Check it out

We have a shorter winter than many and that’s why some of us (me) live here. I’m sharing some places to hang out with the kids when it’s cold or rainy.



how it begins

My children were playing Harry Potter in the basement with friends. They use my suitcase as their trunk when they are waiting for the train to Hogwarts.

Somehow the suitcase made it to the top of the stairs before it was abandoned for another part of the story.

My husband moved the suitcase out of the hallway into our bedroom, next to my closet.

I came to bed after he was asleep and  tiptoed around in the dark getting my pajamas on because I am a considerate person who doesn’t want to wake anyone. (ever. I pretty much NEVER want to wake anyone. It’s a good rule to live by.)

I put the clothes I took off on top of the suitcase that was in front of my closet.

THAT is how a pile gets started around here.

It begins so innocently.


After a long hiatus, I never know if I should catch you up on everything I’ve written in my head or just jump in with what’s in my head right now. (My head is a very, very full place.)

My parents have a cartoon on their wall that says “Filers should not marry pilers.” I’ve mentioned this cartoon before. I quote it all the time. What I’m just now realizing is pilers should not give birth to pilers and expect them to be filers.

Did you get that?

I’m having all sorts of drama over school work not coming home, completed homework not being turned in, and general disorganization. The guilty party (besides, well, me) doesn’t care. She has taken a few penalties at school, things that I think bother her, but she finds a way to not let it outwardly bother her.

I even talked to a counselor at school who mentioned one of the most important things:  Lead by example.

My dear piling child and I are screwed.

Is that Navy Pier?

Friday, in a moment of confidence, I changed our travel itinerary. Originally the plan was to get Maggie from school a little early, wait for Nick to get off the bus and high tail it to Indianapolis or however far we wanted to go before stopping at a hotel, spending the night, and getting up early Saturday morning for the rest of the trip.

Then I decided Nick would miss school, Maggie would only go until lunch (which isn’t until 12:50!) and we would drive the whole way starting at 1pm – assuming that if it got crazy, we could always stop at a hotel and go with the original plan.

As we passed downtown Nashville, Nick asked “Is that Navy Pier?”

“Uh, no. We’ve got 8 hours until Navy Pier.”

“How long until Navy Pier?”

“Uh, 7 hours and 45 minutes.”

“How long until Navy Pier?”

Repeat ad nauseam.

Repeat again, just for good measure.

We pass Louisville after an hour-long traffic backup.

“Is that Navy Pier?”


We pass Indianapolis.

“Is that Navy Pier?”


“Is the sun setting?”

“Yes. Go to sleep!”

“Wake me when we get to Navy Pier.”

“Sure!” I said. *no way buddy* I thought.

Aaaaaand they never fell asleep. Either of them. For the whole 9 1/2 hour trip.

When we finally drove past Navy Pier, I said “There’s Navy Pier!” as we discussed the way you get on and off the ferris wheel in ski lift fashion.

Five minutes later “Mom?”


“I think we went past Navy Pier.”

Yeah, at that point it was just funny. Or we were crazy. Or both. We all sang “Celebrate Good Times” as we cruised down Lake Shore Drive.

It was 10:30 at night when we rolled into my parents’ house. And midnight (midnight!!) when we all finally fell asleep.

What time did Nick wake up, you wonder? Well, 6:01am, of course.

We will load up the car in the morning and do the reverse trip, but at least we’ll pass Navy Pier in the first hour.

It’s so Savvy

Drum roll, please…

I’m happy to announce that I’ve begun writing for The Savvy Source for Parents. I will be sharing ideas, events, and information about all things Nashville. You can read about local book nooks and now you can check out some of the best things about fall for kids in Nashville. Sign up to have the Nashville articles sent right to your inbox (about every other week.)

Not in Nashville? Check out The Savvy Source anyway.  Your city may be a featured city. In addition to the city channels, The Savvy Source features some great parenting articles. Check it out!


the wheels on the car

Note to self:

If you’re going to mess with the precious balance of the morning routine by convincing your bus-loving 7YO to ride in the car so you can drive 8 miles before school to the pharmacy (because the same pharmacy that is 2 miles away is staffed by a bunch a jerks) to get preventative ear drops that you forgot to pick up the day before, you might  want to make sure that the pharmacy will be open.

Instead, you can do the above, see the “pharmacy opens at 9” sign, groan, drive said 7YO to school to sit in the havoc of the drop-off line (still 1,000,000 times better than the pick-up line) to go home, wait for 30 minutes, repeat the trip to the pharmacy, go to school, figure out if you’re even allowed to bring a prescription onto school premises, put drops in child’s ear and never know if there was even a reason to need to drops in the first place.


Dr. Mom

First things first – I am not a doctor…

…but I am really good at diagnosing weird things. My family has had more than our share of weird things. I have been right on a handful and wrong on a handful so really, that’s only about a 50/50 history. (At least one of those literally saved a life.) When you figure in the weirdness factor of some of the things, 50/50 is pretty good.


The other day I was braiding Maggie’s hair. We were practicing spelling words as I braided. It was a super-normal morning.  Halfway through the braid, she looked up into the mirror with huge eyes saying “I feel really ill.”

I looked into the mirror and her face had zero color in it. Not just pale, but her lips were white too. It was freaky. I told her to run for the bathroom assuming she was going to throw up any moment. I grabbed a bucket (there is a whole bucket post I promised my friend I would write. It’s coming. Promise.) and followed her into the bathroom.

She sat on the toilet for a few minutes. Still no color. After a few more minutes I asked if she felt any better or worse.

“A little better, but my face feels really hot.”

I touched her cheeks, which were ice cold, and assumed she would spike a fever any minute.

After another 10 minutes of so, I relented and let her lay in her bed with the bucket beside her. She was perking up a tad, and decided she was hungry. (I will cover this in the bucket post, but I never feed a child who (in my mind) may be on the verge of puking.)

I got her some crackers and water and by the time I checked on her again, she was in bed working on her loom making a hot pad. Her lips were back to normal and her color was much better. I said she should rest a bit longer and if “it” indeed had passed, that I would take her to school late.

Suddenly a memory came to me. Last year as I was braiding Maggie’s hair, the same thing happened. She turned sickly pale and, of course, was ordered to sit in the bathroom. She sat that time for 15 minutes before asking to watch a show. I sent her to the TV room with her bucket and within an hour, she was bouncing around the room totally fine. My husband thought I had been suckered into letting her stay home, because she was fine by the time her saw her. But I’m here to tell you, the color of her face is something you can’t fake. Lips just aren’t that color.

So then it dawned on me that both instances were while braiding her hair. And both times she was fine an hour later.

And I got to googling.

I’m pretty sure (remember I’m not a doctor) that it was a vasovagal reaction. They sometimes cause fainting, but are the result of a sudden drop in blood pressure and heart rate which lower oxygen to the brain. Symptoms include

  • Skin paleness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Tunnel vision — your field of vision is constricted so that you see only what’s in front of you
  • Nausea
  • Feeling of warmth
  • A cold, clammy sweat
And, there is an only occasionally-recognized trigger called hair groomers syncope – fainting or near fainting while having one’s hair groomed.
My husband laughed and laughed and laughed at me. He does not endorse my Dr. Google degree.
But I tell you what, Maggie sits when we braid her hair now.