Chuckle D Licious Turns 11

It recently came to my attention that most of the Kennett Middle School has read my blog. The photo below is what really grabbed the attention of the adolescents and my kids are mortified. Mom job is going pretty, pretty, pretty well!!

big hair

To celebrate the uptick in readers, I will write a blog as a birthday gift to each of my children. Fun fact: the kids birthday are as follows 2/26, 3/27, 4/28, a sign that I should be more orderly! The middle child kicks it off — happy 11th birthday, Charlie!


Today is so special, and I can’t decide if the best part was the moment I saw him at 12 noon when he arrived into this world in 2006:


Watching Robbie meet his little brother:


…or the hoagie my sister, Megan, brought me from Bella Italia that still brings a tear to my eye, it was so delicious! Just kidding my curly-haired, smart, athletic, kind, and wonderful child!


The title of the Brad Paisley song, I thought I loved You Then, sums up how I feel about my Charles, Chuckie D, Chuckles, Chaz, Charlie Bear, Chuckle D Licious. My heart gets bigger every day watching him grow into an incredible, young man.


To say I am thankful for the unconditional love he gives back to me and the inspiration to keep improving and be a better person, is an understatement.


Happy birthday and don’t ever forget who gave you that signature head of nappy roots!!

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Saying Hell No to ‘Bad Moms’ Reality Series

Sometimes you’re just sitting around and you don’t even realize that a dream is about to come true. Other times, you need to make your own destiny. I love the latter of the two as hope is not a strategy!

And that is why I call bullshit on the movie, Bad Moms. Is self-deprivation and 24/7 complaining really an acceptable way to live?  Sure we all could relate and laugh at the antics because she’s overworked, exhausted and ready to snap. Who isn’t at times? We love to join forces with other stressed-out mothers and go wild to get away from daily life and conventional responsibilities. But enough of the divide, judgement and delusional thoughts of easy fixes. (OK, maybe just one drunken scene at the Kennett Giant. Who’s with me?)


Instead of focusing on how we are bad or constantly missing the mark, maybe try to be a little more bad ass and encourage others to do the same? Personally, November has continuously brought me adventure, milestones and great memories.  A highlight was traveling through Australia and bungee jumping, Thanksgiving Day, circa 1995. That was an amazing gift and definitely a momentous, bad ass day.


There are other times you work really hard towards a goal and finally the day comes where the rubber meets the road, or your sneakers for 26.2 miles.  I have been so fortunate to run the Philly Marathon the Sunday before Thanksgiving with these bad ass ladies!


Sure, people love to judge. I was asked questions, in a lovely passive aggressive tone, including how could my parents let me go to another country alone? How could I possibly find time to train for marathons with children? And why did I have children if I was going to continue working full time? If a Hollywood producer was smart, they would create the sequel, Bad Ass Moms. Or maybe we all start celebrating the good in bad ass people!

My own personal belief is to maintain a list of life goals, continue to be passionate, authentic and happy while successfully managing three children, a career and circle of friends and family. Maybe its a learned behavior from my own bad ass Mom, who just spent her 79th birthday traveling around Spain.


From music, art and to my delight, athletic competition, my kids have taken to the adrenaline rush of truly living.  I couldn’t be prouder of my daughter running a 5K in her sock puppet costume!


Take it from Pig Pen, if ever you think you’ve created a controllable, predictable life for yourself, you can rest assured that’s an illusion. Nothing stays the same forever, look at the difference six years makes!

kids 2016

The uncertainty of life sometimes keeps me up at night. With the high sales of sleep aids, I don’t think I am alone. Motivating to change from within, to practice acceptance, live in the moment, and embrace the adventure of living and cheer on those around you, seems to be a better way.  So Happy Thanksgiving, be grateful, and be bad ass!

If you need a soundtrack to get your bad ass, groove back, I highly suggest Meghan Trainor’s song, Me Too!

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The Babysitter Affair – Shit Hits the Garage

I know its shit hits the fan but stay with me on this one. You would think I have used up shit idioms like the shit sandwich, who gives a shit, holy shit, shitty ass, or the shit show but upon further research there are so many I have forgotten about and new ones I will add to my repertoire.

you can put glitter on shit but it still stinks; bull shit, horse shit, chicken shit; can’t remember shit; cling like shit to a shovel; close as stink on shit; colder than shit, hotter than shit; crazier than a shit house rat; crazy shits; day the eagle shits; diddly-shit, doodly-shit; doesn’t know jack-shit; doesn’t know shit from paint; dumb like my shit; dumb shits; eat shit; everything you touch turns to shit; fall in a bucket of shit and come out smelling like a rose; find a place for your shit; find shit; forget shit; get your shit together; give a shit; happier than a pig in shit; have a mountain of shit; in deep shit; in the shit; know one’s shit; like a fly on shit; like a possum eating shit; like stink on shit; like trying to fit ten pounds of shit into a five pound bag; lose shit; lucky shits; money talks and bullshit walks; no shit; quicker than shit through a goose; sell shit; serve shit on a shingle; shit fire and save matches; shit for brains; shit happens; shit or get off the pot; shit out of luck; shit-faced; shitty; shoot the shit; slicker than cat shit on a linoleum floor; slicker than greased owl shit; slow as shit through a tin horn; smoke shit; softer than a sneaker full of shit; sound like shit, look like shit, feel like shit; talks like he has a mouth full of shit; the shit hits the fan; the world goes to shit; throw shit, sling shit, catch shit; up shit creek (without a paddle)


My new house has come together and I am feeling settled. The stress still pops up randomly, like the sweet smell of shit here in the mushroom capital of the world, but I am trying to handle it all with grace. For instance, shit overfloweth in my front yard because the lawn guys ran over the sewer cap. After getting a snake in the pipes and a closer look, it was an easy fix. Staying calm as shit.

Last week, giving into the fact at 44 I can no longer see shit up close, I was at the eye doctor buying bifocals. I receive the following text from my sitter:


I arrive home to find her front bumper had found its way, less than gently, into my garage door frame. We agree I would deduct the cost of damages to my garage from her wages. Should be about $200, waiting for my handyman to finish the repairs.  Her need to speak to me in private was regarding Evy.  She is difficult to handle.

evy shirt

You see how nice I was – I told her not to worry, we were putting a discipline plan in place for the Evster and we should touch base and see if she was happy in this job. Truth be told, I started searching for a new sitter. I sensed shit going down.

This  week I received a text one hour prior to picking up my kids at school. To summarize she was respectively resigning, effective immediately, and all of her friends at Starbucks agreed she had more than covered the cost of my garage repairs.

Responsibility at its best, thanks for giving a shit. But hear me people, I am not going to get down on the ‘millennials’ but rather make a difference with the ones that want to be great and build a better reputation for themselves and their generation. I already had plan B in motion and this young man is off to a fantastic start. Based on the fact he made a first day of school t-shirt with his photo on it, has kept the kids busy, has not complained once and parks on the street- I see this as a win.


Tomorrow is National “Make a difference day”  Stop talking shit and make things better.To celebrate, my pick of the week is Toast Vodka. Love the tag line: To life, to love, to us!


Still confused that possums are super happy eating shit out of a light socket, but pretty excited I could work that into the blog!

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Bob Burns Named The Most Interesting 80-Year-Old Man in the World Today!

My Dad, Bob Burns, is 80 years old today! This is a big birthday and one that deserves a blog from his favorite,  youngest daughter.


As a treat, I thought I would give my Dad a soapbox to discuss the increasing social, political turmoil that continues to escalate in our country.  Just kidding! (Dad,  Fox News responded to my request, when you turn 90 you are invited to anchor your own show. You’re welcome.)

It’s a great day and a weekend of festivities are planned to celebrate this most interesting man in the world. I give to you the many reasons you should wish Bob the happiest of days, years and a life that continues to be anything but ordinary.

Oldest of 6 (5 sisters)/ Husband (one and done for 54 years and counting!) / Dad (of 5) / Maker of Bad Curly Hair

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Salesman / Performer/ Political Junkie / Singer / Margarita Master / Creator / Leader


Teacher / Stone Mason /  Model Train Owner / Not the Scottish Poet (but a poet in his own mind) / Art fanatic / Zucchini Bread Maker / Pop Pop (of 12)


Business Man / Chef/ Gardner / Farmer / Bartender / Singer / #1 Fox News Fan / Camper /Fisherman / Catholic / Forrest Fire Starter / Telemarketers Worst Nightmare / Local Vendor Most Loyal Customer / Fast Food Snob / Driver (questionable)


Supporter /Most Non-athletic-Sports Fan (if you are a blood relative)/ Air Force Academy Advocate / Kitchen Lighting Maniac / Dickens Village Designer / Everything Christmas


This photo was taken, Christmas 2002. I was pregnant with Robbie, my oldest son. (Goldstar for passing along the namesake, but I digress).  This is my Dad’s favorite holiday and he makes it so incredibly special, he should charge admission!  This is just one of the many moments that makes this guy far from ordinary.

Watching and learning that anything is possible, pulling yourself up by your boot straps, celebrating the little to big achievements and having a network of family and close friends is the true gift of life. Happy birthday, Dad!


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Time to Hit the OFF Button

It all started during the snow storm in January. I came to the realization the townhouse was not the right home for the kids and me. It was too small for how we live, there was no place for them to play and not having a designated office was starting to wear thin. More eloquently put…


I pride myself on not whining but taking action.

THE SALE: house listed March 15, five showings, offer received, offer accepted, settlement date scheduled for May 6. Done.

I started packing and felt giddy – this was going to be easy and SO great!!


THE PURCHASE: targeted a great neighborhood, offer submitted, offer declined, checked out long-shot foreclosure, fell in love, offer submitted, offer accepted, settlement date scheduled April 27. Done. (Huge thanks to Kevin Brown for making that happen! )

Around mid-April, the wheels started to come loose.  The tightness in my throat would not subside and every cell in my body was tingling (and not in a good way). The packing intensified, work was piling up, taxes were due and I never felt more alone in my life.

Moving day = one tire blow out. It was a Friday, it was raining, I had back-to-back conference calls (Skype is fun with this all in the background), and things were not as orderly as they should have been.  Did you expect anything different from Pig Pen? My Dad was there as he has always been for me. This could have easily been the same scenario just 40+ years later. (Me crying, not Bob Burns shirtless.)


The three amigo movers forget TVs, patio furniture, basketball hoop, track mud and leaves in the new house, took a marijuana break and lost the pegs that hold my coveted kitchen table together. Slight twitch developed.


The next week is filled with running back and forth to clean out the townhouse. A HUGE thanks to my friends, Ed and Michele, who arrived with a trailer and pitched in to get the big pieces delivered!  Each trip back to the place, I swore someone was putting items back after I cleaned out closets and various spaces. Tightness in throat, chest, stomach and working its way into my limbs. Googled signs and probability of a heart attack.


Settlement day for new house = second tire blowout. Getting a cashier’s check for a large amount of money might be thrilling for some, I just tried to not be physically sick. Anticlimactic leaving with my keys and drove up to my new home. Walking in alone to a big, empty house the reality washed over me. This was going to be a lot of work and I didn’t know where to begin.


Settlement day for townhouse = third tire blowout. How hard is it for banks to send over paperwork? What would happen if I told my boss, customers or partners that I could not send an email with existing paperwork for at least 72 hours?  When asked on the third day, still nothing, five more unproductive phone calls and after begging and pleading, received paperwork halfway through settlement. Check in hand, no more dealing with a finicky buyer, but operating on one last cylinder. Deep breaths.

Days to follow until May 19 = fourth tire blow out.  The boxes and furniture stayed piled up, the outside looking like something worse than jungle book, Verizon on strike so stand in’ takes seven hours to set up phone and Internet, week-long business trip and the rainiest spring in history. When I couldn’t locate the can opener upon my return late Sunday evening, I officially broke down.


It was time to take control, again. Took Friday off and spent all day organizing, cleaning and achieved goal of being able to pull in the garage. With three monkeys cheering in the car, feeling accomplished and proud to share this moment, I pulled the car into the garage and we are greeted by a strange, loud hissing sound.


Opened the car door to a crazy smell, I see the crushed can of OFF bug spray. Thankful it was not what I feared and the blog hit me. Chill the f^&* out and turn OFF the stress, impatience, fear, nervousness and focus on what matters.

I am far from finished but have vowed to enjoy the process and every step of the way. It’s called life and you get one shot at it. Plus, this is my new back yard which includes a pond and local farm. Thankful – this is home!


When you’re finished changing, you’re finished. -Benjamin Franklin

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Forgo Fondue and Dip into Divorce to Make Your Valentine’s Day Super Special!

Who can provide a great lesson on love? Ask a divorced person.

The average day can be torturous so ‘Hallmark Holidays’, like Valentine’s Day, help us appreciate the simple things. But love ain’t so simple – and life just complicates it.

I recently read an article about a man who hired a hit man to ‘take out’ his wife. Wow, things must have been really bad. That guy is now in jail since she ‘dodged the bullet’, found out the plan, showed up at her own funeral and now that guy is reflecting in jail on how to hire a more competent hit man and love better the next time.


Weekday mornings are hell and certainly not a scene for romance. The kitchen is the center of the cyclone for about two hours. This is true for every household with kids in school. DM me with your secret if it’s not a total cluster cuss.


Running around, waking up kids, checking email, packing lunches, serving up breakfast, signing test, holding three conversations at once, quizzing on spelling words and math facts, all while trying not to stress about the logistics of practices, dentist appointments, grades and every other aspect of life.

The other morning, Pandora Rascal Flatts radio sets the soundtrack for my own version of a Lifetime movie. Trace Adkin’s song, You’re Going to Miss This, came over the speakers and reminded me slapping together thousands of PB&Js, yelling to brush teeth, repeating my rule, “no you can’t wear shorts in winter”, cleaning up messes, hearing about their friends, sports, 100 day of school activities, etc and watching their little faces grow up right in front of me is going to be the sweetest of memories.


I started to cry faster than when I flip on Terms of Endearment or Steel Magnolias. I tried to hold it together but sometimes it’s overwhelming how much love you feel while wanting to strangle them all at the same time.

Isn’t that true for almost every relationship? Even my cats can push me to the brink sometimes. How hard is it to poop IN the litter box?


There is a flood of research and content out there, but I came across one book that resonated with me. The research from Terri Orbuch, a psychologist, research professor at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and author of the book, “Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship”, shows most divorced people identify the same top five regrets—behaviors they believe contributed to their marriage’s demise and that they resolve to change next time.

“Divorced individuals who step back and say, ‘This is what I’ve done wrong and this is what I will change,’ have something powerful to teach others,” stated Orbuch. I think its transferable to every relationship.

Orbuch calls it “affective affirmation,” or simply, boosting the mood of those around you. This includes compliments, cuddling and kissing, hand-holding, saying “I love you,” and emotional support.  Sounds easy and should be the way we interact with everyone from a spouse, partner, kids, family, work associates and every other interaction. It’s more than a smile and good manners though, here are the five steps to follow:

  • Show love often
  • Make others feel good about the kind of person they are
  • Make others feel good about having their own ideas and ways of doing things
  • Appreciate how each person make’s life interesting or exciting
  • Do something to demonstrate that individuals are noticed and appreciated every single day.

Cheesy? Not to me. I want to give and receive this from family, friends and the love of my life.  I certainly know I need it and it will last longer than a box of chocolates. Cheers to love and seeing the Forest between the trees!


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Check Me Out! It’s My Birthday and I’m Awesome!

It’s my birthday!


and this is what 44 looks like.


Basically, my days revolve around looking fabulous, shopping all day with unlimited funds and sitting around naked and waiting for my billionaire, sugar daddy to get home.


This dream was cut short after waking up at 5am – because I officially can not mix wine and birthday cake (or any dessert). As I laid in bed at the crack of dawn, this blog practically wrote itself.

The Pig Pen silence was not planned and I had several blogs drafted over the past few months, but nothing felt right to publish. Who really gives a shit?

Wow, look at me! I ran my fourth marathon and qualified for Boston. Who Cares?!


Christmas was stressful with family and preparations. Join the club! Wait, my story was special, the cats almost murdered the elf on the shelf:


I almost burned down the townhouse complex making monkey bread:


My entire family wore matching pajamas because we are perfect!  No malfunction or drama here!




The new year kicked off and surely I could write the one blog that stands out from the zillions of motivational articles on Facebook and everywhere you turn. How to be happier, healthier, richer…blah blah blah …all in 10 simple steps! I couldn’t come up with the winner but I did read a great post from Mark Manson asking a great question. An uncomfortable question. What pain do you want in your life?


Hmmm. It hit me. I’m OK with struggles and that is MY personal approach to making my life story. Sure I like to share the bumps and bruises through this blog, because laughing at myself feels a lot better than spiraling into a dark hole of self defeat. It all comes down to how I want to achieve the super star status … in my own mind, of course!

My reality is a pig pen and continues to keep me grounded.  The balancing act leaves me with so many torn feelings, at times. For example, flying home from work meetings yesterday and so excited about my job, the company, the future, but guilty about being an absentee parent. You can’t win…or can you?

I arrive home to the best birthday gift ever. My daughter made a 3-D farm for me.


I’m getting older and totally comfortable in my own skin. I wouldn’t trade it for anything and am so lucky to have a good life story to tell.  Stay tuned for the next bump in the road!



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