Category Archives: Kids

Road Trip!

I’ve had tickets to go see my favorite band Red Wanting Blue at the House of Blues in Cleveland since they announced a weekend of shows last October. I didn’t plan to go to both nights of shows (Fri and Sat), but definitely purchased tickets for me and Vampire Boy for Saturday night.

I reserved a room at the The Arcade, a hotel right across the street from the House of Blues. I wasn’t confident about my car making the drive from Pittsburgh to Cleveland so I also reserved a car at the airport.

We were a little late in getting started to the airport to pick up our rental, but we were finally on the road by 1:00. Since I was heading to Cleveland and Vampire Boy loves food, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to take him to Melt Bar and Grilled.

An added bonus of my trip to Cleveland was to FINALLY meet in person someone I “virtually” met a number of years ago. J was able to meet and join me for lunch at Melt, and then gave me a quick driving tour of the frozen lake while showing me the way back to my hotel.

This was my awesome lunch. I was only able to eat about half of the one half!

Melt Bar and Grilled

The Dude Abides: homemade meatballs, fried mozzarella wedges, rich marinara, provolone & romano

We had less than an hour to drop off our bags at our room before the doors opened at the venue. I didn’t have time to explore the hotel, but they were setting up for a wedding.


It was really nice to just walk across the street to the venue (and would have been awesome had I been imbibing in adult beverages).

After dropping off our bags, laying down for a disco nap (but too excited to sleep), and refreshing my makeup, it was time to head over to the House of Blues. J was able to find a ticket (it was a sold out show) to join us. (Sadly, he wasn’t able to stay too long after officiating most of the morning.)

After two opening bands (who I didn’t care for), it was time!


Red Wanting Blue | House of Blues 

These guys played for over 90 minutes and had TWO encores! I loved how they threw in some really old stuff (that I haven’t seen performed live) as well as one of their new songs (new album coming out soon!). They’re also going to be on The Rock Boat (but sadly, Vampire Boy doesn’t get to go this year which is why I took him to Cleveland to see them).

I spent a lot of time driving this weekend, but it was totally worth it! A great lunch, meeting a virtual friend in real life, a great show, and getting to spend some quality time with my son! I’m an exhausted but happy gal.

The view of the city and the frozen lake

Day 23: Let’s Go to the Mall (again!)

Not Social Diva Photo Credit:

Not Social Diva
Photo Credit:

Social Diva woke up this morning and asked to go to the mall again.

It’s 31 days (she has a countdown on her phone) from Christmas and she wants to go the mall. o.O

So off to shower I went. I told her (a few times) that I would take her but that I was not buying anything and neither was she. Christmas is right around the corner.

She did try on a few things that I think she was hoping I would buy. I kept telling her to add them to her Christmas list. (While her dad and I already know what we’re getting her, her grandparents haven’t started shopping yet. )

Three hours later, she was done.  And I only left $3.99 for pretzels at the mall. Success!

Day 17: Recovery

I planned for today to be a fairly low key day filled with unpacking, laundry, and housecleaning.

The best laid plans, eh?

Vampire Boy was hoping for a visit to take him grocery shopping to stock his room for the last week (!!!) before his Thanksgiving break. [Seriously, the last week before Thanksgiving break!!!] So after a quick shower this morning, I hopped in the car and headed up to California, PA.

He quickly browsed through the store and grabbed the few items he wanted. We were then going to grab lunch at the nearby Eat n Park, but there were so many senior citizens waiting around. OK, Foursquare, tell me what’s close! We found a nearby Hoss’s Restaurant. (I haven’t been to a Hoss’s in over 15 years!) I also spied a Gabriel Brothers next door, so of course I had to stop in.

I returned Vampire Boy to his dorm about mid-afternoon, told him to clean his room, and hit the highway to come home. I was hoping for a quiet afternoon, but Social Diva was texting to request an early pick up from her dad’s house. Oh well, quiet house tomorrow night hopefully!

PS: My foot is still swollen today. Hopefully, the swelling goes down soon or I’m going to have to break down and go to a doctor. [gasp!]

Day 10: Shop Until the Mom Drops


Social Diva is staying with me for five days since her dad is out of town with friends. I mentioned that I needed to go to the mall to find something to wear for the conference I’m working in New Orleans next week. She, of course, jumped at a trip to the mall on the weekend. She’s turning into quite the shopper these days.

The rule was that I had to pick out my purchase first. While helping me look around for something for me, she (again, of course) found an armful of things that she also wanted to try on. After I made my purchase (including her armful of items), we then headed out to hit her favorite stores.

We looked around in a handful of stores and she didn’t really see anything else that she liked. That is, until we hit the H&M store on our way out of the mall. She wanted to try on a dress to see what it looked like (she doesn’t really wear dresses!). Turns out it looked very cute on her so we had to buy it. She doesn’t have anywhere definite to wear it yet, but we’re hoping to go see Wicked again in January (hopefully, this time it’s not Drunk Girl Theater).

Over three hours later (and lunch at the Food Court), our shopping trip was a success. I found something to wear and shoes for my conference. Social Diva came home with two bags full of clothes.

As we were leaving the mall, Social Diva asked if we were going to walk tonight. After following her around the mall and being her “hold this”, I gave her the stink eye.

Day 3: So Very Thankful

While Friday night was a fun night at the Pens game, and Saturday (day and night) allowed me to be a total slug, I had big plans for today! After heading to bed early Saturday night, I woke up at 4:30 this morning — partially on my own, partially thanks to a cat who doesn’t understand Daylight Savings Time. I finally gave up got out of bed at 5 AM and figured I’d get a head start on my day.

Kids asked to be picked up from their Dad’s at 11, so I spent the morning preparing chili for the crock pot and the afternoon making cookies for Vampire Boy to take back to school. It was nice having him here for the afternoon. He hates the food service at school so he made sure to fill up on home made stuff while he was here.

It’s a decent 45 minute or so drive to take him back to school on a fairly deserted highway.  I had a few emotional moments behind sunglasses while driving there and back.  I am so fortunate that both of my children are fairly well-behaved and fairly well-mannered. There are so many distractions for kids these days and it can be easy for them to get caught up in the wrong things.

So on this crisp November day, I am so very thankful.

(And I may head to bed before 9 because I am also so very tired!)

Staycation 2013

It’s a good vacation if you feel like you’ve been away from work for a month, right?

Between high school graduation at the beginning of June through the arrival of my new faculty hires this July 1st, I’ve felt like a hamster on a never-ending wheel.  I needed this week off! I was looking forward to getting some things done around the house, hanging out at the pool, and enjoying a lazy week of staycation.

Mother Nature had other plans for me.

I only got one pool day in. My birthday was completely uneventful. While I should have disconnected from work, I did check emails every morning just to make sure everything was ok at work. I didn’t get ANYTHING done around the house like I wanted to. My basement had a little bit of water pooling, but fortunately nothing as bad as other areas of the city.

On the plus side:

* I went tubing on a river for the very first time. I lost my favorite hat and my sunglasses, but I didn’t drown. If you’re looking for a fun day trip, check out Coal Tubin’.

* I spent eight hours with my toes in the sand at Presque Isle.

* I did get to hang out with the kids, even with one working this summer and the other sleeping her summer vacation away.

*  Vampire Boy attended an Orientation Program at Cal U to finish registering for classes. It’s hard to believe that he only has one more month at home before he goes off to school.

On the down side:

* I didn’t win the Powerball, so I have to go back to work.

* I haven’t met a millionaire who wants to support me, so I have to go back to work.

* Tomorrow, I have to go back to work.

I’d much rather be here:

Beach 6

Presque Isle, Beach 6

Six more weeks until vacation at OBX. I’m really looking forward to getting away, really away, for a week at a real beach with some great people and what looks like an awesome house. I’ll need the trip after getting Vampire Boy off to college and Social Diva ready for her final year at middle school.

Six more weeks … I can do it, right?!

College Visit!

Holy crap!

If you’re a frequent visitor, you might know that Vampire Boy is a senior in high school. He is interested in continuing his education and has been working with his dad on college applications. Dad had a good idea — let him apply to colleges within a reasonable driving distance, see where he gets accepted, and then visit those campuses for him to decide where he wants to go.

We had our first college visit this past weekend! As a family unit!

Some background: Dad and I separated in March 2001 with our divorce being final in February 2006 (finally!). It was not a pretty separation thanks to child support issues. Things have been decent on and off over the past five years and I like that we finally seem to be able to have a decent divorced relationship.

Dad and Vampire Boy worked on applications and acceptances started coming in. OK, time to look at the Open House schedules and plan a campus visit.  Dad invited me to come along (I had planned on going whether I was invited or not and driving myself if I had to!) and offered for me to ride along with them. Other than the hours we spent sitting on separate sides of the Family Division waiting room, it would be the first time we spent such a substantial part of the day together with the kids.

First visit was this past weekend. Dad picked us up at 6:45 AM for our hour drive. I was worried things would be a little weird, but we got along just fine. We talked and joked around in the car as I presume a ‘normal’ family would. We sat as a family in each of the informational sessions. We went on a campus tour. We checked out the residence halls. We visited the Science building and spoke to one of the chemistry faculty. At one point, we both leaned around from our auditorium seats to look at Vampire Boy when they were explaining that all communication is sent to his University mailbox — his ID was included in his acceptance letter — a mailbox he NEVER looked at! (This makes more sense when I explain that we went to his Open House blindly. He had registered, but did not receive any email or postal mail confirmation of his attendance, and I didn’t think about it until he received a packet from another school confirming his attendance.)

We all loved the campus. We liked the fact that it’s a smaller campus within a reasonable driving distance. We liked the chemistry department and faculty. We liked the student to teacher ratio within the chemistry department (his interest for now). He came away from this Open House knowing that this is where he wants to go to school. I’m trying to encourage him to visit at least one more, but  the next Open House is at a larger campus and he is adamant he likes the smaller campus. I don’t think I’m going to win the battle to get him to look any other campuses. I’m ok with that since I did the same exact thing when visiting business schools for myself many (many, many) years ago.

Holy shit, my ‘baby’ is looking forward to going off to college in the Fall.

New Science Hall

Holy Crap!

Holy Crap!

At this time 18 years ago, I was at the hospital hooked up to Pitocin awaiting the arrival of my first bundle of joy. This weekend is similar to the weekend so many years ago — it’s cold, blustery, and snowing!

We’ve weathered a lot of changes over the years. While our “family” is not what I envisioned so many years ago, we have adjusted and compromised along the way. As a Mom, I’ve survived his transition through elementary school, middle school, and now high school. I’ve watched him grow from a quiet and shy child to one who is slowly emerging from his shell and deciding what he wants for his future. With only a little over four months to go of high school, he knows he wants to continue his education, which is a relief to both of his parents.

While his father and I have been fairly permissive parents, I am thankful that we made it through the teen years without any alcohol, drug, or defiance problems (which I think is outstanding for a split family). That’s not to say we haven’t butted heads along the way, but at the end of the day, I have been blessed with a very handsome, very polite young man.

So Happy 18th Birthday, Vampire Boy!

Happy Birthday!

This ‘n That

I’ve had thoughts swirling around for the past few weeks and meant to get them typed up, but with my #MadCowMomBrain, I lost them just as quickly as I composed them in my head.

So how about a month (or so) recap?

Tip: Don’t try to learn how to decorate cookies on the day OF your party. Some of these say 50, some look like they say SO.

I threw a surprise birthday party for FM. Using a private Facebook event inviting our close friends, I conspired with his eldest daughter and best friend on how to get him here AFTER everyone else arrived. I took off two days prior to the party to finish up with my cleaning and get started on all of the cooking. Even with a limited fun budget, I was able to pull off a decent party! #YayMe  On the day of the party, the best friend kept FM busy during the day and the eldest daughter made plans to take her Dad out to dinner. I almost hit a snag when he invited me to join them, but using the excuse of just having had pizza for dinner and feeling like a night in with a movie saved me!

Vampire Boy’s senior pictures came back. He took a great picture!

I survived a week of having an extra roommate. FM’s house was having some work done so he couldn’t stay there for five days. Sometimes when the household chores and bills seem overwhelming, I think it would be nice to have someone to share the house with. I think a week of having a man live here may have fixed that curiosity. It went better than I thought it would considering my place isn’t that large and it only has one bathroom. Have been on my own for over ten years now, I’m back to wondering if I’ll ever be able to live with someone again.

I had a truly upsetting event involving Social Diva. She ended up being extremely rude to FM on his last night here. Throw in a bad literature grade and I’m ready to curb her social activities until the grade comes up. She asks to go to the football game with her good friend who lives close by. Since I adore this friend, I cave and allow her go. She ends up texting me from the game that she’s with another friend and asks if they can have a sleepover. The smoke began to stream from my ears. Since she ditched (she claims she ‘lost’) her friend and was hanging out with another friend, I call her to let her know that I am on my way over to pick her up. Did I over-react? Maybe. However, the ditching friends thing is a problem. I was not rewarding her bad behavior and bad grade by letting her stay out. On top of all of that, she flat out lied to me to get to the game and the lies continued as the night went on. In five minutes, I turned into a yelling lunatic (which I never do) and scared the hell out of both kids. There was yelling, door slamming, many tears (both her and I), the kids exchanging text messages with their father (whose house she wanted to go to), and a chat with big brother. All in all, it was a horrible evening for me.

Thankfully, today (Sunday) turned out to be a productive day. I got some errands run, weatherproofed my basement windows (it’s not pretty, but let’s hope it keeps the drafts out), and made room for my car in the garage.  I’ve got high hopes that the rest of this week is better than this weekend. (This week was the anniversary of my dad’s passing and what would have been my wedding anniversary.) I have high hopes that I can snap out of this funk that I’m in.

Next weekend is a road trip to see Red Wanting Blue, so things have to improve, right?

Holy Crap! (aka First Day of School 2012)

From this (2000):

Vampire Boy’s first day of kindergarten (2000)

To this (2005):

Social Diva heading off to Kindergarten and Vampire Boy heading off to Fifth Grade (2005)

To this (2012):

Middle year of middle school/grade 7 for Social Diva and ::sniffle, sniffle:: Senior year for Vampire Boy (2012)

Holy crap, where have the years gone?!?!

If you need me, I’ll be in the corner whimpering and rocking myself! Does anyone have one of those white coats with the long sleeves that I could borrow?