Category Archives: bucket list


I started this blog to find meaning in my everyday life. Early on, I discovered there were things I did as a mother that made me feel happy, proud, and grateful all at once. That’s when I began the Runaway Mama Bucket List.

On my list so far are watching my boys splash in puddles, baking a cake from scratch, running a 5K and having my kids watch me cross the finish line, and taking Dylan to see Cars 2 in the movie theater.

This past weekend, there was a small carnival set up at a church near our house. The boys had never been to a carnival, which, of course, was a source of anxiety for me. (God forbid they missed out on such an important childhood experience. It would be heartbreaking. Devastating. They’d eventually resent me, and they’d never get into a decent college.)

The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. It was my mission to bring them to the carnival and – drum roll please – take them on their first ever Ferris wheel ride. It would be extraordinary! It would be a bonding experience for the whole family! It would change our lives forever! They boys would never forget the unbelievable feeling of being on top of the world! It would end up on my Runaway Bucket List for sure!

Editor’s note: Thank you, Mike, for indulging me. Lucky for you, there was beer for sale at the carnival.

Before we left the house, I told the boys to be good listeners because it would be busy and crowded. I also said, “If you’re saving your poops for the carnival, you’re going to be very disappointed. Go now, because if anyone has to use the bathroom at the carnival, which will surely be gross, we’re leaving.”

Editor’s note: It might be time to address my public bathroom issues with a professional.

And then we were off!

There she was…


First, we went on some rides…


This kid took the motorcycle ride very seriously.


Dylan’s first roller coaster!

Then we played some games, which robbed us of our life savings.


Worry not. It was worth every penny, because we “won” a lot of crap prizes.


In fact, Riley actually earned back everything we lost when he “won” this hundred dollar pillow.

Of course, I carried everything (#motherhoodis).


And then, it was finally time for the bucket list worthy Ferris wheel ride.

Mike and I double-checked with the boys that they weren’t afraid. You’re not nervous? You’re not scared? Both said they weren’t, so we went for it. The views were pretty cool, and the boys seemed to enjoy it. I, on the other hand, had a moment when we reached the top and the ride stopped because other people were getting on down below. We were just dangling up there. Swaying in the breeze. Hanging from a metal contraption that was probably fifty years old and taken apart and put back together hundreds of times each year, which got me thinking…

What kind of mechanical safety measures were in place at this creepy, traveling carnival? How often were the rides checked for maintenance? What if we fell to the ground? Would we survive? What was I thinking!? I heard about carnival ride accidents in the news all the time! Were the carnie workers trained to handle the equipment or an emergency? And why did they have so few teeth?

Then, as quickly as it stopped, the ride began moving again, and my Crazy slowly receded. I smiled and took some pictures…





…and when we were safely on the ground again, I breathed deep.

Then we had “lunch.” By lunch, I mean popcorn and a blue raspberry snow cone.


Carnival. Check.

Ferris wheel. Check.

Bucket list? Maybe.


Filed under bucket list, carnival, Crazy Mama

The Yard Sale (Part 1)

I’m known as the clear-cutter in my family.  Catch me in the right (bad) mood and I’ll throw anything and everything out in my path.  Even small children.

This is how I felt when I woke up on Sunday morning.  In my defense, my house needs to be de-cluttered.  Really badly.  It’s not quite like an episode of “Hoarders,” but there’s definitely too much stuff.  Does any household need six kids lunch boxes, seven Dora the Explorer DVDs, eight Thomas the Train DVDs (dear God!), and a dozen pairs of maternity jeans?  I think not.  By the end of the day on Sunday, I filled five garbage bags, created a small mountain of junk to go straight to bulk-trash or Goodwill, and dreamed up a crazy idea about what to do with the rest…have a yard sale.

I don’t know why, but I’ve always wanted to have a yard sale.  For the record, Mike has never, ever, ever, EVER wanted to have a yard sale, and he’s been trying to sabotage me ever since I declared my brilliant plan.  Luckily for me, the boys are thrilled about the idea so we won the family vote 3-1.  (Ha!  As if there was a vote!)

I’m currently knee shoulder forehead deep in yard sale planning, and even though I’m a little bit nervous, I’m also beyond excited about doing this.  It might just make my Runaway Mama bucket list.  I won’t bore you with the details on the yard sale…yet.  That will probably come later in the week, perhaps in the form of a list called: “Top Ten Reasons Yard Sales Rock!” (Or, if Mike has his way: “Top Ten Reasons Why Yard Sales Suck!”)  We’ll see.

Stuff makes me anxious.  (Obviously.)  I want to live with less, but I’m not heartless.  In fact, I found several items on my Sunday rampage that made me pause, including:

1. An envelope filled with everything that was pinned in my cubicle when I worked at PT&Co. (now CRT/Tanaka), a public relations agency in New York City.

I worked there from 2000-2004, and the experience was a huge part of my personal and professional growth.  It’s where I worked when I got engaged and married, it’s where I worked during the blackout of August 2003 (which included a very long and dark walk – in heels – to Brooklyn), and it’s where I worked when the inexplicable tragedy of 9/11 happened.  On that tragic day and the years that followed, PT&Co. was my home and my family.

I’ll never throw this stuff out.

2. Say hello to Freddy.

He’s in the back of the car in this picture because I had just almost accidentally given him away.  Gulp.  When I was a kid, Freddy was “my person.”  Yes, Freddy is a donkey.  No, I have no idea why I chose a stuffed donkey as “my person.”  I just know that Freddy’s been mine for as long as I can remember.  My Freddy is like Andy’s Woody.  Don’t get weirded out.  It’s not like I sleep with him, but he’s in the house.  Dylan and Riley never cared much for him (“A donkey, Mommy?”), but his presence has always been felt (by me, anyway).

On Monday afternoon, I drove all the way to the Goodwill truck before I realized Freddy was at the bottom of a bag filled with random stuffed bears.  Poor guy.  That car ride probably made him feel more like Jessie than Woody.  I almost gave him away!  But, unlike that cold-hearted snake of a tween in “Toy Story 2,” I didn’t.  Have I gone to far with the “Toy Story” references?

The bottom line is that I can be sentimental.  But, I’m still having a big-ass yard sale (just like in “Toy Story 2”!), and it’s going to be epic.  Plus, the boys are totally onboard to sell some of their junk (to make room for new junk, of course), and 50% of the profits will go directly to the American Red Cross to help victims of Sandy.  (The other 50% will be spent on stuff that I’ll eventually want to throw away.)

Ironically, preparing for a yard sale requires some shopping, which, as you know, is right up my alley.  Stay tuned…

Do you still have a stuffed animal or toy from your childhood?  Have you ever had a yard sale?

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Filed under anxiety, boys, bucket list, September 11th, shopping, yard sale