Tag Archives: mothers

Listen To Your Mother: Why I’m Bringing it to La Crosse

Listen to Your Mother is coming to La Crosse!

It’s safe to say I’m really excited to be bringing this national production that gives motherhood a microphone to my city.

If you haven’t heard about LTYM, it all started six years ago in Madison, WI with a mom and blogger named Ann Imig. She put the first show together in two months, folks! This woman is a woman after my gamechanger heart.

LTYMNow, La Crosse, WI is 1 of 41 cities across the country (and Canada) producing a live on-stage performance of original, true stories about mothers and motherhood!

Every city has a different show. Yet every city is recognizing the humorous, heartfelt, sometimes hurtful, hopefully helpful stories that come from our mothers or from being a mother.

But here’s another cool thing!

It’s really inclusive. So the show is open to women AND men. You can write about being a mother. You can write about your mother. OR you can write about the person who raised you.

Auditions are coming up all over! If you’re interested, check out the participating cities and see if there’s a show near you!

For my local friends, auditions are at the end of this month, February 20th, 22nd, and 24th by appointment. And the show date is April 30th. You can visit the Listen to Your Mother – La Crosse blog for full details. 


Why am I so happy to bring LTYM to La Crosse? 

Because we have a bustling arts community here with so much talent. And I’m sure a lot of people with great stories! No prior stage experience is needed. But what I truly love is the mission behind LTYM, who is committed to sharing diverse stories from all kinds of people. That’s what I love about freelance writing, interviewing strangers, performing improv, and working with my writers group.

Plus, proceeds from every show go back to an organization that benefits women and families. I’m thrilled to be working with the local YWCA for our show, whose mission is to end racism and empower women and girls.

IMG_5865My Local Production Team: L to R – Beth Erickson, Me, Molly Hilligoss

My production team is amazing! I’m super proud to be working with Beth Erickson, owner and editor of Jobe Communications LLC, and Molly Hilligoss, diversity and social justice advocate from the local YWCA.

We’ve been waiting a long time to hear your stories!!

Seriously, this is us gathering last November for an early Thanksgiving lunch production team meeting.

LTYM production team dinnerSince I had just signed them up for a lot of work,
I thought the least I could do was cook for them.

You don’t have to be a professional performer or writer to try out. You could have been on stage 100 times or 0 times. We’ll cast our show based on the full spectrum of stories we hear – kind of like making a great playlist.

So start writing, La Crosse!


Everyone has a mother story.
What’s yours? 

Moms Share Tips for Picking Out Your Child’s Name

Ask a mother if she has an opinion on baby names, and you’re sure to get an answer!

A dear friend of mine just gave birth to her first baby – a healthy and handsome baby boy, if you’re wondering – and it got me thinking…how do you pick a name that lasts a lifetime?

I asked some of my favorite mothers out in cyberspace to share their Tips, Tried and True Methods, as well as their Pet Peeves when it comes to NAMING THAT BABY!

Let’s just say, they had plenty talk about.


The DO’s and DON’Ts of Naming Your Baby

Julie Glover  Tip #1: Check with teachers. They know from experience what children can and can’t do with a name!

Tip #2: Check your initial combo. We suddenly had an AHA moment of “Hey, if we give our kid that middle name, his initials will be B.S.” Not good.

Another tip!  Mirror Ernest Hemingway’s “Write drunk, edit sober”…”Conceive drunk, name sober.”


  Diana Beebe  No matter how much you avoid family names, you’ll manage to hit some obscure great aunt or twelfth cousin twice removed.

HAVE FUN! We made up crazy names that we’d never use. Phoebe Beebe and Daisy Beebe were our favorites.

The Sears catalog is not a good place to name pick. Pajama is not a name. It is clothing.

Kristen Lamb  My mom had a patient named Shithead. I KID YOU NOT. Pronounced shi-thay-ed. A combo of Shirley and Theodore. Baby Name FAIL.—

Diana Beebe  I know that kid!


  Misty Laws  The hubs and I made a list of names we liked and tried to match them up. We did not have one of the same, but that’s besides the point.

Do not name your child after a car (Chevette, Acura), an alcohol (Bacardi, Korbel) or a country/continent (Europa, Africa, Germany). All of these are REAL names. Sadness.

Also, don’t try to name all of your kids with some variation of the parents names. Dad=Robert. Kids=Roberta, Robertina, Robina, Robette. Not as clever as you think.


  Kristen Lamb  Don’t be clever with the spelling. JUST SPELL IT, for GOD’s SAKE!  “Hi, my name is Khrystyn.”

Hollyweird takes the cake sometimes. Apple is a FRUIT, not a name. “I’m naming my next child Velveeta Nacho, because that’s what I ate the whole time I was preggo.”

I had a cop friend who pulled over a lady and her name seriously was Aqua Net.

Misty Laws I know a professional woman (a lawyer) whose name is Aquanetta. Seriously!—

Kristen Lamb  North West *coughNo anagram names. DO NOT name your kid TACO CAT!


Myndi Shafer  We wanted our names to be different, but to have strong meanings. Wanted them to be able to have nicknames if that was fitting for them. Middle names were just as important as first names, so if they wanted to ditch being called by their first name they could.

We chose not to be afraid of schoolyard teasing – kids can twist any name into something cruel. We’ve always focused instead on instilling pride in their names and their meanings. So far, so good.


Marcia Richards   Marcia Richards  I chose (not intentionally) THE most popular names at the time for my kids. Jennifer and Matthew. Needless to say they hate their names. LOL

Kelly Witkins  My siblings and I have the most common names for the years we were born. My parents have unique names and didn’t want us to have that. My children love being the only ones with their names in their schools. Each is spelled normally and pronounceable. However, at a young age our daughter learned to enunciate and say her name slowly since many hadn’t heard it before.—

Julie Glover  My kids don’t have middle names. They have initials only. It was a compromise with my husband who thinks that middle names are rather pointless. Yes, that’s weird. But it has not caused them any problems so far. In fact, they think it’s cool.—

Diana Beebe  My older daughter picked the name of her little sister (from a short list). She picked the name of her dance teacher.—


Kelly Witkins (the author’s sister-in-law)  Having meaning in their names is important. Our daughter is named after my aunt, the oldest girl in her family, who passed away when I was 17. I didn’t want to take her name itself, that is for her own children to use. But, my daughter is the first in her generation and it carried on the meaning. We used the gaelic version of my aunts name. Her middle name is after a sacred herb that we loved and learned about on a trip together.

Our son’s name came from places we’ve been together. Important milestones in our lives as a couple. His middle names are after his great grandfather and my dear cousin who passed away when I was 16 and his other middle name is my maiden name.


  Dawn Sticklen  Both my boys are adopted from Russia and for our youngest we took his Russian name, “Americanized” it, and used it as his middle name (his first name comes from my husband’s uncle). For our youngest daughter – who medically probably shouldn’t have happened – we chose our OB’s last name as her middle name (his name is “Lacey”, so it fits).


Jenny Hansen   Jenny Hansen  We named our daughter after my mother and were very specific about it. We used a derivative. We also wanted her middle initial to begin with ‘M’ for mom.

Do NOT name your kids after drugs, STDs or use suggestive initials (like BJ). My brother named his youngest “Reagan” with purposeful initials — RNC — for the Republican National Committee he adores. And he doesn’t give a rip if it offends, but if she grows up to be liberal, she might.  😉

Jess Witkins  Wanda Sykes had a joke about people naming their babies strange names “Now the first one was Chandelier…and the other one was Chlamydia?”—

Julie Glover  Oh my goodness! You can’t name your child after an STD!!!—

Kristen Lamb  Gonorrhea!—

Julie Glover  And our fourth child, Herpes…—

Diana Beebe  *giggling*—


  Tameri Etherton  My daughter was supposed to be Cira Maria. Cira (pronounced Keera), because I don’t know, I guess I just liked it way back then. Now, it totally bugs me. Her middle name was going to be Marie, which was her Godmother’s middle name. About a minute after she was born, the nurse asked me her name. I looked at her sweet little face, with her rosebud lips, and said, ‘Alexzandra Rose’. Everyone in the room looked at me like I’d grown tulips out of my ears. I guess Alexzandra chose her own name.

My son… well we went around and around on names. I wanted to name him after my father-in-law, Monte Cleve Etherton III, but he said no freaking way. I’m pretty sure he didn’t say ‘freaking.’  😛  So one day Alexzandra is like, “There’s a boy in my class who is really nice named Michael. We should call the baby Michael.” I loved that she picked his name, so we went with Michael. My husband’s middle name is Christopher, so I still got Monte’s initials with the MCE!


  Nina Badzin  We like names that connect to our heritage, but there were no exact rules to it. I also like names that work well with the last name and function together as a family.

However, I don’t like when all the siblings start with the first letter. It’s unnecessarily confusing.

Diana Beebe  LOL. That was us…Doug, Dennis, Diana, and Debbie. At least we had different middle initials.—


We could go on and on, but we want to hear from YOU!  

Our moms also compiled a list of some of the most dreadful and outlandish names they’ve come across in real life! Share the names you’ve encountered in the comments!

Images courtesy Mrs Inman - flickr Creative Commons

Images courtesy Mrs Inman – flickr Creative Commons

Around the World: Archives and Advice Columns

Hello Everyone!  I’m currently bumming around Seoul, South Korea right now!  Annyeonghasimnikka!  That means Hello/Good Morning in Korea.  If all goes well, I hope to share some photos from the trip later in the week, but for today, we’re doing a little blast from the past with my blogging archives.  Believe it or not (cause I’m leaning towards not), I’m almost to my 200th post!  Here are a few I like that many of you may not have seen.  You can click the blue links for the full post.  So glad I have the Life List Club to hold me more accountable than I had been with my goals.  Yikes!

From the post I Write Like I Eat Potatoes, With Cheese originally posted January 24, 2011

Writers beware.  If you’re going to start changing your diet to see how it impacts your life, don’t begin that process the weekend of your niece’s 2nd birthday.

The Weekend Begins

I was supposed to start out early on my three hour drive home, but instead, I slept in, and was lured to stay when my boyfriend offered to cook breakfast.  Inventory:  egg and cheese sandwhich on toast, hashbrowns, milk, and blueberry flavored coffee.  Ok, pack up the car in -11 degree temperature, clear snow off of windshield, check.  I was doing really well so far.  I only stopped once on the drive to use the restroom, and I wasn’t planning to buy a thing.  But the lonely man behind the counter stared me down in his bowling shirt and disheveled facial hair.  Inventory:  gatorade and cheez its – -damn!  Saturday night I successfully finished writing a 10 stanza long rhyming birthday poem of all things Sonja to be read for her party.

The Party Day

The family oohed and aahed before we began to eat.  Inventory:  Brown sugar french toast, apple cinnamon squash, eggs, bacon, cheesy potatoes, mixed fruit, and broccoli and cauliflower salad.  Oh, Lord, so many tasties!  I made sure to take extra broccoli, and ok, I also took extra potatoes, but I wasn’t planning to write directly afterwards.  I was planning to watch my two year old niece unwrap presents in a quick half hour and then cheer on the Packers during the game.  Oh the game!!!  Inventory:  tortilla chips with chili cheese dip and black bean and corn salsa.  No judgement, I needed to replenish myself, the Packers needed all of our cheering help, and salsa as you know helps the vocal chords immensely.  On a side note, since some of you have gotten to hear about my father, I’ll have you know he did a rather spastic touchdown victory dance that was something of a combination between churning butter and the hokey pokey.

From the post Dear God, Writing is Hard.  Love, Writer originally posted February 4, 2011

Don’t you wish writing was as easy as talking to God?  No matter where you are, it will find you.  Blessed is she who writes, for she shall inherit a publisher.  Do not covet thy neighbor’s writing.  Do unto other’s writing as you would have them do unto yours.

When I was little, I believed I had a direct line to God, or at least to my priest.  When I was around 7 or 8, I used to write letters to the parish priest, Father Duane, and “mail them” by dropping them off in the collection basket.  They never failed to get to him, and I always received a most prized piece of mail in return answering all my weird questions like “Don’t you get sick of singing These 40 Days of Lent, Oh Lord?  I do.  Did you happen to watch the Barbara Walters special last night?  It was captivating.  I hate squash and my family loves it, do you think God put me in the wrong family?”

It would be great if good writing was as simple as talking to God, or writing your priest a letter, but it takes a lot more hard work, and often it won’t receive as kind and accommodating a letter in reply.  But good writing, like religion, can speak to your soul.

From the post Silent Protests Against My Mother originally posted March 14, 2011

Ever wonder why your parents made some of the decisions they did?  No, you cannot take the turtle into bed with you!  No, you may not watch Pink Floyd’s The Wall with your brother!  No, you may not eat double stuff oreos, and I don’t care if Liz’s mom lets her!

My mom is a great mom.  She writes in perfect cursive penmanship, has impeccable spelling, pays attention to detail, writes long letters and mails them with real stamps and envelopes and everything.  She likes to sing, read mystery books, bake a variety of coffee cakes, and spy out the windows.

But I have one bone to pick with my mother.  Throughout my childhood, on countless trips to the grocery store, she would never let me get double stuff oreos!  This woman who rarely enforced rules about vegetables, or clean plate clubs, who married a baker, son of a woman who enforced dessert before dinner, wouldn’t let me eat double stuff oreos!  Hell, I had coca cola in my sippy cups!!!  (That may be why I stopped growing in eighth grade.)

This anti-oreo rule never made sense to me.  I was a child who liked milk.  I had contests with my father over who could drink their milk the fastest at dinner.  I don’t know if you’re aware, but milk and oreos are like made for each other, best friends forever, kindred spirits from the galactic orbs of destined to be together soulmates!  I bet if you eat an oreo without milk, your heart shrinks a little.

From the post Do You Have a Favorite Book? originally posted May 18, 2011

Another magical book club meeting.  Two months Another magical book club meeting.  Two months ago, I joined up with a coworker of mine and attended her book club.  At the end of that meeting, hoping to insight me to return, they asked me what my favorite book was, and I said The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Now why on earth would a book about cells and science and medical advancements appeal to a girl who only walked through the science building on campus during winter when it was the shortest route to the English building?  It’s because the author, Rebecca Skloot, spent a decade researching the subject and uncovering the family that belonged to Henrietta Lacks.

Do you ever look back on your old posts and laugh that you’re still struggling with eating too many potato chips?  No…just me…

Ok then, do you ever look back on your old posts and think “Damn, I may stubborn, but I’m also good!”

Feel free to share an old link from your past blogs in the comments!  I’d love time travel with you!

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