Last Morning of Summer 2012


Waking up in the mountains and I can’t bring myself to wake up Peter. It’s his last morning of summer vacation and he is sleeping just like a little boy who spent the entire day before in a river kayaking. He also caught crayfish in a creek, frogs and salamanders. He tried sleeping in a tent by the river and it lasted until Jim and I headed back to the house.

His big brothers lasted longer. They made it in the tent until Jim, Peter and I made it to the house.
What a terrific weekend with friends. I will add some pictures to this post when I get home later and can download them off my “real” camera.
Hope everyone had a great weekend and an ever better summer and here’s to having a fantastic fall!





Boy in the City

You can take the boy to the city but he’s still going to find a way to act like Tom Sawyer.


Peter won’t shoot the animals in the game.

He shoots next to them to watch the video game lizards run.

I gave him a dollar to play.

Was it a waste to let him play it of he didn’t “play?”.

Ha ha!

They are all three such good boys.

His big brothers thought it was cute that he won’t even shoot a video game animal.

They came over to the table to tell me this fact as I was taking his picture from the booth and posting it here on my blog.  I thought this fact made it a much better story.

School starts Monday and I am going to miss my buddies.


Abbie Gale

Summer Camp

Saying goodbye at camp.Little brother Peter was left to watch Lilly our dog while we were unpacking Mitchell and Avery.  Peter was so worried our dog was upset that we were leaving his big brothers.  I think perhaps little brother was a little sad we were leaving them too.

Can you see how nervous Avery and Mitchell are while we check them in?


I went to summer camp for the first time when I was their age.

That is what I kept chanting to myself every time I had the thought to throw them back into  the car and drive them to Disney World so I wouldn’t have to leave them with strangers.

The summer camp I went to in Michigan was not sitting on the top of a mountain though.

I would have happily stayed with them for these views for a week.

The camps now email the parents daily pictures of their kids and what they are up to.

The camp sent me this picture the first day.  I snapped a quick pic of the computer screen on my phone and texted it to my husband.

It looks like my boys are fitting right in.

Do you have fond memories of summer camp when you were a child?  Did you decide to send your own children to sleep away camp?


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Ten Stupid Things I Learned at BlogHer 2012

Ten Things I Learned from Attending BlogHer in NYC

1. Turn off your phone and do not even answer if it is your kids. Chances are they will only call when you are talking to a “cloth diaper mom.” You will find yourself yelling into the phone, “NO, YOU MAY NOT WATCH THE HANGOVER 2! WHERE IS YOUR FRIENDS MOM? THAT MOVIE IS RATED R TOO! LET ME JUST SAY THAT NO MOVIE THAT IS RATED R IS APPROPRIATE!” The other mom with small children will look at you as if you are raising barbarians. Secretly, you are so happy your three boys called before they saw a woman in a movie shooting Ping-Pong balls out of her “place between where the babies exit out,” (you can click that blue link to find out why I wouldn’t teach my boys the word vagina.) You also secretly cannot wait until this woman’s kids are older and she gets hers.

2. That 5% of the 5,100 people who attended BlogHer in 2012 are the long time bloggers that really know what they are doing and have learned through their own successes and failures. Then there were approximately 3,000 people there with the objective to get something for free, go somewhere for free, get a discount on something back home to make it almost free or build a relationship with a vendor who will start sending them something for free. Those women had a pretty good offensive line. Then there were the rest of us.

Just in case we didn’t meet and because I suck at passing my cards out to people and then wish that I had and because there were 5,100 people there and I only had 100 cards and I came home with 80.

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The rest of us wandered and occasionally bumped into one another. We wished we had someone with more experience to talk to but it turns out those with more experience were out together trying to get away from the people trying to “crack into their nut.” I get it. I have long time girlfriends too and I am sure these women have amazing relationships. Do I sound jealous? I am not because I really do get it. They have worked very hard to learn what they have learned and I am sure they had some bumps and bruises along the way. I am thankful for the sessions I attended and I did learn things. I am looking forward to catching a few of the other sessions I couldn’t attend, online.

3. It is IMPOSSIBLE to blow dry your hair and paint your toenails, at the same time. I am sorry Hilton and way to plan for everything with that polka dot carpet! We will call it even stevens since I paid $450 a night for a room with broken seals in the windows and I couldn’t even see out my premium priced views.

4. I may just have to accept the fact that I will never fit in with 5,000 women, as hard as I try. I never rushed a sorority, joined a mom’s group, or went on a “girls night out.” I like mixed company and I like men and frankly they were passing out plush vaginas and I won’t even teach my three sons the word “vagina.” When a table of women hear me say that I wont teach my boys “vagina” and that I refer to it as “the place between where the babies exit out,” they will looked at me like I just said women should not be allowed to vote. BTW, I didn’t get a plush vagina and I would have really loved one. I am the sole vagina bearer in my house and it would have been nice to bring it out on occasions and let it vote during family voting issues.

I need a man in the group, who used to be a boy, to get my sense of humor. I need a man to understand that it is a lot harder for little boys to yell at one another, “You’re a giant place between where the babies exit out!” versus “You’re a giant vagina!” I don’t need Judgy Judy looks and for you to whisper, “My children know the appropriate terminology” to your girlfriend. I just need you to chuckle or a smirk, that is what I do when I get that the person is being sarcastic. My husband is a doc and we all know the proper terms. My mom called mine my, “kitty cat” and I am not a stripper. She did give me a sense of humor because it is freaking hilarious when I hear a little girl get off a slide at the park screaming, “My vagina hurts!”

5. Mc Donald’s employees in NYC are paid wayyyy more than Mc Donald’s employees anywhere else, as evident by the McDonalds employee that sat down next to me and wolfed down a $24 cheeseburger.

6. You need to make connections before you go to the conference to meet people. If you don’t you will find yourself spending an evening listening to a woman tell you about the sex toy lock box business that she tells me is thriving. This leads me to the next thing I learned.

7. You need to be able to keep a straight face or get Botox everywhere so when the “naughty box lock lady” starts talking you don’t immediately begin making weird astonished faces and then decide to fist bump her? Ok, Botox arms as well.

8. If you work for a sex toy lock box company they train you to not blink when you talk about your products. Not one blink. Not one blink. I pay attention to blinks, (my story here about fast blinkers versus slow blinkers.) My guess is there was way too much giggling at training sessions so they just Botoxed their eyelids open. This whole sex-toy-lock-box episode has given me so much to think about and when I say that I am “thinking about” something it means I am hashing it out in public to anyone who will listen, that mean you reading too. I mean, have women not heard of a lock on their drawers? You put a locked box in my house and that is like giving my kids a challenge. That box would end up on a dark road waiting for someone to run it over for my little boys to find out what is inside and in their heads it would be gold coins and Skittles. Locked boxes are asking for trouble in my house.

9. Just because you took off your name badge off, Abbie, it doesn’t mean that it is OK to harass a vendor on an elevator. “But, why do we need to kill bad germs in the air now? Don’t we need to be exposed to germs? And how exactly do you know you are only killing the bad germs? We get new information all the time like, what if a germ we thought was bad turns out to be good for something else?” When the poor man finally breaks down and says his dad invented it, you can’t just say, “Oh, you will sell them gang busters because new moms are sleep deprived will buy anything for their babies” and then try to fist bump him, again…what is with me?

(Yes, my name is really Abbie Gale, (I said this 25 times.) My parents were hippies and they named me after the MAN Abbie Hoffman who spent his entire life trying to get pot legalized. He wrote the book, “Steal This Book.” My middle name is really Gale because they were babies having babies and they thought it was cute and they were lazy. Gale, as in a gust of wind hitting a sail because they also liked to sail. I am not giving you my last name, unless you want to hire me. I have high standards for my boys and hope that they get into college one day but if the school learns of their concerns over sperm diameter and whether or not this “sperm” I told them about is a liquid or a solid I will have to home-college them and I don’t even know how to form a proper paragraph.)

10. Wear a vendor badge so people will talk to you. Wear a vibrator company badge and women will chase you down like you have a key to Christian Grey’s house. I may do this next conference because I am much smarter now and very good with PhotoShop. I just have to make up a ridiculous vibrator company name. I am open to ideas. Anyone?

I think I will just keep on writing and keep on building the relationships I have on the computer and if it leads to more, than great. Perhaps one day I will be asked to sit with the “big dogs” but probably not until I learn to use a comma.

Hey, all you BlogHer chicks I didn’t meet, you missed out. I am much better in person as you cannot see my poor punctuation when I am speaking. I also had a rubber alligator in my purse my son sent with me. That is always a guaranteed good time.

You Tube Link (Click here if video above doesn’t work, because I never plan to run for public office)


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Ellie Mae Takes on NYC

Update!  I am going!  That is, I am going to BlogHer 12 in New York City!

Well, I just booked the trip to BlogHer 2012 and I just realized I have NOTHING prepared!

Do people still carry business cards?  Will people look at what is on my laptop, over my shoulder, while I am in a meeting?  Do they too have pictures of their husband (accidentally) spooning your dog while sleeping and photos of bathroom stalls with abnormally low walls, (what is the point?)  Will I look like a doofus if I drag around a PAPER notebook?

How do I get rid of this giant zit in the middle of my forehead that looks like a “start” button before I fly out?  Will they refuse me entrance onto the plane for fear I have a communicable disease?  Do I need a note from my dermatologist saying I am not contagious but you probably shouldn’t stare at it too closely?

Do I just draw “Start” above Pablo, (I named it Pablo-the-Pimple) and it could be “my thing” like The Bloggess with her rollers or The Bearded Iris with her beard?  Damn you iPhoto for making it so easy to “disappear” my pimples that I get disappointed when I look in an actual mirror!

 I am too stinkin’ excited, especially considering a week ago I wasn’t going!  

To add to the excitement, don’t tell anyone because I cannot believe it myself with as much as I have traveled and it makes me feel a bit like Ellie Mae Clampett but…


With that said, if you see me wandering around NYC aimlessly, do me a favor and yell, “MOM!!!!!!  We’re hungry! He broke my Lego Star Wars ship!  I can’t poop!  I can’t stop pooping!  Come and see my cool corn poop!”  That way I don’t get homesick.

Also if you see me, please introduce yourself in case I don’t recognize you because you look SO MUCH better in person!

If you never hear from me again it is because I ran away from home and joined the circus as…

“The Woman With a Unicorn Horn”

Remember my story about “Unicorn Horn or Extra Finger?”

I so should have chosen the unicorn horn.

At least it would have covered the Pablo-the-Pimple.


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When Did I Lose Faith in Myself?

I worked in corporate America until I was put on bed rest with my twins, now twelve.

Companies would send their private jets to a little airstrip, by my home, and I would fly up to a factory and be back home in time for dinner.  I was young and feisty and I could keep a project together from idea to market.  I could negotiate a price and delivery date from China to the eventual chain of outdoor stores or military base.

I was on a product development team for a major boot company.  I was a woman in a business of men.  When passed a cigar to enjoy, I did.  I was comfortable there.

In college I worked in a steel mill running a blowtorch and assisting the crane operator.  I don’t remember another woman who worked there, but I know they did in the offices.  I weighed about 100 pounds and I wore three layers of flame retardant clothing, steel toe boots, safety glasses and a hard hat.  I fit in there.

I started blogging February 29th of this year.

I recently started calling myself a blogger.

I AM a blogger.

Bloggers need to go to conferences.  They need to meet others that proudly say they are bloggers.  They need to network and meet with publishers and find out how to monetize and find their people.  I need to find my peeps.

BlogHer ’12 is in New York City August 2-4.

I have looked at plane tickets.  I talked about going to the conference to my husband.  He has told me it would be awesome for me to go and encouraged me to do so.

I have no excuse not to go to BlogHer ’12, but I cannot get myself to do it.


The idea of going to a meeting full of women terrifies me.

Please don’t chastise me.  I know this is a counterproductive statement for women.

Hear me out on this.  I have always had a little secret motto in my head that goes like this…

“If a man can do it, I am sure I can.”

Women, for most of my life, have been harder to gel with.  I have girlfriends, but most of them would probably also get along with guys better than girls.

Where is that Abbie that would stomp around a factory floor asking the foreman questions?  Where is that Abbie that hopped on a plane and negotiated the price of thousands of sides of leather?  Have I gotten soft since having kids and no longer have an edge or a belief in myself?

If a man can walk into a conference full of women, why can’t I?

I feel stuck in limbo.  I am stuck between the person in the workplace full of men and the reality of my life now as a mom raising three little men.

BlogHer announced a contest today.  They are giving goodie bags to people who are NOT going to BlogHer ’12.  I wrote this to enter into the contest.  I was writing this post in my head though before I even knew about the conference.

Here I am on BlogHer

I have been thinking that if by chance I were to be chosen for a goodie bag I would like to request, rather rudely, that I would much rather go to the conference.

But I need a mentor. 

I would much rather see BlogHer run a contest granting one newbie the chance to shadow a BlogHer team member, DURING BLOGHER.

We would be instant chums.  She would tell me she appreciates my brass ba!!s when it comes to what I want to post and yet understands why I spell inappropriate words with symbols.  She would give me the inside scoop on how things really work and tell me plainly what I am doing wrong and how I can improve. She would share my fondness of vodka and love of desserts.  She would tell me there is a place for me and that I am not like everyone else that calls herself a blogger.  She would offer me a cigar.

-Abbie, All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing.

Recovering Emotionally From River’s Carnivorous Seaweed

Jim has had two weeks off between the fellowship that just ended and going back to his private practice.

I need a vacation from his vacation. We will be back home soon and I might make out with our washer and dryer.

I posted this picture yesterday I took while sitting in my father in-laws backyard in Michigan.

20120711-192723.jpgPeter has dragged his net from the back of a kayak in the mountains of North Carolina to the ditches of rural Michigan.

I am not kidding when I tell you he jumped outof a boat in the river to catch a water snake. Seeing that snake wiggle back and forth through the water towards the banks made me happy that he had a net in his hand and couldn’t swim after it.

Here is Peter with his only catch from Michigan.  A praying mantis.  He longed to catch a newt at his Papa’s marsh but it had been so dry he was probably more likely to catch a desert lizard.  

  Our friends all learned to never go canoeing with me and if they do they better be faster than I am in a kayak.

The teenagersall learned that I won’t baby them, as I am an equal opportunity canoe flipper.

FYI, if you ever decide, (after flipping everyone’s canoes) to float the rest of the way down the river next to your kayak so as to foil anyone’s attempt to “get even”…DON’T!

I was on my back, not looking where I was going, with “Crazy Sarah”, (whom I had recently left canoe-less due to a water problem her canoe had after I rolled it he, he, he) when a field of underwater seaweed-garbully-gook-icky-BEsgusting-man-eating-venus-fly-trap-under-water-human-eating STUFF enveloped me.

If anyone in the entire southeast section of America heard a grown woman screaming like a baby girl relentlessly and without shame last week between the hours of approximately 4-4:30, it was me.

What you didn’t hear was our entire pack of friends laughing at me. “Crazy Sarah” was smiling her evil smile while saying, “There are probably snakes that live in that stuff too!”

I kicked in place. I was stuck like a fly in Jello with a fountain of water spewing above me from my futile swimming. I was screaming in tongues.

Crazy Sarah was probably secretly hoping to collect my bones when the carnivorous river vegetation was done with me.

Crazy Sarah and her bone collecting and zombie apocalypse story here…

Karma will always give us a good kick in the pants if we deserve it. I soooo deserved it!

The older boys have “pool noodle battled” all of their cousins in Michigan and discovered all the attention a scratch on the neck gets you when people think you have a hickey.

They also learned what a hickey is.

I cannot believe how much I have missed sharing stories. This blogging thing has really surprised me.

Thanks for letting me share,
All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing.


Why Can’t You Drop Your In-Laws off at a “Safe Haven”, No Questions Asked?

If you are my husband. Stop reading. I know you do sometimes and that is OK, but today, step away. Go shopping online for golf clubs if you’re between patients but staying here is just going to ruin our evening. Oh, real quick, if you did tell people about me writing after I told you NOT to…big mistake.

Call those people and tell them there is a widespread internet blogging virus that turns your computer’s insides to liquids if you login to any blog sites. Tell them you are sure “That Lady in The School Drop Off Line” created the virus since so many mom’s are complaining about her on their blogs. Now stop reading Jim and call anyone you told about allthatmakesyou dot com and lie to them.

Ok, now that it is just us…I need to tell you about a little problem I am having with my in-laws.

Jim, I swear to God if you don’t stop reading this you won’t like me tonight and it is way too close to the weekend and that means we willl both be mad at each other and you won’t be getting hanky-panky for two weeks!

Now that I know my husband is gone…

No one talks about this issue we are having. At least I haven’t read anything about the stage between “Annoying Parenting Advice From My In-Laws” and “Caring For My Elderly In-Laws.” There is a whole “middle ground” that has me all in a state.

My MIL and FIL have been divorced since the beginning of time. I reference time with when my husband and I began “raising each other.” That was 21 years ago. We were kids. We have been together since we were kids! We have been together longer than any of our parents have ever been with anyone. I personally take credit for any success my husband has had. I take credit he was not only the first doctor in his family but also the first person to GO to college and the first person to GRADUATE from college. Aren’t I full of myself? I don’t care what you think of me. I raised a doctor and I am only 39 so that means I am pretty smart, for a stay-at-home mom.

I know my husband Jim also takes credit raising me to be the only “sane” member of my entire family. Oh, don’t chuckle that I think I am sane! It is all relative as my family not only likes to make the “arrests” section of the local paper back in Michigan, (we are over achievers) we strive to make the “arrests page” the “front page” on the same day.

If you are going to do something bad like walk into the mayors house and make yourself a drink and sit down in the front parlor, (we lived in the house for ten years, before the mayor lived there) you have to do it with PIZAZZ! No silly, not me, I didn’t get arrested. My husband raised me better than that.

Since I have NOT been arrested, (yet) and since within a six month period all of my husbands family members managed to get arrested, (one of his sisters did make the newspaper and gave my mom a run for her money with “Lady With Shotgun…”) I think my my husband and I did a rather fine job of raising each other.

Thank you and again…we both take full credit for what wonderful well adjusted spouses we raised despite of our parents. Ugh, our parents.

Here is where it’s getting sticky…

His parents are both in relationships with other people. This is not the problem.

They come to our home for visits from out-of-state and stay with us. This is not the problem. Shocking right?

The problem…

Holy crap bags, I cannot sleep for fear their “significant other” is going to sneak out in the middle of the night and leave Jim’s parents with us FOR-EV-ER!


Because, despite the fact that Jim’s mom and dad separated when Jim was a mere egg in his mom and sperm in his dad, (Jim was a “make up” baby and we know how that “Reunion Show” ended) his parents should have been forced to stay together. They should have been forced to stay together so they didn’t make two OTHER people miserable! Those two other people being their “significant others” they are with NOW. They should have been forced to stay together because they are the SAME PERSON.

My husband goes to work while they are here, in our home, and I am left playing marriage counselor or sounding board or BOBBLE HEAD all day. It is like confession time and I must look like someone that doesn’t tell secrets. So if telling secrets will get people to stop telling me secrets, then here goes…

I go in the living room and his dad’s girlfriend is telling me she can’t take his dad’s smoking and complaining. She is tired of picking up after him. That he never wants to do “anything.”

The last time his mom and “Her Man” were here I had to ask them to please not fight LOUDLY because my kids have school in the morning. “Her Man” was so sad telling me he wants to be able to travel now that his kids are raised and his parents deceased but my MIL has made it impossible…

I finally started taking my box of Corn Pops and spending a significant amount of time in my closet when they come to visit. It is just until the kids or Jim come home. I take my phone and call my best, bestie and run through the days antics, so far, with her. If she says I deserve “closet time” then I stay.

BTW, “My Bestie” has never thought I should come out of the closet based on my in-law stories. That may be because I keep her entertained. After all, the worst thing her parents ever did was buy her a charm necklace with an imprint of a plant that they didn’t realize was a marijuana leaf. Some people win the parent lottery, and the rest of us did not.

Hey, don’t judge unless you have had to start a conversation with, “Now MIL NAME, you aren’t fooling anyone by smoking in the bathroom. We don’t mind if you smoke but could you just do it outside?…. No, no, I won’t tell Jim, (your son and my husband) that you smoke.” As if he doesn’t know she started again.

This is NOT a problem seen through a daughter-in-law’s jaded lenses.

My husband brought the fear of his parents being abandoned by their “others” at our home to light.

One night, when his mom was visiting, we were laying in bed shell shocked after a marathon “counseling session” with his mom and “Her Man”. We were laying side by side staring up at the ceiling.

Jim says to me, “I don’t know. I mean, I know I should be honest and say if I think my mom is right but I don’t want to piss off “Her Man.”

I am like, “huh” and “what” all in my head because I know Jim. Jim always tries to see the good in people. Jim speaks up if he thinks someone is being wronged.

I am shocked and I say, “Why would you be worried about making “Man” mad?”

He replies, “What if he just leaves her here? I mean, she is to blame for plenty but I have to be careful. WE NEED THEM TO WORK THIS OUT!”

Jim is soooooo smart. I raised a smart doctor.

Every since that day I take all my sessions visits with my in-laws very serious.

I mend fences. I tell the other nice things I have heard one say about their spouse ten years ago. I listen to all their complaints and tell them that everyone I know hates their spouse and as long as they don’t kill them, it’s OK. I shove love notes in their bags and forge their significant others signatures. I send them books titled, “Weird Things to do in Florida” to try and get them to travel more. We “accidentally” turn on the porn channel in the guest room when they are here. Kidding, but you know it would work or they would at least shut the door so my kids could get some sleep.

Anyway, I have started taking half an Ambien when they are here. If when I wake up “Their Others” have left for greener pastures I will simply tell my in-laws we are going to lunch at a restaurant that looks like a fire station.

When they get out I will lock their doors and roll down the window and throw out a box of Corn Pops and speed off.

Have you had to raise your parents or found their “stash” under the claw foot bathtub when you were a kid? Do you want to help me get a bill passed that allows for “Safe Haven’s” to be established in every community for dropping off your in-laws, no questions asked?