Nov 112013

…because we are.

My husband and I moved to this town 8 yrs. ago.  We knew no one.  It was brutal.  It was awful.  I cried. Often.

Then we started build a community.  A house.  A HOME.  My dear friend, the mother of my son’s BFF doesn’ t know this, but on the day that my son adorably said, “I love (her son)” and I finally got enough balls together to go ask this new friend to a playdate at our house, I heard this tune booming out of her car radio.  It was perfect.

It doesn’t escape me that this song was featured in my beloved Parenthood.  I know I am slightly partial to anything related to this program, but primarily, I’m grateful to Phillip Phillips for putting my feelings into words.  The message of this song resonates loudly.  My husband and I have been through It; ALL of it.  And we’re still here, trying tirelessly to “make our house a home”.

Having a door that people know they are welcome to walk through?  That's what it's all about.

Having a front door people know they are welcome to walk through? That’s what it’s all about.

Some moments here might feel alone, but one day recently, very unusually (we are not popular people), 5 people popped by our house in the course of 20 minutes And someone else telephoned during the time.  As I felt harried, trying to chat with a couple friends, welcome my son’s PT, meet a gal from the online yardsale, thank the kindred spirit who dropped off muffins when learning how I jacked up my van, and make plans with a new business buddy, I paused for a moment and realized: WE ARE BLESSED.

Somehow in the midst of knowing no one and feeling like aliens in this strange new land, we started to meet some people.  Build a community.  Build a house into a home.

I’m not saying we’re solidly there, but we’re in process. It’s about the people.  And maybe finally finding a hair salon and knowing where to get the best deal on dog food, but mostly…it’s the people.

It’s having someone notice when we are missing at preschool drop-off.

It’s having a fellow mama to call at 8am when I feel like my world is crashing.  Why am I here? Why do I blog? Existential crisis in its best.  And God bless her for having enough patience to put up with it.

It’s the friend, I drag to breakfast with when the “business” end of blogging demands a meal out.

It’s the neighbor I fully expect to hit the local BIG yardsale with me.

It’s the Dead Parent Support Group of the two ladies who meet me for margaritas and understand, sadly, too well how real the pain of losing a parent can get.

It’s meeting a new friend through my son’s preschool and thinking she is downright boss.

It’s having someone to plan Hunger Games movie night dates with MONTHS in advance.

Hey life isn’t perfect, and loneliness can and still does reign at times, but each of these people…I am so thankful for the reason and season they are here. For their love and friendship and for being building blocks of this home we are creating.

You see, I don’t think the modern-day home is a given.  We work for it; we have to earn it.  We are the generation in which we “make our house a home” vs. being handed the home.

But that’s okay, becasue when is a life sweeter than when you have worked for it?

xo, Phillip Phillips, and thanks for getting it right. Will keep working tirelessly for my “home” .



May 192013

I’ll admit, I was skeptical.  Being a complete computer non-genius, anything that requires me to go online and create something makes me a little nervous., an online site where you can go to make a custom love coupon book, sounded really cool, but I’m really bad at figuring out stuff like this.  Assuming I would have to bust all hope of a romantic surprise for my husband on Father’s Day, I was pretty sure I would have to call my husband in for reinforcement while I tried to place my order.  I settled in for what would surely be a long haul one evening while my husband was home so he could help.  He would just have to pretend to be surprised on June 16th.

But whoa!  There was genuine surprise in store!  Datevitation was so easy.  They have over 350 date ideas to pick from and each already has text beside it, which you can edit as much or as little as you want when creating your coupons.  If you are pressed for time, the text they have works well.  Everything is categorized, so it’s easy to find what you are looking for.  There were so many creative ideas for dates that I would never have thought of on my own.  With over 100 book cover options, you can fully customize your book for any occasion.  They also now have “boy” and “girl” characters with over 200 new activity illustrations specifically for kids and parents.  Just in time for Father’s Day!

I am always beyond desperate for birthday, holiday, and Father’s Day gifts ideas for my husband.  With a few simple clicks, I was there with Datevitation.  Those adorable coupon books people have been making for centuries to allow receivers to cutely cash in on a free in-home movie night, taking out the garbage or a breakfast in bed?  Datevitation takes this up the next level by providing you with loads of creative ideas in a professional-looking coupon booklet.  You can set aside your scissors, markers and glue this Father’s Day, and save craft time for another project!

I am completely sold.  I was wowed that I created such a cool gift for my husband in literally a matter of minutes ALL BY MYSELF!  No help from my husband needed, and now his surprise on Father’s Day can be genuine.  Shipping was quick, packaging was cute and I am entirely pleased with end result.

Books normally start at just $20 so it makes for a thoughtful yet economical gift.  But as a special treat for you guys, Datevitation is offering $10 off on your purchase in May or June if you use the promo code  ”MOMOFTHEYEAR”.  That means you can get your loved one a one-of-a-kind gift for Father’s day starting at just $10.  The order cut-off date for guaranteed delivery by Father’s Day is June 6 so make sure to get your order in before then!

And Datevitation is also offering a chance for one reader to score a book completely for free!  Just enter in the Rafflecopter below between now and Friday, 5/24/13.  As long as you are 18 or older and a resident of the continental U.S., you are eligible to win.

I like this company, it’s obvious, but I really like the way they are caring for their customers by creating a very user-friendly product and bringing some fun back to gift-giving.  Thanks, Datevitation.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mar 112013

Woo hoo, its Monday!  Not feeling it?  No, I’m not either, but I do have a little blast of good news to shoot your way and kick this week off on the right foot.  I’m teaming up with my beloved Dani from Cloudy, With a Chance of Wine to give away 10 copies of the book right here!

I Just Want to Pee Alone book cover @meredithspidel @throat_punch

Remember how I blathered on and on about how awesome it was yesterday?  Yeah, it’s really that good and I’d really love for you to have your own copy.  How do you snag a chance to win one of these fantastic books?  Just enter the Rafflecopter below (it’s not hard, I promise)!  If you are 18 yrs. of age and live in the continental U.S., you are eligible.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Feb 272013
suitcases vacation kids @meredithspidel

Leave the bags at home. A trip to the trashcan is strictly bag-free!

Okay, this is going to be fine.  Pampers has sucked up your life savings and there just isn’t any extra cash to spare for a tropical retreat right now?  Throw in the nasty factors of limited vacation days at work and oh, the teeny little problem of those kiddos who need someone to take care of them and such, and that fancy getaway may be more the stuff of dreams than reality right now.  No problem!  Do not despair, we’ve got this one covered.

It’s all about maximizing what you’ve got.  Think the magic of Wonderbra support craftily applied to some seconds throughout your day, and you soon will be saying, “All-inlcusive resort?  Who needs it?  Pass me that Tequila Sunrise when I’m on the toilet!”

Here are the tricks of the sneaky-vacationing trade, my friends:

1. This is where those 8 8oz. glasses of water/day finally make sense.  Go above and beyond if you want.  When your kids finally get to that age when you are pretty sure they won’t kill themselves if you take an extended pee, go ahead and pump that bladder full.  Make a whole two minutes of it and flip on that fan switch AND lock the door. Mommy’s taking a mini-break.**

2. Contrary to popular belief, the laundry is your best friend.  Shoot!  Mommy just has to run downstairs and switch up the load.  Darn that she has to walk down the basement steps so slowly so as to be careful as to not fall and twist her ankle.

3. In a similar vein, start loving on that full trash can.  Such an incredible shame to leave the house and carry the bag outside.  Bonus steps on the pedometer too.  In fact, wouldn’t be shocked if the can starts edging itself closer and closer to the neighbor’s house.

4.  The minivan.  Toyota had it mostly right with their whole Swagger Wagon campaign, but they missed one key concept.  You can vacation with your kiddos in the van with you.  Strapped down to their car seats with the radio cranked up, they can temper-tantrum on all they want–it’s not going to make a difference to you!  Go all out and load them up with sippy cups and goldfish crackers if you really want a peaceful escape.

5. Who said that this time change jazz has to be exclusive to Greenwich Mean Time applied to our national standards?  If you’re having a rough day, the clocks might accidentally get bumped up an hour, and that just can’t be helped, right?  Go fiddle with those clocks and snag yourself an extra hour.

What vacation opportunities am I missing?  Fill me in please, because despite my best efforts, I’m still kind of crushing on the tropical retreat right now…

Sandals tropical retreat resort @meredithspidel

Okay fine, I’m drooling

**This seemed like a naturally excellent place to throw in a little shameless self-promo.  If you haven’t heard already, thanks to the genius of People I Want to Punch in the Throat, I am going to be part of a very cool, very funny book, I Just Want to Pee Alone, coming out sometime next month.  There are so many hysterically awesome bloggers featured in this book.   I am going to continue sharing their stuff on my facebook page, so be sure to check them out.  Hey, laughing is an amazing ab workout, so count it as your daily exercise ;)  More details on the book to follow, but for now, just start making some space in your Amazon cart and get excited to bring on the funny!

I Just Want to Pee Alone book cover @meredithspidel @throat_punch

Dec 242012
Santa letter

We leave the cookies, he leaves the letter.

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!  Being as “in” with the Big Guy as I am (okay, fine, he’s kind of ticked at me after sending that slew of more challenging requests his way this year), he agreed to work his Christmas magic and send me a copy of the letter he will leave tonight for my kids (and neurotic dog) a little early so I could share it with all of you.  Since he’s truly The Stuff, he kind of knows exactly how this evening is going to go down before it even happens.  He’s a pretty funny guy, too.

And here’s sending a very special thanks to my dad, who may have been the force behind similarly special personalized letters written to my sister and me for years.  And he may have had something to do with this one too ;)

Hope you enjoy and have a wonderful holiday, my readers.


Hi Isaac, Elyse, and Bailey:

I bet you are surprised to see this printed letter. This year I have equipped my sleigh with a state of the art laptop and wireless printer so that I can become part of the high tech world that every body else is in. Save the old hand written letters that you have as a reminder of the good old days.

Isaac and Elyse, I remember when I met you both at the fire hall Santa breakfast a few weeks ago.  Isaac, I hope that the red dinosaur car I brought you is just like the one you asked for. Elyse, you were not very talkative, but I know what toys to bring to little girls like you.

Bailey, it was good to not see you. I appreciated that the gate at the top of the steps was shut. You appear to be a very good dog and I think it is great that you and Elyse get along so well. However, having a big brown dog sniffing around when I am trying to get presents out of my sack doesn’t make me really happy and my reindeer are not really fond of brown or any other color dogs.

My reindeer and I were also concerned that Bailey and other members of your family have not been friendly to foxes over the last year which we believe may be indicative to an aversion to animals other than dogs. I noticed that there were no signs of any cats in your house. I like cats a lot.

I really appreciate your nice roomy fireplace and the fact that your tree is conveniently located next to it for the placement of presents. I also liked your new sofa. I took a short nap on it and it was very comfortable.

Isaac, I am glad you enjoy going to preschool and I heard that your Christmas program was really special and fun and that you were really good at making the motions for your song. Elyse, it is neat that you have some special alone time with Mom when Isaac is at school.

It is really great that you both enjoy Longwood Gardens and playing in the water fountains. The indoor fountains are fun, but it will be good when it gets warm outside again and you can also play in the outside fountain. It will also be good when spring comes and you will have more chances to go to your Grandpa’s and play in the park. Isaac, you are really good at climbing on things and Elyse, I think that you are the loudest kid on the playground most times.

The milk and cookies that you left for me were great. I also believe that you have some great home brewed beer at your house. Next year a glass of that along with the milk and cookies would be great. Also tell your Aunt A and Uncle Jeremy that it would be good if they would put a glass of their beer out for me also. Isaac and Elyse, I would really like it if next year you would each draw or color a picture for me and leave it with the milk, cookies and beer.

I hope that you all have a good year in 2013 and I look forward to stopping by your house again next Christmas.


Christmas with Grandpa 2011 @meredithspidel

We love you, Grandpa!

Dec 212012

Today, at 9:36am, there will be a Virtual Prayer Vigil held for all those affected by the Sandy Hook tragedy, which happened last week at this time.  Spread the word as you are able and please join in 5 minutes of prayer and or silence, as we support and think of those who were changed for forever in such an awful flash of a moment.

To learn more about this and show your support, check out the Virtual Prayer Vigil for Sandyhook Survivors facebook page.  Thanks to Playful Planet for initiating this movement.  And thank you.  Thanks for caring, and thanks for loving these families who have been through so very much.



Dec 182012

So many of us want to do something to help, but if you’re like me, maybe you haven’t been quite sure where to start.  God bless the incredible bloggers who organized and who are supporting this:

Any money raised will go The Newtown Family Youth and Family Services. The official description of this organization:

“Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families achieve their highest potential. NYFS provides programs, services, activities, counseling, support groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.


Please visit THIS PAGE to make your donation.

Once again, I am wowed and so thankful for the incredible force of bloggers when they join together.  If anyone else wants to hop in with this, please feel free to copy or re-post any part of this post.  Thanks to everyone joining together for this effort and prayers, so very many prayers for Sandy Hook…

Dec 162012

I have been so touched by all the beautiful posts that have been circulating in the past couple of days in reference to the horrible tragedy of Friday.

I have nothing further to add, but just wanted to take the moment to pause, and offer my small voice to the chorus of love and support that are surrounding these families.

Our hearts are breaking, and the pain is too unimaginable.

While I can’t yet figure out how to put my prayers into words, they are with everyone who is hurting and aching.

Wishing there was some way to erase all of the  agony and for each to feel the loving arms of Jesus holding them tight.

Dec 122012

Finding the Funny Holiday Edition #findingthefunny

It’s a very special edition of Finding the Funny! Today I’m teaming up with My Life and Kids, Kelley’s Break Room and 14 more bloggers to bring you a special Holiday edition of Finding the Funny!

How to Link Up

Link up as many posts as you want – old or new – as long as they’re related to the holidays and will make us laugh! Your post will show up here and on 16 other blogs!

It’s easy to link up!

  • Click on the “Add Your Link” button at the bottom of the page.
  • URL:copy and paste the URL of your blog post (be sure to use the exact post URL).
  • Name:enter the TITLE of your blog post – this is what will appear below your post picture. (Limited to 30 characters)
  • Enter your email address (don’t worry – this won’t be shared.)
  • Click on NEXT and choose an image that will appear in the link up.
  • Stick around and read the other posts and get ready to laugh!

Meet the Bloggers

All 17 of us will be sharing your posts on our blogs!

My Life and Kids

Kelley’s Break Room

The HillJean: Because My Life is Fascinating

The Fordeville Diaries

Frugalista Blog

Hollow Tree Ventures

Honest Mom

House TalkN

I’m Still Learning

Let Me Start By Saying

The Mom of the Year

Mom’s New Stage

Motherhood WTF

Ninja Mom

There’s More Where That Came From

Random Handprints

Toulouse and Tonic

Link up!

Dec 102012

What real moms want for Christmas @meredithspidel #dearsanta

Christmas is nearing, and these mom bloggers are keeping the dream of a magical holiday alive.  Anyone else getting giddy fantasizing about a Christmas sans the requisite scented bath and body lotion set?  I am believing that we can go bigger this year, ladies!  Hold onto the hope!  A stocking with something other than packs of gum can happen.

Cozy up around all the festive lights and let your imaginations run wild with us as we share what would really rock our worlds this holiday season.  Snap to, Santa!  You’re on duty here, and this important stuff!


Christian, one of my all-time favorite bloggers (with his cohort, Pat at Point Counter-Point Point Point), is so cool that when I asked him to participate in this round-up of mommy requests, he didn’t even bat an eye over the fact that he’s a man.  He’s just so darn awesome, it seemed remiss not to include him, and he rolled with it beautifully.  Santa, give this man some well earned Christmas-wishes-come-true:

Dear Santa,

First off, I want to say I think you are doing a bang up job with this
whole present delivering set up of yours.  Really top notch. You should be
proud. Second, I hope you have noticed the nice bottle of Kentucky bourbon
that is accompanying this letter. It’s all yours. Really. Just consider it
a token of my appreciation for the outstanding “job” you are doing.
Now let’s get to business. For Christmas this year I would like a device
that could continuously respond back with a random answer anytime a
child’s voice asks “Why?”. The answers are not important, as I have
learned, as long as it can continually answer, every couple of seconds or
so, over long periods of time without going insane. I mean breaking. I’m
thinking something like the iPhone’s Siri but with some kind of military
grade resolve. Preferably it would be something you could attach to the
If for some reason you can’t deliver on this device please send the bottle
of bourbon back to the return address on this package. I’m going to need
it more than you.
Thank you and Merry Christmas.

 Christian of Point Counter-Point Point Point


Extra arm

An extra one or two would be great

Toulouse and Tonic would just like an extra limb, please:

Dear Santa,

This year for Christmas, I can’t think of anything I want more than a third arm. Since I’m always holding a baby with one arm and trying to get my 5-year-old juice with the other, I really need a third arm in order to either eat something myself or more importantly, work on my blog. Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe a third and fourth arm would be more helpful. I don’t need any extra bulk under my shirt, what with the mom belly and the ungainly boobs, so if you could just tuck them under my current arms and maybe make them extendable, that would be just peachy. Happy holidays and ho ho ho.

Toulouse from Toulouse and Tonic


I think JD Bailey is setting extremely reasonable expectations:

Dear Santa,

For Christmas this year, I would like a magical machine that can clean and put away both laundry and dishes while simultaneously cleaning the house and giving me a relaxing massage that instantly melts away 10 pounds.

Too much?

FIne. I’ll take a new pair of slippers.

JD Bailey of Honest Mom


maternity jeans

Just get the things to stay up–it doesn’t matter how

For goodness’ sake, Santa, isn’t it enough work for Kari to be pregnant without having to fight with her pants all the time?:

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas this year is a pair of maternity pants that will actually stay put (I seem to forever be pulling them up these days… they just refuse to cooperate like a good pair of pants should).  I’m confident that you and your elves can come up with a practical, yet stylish solution to my fashion dilemma (and I promise not take your idea and make millions from it).  Just a pair of pants (or two) is all I ask.

Thanks, Santa, you’re the best!

Your’s truly,

Kari of Once Upon Our House


How are you elves with making robotic body doubles?  Delilah is requiring one:

Dear Santa,

I’ve been a very good girl this year….well, for most of the year anyway but let’s not split hairs, ok? In return for my semi-halfway-kind of decent behavior this year I would like you to bring me a robot. Not just any robot though. I want a robot that I can program to clean my house, cook our food, drive my kids around…parent my kids, listen to my husband talk about cars, and deal with solicitors. Oh and can you make her look like me? No need to wrap her up, just plop her in front of the Christmas tree wearing some fuzzy slippers and stick a cup of coffee in her hand. No one will know the difference. 

Thanks Santa,

Delilah of Confessions of a Semi-Domesticated Mama


footie pajamas

Steph is getting cozy and looking AWESOME

Steph has the most perfect day (and the perfect pj’s) imaginable in mind:

Dear Santa,

I would like my own pair of footie Pajamas (these can be found at Target for $25) and a grow-up sippy cup so that I, like my children, can also have the luxury of drinking while lying down. Nothing would please me more than to drink a mimosa in bed, in these pajamas, while re-reading Shades of Grey on my Kindle. I simply can’t bring myself to drink orange juice and champagne out of Dora the Explorer. If it’s not too much to ask, I would like my sippy cup to have holograms of scenes from Magic Mike.Thank you for considering.

Steph from Binkies and Briefcases


Christine took the time to rhyme for you!  Give her whatever she wants now:

 I don’t ask for much, Dear Santa,

it’s the first time I’ve written in years.
I don’t need an iPad, the Kindle HD,
or a brand new appliance from Sears.
I don’t want a new wardrobe,
or new pair of shoes,
or shiny new earrings to wear.
A DSLR in a new camera bag–it’s not on my list, I swear.
I don’t want a new  laptop, or acoustic guitar,
or a new silver pen, or a best selling book,
My wish this year is as simple as this:
That my children will eat what I cook!
If you could silence their “Yucks!” and their “Blahs!” and their “Ews!”
all of my dreams would come true.
If they no longer said that they hated my food–
I’d owe a great debt to you.
If their “Blecks!” were replaced with hearty “Yums!”
and they begged me for seconds and ate all the crumbs,
I would jump for joy and feel so blessed–
This, Old Elf, would be the absolute best!
I know you can make it happen–but if it’s not meant to be–
could you throw me a bone, or give me a break,
and send someone to cook for ME?
Pretty please?

Christine from More than Mommies


Mickey Mouse

At some point the mouse has gotta stop dancing, right?

Motherhood on the Rocks is a tired mommy who just wants that darn “Hot Dog Song” out of her and a few other simple things:

Dear Santa,

I’ve been a really good girl this year. I dutifully take care care of diva, kiss my husband goodbye every morning without gagging (at least not in front of him), try not to complain too much about stinky the dog, and always resist the temptation to crack open a beer at 10 a.m.  I think I should definitely be on your nice list. In light of that, I’d really like one day without Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (or at least the ability to keep the “hot dog song” from getting stuck in my head), an instantaneous potty training program and to wake up without feeling like I’ve been hit by a big rig. So there you have it, Santa, a few simple requests from one very good and very tired mommy. I’d be ever so grateful if you could get your elves to work on these. And Santa, if you can’t fulfill my Christmas wish list, then I’m gonna need a lot of tequila.

Motherhood on the Rocks


Roshni is so kind; she’s taking time to check with how you’re doing before she makes a request for a single extra hour:

Hi Santa, Surprise! I wasn’t sure whether you would find my note among the millions that you receive this time of the year so I thought I would personally come by and read it to you! Here goes! 

*Ahem* How are you doing, by the way?! You look so wonderful today….all bright and cheery and ……yeah, okay, I see you’ve already easily penetrated through the obvious flattery! I forgot that you’ve been through millions of letters all cloyingly sweet, trying to convince you how perfect each one of them has been when you know, from watching them all year, that they’ve been perfect monsters! 

Okay, here’s the deal! You don’t look good! You look tired…probably sifting through all those ginormous lists has weakened your old eyes (how old did you say you were? You didn’t? Okay, moving on!). Your skin has lost its color from having to pick and choose what gifts you can finally gather together and your hair is standing on end because you’ve been working with your elves day and night for the last month. So, you look terrible. Huh? Oh, you’re welcome!

So, coming to the point, I’m here to ask you a teeny tiny favor….yes, I know you think you’ve heard that one before but give me a minute to explain! All I want is one measly extra hour for each day! There! That’s not too hard, right!?! Why are you looking at me like that? I tell you, compared to all the Nintendo DS’s and the personal ponies and puppy dogs and private islands, this one is peanuts! I mean, you travel all around the world in a single night on your reindeer sled; while you’re at it, can’t you do some minor axis tilting stuff to the earth to have us gain that extra hour?

Downton Abbey

A beyond reasonable reason to need an extra hour in the day

And, I’ll tell you why I need it! Look, I work outside home, right? So, I get up at 5.30 a.m. every week day, I make and pack lunches, I get myself ready, get the kids ready, we all leave, I drop the kids to school, I drive some 20 miles to my workplace, work all day, drive back the 20 miles, pick up the kids, bring them home, get them in the tub, start dinner, get them out of the tub, help them with their homework, give them dinner, listen to their complaints about said dinner, either cave in or hold strong about bribing them with dessert if they finish the ‘vile’ dinner, read them story books, tell them ten times to go to bed, finally get them off to bed, and then fall asleep on the couch while watching TV! Of course, the husband helps, but you know…..Okay, so here’s the deal about the extra hour…..somewhere in between, if I can have one hour to myself where I do nothing but something for me, for just a little philosophical soul-searching, how wonderful would that be!! Do I see tears in your eyes? No? Okay, fine! I need that extra hour so I can see Downton Abbey and Castle on Hulu, okay?!!! I haven’t been able to keep up so I need to know what happened with Lady Mary and Matthew and Bates and the rest!! And, have you seen the last sizzling episode of the last season of Castle….hey! Where are you off to? What? I need to keep this conversation G-rated? Uh…are you going to help me out or not…..Santaaaaaa!!!!!!

Roshni of Big A Little a


Alright folks, we’ll let Santa have a little rest before we come back for one final weeks of making our wishlist pleas.  Don’t forget to add a Christmas wish of your own below if you’ve got something the Big Guy’s gotta hear.  Happy counting down to Christmas!


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