life with a teenage boy

An update on my sweet Aidan. He has been struggling with cystic acne for the past 6mos. We did 4 mos of oral and topical antibiotics with no success. And I know firsthand what teenage acne can do to your face long term. I still have scars from my cystic acne and have done LOTS to get rid of those scars over the years. So when the dermatologist recommended 6mos of Accutane, I knew it was coming. Rahul got a second opinion from a dermatologist friend who agreed it was time. This medicine can be safe if used appropriately, and like Rahul’s friend said it can change the life of a teenager. You see Accutane is 99% effective at getting rid of cystic acne.

Part of Accutane treatment is monthly blood work. We had baseline blood work done at his visit last week. I was a bit surprised when I got a call today that his overall cholesterol is slightly elevated. I immediately went to my friend Google to get the latest and found this article on Web MD making the argument that teens need their own standards. But that does not mean Aidan could not be making better choices with his food.

I talked to him tonight and he was surprisingly on board with some changes that we will be making –

  1. oatmeal is good to reduce cholesterol but he does not like the texture, so we agreed on granola bars. And not the super sugary kind.
  2. Apple slices are easier than whole apples so they will be added to the AM routine.
  3. nuts – he likes slightly salted almonds.
  4. Orange juice with whey protein added.
  5. tea in the afternoon vs Vanilla Bean Frappuchino
  6. spinach with dinner
  7. soy milk vs regular reduced fat milk
  8. 30 mins of fast walking on the treadmill 3 times a week

Part of me is grateful for acne. It is a concrete reason to get the teenager to make better choices. Objective, not just me being a nag.

Wish us luck on the journey to get rid of cystic acne. After the 6mos of treatment is over, we will begin the long process of getting rid of the scars.



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life with a tween girl

Samantha and I had a rough week. She has gotten into a bad habit of scheduling social activities without asking or coordinating with a grown up. It came to a head on Monday when she called me during soccer practice to *tell* me she was going to get dinner with Julia, go to the screening of Screenagers at school, then get a ride home with Regan. The problem? Well, there were actually many. I was working in Sanford and had already coordinated a ride home for her, which I will have to repay the favor once my spring programming is done. Oh and obligating 2 other families to make this happen. I said no and was met with serious resistance. I stayed calm and said that she has to *ask* before plans are made.

Fast forward to this weekend. It happened AGAIN. She coordinated a double sleepover without asking about the second one. Oh, and offered our house for the second one…. with Rahul on call. So we had to set some serious boundaries –

  1. No double sleepovers at other people’s houses. She should spend some time at our home with family each weekend.
  2. I have to know when plans are being made and approve of how she will get to said social engagement and how she will get home before approving.
  3. She needs to learn to think about other people in the family when making plans.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love that she wants to hang out with her friends, but this socializing has just gotten a bit of of control. Time to regain control.

In other tween girl news… here is her bedroom door these days. Inviting, huh?


And the slime…..


Tween girls, not just mine, spend hours and hours….and LOTS of parental money making this stuff. Some schools have actually banned slime.  Want to learn more about slime and why it is so popular among middle school girls? Click here.

As much as I dislike slime, I have heard that slime is replaced by an interest in boys… so I will take slime and all of its mess for as long as I can.

Never a dull moment in the parenting world. The toughest job you will ever love. Be honest and keep talking… that is our motto.



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working dads and working moms

A video of a dad doing a very serious news interview while working from home went viral last week. Check it out if you have been living under a rock and have not seen it yet.


Yesterday a parody of this video with a mom doing a similar interview hit the internet.


YES, YES, YES. All joking aside, there are days that I feel just like this mom. Working from home is a HUGE perk of my job, but it makes juggling all aspects of life challenging some times.

And on a related note, how did we entertain ourselves before You Tube?





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summer planning from one proud mom

So our kiddos are aging out of traditional camps. They will be 12 and 13 this summer, so its time to start thinking about different ways to keep their brains working over the summer months. Here is an update on what they will both be working on… very different, but both make me one proud mom.

Aidan wants to build a computer….from scratch.


He has been doing research and thinks he can do it. My only job is to get all the parts, which he has conveniently bookmarked on my Mac Book.

Samantha has requested to get tutoring in pre-algebra so she can go on to Jacob’s Math next school year. Back story: she got really behind in math in 3rd grade. We did pricey Sylvan Learning Center tutoring to get her caught up, but there were still some pockets of deficits showing up last year. She was right on the edge in terms of taking Math 6 or going to pre-algebra this school year. We decided to stick with Math 6 so she would have a strong foundation before heading to pre-algebra. Samantha decided halfway through the school year that she did not agree with this decision because Math 6 was too easy. So, she emailed her math teacher and the math dept chair and asked to move from Math 6 to Jacob’s Math. I asked that she make the request because 1) it was her idea and 2) I did not want to come across as one of “those parents” who thinks my kid is smarter than everyone else.

She was given some work to do to see if she was interested and ready for this big jump, and it seems like she is. Her math teacher has told her this will be hard work, but Samantha is up for the challenge.

Now, if you are like me you are wondering what in the heck is Jacob’s math?  Here is a blurb from…

For instructors of liberal arts mathematics classes who focus on problem-solving, Harold Jacobs’s remarkable textbook has long been the answer, helping teachers connect with of math-anxious students. Drawing on over thirty years of classroom experience, Jacobs shows students how to make observations, discover relationships, and solve problems in the context of ordinary experience.

So, computer creation and pre-algebra. I am sure the kiddos will do some camps as well. Samantha is interested in volleyball and basketball, and we are trying to get Aidan to be a Counselor In Training (CIT) at the FARM and he will continue in his band… so good stuff all around.

Summer…we are ready for you!


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You Are Here book signing

Yesterday I got to meet one of my favorite and super hilarious writers – Jenny Lawson. By the time I got the bookstore with friends, it was standing room only. Her book reading and Q&A was hilarious, relatable.


And here is her picture of us.

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Go Raleigh, NC welcoming the Bloggess. I will be forever grateful for her way of thinking, her books, her blog, etc. I cannot wait to color my first page of You Are Here!


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new podcast & reflections from childhood

So, one of my favorite bloggers and writers, The Bloggess,  is going on the road to promote her new book. She will actually be in Raleigh this weekend, so Samantha and 2 friends and I have plans to get signed copy of her book and hear her read from one of her books. Her new book, You Are Here: An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds is actually a coloring book. Well, it is more than a coloring book. Her drawings are amazingly beautiful with uplifting messages embedded in them.

Here is one.

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Before she went on the road, she posted podcasts that she listens to and asked her readers to give her some more to keep her entertained. Shockingly, we like a lot of the same podcasts. Even true crime, which I would not have pegged her to like. One that kept coming up from readers was The Hilarious World of Depression, a podcast about comedians who struggle with anxiety and depression.

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Curious, I listened to the episode featuring Paul F. Tompkins. I swear I could have been listening to me talking about my childhood. He grew up in a home where his parents slept in separate rooms, each likely struggling with undiagnosed and untreated depression, and conflict and anger were all around.   And how these experiences shaped who he is today. He chose comedy, I chose to help others, most recently girls. My mom did not have a positive support outlet, and so I feel driven to create and foster this outlet for girls. Break that cycle of self-doubt and worry.

Samantha is taking a box of Milkbone dog biscuits (AKA cookies) to the book signing. I think Jenny Lawson will love it. For those that have not read Furiously Happy, it is an inside joke. I am handing her a hand written note thanking her for helping me grab onto life again after my mom’s unexpected death.

Some final thoughts from The Bloggess, because I so agree with her and am grateful for her and her books and her zest for life….

“Most of my favorite people are dangerously fucked-up but you’d never guess because we’ve learned to bare it so honestly that it becomes the new normal. Like John Hughes wrote in The Breakfast Club, ‘We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.’ Except go back and cross out the word ‘hiding.'”

Furiously Happy is about “taking those moments when things are fine and making them amazing, because those moments are what make us who we are, and they’re the same moments we take into battle with us when our brains declare war on our very existence. It’s the difference between “surviving life” and “living life”. It’s the difference between “taking a shower” and “teaching your monkey butler how to shampoo your hair.” It’s the difference between being “sane” and being “furiously happy.”

Lawson is beloved around the world for her inimitable humor and honesty, and in Furiously Happy, she is at her snort-inducing funniest. This is a book about embracing everything that makes us who we are – the beautiful and the flawed – and then using it to find joy in fantastic and outrageous ways. Because as Jenny’s mom says, “Maybe ‘crazy’ isn’t so bad after all.” Sometimes crazy is just right.


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book update

Progress comes in baby steps with the publication process. I finally got some edits to review this week. Check out the new title page.



I can tell I am making progress because we are finally getting to the edits around the visual supports. You know the little details and not the big changes that need to be made?

Fingers crossed that this actually might really happen!


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