite.

I don't recall seeing the sign out front about how long the wait was, but it felt like 45 minutes or so. Definitely worth the wait though. The boys had a blast shooting at the targets inside and Sugar nearly peed her pants when the "falling" building came close to us. She has some great video footage from that day so you'll have to visit her site to check it out.