• How To,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Level the College Admissions Playing Field with inli.ne!

    This post is sponsored by inli.ne. It’s getting pretty exciting all up in here! Our younger son J will be completing his college studies this December, one semester early. Three and a half years to a Bachelor’s degree? Boo-yah! We hear so often that college can take four and a half years, five years, or more…but it’s also possible to graduate early. Everyone has his own plan but in J’s case, he stuck with his originally declared major, had some AP test credits, took two summer classes, and got credit for his first year of German after testing out of it. It’s amazing to me that we’re at the end…

  • Amazing People,  Friends,  Music

    On Being In Tune With Teens & Their Music…

    I was in Columbus with Momo this week. Spending time with my friends is, of course, one of my very favorite things in the world. Spending time with my friends’ kids? Also a huge favorite. I love swooping in and spoiling everybody for a few days, like a very young, super cool, and extremely attractive grandma. Actually, let’s say “Aunt”, since that’s how Momo’s daughter thinks of me (She said so, and I wanted to jump across the table and hug her brains out!) or even “second momma”, which is the high honor bestowed on me by Liz‘s kids. One of the coolest things is that I became acquainted with…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • My Kid Has Mad Skillz

    Buckle Up!

    My nineteen-year-old son J is very good with money. He has a job during the school year when he’s away at college, and this is the second consecutive summer he’s worked his tail off at his job here in town for the express purpose of making a maximum contribution towards the cost of his tuition. I think it’s all that squirreling away he does with his money that doesn’t make me blink an eye when he tells me he’s spending what I might think is a crazy amount of money on something. He works hard, covers his tuition commitment to us, and is otherwise responsible with his finances (all good…

  • Blessings,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz,  My Kid Has Mad Skillz,  My Kids Have Mad Skillz

    College Drop Off: We Went, We Moved Him In, I Got The T-Shirt.

    Two, actually. I bought two t-shirts, because I couldn’t decide between the short-sleeved hot pink shirt and the long-sleeved orange and blue shirt–school colors–so I went home with both. So, the deed is done. We dropped our younger son off at college and I didn’t die. I can tell you what leaving felt like, though. It felt like having a full-body bandage pulled off, with that last little sticky part that always stings the most being positioned right over my heart. But again, I didn’t die. Jim didn’t either. We were sort of thrown for the rest of the day, but we’re going to be absolutely just fine. Also, there…

  • Confessions,  Reflections on Parenting

    Actively Waiting For College…

    The raw emotions I was experiencing last week seem to have gone away (for now?) as we creep closer to Wednesday, which is “Take J to College Day”. We’ve moved into a different phase of college move-in prep, too: the “actively waiting” phase. Just like his older brother (who also chose a college in Wisconsin, where school doesn’t begin until after Labor Day) did, he watched all of his friends head off to school ahead of him. Now we are just shuffling around, trying to keep ourselves busy until it’s his turn. We all know that this is happening, that it is supposed to happen, and we wouldn’t want it…

  • Amazing People,  Confessions,  My Kid Has Mad Skillz,  Reflections on Parenting

    Son Set

    I really didn’t want to write about this–the emotion surrounding sending my kid off to college–since I wrote about it at length three years ago when I did it the first time, but I can’t help it. The fact is, I’m doing it again and I have returned to that state of mind. Under the circumstances, I feel an intense need for a cathartic release–again–especially because this time involves the added element of becoming an empty nester. Though I still carry a smile on my face and am truly, extremely happy, I have this inner shrieking and squirming that ebbs and flows underneath it all. The act of putting these…

  • Music,  My Kid Has Mad Skillz

    Stoopid Aweesome Indeed.

    It’s rare that a day goes by on which there isn’t music playing in this house, thanks to J and his regular practice of his DJ skills. He’s hoping to get actual gigs someday, and in order for that to happen he has to work on increasing the length of his mixes. That’s why it’s not unusual for my house to be vibrating with heavy beats on any given evening, often while we’re preparing dinner. Unlike the parents who complain about their kids’ music being too loud or annoying–I often think of those who relegate a drum set to the garage or deep in the basement–I adore what J creates.…

  • I'm Apparently Old.,  Proud Moments

    You’re Welcome.

    I know I have a few “long-time, since-the-beginning” readers of Suburban Scrawl out there, and I figured that–on this very special weekend for our family–you might as well feel old like I do. You know, since you’ve been around. When I started blogging here at Suburban Scrawl in 2007, my younger son was twelve years old and in the sixth grade. Today, he is eighteen and a high school graduate. Who wants to go grab some dinner? I hear they have pretty good early-bird specials at 4:30. Then we can watch the news and head to bed early. (Also, thanks–TO ALL OF YOU–for reading and following my family’s adventures.)