• Blessings,  I'm Apparently Old.,  My Kids Have Mad Skillz,  Reflections on Parenting

    Back In Time, If Only For a Moment

    I was loading up the conveyor belt with my purchases at Target earlier today when I noticed that there seemed to be a hold up with the customer ahead of me. Once I could find no more space on the belt, which hadn’t moved in a couple of minutes, I looked up to see what was going on and my heart melted. A little boy of no more than five years old was standing next to his young father, struggling to open his own adorable wallet and pull some paper bills out. I looked at the cashier in time to see her bagging a mid-sized Star Wars LEGO kit and…

  • Reflections on Parenting,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Rosecrance’s “In My Shoes” Exhibit: Go See It!

    Last week I told you about how I’ve been doing some sponsored work for Rosecrance, one of the country’s leading teen substance abuse treatment centers, to help get some tough teen conversations started. I participated in a Twitter chat and then was all set to visit the traveling art exhibit called “In My Shoes”, currently on display at Hinsdale’s Robert Crown Center. Today, I’m reporting back!

  • My Kids Have Mad Skillz,  Proud Moments,  Reflections on Parenting,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Preventing Substance Abuse Requires More Than One Conversation.

    Even though we have never experienced communication issues, some of the most difficult-to-begin conversations with our boys were the ones about substance abuse. As parents, the idea of our kids—actually our whole family—dealing with substance abuse was always one of our biggest fears as they got older and became more independent. The fact is, drug abuse–prescriptions and illegal substances–is rampant no matter where you are. Here in Naperville specifically, there’s a huge, scary heroin problem in addition to the “usual” stuff. Recently I was asked by the folks at Rosecrance, one of the country‚Äôs leading teen substance abuse treatment centers, to do some sponsored work in helping them spread the…

  • Childhood Memories,  Reflections on Parenting

    It’s Just A Table…Or Is It?

    Something happened last week that made me realize that I’ve spent a whole lot of time reflecting on the changes Jim and I (and this house) have gone through since J left for college (when we officially became empty nesters), but next to no time (okay, no time at all) reflecting on any changes the boys have gone through in regards to the two of us and this house. Let me try and make some sense. In my parental mind, I naively assumed that once the boys were settled in at college—or in an apartment, or whatever—that was it; their adjustment was made. That’s not necessarily true, as I just…

  • Blessings,  Reflections on Parenting

    Couch Potatoes.

    Ten days after J was born, Jim started his first civilian job after fulfilling ten years of service in the Navy. The new job was about ninety minutes from our house in Wisconsin and so in order to avoid the commute in his first weeks of working long hours he lived away from us Monday through Friday and came home on the weekends. This lasted for seven months—much longer than we originally anticipated—due to the fact that it took us that long to sell our house. J was a fairly easy-going baby and D, at around three years old, was a great helper. Although it was definitely difficult spending five…

  • Confessions,  Do I Really Want My Readers To Know This?,  Reflections on Parenting,  UGH.

    Empty Nesting Is Awesome, Except When It’s Not.

    I love my life the way it is at this moment. I have one son who graduated from college and supports himself with an actual job, and I have another son who is a college sophomore, living only two hours from home. I work from home. I have the freedom to sleep in if I want, workout for as long as I want, not cook dinner for a whole week if I don’t want to, and most of all, pack a bag and take off to visit friends or accompany Jim on a business trip if I want, with no problem. Many of my friends who still have kids at…

  • Blessings,  Family Fun,  My Kid Has Mad Skillz,  Proud Moments,  Reflections on Parenting

    Take A Hike.

    When D was a Cub Scout and going on his first group hikes, he used to stay at the front with the other little boys. They would inevitably increase the distance between us parents and them by speeding up from excitement and not paying attention. “Slow down,” we’d yell. “We need to be able to keep an eye on you.” As one would expect, the boys learned very well as they grew older to pace themselves according to the rest of the group, and hikes became a little less stressful for the parents. A couple of years in, he and his same-aged friends hiked in the middle of the pack…

  • My Friends Have Mad Skillz,  Reflections on Parenting

    It’s Okay To Be Okay.

    The other day I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time when we crossed paths in the parking lot of our local big box store. I remembered that she had just dropped her second child (her daughter) off at college for her freshman year, officially joining the Empty Nester Club. In asking her how everything went, I wasn’t surprised to hear that on the long drive home she had both happy moments and tearful moments. That’s pretty typical. Overall though, she’s fine. I was glad to hear it. She told me that her daughter mentioned that her friends were asking if she (my friend) was “going…

  • Amazing People,  Blessings,  My Kid Has Mad Skillz,  Proud Moments,  Reflections on Parenting

    Absolute Proof That Time Flies.

    I know it’s something we say all the time, but I can tell you without a doubt that time flies because I know it was only yesterday that this happened: Wasn’t it??? And then suddenly, this past Sunday, this happened: That’s right. It’s been four whole years since I was wondering how this house would feel when our older son left for college and it was just the three of us, and now we’re already a year into being empty nesters. D’s graduation from college over the weekend (Mom brag: graduation from college with honors!) was lovely. It was a proud day for our entire family, and I watched in…

  • Reflections on Parenting

    A Different Kind Of Motherhood

    Being in the thick of LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER season, I tend to get a little crazed because there is just so much to do. Okay, that’s my life. It really does get a little more intense this time of year, though. Tracey and I don’t just spend our time thinking about (and taking action on) all of the logistics involved with producing the show—Chicago’s third, this year!—but we also give a lot of attention to the development of a strong family vibe with our cast, because that’s important to us as a part of the whole experience for everyone. We become very protective over each and every one of…