Tag Archives: Steve

Why Groundhog Day is really Thanksgiving Day for me

Groundhog Day is really Thanksgiving day for me. Seventeen years ago today while we were living in Maine, Steve’s car lost its purchase on black ice. The ensuing head-on collision happened on the little country road right in front of our neighborhood. One of those worst case scenarios I fretted over in the middle of the night? It was happening in real time. Steve was hurt, and we were miles from anything resembling support. But I was still unaware of all that as I was tucking my two toddlers into bed. After wrestling little warm bodies into footie pajamas, brushing teeth, and reading just one more book, I had just found a moment to breathe when a stranger came to the door.

“There’s been an accident.”

I don’t remember losing my breath or crying or reacting at all really. Some people report such things when disaster arrives on their doorstep. But that was not me. With our closest family and friends over 12 hours away, I had no real options. So I absorbed the words being spoken to me by a man I had never met. This stranger, a young professional on his commute home, was the first man to the scene. Apologetic in his lack of details, he told me that Steve had sustained a head injury and was being taken to the local hospital. As he was not a medical professional, he tried to reassure me that Steve had been alert enough to give him directions to find me (this was pre-cell phone for us). Because he wasn’t a medical professional, that gave me little comfort.

Lessons about the strength of motherhood and the joys of friends becoming family can change a life. Even on Groundhog Day. Why Groundhog Day is My Thanksgiving Day. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Of the many things I learned from this first crisis of my marriage, I remember these three every Groundhog Day:

1. Not all fears are unfounded.

I  was a young mother whose first child was a honeymoon baby. Confidence was a fickle friend. I doubted myself often and loudly. But this crisis taught me to lean into my intuition and trust my abilities. This helped me confess my fears about 4th child to the pediatrician, advocate for my middle son’s dyslexia diagnosis, send my son away for the summer, and hone my senses to parent teens.  I handled everything in those first few post-accident days from medical jargon to childcare to family notifications on my two shaky shoulders. If some of it was messy and uncomfortable and scary, well, I cleaned it up, asked for help, or even cried. But I learned that when the world hits hard, I bounce, if not beautifully, at least, passably well. We all survived, but the experience gave me a stronger spine, a more open heart, and a head that trusts that gut a whole lot more.

2. You can make family.

With my social safety net existing of moms I had met a handful of times at the library and playgroup , I felt panicky. My family wouldn’t be able to help me any time soon, and I needed mountains of assistance pronto. So I called one of them who I liked a lot, the one who would become my “Maine Ellen.” I relayed to her the scanty details I had about the accident.  Ellen ony knew me as a playgroup buddy, but she didn’t blink an eye.

Register that: she would being taking care of my babies who were both under two for an indefinite period of time. She had two toddlers of her own.  I had no idea what I would find when I got to the hospital, and no idea when I would be able to pick them up again. Her “absolutely, no problem, drop them off” was only the most beautiful thing someone has probably said to me EVER. The deep gratitude I still feel today for this gift is hard to measure.  I had many things to worry about that day, but my kids were not on that list. “Maine Ellen” and her family have been a beautiful grace note on our life ever since. 

3. When you are lucky, be grateful.

Our story has a happy ending of course. Steve is still here, and Ellen is still a big part of my life. We were hugely lucky that day. Steve had a head injury that, in the end, was truly just a laceration ( a big one, but STILL). The what-ifs haunted me for a short while, but then we got back to the lovely, blessed task of just living. With each extra year we have been given and the three children who have joined us since that day, it seems appropriate to take a moment to just sit in my thanks once in awhile or, in this case, once a year.

So every Groundhog Day, I try to really feel that gratitude and be in that moment again, a difficult task for an impatient, slightly hyper puppy of a woman like me. Remembering the gift of  Steve that our family still has is important to me. We are largely who we are today because of the love we have shared and grown over the past twenty years. Honoring Ellen and the gift of friendship I received that day is important to me too. She taught me what it really means to show up for someone. I have tried ever since to give even a small measure of that gift to others when I see a need.

Groundhog Day is really no big deal for, well, everyone. For me, however, it’s truly a day of Thanksgiving, a day to remember what was almost lost and to appreciate all that I gained.
Today will never ever be about a groundhog for me. It will be forever and always one of gratitude and love!

But I really hope spring is just around the corner!


Hey! Want to buy our new book? I Just Want to Be Perfect brings together 37 hilarious and relatable essays that showcase the foibles of ordinary women trying to be perfect.

I Just Want to Be Perfect

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Who Do You Love More: A Game Nobody Wins

Recently we came across an article that launched a conversation for us. This post on Huffington Post explained why the author was choosing her kids over her husband. Really? We felt like we have read this argument before. Whether the mom chooses her kids or her husband or the dog or even her best friend, unless she is choosing a deserted tropical island, we call foul on any choosing at all. In our experience, the game of who do you love more is a game that nobody wins, and thus, another podcast was born.

Kids or husband? A podcast talk on this parenting question | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Check out our latest podcast with these highlights:

1. We talk about some great marital advice from Jen Hatmaker’s book For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards.

2. We discuss how it might actually be easier to put the kids first, but you can decide that one for yourself.

3. We talk about getting kids ready for college which we also talked about here and here and here.

4. We share about how impressed Erin’s son was when he saw her quoted on CNN.

5. We talk about how fathers are key to girls’ self-esteem.

The bottom line is that there is a lot to talk about here, so check it out by

clicking the link at the bottom of this post!


Erin and Ellen

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Wanna hear a great podcast? Just click here | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

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One Simple Step to Creating A Lasting Easter Memory

Ah, sweet family memories are the golden egg we’re all chasing, no? Fess up, we’ve seen your Pinterest boards. Wanna make certain that this year’s bunny bonanza is forever imprinted on your family’s memory? Well, peel back the foil on that Cadbury and get comfy because we have one simple step to creating a lasting Easter memory. This is one from the Dymowski family vault.

Want to create a lasting holiday memory with your kids? Just add virus--Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms


Spring Break may look a little different once you’ve traded bikinis for, well, Pittsburgh, but we had high expectations for album-worthy memories despite the less than exotic locale. My sister had a new job, a new baby, and a new town, and we were descending upon her young family and new abode en masse for some hard-core sight-seeing and family bonding. I was already mentally planning the page layouts for my Shutterfly album before we had even unloaded. Fate laughs in the face of such hubris. All of this enthusiastic anticipation could only mean one thing: this minivan was about to go down in flames and spectacularly so.


Ahh, the pretty pictures before the hammer of fate cracked this trip wide open.

We had exactly one picture-perfect day before trouble started brewing on Friday night. The youngest started vomiting like it was his job.  There is no faster way to become persona non grata in someone’s home than to start chewing through their linens. It’s all fun and games until someone needs a bucket. Or three.

My sister looked torn. On the one hand, my sister was super-excited to have us visit. Furthermore, she was deeply worried about my youngest boy who currently seemed possessed by some horrible demon. On the other hand, we had just dropped Patient Zero in the middle of her lovely new home and he was spewing viral missiles far and wide. I could see her mind click through her options: Grab her own child à la Sally Field in “Not Without My Daughter,” kick mine to the curb, or re-create a scene from Outbreak complete with isolation tents and masks.

My sister may or may not have been thinking this!

Too much? You weren’t there. It wasn’t much of a stretch.

Um, we started packing.

In the beginning, I was harboring a fantasy that the exorcism coming from my child really was the result of his excitement and high fructose red no. 49 jellybeans. In fact, I was packaging this spin for my sister and her husband, Dan, when Victim 2 fell. And hard. The siege was underway, but we did what any good soldiers would do, we left to protect the others.

Pittsburgh is about five horrible, evil, ugly hours from home when you’re under attack. Within a mere 12 hours, the viral marauders had taken down three family members and cut a swath of destruction along the Pennsylvania turnpike and its rest stops that inspired awe, panic, and a desperate yearning for bleach and hand sanitizer. I’m going to spare you the details, but leave you with this image: Steve pulled the car into the driveway after a looooooooong drive on the Puking Parkway from Pittsburgh and promptly tossed his cookies on the front lawn. This was Saturday night. Easter morning was less than a day away. We were already in the midst of an unholy mess when the other three kids started dropping like flies.

What’s a woman to do in the face of an outbreak that might make an epidemiologist’s palms sweat? Don a Hazmat suit? Grab a quarantine sign and some yellow tape? Wave a white flag? Hellz no, I started wrapping and assembling Easter baskets. It was me against the clock. Just as I nestled that last chocolate egg into its basket, I succumbed too.

Dawn rose that Easter morning with two parents completely incapacitated, but with kids who still believed in a candy-toting Bunny who would brave our viral hell to deliver the goods. In between prayers to the porcelain god, we were sending up hopes for an Easter miracle. We got one.

Ace (12), who not 6 hours earlier had been wrapped around a toilet bowl, had regained his usual pep. This meant one thing: he was getting a huge promotion complete with bunny ears, baskets full of candy, and full-on bragging rights. I felt a little like a stage mom pushing my baby into the spotlight, “You can do it, honey! Just think positive thoughts” but frankly, I was too sick to move so it was probably more like gesturing and mumbling.

No childhood innocence was lost in the making of this memory. At least, I hope not. I actually have no recollection of that day, but Ace even took pictures. It happened.

more plaguemustacheborder

Is this not the most pathetic looking child you have ever seen?

The virus took down my sister’s whole family viciously within hours of our hasty retreat. Dan still uses The Great Pittsburgh Easter Plague as the yardstick to measure all other illnesses. In fact, he was completely unsympathetic when another virus took us all down the next year.

But I did get my fond family Easter memory after all even if it was not Pinterest album-worthy. Mostly because Dan won’t let me forget it.



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Our DIY Halloween Costume and Humor Roundup

Our DIY Halloween Costumes: Pig, Blind Referee, Pinterest Board, and MORE! Recipes and party ideas, too.  | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

We’re a couple of sensible moms who love Halloween. When you think about it, it’s one of the more relaxing holidays. No big family meals to cook, no presents to wrap, no legends to impersonate (stop trying to make the Great Pumpkin happen, Linus).

Ellen: Pinterest is trying its hardest to up the ante, but you just have to resist. (And in some cases, just resist the awkward.)

Erin: Oh, resist? Like the year you created the zombie wedding to win the Trunk-or-Treat trophy?

It's a nice day for a zombie wedding. Trunk or Treat Ideas. | Halloween costumes  | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

This is what winning look like. Well, at least on Halloween.

Ellen: Hey, that was our elementary school swan song. It was really more about competition in general than getting crazy about Halloween. We have scaled back since then.

Erin: Really? Like the time you brought Pumpkin Spice Lattes you made from SCRATCH to my party?

Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe: Delicious and Easy! Perfect for a Halloween or tailgate party! Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

More pumpkin recipes here.

More pumpkin recipes here.

Ellen: Well, you’re the one who has the annual Halloween Bash.

Erin: Okay, so we both can get a little swept away with the celebrations, but I think we balance it out with the way we drag our feet getting our costumes together.

Ellen: Despite the fact Walmart has been oozing with Halloween since August, I don’t think about my costume until I’m-About-To-Run-Out-Of-Time-End-Of-October.

Erin: Me too, but hey, we always look cute. We’re masters at pulling that mess together at the 11th hour.

Ellen: It doesn’t hurt to have a dress-up closet that looks like this:

DIY Halloween Costume Roundup - Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

It just looks bad because there is a mirror doubling the mess. Yeah. That’s the story I’m going with. By the way, I want to go as a bank robber this year and not one stinkin’ black mask in that disaster.

Erin: Gah. It looks like one of those photos where the dog has torn up the door and the rug and the caption reads “I thought you were gone forever, so I panicked.”

Ellen: Well, it was Spirit Week for my high schooler and she did panic every day with the chore of dressing for the theme. In fact, one day her class had to dress up like Toy Story characters. She put her own spin on Hamm: dime adorned bow tie, tutu, duct tape piggy bank slot, and Converse.

DIY Halloween Costume: Hamm the Pig From Toy Story - Pig Ear Tutorial - Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Ellen: Only problem was, we did not have pig ears and could not even find them in the store. There were zebra, giraffe, cat, puppy, bunny, cow, tiger, lion, cheetah, and elephant ears. But NO pig. However, we had pink bunny ears so I performed a bit of Halloween origami magic.

Erin: I do love me some ingenuity sprinkled over my procrastination. Behold what Steve and I came up with last year. Indiana Jones and Soccer Girl.

DIY Creative Halloween Costumes - Indiana Jones and Soccer Girl - Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Ellen: I must have missed that movie. Are you sure ingenious is the word you’re looking for? You picked some soccer stuff up off of your floor and Steve threw on a leather coat. Maybe lazy fits this better?

Erin: I’ll take ingenious off the table, but I reject lazy. I’ll settle for brilliantly easy. And maybe you should dress up like a Stone Thrower because it’s not like you and Frank coordinate.

Ellen: Not true! There was that one year where I was a werewolf and he was the full moon. I might have just finished the Twilight Trilogy.

Creative Couples DIY Halloween Costume - Werewolf and Full Moon - Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Erin: Okay, I’m mildly flummoxed with the adorableness, BUT yours is store-bought and his is just a t-shirt. I expected him to be a papier-mâché sphere or at least have a tinfoil satellite orbiting his head. Or give me some hipster cleverness. He should be wearing a Pink Floyd t-shirt.

Ellen: I’ll have you know, I designed the t-shirt on Zazzle. And Look at the milkmaid brimming with ideas. You didn’t make this costume either.

DIY Halloween Costumes - Milkmaild- HILARIOUS - Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Erin: No, my sister-in-law gave me this as part of my Christmas present one year and it has been the gift that keeps on giving. Some might say I’ve been milking it.

Ellen: Ba-da-bum. So sexy. But if you want creative, I’ve got your creative. Frank was a blind referee. Get it? A little duct tape for the stripes, the wooden dowel from the zombie wedding for the cane, and the bear whistle from camping plus my sunglasses from my Lasik surgery, and he had a clever costume.

DIY Halloween Costumes - Blind Referee - Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Ellen: And just to double dose you with the Williams’ creative “BOOM!”, here is the ultimate Pinterest costume: PINTEREST!

Creative DIY Halloween Costume Pinterest Board - Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Erin: Well, I got my own “BOOM!” I’m bringing the sexy so hard this Halloween that Toulouse and Tonic included me in her Sexy Costume Round-Up for Moms.

Toulouse and Tonic DIY Sexy Halloween Costumes for Moms with Erin from Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

There’s more where this came from here.

Ellen: Well, well. Good for you! Those costumes are hilarious. But we need a judgement call here on who is the winner between us. You may be bringing sexy back, but I have minions AND duck lips.

DIY Halloween Costumes - Minions and Pinterest Board - Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Erin: I have an observation. You may say you find Halloween relaxing, but I think it just might be the most competitive of holidays for you.

Ellen: I’m glad you brought that up. Do you think you could have trophies for best costume at your party this year?

Happy Halloween!


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If We Had to Marry Where We Met Our Husbands

Last week we posted this on our Facebook page:

If You Had To Marry Your Partner Where You First Met, Where Would The Wedding Be? - Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Read all of the responses here.

We absolutely loved reading all the different places people met “The One.” In movie terms, these are the “meet cute” scenes where the romantic leads lock eyes for the first time in an adorable, entertaining, or amusing way.

Our readers shared “meet cute” settings ranging from church, the library, and high school to Arby’s, the Pentagon, and even, one of our favorites, adjoining driveways. Apparently love blossoms anywhere. You all were so generous with your stories, we felt like we should be equally magnanimous with ours. Here are our “meet cute” scenes that led to twenty-plus years (and counting!) of true love. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan have nothing on us.

And as a special bonus, our husbands are chiming in with their two cents (and corrections). They do help to keep us sensible and honest.

If You Had To Marry Your Partner Where You First Met, Where Would The Wedding Be? - Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

 Erin: In August before my senior year, I came back to school early because I was going to be a resident assistant. For a full week before classes began, I hung out with a group of great people who would also be working in the residence halls.

One day between sessions, I was hanging out on a grassy knoll with some of my new friends and someone commented on my shiny new shoes. We had all been together for a week, so I guess conversation was running a little thin. In any case, I felt it was the perfect time to see if anybody wanted to be my new running buddy. Steve piped up right away. Apparently, he had new shoes too and wouldn’t mind waking up at the ass crack o’ dawn to run with me. He didn’t look like a serial killer or a date rapist, so I said sure. It took us a full two months of running for me to figure out that a) he didn’t really have new shoes, b) he had never really run before, and c) he liked me. The rest is history.

Steve: Cute story, but that’s not really when we met. This is just when you remember meeting me. I actually met you a whole year before at a party of a mutual friend.

It was the night of the Christmas Dance. I was majorly interested in one of the girls I had met through some Student Life activities. I even worked up the courage to ask her if she wanted to go to the dance. Though I didn’t see it at the time, she politely told me “no” by suggesting that I meet up with a bunch of friends who were going to the dance together. Several days later, but still excited, I arrived at the meeting place apartment to find it mostly empty, but with people straggling in. Introductions were being made. “Oh, hey, I’m Erin,” was the basis and full extent of our first and apparently unmemorable first meeting.

I would also like to clarify some things from Erin’s “memory.” For the record, I did have new shoes. And while I hadn’t run regularly since high school, I had wanted to start jogging. Also, Erin never specified that we would be running so early in the morning. Finally, I didn’t know that I liked her at the time. It wasn’t until one morning jog when Erin stumbled that I realized I felt differently. As she fell, she blurted out, “Don’t leave me!” to which I realized I never would.


Ellen: Oh Sweet Cheezits! If Erin’s memory is, shall we say “extrapolated,” on something this life-altering, I have no hope.

Anyway, my “How I Met Your Father” story began in early September before classes started my junior year at the University of Maryland. But I was not there for a pursuit as noble as becoming an R.A., I was there to fight . . . for my right . . . to parrrr-tay. If you read that to the beat of The Beastie Boys, you are my people.

I was in a sorority and the week before school started was a wild time in the Greek system—all of the socializing, none of the interference from pesky things like classes. We’re talking partying so intense it should be an Olympic sport. My sisters and I primped and polished and headed out on the scene around 4:00 pm. By 2:00 am, our shine was dulled, to put it kindly.

I was sober amongst the tipsy and more than a little frustrated I hadn’t connected with my formal date from last spring. To up the annoyance factor, I was marooned on a fraternity house lawn waiting for my friend. She was incoherently babbling to some guy about how much she “lerrrvvved” his roommate. I wasn’t going to leave her, but I was too irritated to stand within earshot. My goodness, I just wanted to go home.

So there I stood in the middle of the revelry, as bristly as a school marm during a lice outbreak– metaphorically tapping my foot and actually scowling—when this cutie in a pink Monkees t-shirt approached me. Despite his appeal, I wanted no part of what he was laying down, but he forged on through my eye rolling and something “clicked.” In fact, we connected so well that when my old friend from high school sauntered by, she was fooled into thinking we had known each other for ages instead of minutes.

The minutes of banter stretched into hours of talking that night and when he showed up to my sorority rush practice the next day, he “clicked” the lock on my heart and stole the key forever.

Frank: First of all, the Monkees shirt was an award-winning Greek Week garment and secondly it wasn’t even mine. It was about the third or fourth shirt of the night due to the excessive amount of beverage spillage occurring at my fraternity’s crush party. By 2 am, it was the only dry piece of clothing in my room.

With my alluring shirt choice locked in, I scanned the crowd for a promising companion, and spotted a very attractive girl by herself on the sidewalk in front of my fraternity house. Little did I know I was strolling down the steps to approach my future bride. I cannot remember exactly what I said, but it did incur the wrathful and infamous Ellen Scowl. I knew what I was getting into from the start.

Of course I did not let that stop me; I had gotten far worse reactions from the opposite sex before. As Ellen said, we did hit it off quickly, but it got a whole lot more challenging when a local law enforcement officer interrupted us (and our party!!) and told me, “Why don’t you just take the young lady home?” This guy was killing me! I replied to Officer Smooth Talker, “I think the young lady might have something to say about that, sir.” Ellen deigned to give me her number and the rest is history.


Ellen: So if we were to marry where we met, I would have a gorgeous Georgian style mansion in the background, but my altar would be made out of empties and my guests would be seated on ratty plaid couches.

Erin: And I would be married–in running shoes, of course–on a grassy knoll nestled between three residence halls, because even if we did meet at a party the year before, our story didn’t really start until we met again.

In fact, our college has a beautiful chapel which we probably should have considered for the big day, but, ladies, for the record, don’t ever bring up something like that after the proverbial ship has sailed. That’s the kind of stuff that happily married people fight about. Just sayin’.

 How did you meet “The One”?

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7 Qualities Our Daughters Should Look For in A Husband

We’ve been married long enough (to our husbands, not each other) to know that we both hit the jackpot when it comes to great guys. Erin’s husband, Steve, and Ellen’s man, Frank, are solid, steady models of what it means to be a great husband. This makes them excellent examples for our teen daughters of how high they should set the bar for potential spouses. Among the many things we wish for our girls, we’re both really hoping for some great sons-in-law. To that end, it would behoove them to appreciate some of these mighty fine qualities in their own fathers so that they might end up with great catches of their own.

A little guide for our daughters about the qualities they should look for in a husband. We want good sons-in-law! Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms


1. Bomb Squad Captain

Our daughters are magnificent yet imperfect people just like their mothers. A guy who can handle all the stuff life and their wife throws at them is a keeper.

Erin: The other day I blew up my morning by committing a cardinal sin of teen parenting: questioning a teen’s fashion choice as she was walking out the door. I may have been looking for a place to hide, but Steve was the one left to diffuse this bomb. The sensei of calm in the midst of chaos, Steve had this crisis locked down and everything righted again by the time they made it to school. I DID get this though: “Nobody messes with my teens in the morning.” Oops. My bad.

2.   A Piper Willing to Pay

There will be times in a long, happy marriage when a husband needs to be brave, bold, and willing to bend.

Ellen:  I had been attempting to get Frank to parasail with me since our honeymoon. Instead of delving into the reasons behind his sidestepping, I’ll just leave it as “Something else always came up.”  A little while ago, on our family cruise vacation, his dodging lost its dart. When our teen daughter wanted to parasail, he immediately and magnanimously agreed it was a great idea . . . for her to go with me. Two birds with one stone; you have to admire the efficiency.

But then our tween piped up, “I want to go too.” And I laughed and laughed because now both parents had to go (he was too stunned to realize I could have just gone twice, shhhhh). And I laughed some more when our teen volunteered for her and her dad to go first. He ended up having a blast and it was all because he loves his girls.


They are a little in the shadows, but one person is grinning and one person looks a little worried. Guess who is who.

Erin: This is the lighter side of stepping up to the plate, but it is the stuff of great family memories.

3. Clutch Hitter

Marriage, like life, is messy. You wanna guy who can and will hold the bucket.

Erin: Steve is ridiculously, blessedly good when the chips are down around here. He has proven himself time and again to be the guy you want around to bandage your wounds or take over when a viral menace takes down the entire family. I have actually seen him drag his own sorry sick butt out of bed to crawl to help a sick kid when I was too sick to move. That’s the guy you want on your wall.

4. Grandmaster Flash of Family Fun

It may sound oh-so-cheesy but it’s the honest truth that families that play together, stay together. Pick a guy with a sense of fun who wants to share it with his favorite peeps.

Ellen: Frank is fabulous at planning family vacations because he IS the Grandmaster Flash of working Expedia deals. The result is some wonderful family memories that build a strong foundation to support you through rougher times.

5. Schtick Flinger

Both of our men love movies as evidenced by our marital codes of movie quotes. This soothingly predictable banter keeps the daily hum of our lives from being humdrum. Our girls don’t necessarily have to find movie-quoters, but there is a golden  nugget here. Pick a partner who makes you laugh through the every day. You’ll never regret it.

Erin: Steve can find fun in paper bag. With his natural gift for storytelling, he can make even a weeknight dinner a laugh-riot.

6.  Cheerleader

No pom-poms here. We’re talking about a guy like George Bailey from “It’s A Wonderful Life;” one who’s willing to lasso the moon for you. You cannot do better than find a man who wants what’s best for you and wants to help you get there, even when that means becoming fodder for your book.

Great Husband

7. Proffer of a Great Proposal

Speaking of fodder for a book, we wrote about our proposal stories, the beginning of our marital bliss, in I Just Want To Be Alone. Listen up, our fabulous daughters, if you hold out for the other six qualities we listed, your husband-to-be will want to rock your socks off when he asks you to marry him. You’ll have great stories to tell your children and grandkids or if you follow in our footsteps, the entire free world.

So girls, we’re seriously hoping you follow our advice and land some sweet fellas like the ones we have. Remember what we said about those sons-in-law.

 Want a copy of our book? Just click here.

(Pick one up for a friend while you’re at it.)

Erin and Ellen


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7 Ways March Punks Us

March is the queen of the two-faced mean girls. “In like a lion, out like a lamb” is just an obtuse way of saying March will toy with you for thirty-one days.

Erin: Every day in March can feel like an episode of Punk’d. But this year, I heaped an extra helping of hot mess onto the already stinking pile March has been handing us.

Ellen: I just want to point out that we had a snow day St. Patrick’s Day combo. The snow must end. I cry uncle, March.

Erin: Well, I’m crying in my green beer too after my tale of March madness.

Every year Steve’s family has a St. Patrick’s Day party in Baltimore. Traditionally, the party was at Steve’s grandmom’s house in Canton, a stone’s throw from The Inner Harbor.  However, for the past few years, it moved about a half hour north to the ‘burbs to accommodate the ever-expanding family.

When it came time to load up the crew and our loaves of Irish soda bread, I kept replaying a conversation with Steve’s mom in my head in which she said that Steve’s grandmom was ready to host again. To me, this meant one thing: we were heading to Canton.

Grandmom’s house is smack dab in the middle of a robust bar scene so we had to circle the block a gazillion or two times to find a parking space. It was St. Patrick’s Day weekend after all. We did text the family to let them know we were going to be a few minutes late so they would have no worries as they partied it up. We may be chronically tardy, but we’re considerate. Finally, we found one honey of a spot . . . only three blocks from her house.

To pass the time dodging revelers, Steve narrated a brief family history on our walk over. Upon arrival, our 15-year-old daughter ran up the front stoop and turned to Steve, “Do I ring the bell or knock?”

Steve said, “Just walk in. It’s a party.”

After a rattle of the knob, she turned back and said, “It’s locked.”

"In like a lion, out like a lamb" is just an obtuse way of saying March will toy with you for thirty-one days. Here are 7 ways March punks us every time. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

My people post-punking

Ellen: Waa, waaaaa.

Erin: At this point, I wished I had actually read the party email in full.

Ellen: I wish I could act surprised that some details slipped past you.

Erin: Well things got ever more slapstick when Steve’s family decided to embrace their inner evil Leprachauns. When we sent them that text, nobody sent up a flare to indicate we were hell and gone from Party Central. In fact, it wasn’t until Steve called from the front stoop that anybody clued us in, but they did revel in our stupidity.

"In like a lion, out like a lamb" is just an obtuse way of saying March will toy with you for thirty-one days. Here are 7 ways March punks us every time. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

Erin: The immediate aftermath with my crew went something like this:

16yo son: “At least you still have your looks.”

15yo daughter: Epic eye roll they might have been able to feel from the ACTUAL party location.

13yo son: “When we FINALLY get to the party, will there be any food food left?”

11yo son: <nervous laughter>

6yo son: I’m HUNGRY!

My husband was gratefully good-natured about the mix-up.

Ellen: I love Steve. That man deserves all of the gold in Ireland.

Erin: I know. We loaded up the crew again with minimal family drama, but with a thick overlay of mom-mocking. What’s an hour detour amongst family? In moments, we hightailed it on the highway to the ACTUAL party in the suburbs where everyone was getting their green on and making general merriment of the raucous family holiday type. And making fun of us.

"In like a lion, out like a lamb" is just an obtuse way of saying March will toy with you for thirty-one days. Here are 7 ways March punks us every time. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

The pretty pictures you take after you make it to the party!

Ellen: Ah, they loved you even more for providing such great entertainment. As an aside and to make this more about me, it feels kind of good that an Erin punking took place where I wasn’t the recipient. But it seems kind of wrong you’re blaming this on March.

Erin: Well, March isn’t blameless. Maybe if it wasn’t tripping me up at every turn, I could have focused on the invitation. Perhaps it was my fault my family played a rousing game of “Find the Party,” but March is still totally to blame for these shenanigans.

 "In like a lion, out like a lamb" is just an obtuse way of saying March will toy with you for thirty-one days. Here are 7 ways March punks us every time. | Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

1)  Chores Multiply Exponentially

March piles on the work. Now in addition to the massive amount of spring cleaning inside, it’s time to cut back the bushes and clear the detritus from the flowerbeds outside too. We could probably hear March maniacally laughing, but in this thirty degree weather we’re wearing earmuffs to pull weeds. Probably best to just leave it for the kids to do during summer break anyway.

2) Schizoid Wardrobe

Oh March, you are one wild and crazy girl! One day we have to pile on the sweaters and the next we’re looking for a tank top. And footwear? Fuggedaboutit! Can you please just let us pack away the snow pants and mittens? We call mercy!

3) Hokey Holidays

St. Paddy’s Day?  Who is this holiday really for? Preschoolers and college kids, that’s who. If you’re not making glittered shamrocks or toasting with whiskey and green beer, what’s really the point? Pinterest has shizzed all over this holiday too. Rainbow waffles, anyone? Back away from the computer. Besides, true Irish girls drink whiskey every day of the year. Or so we’ve heard.

4) Calendar Clustermuck

Winter sports are not over and spring sports have already begun. Have you seen our complicated calendars?? You’re hitting us where it hurts, March. We are not happy and we’re taking names.

5) Daylight Savings Time Blues

Our more seasoned internal clocks don’t spring forward like they used to. We can’t fall asleep an hour early that first night, and it’s all downhill from there. By the end of the week, we’re the crazy ladies in the supermarket talking to our tomatoes. And our kids? Shudder.

6) Confused Cart

When you have de-icer and grass seed snuggled together in your cart, even the clerk at Home Depot knows you’ve got problems.

7) The Dreadmill

Running on a treadmill in a gym is about as fun as . . . well, as fun as being jerked around by March and her fickle, fickle ways.

Did we also mention we’re cold? Summer is our time to shine. Bring on the flip-flops, please. Or, at the very least, lose the freezing temps.

But it’s not all moaning and groaning, there is one thing we both LOVE about March:

The real March Madness

The drama, the brackets, the Cinderella stories, we love it all!

 Spring has to be just around the corner, right?

Please don’t fool us, April.

-Erin and Ellen


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Check out our books, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”

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5 Bad Wedding Shower Gifts and a Gem

What is wrong with people? Buying someone a wedding shower gift should be the easiest thing in the world because of that time honored tradition: Bridal Registries. The happy couple actually takes the time to zap half the store with their little scanner gun so you have a list. All you have to do is run down the prices, pick your poison, and “Boom!” you’re done.

And if you perform this act of magic online, one more click, a little extra money, and that sucker is wrapped and shipped. It’s so simple even a zombie can do it as long as she didn’t lose her AmEx along with her soul. But if this is still just too much trouble, a check is always appreciated  . . . as long as it’s not rubber.

Yet people spend the extra energy to go off the reservation all. of. the. time. The results are rarely good, unless the bride-to-be really did just forget to register for that ceramic pig sundial. If that is the case, we’ll just kick Santa to the curb and anoint you Mayor of Giftingville right now. Oh wait, even Santa follows lists.

For everyone else, here are five types of shower gifts to avoid.

5 Bad Wedding Shower Gifts and a Gem


1. The Registry Rejection

This might be the most egregious violation of all. Buying something that is “like” what is on the registry, but not quite. Ellen actually received a gold, burgundy, and green Navajo print comforter (why yes, it was just as lovely as it sounds) with this comment from the giver as she opened it, “I saw the comforter on your registry but I just didn’t like it so I got you this one.” But truly, what is better than ugly with a side of disdain for your taste?

This gift was waaaay out there.

This gift was waaaay out there.

2. The Leftover Gift

Erin has an uncle who likes to buy animatronic figures in bulk to take over to Poland as gifts when he goes to visit family. (Just keep reading that sentence until it sinks in.)  He’ll have leftovers that he’ll gift to a few lucky stateside relatives. This is how Erin, at her bridal shower, became the fortunate owner of a Grooving Santa. The same type of Santa her sister-in-law had received the year before for her wedding. Yeah.

3. The Matching Outfit

Ellen has seen this one go down—the matching shirt and shorts for the couple to sport on their honeymoon. They are getting married, not auditioning as the protagonist couple for an Adam Sandler movie. No matchies! And just to throw it out there, does anyone really want to receive lingerie from her future mother-in-law?

4. The Subtle Hint

The bridal shower is not the time or place to give that heirloom hand-knitted baby sweater, especially if the couple is marriage before carriage. Relax . . . and go return that bulk box of ovulation tests, too.

5. The Re-Gift

Ah, re-gifting. Is it tacky or recycling? Regardless, try to follow along with what happened to Ellen on the bridal shower circuit. One fall, she watched her friend open an electric blue fondue pot. Months later, Ellen then received an electric blue fondue pot from that friend at her own shower. Wait, this is a time for air quotes—“friend.”

Don’t gift things out of your closet unless you happen to have a million dollars lying around. In that case, inbox us and we’ll make sure the bride gets it.

 And Now for the Gem!

After all of this, are you like, “Ellen and Erin, it would be a relief to conform, but it would ruin my street cred to do anything as mundane as follow a registry.”

We have your solution: So new it can’t be on any registry, yet SO FABULOUSLY funny no one would ever complain about receiving it!

reviews are in

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I Just Want to Be Alone is a collection of humorous essays from 38 of the most Super Cool Lady Writers you’ll find on the web . . . including us! Jen of People I Want to Punch in the Throat is the mastermind who brought us all together to tell the stories about our men that will have you nodding along and laughing out loud.

But it’s not just for brides-to-be! Every woman wants this in her life, needs this in her life.

It’s for any woman who has sent her man to the store for potato chips only to have him return with tortilla chips.

It’s for that lady whose hubby has ruined yet another load of laundry by leaving a pen in his pants.

It’s for that gal whose fiancé planned out the perfect proposal, but didn’t plan on the limo driver pulling over to take a whizz.

It’s for all of us who have rued that our husbands have taken up bee keeping. Wait, what? Never mind, just accept . . .


So order your copy or twelve today!



-Ellen and Erin


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10 Love Songs For Valentine’s Day

The Countdown is on, people! One week until Valentine’s Day!  Time for the collective push back at the commercial juggernaut Hallmark has built.  Boo to over-priced cards, short-lived flowers, tushy-padding candies and  dust-collecting, bedbug-colonizing bears.

We’ll celebrate our love the old-fashioned way . . . with a mixed tape. Of course, we know that mixed tapes have gone the way of the dodo and New Coke. It’s just that when Ellen and I got together with our guys, we still called playlists “mixed tapes”.

This list is a deeply personal one. Think of it as a love story, my love story, told in song. Of course, each and every song is a much better choice than a lot of what’s offered up on lists like this one.

10 love songs

1. “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra

The song that quite literally started our whole romance. Back in the day, a newfangled contraption arrived on campus called voicemail. Steve and I had started hanging out the fall of my senior year, but we weren’t really dating yet. We were both going to our school’s annual Screw Your Roommate dance though, and we planned on trying to sneak in a dance. Unfortunately, this SYR dance had about as much drama on the floor as you might expect. Long story short: our dance never happened. Sweet Steve sent me this song to my brand-spanking new voicemail with a fun message about dancing to it later. I was a goner, ladies. A total goner.

2. “Romeo and Juliet” by Indigo Girls

So the Indigo Girls were kind of a thing when we were in college, and this particular song played on a loop during my senior year AKA  the Heady-Crazy-About-Each-Other phase.  The soaring vocals, the raw emotion, the energy. It was and still is the epitome of young, earnest love.

3. “Home” by Bonnie Raitt

While not a huge country music fan in general, Bonnie Raitt and the Dixie Chicks bridge the Great Divide for me. This one captures so clearly that moment when I realized that I was right where I was supposed to be. This Guy. This Moment. The Future I was starting to imagine for us.

4. “Slow Dancing” by Bono

Is it enough to just say Bono? It should be. This is a special song for us. Hell, it should be for everyone. Try NOT to dance with your sweetheart to this one.

5. “At Last” by Etta James

This song was worn out for all the playtime I gave it in the months leading up to my wedding. Old songs sung by beautiful, strong voices hit every right note for me. Whenever I hear this one, I’m 23 again. I can’t promise time travel when you hear it, but anybody who has found THAT somebody will get why this song can still move me to tears.

6.  “You and I” Ingrid Michaelson

Even though I just found this song recently, it captures young love’s optimism and wild imagining so well I had to include it. It hints at that friendship and camaraderie that lies at the heart of many relationships, but especially mine.

7. The Beatles “In My Life”

This one isn’t just for Steve but for our whole little kingdom. It was playing on our CD player when I came home from the hospital with my first baby. In my life, I’ve loved them all, these people, my little clan. More than they will ever know.

8. “Hey, Stephen” by Taylor Swift

When my daughter was a tween, we both fell in love with Taylor Swift.  One day in the car we heard this song. From the front, I shouted over my shoulder,  “This is my song for Daddy!”  I don’t know what it says about the brain trust I’m raising that not a single child questioned how it could be our song when Taylor had just written it and clearly we had been around the block a couple times before that. Nevertheless, it is a love song for a boy named Stephen, and I’ve got me one of those.

9. “Come Away With Me” by Nora Jones

As of next week, we will tip the scales and teens will outnumber us.  While not a terrifying realization, it is a sobering one. We already play this song often, plot our getaways, and exchange meaningful glances over school projects and dirty dishes. This is the rolled-up sleeves, deep-in-the-trenches stage of parenting for us, but Nora takes us to that beautiful place we want to get back to together.

10. “Grow Old Along With Me” by Mary Chapin Carpenter

This song always gives me a catch in the throat when I remember that John Lennon not only never really got to record this song properly before he was killed, he never grew old with his sweetheart. God bless our love and all those like it that we all get our second acts, our quiet folding into old age together.

Feel free to add your own love song to the list!


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