Teen Boy Talking Tips for Adjusting Moms

Manic:  How fast your son goes from being a little boy to a big strapping teenager.  My 16-year-old guy is now 6’1 and towers over me…and he doesn’t always want to hang out or chat with me like before.

Managed:  Got some good advice from a few moms that have raised teen boys ahead of me and from my hubs, who our boy (very thankfully) hangs out with quite a bit, thanks to living in Phoenix where golf courses are aplenty and close by.


A few years back when I took those daily easily accessible hugs for granted!

A few years back when I took those daily easily accessible hugs for granted!

If you are like me and are adjusting to your boy going from an affectionate, chatty and interested little guy to a busy and not near as interested in Mom teenager, take heart.  This is a normal part of your teenager making his way to manhood and it is actually good that he is establishing his independence as he prepares his wings for take off in just a few short years.

It doesn’t happen suddenly and at first you may not even notice it, but as the changes emerge, a boy’s loving Mama may feel a little lost on how to go about spending time with and getting that boy to look her way and engage in a conversation. I hadn’t even planned on writing about this topic until something got my attention the other night and then I reflected on the evolution of raising boys to young men.

Two nights ago I stopped folding the laundry, got off the computer and sat down on the couch with my guys, who were watching a movie.  A few minutes into the film, my big guy surprised me by leaving his comfy chair to come plop next to me.  He laid down and placed his big feet squarely in my lap.  At first, I didn’t think much about it and right when I was about to make an excited comment, I remembered some advice that hubs shared with me recently when I admitted to him that I was a tad bit envious that our boy seems more interested in spending time with him and not so much with me, his doting Mama!

Hubs responded that our son probably won’t be that interested in me for a few years because that is pretty normal for a 16-year-old male at this point in his busy, hormonal and quickly moving life.  He gently suggested that I refrain from asking for kisses and hugs and that when I get one, to NOT make a big deal of it.  I hadn’t thought of that because I tend to be a loving and verbal Mama…which is not so cool at times to a teen boy.

So I remembered this advice and simply patted his feet.  We watched the movie and a bit later he went to get a snack and retreated back to the chair that is across the room.  To my surprise, after the snack was consumed, he returned to the comfy spot next to me and the teen feet once again plopped down in my lap.  I liked that.

Hubs was right.  Since I didn’t make a big deal about my kid’s display of affection (and yep, I will take that in the form of his feet on my lap) he spent some time sort of cuddling with his ol’ Mom.  I have also heard some good advice from my Mom pals.  Take a look at their teen boy communication tips…

*Always have food on hand.  Teen boys are hungry all the time and they especially like when Mom offers grub to their buds, too.  So I have worked on this and to my delight, my son thanks me when I make him a good meal.  Awesome tip.

*Listen in the car.  If you have one with a driver’s permit, this is your top time to take advantage of checking in since you will be spending a lot of time in the car….followed by hardly any car time….once the license is earned.  At times when my driving teen started to talk, I quickly turned the radio down and bit my lip to really listen.  We had some great talks during this learn to drive time.  There were also tense driving moments and times with silent rides, so really listen when that boy does begin to chat with you.

*One friend told me to not despair because they come back around at 18, so be patient with the years leading up to that, because even if they act disinterested in you, they still really love and need Mom.  It just may not be cool to show that.

*Another gal pal told me to remember to praise him, but hubs reminded me to do it in a relaxed manner, without making my compliments a big deal.  Teen boys really do want and appreciate your admiration of the things that they do right, but they also want independence from you to try new things that you may have done for them before like making a grilled cheese sandwich or washing their own hockey gear in our case.

And here are two tips from me that I have recently learned.  First, remember that it is OK to be human.  Once when teaching my son to drive, I let a not so nice word slip right out of my mouth….and I was yelling it quite loud!  My son was shocked, and although I don’t recommend this way of doing things, it did get his attention and he decided to heed my last second driving advice.  But, I did apologize to him and I told him that I made a bad choice losing my temper in such a way.  I could tell that he appreciated my humility and that I was setting an example to be accountable when in error.

And my last Mama teenage son bonding advice is let him drive the bus sometimes.  Recently I invited him to accompany us after several of his hockey games during a 3-day tournament to a post game meal.  Each time he declined our invitation to instead meet up with his buddies, so we sent him off with our blessing and a curfew.  At the end of the last game, he finally accepted my invitation to meet me for a breakfast out.  This time, I asked him where we should go and he was pleased to pick the restaurant and proud to give me the directions.

It was a great meal that served up fattening, teen loving fare.  The first few minutes of our meal was spent in silence looking over the menu, so I asked him what to order and about his prior experience at this eatery.  That started a fun conversation and we had a good time…worth every calorie!  As we went our separate ways, I thanked him for a fun time out meeting up with his Mom.  It strikes me that it all comes back to the advice listed above….food, listening and not making a big deal out of him meeting me for breakfast.  I also chose to not mind one bit that he chose me because his buds were unavailable.  Instead I decided to cherish this time with my ever changing little boy who will continue to grow…and, before I know it….go (hard swallow and tears in my eyes as I type).

Until then, make the most of that time with your unique and pretty darn special teenage guy.  Teen years can really be fun and the advice from my hubs and gal pals make great sense and work pretty well, too.

Priority:  Time and talks with my teen.



My First Really Dumb Move in the New Year!

Manic:  Forgetting that my son’s new car was parked behind hub’s truck!  Can you guess what I’m about to tell you?!  Also manic, and in my defense, is the way our garage is configured, on the side of the house.  So when I back out, I have to carefully manuver around my husband’s large truck and then straighten out and proceed to back into the street and be on my way.  Have you figured out, that on New Year’s Day, I did so, but forgot that my son’s dark new car was directly behind hub’s truck?!  Yep, that is what I did…ugh!  I sure hated telling my son and my husband that I just backed into my boy’s car!  But I did and it happened, much to my dismay.

Managed:  Accepting that it happened because I’m not used to my son’s car being there and that I’m human and I make mistakes.  I also looked to this to see what lessons I learned from my unfortunate error.  And I did learn a few.

So first of all, to answer the question that you are probably asking, how much damage did I do….not much to my son’s car, but my bumper took some damage, as you can see.

His car...

His car…

...my car

…my car

So with this little collision, I did some soul searching because I would have bet money in Vegas that I would have never backed into my son’s shiny new car!  I wasn’t in a hurry and I hadn’t had one drop of New Years Day wine.  I simply was doing my usual thing of very carefully backing up and around hub’s tuck and once I “thought” that I was all clear, I started to step on it and then I felt a crunch.  At first, I questioned what the heck was in the driveway and then I remembered my son’s car!  My stomach felt sick and I sure hated going inside to tell them about it.  Here are my lessons learned…

*They were so nice and understanding and they knew just how bad I felt.  This lesson is to remind myself that I am human and to be that much more understanding in the future when one of them has to come and tell me about a mistake that they have made.

*My son did ask me how this happened since my car has both a back-up camera and sensors.  Good question!  So I thought that one through.  My sensors always beep right when I’m edging around my husband’s back bumper so I thought it was the usual beeping.  Sure wish I would have realized that it wasn’t!  One thing my hubs tells me that he doesn’t like about back-up cameras is that it results in us not looking over our shoulders as much.  This proved to be true on this dark night and I sure wish I would have considered that tendency when he first mentioned it to me last year.  Lesson learned here is to be careful and alert, even when you are performing a task that you do daily.

*Be grateful.  This one is tougher to learn because I was so mad at myself and I didn’t like that this happened on New Year’s Day when all is supposed to be a fresh start!  I had to choose to be grateful that no one was hurt, that cars can be fixed (although we are paying ourselves because I don’t want to increase our insurance rates) and that we can afford to have the cars fixed.

So this is my official first dumb “move” (literally!) of 2014.  I know there will be more mistakes made, but I will sure try to be careful every day to avoid them!  To those of you I told, thank you for making me feel better by telling me your own driveway collision stories.  I guess this is more common than I thought and this must be what keeps body work shops in business!

And to my sweet Mom who quickly responded with “I don’t know how you get your car out so perfectly every day.  Every time I visit I wonder that when I look at how your driveway and garage is constructed.”  Thanks Mom….you made me feel better!

Time to go get in my rental car to get to my next thing.  Car #1 is being fixed right now.  My sweet son insisted that we get mine fixed first.  He told me it was normal for a teenager’s car to have a scratch or two and he felt bad for me that my car (that I am SO careful with) took so much damage.  Love my kid!

Here’s to 2014 and learning from my mistakes….and hopefully not having too many to learn from.  Time will tell!



Today On My Brother’s Birthday, I Remember

January 4th is always an emotional day for me because it is my brother’s birthday.  But since he so unexpectedly passed away in 2002 at only 22 years old, I don’t get to call him, hug him or say Happy Birthday today, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t still express just how much this day means to me because it celebrates my dear brother, who I was pretty close with through the years. shane winter

So many friends sent cards and shared kind words that really helped during that raw, painful and tragic time when our family lost our Shaney.  I remember that one friend said to me that I had always talked about my little brother and that I shouldn’t have to stop talking about him because of his passing.  So today, I honor and talk about my beloved brother, Shane.  He was such a cutie and we had a special bond indeed.

I remember even helping my Mom time her contractions upon his arrival because I was 12 years older.

Me holding my baby brother in 1981.

Me holding my baby brother in 1981.

And when he came home from the hospital, I had a sweet newborn to cuddle, along with my brother, Nathan who was a cutie pie toddler, to play with as well.  I was one tween who adored having two little brothers at home to play with after school.

Years later when I got my awesome Southwest Airlines marketing job, I would fly those now teenaged brothers to Phoenix to attend Suns games, hike, have fun and hang out.  Such great memories and little did I know at the time, just how much those free flights were an incredible gift to my heart.  Memories from those frequent visits now fill my heart where it often feels empty when I wake in the morning and quickly remember that my brother has left us.  Even this many years later, I still wake and remember this shocking fact on a regular basis.  I bet those of you who have lost a close family member can relate to this.

Then my brothers became young men and I became a mother.  Again, we would fly 2,000 miles to celebrate their roles as proud uncles and my son would thoroughly enjoy playing with his high energy and fun uncles.

At one point, I broke my ankle and my Shane flew here and stayed close to a month to drive me to and from my Channel 3  job and to help hubs and I care for our toddler son while I hobbled around on crutches, once even dealing with healing from a root canal, too.

Me, my helpful brother to the rescue and that broken ankle, that I didn't know at the time, would be a gift since it resulted in a month-long Shane visit to help me get around!

Me, my helpful brother to the rescue and that broken ankle, that I didn’t know at the time, would be a gift since it resulted in a month-long Shane visit to help me get around!

My sweet Shane came to the rescue and helped out quite a bit!

Once my baby girl came, my awesome brother flew out to meet her and to help me once again, as hubs was on a business trip and I came down with a very bad case of Mastitis that had me down similar to what the full blown flu does to your body.  Although I was ill with 103 fever and quite miserable, I took great joy in my moments with my little bro, both conversing with him and watching him adore his little nephew and niece. shane with my babes

That was to be our last visit as an accident took him from us 9 months later.  And now 12 years later, on this day, I want to be able to simply dial a long distance number to tell my handsome brother Happy Birthday. With that not an option, I remember to let my heart feel the loss, but to also feel the celebration of what a gift my baby brother is in my life, both as a sibling, who told me that he looked up to me, and as a friend as he became an adult years later who would share in my joys of getting to know my babies.  He absolutely loved being an uncle.

The funny thing is that my girl still talks about him even though she was only an infant when they met.  It is as if he is with her and I believe that he is.  I believe that when they leave us they take a piece of our heart with them, but they also stay with us and we can take a moment whenever we want to….to visit with them, heart to heart.

Happy Birthday to my brother, Shane.  You made my world a better place with your life and, as my friend said, I will continue to talk about you with joy and smiles as I did when you were physically here.  You are still here firmly entrenched in my heart every day of my life.

A Cool New Years Tradition: One Year Later We Emptied Our Memories Jar

Last year I told you about a cool idea that I learned about called the Good Times Jar Project from one of my friends who shared this fun tradition on her Facebook page.  Our family started this last  January 1st with an empty jar. Throughout the year we wrote the good things that happened to us on little pieces of paper. On New Year’s Day, we opened the jar and read each little paper aloud.  Here is what our jar looked like after we poured out the little notes….jar opened

It was really fun to sit as a family and do this together.

Truth be told, it didn’t go perfectly because neither my son or hubs put any memories in the jar!  I figured that the teenager skipped the exercise, but my husband claimed that he didn’t know about it.  I could have sworn that I told him to do this.  Oh well!  I wasn’t so good at this either because I ended up putting duplicate memories in more than once. That was embarrassing!  But we laughed at these hiccups and continued on each taking a turn unfolding a memory and reading it to each other as we ate our black eyed peas for good luck.

I was reminded about my Grandmother’s huge recovery from her intense surgeries and illness.  That made us all smile. Another paper celebrated Lexi’s show choir nationals win and our trip together for the cool competition.

Although my teenage boy didn’t put his big 16th birthday milestone in the jar, his little sis did and he appreciated that gesture.  Jack's new carMy family teased me for including new purchases, but hey….home improvement projects are a huge gift in my book and worth celebrating, so the garage cabinets, big exterior paint job and new hardwood floors were included in the folded papers as well. tucker on hardwood

My mother and step-father surprised us with a visit that included getting to spend Easter with them, so we all loved remembering that weekend, too.  mom's visit 2013A flight to Phoenix hadn’t been on their 2013 agenda, but it worked out that way and we loved it and enjoyed reflecting on their visit.

In fact, 2013 was a year that all the sets of grandparents got to come and stay with us….and that doesn’t always happen since there are a lot of miles between our homes.

My girl with her Grandpa Dennis, my Dad :)

Lexi with her Grandpa Dennis, my Dad :)

That was great to remember and celebrate.

We were also reminded of the month that we fostered Oliver the cat, who is now in a happy and loving home. ollie me

Oliver the fab foster cat....one of the most loving kitties our family had ever met!

Oliver the fab foster cat….one of the most loving kitties our family had ever met!

Fostering a cat was definitely a surprise we hadn’t anticipated in 2013.

One memory that I forgot to put in the jar just happened a few weeks ago when my family gave me an afternoon posing for pictures in our neighborhood.  blk wht

We unfolded a paper that celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.  Another reminder of how time flies and now it will be 21 years this month on the 16th.

So even though the notes were from me and my girl, both of our guys agreed that this was a cool tradition and promised to participate next year.  I will let you know next January if they saw that promise through.

I look forward to continuing this tradition because with all of the unexpected bumps in the road of life, it is truly a blessing to get to spend time reflecting with my family on the memories of the good times.

The jar sits empty tonight and I look forward to our next happy memory to place in the 2014 jar.  I don’t know what that will be or when it will happen, but I look forward to it just the same. empty jarEvery time I glance at that empty jar, I am reminded to be thankful and to take the good times with the challenging ones as we take on 2014.  Especially as it begins to fill up with new little papers….that hopefully are some that are deposited by the men in this family, too!  I think they might actually do it this year because it was pretty cool and we all enjoyed opening it up one year later.


Look Back To Move Forward With Good New Year’s Resolutions

Manic:  Feeling pressure to make a solid New Years Resolution and one that I will actually see through.

Managed:  Taking a look back at 2013 to first reflect and then to resolute.  Here is what I came up and I think many of you can relate….

1.  Continue to let my favorite mantra ever guide me — when your priorities are in order, things falls into place.  

Priority:  Time and talks with my teen.

Priority: Time and talks with my teen.



Priority -- Listening and talking with my tween.

Priority — Listening and talking with my tween.












2.  With my girl’s unfortunate two encounters, seven months apart, with two nasty viruses, I must reflect and question what I can do better to beef up her immune system.  So I resolve to cook more whole foods and to make sure that she isn’t overdoing it (no easy feat with her energy, drive and goal-setting that she places squarely on herself with no help from us)!

More fruits and veggies need to go on my 2014 table!

More fruits and veggies need to go on my 2014 table!

3.  On a positive note, I am thrilled with the year we had with our kids’ behaviors (most of the time) and their scholastic performance, so continue to keep the communications line open and encourage them with the delicate balance of guidance and the space to let them continue to spread their wings, step by step.

lexi report card

Proud of my girl’s report card, especially the nice comments from the teachers. I am reminded to encourage her to do her best and not let her stress about the one B, but to celebrate her hard work and dedication.

4.  We overspent on meals out due to our crazy schedules.  My goal is to cook more and eat out way less and with my son now driving, that frees me up to make more food.  So if you all have good family recipes that I can try and share on this blog, email them my way at [email protected]

5.  I found a gym that I loved this year!  Woo hoo to that because I don’t love working out, but now that I’m nearing the big 50 in a couple of years, it is important for me to be as healthy as I can, especially since our kids are growing and going so fast.  I want to keep up with them and really enjoy these last few years having them home with us.   So I resolve to work out at least three times a week.

More planks, less sugar!

More planks, less sugar!

6.  Continue to take a moment each day to be centered and grateful.  look at momReminding myself to do this has really helped to calm my high energy type A tendencies.

7.  Pace myself and let it be OK that it all doesn’t get done today.  This is a big one for me because I find it hard to leave things unfinished and to commit to jobs, etc to others….but then I find myself rundown and overwhelmed, so I’m gonna continue to work on this.

So as I reflect on my list, the key words that come to mind are priorities, parenting, pacing, cooking, exercising and gratitude.  And with that I must tell you how grateful I am to all of you for following this blog.  Thank you!

What are your New Years resolutions?  Did you reflect on the year as I did or start with fresh and innovative goals?

Cheers to you and to your New Year’s Resolutions!


Our Frustrating Week & A Health Tip To Know About!

Manic:  The week before Christmas all by itself is manic enough…and then your kid gets sick and it is manic with a capital M!

Managed:  Literally had to come to a screeching halt and prioritize, which meant everything got canceled (even any blog posts that I would have usually done this week) until we could figure out her illness and get her on the road to recovery.

Our sweet Tucker cat always stays with the ill family member.

Our sweet Tucker cat always stays with the ill family member.

Be sure to read on because there is a somewhat unsettling health tip in here you need to know about…

A week ago yesterday, my girl tried to fake that all was well as we got ready for school, but I knew better by her pale face and low energy.  I finally got her to admit to me that she wasn’t feeling so well.  With that I discovered that she had a low grade fever, so I made her stay home from school and she wasn’t thrilled about that at all.  By the next day, her fever was gone, but she still wasn’t right to me, so I ran her up to Urgent Care.  We were told that she has the common cold, so we resumed some of our normal activities on Sunday.  That included cashing in on my Christmas gift…I asked for family portraits for my present this year.
1213_103  It is crazy because you can see in the photo that she looks pretty good, but by Sunday night, she had 101 fever again.

So on Monday I took her to her doctor who told me that it was either Strep Throat or Hand, Foot and Mouth virus, as those two illnesses had been pretty popular (or should I say unpopular) in her office that last week. She tested her for Strep twice and sent it off to the lab and it all came back negative.  We left all thinking that she had Hand, Foot and Mouth virus and resigned ourselves to the fact that only rest and more missed school days would cure that.

Two days later after battling 103 fever, her doctor wanted her back in the office as now she was worried that Lexi may be fighting another type of virus like Mono.  Thank goodness she decided to run yet another Strep test because this time it came back positive and the Mono test was negative.  I never imagined that I would cheer for a Strep diagnosis, but I sure did.

After only a day and a half on the antibiotic, she is herself again and is able to return to school for one last school day before the holiday break!

Holding up gifts dropped off from a sweet friend.  What a difference three doses of antibiotics makes!

Holding up gifts dropped off from a sweet friend. What a difference three doses of antibiotics makes!

So my advice to all of you, if a Strep test comes back negative, but you or your child is getting sicker and sicker, demand another Strep test, especially if your throat is painful. Urgent Care told us a cold, but she never sneezed or coughed once.  Her doctor thought Hand, Foot and Mouth virus since the Strep was negative at first, but she never developed the full on mouth sores or the body rash (thank goodness).  I was so glad that her doctor decided to test for Strep again.

With cold and flu season, you just never know.  So be well, eat well, get your sleep, wash hands and if you aren’t getting better, go back to the doctor and do repeat tests.  Never feel silly asking for that!

And now I’m saying a little prayer that I don’t get it since I have been caring for her all week.  I have taken my probiotics, extra Vitamin C and my Boiron Oscillo.  So I choose to think positive, but if I do end up feeling bad, I will demand several Strep tests if one comes up negative.  My poor girl!  Crazy how we either got false negatives or the bacteria took a few days to show up, especially with the amount o of pain she was in and the high fever she was sporting.  Bless her heart!


A Car & Contract For Our Teen & Cocktails For Us As We Adjust!

Manic:  Several weeks ago when our son was about to turn 16.  He begged us to take him to a parking lot several days in a row so he could practice his 3-point turns.  He was also anxious to pass his DMV test, receive his license and drive, drive and drive.  I was excited and terrified for him all in one.

Managed:  Took a deep breath, had him practice up a storm, complete his driving courses and took him to the DMV on his 16th birthday.  Much to his delight, he passed the road test with a perfect 100% score.  passed!And even more exciting was the big surprise that we had in store for him…a new car!  The surprise was amazing and I will never forget that day, but the most important thing I want to tell you about is the contract that my husband drew up for our boy to sign before keys to the new car would be released.  And I will get to the cocktails (for us) part of the story in a bit.  But first, the almighty contract, which I highly suggest for you to create when your precious child takes that big step and becomes a licensed driver!

The Contract:16 contract

When my husband brought this home, it really got our boy’s attention.  He was shocked that his Dad had taken the time to draw up a thorough, dated and very specific contract that would outline an agreement between him, our newly licensed 16-year-old driver, and us, his anxious parents.

He immediately understood that we are trusting him to drive off and to be safe, smart and responsible.  He also understood just how much of a huge responsibilty we have decided to entrust him with as he read each provision.  He also had to read the document aloud to us so that we knew that he had considered every word.  The contract spells out rules that you would expect like absolutely no texting (or operating any electronic device) ever when driving a car.  We also covered no driving ever if drinking has occurred.  Our son is a straight A student who plays AAA/AA travel hockey and high school golf, so he stays away from alchol and drugs as he is very vested in his activities and doesn’t want to compromise the teams that he has worked so hard to be a part of….so although we know that he doesn’t do those things, it can’t be ignored that he may be tempted as he grows and becomes a college student.  I also liked that my husband added that he will take care of his car and keep it maintained, that he will obey all traffic laws and not drive recklessy or be influenced by others in his car by goofing off behind the wheel.  My favorite is the very last rule that says “So that I am always aware of what I have pledged, I will always keep a copy of this pledge with me in my car”….bravo honey!

I truly think that if our son ever considers breaking a pledge (he is human and he is a teenager), I do believe that he will remember this contract and think twice.  I hope that this piece of paper and the memory of sitting down with the two people who love him more than anything in the world will help him to make the right choices, especially now that he is behind the wheel.  This is taking some getting used to for me!

The Car:Jack's first car!

Now for the fun part of this post!  Six years ago, my boy’s Dad made a deal with him that if he always made straight As in his classes (honors included) and stayed out of trouble, then when he turned 16, he would get some wheels.  Those wheels were supposed to be his Dad’s old truck.  We made the decision to instead surprise him with a new Nissan Xterra. After meeting with our auto broker, Tom Himes with Himes Leasing & Sales, it was decided that the Xterra is a good choice due to the safety record of the model and the fact that it retains its value if well cared for and will run for years.

So we drove to Tom Hime’s office and told our boy that we were picking up his Dad’s new car, when actually it was his new Nissan that was waiting on the lot for our boy.  He was absolutely shocked when we told him the surprise and you can see his surprise and delight in the pictures.  jack shocked [Read more...]

A Crucial Contact Sports Safety Tip

Manic:  Me through the years watching my boy play hockey since the 2nd grade.  At times, I definitely worried about injuries and especially with the many missing teeth hockey jokes I heard.

hockey (1)

This was several years ago when we got to compete in Nationals. We came home with a medal, but with a broken wrist, too!

Managed:  Fortunately, so far my boy’s injuries have been minor with one broken wrist and one broken ankle that both healed beautifully.  We always made sure that he had the best helmet available and wore his mouth gard, so that his face and head have been protected.  

So when local dentist John Dougherty D.D.S., MAGD offered to share his tips about protecting a kid’s smile and mouth during contact sports, I thought this was a great idea and he has some good information that all parents of kids who play contact sports should know about, so read on about the importance and care of mouth guards.


Dr. Dougherty says:

 Guard their grins: How to keep your child’s smile safe in contact sports

You’ve spent a lot of time and money taking care of your child’s teeth, but nothing wipes the smile off a young athlete’s face, or yours, faster than an accident on the field, court or ice.  Sport accidents can leave kids with broken teeth, fractured jaws and lacerated tongues, sometimes adding up to thousands of dollars in damage.

Safe practices:

The good news is that as your kids gear up for a new sport season a mouth guard can help keep them safe and smiling. In fact, according to the American Dental Association, an athlete is 60 times less likely to sustain a tooth injury when wearing a mouth guard!  This is a significant statistic for sure. [Read more...]

Scary Parenting Lessons I Learned with Food Allergy Scare

Yesterday, I learned three valuable parenting lessons from a very scary situation that put us in the ER last night.  Those lessons are:

1.  Listen to my inner voice

2.  Listen to my kid

3.  Slow down

My daughter is very allergic to cashew nuts.  We first learned this when she tried a few at 3 years old and ended up sporting swollen lips and wearing head to toe hives.

The next episode didn’t happen until 7 years later and I had hoped that she had outgrown this pesky allergy. After repeatedly telling friends who had her in their care about her cashew allergy and then sending them off with an emergency bag that contained an Epi Pen and Benedryl, she was exposed to cashews while in my care.  We tasted a cupcake at a local restaurant.  A cupcake that I assumed that she had enjoyed before at the same place.  I failed to ask what was in the cupcake and within minutes we were rushing to Urgent Care to receive treatment.  Sure enough, the cupcake contained pureed cashews in the frosting.  I thought that I had learned my lesson.

Almost a year to the day later, it happened again yesterday and again, under my care.  This time the situation was a little different.  I had ordered a pizza for myself at a local cafe that makes amazing and very healthy fare. My girl was not with me.  I did read the ingredients before ordering because I was curious about what would be on this healthy pizza. I thoroughly enjoyed half of the personal sized pizza, placed the rest in a to go container and rushed off to get my girl from school.

She entered the car quite hungry and admitted to me that she had skipped lunch because she hadn’t felt hungry at that time.  My motherly instinct was to feed this kid fast and when she smelled the yummy leftover pizza, I was thrilled that she wanted to try something healthy, so I offered her a few bites.  I will never ever forget her next question.  She asked me if the food was safe for her to eat.  Why I ignored that little inner voice that told me that I hadn’t asked to be sure, I will never know.  I told her it was pizza, so of course it didn’t have cashews in it and that I had read the ingredients at the eatery, but I had not asked to double check!!  Well, darn me darn me….she ate a few bites and within minutes, she fearfully told me that she didn’t feel right.

At first, I didn’t feel a sense of urgency as I thought maybe it was the spice or the onions that were making her lips feel weird.  She didn’t have hives and she didn’t look like she was in distress, but she told me that I had to listen to her because she was listening to her body and it wasn’t right.  She was also starting to cry and that broke my heart.  Thank goodness I then decided to listen to my kid and follow her instincts to get her to the ER.  I gave her Benedryl, pulled out our Epi Pen and off we went.

When an emergency room thinks that a food allergy is suspected, they don’t mess around and they take you right in.  The doctor confirmed that her lips and tongue were swelling and immediately pierced her leg with the Epi Pen and started an IV with saline, followed by more Benedryl and then steroids.  treatmentAs this was all happening, I reached the restaurant by phone and confirmed that cashews were indeed an ingredient in the pesto pizza sauce.  I tearfully told the doctor that I had once again exposed my own child to her enemy food and her response was first and foremost that my girl would be OK, that she was out of the woods and that I did the absolute correct thing by listening to her and bringing her right in.  She also told me to go easy on myself and just to be super diligent from now on about checking labels, asking questions and think twice about frosting and sauces. [Read more...]

AZ Local: Got a Teen? I Highly Recommend This Driving School!

Manic:  My mind as I realize that in 2 1/2 weeks my first born will get his driver’s license and drive off, without me next to him, for the first time.  Yey and yikes all in one!

Managed:  Enrolling him in a local top notch driving school has improved his driving skills and lowered my stress level. Many of you have asked me to share the driving school information, so read on to find out how to enroll and how it works. Yesterday our boy earned this Behind the Wheel Certificate of Graduation certificate that I have pictured, along with his driving report cards…. drivingWe are very happy to receive this completion certificate, not only as peace of mind that a professional driving teacher agrees that our boy is ready to drive by himself, but this nice piece of paper will also give us an insurance discount (as will his straight A report card), so we are celebrating that bonus.

The Institute for Drivers Safety is a terrific organization that I highly recommend.  The instructors are all trained police officers and all have had car control, collision avoidance, and accident scene reporting training at the police academy.

From start to finish, the process was easy and very beneficial.  To enroll your child (make sure they have their state issued drivers permit first), simply call 480-921-8834 or visit The Institute for Drivers Safety to schedule a drive.  You can also purchase a package of three drives and classroom instruction.  Call for different pricing information.  I paid $175 for his first driving lesson that we did back in May (right after he got his permit and before I let him drive me on any freeways) and we just paid $175 again for his last lesson that took place yesterday.

For that price, you get a qualified instructor who comes to your home (or even to your child’s high school) to pick them up. They leave in an instructional car that has a brake pedal on the instructor’s side (a perk that we parents don’t get when we are doing the teaching).  Your kid does the driving the entire three hours.  I especially like that the teacher had our son drive him through the airport, down different freeways, one way streets in downtown Phoenix and they did some parallel parking practice, too.

When they return, we parents are given a report card, which is pictured above.  It is quite thorough and it really gives the teenager some areas of improvement to consider.  I don’t know about your kid, but when a teacher or coach reinforces a lesson, sometimes it means more than if we say it to our child.  It packs a positive punch into their selective memory bank.  It does take a village and I like the support!

When our son returned home yesterday (and it was nice that the Institute for Drivers Safety was available on a Sunday morning from 7:30am to 10:30am), the instructor told us, and him, that he graded strictly because that is what the DMV instructor will do when the big day arrives.  With that, he told us that he believes that our teen is ready to take the road on his own (that is reassuring to us), but he shared with us that several areas need improvement.  More attention needs to be paid to always using his turn signals and he actually didn’t come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Really?!  And with the driver instructor with him?!  That is why they are called teenagers and not young adults!  The teacher also told us that our kiddo handles the car well and has good driving skills.  So with that, we’ve got two weeks left to hone his skills with us in attendance in the vehicle.

After that, we give him our blessing, say our prayers and let him loose behind the wheel, with rules of course.  Please son, do not text and drive!  He will have a curfew to follow and he will check in with us on arrival and before departures.  We will follow the law and limit his passenger load.  If he abuses his newfound privilege, he will be riding the schoolbus, we told him.  He didn’t like that idea!  So as we enter yet another parenting chapter, that is both thrilling and terrifying, I can tell you that hiring The Institute for Drivers Safety was worth the money and peace of mind that we have done all that we can to prepare our teen boy to take the wheel.at_the_wheel

But first, he has to endure 2 1/2 more weeks of his annoying parents back seat driving. Here we go!