Category Archives: Family

I Left My Heart in Utopia, TX…


Approximately 29 hours ago, I dropped my sweet, outgoing, and overly independent daughter off at her first “away-from-home” camp in Utopia Texas, about 90 minutes from home and far away in the beautiful Texas hill country and  from any state-of-the art medical facility.

Utopia, TXI swear, for the first time in my life, I did not cry at a cry-worthy moment when we left Olivia with her friend Claire and several strangers in her cabin. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children and would give my life to save theirs, but I don’t consider myself overly affectionate. I certainly underestimated how much I would miss her as we pulled out of the camp parking lot and headed home.

IMG_3944It started almost immediately, when Evan casually blurted out, “I already miss Olivia.” We humored him, but the truth is, I already missed Olivia too. And I almost lost it when my mind started wandering on our ride home and somehow fast forwarded to eight years, when I fully expect we will be dropping her off for her first semester at NYU (fortunately for her, it probably won’t be 96 degrees like it was in Utopia yesterday). As we arrived back home, I felt an uncontrollable urge to hang out in her room and assemble a doll armoire that has been sitting on her floor since Christmas 2013. Finished it tonight!

And, all day, whenever I had a spare moment, I thought of her… On my drive to work, I was wondering if she had a good night sleep – or any sleep for that matter. I thought about her as I read the paper and FullSizeRenderthe graphic reminded me of Doctor Who…

As I went to get water at work, I hoped she was staying well hydrated and that she changed her underwear. On my way home, I thought of her when I sang Uptown Funk at the top of my lungs. Now, I’m sitting  here hoping she is not thinking about us at all and that she is having the time of her life. And, I’m thinking a how amazing, courageous, grown-up, smart, confident, and beautiful she is.


Poor Baby…(what have we done?)


We are a music-loving family. In fact, I would say music has a super important place in our family. We always have music playing during dinner. It is common practice for any one of us to be singing some song at the top of our lungs. My husband even posts a daily “Insidious Song of the Day” on Facebook.

Naturally, we have always had a tradition of singing to our kids before bedtime. Maybe we don’t sing “Hush Little Baby” or “Lullaby and Goodnight.” Maybe it’s more like “Part of Your World” from the Little Mermaid or “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” but our kids, particularly Evan, love it.

So, how do you know that you haven’t sung enough traditional lullabies to your kids? When they sing the following lyrics to “Rock-a-bye Baby,” like Evan did today:

Rock-a-bye baby, on the tree top
When the wind blows, the dreidel will cop
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall
Into a pit and into some water

Epic fail!

Scooby and Friends


I have a confession to make – I’ve always loved Scooby-Doo. I remember watching Scooby when I was growing up and never tiring from the familiar theme: Scooby and friends meet a creepy person, strange things start happening, Scooby and Shaggy get scared, the friends trap the villan who turns out to be the creepy person from the beginning, and the villain proclaims, “I would have gotten away with it, too,  if it wasn’t for you meddling kids.” 

I was overjoyed when Olivia made the transition from Elmo to Scooby when she was almost four. I was impressed when she learned to sing the theme song with an English accent, and I was openly disappointed when she traded the mystery machine for My Friends Tigger and Pooh.

So, imagine my elation when five-year-old Evan asked to be Scooby-Doo for Halloween and started watching those classic shows.

Tonight at dinner, Evan informed us that he would like each of us to be one of  Scooby’s friends for Halloween. Even better, he went around the table and told each of us which characters we would be. Daddy would be Freddy, and Nicholas would be Velma. I quickly became aware of where this conversation was going… As I had suspected, Olivia was Daphne, and I was named Shaggy.

When I asked Evan why he made me Shaggy, he said, “So you can be my friend.” With a full heart, I answered, “And we can eat big sandwiches together.”

Scooby-Doo and Friends

The Ring Family – 2012

Conversations in the Car


I’m not sure why some of the most interesting conversations I have with my kids happen in the car. Maybe it’s because we are confined. Maybe it’s because they are excited to go to school or to come home. Maybe there is something about riding in a 5,800 piece of metal that pulls the interesting thoughts,  humor, and cleverness out of them.

Not sure, but here’s the conversation we had yesterday on the way home:

Background: The kids always want to play on my ipad. In fact, I’m not even sure I can call it my ipad anymore, since I almost never get to use it. Every so often, I will let Olivia play on my husband’s ipad while Evan plays on “mine” in order to accommodate the kids, avoid meltdowns, and keep peace in the house.

Olivia: Mom, can I play on the ipad after we eat dinner?

Evan: Mom, can I play on the ipad after we eat dinner?

Olivia: Evvvaaannnn. I asked first.

Evan: But, Olivia, I had a good day today. (Evan doesn’t get to play on the ipad if he gets his name on the board.)

Olivia: I did too.

Me: Olivia, if  you’re lucky, I’ll let you use Daddy’s ipad.

Evan: Olivia is lucky. Olivia is lucky. Olivia is lucky.

Well, Olivia wasn’t so lucky, because Marvin took his ipad to Phoenix with him, so we had to take turns playing with “my” ipad. Again, I never got a turn!

The Tale of Scary Date Night….


Having three children with busy schedules, a demanding full-time job, and after-work activities, I rarely get a night out alone with my husband.

Last Friday night, my niece and her boyfriend, who were visiting from Albany, NY, were scheduled to have dinner and a ghost tour of downtown San Antonio. Sadly, the boyfriend ended up with a scary stomach bug. Since the tickets were already purchased and non-refundable, Marvin and I were recruited to fill in. Honestly, after a long week, both of us dreamed of relaxing at home with a bottle of wine/beer.

I was only vaguely interested in the tour, since I openly admit that I believe in ghosts. My husband, on the other hand, is a total non-believer. Our secret plan was to have dinner, and if we became bored with the tour, we would duck into one of our favorite martini bars.

Reluctantly, we headed downtown and straight to the bar at the Menger, one of San Antonio’s most haunted hotels. The tour started promptly after dinner, and we ventured through the hotel where many of our fellow ghost tourees excitedly snapped pictures of orbs. The more excited the tourees got, the sillier Marvin and I got. That’s when we started snapping goofy pictures of ourselves all over downtown San Antonio. One at the Menger Hotel. One at the Alamo. One at the Emily Morgan Hotel. One in some random place that I can’t remember. One at San Fernando Cathedral.

As it turns out, we did not accidentally snap any pictures of resident spirits in San Antonio, but we did have a good time sharing drinks, giggling at our pictures, and wandering around areas of our city I had never seen before. I think we both appreciated and enjoyed our night out, even if we had to share it with ghosts.