Monthly Archives: June 2013

How to Survive a Road Trip With Kids


As a family we are lucky enough to take a few vacations during the year, all are within driving distance from our home, between two and five hours away. As a mom for nine years now I have survived many road trips with my children, approximately, okay exactly 72 road trips and approximately 500 hours trapped in my car with my children – those hours are not counting the hour long trips to the beach east of my home, or the times we get stuck in traffic going to the zoo, or heck going around the damn block. 
We’ve had many road trips that were miserable, from me sticking my boob in my sons mouth to breast feed while we were driving (yes you read that correctly, while the car was moving) home from Maryland, to my son projectile vomiting in the car, to me being in mind-numbing pain from a tooth-ache, from just being stuck in hours and hours of traffic that I have developed a few tips, tricks, strategies to survive, and because well, drinking and driving is illegal.
I really do enjoy road trips, I love packing the car, getting all set up to read my novel, or the few hundred magazines I have lying around my house, navigating the open road, looking for familiar landmarks, making that one stop at our “usual”  rest stop, and the non-stop catching up I do on the social media networks that I haunt but what I don’t like is getting interrupted a million and two times while I am trying to do all that stuff because my five year old wants to know why the sky is blue (literally) or the nine year old thought he saw a “red haired speckled raven that he firmly believes is SO not indigenous to this area” when in fact it was probably a f$%^&ing pigeon.  Although my boys are seasoned road-trippers they are also inquisitive children who NEVER STOP TALKING.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t want to converse with my children, I do! I LOVE the sound of their voices but after three hours of solid talking, of breaking up fights, of playing “I spy”, the rhyme game and all the other stupid things I come up with to keep my children “entertained” I need some quiet time.
Some time to not hear their lovely voices to appreciate their lovely voices.
So, here I give to you my top five tricks, tips, strategies to surviving a road trip with children:
1.  Snacks.  Have enough snacks on hand in the “little cooler” so they can gorge themselves, but not too many that you have to take numerous bathroom breaks or they vomit – that will put a damper on everything.
2. Devices. Have every device you own on the ready. Make sure they are charged, I don’t care if you have to haul your 13 inch TV from 1980 in your car rigged up to some outlet attached to your engine, get some electronic device in that car to entertain the darn kids. The iPad, iTouch, iPhone okay anything that the ‘Great One’ developed will keep your children from whining perhaps for the entire road trip. #Winning.
3. Books. Ok, this is a tricky one, not everyone can read in a car, a lot of people get sick if they read in a moving vehicle so this one is really a gamble.  If you think your children can handle it, make sure you have at least two books that are mandatory for them to read in the car, most likely they will get engrossed (especially the older kiddies) and will be reading for at least a good 20 minutes before boredom kicks in.
4. Music.  Music makes the world go round. My children happen to love music if you can find a good station to rock out to, go for it, or if you’re as lucky as us, hook the buggers up with some iPods (ya see, the ‘Great One’ must of thought of parents as he was creating this awesomeness) and some headphones and it’s like you won the damn lottery.
5. The Silent Game. This is the one game that I pull out from my ass when the going gets tough or if all else fails.  This is the strongest strategy a parent can use to combat a child from talking incessantly on a road trip, don’t take this game lightly, you MUST set the rules before you begin: 

A. No talking.
B. If anyone talks they lose.
C. If you want to ask a question, you can’t there is no talking.
D. You can’t use any device, you can only read. 
E. No fighting, mimicking, do not do a damn thing to bother your sibling or you both will be out.
F. You can only talk if you have to vomit or go to the bathroom.
G. Whomever wins gets $5.00 bucks for the game room  – bribery works every time.
H. If you fall asleep you automatically get the $5.00 bucks for the game room – this almost a guarantee that they fall asleep. Could be a hit or miss, if you are traveling during the day you might not want them to sleep, for me, I could care less sleep five hours and stay up all night cause… we’re on VACATION!

If you don’t set out these rules before you play this game I will bet you a $10.00 vacation margarita that you will scream: “WE ARE PLAYING THE SILENT GAME OR WE WILL TURN THIS DAMN CAR AROUND!  For us, this game lasted the entire road trip, okay I am lying it felt like the entire trip but we did get a solid two fricking hours of SILENCE  – Golden!

I’ll take your thanks in advance or hugs when you return from vacation.

Posted in deanna verbouwens, driving with kids, how to survive a road trip with kids, road trip, The Little Buggers, the unnatural mother, traveling with children

The Truth About Being Unemployed: Being a Runner makes me a Great Employee.


Since my unemployment I have been trying to run as much as I can. Running enables me to put my life in perspective. Helps me decompress. Helps me not get overwhelmed by the ten loads of laundry I have to fold.  Frees me of guilt when I down a few fries. Helps me prepare for my interviews. Above all else running helps me focus on other things while I run so I’m not obsessing over the three miles in my three mile run that I have set out to complete.
Over the last week I realized that being a runner is not only down-right awesome, but also makes for a great employee. Really? A great employee? Absolutely! Don’t agree? Well, let me shed some light on this little known fact (okay, this is my own personal epiphany and not a tried and true fact.):
Discipline, Dedication and Determination

It takes discipline to get your butt up at 5:00 a.m. EVERY. DAMN. DAY. Even when you don’t have to because well, you are unemployed and your children don’t rise till 7:30 a.m.!

It takes dedication to stick to a training plan day after day and week after week for an upcoming half marathon.

It takes determination to get to that finish line no matter what is thrown at you. GI issues? A wonky knee? A slip on a pebble? Rain? 20 mph winds? And that’s while you’re training. All that stuff and more happens while you’re actually running the race.


Being disciplined, dedicated and determined to get to that finish line is essential, who wouldn’t want these traits in an employee?




Flexible in the literal sense but also figuratively. Sometimes my run doesn’t go as planned and I need to switch gears quickly in order to get the job done. Getting the job done. That’s what resonates with me. My runs are my job.

In the work force there are many instances wherein a project plan gets derailed. A strategy may not be working and you need to realign, regroup and get back on task to successfully complete your outlined goals. With racing and in the workforce you have a time frame you need to hit and you need to remain within the project scope and budget you set forth even with all the obstacles that may get in your way.

Who wouldn’t want an employee that can get their hands dirty, jump in when the going gets tough and can switch gears if need be with the grace and ease of a gazelle? Okay, I am so not a gazelle, but you get the gist!
Work Independent or a Team Player

At races there are hundreds, sometimes thousands of fellow runners pounding the pavement along side of me. We thrive off the collected energy, the general feel good sense of accomplishment and as a group we cheer each other to the finish line and hold each other up when we falter.

During those 12+ weeks of training for said race I’m running alone during most of my runs. This makes me task oriented and helps me clearly see the things I might miss about my gait or pacing when I run in a group.

However, on some other training days I’ll go for a solo run for a few miles and then catch up with my running group to finish it out which demonstrates, clearly I might add, as a runner I can adapt to working independently or in a team environment.  

Again, another amazing trait for a great employee. No? YES! Hell Yes!

Endurance is a necessity. Run 13.1 miles. Train for 12+ weeks. You need to stick it out and have the energy to do so. It’s the same as working a full eight hours in the office without a break and possibly having to take work home with you. For that you also need ENDURANCE!

See the connection??

So runners make great employees. Which of course means I would make a great employee and would be an asset to any company out there.  Which is something I forget when I get caught up in the daily grind of searching, applying and interviewing for my next awesome gig, then I go out for my run and realize, yep I’m a runner, I rock.

Posted in career, deanna verbouwens, Mangia Mia Fitness Pia, need a job, runners are great employees, running, social media, the unnatural mother, unemployed

Pop It Like It’s Hot! Yea…Not So Much!

Last weekend I had the honor of attending my younger cousins wedding, the wedding was so much fun, the bride and groom looked gorgeous, there was lots of dancing, amazing food, yummy drinks, cotton candy, an ice-cream bar and … Spanx. 
Yes Spanx…it’s an amazing piece of technology. 

When planning my attire for the wedding, I knew that I wanted to wear a new dress.  And shopping for a dress after birthing two bowling balls (9.1 and 10.10 pounds (at birth) respectively), carrying around an extra 15 pounds, and not having a tan can be a challenge. Remarkably I found a dress that I liked at my first shopping destination, the dress was different than what I normally would wear, but I liked it and figured after I had my Spanx on the ”like meter”  would rise to at least “like a lot” or “love”.   Winning!
Because Spanxs’ makes the world go round.

Spanx makes women feel more confident, it smoothes lumps and bumps, it takes away any self-doubt that one may have when they want to don a little number, or a pair of jeans.  To me wearing a Spanx is a no brainer, it takes a good inch off my waist and lets me strut my stuff at a wedding, or when I have a rare night out on the town!
But getting into a Spanx is another story.
It takes a lot.
It takes locking the bedroom door with two bolts, a chain and if I can move the dresser over to block the door I do because if anyone walks in while trying to shimmy up a Spanx, well I promise you they will be scared forever.  If I was really as courageous as I give myself credit for,  if I wanted to ensure that my soon-to-be-dating sons (okay in like 10 years) to never look at a woman in their life (because trust me the little bugger will be trouble) I would let them see this horror show, but I’m not, I’m not brave. No one is that brave not even Heidi fricking Klum.
The act of pulling up the Spanx is super human; it should be considered a strength workout because you need a tremendous amount of strength to pull up a Spanx, you also need a fair amount of time.  Yes time, as it takes at least 10 minute to get that Spanx up over the knees through the lumps and bumps of motherhood, and that bagel for breakfast. Putting on a Spanx takes away a little bit of my dignity as well but those feelings melt away along with the love handles and saggy ass when my dress goes on; it is then and only then when I wipe the sweat from my brow and upper lip (hey I am Italian!) and apply that final coat of clear tone deodorant that I know my work is done.  
That is until I have to go take the Spanx off.  Ugh. It’s a fricking disaster. Meeting Freddy Kruger, Jason or Voldemort in a Dark Alley is piece of cake!
When I take off my Spanx there is the possibility that I can take out an entire village. Because taking off a Spanx is the exact equivalent of opening a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. You know exactly what I mean. You stick that spoon in the side of the can and BOOM the dough POPS out.  
My body is that dough. But before I even think about wiggling my way out of this contraption which is the only thing that hugs my body like my husband I have to secure my surroundings. I make sure everything within a two feet radius is nailed down, and then I let it rip; at that point all I need is Ishmael shouting “Thar she blows!”
Wearing a Spanx ain’t easy, but either is being beautiful well… thanks to my Spanx!

Posted in deanna verbouwens, pillsbury dough, spanx, That's Life