Thursday, December 30, 2010

Crazy for Christmas

Jennifer Huffman
Napa Valley Register
Monday, December 27, 2010

It happens once every year during Christmas, just like clockwork. I know it’s coming, but am I prepared for it? Nope.

It’s Mom’s Pre-Christmas Meltdown.

Mom’s Pre-Christmas Meltdown always occurs about 10 days before Christmas. The pressure is on. There are gifts to be wrapped, packages to be lugged to the post office (just imagine the lines!), Christmas cards to be printed, addressed and stamped, and school photos to be labeled on the back for distribution to relatives.

There are holiday parties to find matching shoes for and bake some kind of food item to bring, and decorations to hang. Someone needs a black pair of tights. Someone else can’t find her umbrella. Someone else makes it very clear to me that she hates the new shirt that goes with her new Christmas skirt.

The girls have their Christmas lists memorized, and take advantage of every moment to drop hints about the 500 things they’d like Santa to bring them. During dinner they fight over who gets to light which Advent candle and in what order. I want to scream.

Dec. 25 always seems so far away during the week after Thanksgiving. There’s plenty of time, I say to myself at the end of November. What’s the big rush?

It’s my own fault. I’m my own worst enemy during the holidays. It’s my idea that the teachers at school should get an original craft creation. I insist that photos of the girls from the past year need to be mailed to aunts and uncles. I want to give Grandmas and Grandpas and sisters and brothers just the right gift, all within a budget price range, naturally.

Who am I trying to be — Martha Stewart? Martha has an entire staff devoted to her every holiday whim. I’m a working mom with a limited budget and a glue gun. When Martha wants to make a craft, she opens up one of her craft barns. I’m squeezed onto a corner of the dining room table with piles of wrapping paper, tissue and envelopes balanced precariously on the chair next to me.

The day of Mom’s Pre-Christmas Meltdown this year, it all got to be too much.

I’m overwhelmed, I told my husband.

I put my head in my hands. How is it all going to get done? Who will glitter the homemade ornaments? Who will write clever messages on the Christmas cards?

He nodded sympathetically and patted my hand.

About three nights later I managed to finish most of the wrapping, mailing and stamping. I relaxed a little bit.

I always say the same thing at end of each Christmas — next year, I’m doing things differently. I’ll cut back. I’ll eliminate. But this year I really mean it.

In the meantime, I’m stocking up on glue sticks.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chin Face

This is what a high school student does on her Christmas break: make a video of her little sister.
Video by Annabelle.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree!

Napa Valley Register

After 22 Christmases together, my husband and I made a groundbreaking decision, one with implications that will ripple within the family for years.

We bought a fake Christmas tree. Now, I know some of you will say, ‘What’s the big deal?’ Everyone has a fake tree these days. Fake tree makers report that fake trees are better for the environment. Fake trees owners say they look better than real trees. Apparently, fake is the new real.

But we’re talking tradition here. For as long as my husband and I have been married, we’ve always gotten a real tree, with real pine needles, real sap and a real trunk.

But having a real Christmas tree is a big commitment. As “natural” Christmas tree buyers, we were always in search of the freshest tree in Napa. I’d quiz friends and coworkers about favorite tree lots. I’d study Christmas tree ads for the best deals. I’d carefully consult calendars to determine the best day to buy the tree so it would last until well after Dec. 25.

Of course, the moment we brought the real tree home, the real work began. We would nurture that tree like a precious newborn baby to prevent it from turning into a dried-up hunk of flammable pine that could potentially burn the house down.

We experimented with giant water basins. We’d monitor heater vent positions and room temperatures. I’d check for falling needles almost hourly. We even hooked up our tree to something called a Tree I.V. That’s right, an intravenous line for your Christmas tree. You drill a small bore hole in the side of the trunk and insert a rubber hose, which then allows the tree to suck water from a gallon milk jug. One year, we even had two Tree I.V.s inserted into our tree just so it would make it through the holidays.

One by one, I’ve witnessed the demise of the real tree owners within our own family. Take Grandma Tootie and Grandpa Donnie. They’ve had a fake tree for as long as I can remember. Grandma Tootie has seven fake trees, each strategically placed throughout her home with a different theme or color scheme for each, including Americana, NASCAR and only white crystal ornaments.

A few years ago, my own parents succumbed to the faux tree hype. Arriving at their house on a December day, a suspiciously symmetrical and green-colored tree sat perkily in their living room.

What is THAT, I said.

Oh, that’s our new tree, Grandma Sue said.

A fake tree? I can’t believe this. Is nothing sacred?

It’s easier, Grandma Sue said. And when Christmas is over, we just box it up until next year.

Harrumph, I said.

My husband had hinted about going to the dark side in previous years.

Let’s get a fake tree, he’d say.

Never! I’d shout. A Christmas tree should be REAL, not something you pull out of box!

Yes, I was a real tree snob.

But as the years passed I couldn’t help but notice how more and more of my friends and family had fake trees. They were everywhere. Their faux lushness taunted me.

“Feel my immortal evergreen branches,” they cried out to me.

“You’ll never have to shove a tree in the back of your minivan again,” they whispered.

“Think of your sap-free hands,” they teased.

After spending almost $80 on a real tree last year, I finally broke down last week when my husband made the suggestion.

“Let’s get a fake tree,” he said.

I barely put up a fight. OK, I whispered.

About an hour later, he was back with a giant box. Pulling the tree sections out, the branches unfolded faster than you can say Silvertip Fir. In record time, the tree was up. It was green. It was lush looking. It was pre-lit with hundreds of glowing lights. It would never need watering.

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are thy artificial branches.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Christmas at the Register

Everyone has their own way of decorating at the newspaper. My favorite is the silver glitter tree (Ok, I admit the silver tree happens to be at my desk at work).
Note the plastic holly arrangement with the bottle of hand sanitizer. Because you can never be too careful with fake greenery.

Monday, December 06, 2010


Take the iPlunge! The perfect kickstand for your iPhone!
My sister in law gave this to Don for his birthday, but I "borrowed" it. Thanks Shelli!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Cutie pie

Here's Ava with a bunny at a petting zoo at our church. Like they say, "Cute as a bunny!"

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Extra! Extra!

For the first time since I have worked at the Register, we had a sign painter come do our windows. Love the "news" theme!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Forever 16!

Jennifer Huffman
Napa Valley Register
Monday, November 29, 2010

An invitation to a “Sweet 16” birthday party and upcoming holiday events had our two teens in need of some dress-up/party clothes. So I hopped in the car with the two older Huffman girls. I knew right where to go. We were headed to Forever 21.

Any mom of a teenager can tell you, Forever 21 is the Mecca for fashionable, but cheap clothes. Best of all, everything at Forever 21 seems to cost $22.95 or less. Sure, much of the clothing isn’t meant to last more than a year or two, but for two rapidly growing teens, Forever 21 is it.

Hitting the Forever 21 store in Santa Rosa, the two girls immediately disappeared into the racks crammed with clothing. We were on a mission for dress-up clothes, and I mean appropriate dress-up clothing, so careful attention was required to separate the thigh-high strapless numbers from the more suitable pieces. Some of them were so short, I couldn’t tell if it was a skirt or extremely short strapless dress.

That’s when I saw it — the cutest chiffon dress with satin trim, covered in tiny silver polka dots. A short, but not too short, bubble skirt. The dress practically screamed “Perfect for Sweet 16 Birthday Party.” It was love at first sight.

Look at this, I said to my oldest teen. Isn’t this adorable? It’s so cute! It’s very Holly Golightly.

This didn’t exactly thrill my daughter. I don’t think she knows who Holly Golightly is. Either way, she didn’t want to try it on.

I played it cool. It’s early in the game, I told myself. We would keep looking.

Middle daughter came over with a skirt.

I like that, said oldest daughter.

I found it first, said middle daughter.

They eyed each other, as if they might start a tug of war over that skirt right then.

Break it up, I said. Each of you go to opposite sides of the store and keep looking.

Almost 45 minutes later, I was starting to get a little worried. Neither had found anything that would work as a birthday/church/Christmas party outfit. Forever 21 has great prices, but most of the clothing is casual, and not always appropriate for dinner at Grandma’s or the school Christmas program.

I tried a different tactic. Approaching middle daughter, I asked if she would consider letting her older sister buy the skirt, on the condition that she would be able to borrow it. Middle daughter considered this for a minute as she held onto the skirt with both hands.

Only if I get to borrow it whenever I want, middle sister said defiantly.

OK, let me take this proposal to your sister, I said in my best United Nations negotiator voice.

Across the store, I found the oldest. The offer was made.

She looked very skeptical at the thought of sharing a skirt with her younger sister.

I’ll think about it, she said.

I was getting tired. I should have brought water and a granola bar for fortification. To make matters worse, for some reason there are no chairs inside Forever 21 stores or dressing rooms. I could only perch on the edge of a display mannequin stand. We had one skirt, no top and no agreement between the warring parties. Desperation was setting in.

I looked back at the cute little Sweet 16 dress.

Would you just try it on, I begged my oldest daughter.

She was still dubious, but I sensed a crack in her defenses, the tiniest hint of an opportunity for compromise.

If you get this dress, I will buy you one complete outfit of your choice, I told her. Yes, I am not ashamed to admit it. I bribed my daughter at Forever 21.

One outfit? She asked. Of my choice?

Yes, I said, swallowing carefully. Will you try it on?

OK, she said.

She stepped into the dressing room. I paced outside, waiting for the great reveal.

Opening the door, there she was. The dress was more than cute. It was darling. She was darling. She was the picture of Sweet 16.

I got all choked up, she looked so cute.

Mom, stop, she said.

I know, I said. I can’t help it. It looks so good on you.

If I agree to wear it, will you stop? she said.

Yes, I nodded carefully. And you can pick out whatever you want.

Twenty minutes later we left Forever 21, the dress in hand.

Victory is sweet. Especially when it only costs $22.95.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bye bye island!

Here are some pics of our spur-of-the-moment kitchen island remodel. The five of us needed more room to eat in our kitchen, but a small island stood in our way. What to do? Take out the island! DJ got to work and about 3 hours later, this was the result. An island no more....

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Puff pastry a la Bistro Jeanty

Well, it's not exactly the same as the famous puff pastry tomato soup served at Yountville's Bistro Jeanty, but it's pretty darn close.

DJ made Campbell's tomato soup in a little crock, then put those pop and bake dough triangles on top of each one. Yum!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New biz

I have a new job at the Register.

Click here to read all about it.

I'm about one week into the new job and I admit I've already had a few "What have I done?" moments.

I alternate between PANIC! and CAN DO!

I think about the new job constantly. Add this, change that. Ask so-and-so for something new and improved. And don't forget to do more of THAT.

Just do it, the commercial says.


I'm doing it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wine Country Halloween

Napa Valley Register
Nov. 15, 2020

Halloween at the Huffmans usually means trick-or-treating in our little court with the girls, and keeping dad well supplied as he parks himself near our front gate with a bucket of candy.

But this year, two of the Huffmans were invited to two different friends’ houses to trick-or-treat. Both houses happened to be on the same street, Wine Country Avenue in north Napa.

Now, we typically have a pretty good Halloween turnout at our court in south Napa. Many of us put up lights and decorations. I know to expect at least 100 little visitors darting from house to house. So I had my concerns about venturing out to an unproven trick-or-treat destination. Would Halloween be as good on another street as it is in our court? Were we abandoning our court for the promise of a bag or two of free candy?

The answer was yes.

The first house we stopped at on Wine Country Avenue was having a Halloween party. And so was the second house. And the third house. Almost every house was decorated, with each more over the top than the next. I was impressed. These are my kind of people, I thought. People who love Halloween and aren’t afraid to show it.

Heading down Wine Country Avenue we rounded a corner only to find ourselves looking at Blackbeard’s pirate ship. Every other day of the year, this house is your average suburban tract home. But on Halloween night, it had been transformed to something out of Pirates of the Caribbean. The bow of the pirate ship jutted out from the front of the house. Lightening flashed. A skeleton steered the wheel, as the sound of rain and wind howled. A bearded pirate sat at the doorway, handing out candy. All I could do was stare.

As it got darker and darker, the streets got fuller and fuller with Halloween partygoers. The kids were dressed up, the parents were dressed up, the dogs were dressed up. There were so many people on the street, it was like a Halloween traffic jam. This wasn’t just Halloween, it was Halloween on steroids. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see the Headless Horseman ride down the street.

At a house a few doors down from the pirate ship, two giant Halloween ghouls with skeleton faces and draped in rags hung outside. Strobe lights flashed. Loud, and I mean LOUD, rock music played from what must have been mammoth-sized speakers hidden somewhere. A crowd had gathered in awe of its Halloween horror.

What IS that music?, I asked.

It’s Metallica, said a dad next to me, matter-of-factly.

Someone with one of those microphones that makes your voice sound like a scary monster cackled at people walking by.

“Come here witch!” the house yelled.

Who is he talking to? Looking around, I realized the monster voice meant me in my witch cape and hat. I shook my head. No way was I getting any closer.

Another block over, Snow White had set up a Halloween buffet in her garage. There was coffee, and cookies and candy galore. My daughter’s eyes just about popped out of her head when she saw the chocolate fountain.

Snow White said she and her husband had been setting up the Halloween spread for the past five years.

“Thank you for coming,” she said in her happiest Snow White voice, handing out beaded necklaces.

At one house, the front driveway had been converted into a haunted operating room with bloody operating table, and other gruesome sights. Our two girls refused to get any closer, and insisted we turn back.

Talk about peer pressure. If you lived on Wine Country, you couldn’t get away with just a pumpkin or two. A house with some store-bought decorations would look mighty unimpressive next to that pirate ship. How do you compete with the pirate ship and a chocolate fountain?

It was getting close to 8 p.m. but there was no sign that the party was slowing down any time soon. We caught up with our 13-year-old and her friends down the block. She had taken off her shoes and was walking in her pink tights. Their bags sagged with candy and treats.

I’m not sure if we will be invited back to Wine Country Avenue but I have a great idea for next Halloween.

Pirate Court. My husband better start growing his beard right away.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The trade off.

Aren't they a cute bunch? Annabelle was invited to a friend's Sweet Sixteen party this past weekend. I admit I had to bribe her to wear that dress. Annabelle prefers casual clothes, and rarely dresses up, but I knew this party called for a real party dress.

Annabelle only agreed to get the dress if I would buy her another outfit, "anything I want," she said.
Well, I would have agreed to anything to get her to wear the dress, which I completely fell in love with at Forever 21. It's so perfect for the sweet 16-year-old girl that she is. And it didn't hurt that it only cost $22!

As her "trade" for the dress, Annabelle picked out three of the *&%$#*&^@* sweatshirts I have ever seen. But I didn't care. She got the dress. And she wore it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Goodbye Ursuline High School

130 years and more than 4,400 graduates later, Ursuline High School of Santa Rosa will close at the end of this school year.

I'm an Ursuline grad (class of '84) and I am absolutely stunned at this news. Like some high school girls I couldn't wait to graduate and go off to college and FREEDOM. But over the years I have come to appreciate what Ursuline gave me. A safe learning environment, small classes, dedicated teachers. A faith-based education. As I wrote in a letter to the Press Democrat today, this is a loss for everyone: students, teachers, alumnae, supporters, staff and the community as a whole. These young women are the top students in the area. What will become of them now? And where will the next generation find an education like what we received at Ursuline?

I think I took it for granted Ursuline would always be there. Maybe that was a mistake we all made.

Ursuline High School to close
Ursuline closure ends 130-year education history

Monday, November 08, 2010

Laundry Monster!

Now I know what really goes on when the girls are supposed to be folding the laundry.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Pumpkin drop!

After displaying our giant pumpkin at work, our press manager John decided it would be fun to drop it 50 feet from the air. We call it "The Giant Pumpkin Drop". Check it out!

(The pieces of pumpkin you see falling mid drop were the result of a pre-drop incident. One of the straps used to hold the giant pumpkin broke as they strapped it to the crane. The pumpkin fell about a foot, and several small pieces broke off. But disaster was averted when the pumpkin crane crew stuck the pieces back onto the pumpkin and proceeded as planned.)

P.S. At the end of the video you can see me in the white pants walk behind John.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Rain, rain go away!

From Surrendering to Motherhood...
by Jennifer Huffman
Napa Valley Register

When Grandma Sue and Grandpa Bob invited us Huffmans to join them two weekends ago at a Bodega Bay vacation rental, we all had big plans for the getaway.

Like most kids, our girls love the beach. Set them loose on the sand and they can keep themselves amused for hours looking for shells, picking up giant pieces of seaweed, and running in and out of the waves. I’m a big baby about getting into cold water, but the girls don’t care what the temperature of the ocean is — they want in.

Staying two nights at a house only “14 steps from the beach,” was almost too much for the girls to believe. And entertainment was promised inside as well as outside.

There’s a hot tub, I told the girls. Bring your swimsuits!

Bring some movies, one sister told the others. She’d been studying the website for the vacation rental and spotted a 50” flatscreen TV in one picture.

The Giants are playing on Saturday, said Dad. Bring your Panda hats!

I’m bringing the camera, I said. The beach is a perfect spot to take a family photo for our Christmas card.

Yes, siree, this weekend had “fun” written all over it.

As the weekend got closer, I started paying closer attention to the weather reports. What’s this? Rain? But it hasn’t rained in months. Surely our beach weekend won’t be rained out.

Well, it doesn’t matter, I said. We’ll just make do. We won’t let a little rain ruin our fun.

Making our way to Bodega, we arrived right at dusk. The weather was perfect — no wind, no rain. The girls dropped everything and ran for the beach. After a few minutes, I realized how dark it was getting. If we didn’t head back up the hill we might get stuck on the beach. I didn’t even have a flashlight to find our way back. Time to go, we told them. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time for the beach tomorrow.

That’s about when it started to rain.

It rained all during dinner on Friday night. At bedtime, it was still raining. Saturday morning we woke up and it was still raining. The beach was so close. Tantalizingly close. We could see the waves, we could hear the surf. All we could do was just look at it — through the rain. It was torture.

We decided to go outside anyway. We’d spent months planning this trip. By God, we were going to the beach. We all put on sweatshirts and jackets. Now I had seen the weather reports. I had been told by reliable sources that it was going to rain. But did I pack any real rain gear to take the beach? Nope. You could say I was in a bit of denial.

Heading down our “14 steps to the beach,” I saw that my husband and the girls were already down the hill near the water. A minute later, I looked closer and I could see they were running on the beach. Oh, they’re having fun, I said. Well, sort of. They were actually running back toward the house, drenched. The closer we got to the water, the wetter we got. I was starting to accept reality. When it rains at the beach, you really get wet. There are no trees or convenient shelters to stand under. It’s just you, the beach, and the rain.

Ten minutes later, we were back in the house, taking off our dripping jackets and wet, sandy shoes. Well, that was fun, I said. Now what?

Let’s go in the hot tub! said the girls. Well, why not? They quickly changed into swimsuits and hopped into the 92 degree water. It steamed around them. They sat in the hot tub, in the pouring rain, for at least an hour. As I looked out at them, I could see them jabbering away. All three seemed to be talking at the same time. They played the hot tub version of Simon Says and later experimented with putting the hot tub foam on their heads and faces like a beard or rabid dog. Who knew that a hot tub would be such great entertainment on a rainy day?

Inside, us adults alternated between watching TV, reading, and pacing. Every half an hour one of us would go look out the window. Yep, still raining.

Later, the girls put on their orange “Panda” hats and watched the Giants playoff game as the wind started to blow and howl. With nothing between us and the incoming storm, I started looking for flashlights and candles, just in case. By Sunday morning, the rain hadn’t stopped; in fact, it was raining even harder. The girls got into the hot tub again. We watched another movie. Then, about an hour before we were going to leave, I noticed something. It was quiet outside. The rain had stopped. The wind was gone. Look, girls, we said. Now’s your chance!

Yea! They shouted, and out they ran, down the 14 steps, their orange Panda hats bobbing down the beach.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Huffman Halloween!

I managed to get pictures of two-thirds of the Huffman girls this Halloween. Annabelle was dressed as a piece of pizza, but she only put on her costume after she arrived at high school. Allie is dressed as Betty Suarez from TV show "Ugly Betty" -- she's the "glamorous" Betty that appeared at the end of the series. Ava is a blue ballerina. The other photos are of Allie and friends and Allie painting faces at the school carnival. Only 364 days till Halloween 2011!

Friday, October 29, 2010

500 posts!

Wow, who knew that four years after I started this blog, I would have reached my 500th post.

I'm not a very good writer when it comes to diaries like this. When I was growing up, I always wanted to keep an old fashioned teen book diary, the kind with a little lock and gold edged pages (inspiration: Anne Frank, of course) but I could never stick with it. Whenever I would re-read previous diary entries, they always seemed so... dumb.

I love scrapbooking but find it hard to keep up with actually making pages, printing photographs and adding embellishments. I enjoy receiving letters but don't write too many. I write full time for a newspaper for work, but that's not the same kind of writing as blogging. So this blog, which I began to keep our family and friends posted on Huffman happenings, is the most consistent form of memory-keeping I have ever done.

There aren't many of you Planet Claire readers out there. But thank you to the few that do check in now and then (and from all over the world, oddly enough). Sometimes I think about giving up this blog. Like other moms there are so many other things to do in a day. It's hard to stick with it sometimes. But I keep coming back. So, cheers to me for reaching 500 posts. May there be 500 more!

Planet Claire

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Go Giants!

My husband may be the biggest Giants fan of the family but the Littlest Huffman seems to be the runner up. Here is a sign (front and back) she made for the playoff games, and now World Series. Go Gigantes!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Who Whoooo made that cool Owl head?

My coworker Kelly is a very, very creative person. He makes sculptures of faces, draws and paints. This is his Owl Head halloween costume.

It's made of paper mache which I think is one of his favorite materials to use. Note inside structure so the Owl head will stay in place when wearing. The black part around the irises is made with that needlepoint mesh so Kelly can see through the eyes but it looks opaque at a distance. Clever!

When I took this picture at work I had to promise to "embargo" the Owl until he posted pics on Facebook. Well, the embargo is over. Well done Kelly!!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Homecoming girls.

Our oldest girl is only 16 so every dance she goes to is another adventure of dresses, hair do's and dinner plans. These days many girls go as a group instead of paired up boy/girl. I'm ok with that. Here are some pics from her high school homecoming in Napa. Some of the girls have quite the fashion sense.
(Notice how little sister jumped into the picture at the end.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My KIND of snack!

You know how you find a new snack that you just love and can't get enough of? Well, this is the new "it" snack for me. I think it's called the KIND fruit and nut bar. I got my first taste of a KIND bar when my friend Agi let me have one that she had stashed in her car.
I was starving and we were miles from any food (it's true, we were in the hills between Santa Rosa and Calistoga without both food and cell reception on our way to a 5th grade volleyball game!)
Anyhoo, after tasting the KIND bar that Agi kindly gave me (hee hee), I was hooked. I have since bought several different KIND bars at Starbucks, which is where I suspect Agi got hers, and then Raley's.
This is my KIND of snack bar. Yum.

Monday, October 18, 2010

And the winner is...

Surrendering to Motherhood

by Jennifer Huffman
Napa Valley Register | Monday, October 18, 2010

Many of us will be voting for our favorite political candidates in the coming weeks. But I’m competing in a different race. It’s called “The Most Embarrassing Mom in the World.”

It’s easy to become “The Most Embarrassing Mom in the World.” Any mom is eligible and mothers of all ages can apply. Here are just a few of the many examples of how you too can compete for this title:

• Pick up your child after a middle school dance wearing your pajamas and slippers.

• Go to Back to School night and tell each teacher a different “funny” story about your teen. When you get home tell your teen about all the great conversations you had with her teachers.

• Friend your teen on Facebook and “Like” everything they post on their wall. Friend any of your teen’s friends on Facebook. Post photos of your teen on your own Facebook page and tag her in the pictures.

• Sing out loud to any song on the radio when your children are with you in the car. “The Most Embarrassing Mom in the World” candidates get bonus points if you continue to sing at a stoplight with the windows rolled down and another car next to you.

• When listening to the radio, ask your tween if Flo Rida is a boy or a girl. Ask if he really was born in Florida. Look it up later on Wikipedia to double-check.

• Cheer really loud for your daughter and her teammates at her volleyball or other sports games. Wave wildly and clap your hands when she hits her serve over the net. Yell “Good try, honey!” if it doesn’t make it over the net.

• While shopping, pick out a dress that you think would look “really cute” on your teenager/tween. Insist she try it on. Make her model it while you take pictures of her in the dressing room with your cell phone camera. Post them to Facebook.

• Recommend a certain pair of shoes that look “comfortable” to your teenager or child. Tell her how “practical” they are. Suggest you share the shoes.

•Talk with any of your teenager’s friends without clearing it with your teenager first.

• Ask your elementary school student if she has to go “potty” in front of her friends.

•Ask your teenager/middle school student if she likes a certain boy at school, then approach parent of said potential love interest at a PTA meeting and introduce yourself. Exchange e-mail addresses with the other parent.

• Visit your teenager’s high school for a parent teacher conference. Find your daughter in the cafeteria and say hello to her during lunch break. Ask her why she’s eating a Slim Jim instead of something “more healthy.”

• Try to take your ninth-grader’s picture at the school science fair.

• When your teen has a friend sleep over, show the friend photos of your daughter as an infant/toddler/preschooler. Be sure to mention you used to dress all three of your girls in matching outfits. For double points, pull out more photo albums.

• Try to hold your tween’s hand when crossing the street, ideally in front of her school or any other public place.

• Wave to your teen across the crowded parking lot at a football game and shout her name over and over until you get her attention and so she can see where you are sitting.

• Talk about your child’s messy room or hygiene habits to another parent in the school parking lot.

• When your teen starts giving you attitude in public, say “PLEASE DON’T TALK TO ME THAT WAY,” loud enough so everyone around you looks over.

• Suggest your 10th-grader take a sweater on a school field trip to a San Francisco museum. Tell her to “stay with her group” while at the museum. Make her promise to call from the bus on the way home.

• Make your children listen to your “Best of the ’80s” New Wave music CD in the car on a two-hour volleyball game road trip with all their friends. Tell them all about how cool life in the ’80s was.

• Suggest your tween make friends with another classmate that you think seems “really nice.” Ask your teen why she doesn’t hang out with her best friend from third grade any more.

• Write a regular column for the local newspaper about your three girls. Smile sympathetically when your teen tells you she is embarrassed because her teachers ask her if her mom is “that” Jennifer Huffman. Save copies of your column so they can be embarrassed in the future as well.

The judges for “The Most Embarrassing Mom in the World” will be my three daughters, ages 10 to 16. Using a cringe factor, they will rank the level of embarrassment from each incident to award the title.

May the most embarrassing mom win.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bookmark it!

Friends Peta, Ellen and Lily visited last night for a little Halloween craft fun. We made magic potion bottles and towards the end of the evening the girls went bookmark making crazy. I had forgotten how much Halloween craft stuff I had accumulated. It's hard to resist a good skull sticker!