This Quote Reached Right Into My Chest & Touched My Heart

My Freebie Fridays will return in two weeks.  I am taking today off to instead share this…

perfect quote

Seriously.  This popped up on my Facebook feed and it COULD NOT be more fitting!  It brought me to immediate tears and pals, I tell you and I promise you that I haven’t cried this summer at all.  But last night I did and today when I saw this…well, I went ahead and let my happy tears flow.

Like the salt in our tears, the taste is bittersweet.

Next Friday I will also take Freebie Friday off because I will be off with my family moving our first born into his dorm room.

To all of my gal pals doing what I am doing right now…gently and lovingly booting one out of the nest…this is for you.

Soar little birds that belong to us collective parents!  Your parents worked hard to get you to this time.

Fly.  Soar.  Embrace.  Enjoy.  Take it all in!  Be safe!  Be smart.  Know how loved you are as you fly away.

You are supported by our spirit and our hearts as you fly high to find your way.

And I love you, my fellow Mamas out there going through this.

Love you girls!  And the Dads, too.

And I love those little birdies of ours.

Dear Messy, Annoying Clutter…You May Stay a Little Longer

Wow!  My house is a serious hot mess right now.  Right off the bat by the front door, stacked boxes greet me.  messy house lrThese boxes are filled with stuff that is waiting to move into a brand new dorm room. linens box

My downstairs office is filled with unfinished projects that are lining the wall.  my stuffUpstairs, parts of my bedroom look like a moving truck will be here any minute.

These unfinished projects went unfinished this summer because I chose to delay that stuff to instead spend real quality time with my family.  It was the right choice.  We had a lot of fun and we only took one short weekend trip due to our about-to-be-college-parents budget.  But we still had a lot of fun.  We did some community volunteer work.  My son and his girlfriend adopted two kittens from the shelter where we volunteered.  We ate too many calories.  And we did a whole lot of nothing. It was great!

And upstairs, down the hall…oh my!  One room is filled with stuff that used to belong to a little girl who no longer lives here.  She has been replaced by an almost 15-year-old high school freshman.

Guilty of taking the little stuffed bear out of her declutter her room basket. Of course we are keeping the American Dolls, too...but everything else has been discarded by our teenager.

Guilty of taking the little stuffed bear out of her declutter her room basket. Of course we are keeping the American Girl Dolls, too…but everything else has been discarded by our teenager in her room transformation.

She no longer resembles anything looking like a little girl.  Neither does her new stuff.  It looks a lot different from her old stuff that wasn’t so old last year.  This old stuff that I delighted in buying for a bouncy little excited girl a few years back.

That pretty full length princess mirror that collected funny stickers as she progressed into the middle school years. old mirrorA small sized vanity that is white with yellow wallpaper lined drawers.  I remember how excited we were to find this at Ikea. dresser girlsAmerican Girl dolls.  Crayons.  Little kid books that we read together.  Size small girls tees.  Little flip flops.

The things that belonged to my little girl who was little just a few short years ago.  Just material items, but now that annoying pile of clutter has become snapshot pictures of what was with new stuff of what is now.

Over the summer, she quietly moved those old items into the spare room, asked us to paint white over her blue and pink walls and selected a bed from Urban Outfitters that looks like it belongs in a young adult’s apartment.  new room bedHer room is so different now reflecting her different self.  No more little girl desk or stuffed animals. new desk lexNo more princess mirror either.  The self that is gracefully growing into a young mirror

But first high school.  So her new room is sort of a go between of a high schooler and a college student.

The room next to hers does indeed resemble a college student’s area and is the biggest mess of all.  jack room clutterThis former little boy’s room now houses a young adult who was, just a year ago, a high school kid.  Now he is almost 19!  Hard for me to believe, truly!

His room is filled with boxes, a new TV waiting to be unpacked into a dorm room that is anticipating his arrival next week. Slowly but surly his hockey stuff is coming off the walls.  The clothing that at times I confused with my husband’s wardrobe pieces are going into boxes.  I have washed the new sheets, comforter, blanket, towels, pillow and more and it all waits by the door, in his room, in the hall…all over this extremely messy home as the countdown to his move out date revs up to high speed.

In our front room, two of the most adorable kittens have taken up temporary residence until my son’s sweet girlfriend is all moved into her new apartment.  Kitten sitting is such fun!  kitten sittingThey will leave soon, too.  They are college kitties so off to ASU territory they return to next week.

My husband commented over the weekend that our driveway looks like a parking lot.  I smiled at him and told him to enjoy all those cars for

I am buying twice as much food and working on cooking larger quantities every day.  This is very temporary.

The front door alarm chimes at all different times now as early as 6am and as late as 1am.

My house is an extreme mess right now.  Disorganized, cluttered, loud, busy, crazy, full of felines, teens, young adults and me and hubs.

I hate it and I love it.

I hate the mess.  I love the mess.

Soon a big part of the mess will be completely emptied and clean again.

Soon our driveway will house the same two cars that belong to myself and to my husband.  A third car will happen again in a little over a year from now when our daughter turns 16.  And when all return for holidays, I will love that our driveway will look like a parking lot!

The mess would usually drive me insane.  I would holler and plead with my kids to clean it up.

Instead I smile, walk by, stop and pause and look and reflect.

Those boxes of my boy’s childhood are headed out the door to the most exciting chapter for him!  How incredible.

So annoying boxes…you can stay for a few more days.  Clutter…I welcome you as your disappearance marks a new huge stage for all of us.

Stay a little longer little girl mirror and sweet white vanity because when you depart, the stuff that reflect my daughter’s little girlhood goes away.  No more reminders of the smaller chair that fit her perfectly or the hours that she contently played house with her dolls.

Oh clutter and mess, how I despised you before.  You were such a bother and now you are traces of their childhood that will soon disappear.

I may sound wistful and sad in this post but the funny thing is that I am not.

And…I am.

I am not as sad as one may think.  Because it is time for these transitions to occur.  I am ready.  They are ready.  We are all excited.

But I do still have a small daily lump in my throat.

But that clutter!  That mess!  The fact that it doesn’t bother me.  Because I know.  I know what comes next.

Next week.

What a strange time.

What a funny thing that the extremely messy home before was such a bother and gave me a headache for so many years.  But now it is different.

So stay a little longer, piles of mess.  Clutter that gets in my way, you are OK right there for now.  You are fine to stay, boxes by the front door.  For once I welcome your presence and although I never thought I would say this…I will miss you, dear clutter.  Huge annoying mess.  Oh it will be nice when you are cleared out.

But for now go ahead and stay for just a few more loud, messy and fulfilling days. life sign


From Both a Veteran AND a Rookie: Welcome to the Club, High School Parents!

Welcome parents of high schoolers to the club!  Strap in because you are in for quite the exciting ride! Class of 2020 lexHaving just graduated out of the club with my son’s graduation in May, I am back in the club with my daughter starting her freshmen year today.

Yes, for my out-of-state readers, silly Arizona starts them back today!  An August 1st start date that I am not thrilled about, but it is what it is.  So we put on our sunscreen and headed back early this AM across this part of Phoenix today.

So just like that, I am back in the club.  The term is four years and parents of freshman, I am not exaggerating the least bit when I tell you that these next four years fly by faster than anything you can imagine.  I am not lying.  You will be shocked.

My son started freshman year four years ago and just like that, I was going from snapping pictures of his first day to snapping photos of him sporting a cap and gown.

1st day of high school this!

All my pals told me that high school would go by the fastest.  I didn’t believe them because middle school is a shorter term.  But they were right.  I think I figured out why it goes by so dang fast!

It is the M word.

Not the mom word.

Not the money word (and yes expenses increase in the teen years quite a bit).

Not the me word because it will be all about me (as in them) these next four years.  They will think and act like that a lot. Not always, as they have their sweet moments.  But these next four years will be all about them.

And it is not the moments word either.  Although lots of moments will fill you with joy, with tears, with anger and with pride.  It comes with the teenage high school territory.

The M word is milestones.  Milestones.

There are SO many milestones during high school.  It will make YOUR head spin.  It will also spin your budget a bit, too.  It will be exciting, thrilling, scary and bittersweet.  And I am talking about how it will be for you.

Now multiply that by 100 for your high schooler!

The milestones just keep coming faster and faster.

First day of high school

Driver’s permit (strap in for this one)

Driver’s license (you will love this stage AND you will fear it)

First danceHomecoming Jack


First job



College Tours

College apps

The waiting game as you all wait for the college acceptance/rejection letters

Cap and Gown picscap and gown pic proofs

Senior year.  When you think it will be all about your kid…but wait until you see the emotional roller coaster YOU will ride!

And finally the big finish – graduation!

And then where I have landed…about to move one into the dorm in 12 days!

And at the same time I just dropped one off to start high school this morning.

If I have overwhelmed you, forgive me.  And do this instead.  Here are my top tips for productive, bearable and even enjoyable membership into your new club…

  1.  Take it all in because it will go that fast.  They won’t always want you to take a picture, but do it anyway.
  2.  Be there but also back off.  Teens need their space.  It is normal.
  3.  But do be nosy!  Check their social media regularly.  Know their friends.  Meet the parents.
  4.  Ask open ended questions.  Instead of how did your day go….ask tell me about Spanish class.  What friends did you see today rather than did you see pals today.
  5. During high school they stop looking AT you at their games, performances, when they are with friends, etc….but they do look FOR you.  Be there, be present while at the same time giving them the space they need as they naturally become more independent gradually.  They need to become more independent to do things like drive a car, get a job, be motivated to take college exams and apply to college.
  6.  But do still set limits.  Curfews, rules and respect still apply.  Now more than ever, too.  It is a strange time with rules balanced with stages of letting go.
  7. At times, high schoolers are like overgrown toddlers who want the limits to feel safe, even if they don’t think or realize that they do.
  8. Talk about curfews, drinking, drugs, sex and the importance of saying no to stay safe, respected and to be in control.
  9. And a new one for our kids that we didn’t have…remind them that everyone has a camera!  I remember when my son made the golf team.  He was so excited so we told him that when he attended a party and was offered a beer to of course, decline.  But even if he handed it back without taking one sip, someone can still snap a picture, post it on social media for all to see…including the golf coaches.  So tell your high schooler to beware.  Be cautious.  Be smart.  Not an easy thing for a teenager to do and to think of on a daily basis!
  10. It is up to you to remind them.  To have the conversations.  They may roll their eyes and tell you that you are nagging.  But I will tell you a secret.  They will thank you later.  It happened to me and it happened to my friend with a girl now getting ready to start college.  Our kids thanked us a few years later for providing the limits needed at the time.

So DO have these conversations.

Listen.  Listen to your high schooler when they want to chat.  Put your phone down and really listen.

Tell them that no matter what, no matter what time of day or night, you are always available to them.

Be tender.  And show tough love when needed.

Watch your budget.  Man, teenagers are expensive.  They can help, too with a part-time job.

And be sensitive to the fact that high school is tough.  In every way.  Academically, too.  I know that our country doesn’t rank the highest in academics, but my son had his fair share of homework, detailed big projects, thorough oral presentations to give and some tough midterms and finals along the way.

The two toughest years we found to be were junior year (academically) and freshman year.

Freshman year.  Tough in every way.

So hang in there, Moms and Dads of freshman.  Of high schoolers.  Of your soon to be young adults. Trust me, that happens fast!

Take it all in.  Enjoy!  It is so exciting!

Shopping for that homecoming dance dress or the prom tux. Gritting your teeth when they are behind the wheel heeding your driving/teaching lessons.  Feeling their apprehension, fear, pride, disappointment and excitement when they smile for the driver license picture, open the SAT scores letter, go on that first date.

Man, these four years are really super fun!  Just hang on, hang in there, hang out with them and hang back when they need you to.

Welcome to the club.  Your term is four years and for the most part, you are going to love it!

Your kid will, too!  But like I said, for the most part.  There will be tough times.  Walk with them.

Take it day by day and remember, with kids the days are long and the years are short.  And wait until you see just how short the four years of high school are!

Welcome to the club.  One of the most exciting clubs you will ever experience!  I am a veteran and a newcomer since this time around I have a girl starting high school.

My girl's turn. First day of high school!

My girl’s turn. First day of high school!

And parents of girls….feel free to leave your best advice in the comments section as I also strap in, take it all in and dive in to my last four years in this crazy club!

My Surprise College Care Package For Mom!

With my firstborn counting down to his big dorm move-in day that happens just three short weeks from now, my mind has been filled with visions of fun care packages to send to him and to his roommate.

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

From this… this!

…to this!

Fun stuff, yummies, helpful items and simple things to make him smile and think of us as he embarks on his big new journey called college life!  So imagine my surprise when two of my beloved gal pals surprised me with a care package for the mom of this college bound kid.  For yours truly.  For me!  Really?!  Why and how cool is that?!  gal pal college mom care kitWell it is because they have been down this sending-your-kid-off-to-college road before.  Just last year in fact they said their goodbyes, which they tell me, will be both joyful and tearful.  So as awesome women do so often, they look out for each other, embrace and even help to prepare that gal pal for what is to come.  I am so thankful for my girls!  These two cuties, Melissa and Amy, showered me with a few things that made me smile, laugh and touched my heart. My heart, they tell me, is about to go through a bit of a transition come August 12th, my son’s move out of our home day.  So if you have a pal who is soon sending her kid off to college, check out what my pretty pals gave me because it is a wonderful idea to share!  Love these items…

  1.  ASU flip flops!  asu flip flopsLove love these and this gift not only made me smile and got my feet in the spirit…and I also felt youthful with some college swag of my own.  This is part of my life and part of my experience as a mom, too. Mostly about my kid (rightly so) but a little fun and spirit for me, too.
  2. Bubble Bath! bubble bath

And the note my pals put on this cute bubble blowing with wand bath wash says, “For washing away your tears” and oh do I love that sentiment.  Because I do happen to take baths to escape my stress and the delicate balance of washing away and owning the tears is part of the motherhood journey that takes us by surprise at times. Love this, will use this and will enjoy this!

3.  Kleenix of course!

4.  Stationary 

5.  Tupperware other sweet items

6.  WINE!  Ha!  Can’t forget the wine and their perfect note, “Because wine”….yes please!  Right on!

Their notes are so clever!  Kleenix “for dorm move-in day” of course! On the letterhead, “For the letters you’ll send” and yes I will send a few.  I hear that the kids really do read them and like them even if it seems they are off to the college life with little thought of the parents.  And last but not least, good ol tupperware with the sign, “For the care packages he’ll expect”…love it!  Will do!

But boy, I didn’t expect a care package for Mom.  For me.  How nice.  So nice!  So appreciated!  So loved! So a part of this next stage that really touched me and embraced my heart!

Thanks ladies!  Thanks pals!

If your good friend is about to send one off to college and you want to show your support, do this!  She will be shocked and will love it.

Oh and my favorite part?!  What the ladies wrote in my card.  Two of my favorite excerpts…card to me“….mostly, happy tears!  “You will make it through with a smile, because that is just what you do! But when you feel the bitter part of this bittersweet time, know that we are with you and understand.”

XO Amy

“…hang in there, Mama as this is what you all have been working towards for 18 years” (then she drew a heart which I can’t type in here)

XOXO Melissa

Exactly girls.  That is exactly right!  From these moms’ heart to mine to all of you out there getting ready for this milestone!  We send you our hearts and maybe you will get a little care package, too.


Teens, Text Neck & Movement Restoration to the Rescue!

Manic:  My daughter, her pals (AND myself included) and the amount of time we all spend texting! Because this full time texting is a relatively new phenomenon, I believe that we are all guinea pigs with this addictive trend when it comes to the physical toll it may be placing on our bodies. earphones-friends-hand-I also believe that the condition, called text neck, is real and something to be aware of.  And I also believe that my kids’ generation are prime candidates for this text neck condition that results from the constant motion of looking down at our phones.  This in turn can cause text neck, a painful condition that affects the neck and spine.  And recently when I took my daughter to an awesome mother & daughter massage at the very impressive Movement Restoration in Scottsdale, the massage therapist told me that she could feel knots, tension and tightness in my daughter’s neck and shoulders.  My girl agreed that she has been feeling discomfort in her neck and shoulders. I believe that text neck is to blame.

Managed:  I have been discussing text neck with my girl, we have been trying to text less and we have been scheduling regular massages.  We are also stretching together.

Of these new steps we are taking to improve my girl’s text neck condition, we especially love the massage part!  Not only are we feeling better, but it is great mother and daughter bonding time.  And since she is starting high school in a few weeks, I cherish and value any time that we can spend together one on one. After the massage time, we enjoy time together and we talk.  Yep, we talk.  We converse.  We bond.

On massage days, we are especially motivated to eat clean and these juices made with kale, ginger, apple and more are perfect. Great bonding time!

On massage days, we are especially motivated to eat clean and these juices made with kale, ginger, apple and more are perfect. Great bonding time!  Massage reminds us to take care of our bodies.

We put the phones away, enter a text free zone and talk.  I highly recommend this!

Our favorite place to go for a really good, top notch, professional and truly therapeutic massage treatment, that is also gentle and custom tailored to our needs and comfort level, is Movement Restoration.  If you like a deep tissue treatment that really gets to the heart of and alleviates your pain, this place can do that, too.

Here is why we really dig Movement Restoration for our mom and daughter time, text neck treatment and massage therapy….

  1.  The place is just so cool, warm and welcoming and also small, cozy and has great energy.  I am also so impressed with the very earth friendly lobbyWe loved the relaxing scent of oils from local Queen Creek Olive Mill.  Clients are greeted with the calming aroma of the Olivespa line of oils like eucalyptus mint and peppermint lavender.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

2.  The name of this special place is right on for what I was looking for when it comes to dealing with this text neck stuff…Movement Restoration.  And restoring movement is the goal of this group…to help restore natural movement through the body through individualized massage treatments.  And boy do they accomplish that!  I am a BIG fan of massage and I strongly believe in the health benefits, so I receive regular massage treatments and I have tried a lot of places.  This was my favorite massage ever. Truly. And my daughter agreed that this place is her top pick, too.  These guys and gals know what they are doing!

3.  Pro athletes go here!  Movement Restoration has a client list that boasts NFL football players, Olympians and more.  Just check out their testimonials page to see some of the pro athletes who receive massage therapy at this wonderful place.

4.  They have a very nice couples massage room so my daughter and I can be in the same room relaxing on state of the art, super comfy side by side massage tables.  With the massage tables provided, I don’t leave with, what I call, massage face.  No imprints on my face after a massage at Movement Restoration. That is because the table and the headrest are state of the art and are designed for maximum comfort for me and optimal performance by the massage therapist.  m table

5.  The team!  The team here is a cohesive group who adore what they do, love their colleagues and their clients and are an absolute pleasure to deal with from start to finish.  Trisha
brynnCo founders, Trisha Haws and Brynn Martin work together with a team of passionate pros to provide massage treatment and educational information on how to incorporate massage, exercise and activities into a lifestyle that equates to better mobility, wellness and less stress. They provide other beneficial treatments as well for athletes and the like that include a dynamic compression device for injury healing, a cold water spa and more.

6. Small facility feel with big extensive treatment menu.  We love that this place is small with an intimate and cozy feel but at the same time the treatment menu is filled with all kinds of great options that also include cool services like a mud wrap and paraffin body wrap (on our list to try next time). Reflexology, La Stone, salt scrub/body polish are also offered as well as Swedish, deep tissue, sports and other types of massage, too.  stonesOur services were pampering, tailored to us and we didn’t get lost in a big overwhelming facility like so many other massage treatment centers.  We received special and individualized attention from start to finish.

7.  This team’s experience!  This team of pros have experience ranging from award-winning resort spas, wellness centers and chiropractic practices.  Both my daughter and I commented to each other that our therapists worked through trigger points, tension and sore areas in a pain free, relaxing and effective manner.  We left there SO relaxed!  We slept better that night and enjoyed a quality afternoon together.

If you are looking for a healthy activity with your teenager that will help with the almost impossible to avoid text neck issue, I recommend Movement Restoration.

If you are looking for a couples experience with your significant other, I also recommend this place as they tell me that they have a experience that also comes with champagne!

For the athlete and/or my pals that run, work out and are very physically active with ailments to prove it, try Movement Restoration.  I truly can not recommend this place enough!  They also offer yoga! yoga tooAs soon as I finish this article, I am booking another mom and daughter massage to get us in before she starts high school.  Life will really get busy and stressful then!

And great news!  The awesome peeps at Movement Restoration are offering a special rate on several of their services to my blog readers!  Just call Movement Restoration at 480-612-5090 or visit their website link here to book using the discount code, managedmoms to receive the introductory rate of only $49.99 for one of several fantastic services!  Choose the 60 Minute Deep Tissue/Sports Massage or the 60 Minute Reflexology service for the discounted blog rate.  Thanks Movement Restoration!

I know that I will be back soon.  I felt incredible all day long and I slept so great the day that I had my massage there.  Just phenomenal!  Truly!




A huge thank you to Movement Restoration for the opportunity to sample their services with my daughter.  Our opinion about how much we absolutely love this place, our massages and the team of experts are 100% our very own! 

A DeClutter Buster Family Plan!

Manic:  The amount of clutter we accumulate as a family during the busy school year!

Yep! Call us hoarders! That WAS one of our rooms! Granted, we were having hard wood floors installed so we had to move a bunch of stuff from room to room, but then is when I knew that we needed a declutter buster plan!

Yep! Call us hoarders! That WAS one of our rooms! Granted, we were having hard wood floors installed so we had to move a bunch of stuff from room to room, but this is when I knew that we needed a good declutter buster plan!

Managed:  Taking some time during the summer break to declutter!  It is amazing how much more relaxed we feel after doing so!  Here are our declutter buster tips for a cleaner, organized and more relaxed home.

  1.  Three box rule – when attacking a cluttered room, have three empty big boxes ready that are labeled recycle, trash and donate.  Don’t put out a box labeled “save” because that box fills up quickly and ends up becoming future clutter.  Instead put each item away as you decide that it will be saved instead of putting it in another pile.  And by doing this, you just may make your daily Fitbit steps goal faster than you think!
  2. Go right to Goodwill (or to another donation place) and to the dump that same day that you fill the boxes.  If you place them in the garage to deliver later, chances are that later never comes…or comes so much later that you have simply moved one stack of clutter from one room to another.
  3. Check out the year labeled Best Box boxes that I buy from the Container Store for all of my paperwork, tax returns, health care records, kids keepsakes and more for each year.  yr boxesFinding all of the documents needed when we refinanced our home last year was much easier than I had anticipated it would be due to the handy box labeled by year.  You can also label a box yourself but I like how these look, store and how the year is printed at every angle.  This makes the desired year I need to find easy to locate.
  4. Consider renting a storage unit to house some of the items that you want to store long term and to free up space in your home.  My own example is my professionally preserved wedding dress.  My daughter tells me that she wants the option to wear it someday.  I think that is so cool and I have told her no pressure at all and that she can cut it up and alter it or not wear it if she changes her mind.  Either way, it is great to know that it is safely stored in our air conditioned storage unit for that someday when it arrives.  And for our son, who is headed to college in August (still hard for me believe how fast that got here), we are storing a few furniture pieces that he wants after he has lived in the dorm for two years and then moves on to an apartment that needs furnishing.  Yep, that will get here so fast, too!

I recommend a nice storage unit facility like Desert Storage.  They have multiple Valley locations with a brand new shiny and clean storage unit facility that just opened in the Scottsdale Airpark area on Scottsdale Rd. and Acoma Drive.  ds unit officeThis beautiful location offers air conditioned units AND this location (and some of their other Valley locations) also boasts air conditioned drive in access so that you stay cool while loading and unloading your items.  Right about now, we love that in this state! They have a safe state of the art security system, which is important to me since I am storing my priceless and very sentimental wedding dress for my daughter.

And they have a variety of storage options for very cool items like wine (I am loving that one), vehicles and self storage along with other services such as document shredding and mailbox rentals.  All good features for a strong clutter debuster plan.

Another cool bonus is that Desert Storage offers a free and nice move-in truck, too!  truck insideAvailability does vary by location and if it works for your location, how helpful is that?!  Love it!

Month to month plans are offered giving you and your budget flexibility, which is a great added bonus. organized store unit

Desert Storage also offers high quality, reasonably priced boxes and a wide variety of packing supplies to simplify your self-storage process. In addition, they can offer packing advice and help customers select the right materials to protect property, making the move much easier.

With their 100 % Buy Back Guarantee, any unused boxes or unopened packing supplies can be returned. So there’s no worry about buying too many supplies. And there’s no worry about unnecessary trips to pick up that one last item. This makes good sense.

Learn more about Desert Storage at their website and Facebook page.

So this is the declutter buster plan that we followed and check out our front room now!  after front roomWhat a terrific after picture!  We feel so much less stress with this declutter buster plan in place and implemented!  From this to this feels amazing….

Yep! Call us hoarders! That WAS one of our rooms! Granted, we were having hard wood floors installed so we had to move a bunch of stuff from room to room, but then is when I knew that we needed a declutter buster plan!

after front room

What declutter buster tips do you have?  Share in the comments section because we love to help each other by sharing great ideas to make our manic lives a little more managed, which results in less stress and more time to relax and have fun.  Now that is a good plan!

A big thank you to Desert Storage for helping with some great declutter buster ideas with this sponsored post.  My opinion about how much I love Desert Storage is 100% my very own. 


New Age New Stage: Parenting A Young Adult

Yesterday I saw this on Facebook and I agree that no one told me this….

No-one-tells-you-that-the-hardest-part-of-motherhood-is-when-your-kids-grow-upI hadn’t heard this one before.  I am a rookie at this parenting an adult thing.  And so far it isn’t so bad, but it is starting to feel like the hardest part.  Time and time again, during this parenting journey, I am repeatedly surprised by just how much changes with each new age and new stage.  Especially this one.  When a child turns 18.  Then graduates.  proud boy gradThen tells you that he has to add you to his college profile or no access will be granted to his ol’ Mama!  SO MUCH CHANGES when they turn 18.  Like when his middle name wasn’t read at the graduation ceremony because Mom was not asked how it should be read.  The 18-year-old decides that and he didn’t realize that it would matter if he didn’t write down his middle name.  Again the mom is cut out of the loop when 18 rolls around.  A lot actually.  It is a strange new normal to get used to!

Today I encountered another first.  Another milestone.

Today my first born little boy waved and smiled at his parents as he and his lovely girlfriend pulled off to drive away on a road trip.  Without me.  Without hubs.  This is not their very first road trip, but it is the first time they are hitting the highway without a parent chaperone.

They were good sports and posed when I asked to snap a quick departure picture.

They were good sports and posed when I asked to snap a quick departure picture.

After all he will be 19 soon.  After all he has proven to be a very responsible young man.  After all we spent $1,000 to make sure that his car is travel ready with brand new tires, a thorough trip check and several repairs that could have waited but not for us.  Not for our child who is taking his very first road trip on his own.

We footed the bill for that and he will pay for any and all travel expenses that he incurs this summer.  Today’s trip is not the last one he will take before starting college later this summer.

And how cool is this?  He chose to travel 388 miles away to see his grandparents. Not to head to the beach.  Not to join friends on a big group trip.  But instead to see his beloved Grandma and Pop Pop.  b and c grad with JackWe couldn’t say no to that.  They are pretty special and spectacular grandparents and seeing them last month for graduation left our son desiring a visit to their home.  Before college starts.  No we couldn’t say no to that.  In fact, we love that.

This hard part about parenting a young adult is that it is time to say yes more.  To let go.  To trust.  To pray.  To hold your breath as you wait for the outcome to the new milestone they are venturing into for the first time without my watchful eye right over his shoulder.

My hubs may not admit that this stage is tugging at his heartstrings, too.  But I know the truth.  Because I find that I am saying yes to these adult requests quicker than he is agreeing to these milestones.  He does eventually agree to it with careful consideration.  Which is smart and I know…is also his own way of experiencing the difficulty of this new stage called parenting a young adult.  john and jack grad

Again, like at birth, no instructions manual is provided!

So as they pulled away, I smiled and I waved.  I felt excitement for them.  I remembered my own first road trips at around age 19…maybe 20.  From Austin to Dallas.  From Dallas to Houston in my little 5 speed Toyota Tercel.  Without cell phones back in 1987 or was it 88?  No cell phones back then.

So we 2016 parents get the added comfort of a cell phone.  Thankful for that.  But it is still hard.

Now, like my Mom, so many times, I find myself tearing up at his departure.  I would observe her wipe away a tear as I waved and pulled off into my future.  As I waved and tucked my little ones in their car seats as we headed to the airport.  As I waved to her as she boarded her flight back home.  As I waved to her as her now teenage grandchildren hovered over their little grandmother to say goodbye.  Every time a tear. Followed by a few more but with a forced smile to happily see off her kids and grandkids. Grandmothers and mothers don’t want to dampen their child’s excitement, their journey, their crossing into the next big stage.  So they quickly and quietly wipe away their tears and wave excitedly as their offspring take off.

So here we go.  As I learn to parent my new young adult I am once again surprised to feel unexpected at-the-drop-of-a-hat return tears that I thought were done for a while now with the end of the bittersweet graduation season.  But no.  That is not the case.  More tears.  More milestones.  More moments.

Because no one told me that the hardest part of motherhood is when your kids grow up.dsc03256_0006

And a final note to those moms sending their kids off to the military or to a college far away….wow I’ve got it easy and it is still hard.  I pay tribute to you.  From one mom’s heart to another, I honor you Mamas.



My Graduation Video Gift To My Boy

Manic:  Scrambling to put 18 years of pictures to a video slideshow format and not wanting to hire it out to save money…and to have the sentimental experience of doing it myself.

Managed:  My gal pal, Gina told me about a terrific site called Animoto that made this feat quite easy!  I was able to streamline the process, find perfect songs for each chapter that I created in the video and more.  The best part…my son loved it!  Some friends and family teared up when they watched it, too.  I was touched and my hard work of pulling so many pictures and then scanning was worth it.  Thankfully the rest the job was made easy by Animoto.

In this video, I especially loved the chapter I call “Little Sisters Aren’t So Bad” (shhh…don’t tell…this made my husband cry!) and I had fun putting the hockey years section together.  When I brainstormed a part called “Two Peas in a Pod” that featured my husband and my son in some amazing photos that capture ordinary moments that are so cherished now, I was thrilled with the outcome.

I was also able to really honor and thank our amazing family and friends who have been quite the spectacular village for our son.  I do believe it takes a village and this video enabled me to thank them, too.

And the milestones and “our wish for you” parts of this video towards the end really came together and brought out laughs and tears.

At the very end, a pretty cool surprise happens that no one saw coming!  So take a look, enjoy and try your hand at this video making magic using Animoto the next time you need to make a milestone or just a fun video.  I did it!  And make sure to go full screen when watching this and turn on the volume to see how the music matches the images.  I feel like I really accomplished something that my son will always cherish with this graduation video.

Happy Mother’s Day To My Mom Team & A Note To Those Of You Hurting Today

Happy Mother’s Day 2016!  With each hectic day that is part of the journey of motherhood, I am reminded that it does take a village!  My village is strong, beautiful, tender, fierce, fun, genuine, caring and amazing…and many other descriptive words that I don’t have room to all write out in this article.

My tireless mom team consists of my #1 fan for life, my own beautiful and giving Mother, my amazing and absolutely selfless mother-in-law and my go to awesome group of gal pal mamas who work together to help each other, oftentimes at a moment’s notice.

Before I continue with my Mom team, I want to first share that I am thinking of you out there who are Motherless on this Mother’s Day.  I am very lucky to have my team of extraordinary moms still here on earth with me and I know that those of you whose dear mothers have departed feel her spirit each and every day and the deep pain of her absence, especially today.  My heart goes out to you. broken heart teddy bear

On my mom team, there is my own amazing and most wonderful mama, Maryanne who just last week I honored on her birthday with my blog article, that she tells me, touched her deeply.  I am so glad because the words came straight from my heart and the logic from my head.  As I age and my own kids turn into grown-ups, I see my Mother’s dedication in a new light.  She has always tenderly cared for my every thought, fear, failure, victory, heartbreak and joy.  I CAN NOT thank her enough!  Mom, you are and always will be my best friend!

hockey mom grandma tees

This picture never gets old to me, even though it is indeed an old photo now. You just gotta love the hockey mom and hockey grandma tees!

A crucial member on my Mom team is my dear Mother-in-law, Betty!  I WON the lottery when I became Betty Harris’ daughter-in-law.  Back then when I was a naive 18-year-old dating her son through now at my current pushing the big 5-0 age….she has ALWAYS been there for me.

An oldie but goodie! Back in the day with my soon to be in-laws...I am SO blessed with these people!

An oldie but goodie! Back in the day with my soon to be in-laws…I am SO blessed with these people!

Betty ALWAYS cheers me on and very patiently listens to long-winded me.  She gently offers guidance when I ask for it…and I DO a lot because her wisdom is as true and as big as her heart.  I can’t thank Betty Harris enough for being my loving mom-in-law, confidante, friend, cheerleader, our own personal nurse (and she is one of the best professional nurses and college nursing instructors in the field) and more.  I love you Betty Harris!!!

And my gal pals!  Those last second phone calls to each other to grab a kid from the school pick-up line, to borrow sandwich bags the night before a school lunch must be made, to offer to host another teen “hangout” or to offer to be the driver during the hangouts.  And when my kids were little, my pals that saved the day and not only kept my babies later than planned, but even returned them to me bathed and very happy.  And my children looked at those pals like a second loving Mama….ahem…Ms Julie!  Julie & kidsAnd my gal pals love me and are as wonderful to my kids as they are to me.  It is like my kids have a bunch of honorary local aunties!  So many names come to mind, Lizzy, Jules, Yvette “my love”, Trisha, Bianca….you know ALL of the things you have done for both of my kids,B, to Amy for getting me through the very emotional high school senior year with my boy by reassuring me that I am normal and not losing my mind….Lisa K with your numerous rides to middle school, Janet with your helpful text last night and so many more of you that I am not naming only because I will run out of room!  I am blessed! It is especially touching to me that my teen daughter knows that she is very loved by her friends’ mothers and that my now adult son looks forward to seeing his pals and their moms!  I LOVE my gal pals and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do for spoiled me and for my babies!

Mom, mom-in-law and gal pals…you are rock stars and your love and support helps to make us all shine. Most importantly our children.  Happy Mother’s Day ladies!  XO


Oh Boy Do I Get It Now! Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom!  April 26th!  It is your special day.  And I need to tell you something!  And that something is….

Oh boy do I get it now!

With my firstborn about to graduate high school and my baby girl starting high school, I am reminded of how fast time flies and how this magic trick of kids growing up as you blink hits a mother’s heart.

So on this day, April 26th, my own lovely Mother’s birthday, I must say to you….oh boy, Mom do I get it now! And YOU deserve to have a very Happy Birthday!

My Mother with her three babies...and...sigh...during my self involved teenage years!

My Mother with her three babies…and…sigh…during my self involved teenage years!

I get how excited you felt as you waited for the birth of your three children, each and every time and why you labored the way you did…without an epidural…and with the patience of a saint as each one of us came into this world and into your loving arms.

I don’t get, however how you were ABLE to withstand the agony and pain of childbirth all three times without the beloved epidural that was my best friend!

I get how you encouraged me not to take after you and to have the epidural, as you know your own daughter’s pain tolerance level and couldn’t bear to see your girl in agony!

I get how you totally rearranged your schedule 18 years ago to stay one whole month with me and my hubs as we adjusted to being exhausted, overwhelmed and completely over-the-moon-in-love-with-our-newborn new parents.

So thankful all these years later that you stayed a month to help us with our firstborn newborn!

So thankful all these years later that you stayed a month to help us with our firstborn baby!

Thank you for that, by the way!

Then I go back a little deeper in time and remember the times that you begged me my senior year of high school to stay home and spend some time with the family.

My 1985 senior prom picture that my dear mother quickly snapped before I ran out the door!

My 1985 senior prom picture that my dear mother quickly snapped before I ran out the door!

I was much too busy to consider that option with all of my senior year commitments, big events, fanfare and excitement leading up to my big graduation day.

All you wanted was a little more time.  But I rudely declined back then.

Oh boy, do I get that now.  I so understand your simple and heartfelt request.

As I watch my own high school senior son come home briefly each day only to leave minutes later again. Oh how I get that.  Oh how I wish I could go back in time and spend a few more of those requested evenings home with you and the family.  Sorry Mom.

Darn that 20/20 hindsight!

Oh boy do I get it now how you would stay up painting until the midnight hour to make sure that I arrived home safely.  No matter how tired I am, I don’t go to sleep until my own chickens are safely back in the coop!

You didn’t even have cell phones then!  I can’t imagine.  Thank goodness you had…and still have…your painting.  You are such an amazing and talented artist!

Oh boy do I get now how you must have worked so hard to keep your emotions in check as the calendar pages just turned faster and faster until graduation day came and I walked across the stage and then onto an airplane to go to Texas.  I don’t remember you ever putting a damper on my special time with your own motherly emotions.  I haven’t been as good as you were as I have let mine show to my boy a few times.

But now that he is just three weeks away from his own graduation, I find myself keeping those emotions in check when he is around to allow him to take it all in.  To enjoy his special time without seeing his Mother’s daily tears that come and go, quite quickly actually, but regardless, as I walk through this process of letting go.

Oh boy do I get it now…how difficult it must have been when I would snap at you, give you that annoyed leave me alone look, yell at you (I am so sorry now) or just ignore my mama because I was just so busy with my teenage self.

You tell me that I wasn’t as bad as I remember.  But I think the process of a mother slowly but surely letting her child go to flee the nest is a bit like labor.  And that you forget the pain the teen years can cause (both joyful and painful pain) because the joy you feel for your child’s future is so exciting!  This time is filled with such anticipation and pain and with a certain discomfort that helps us to push that child out of the nest, to relieve some of that pain…and to embrace the excitement of the future.  Our kid’s future because it is no longer about us when motherhood sets in.

Oh boy do I get it now!

I remember hugging you goodbye as I boarded that plane and then finding myself suddenly surprised with the tears that filled that entire 2 hour plane ride.  Suddenly I was missing you so much and the ability to say yes to your request to stay home a little longer was no longer an option.

Time is a gift...make time to give yourself the gift of good health.

Time is a gift…I just didn’t know it then.

Oh boy, I started to get it then.

But I had NO idea just how much I would get it upon my child’s 18th year and especially now as we count down the very short three weeks left before he graduates.

So on this birthday of yours, I want to tell you Happy Happy Birthday to my loving and oh so giving Mom, my Mother who I can always count on, regardless of the 2,000 miles between us.  My mommy that I think about and appreciate so much more since I became a mommy…so thankful that you were there to witness that miracle of your grandchildrens’ birth both times.

And now during this very emotional time for me and very happy time for my boy, I know and completely understand, that due to unforeseen circumstances, we can’t be together this time around, but I want and need you to know that I am thinking of you so much during this birthday of yours and this bittersweet time of mine.

I am so thankful that our boy’s hockey tournament took us to your hometown just last month!  Talk about a gift!  You are an incredible grandmother and your grandchildren adore you, birthday girl!  Nationals 2016 with Grandma Maryanne

Thank you for always setting the example of how to both root for your children and to rein them in when needed.  Thank you for always extending open and expressive arms while at the same time knowing when to give your children a gentle push forward so that we could grow when needed.  So many things to thank you for.  And as I think of what gift to give you, I just keep coming back and reflecting on all of the gifts that you have given me.

Thank you Mom.

Happy Birthday Mom.

Oh boy do I get it now, Mom!  So give me one more gift… I want you to have a wonderful birthday and a joyful year ahead.  You deserve to get back some of all that goodness that you always give.  I wish that I could wrap that up and ensure that this next year gives you just that.

So although a physical present is in the mail (of course it is coming late!), know that my gift to you is my heart.  The heart that you have taken such good care of.   Thank you Mom.  Oh boy do I get it now!

Oh and I must also thank you for helping to take care of your Mommy, too, my Grandmother as the years progress.  Your role as a mother, grandmother, daughter and wife are gifts to us all.  But it is your birthday today, so please give yourself a gift today.  Whatever that may be.  Something you are wishing for.  Do it.  Enjoy it.  Spoil yourself for one day, Mom.

You deserve it.

Happy Birthday Mom.

From your loving daughter….who so gets it now!me & mom at hockey tourney