One Classy Christmas Letter – A Year in Crappy Pics 2015

One Classy Holiday Letter - Our 2015 in Crappy Pics

Dear Friends and Family,

We hope you’ve had a wonderful year. While we didn’t take as many trips as we did in 2014, our shared moments and experiences have been just as special.


January – On New Year’s Eve, we came across a Basset Hound standing in the center of a snowy PA back road. After exhaustively riding around to look for his owner, we took him home, placed internet ads everywhere, then named him Scout. Unlike our ungrateful dogs, Scout LOVED the kids, and the kids LOVED Scout. And then the owner called to claim “Sparky”…Sparky? Who names a slow moving,  droopy-eyed Basset Hound, Sparky?


After the alleged owner submitted the required vet records, pictures of him & Sparky together, and a preliminary DNA sample, I reluctantly handed him over asking, “Are you sure he wouldn’t be happier with us? I mean, he did try to run away from you.” But he couldn’t hear me over the wails of our children.

That was Day 1 of 2015.

February – After a 12 year maternity leave, I finally returned to work at my family’s tire & auto business. Because I’m gone from 7:30am-6pm each day, Brian has taken on some of my family responsibilities, like getting Ana on and off the bus everyday and staying home with her when she’s sick. As for Collin, he’s 12, we gave him the garage code and a copy of Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival by Denise Long.

March – We went sledding once, on a hill by our house. After peeling off our wet clothes with burning red hands and mopping up the laundry room floor, we took a vote and agreed it wasn’t worth it. So we bought one of those clear acrylic birdfeeders with suction cups and placed it high up on our sunroom window.

We then spent the rest of March watching two squirrels desperately flinging their bodies at the feeder. We named them Dumb Squirrel (he had zero street smarts) and Smart Squirrel.  Smart Squirrel was clever, quick, and stealthy. He was superior to Dumb Squirrel, and us, in every way- we were annoyed by his greed and put off by his confidence. But Dumb Squirrel…now there was a rodent we could root for. Oh how we loved to watch him! He’d circle under the window, staking out potential launching points, usually all poor choices. Then he’d momentarily give up, looking on the ground, perhaps for fallen seeds or an elevator. We’d cheer him on “You can do it!” “Believe in yourself!” “You got this!” And he did believe in himself until {{smack}} he didn’t. By the end of March, we had removed the bird feeder out of concern for Dumb Squirrel’s safety

Not so coincidentally, this was also the month that Brian’s obsession with bourbon based craft brews really took off.

April – Having just started horseback riding lessons, Ana decided she wanted her birthday party to be held at the stable. So naturally I spent most of April on planning for this glorious event. It wasn’t until I yelled at Brian for blocking the monitor while I was trying to read user reviews on two competing disposable fork manufacturers, that I realized I was drowning in the details. But in the end, I think we can all agree it was worth it.

Ana cake

We spent Easter with family at Brian’s parent’s house. A wonderful dinner that ended with an impromptu Easter Egg fight. We pelted each other with plastic eggs for over 30 minutes, and proudly ended it before anyone lost an eye.


May – Our family decided to try something outdoorsy again. We received a flyer that our neighborhood lake was having a fishing contest in an attempt to thin out the overwhelming Carp population. So I got the kids all excited (Brian remained appropriately pessimistic), called my brother to join us, then went down to Walmart where I bought 4 fishing rods, bait, and an honest-to-god fishing license.

June 2015 264

Despite the association’s “we have too many Carp in our lake” claim, Collin and Brian caught nada, I got my line tied in a tree, and Ana hooked a snapping turtle…twice.

June 2015 267

We repacked our tackle box for the first and last time, and went home. My brother stayed behind to enjoy the peace and quiet. It was a fun time, just one we won’t soon be repeating.

June – This was the end of Kindergarten for Ana, and Collin’s last year of Elementary school. Collin made us so proud by winning The Principal’s Award at school, which represents a well-rounded student, both academically and socially. And Ana made us proud by finally working out a window-seat rotation plan with her bus nemesis, Julianna. Never mind it was the last week of school.

July – Brain, myself, Collin, Ana, and my mother-in-law Pat, packed the car with vodka and board games and set off on a 1,500 mile trip to visit Brian’s side of the family in Chicago and Wisconsin. Seeing aunts, uncles and cousins was definitely the highlight of our summer! While there, we went tubing, paddle boarding, jet-skiing, visited Millennium Park, saw the U2 concert at the United Center, and ate at a really good “I’m surprised a health inspector hasn’t shut this place down” dive restaurant.

august 2015 015 august 2015 031

Shout out to “BIG & LITTLE’S” where the tacos are worth the risk!


August – Ana participated in several day camps and Collin started tackle football with practices four nights a week. We also finally met our new next-door neighbors when Ana sent their 8 year old daughter home with a ziplock bag full of dead hamster meant for burial. “What’s wrong with that?” she asked, “Her parents probably want to see it.”

Needless to say, they came over pretty quickly to see US.

September – The kids went back to school, Ana in 1st grade and Collin in 6th grade. Our lazy Saturdays were now replaced with travel football games, which I wasn’t crazy about until Brian introduced the idea of checking out local pubs or BYOB restaurants after each game. GO, TEAM, GO!

October –  For Collin’s birthday, we took a bunch of kids downtown to Exodus Escape Rooms. That’s where each rooms has its own specific escape plan that requires puzzle solving, clue finding, and teamwork to find your way out. It’s the newest trend in team-building. When we pulled up, I was dismayed to find that the business occupies the once residential house I partied in during my college days. I looked down at the brochure in my hand “Every room provides the most entertaining experience.” Sounds about right.

SEPT-AUG 2015 157

Brian began playing pick-up basketball at the gym twice a week. It’s a bunch of kinda in shape 40 year olds trying to compete with a bunch of really in shape 18 year olds. As a result, his ankles killed him all month.

Also in October, sadly, Mr. Bojangles passed away. He wasn’t the best dog or even the almost best dog. He was a food thief, a chewer of Barbie doll heads, and he’d tear the eyeballs out of a stuffed animal just for looking at him. But his love for his family was unwavering and true. He was quite a character and we miss him dearly.

2015 123

November – With Mr. Bojangles’ weak bladder no longer a concern, we replaced our living room carpet and area rug. Then we all laid on the floor and rolled around appreciating both the presence of DuPont Stainmaster chemicals and the absence of urine.

On Black Friday, Brian’s beer obsession hit its peak when he bundled Ana up and they headed off to Liquor World at 7:30 in the morning to be the first in line for the 2015 release of Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout. While I was at work, I received the text “I’m the only one here with a kid. Strange.”        Is it?

Brian was still playing basketball. The pain now extended to his shins.

December –  This month has been a bit of a blur as we try to get ready for the holidays. We saw “Miracle on 34th Street” at the Everett Theatre. Brian’s brother, Kevin, played Sawyer, and he was awesome! The kids loved it! In fact, our Christmas Card picture was taken there. And the Santa in the picture actually played Santa in the play! And speaking of this Christmas card, I think we all know it’s not my most photogenic moment, but everyone else looked so nice I decided to use it. Talk about being selfless around the holidays!

And Brian’s still playing basketball. He just sat down and placed a bag of frozen peas across his kneecaps.


As this year is coming to a close , we want to say thank you for being a part of our lives, whether near or far, yesterday or yesteryear, you are always in our hearts. May your 2016 be filled with an abundance of love, laughter, health, and happiness.


Brian, Kim, Collin, & Ana








The Weekend in Crappy Pics – Easter 2014

My 10 year old was on Spring Break last week so, as you might expect, from Monday to Wednesday he pretty much sat around unsupervised, playing video games. Then, on Wednesday night, it occurred to me that his teacher might ask him what he did while on vacation. I figured I’d better pack some excitement into his last two days. *This method has the effect of looking like an awesome parent while putting in only about 20% of the recommended effort.



So, on Thursday, I took Collin, his friends, & Ana to one of those trampoline places.

I’ll tell you what, for a relatively smart woman who still suffers the consequences of carrying a 10 lb 4oz baby, that was THEEE stupidest play-date I’ve ever arranged!

wcp236 trampoline

Luckily, because I was wearing black pants, my bladder humiliation was kept relatively in check. Plus I made friends with Ms. Terri, the bathroom attendant. Her birthday’s in May, we’re going out for drinks.

On Friday, our family went to The Baltimore National Aquarium…along with 30 billion other families who had the nerve to visit on the same day as us.

We learned lots of interesting facts. This one was on the back of the bathroom stall:

wcp239Imagine how much fatter I’d be if I had a spiral-shaped lower intestine. I should include that in our dinner prayers, “Thank you, Lord, for our daily bread…and my cylindrical-shaped intestines”

The kids agreed on their favorite sea creature:

wcp238“What does he eat, mom?” I’m guessing hot wings and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

and Ana successfully exited through the same rotating door that trapped her last year.

wcp240 ana doorNo spectacle today!

On Saturday, we attended an Easter egg hunt at our gym.


But we were so busy chit-chatting that we neglected to strategize with our child before game time. As a result:

wcp243And the yo-yo broke before we made it back to the car.

Saturday night, we dyed Easter eggs.


Sunday was Easter and Ana’s 5th birthday!

wcp247I handed her a kid fork to eat her cake, and she handed it back to me saying, “I need a big fork, I’m five now!” Sounds a lot like how I expect my next birthday to go…”I need a BIG shot of tequila, I’m 42 now!”

But before our company came, I was leaving the grocery store when I received an urgent phone call from Brian:

Brian: I need your help! Where are you? What can I clean the hardwood floor with?

Me: I’ll be home in a few minutes. Just use soap & water.

Honestly guys, I didn’t have to ask, somehow I just knew. I even prepped the kids.

Me: Kids, when we get home, I want you to pause at the laundry room door, check to see where dad spilled my chicken marinade, and walk carefully around it. Now, it’s very important that you remain quiet, move quickly, and avoid all eye contact as he’ll be on the offense and looking for someone to blame. Do you understand me?

When we arrived home:

Marinade smell – CHECK

“If you were home earlier, I wouldn’t have had to pull the chicken out.” passing blame – CHECK

…but the one thing I didn’t expect…

“Buddy needs a bath. The bag poured on his head.”

As if missing a leg wasn’t bad enough, it’s three baths later and he still smells like Worcestershire Sauce. Neighborhood dogs want to eat him.

wcp246 buddy

How was your weekend?

Looking for an awesome Mother’s Day gift? check this out…

mothers daysHell, buy it for yourself! Get it here,

Free Advice Friday! Are your kids spoiled?

Dear Kim,

I feel like I spoil my kids (ages 14 & 16) too much, they’re always “What about me, me, me?!” They think everything we do should contribute to their happiness, and if it doesn’t then it’s not worth doing. How can I turn this boat around and get them thinking about other people’s needs?

Thank you!

Selfless Sally



Dear Sally,

That sucks.

Sally, what you need to do is to get your family into some type of community volunteer activity. Oh sure, they’ll kick and scream at first but the trick is to keep trying different programs until they find the volunteer position that really speaks to them.

Having tried several hundred organizations myself, here’s a heads up on a few: the SPCA will want you to change litter boxes and clean up hairballs, Hospice meetings are usually held on Friday afternoons putting a damper on Happy Hour, and the Big Sister/Big Brother program will most likely involve Saturday mornings and not being hung over. Oh, and none of them pay, so going in with a well rehearsed salary negotiation speech isn’t necessary. That was embarrassing.

After spending months looking for something that was rewarding, yet requiring little effort on my part, I decided to create my own volunteer organization, NewsPooper Tails. I reunite lost pets with their owners merely by reading the lost & found section of various local newspapers. For example, if I see person A lost a yellow lab in the Blake Park area, and person B found a yellow lab in the Blake Park area, BINGO! I make the call to both! I’m like a match maker for the common-sense challenged.

Of course, this type of work does have its risks. I remember this one time, I saw an ad for a missing black dachshund and another for a found black dachshund. I thought to myself, “Candy Ass (positive self-talk), how many black weiner dogs are actually roaming the streets? This must be a match!”

So I called the owner and she was so estatic! She said that the dachshund had been sitting in front of her house when her neighbors saw her ex-boyfriend come by and take it. “Why would he do that?” I asked. “Who knows. But I’m just so worried. The last time this happened, he banged it in the rear.”

“What? That’s horrible!” I screamed “I’ll be right over!”

So I picked up the dog from the lady who found it and headed over to the owner’s home. The moment she opened the door, the dog jumped out of my arms, ran over to an ugly ass recliner, lifted his leg and peed. She glared at me, “What’s up with your dog peeing on my chair?” MY DOG?

Turns out her ex-boyfriend banged the rear of her 1982 black Datsun…not Dachshund. I guess mistakes like that are one reason not to place your ads over the phone.

Sally, rest assure, this good deed has a somewhat happy ending.

Her neighbor’s ended up keeping the dachshund and naming him Rusty (after the condition of the car). They loved him dearly. And would you believe that a year later, Rusty saved their lives by barking when their dried out Christmas tree caught on fire! Granted, it only caught on fire because his doggie diabetes caused him to drink the tree stand water every night. However, the newspapers were kind enough to leave that part out, believing that every dog should have his day.

Sally, I hope I was able to inspire you and your children to seek out altruistic endeavors by giving back to your community. I must go now, it’s cocktail hour and I’m “donating” margaritas to myself and my husband. After all, charity starts at home!

Voluntarily yours,


Like my advice? I’ll love you forever and ever if you click the banner below…you do want my love, right?

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Weekend Update Through Pics: birthing babies from my organic ass.

How was your weekend? I hope it was a great one, filled with laughs, love, wine, wine, and wine. Sorry, I’ve been detoxing from crap for the last week, which means no alcohol. So instead of drinking, I’m dropping old wine corks in my tea like they’re sugar cubes.

Essence of Wine Tea – “When you don’t have time to lose your mind, but your ass is so huge, you’re laying off the booze”

How did my weekend begin? Glad you asked. Do you remember the time that I accidentally left Ana in the gym daycare and went home to eat eggs? (If not, you can read that story here– it’ll make you feel like a better parent. ) It was kinda like that.



Me at the playground with other moms:


Mom 1: Is Brian home today?

Me: yup, why?

Mom 1: I was just wondering who was getting Collin off the bus.

Me: Oh, that’s right, today’s a half day. I totally forgot. Thank goodness Brian works from home!

Mom 2: So I was telling my friend the other day…

(At this point, I get this bad feeling. Hmm, what is it I’m forgetting?)

Me: OH SHIIIITTTT! Brian went to his friend’s for March Madness!!!


I look at the clock and it’s 1:03pm, the bus drops him off at 12:56pm. Holy Shit!

I shove all of our stuff under my left arm, and with perfect timing, Ana shoots out of the curly slide. I throw her under my right arm and we take off running, like this…

Luckily my neighbor was home and rescued him from wandering around the driveway. Thank you, Tiffany!



this happened…

So Collin and I went shopping for a new couch while Brian and Ana went to the moon-bounce place. Hey- that was Collin’s choice.

While shopping, I get this text from Brian…

Nice, real nice.



The whole family went bowling, for the first time ever. Surprisingly, other than pulling a muscle in my ass & back, it was a success!


I asked Ana if she liked bowling and she said “No…I love it!”


After bowling, Brian picked up a pizza and made me hold it on my lap all the way home. Way to be supportive of my detox.


I don’t think he wants me birthing the baby in my ass.

So, what did you do this weekend? If it was “have chocolate martinis”, keep that shit to yourself.


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