Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dear younger self: Wear the bikini

Dear younger self.

I've seen many blogs written with that or a similar title. I've seen the topic discussed among writers groups. I've heard many country songs along those lines, pouring over regrets and the values the lyricists wished they'd adopted in their younger years or the risks they wished they'd taken. I think any adult can look back and say that there are things they wish they knew then that they know now. I certainly can think of quite a few things, both minor and life-changing. However, the first thing to come to mind when I thought of that question was this: Wear the bikini.

It sounds like a frivolous piece of advice, but it's one that I truly needed to hear back then. I was always a skinny little kid. It continued through high school. I recall that I weighed 98 pounds when I started high school and I was still wearing size 12 and 14 in little girls' clothing. I was just over 100 pounds when I graduated. And, believe it or not, I didn't like the way I looked. I certainly didn't feel like I wanted to show off my body in a two-piece bathing suit. (** a little side note here -- I just read last week about the creation of bikinis. They came about during World War II due to fabric rationing. Pretty interesting, huh?)

Throughout high school, I was very self-conscious and didn't like the way I looked. So many times I looked in the mirror and honestly thought to myself, "I look fat" -- and I was a mere 100 pounds. Of course, 20 years after high school, I realize that I was not fat in the slightest...and if I knew how far beyond 100 pounds I would get in later years, I would have had no problem getting myself to wear a bikini in public. I do recall one bikini I owned, but it wasn't until after high school and only because my sister gave it to me. Besides, it was more like what we would today call a tankini. It didn't expose much stomach and I only wore it a handful of times.

My point is...back then I spent so much time feeling bad about my appearance and my body and there was no need for it. I looked perfectly fine. Today, there's no way I'd be caught dead in a bikini and I wish I'd taken the chance to wear one when I would have looked good in it. Now that I feel more comfortable in my skin and can accept that I have a few rolls brought on by the living I've done and the babies I've carried, wearing a bikini isn't an option now. Send me off to a luxury spa with Jenny Craig to loose a bit and maybe - just maybe I'd change my mind, but I don't foresee that happening. And I'm ok with it. I now realize that although appearance is important, it isn't everything. If people look at you and don't like what they see, it's usually their problem and not yours. And I really wish I would have had that attitude at 16.

I just came across this picture of me -- all 90-something pounds of me...this would have been around the time I started high school. :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Graduation Day

Well, it's been a big week for my oldest. Saturday he turned 18. Last night he graduated from high school. Two big steps in a matter of days. As a mom it's a mix of emotions. And I try to put myself in his shoes and wonder what he's thinking of and what his fears are and what he's excited about. It's kind of scary to try and commit at that age to a career path that you plan to do for the rest of your life. So many people change their minds and sometimes not until years in a career they find isn't a good fit. Over the past few months, his plans have changed several times. My dream for him was always for him to go away to a four-year university, but that's not what he has in mind. I think the idea of going away to school terrifies him. And I can suggest and nudge, but ultimately it's his decision and I can't make it for him and I can't force him into something that he's against doing. It would be nice if when someone asked his plans, he had it all worked out and was completely confident in what he wanted to be doing in 10 years. I'm a planner. I like to know what's coming up and what to expect and have things in place. Maybe that's more a female thing. I don't know. I just know that I want so much for him. He has plans and I'll continue to encourage him in those plans and on his road ahead.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Inching toward adulthood

I can't wrap my head around it. My firstborn is now a legal adult. He had his birthday over the weekend. Kind of a fiasco. He had told me he wanted to spend his 18th birthday at Wrigley Field. The Cubs were playing the White Sox, so that was a bonus. I secured some expensive tickets. Then he told me he had to work that day and the boss wasn't allowing switches. When he explained the situation, his boss told him he could be off if he found someone to cover his shift. He didn't. turned out that Wrigleyville was a mess that day...swarming with Secret Service, roads closed, protesters inundating the city. My husband, who is a first responder, was worried and cautious about us going into Chicago anyway. So, he didn't get to spend his birthday there. He spent it at work. We'll make up for it by going to another game later in the season, but I know it won't be quite the same.

I just can't believe he's an adult now. He's depended on me for so long and he will continue to in many ways. It's sad. It's freeing. It's exhilarating. It's nostalgic. It's a lot of things rolled into one. He's a good kid...for the most part, anyway. Like any teenager, he's far from perfect and he's made mistakes, but overall he's been a joy most of the time. I don't feel like I had any really horrible times during his teen years. He didn't always do exactly what I'd like and didn't handle everything the way I'd like, but I'm very proud of the man he's becoming. I think many parents breathe a little sigh of relief if a son makes it to age 18 without getting arrested, getting into drugs or impregnating someone. There are for sure way bigger things to strive for, but those three can be pretty big problems with pretty big consequences and if you can get through the teen years without one of those challenges being put in front of you, you can count yourself as fortunate. We all think we raise our kids to know better, but hey, we were all young once and sometimes teens do and say things in the moment and the consequences aren't heavily weighed. And as parents all we can really do is teach them what is most important to us, relay the importance of priorities, make known the values we hope they will adopt, steer them in the right direction and then set them free into the world. No matter how good the lessons we've taught them, we just don't know what they're doing when not in our presence. We just have to hope and pray that are lessons got through and will guide them in making good choices. As they grown, we no longer have the luxury of making choices for them.

I was thinking the other day of all the things that he is now free to do as an adult. "He can vote now," I said in front of his brothers. "Yeah, and he can get married now," said one of his younger brothers. He could buy cigarettes now if he wanted to, I thought to myself. I'm hoping the voting will come sooner than later, a marriage is later rather than sooner and buying a pack of cigarettes happens never.

Our bank wouldn't let him open his own checking account and get a debit card until he was 18. He was eager to get that done and asked me to take him. I had a hectic day and decided I should send him on his own. He is an adult now and needs to learn to take care of things like his finances all by himself. The other day he had a dentist appointment. I realized that he's no longer a minor and should be able to handle driving to the dentist office he's been going to all his life for a simple cleaning. At first I felt a little mean even, urging him to do these things on his own. I don't want him to feel like I'm kicking him to the curb because he hit that magic birthday.

What else can he do now that he has reached adulthood? He can join the military without my consent if he chooses. He can also be drafted. His selective service information came in the mail last week - right on time. He now no longer has a legal curfew (although I'm of the belief that he's still under our roof and we'll still instill one -- although staying out past curfew hasn't been an issue so far.) He can sign a binding legal contract. He is no longer limited to how many passengers under 18 he can have in the car. He can now serve on a jury. He can buy a lottery ticket.  He can work longer hours. He can go to an adult entertainment establishment (I don't even want to think about that one.) He can buy insurance in his own name. He can apply for a credit card. He can get a tattoo. He can get a ticket to be in a studio audience of a television show. He can pawn something. He can buy a house. He can be convicted as an adult. He can get a library card without parental signature. He can enter the Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. He can go on a cruise. He can gamble in a handful of states, like Wyoming and Rhode Island. That doesn't mean he's going to go out and do all these things, but it's all now an option and a week ago it wasn't. Basically, the only restriction once you're 18 is not drinking alcohol.

Seems like just yesterday that he was falling asleep in my arms, I was feeding him from a spoon and pushing him in a stroller. Now he's grown up. He still has so much to learn and so much to experience and many roads to go down, but now I'll be watching from the sidelines most of the time, rather than being an active participant. Sometimes I feel like I'm still learning my way in this grown up world. Now there's another one in the ranks who will be learning his way, as well.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Taking flight

May is always an emotional month for me. There's always so much going on. I remember writing this column when my oldest one was in first grade about how sentimental I get during this time of year. I recall his spring musical and how I tried to hold back tears as I sat in the school gym watching it.

My youngest boy is now in first grade. His school musical was Monday afternoon. My husband was working and couldn't attend. His big brother came along to watch. That same boy who I wrote about in that column. First grade spring musicals make a mom kinda weepy anyway, but this one took the cake. My oldest son sitting there with me to watch my youngest.

Later that afternoon, my youngest guy came running in to tell me that he just rode his bike on the sidewalk in front of the house without falling down. My husband and I have been working on it with him, hoping he could soon learn and we'd be able to take a family bike ride this spring with every kid able to ride a bike on their own.

I went outside and watched. He did it! He was zipping down the sidewalk.

When they are babies you excite with every milestone. First smile. First bite of food. First time rolling over...then crawling, then walking, then talking. But it's no less exciting when they get bigger and lose their first tooth or ride their bike for the first time. Every milestone is special and meaningful. And of, course, when it's your baby and you know it's the last time you'll witness this first, it's a bit overwhelming. It's saddening and exhilarating at the same time to watch your little ones take flight.

He's taking flight on his first bike ride. His biggest brother attended his last day of high school - EVER!!! - yesterday. His graduation is next week. He's taking flight as well. It's a lot for a mom to take. week, my second son has a birthday. His 13th!!! He's becoming a teenager. I can't even go there at the moment. A mom can only handle so much flying at a time.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Full circle

While families celebrated Mother's Day yesterday with brunches or shopping sprees or dinner get-togethers, I was cooped up inside. I had to work on Mother's Day. But, really, don't feel to sorry for me. I have this really awesome part time job. It does require working some weekends and my work day just happened to fall on Mother's Day. However, it hardly seemed like work. I work in a hospital taking pictures of newborns. I'm kind of like the third string person there and that's how I like it. I only work a few days a month, so sometimes I'll have a week or two off and then I can't wait to get back there and see a brand new baby.

So, I got to spend my Mother's Day with a bunch of brand new moms and the children they just welcomed into the world. When I went to see the first family of the day, there was a big sister in the room dressed up in a beautiful dress and I got some great shots of the two of them together.

What made it pretty cool is that this is the same hospital where all five of my kids were born. I was on the same floor where I labored and my babies took their first breaths and let out their first cries. I was in the same nursery where they were weighed and diapered and poked and prodded in their first hours. I was in the same unit where I first nursed them and where I caught catnaps in between the checks for vitals and the adjusting of the IVs. I was side by side with some of the nurses and aides who had been there when I was in labor and took who took care of me in the days that followed. This was the place I entered -- exactly 18 years ago this Saturday -- to be induced and later that day became a mother. So, being there on Mother's Day just kind of felt right. How many women can say they spent Mother's Day in the place where they actually became a mother? It was like a full circle moment.

Besides, there were lots of goodies waiting for me when I got home. Like this:

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Everybody has one

It's Mother's Day. I've been feeling quite spoiled and appreciated lately and it's a super nice feeling. There have been a lot of meals lately that I haven't had to cook because hubby has been cooking on the grill. The boys have been especially thoughtful. I got the goodies they made at school - a key chain with a photo and drawing. A poem. A refrigerator magnet.

Yesterday I was gone at lunch with my sister. I came home to an empty house and when they all returned home, they had a peony bush and a hydrangea to plant in the front yard along with some border plants. My oldest stopped on his way home and got me some chocolate.

Although not every woman is a mother, every person has a mother. Everyone has some memory or reference to the woman who gave them life. For some it's a close relationship. For others it may be strained. Some may have their mothers close. Some may live far from her. Others may live with her. Some may have women who have played motherly roles. Some may have mothers who have departed for Heaven and whom they have only photographs and cloudy remembrances of times together. I'm so lucky that I still have my mom with us. Although I am terrified by the thought of her no longer being in my life, the reality is that there are not too many years that remain that she will be here. She's 76 after all and no one lives forever. I stopped over to visit her today and brought her a Peanut Buster Parfait. We chatted and laughed and hugged and I'm grateful for every second I get to be with her.

My heart breaks for those with mothers that they cannot visit. A good friend lost her mother last year and just this week lost her mother-in-law. I'm sorry it's such a sad time for her.

I also think about a woman I never met face to face, but who inspired me. In fact, my Mom Moments book is dedicated to both my mom and her - Sharon Leming. This is the song her son wrote about her. His second album was dedicated to her. Makes me cry every time I hear it.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Song for a fifth child

Okay, I didn't plan on doing another posting on the amazing Listen to Your Mother Show that I was part of last Thursday (I've already blogged about it twice), but a little discovery prompted this post.

I'm still a little in awe at the whole thing. I'm so honored to have been included in it. I was nervous, but I wasn't. I felt a little inferior with all these other skinny, gorgeous mothers seated near me, but as it got closer to go-time for me, I thought "I got this." And everyone in the group is so warm and friendly and welcoming.

It was so much more fun reading it to an audience than reading it to myself or even reading it at my audition. This time there were these sounds -- this feedback and interaction -- and it was thrilling.

Memorial Opera House, Valparaiso, Indiana. Photo by Stephanie Precourt.

As I was introduced, Stephanie mentioned that I was the mother of five boys. From the audience I heard sighs. I'd like to think they were sighs of sympathy or admiration. Maybe they were more like gasps of disbelief accompanied by head-shaking and eye rolling. :) Whatever it was, it fueled me to get up there and confidently read my piece.

At one point, I sang a couple lines. And there was more audience feedback. I heard sort of an "Awww..." in unison as I finished up.

I fretted over that singing bit. I can't sing. I know I can't. But that was kind of the point of that portion of the story - to sing to your kids no matter how awful you sound. I know I sound way more like Edith Bunker than Adele. My kids know it, too, and they remind me quite often (well, not that they have any idea who Edith Bunker is, but they KNOW I sound nothing like Adele.)

I won't share the entire piece as the video of the show will be coming in the near future, but the part I sang was this:

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait 'til tomorrow
For children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow 
So, quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep 
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep

Does it sound familiar? My mom used to sing that to us when we were little. It was on a plaque she had hanging in our house and she had a little melody that went with it. And it's one of my favorite childhood memories - mom in her chair, me in her lap, her signing those words.

I just decided to take a look for the author. I don't know why I didn't look further before. I have the full poem printed and taped by my computer, but it says "Author Unknown" at the end. Guess what I discovered, thanks to Google?

The poem was written by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton. It was published in 1958 in Ladies' Home Journal. And guess what the title was? It WASN'T "Babies Don't Keep!"

It was "Song For a Fifth Child." Could it have been any more appropriate for me -- a mom of five boys -- to be reading, I mean, singing that at Listen To Your Mother???


On a day when you're preparing to be on stage in front of about 350 people, you want things to go smoothly. But, really...things rarely go super smooth. Life always seems more like a Clark Griswold movie or a Saturday Night Live skit around here. On Thursday, things just didn't seem to be in my favor.

After the kids went off to school, I noticed one had left his folder in the middle of the dining room table.

I walked in to the nail salon and it was packed! Major delay.

I'd found a dress to wear, but woke up with a HUGE chest zit.

Running late from the mani/pedi, didn't get a chance to eat before heading out.

Heading into the bathroom to do my hair, I realize that my curling iron got turned off and was ice cold!

Underestimated the length of my dress. I had thought knee highs would work.! Detour to Walgreens for panty hose...none my size. Ended up going bare-legged.

Watched a 3-car fender bender happen right in front of me on Route 30. Had it not been for my catlike reflexes, I'd have been car #4 in that chain!

Went to sign into my blog, transposed a couple letters and it took me here to ArmegeddonOnline. That's not the kind of sign you want on a day like this. Totally gave me a good laugh, though.

But, once I got to the Memorial Opera House, I felt calm. I watched each reader before me get up there and do her thing. And I did mine. And it flowed so well and it seemed like it was over in an instant, but I sure enjoyed it while it lasted.

Here's a pic of our awesome cast by Beth Fletcher Photography.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Last night I had the privilege of being part of an awesome show called Listen To Your Mother. The show, which features local writers/bloggers/moms reading about their mothering journeys, is in it's 3rd year and hit 10 cities this year! I was lucky enough to be one of the readers. It was my first time up on a stage like that - ever. I've spoken in front of groups before, but not this big. The show was sold out and I smiled big when I found out that the VERY last ticket was purchased by my big brother!

Much to my surpise, my jokester brother, who started out the night saying, "OMG, it's like a chic flick, but LIVE!" really enjoyed it and said he'd like to take my sister-in-law with him to see it next year. After the show, we kind of made a receiving line in the lobby and many from the audience stopped to say a few words to us on their way out. I was also surprised that so many men in the audience stopped to compliment me on my piece and say that they appreciated hearing it. That was nice.

I'll have to get around to posting more on the show later, but for now let me just say that my mom - who rarely makes it out anymore - was there for the show. That is a major miracle! She said that being there was the best Mother's Day gift she could ask for. Ditto. Her being there was the ultimate gift for me.

And would you just look at all these hot mamas! :)

Update!!!! Here's the video of my reading at Northwest Indiana's Listen To Your Mother 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I'm a little jittery and giddy at the same time. Tonight I'm going to be in a show called Listen To Your Mother at the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso. I will be one of 14 women reading about the journey of motherhood and I'm really stoked, but getting a bit nervous. The show is sold out. That's a lot of people to picture in their underwear. Ha! Ha!

I hadn't really thought I was nervous about it, at first. My older sister asked if it would make me nervous if she came to the show. And last time I saw my oldest brother, he said, "So are you nervous about getting up there in front of everyone?" So, the talk about being nervous I guess has made me a little nervous. And the show SOLD OUT this week. Guess who bought that very last ticket? My big brother. :)

I'm also so stressed as my book deadline approaches. And I have to be sure not to let all of that envelop me. There's a lot going on for others in the household. My husband had an important event to prepare for. And my oldest is finishing up his high school career, with finals next week and graduation the following week. And there's all the day to day mom stuff going on and field trips and picnics and luncheons and housework.

So, I'm going to have a little lunch -- hubby is making steak and eggs and the grill for me -- and then go for my yearly spring pedi and I'm going to splurge and get my nails done, too. And make up my mind about what I'm going to wear. And enjoy the day!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Getting to know my subjects for just a little while

From the time I could hold a pencil and put sentences together, I was writing. I was writing poetry and short stories and plays. I always loved sharing stories or making up stories. When I was very young I thought maybe I'd grow up to one day be a Lois Lane, chasing the latest unfolding events and reporting the news. Later I wanted to be a novelist. I ended up being a writer, but not in either of the capacities I thought I would.

Although I did writing before I had kids, it wasn't until they were born that I actually published something I was paid for. I was writing little bits of information for a parenting magazine. It was thrilling to write content for a magazine that I actually enjoyed reading. That was over a dozen years ago and I haven't stopped writing since. Every month (almost every week) since then I've had a byline show up somewhere. I write about so many interesting topics, do a lot of research and learn a lot of new things. It's something I truly enjoy. No two days are ever the same. I've written for magazines, newspapers, newsletters, blogs, websites, contributed to books and written books of my own. Much of my day is spent in my home office (a.k.a. my computer armoire in the corner of my dining room) questioning people for information by e-mail and doing interviews by phone. It's always nice to get out from time to time to do a face to face interview. Those are so different and I get so much more out of them. I love getting to know someone, however briefly, and learn about their life. I just find such pleasure in listening to people and hearing their histories.

Those face to face interviews stick with you longer than those phone versions where you multi-task by typing as they talk and often never even know what the person on the other end looks like. They don't know if you're completely engrossed in their conversation or if you're peering out the window and folding laundry and they spill things out. Regardless of what they are sharing with you, it's just not the same. It's not as personal.

Through the years I've talked to people about sensitive subjects. They've answered questions that were hard for them to talk about. It's a privilege to be someone they open up to about such things. I've had many statements told to me off the record - things they didn't necessarily want to see put in print but wanted to discuss or get off their chest. I remember a man once telling me that he had a son he hadn't seen since he was a baby and the regrets he had in not being part of his life. I recently talked to man who went off subject and started talking about the wife he'd lost a few years ago and how much he missed her. It had nothing to do with the interview. I don't know what made him bring it up, but he did and I listened and a watched his face as he talked still full of pain from a loss long ago. Sometimes my subjects inadvertently give bits of wisdom and advice that I very much value. And sometimes it's hard to get to know them very briefly, hear so much about them and their lives and then move on never to have contact again.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cuddling, comedy and a pocket of peace at the drive in

Last night we went to the drive in movie. We do that a few times a year and I love the family time together. We have a drive-in, the 49-er, about 40 minutes from our house, so it's a long night when we do go - and we usually leave after the first movie, even though admission always covers a double feature. In the summer months, when the sun isn't going down until after 8:30, the first movie may not start until 9:00, then a brief intermission before movie #2 and it's 1 a.m. before you're out the door. So, we usually leave after movie #1 and still don't get home sometimes until Midnight. Just about everyone is sound asleep by the time you get home and you're prodding kids to wake them up or letting them hop on piggy-back to get them to the porch because their shoes are off.

We have a huge conversion van that my husband drives and we take that to the drive in. We back in and open the back doors. We place a couple folding chairs in front and my husband made a special drive in seat out of the bench seat from a car. He welded something onto it so that when we go to the movies he just hooks it onto the hitch and when we get there he unfolds it and we have seating for a one or two more. Then the third row seating is the floor in the back. One person can comfortably stretch out with a pillow and blanket across the width of the van. The fourth tier is the back seat of the van, which folds down into a bed. Three kids can stretch out there on their stomachs to watch the screen. Last night was a bit chilly and by the end of the night almost all of us were snuggle up with blankets inside the van looking out.

The snuggling was the best part. My youngest is 7 and the snuggle time is a rare occurrence these days. Last night he came over and snuggles up to me, pulling my arm around him. I covered us with a blanket. He pressed his head against mine. He reached his hand up to play with my hair as he used to do as a toddler. He tried to run his fingers through it, but by then the wind had it all tangled up. It was just such a nice little trip back in time to when we cuddled often and I was still the center of his world. Even if it just lasted an hour, it was so nice and it was just enough.

Our outings oddly never go smoothly. Seems like so many times we leave the house it is like a Clark Griswold adventure. Last night was chilly. It was also really, really foggy. So foggy that we couldn't make out the people on the screen. It was comical trying to figure out what was going on in the movie with just the sound and blurry blobs on a screen that was at times not even visible. The moisture from the fog left a faint mist on everything so that you felt wet. The kids stepped in every puddle instead of walking around them. The line in the concession area was a mile long. I guess it was a combination of the opening of the season and the opening night for the movie, The Avengers. But all in all, it was a fun experience -- the kind that had me looking around in the middle of it at my own family and feeling like we were in movie of the happiest kind. My hubby was close by and my boys sat next to each other without fighting, sharing candy with each other that they'd purchased with their own money. It felt wonderful. Among all the other craziness in our lives and the days being so busy, this was some much needed downtime -- a small pocket of peace -- and a reminder of what a wonderful life it is.

Little dreams

I've always had lots of vivid dreams. I must really drift off into a deep sleep in the early morning hours and I wake to the strangest dreams. Some just seem so real, like the one I had about being shot in the back as I drove away from someone with a gun. I hit the gas and was rounding a turn, then felt a warm, wet sensation on my back. I reached around and touched it and then saw the blood on my hand. I could feel it in my dream and I woke up and couldn't believe it had happened. Ever had a dream like that?

I've also had dreams that I've lost loved ones and woke up with tears streaming down my face and the thought of them no longer being in my life. And I've had dreams that people who are no longer on this earth are sitting at a table eating dinner with me or laughing and making jokes. Those are a bit freaky and a bit comforting at the same time.

Then there's the recurrent dream I have that I'm in high school and am struggling to get to a class on time and never seem to make it or that I'm at my locker needing to retrieve important papers and I can't remember the combination and the whole dream is a series of trying to get what I need and get it on time and I'm never successful. That parallels real life in a big way. I have one deadline after another.

It's interesting how dreams are linked to what is going on in your life and funny to try and interpret ones that seem so crazy and far fetched. I had a lot of intense and weird dreams as I was planning my wedding, including one that my grandfather (who has been deceased since I was a toddler) was driving a truck -- a milk truck, I think -- and I was talking to him. I vaguely remember what he looked like from some photos I've seen. In my dream, he had Jackie Gleason's face. Then I went into a Taco Bell restaurant that led to a big banquet hall and theatre in the back. There was a beauty contest going on and I guess I was supposed to pick someone out of the group to marry us. Crazy! What is a dream like that supposed to mean?

I've heard it said about dream analysis that the content of your dreams is related to something you thought about or encountered that day before you slept. Sometimes I can see the direct relation. Often not -- I doubt that the day I had that dream I was eating at Taco Bell, witnessing a beauty contest, watching the Honeymooners and thinking about a grandfather I hadn't seen since I was two-years-old.

Last night I dreamed of spiders. Yesterday my husband told me he'd seen a bunch of baby spiders making webs along the house gutters. So, that dream did make a bit of sense. Except that in my dream the house was surrounded by TONS of webs, so that we were almost in a cocoon and the spiders were gigantic man-eating creatures. I also dreamed about chocolate coconut milk after seeing a food blog recipe for Popsicles using chocolate coconut milk.

My kids now tell me in the morning when they've had a dream they can remember. I've heard some good ones about canoeing down a choppy river and about cities made out of candy. Last week my 7-year-old came up to me and said "Guess what my dream was last night? I drove an ATV all the way to Cuba and I didn't even have to stop for gas!" Okay, 'Where did that come from?,' I wonder to myself.

As I was typing this, my youngest came up to me and said, "Want to know what I had a dream of last night?" "Sure, I answer." He has no clue I'm typing about his dreams as we speak. I lean in hoping to hear some big tale about castles or animals or something really cool. He tells me, "I was a baby. I was only like one year old and I was smoking a cigarette." Oh, lovely...