Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dare is sumbuddy sweepin' on da table...

(I happened upon this sweet moment this afternoon while peeking back through my old blog posts - I thought I would re-post this moment from two years ago hoping to bring you a smile, too!)

So, this morning a little person, one just tall enough for his chin to hit the top edge of my mattress runs into my room and says, "Ma! Ma! Dare is sumbuddy sweepin' on da table. Come on, yook! Sumbuddy sweepin' dare!"

OK, so if you are in a deep sleep and someone squeals that in your ear...are you a little freaked out? Well, as I follow his skipping body down the hall and to the steps, I am wiping sleep out of my eyes and thinking...What the heck am I going to do if he is serious? What if 'sumbuddy' broke in and (for some ridiculous reason) fell asleep on our kitchen table? Even as I was thinking it, I knew what a FREAK that made even entertain the thought...but I did.

"DARE! DARE him is! Yook!"

I squint. I 'yook' while trying to look muscular, in case this sleeping intruder is bigger than me. You know, I go into protective Mama Bear mode.

"My shwoggie! Him is on da table!"

His froggy. The %$#%**&%* plastic frog I bought him at Michael's last night! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

"Yes, bud, there is your froggy. Is he awake?"

(mumble, mumble)

"Maa, you pway Wii wit me?"

"Baby, just let mommy fill her veins with something that will make me happy to be playing Wii with you get some coffee first.

I galumph over to the coffee maker as the sound of a way-too-awake Mario and Luigi race around my living room.

Finally, I sit on the couch and we start a two player race. He likes to do the battles, which means there are like 429 games in a row. I blink my eyes, sip my drug, and prepare to KICK HIS BUTT!

In between races we high-five and giggle. This is sweet. We do it every morning. And by the second race (thanks to my coffee), I am totally into it - we have a blast!

This morning we were 3 games in and I couldn't tell you who was winning because every time I get ahead of him, he pauses the game and we trade steering technically HE is kicking MY butt!

In between the 37th and 38th race (I am exaggerating) I lay my steering wheel in my lap and reach down for my coffee that was sitting at my feet. He peeps over at me as I put my cup to my lips and start to sip....

...some crazed lunatic entered his body (maybe it was that growling spiky turtle thing that he chooses as his character to drive his race car) and he, with all the force capable of being in a 4-year old body, he punches me. Not in my arm but IN MY COFFEE CUP! And it's a KO!

The angle in which his little fist struck the mug sends scalding coffee UP MY NOSE, all over my face, on my PJs (that I was hoping to keep clean so I could justify wearing them to the bus stop in 28 seconds when his bus rounds the bend), all over the leather couch, the off-white get the picture.

I have to tell you...12 seconds later I was giggling.

Not because I had finally lost my mind. Not because I was dreaming of the glorious free time I would have while he is duct-taped to the wall (DO NOT EMAIL ME! I AM JUST KIDDING!).

I giggled, with coffee dripping from my nose and my chin, because the look in his eyes as he realized what his body had done, apparently without the approval of his brain, was priceless!

He did the 'eyeballs out of the head' gawk and then took off like a shot! His little body zipped in a mini-human blur out of the living room, in and out of the kitchen, through the baby gate that he broke (busted a rung off of so he could fit through) a couple months ago, up the stairs, into his room and slammed the door! SLAM!

The coffee cleaned up without a problem. And I found out that SNORTING coffee isn't all that bad and actually wakes you up more than drinking it.

He bravely walked down the steps and sulked into the kitchen, tail between his legs, and said, "Sowwy, Mommy. You pway Wii wit me?"
We had 4.6 seconds to get to the bus Wii...but time for
...a big snuggle for saying "Sorry"
...a "Please don't do that again."
...and a smile as he waved from the bus window.
Lesson learned? DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE!

Friday, September 16, 2011

FRIENDS...what have they taught YOU?!

Friends are a choice we make. My first friend tried to take a bite out of my face. I don't remember this, but so I am told. It was 1971 in Shreveport, La. His name was Todd and our mothers were best friends. We moved north in 1973, and 14 years later our families had a reunion in Texas. Todd and I went on our first, and only, date. I arrived home unscathed.

Melissa and I have a friendship that has lasted almost 38 years, and if I had one dollar for every panicked phone call and only fifty cents for each giggle, I would far-surpass the estate of Bill Gates. We are quite opposite in some respects, but that has never stood in the way of our friendship as our hearts are in tune. We have become women and mothers side-by-side. Melissa and I talk or text almost weekly and she remains a chosen sister.

Sometimes friends come as a package deal, which is the case with Andra, Shannon and Lauren. We spent our teenage years hand-in-hand and most of our adult life side-by-side. We handled heart aches and applauded accomplishments. We welcomed husbands and babies. Over the years, and with the addition of numerous children and some relocating, it has been difficult to remain connected and that saddens me. My heart yearns for that familiarity. But the gift they gave me over those years is priceless.

Ken and I met in college through a common acquaintance. We shared a level of trust and openness I never shared with any of my female friends. I never had conversations of such depth with any friend prior to being blessed with Ken's camaraderie. There were many times that we lost track of time discussing a plethora of subjects and were surprised when the morning sunrise peeked through the shades. We met Sept. 14, 1989, and were married July 24, 1993.

Michelle, a fellow Nittany Lion, followed Ken and I to New York after finishing her Master's degree, where we continued to be the Three Amigos. Having endured a collegiate battle with cancer, she was strong and climbed the corporate ladder by never settling for less than her best. Michelle was beautiful, inside and out. Her zest for life gave her a gentle edge that made her a magnet for friends. The impact of her friendship is tattooed on my heart forever. On Nov. 8, 1996 she was promoted to angel. I still shed tears for her.

Jeri is my twin from another mother. Her husband Jeff, strangely enough, is so much like Ken it is bizarre. They were our first "couple" friends and remain some of our closest. Sharing the same wedding anniversary almost to the hour makes for great celebrations. Jeri and I are so close that sometimes we scare ourselves. I will never forget the day we had lunch together, each planning to surprise the other with our "expectant" news. Jeri is that friend who keeps no tallies. She can't tell you who called who last or how long it has been since we last chatted. It is refreshing to dial the phone after months of no contact and anticipate her voice because I know her tone will not be anything but sheer joy when she hears mine.

My current gal pals on occasion have me laughing until I think my sides will split. Before Anne-Marie, Michele, Goose and Sally, I was pretty certain that my girlfriend laugh meter had maxed out years ago. But our friendship goes deeper than laughter - much deeper. Our faith knits us together. Whether it is a trip to Wal-Mart for random needs, a text message for a good laugh or a phone call to check in on someone's stressful day, we stay connected. Our lives have yet to get in the way of our friendship, in fact, our the chaos, heartbreak and the beautiful celebrations in our lives sweeten our bond as sisters. Even on the worst days the laughter remains. Laughter truly is the best medicine within our sweet sisterhood. I truly owe my sanity to these four women.

From Todd I learned that friendship can span a country as well as a decade. Melissa has taught me a beautiful lesson in unconditional friendship. Andra, Shannon and Lauren showed me how a friendship can shape who you are and who you will become. Ken proved to me that honesty is always the best policy.

Michelle was a beautiful vision of what it means to be at peace with who you are. Jeri has given me the refreshing gift of being "real." Anne-Marie, Michele, Goose and Sally have blessed me with faith-filled friendship.

Think of the friends who have impacted your life. Reach out and thank them. Return the favor; you will be blessed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Halls of Skin and Bone...

*(I bumped this post up! It's a repeat, ENJOY!)*
Today we did some school shopping. I got a babysitter and I took my older two to the mall.
I love the smell of Back-to-School!
Not the fact that the fruit of my loins will actually spend hours away from me 5 days a week (I hate that part) but just the tingly excitement of that first day. The new kids, new teachers, locker combinations, new notebooks, cute boys, being late to the class I didn't even sign up for but ended up being on my schedule, unexpectedly getting my period, tripping up the stairs in front of the boy I was planning on having a crush on that day and having egg salad soup at the bottom of my locker at luchtime.
Well, not ALL my memories are good ones I guess. But, I still get excited for the shopping!
On our trip, we went to all the stores that kids love: Children's Place, Old Navy, GAP and some department stores that Mom dragged them into in hopes of a good sale. But then I had the great idea to travel into a world unknown...Hollister.
I have never been able to figure out the fashion phenomenon of a NAME. What makes a name when it comes to fashion? How do the words GAP, ABERCROMBIE, AEROPOSTALE define multi-millions in sales? They are cool clothes, I enjoy the styles and quality but I have a strong feeling if they looked identical but were called SMITHSENSTRUBER they wouldn't be so cool!
So, we walk into Hollister - our first time. It's a dark and loud store. I actually felt like I was walking into a bar. That's how they sell clothes! You are squinting and can't see a thing and the music is so loud when you ask where to find the clothes that cost less than $400 you can't hear what the 4-year old sales girl who weighs 20 lbs. says. So, you grab up a couple things, head to the register, swipe your card and head for the nearest CVS for some Advil, Oil of Olay and Slim Fast.
I am not a name-dropper or someone who needs to have the latest name brand fashions and I try to deter my children from feeling that is necessary.
knock off designer purses don't count because they are not real

But, I have shopped long enough to know that even the stores that cause you to take out a second mortgage just to outfit your three children for one day DO, in fact, sometimes have good sales. I just thought it would be cool for my first-time middle-schooler to have a Hollister T-shirt for school...I would do anything to give him a leg up on the sometimes cruel competition.
So, we walk in and head right for the clearance racks.

Of course, we had to pass the posters...ugh, the posters...what was this, the red light district? Are they SELLING SKIN in this store? Well, then why is so much of it showing?? The girls in the posters weigh approximately 14.5 ounces and have the slender shape of Gumby! Their apparent poster boy love interests have 6-pack abs that go the whole way dowwwwwwwwwn to a VERY TOO LOW waist line.

I was covering my daughter's eyes and blushing before we got past the cash register! I think I actually felt myself get fatter in this store. I could see the sales staff wasting away while I unbuttoned my shorts to relieve the pudge that was growing underneath my not-Hollister, mom clothing. I wanted to BARF. THEY needed to eat.

"C'mon, honey, have some fries, a milkshake, SOMETHING that will make you weigh more than my purse!"

I found some great sales after asking a nice kid who walked us
because he had lost his voice from screaming directions to the customers all day

I know, I know. I should not be school shopping for ME but I have to say, I got sucked into the Hollister haze and wanted to wear the word, too! Of course, that feeling quickly faded when I held up a t-shirts that could have doubled as a sock on this mom body.

They got shirts.

I got perfume and pretended each squirt would airbrush me to the size of that $@!#! poster girl!
Still squirting...


Peace out, Mamas!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

KATE*VERSATIONS... September 12, 2011

Well, it's an end of an era...

I am not someone who can say, "I have watched since the very first episode." Quite honestly, I don't even remember WHICH episode was my first. I just know they were in their Lancaster County home that first time I "met" Jon and Kate and their brood!

I can't tell you the kids' birth order, I know all their names and I know Joel was the final Gosselin to make his appearance that beautiful day in May!

I didn't start watching the show for any reason other than I LOVE being a mom and think most moms follow an unwritten rule book by supporting one another through the good times and the bad. Knowing this woman named Kate had twins and then 6 more, I knew she would have good times and really, really bad ones so I enlisted as a "fan" of the show as a means to give her my support... in a "GO GET 'EM GIRL!" kind of way!

As I watched I saw a mom growing into her role as a mom of multiples... as a mom of EIGHT! Dear Lord, I wasn't sure how she was going to do it! But I was going to, once a week, cop a squat in my living room after putting the kids to bed and be part of her chaos b/c I was SO THANKFUL God picked HER and not ME! :)

To be honest, it was those precious little chubby cheeks and unsteady scampers that kept me coming back in the beginning... their big eyes and stout giggles blessed me to no end. Yes, I thought it was a little strange that I felt so attached to someone else's kids... that I had never seen in person. Weird? Maybe. But I didn't care, I wanted more.

As I struggled through my own days as a mom to two children only one year apart and an extra-needs foster baby, I became one mom on the inside and another on the outside. I was sad, scared, angry, guilty where no one else could see and a happy, cheery homeroom mom when everyone else was looking.

That's when I started looking to Kate in admiration. Sure, she flipped out on Jon... A LOT! But, seriously, how many moms reading this have never gone off on their husband and looked back later and thought, "Ewww, I didn't like what that felt like!" Well, guess what, if you are on a reality show... you get to add one more dimension to that, you get to say, "Ewww, I didn't like what that LOOKED like!"

What I admired most about Kate is she was not someone who would mince words. She was not one mom on the inside and another on the outside like I was. So, then I watched because she helped me be a better mom. The after-show credits would start rolling and I would look at my husband and say, "Wow! All I had to deal with today was a temper tantrum at a doctor's appointment, more than HALF of her kids were PUKING!" And, I have a rule.... if you can divide your children into fractions smaller than THIRDS, you have MY respect!

Fast forward to today. Kate is still that woman. She has remained stoic and strong through a very public divorce, she handles the unwarranted hate with grace, she continues to put those beautiful eight blessings FIRST. Yes, FIRST! Any mom whose true goal is for her kids to have the best lives possible is putting her kids first. Some moms work three jobs and hardly ever see their kids but in many cases that is their only option.... and they do it FOR their kids!

Kate has found her calling. The camera loves her, she SHINES! So, if she can pair her passion with providing for her family while staying grounded and being "Mom" to eight awesome kiddos, then more power to her!

Many of us sit back and whine about what we WISH we could do for ourselves and our kids. Kate just DOES it! And she does it like nobody's business!

Kate, I am sorry to see you go. I will miss the aldergators and unnawears. But my prayer for your family is one of peace, protection, guidance, discernment and pure joy!

Love and hugs to You, Cara, Madelyn, Alexis, Hannah, Aaden, Collin, Leah and Joel!

We'll see you around!

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

Fans, go check out K8's NEW SITE!
Just launched yesterday! It's BEAUTIOUS!!!

** oh, yeah, and ALL HATE comments will be deleted ... so don't bother!**

Friday, September 9, 2011

Kate Gosselin and I: Crafting together...

(Originally posted on 10/22/09, I thought with the END of the Gosselin/TLC era, I would re-post one of my favorite Kate posts from the past)


I know, I know. You are thinking, "Where did that come from?"

Well, if you have been around this blog for any amount of time, you know that I am on TEAM KATE!

Especially, especially especially during this time of her life! Ugh! I cannot imagine going through a divorce and even more, I can't imagine it happening so publicly! My heart is with ya, sistah!

So, I decided on something that would take her mind off the "junk" people are putting out there because they have nothing better to do than bash people they don't even know…

A NEW reality show...Kate and mine…a spin-off of sorts. With my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants creativity and her very structured nature, I think we could keep the ratings up and satisfy a major network simply on the fact that we would never be totally OK with the other one’s idea of fun.

But, we are adults, we are women, we would have a blast. I have a lot of friends and thousands of you reading my blog and from time to time you all think I have completely lost my mind. Like when I tell you the creative projects we get into at my kitchen table.

Having been a high school art teacher, messes don’t really freak me out. When we are working with supplies that won’t wash off, you know, the kind that stain your skin for a couple weeks, then we go outside. Easy.

My outlook is, “no medium will last as long as a tattoo!”

Our NEW reality show would highlight the fun you can have with your kids without having an aneurysm. With eleven kids on our heels, can you imagine the number of segments we could tape in a short time?

Unlike me, Kate is adamant about her hate for messes. She doesn’t do them. Ever. And quite honestly, with 8 kids, who would?!

In one episode, she and Jon take the kids to the Crayola Factory in Easton and she barely lets the kids try anything. Although, I totally respect her fear of messes (remember, I have lived with a fear-of-messes husband for 15 years), I have made it my mini-mission in life to show moms that Art doesn't always = messes. It is doable with the RIGHT supplies and an ample amount of planning ahead.

I did one of those projects with my youngest this morning and it was delightful. Not a messy hand in sight! My husband has a hard time with my messy tendencies. When it rains, we go outside and play in the mud. When it’s hot we have water fights...with our clothes on. We have even been known to have a small food fight or two.

Although messy and causing my husband a few small strokes, the fun we have will create life-long memories of family fun. It's good to see Mommy and Daddy getting messy and being big kids! Even if Daddy twitches a little.

In my “research” on reality shows it is necessary to have a couple things to be a long-running phenomenon. ]

One of the things on my reality show checklist is an interesting venue. A place that has never ending possibilities for interesting outings … check. Lancaster County is filled with fun and not-so-common-to-the-rest-of-the-planet adventures. I can see me and Kate overseeing a finger painting project using a horse and buggy as our canvas. I see a big sheet of paper clothes-pinned to the side of the buggy...of course the horse's tail will probably whip away a fly and get into the paint...oh that would add a VERY cool element to a kid-style painting! We could donate the “painting” to Hershey Medical Center to hang in the pediatric wing. Who knows, that horse could become famous! Elephants do it!

Talent is a definite must on my checklist and I think Kate has this covered. Any woman that can juggle 8 children day-in and day-out is Mom-of-the-Year in my book. And I have the creativity piece of our show covered! How cool would it be if the Gosselin kids and mine could do art projects and then we could have greeting cards printed with proceeds going to charity! I could write funny blog entries and illustrate each episode to give viewers juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits. People love that stuff! I LOVE THAT STUFF!!

Of course just the right amount of sheer chaos completes the recipe for blockbuster reality show. Just re-read the above paragraphs, close your eyes and visualize the opportunities for chaos. (although in my twisted brain I REALLY TRULY don't see it as chaos! Honest!) Mom viewers would love it. Well, maybe I just needed to talk myself into believing that as my 12-year anniversary of being stay-at-home mom approaches, I actually have a ‘marketable expertise’. Maybe I am distracting myself from cleaning. Either way, I think I may be onto something. Peace.

Please remember this post was written in JEST - something SILLY! If you are tempted to call me a STALKER, please click "next blog" and leave your nastiness elsewhere.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

*KATE*VERSATIONS September 5, 2011

Well, I will admit, I was the first to say that the promos for this week's RV episode were edited to make it LOOK like Ashley was freaking out at Kate. I would have put money on the fact that Ashley was freaking out on Jamie, her mom, and TLC was making it LOOK like her anger was directed at Kate.

Well, sadly I say that was  not the case. I would be so hurt if my "friends" threw me under the bus the way Jamie and Ashley did to Kate on this episode. Now, I realize there is a lot of footage on the editing room floor that none of us will ever get to see so I am only basing my opinions on what I saw.

So, I decided to do my post differently this week. Ima gonna lay it out this way:

Top 5 Reasons Why I Would Have LOST it Bigger Than Kate Did

#5 - Trust issues!

When a man puts you in a raft and tells you (and the 6 children he put in behind you) that he will NOT be taking you into the rapids and then he does, this man deserves to have his 'unnawears' pulled up around his ears.

I am sorry, when you are being paid to "entertain" me, you BEST NOT lie to me! I have huge anxiety issues and this would have sent me over the edge. Completely. And I have a story to prove it.

My dear husband of 18 years once took me on a wave runner ride in the ocean. Because I am uber anxious about trying new things I told him I had some rules if he wanted me to be the adventurous wife he was craving that day. I told him that for starters this was the OCEAN and I am petrified of sharks so, under NO circumstances was he to flip the thing or try and dunk me in any way. I also told him we would need to start out slow and no jumping waves. I wanted to RIDE not join The "You'll never believe how much air you can get on one of these things" Club! What does he do? No sooner was my butt planted behind him on the seat, he gunned it, jumped three waves, turned it on it's side with 1/2 my body UNDER the water, did a water-style donut and gunned it again.

I think he was ignoring my screaming as it wasn't until my fingernails pierced his gall bladder that he headed back for shore. That was 17 years ago and I haven't gotten on a motorized vehicle (other than a car) with him since. TRUST is a biggie for me!

#4 "She's being a BLEEP!"

Oh no she didn't! Jamie.... her best friend... who probably helps her process the drama that the paparazzi and the haters create for her just gave those haters a BIG OLE HEALTHY bone to chew on! I can't imagine the pang in Kate's gut when she saw the BLEEP! There's only been two BLEEPS on this entire show's history and both have come from Jamie on last night's episode. Which brings me to my #3.

#3 "She can kiss my BLEEP!"
Really? You and all of your kids are on a FREE trip across the country and you are going to pull THAT? I cannot imagine having a friend that would do this to me. I have a group of 4 best friends and we are as close as sisters. Sure there is drama from time to time. Have you ever known sisters/friends who didn't have drama? That is a natural occurrence in ANY relationship. But, when we have issues with each other the LAST thing we do is take the name calling route and I think I can say without a shadow of a doubt, none of those amazing women that I call BFFs would say such nasty things about me on TV. This is unacceptable.  I think I would have sent Jamie home with Ashley and finished the trip in the RV with air-conditioning.

#2 If it LOOKS like it's organized then let's KEEP it organized!

"The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious." ~Marcus Aurelius

"First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality." ~Napoleon Hill

There is a reason Kate's home runs the way it does with only one parent. The woman has organization down to a science. She could go on the road and hold conferences for those of use who try but fall short of what needs to be done to make our children's home life run like a well-oiled machine!

Now, this is NO surprise to Jamie and Ashley so why would they jeopardize the time they all had together by throwing that all to the wind. Can you imagine the chaotic hell they would all be faced with if Kate put her feet up around the campfire, didn't organize the bathing suits or make sure all the staff had designated left overs? Talk about train wreck, it wouldn't even be fit to air! It would be the vacation many of US take and we have all had those vacations, haven't we?

The woman is a genius when it comes to being organized - you would have to with 8 kids on your own. Sure she gets help but the quality of the time your sitter can spend with your kids is directly related to how organized your life is. If the sitter can find the food carefully portioned out and labelled in the fridge then the kids will eat. If she can locate extra clothing at a moments notice then there won't be any boys in Dora sneakers. If you really sit back and imagine your last Mom-tantrum, couldn't it, in some 'six degrees of separation' kind of way, be traced back to DISorganization?

We vacation in the OBX with 20 people - 8 adults and 12 kids - every year in one monster house. It is an amazing trip and so much fun but when something gets thrown off and things don't go the way we planned  b/c someone isn't keeping up their end of the deal - it gets hairy! The eight adults need to be that well-oiled machine or the kids begin to break down. Kids THRIVE on structure (they will tell you they don't until they are blue in the face but psychology supports this theory) and when the structure is lacking it increases the stress for the kids.... which increases the stress for the adults... you see where I am going here?

So, Jamie and Ashley, help a sister out!

#1 Under NO circumstances... you BASH a mom in front of her children! Are you kidding me? Who does this?

I know it seems like I am ripping Jamie and Ashley a new one but COME ON! On what planet is it OK to trash a woman in front of her children? This is just common sense. There was more that one scene from this episode where the kids were either sitting by Jamie and Ashley as they complained or were dragged into a, "Did you hear what your mom said..." kind of bash fest. This is completely uncalled for and unacceptable. Period.

So there is my list...

Now, I know Jamie and Ashley were under some ridiculous amounts of stress as well and I am not making a judgement call on them as women... simply stating the areas that, if handled differently, could have turned this trip around for the better... for all of them.

My best friends can spout off the times my anxiety over plans getting changed at the last minute or packing on the last day of vacation has gotten the best of me. I am sure they have wanted to hit "rewind" so I could see how irrationally I acted. I have walked this line before with best friends WITH as many kids in tow, but NOT in an RV and we cooked all our meals INSIDE, in the AC, with no bugs, or stanky campfire smoke (which is another issue for me!)... so....

Yes, Kate got teary a couple times and she yelled... but she didn't go APE POOP on anyone. I see such growth in her reserve over this last season without Jon. I see her heart on her sleeve, the "wall" has dropped a little, there is so much more laughter, so much more "I will try it once," so much more SMILING!

Kate, you are a good mom! You are an awesome example to your children! You are an inspiration to all of the rest of us imperfect women! I am happy you and Jamie and Ashley have made peace - that is a sign of true friendship and you are blessed to have that.

All I can say is THANK GOD there is no MKB + Her 3 show b/c that RV trip would have sent me to the rubber room! I kid you not!

One more episode!

Monday, August 22, 2011

*KATE*VERSATIONS August 22, 2011

Alright, so HONESTLY, this was my ALL TIME favorite episode EVER! I just giggled through the whole thing and was in awe of Kate's stamina! KATE GOSSELIN, YOU ARE MY FLIPPIN' HERO! Yes, I tweeted that to the world, too! But, come on, she built a chicken coop... BUILT a chicken coop... with EIGHT kids under her heels! I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!

I loved watching the boys relate to one another... they are such boys and yet still so sweet. The girls are just growing into very articulate young ladies and it is a joy to watch! Sometimes I feel like a neighbor that knows the kids b/c I see them over the fence all the time but then I have to stop and think... we are just watching this from afar! They have no idea how commonplace it is for our kids to chat about them as though they know them.

It was evident in this episode how content Kate is with her life... with their lives. I tweeted "@kateplusmy8: Your demeanor was so calm, so peaceful, so content!! Loved this episode so much! Made me happy!"

I know Twitter EXPLODED with the news that Kate + 8 was not being renewed, I know the kids were sad, Kate was sad and the fans were losing their minds and making Twitter petitions to keep the show on TLC. This was an amazing outpouring of love for Kate and the kids and I think that was so good - it may have even drowned out the haters for once which is no small feat.

But, ya know, as much as I love Kate and all the kids... as  much as I feel a part of their story b/c I have looked in on their lives for so many years... I am so EXCITED to see what comes next!

A talk show?
Some time off?
Another reality show?
A brand new venture no one could have predicted?

I look at it as TLC did what any good mom would do... cut the apron strings and said, "I know you can make it on your own. Let me see what you've got!"

It's the hardest thing for a mom to do but we all know Kate can do WHATEVER she sets her mind to. And if you doubted that, after tonight's episode you KNOW it's true!

Kate, thank you for letting us into your home. Thank you for opening your hearts to us. Thank you for chatting with us on Twitter!

One day, my sweet friend, I will tell you personally how much your dedication to your kids helped make me a better mom. Maybe it will be at our local Starbucks, maybe we will just run into each other at Target. Either way, I hope you can see my heart and know I am just ONE mom who learned so much from you.

Thank you!

Monday, August 15, 2011

KATE*VERSATIONS... August 15, 2011

I can sum up this episode in one word:


This episode was so much fun to hear the tweets and then roll back the clock and see short-haired Kate and 8 chubby faces! TLC did an awesome job choosing MY favorite snippets from the past Kate & Kids episodes. So nice of them to do that for me! LOL! Just kidding, of course.

I loved Kate's honesty in the episode (as I always do) - TLC did not only have her commenting on the simple questions - no, they even threw in the controversial ones, too. Kate handled the questions about her brother, the divorce and the rest of her family with such poise and respect. It was the Kate we all know and love, the Kate that doesn't  mince words - she is honest and to the point. And I loved hearing her responses. I hope she reaches out to her family and finds a warm and welcoming reaction on the other end. I pray for this for her... and for the kids.

There was one thing I really didn't like about the show - the commercial for the next episode. I actually think it is in bad taste that with all of the POOR press Kate gets TLC chose to warp that commercial into looking like Ashley was so upset with Kate that she was leaving the kids behind on the trip. There are so many people that will take that and run with it down into their troll holes and blow it up until it is a rumor that has a life on its own. Then their cronies will not watch the show but feed off of that rumor like leeches and Kate and the kids pay the price.

But, those of us who have been "with" Kate since the beginning know WHO she is, WHAT she stands for and WHERE she is going... UP, UP, UP Baby!

One last word:
I thought that her pretty pink top and MATCHING CELL COVER was epic! LOVED IT!

Love you, Kate! Keep on ROCKIN' IT, SISTER!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WHAT? Wednesday: How do YOU spell BREAST CANCER awareness?

What do you get when you post the color of your bra, where you put your purse and your shoe size on facebook?

Well, duh, BREAST CANCER SUPPORT, right? Isn't it obvious? Notsomuch!

A couple years ago when the requests came out on facebook to post the color of your bra in your status to show your support for Breast Cancer, it seemed harmless enough. Bras and breasts are connected. It was a creative thematic game. Cool.

Then last year it was the place in the house where you leave your purse. I raised an eyebrow at this one b/c I wasn't sure what in the world this had to do with Breast Cancer. And then when I saw all the statuses, 'On the counter,' 'Next to my bed,' 'On the table,' I thought.... "Is anyone seeing the innuendos, here?" Being that I had been teaching in children's ministry for 8 years and my friends list was filled with parents of the girls I taught, I figured this was a game I would just quietly decline playing. But, I had to wonder how in the world that was raising awareness for Breast Cancer.

The newest request is circulating and many women have sent me this, "You need to write your shoe size, (just the number) followed by the word 'inches' and then sad face. Remember the first year so many people took part of this and made national news. The constant updating of status reminded everyone why we're doing this and helped raise awareness!! Do NOT tell any males what the status's mean, keep them guessing!!"

Are you kidding me? This infuriated me but I calmly respond to each request with, "Sorry ladies, as a mentor for teen girls who is always harping on them abt being appropriate on facebook, I will have to pass. :)"

I was, however, impressed that many women declined saying it was disrespectful to their husbands and although they support Breast Cancer, they would not be taking part in this "game."

This morning when I saw some of the teen girls I mentor getting involved in this game, I was fit to be tied! I spend HOURS... literally HOURS... every day texting, IMing and chatting with teen girls who are trying to navigate this world we live in and they are getting lost by the hundreds.

Girls will tell me they wish boys would talk to their eyes and not their breasts and they can't figure out how to gain the respect they deserve. Later I see their statuses and realize the lyrics to the song they posts sends the "you don't have to respect me, just love me" message! I am constantly reminding them that facebook can be used as a peek into where their boundaries are set.

So, now, through this brilliant idea for Breast Cancer Awareness, they are telling hundreds of boys at a time, who have no FLIPPING idea what their status really means, that they have measured the PENIS of the last boy they were with.... and they were disappointed!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Ladies!!!!! LADIES!!! Can we NOT set better examples for our girls? Why must everything come back to SEX? Why is this what you are choosing to taint Breast Cancer Awareness with - cheap sex.

Last year when every boy in the US had those stupid (I know someone will flame me for this) I BOOBIES bracelets, I wanted to carry scissors with me at all times and cut them off the wrists of everyone I saw with one.

Scoring the almighty dollar for Breast Cancer at the expense of exploiting young girls and their bodies is DISGUSTING! I was horrified! HORRIFIED! I wish there was a way to measure the percentage of high school boys who TRULY bought those bracelets b/c they wanted to support Breast Cancer - I am sure there were some. But I am also sure, beyond a doubt, that wearing a I BOOBIES bracelet to school and not having to take it off b/c it was for Breast Cancer really thrilled most of them. I was standing and clapping each time I saw on the news that another school district banned them.

I also couldn't help wondering how these bracelets affected the many women who have gone through mastectomies because of Breast Cancer... people wearing I BOOBIES bracelets when theirs are gone couldn't have felt good. Just a reminder, once again, of the importance our society puts on sex and how inadequate it feels when part of what makes you a sexual being is GONE. GONE. Did the makers of these bracelets think of THIS? Nope... the almighty dollar won out AGAIN. Surprise, surprise!

Ladies! We are being watched. Our daughters and the girls in our lives are watching us as their gage for HOW to be. What are we choosing to show them? Sure, in adult company, a good sexual innuendo joke gets some big laughs... but let's get real here... when did we start thinking these things were OK to do in front of kids?

What did those boys learn about Breast Cancer by wearing those bracelets?
What are our girls learning today by posting "inches" on their status? 

You can stick up for this game all you want, "It's all in fun, no one's getting hurt" - but when a boy exposes himself to your daughter b/c of herstatus to show her he is bigger than the "inches" she posted - then what will you think of this game?

Monday, August 8, 2011

*KATE*VERSATIONS August 8, 2011

Kate has yet to disappoint me!

She tells it like it is.

She knows how to have fun!

And tonight is evidence of that.

I have been tweeting back and forth with Kate and her biggest fans (and a few haters that I blocked after Kate told me how) for the last couple days. She is real. She is so friendly and really funny.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed the show.

I loved the DC Cupcakes episode. The girls had so much fun and I loved watching Kate relax and just have fun with the girls. She barely flinched when the cupcake almost fell on Mady's head - she even caught the icing in her hand.

The space was cramped, there were 4 girls and 4+ adults and 30,000 lbs of decorative icing and doodads 2 big mixers, etc. I was hyperventilating over imagining being in that space in Kate's shoes (well, not in her shoes for real b/c she wears REALLY high heels) and I kept looking at her and thinking, "wow... you are so at peace." I love it! I love it for her and for the kids!

I thought it was awesome that Kate, Mady and Cara met Jon's aunt and uncle. I loved that they all shopped together, went sailing and made some memories. I was intrigued by the comment about Kate's parents... wondering if that scenario will be working its way into an episode however, I would have to say I think that is probably something that needs to be worked out withOUT the cameras around. Just some good old fashion lovin' on one another and reconnecting a little bit!

I loved Ashley's summer games! So fun!

Then the MOVIE MAKERS episode was FLIPPING adorable!!!! I don't know about you but Cara as the Pegasus had me giggling. She was such a good sport and her part in the movie was just plain adorable. How she saved the orphan! I loved their movie. My kids giggled when Kate said, "That makes me cry" at the end... because that is SO ME! I have been crying for 2 weeks as my oldest son performs in JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at a local theater! I get crying over how amazing your kids are!

What an awesome Monday evening... and the teaser commercial for next Monday, I am sure, has the HATERS foaming at the mouth. I'm not sure I would PURPOSELY put Kate in a bad light and make it look like Ashley was complaining about her, etc. But that is up to TLC and I don't doubt they have a plan for that episode. I have a feeling though that Ashley is crying about someone ELSE who came on that trip and not about Kate. Really, why would TLC shoot themselves in the foot and air something that would hurt Kate's brand?

Anyway, I truly enjoyed this evening with Kate! Thank you, Kate and kiddos!

Now, here are some of my ideas for future episodes:

The Gluten-Free guy and Kate go to STARBUCKS
Kate borrows my flip flops and I try to walk in her GORGEOUS shoes all day (or 45 seconds)
I give Kate my Gluten-Free/Vegan chocolate cake w/ Peanut Butter icing recipe
Kate and the girls join me at one of my tween and/or young girl workshops

Well, I will sign off for  now and add more to my list of ideas!

I welcome your comments and thoughts on the show...
be forewarned, if you are a hater, your comments will be deleted immediately


Tonight I will be doing another "blogisode" of  *KATE*VERSATIONS!

Very excited to see the new episode of Kate + 8!

Come check it out after the show!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I'm proposing....

Yes, you know I am married. But that leaves you wondering who I am proposing to and why would a married woman blast her extra-marital business across the internet for everyone to judge...

I am writing a PROPOSAL...
for a BOOK...
MY book for teen girls.

Ladies, is there not enough gossip in the tabloids to hold your attention? You needed to come here to try and find some? You know you don't get gossip here. Just good ole' fun about being a mom and my tricks of the trade when it comes to dealing with kids...and now TEENS... of my own and other people's teens.

"You are AMAZING! I just wanted you to know I couldn't have gotten through this year without you!"
After I got this message I realized how this incredible ride I am on is just the beginning - Ladies and Gentlemen, we are just about to pull out of the gate...HOLD ON, it's going to be a crazy ride!

This morning my PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE devotional said that people who look into their own future and envision their lives "down the road" actually have more success than people who just plod along day by day.

Well, would ya look at that, all the people who think I am an incurable DREAMER are right...and I don't have to feel like I am getting tsk-tsk'ed by the teacher when they say it. Now, the next time someone says, "She's got her head in the clouds again..." I can say, "YOU BET I DO!! Grab your tickets now, you're gonna wanna see THIS!"

So, the theme of my morning devotional was PERFECT for the day I would rush out the door to my favorite and most productive writing spot - PANERA - as soon as my husband packed up the kids for the pool. I have been asked to plot my marketing plans for this book.

So, get comfy and insert the dreamy music here...

I see a shelf filled with a series of books and journals, activity books and picture books by Michelle Kemper Brownlow for teen girls that will raise their awareness of the world around them and give them the permission to OWN the space they take up. That space will be unique and beautiful like each of them and will have distinct boundaries that will celebrate the kind of woman they are "training" to become. Now, I know all these books would be spread all over the bookstore in their respective genre - but just humor me. Let's PRETEND I would have my own shelf. Isn't it pretty?

I see my iPhone (which I don't have yet) and make sure I synced it (which I don't know how to do) with my calendar so that the directions to the school I am speaking at later this week is included.

I see myself lurching back and forth as I tell just one of my many goofball stories that accompany every workshop I run. I have sat with young girls for over 9 years and made stories from my own life relevant to what we were talking about that day. Whether it was girl drama, boys and boundaries or parents, I have the story - ask them, they'll tell you!

I see flying (gasp, gasp, I don't like planes....breathe....if God wants me to I will....that's better) to events, book signings, TV appearances (OK - that felt weird to type), speaking engagements, schools to share something I have lived through and learned with girls who are struggling to stay afloat in this thing we throw at them called life. Sometimes it seems we parent from the lifeboat and just let them flail until they "kinda" get it!

The plans God has for this project are the ones I want to follow. I have followed His lead from the beginning. When I was struggling with what I was supposed to be doing with my life - go back to teaching high school, continue writing children's programs/curriculum for churches and teaching teens on Sunday, go into a different field altogether - I prayed and had a long chat with God. Thankfully He doesn't mind that sometimes that means meeting me in the bathroom. I picked up one of my own teen's devotionals and opened it. The words that jumped out at me said, "WHERE IS YOUR MISSION FIELD?"

Teens have been my passion since I taught back in the mid- 90's but I guess I always thought my connection with them was completely based on the fact that being right out of college, there weren't all that many years between us. But when my own children became tweens and the conversations would go from in front of the TV to around the kitchen table WITH ME... I realized they can sense how much I love them without me even having to do anything special. Just listen, be my goofy self and let them BE who they are.

I started to think about all the books out there for them... there were some but what teens go into the bookstore and head right to the self-help section for teens? What books could I suggest for them?

Well, they wanted me to help them now.... NOW... not when I found a book and after they had the chance to read it.What could I offer with my writing background? What kinds of topics would I cover?

That's when I decided I would focus on TEEN GIRLS.

My "Advisory Team" of 30 lovelies that I like to refer to as The Butterfly Girlz have shared their lives and their best advice with me for the book and the girls from "the gathering" group on facebook, which is comprised of 230+ girls from around the country, is always buzzing with issues, advice, girls crying out for help.

I have even spent hours on the phone with MOMS who beg, "I just need your advice..."

There is a need for this book. There is a need for teen girls to feel like they have someone to turn to.

So, I see this book becoming almost interactive when paired with the LIVE scenario of a facebook group!

So, we are headed up the hill of this big ride that starts with this book proposal.

So, as you see, I propose.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Moms, can't we just stick together?

The work I do with teen girls has me handing out advice all hours of the day. One thing I wasn't expecting when I started this ministry was all of the calls and emails and facebook messages I would get from MOMS! It has been amazing helping moms hash out their relationship issues and being the sounding board for those who want to make sure they are giving sound advice to their girls. I have even had moms ask if I could run workshops for moms in between the workshops I run for teen girls!

I love BOTH sides of this coin. Walking girls through the most difficult times in their lives while standing firm with moms and supporting them in the drama of raising a teen girl. Whether you have a responsible teen or one who stretches you to the limits there is drama. Sometimes that drama is friend-induced and sometimes it is brought on directly by your daughter. Either way, we are in this together! And I always make sure I am NOT taking the place of the moms, I am constantly giving girls advice on how to go to their moms with the things they come to me with. The relationship between mother and daughter is SO valuable as they navigate their way through their teen years.

But, in the conversations I have both with moms and girls, there is a common thread that causes many of the issues. And it has happened enough even in the last 2 weeks that warrants a blog post!

Some (and I stress SOME so that you don't get angry with me) moms are getting lazy. I feel like the more drama that comes into their lives, the more laxed they become in sticking to their guns. Sure, it is EXHAUSTING being a mom of a teen girl and many of you have more than one (God bless you)! But this is all the more reason to stick to the boundaries you have set. If you think they don't know how to play their cards and push you to your breaking point just to get you to say, "FINE! Just GO! Do it! I don't care! Just STOP bugging me!" then you have completely forgotten your own teen years!

Let me give you a scenario -

Tamara asks her mom if she can stay out past the Cinderella curfew on her licence (which is 11pm) b/c her friends, Callie and Tessa want to go out for ice cream after a movie. Callie and Tessa live on the other side of town and will be taking Tessa's car to the movies. This means Tamara and Tessa will have to break curfew if they are doing ice cream after. Tamara's mom says "no" because that is breaking the law. Tamara flips out and says it's not fair b/c Callie and Tessa are allowed.

Tamara's mom calls Tessa's mom to chat this out and finds out that Tessa's mom HAS given Tessa permission to be out later than curfew, "because I just feel bad, they really want to go out for ice cream after. You know, I don't wanna be the bad guy all the time."

Moms, can't we just stick together?! Come ON!

Why are we getting lazy? Young teens are going to R-rated movies, the songs on their iPods are atrocious, the language they use and lack of respect they have for adults is insulting to say the least, and what they post on facebook - ooohhhhh, don't EVEN get me started on that!!

Why do we all of a sudden, during the years that will shape the adult they will become, do we take a break? We didn't take a break when they wanted to dart out into traffic, why now, when they are testing the boundaries with sex, drugs and alcohol do we decide it is our job to make their lives comfortable?

I am pleading with moms everywhere to TIGHTEN your reigns! Check their facebook, don't let them see movies that are intended for older audiences, don't let them drink in your home, don't give them permission to stay out beyond the curfew set by the law makers who KNOW the statistics of fatal car accidents involving teen drivers.

I talk to teens everyday who are SO confused about right and wrong because the lines have been blurred. Somewhere over the last 15 years society has trained adults to believe that the kids have a handle on this growing up thing and we should just let them do it, on their own.

Sure, Wally, that's why I made sure you had money with you.
Yes, honey, the condoms are in Aisle 7.
Have a good night. Be safe.

I don't need to ask you if there is something terribly wrong with this picture!

I had a mom tell me that she found naked pictures on her 15-year old son's phone sent from a girl he knew from school. Those pictures were accompanied with the "activities" she was offering.

You can imagine my shock when she told me she went out immediately and bought him a box of condoms.

I questioned her as to her responsibility to lay down some laws, her responsibility to tell him that having sex can mess up your whole life. There is no reason a 15 year old should think that his mom is condoning sex.

"I'm not condoning it. I told him it was unacceptable."

But by handing him the condoms after verbally setting this boundary she is sending the message, "I know you will screw up. There is no part of me that believes you can be trustworthy. I know you won't listen to anything I tell you so here you go. I am giving you permission to have sex even though I just told you it was unacceptable."

So, my questions for you today are...

Are you just lazy?
Are there things you allow your teen to do because you just don't have the energy to be consistent?
Do you give in because you hate the arguing?
...and, finally....
Are you READY for the ramifications of your laziness?

Pass this on to the moms in your circle of friends.
Agree to ALL stand up for those boundaries you have set.

And, most of all, agree to SUPPORT each other in upholding the highest standards for our teens.

Aren't they worth it?

Peace out, Mamas!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Waiter...there's a bug in my SHOWER!

So, I thought on this SUNNY day in June, I would re-post one of my RANTS from winter. Enjoy!

SNOW DAY! No school!

I hop out of bed before my husband leaves for work to guarantee a shower.

Three kids home makes for not so much Me-time! And I didn't shower yesterday so I REALLY needed one today!

No sooner am I in and I glance down to find a huge bug on the floor of the shower. HUGE.

I think it was a stink bug. Anyway, I am one of those pacifists that probably gets on your nerves b/c I DON'T kill bugs. We (insert quiet first-grade-teacher-voice here) secure them in a soft covering (aka toilet paper) and set them free out the front door.

So, I say, "Ew, there's a bug in here. Did you know that?" to my husband who just got out but I am not the least bit freaked out - I'm happy to share...maybe he was thirsty.

Hot water, no screaming kids and a massage for my head with my new, yummy-smelling shampoo and I forget all about Mr. Stink on the floor until...


Yep...I turned to wash the shampoo off my face and when I put my right foot back down I squashed him flat! FLAT! I felt the crunch vibrate all the way up to my knee!

Now, I truly don't mind all...unless they are the size of an armadillo and stuck to the bottom of my foot!

I started to wail! WAIL, I tell you!


On most occasions, someone's life falls apart as soon as I am in the shower and before I know it, they are ALL staring through the steamed glass door and throwing questions at me left and right.

But, not today! Today there is NO ONE coming in! Today when I have 6 pounds of shampoo foam all over my face and I can't wipe it off or open my eyes because I am holding onto the rail of the tub because I have bug guts on my foot and I don't know where he flew when I shook his dead butt off my foot! NO ONE!

Finally, my husband came to my rescue...albeit, laughing his pants off! I rinse off and step out only to find 3/5 of my family right outside the door in my room watching like I was Cirque de Soleil!

NAKED Cirque de Soleil!

Happy Snow Day! It can only get better from here right?

Until I catch my 4 yr old at the top of our staircase on a skateboard! That's a whole other story!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Just the Way She Is Day... July 20, 2011 JOIN US!

 I am organizing a NATIONWIDE event! And if this is going to work, I need to rally the troops! The troops are YOU! My loyal readers, can you help me promote this very important event?!

 As a young woman you know the havoc the media can play on your self-esteem, this event is to spread the word that every girl is beautiful JUST THE WAY SHE IS!

Would you consider joining the event and registering a group? Would you SHARE this link on your wall? This is the future of our legacies that will be impacted! Thank you for considering this!

Friday, June 3, 2011

NKOTBSB - I'm on the fence...

So this morning I am enjoying my coffee at the kitchen table with my back to the TV when I find myself grinning and be-bopping to a familiar tune...

"All you people can't you see, can't you see

How your love's affecting our reality

Every time we're down

You can make it right

And that makes you larger than life..."

I thought I was reliving my 8th grade homecoming dance. I was not planning on turning around and seeing the 40+ year old boy bands combined on a stage... I grabbed my sunglasses to sheild my eyes from the boy band bald spots!

Part of me giggles b/c I recognize these "boys" I used to have ridiculous crushes on, but the other part of me is cringing because they sound AWFUL and I feel so embarrassed for them.
I will say, their lyrics have one version - CLEAN! Unlike the Rhianna's S&M performance the Today Show had last week that left me gagging. To watch a 23 year old sing about whips and chains crosses the line for me... so, if it's bald spots and clean lyrics - then more power to them... maybe they could just add a little AutoTune.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Help for Moms of Teens...

It has been a while since I posted here b/c I have been so busy running the program for teen girls  that has just taken off like wild fire...let me recap and let you know what has been going on...

When I first thought about writing a book for teen girls it came out of my frustration with what I was seeing on TV and hearing on the radio that was compromising the RESPECT our girls should have for themselves. How can a girl have respect for herself while she is singing, "C'mon rude boy, can you get it up...." Yep, that's our lovely Rhianna telling our girls to challenge boys in this way. So, I tried to come up with a way to describe how to HOLD onto our self-respect. One day I sat in Panera and wrote The Legend of the Butterfly Girlz.

A couple months later, I put out a status on my facebook calling for TEEN girls who would like to be my "go-to" girls while I write my book for TEEN GIRLS called, "My NET Worth: Every Girl's Guide to Catching Self-Respect & Keeping It." I wanted to have quotes, advice and anecdotes from REAL teens to make my book authentic and something a teen girl would hang onto like a security blanket. I saw this book as being a life-line. Out of that post came an amazing group of 31 teen girls who are now known as "The Butterfly Girlz."  These girls range in age from 12-18 and are from across the country. We have a PRIVATE facebook group where they are free to discuss teen issues. I post regular questions that help me to gather quotes and anecdotes for the book but at the same time their candid answers, humor and transparency is helping them forge friendships stronger than some forged within the same schools.

I saw the amazing strides these girls were taking and thought it was a crime to keep all of that good advice and support within the walls of the Butterfly Girlz group. So, I added a new PRIVATE group called "the gathering" which we opened just a couple weeks ago. We started with our 31 girls. Members of the group have the capacity to add friends and girls can request to join. We now have a working group of over 230 girls. The "Butterfly Girlz" have a large presence on this site and jump at the chance to support girls who post their heartache over a lost love, their shock at a pending divorce, etc. I am on "the gathering" for hours daily overseeing and offering advice. I have had girls say to me that they never imagined an adult would care enough to help them with their problems. That is so sad to me!

My teaching, workshops and book focus mainly on SELF-RESPECT and PERSONAL BOUNDARIES. I work with girls daily on "scripting" their responses to difficult situations. I have adapted a couple tips I have learned in the trenches of dealing with teens to suit the girls that meet me on facebook each and every day. This "scripting" exercise has been a BIG hit, girls are using it and being successful at setting boundaries that stick!

I have been running The Butterfly Girlz Blog which is a place that has newsworthy information on things that apply to teen girls. Every Friday I post a journaling exercise to get the girls who read the page a chance to hash out their thoughts on that subject for the day.

The Butterfly Girlz have also published their own mini-magazine/newsletter. Our first issue, the SUMMER issue came out at the beginning of May. Their writings, journal entries, pics, a write-in advice column and much more grace the pages of Butterfly Landing Magazine. We are open to submissions from teen girls anywhere.

I am planning to start summer workshops for young girls (ages 7-11) and teen girls (12-18). I have some workshops planned out but am open to catering workshops based on the needs of the schools, scout troops, churches inviting  me to speak.

There are so many ideas running through my head for weekend events that girls could  be doing simultaneously across the country but under the umbrella of The Butterfly Girlz! Random Acts of Kindness projects, support for storm ravages states, etc. I plan on having some events for just The Butterfly Girlz this summer where we SKYPE in the girls from other states.

Over the past couple weeks I have had moms ask if I could run programs for them b/c at times they are just at a loss for what to do with their girls or the drama that surrounds them. I have had moms calling in tears asking for advice, moms emailing and facebooking me for help...

I had no idea this was going to take off so quickly and become so HUGE. But I am so thrilled and blessed each and every day when someone "gets it" and I can see the proverbial light bulb click on. These girls are treasures that can not be "blown off" anymore. They have something to say, their problems are real, the media is feeding them CRAP through everyone of their senses. Boys are telling them, "it's ok, just let me show you" and they are falling for it. Girls as young as 12 are having babies, suicide attempts are now trickling down into our elementary schools and I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!

This is my contribution to the next generation and I IMPLORE you to help me spread the word. This book needs an agent and publisher, I need to branch out and speak around the country to groups of girls who are losing grip on the end of their rope. I need to do interviews, I need connections with talk radio stations. I want to save lives, I want to empower girls, I want to DREAM with them, I want them to see their potential. I want them to succeed. I want them to hold onto their butterflies and RISE ABOVE THE MUCK!

Please help me take this around the world.

Thank you for helping me inspire our FUTURE with what I have learned from all the amazing moms in my  life - and yes, that includes you!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Butterfly Girlz are ROCKIN' and ROLLIN'...

 I have been blogging over at The Butterfly Girlz and building up TEEN GIRLS with the self-respect that society doesn't teach them that they have.

Please click on the pic of my beautiful Advisory Team - the Butterfly Girlz Class of 2011 - to see more about this project.

And please pass the link along to anyone you know who would be interested in any of the following:

The STORY of how this all came to be....

the BOOK I am writing,
My "Net" Worth: Every Girl's Guide to Catching Self-Respect & Keeping It!...

how to submit a teen girl's writing to our BUTTERFLY LANDING mini-magazine...

or the WORKSHOPS I am offering...

This is the BIGGEST project I have ever worked on, I am literally working more hours a day some days then when I was a high school teacher - but the emails I get from girls who got a word of encouragement or inspiration from the advice I gave them makes it all worth it.

Please help me spread the word.
Thank you!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Butterfly Girlz are taking flight

 The project that I have been working on that has been keeping me away from blogging here is really taking flight and I am so excited to share it with you.

I am currently working on a book for teen girls called, MY "NET" WORTH: EVERY GIRL'S GUIDE TO CATCHING SELF-RESPECT & KEEPING IT!

I started this book while sitting in Panera trying to solve the world's problems. It was one of those weeks where every news channel was covering a different teen suicide or bullying event. I started to think  and worked from the suicide backwards to try to get to the root of the problem.

I landed on self-respect. No one with a developed sense of self-respect would treat someone that way. No one with a developed sense of self-respect would start a rumor or feed into gossip. No one with a developed sense of self-respect would pressure a girl for sex...and so on and so on.

I decided I would start with the girls (yes, that DOES mean I have an idea in my head how to do this for boys next). I sat and tried decide how to explain in my own quirky way, what self-respect looks like. What would be something that was beautiful but in today's world not all that easy to hang onto?

A butterfly.

Out of this conversation with myself was born The Legend of the Butterfly Girls.

This book is a culmination of 16+ years of mentoring teen girls paired with the input of TODAY'S teen girls in the form of an Advisory Team that I oversee in a closed Facebook Group called The Butterfly Girlz. The book is chockful of journaling exercises, creative activities that illustrate a point, conversation tactics for those who hate confrontation, etc.

I focus on FIVE main character traits that we work on developing - COURAGE, INTEGRITY, ASSERTIVENESS, CONFIDENCE and RESTRAINT. I believe that of all of the character traits, these five embody a perfect recipe for a healthy dose of life-long self-respect.

My advisory team came together very quickly after a post on my facebook calling for teen girls who would like to be part of a self-respect project. I now have 25 AMAZING young ladies from 11 - 17 years old from all over the country. They have the opportunity to answer questions and I have their permission to use some responses for the book. They also start their own conversations, support each other and enjoy getting to know each other better. It is amazing to watch.

We are starting our own MINI-Magazine called BUTTERFLY LANDING which we are just thrilled to do together! There is a teen residential care facililty in Missouri who has expressed an interest in having our new magazine available to their female residents.

I have had local groups ask if I would come speak to their teen girls and am planning my first large conference-style event open to the public.

Through our BUTTERFLY GIRLZ BLOG, we have attracted the attention of Dr. Michele Borba, parenting expert seen often on the Today Show and Dr. Phil. We have gotten comments from Annie Fox and Tricia Goyer, both authors who focus primarily on teens.

So, there are so many of you who I would like to thank for staying faithful readers and followers. If you are as excited about this as I am please feel free to pass this link along. Facebook it. Tweet it. Email it.

I just read a statistic that scared me to death - 25% of today's teenage girls are in immediate danger from self-mutilation, eating disorders, violence, depression or suicide.

Help me reach those teens.