Category Archives: writing

Don’t Be A Sh**Head

summed up in 10 pieces of advice. That’s all I got…

via Don’t Be A Sh**Head.


A Real Mom

I haven’t written anything here for so long, but something irked me recently and I have something to say, and when a mom has something to say, she says it! So roll your eyes if you must, here it is.

I was perusing my Facebook news feed the other day, checking up on friends, reading various articles, when I stumbled upon this post posted by a well respected, well known online news publication.

A photo of three dogs with the caption: We’re adopted? OMG!!! You mean you’re not our real mom?

And underneath the post: Precisely why I’m not letting my pups know. What they don’t know, can’t hurt ’em.

Immediately I stopped. Now obviously it’s about dogs, great, I get it, and I know, it’s suppose to be funny, I should lighten up, but… those words, “You mean you’re not our real mom?” stuck with me all day: at the supermarket, the post office, the coffee shop; everywhere I went I saw infants strapped to their moms, young children skipping along next to their moms, teenagers slumped down in the front seats of cars next to their moms, adopted or not? I don’t know. I am sure some of them were and some of them weren’t but all of those moms sure looked real to me. I tried to talk myself out of my silly thoughts, perhaps I was overreacting, so I went home and reread the post, which by now had thousands of likes, hoping to see it through different eyes, and then I scrolled down and read the comments, here are a few:

“I never say, “adopted” in front of my fur babies because I know they understand English”

“I never say the “A” word.”

“Mine would never believe you if you told them I wasn’t their real mom.”

But you said that we’re your BABIES!!”


And then came another photo of a dog, that said, “I’m adopted??? OMG! You mean you’re not my real mom?”

Maybe I shouldn’t have read those comments by all those ignorant people, but I did and my blood began to boil. “I never say adopted”, “The A word.” “You mean you’re not my real mom?” Wow, I thought, how would my daughter or someone else’s child feel reading this? I had always promised myself I wouldn’t become one of those crazy, over the top, annoying, politically correct parents.  I believe that the world should strive to laugh more at itself; I don’t want to be one of those people that everyone has to be extra cautious around, and maybe four children back I would have been the one saying, “Oh calm down! It’s just a joke!” But life changes you, love changes you and I am not the person I use to be.

What does it mean to be “real?” Real means to be actual, genuine, valid, true, physical and tangible; something not imagined. I am my daughter’s real mom. I worry when she is sick, I laugh when she is silly, I hold my breath when I see her struggle, I get annoyed when she acts up, I cry when she is hurting and sometimes, as I watch her sleep, her hair a dark tangled mess, her eyelashes fluttering against her cheek, I have to take a deep breath, humbled by how fortunate I am to have this child in my life. These things are not imagined. These feelings occur with all of my children. I love each of them to my core, to the center of my soul, to the middle of my bones, whether they grew beneath them or not. I am a real mom to all of them and I am tired of people insinuating otherwise when it comes to adoption. Adoption is not the “A” word something to be hidden or ashamed of, adoption is something to be celebrated and we will celebrate because we are a REAL family. Real: actual, genuine, valid, true, physical and tangible; something not imagined.

And by the way, the dog joke…it’s not funny.

March Madness and Three Little Pigs

So we are all into March madness over here, both the basketball kind and the kind brought on by prolonged winter cabin fever.  Lucky for me, Susanna Leonard Hill is sponsoring a March Madness writing contest to help alleviate some of the boredom and restlessness that has settled into my brain. This one requires a 400 word max fractured Fairy Tale. thIt’s all just for fun (and a few great prizes) so give it a try, you just might get hooked!

Inspired by almost-true events:

Go outside Three Little Pigs!! 

Once upon a time there were three little pigs.

Three little, lazy pigs that just sat around all day and did nothing but play video games.

Until, one sunny day when Mama Pig decided she couldn’t take it anymore.

“That’s it!” She said, pointing to the door. “I have had enough! Go. Out. SIDE!”

“What?” said the First Pig.

“You want us to go out… there?” said the Second Pig.

“But, there’s never anything to do outside.” complained the Third Pig.

Mama Pig threw open the door.

“Have an adventure! Use your imagination! Just go outside, NOW!”

So the three miserable, lazy pigs went outside.

“It’s sooo hot out here,” moaned the First Pig.

“I’m sooo bored,” whined the Second

“I miss my video games,” cried the Third.

A dark shadow crept slowly along the fence.

“Little pig, little pigs, let me in,” whispered a deep, gravely voice.

“The wolf! Mom! Mom!” The three pigs banged on the door.

“Go away,” said Mama Pig from inside the house.

The three pigs stared at one another.

“Quick!” said Pig Number One. “To the straw pile!”

The three pigs ran across the lawn and burrowed their way into the middle of the straw.

“Ha!” laughed the Wolf. “Do you really think that measly house made of hay is going to keep me away? I am going to huff and puff…”

The three pigs dug as fast as they could through the back of the straw pile.

“To the tree house!” yelled the Second Pig.

The three pigs clambered up the ladder to the tree house and slammed the door shut.


A branch snapped, and then another, and another.


Suddenly through the wall came the wolf’s furry head, his red, beady eyes and his pointed teeth.

“Really, a house made of sticks?” He snarled.

The three pigs quickly threw themselves out of the treehouse, landing one by one with a thud on the dirt below.

“Over there! Behind that brick wall!” yelled Pig Number Three.

The three pigs scampered behind the wall but they knew it was no use;

sharp claws soon crept over the rocks…

“Help! We’re doomed!” They cried.

“Pigs! Oh, Pigs, time for din-ner!” Yelled Mama Pig.

“Awww, already?” said Pig Number One.

“That was way more fun that video games!” Said Pig Number Two

“Sure was.” Said Pig Number Three. “See you tomorrow Wolf?

“See you tomorrow Pigs.”

Do You Believe In Magic?

I am in a really bad mood today. Don’t know why, maybe its the never-ending pile of snow outside my front door. Maybe it’s because the door on my car was frozen shut when I went to drive the kids to school.  Maybe it’s because I had zero gas in my car once I finally opened the car door and then had to stand out in the snow and wind and freezing rain to fill my tank. Whatever the reason, I am not in a good mood. So on the advice of my sister I am headed to HomeGoods to buy something with a starfish on it and then I am going to bake a cake. A chocolate cake. In the meantime here is a little story I wrote about a girl who woke up in a bad mood, and the help she gets from her brother to turn it around, because sometimes all it takes is a little, fun, child-like magic…(and sometimes it takes HomeGoods and chocolate cake)

Harry’s Magic


Eliza woke up on the wrong side of the bed,

her hair all askew, her eyes seeing red.

She didn’t know why but she felt angry and mad;

her insides felt twisted, and crinkly and bad!

Her head was all groggy, her lungs full of steam;

she wanted to shout, she wanted to scream!

She put on her shoes and downstairs she clomped,

Each step getting louder: stomp,






“Hello!” Called her brother,“ What’s that? Whose out there?

Is a there a dinosaur in the house?  A monster? A bear?”

“No, Harry, it’s me,” Eliza said with a growl.

“I woke up feeling grumpy, my mood is just foul.

I don’t want to laugh or smile or play.

I just feel like yelling, so stay out of my way!

I am furious, irate, annoyed and quite fuming.

I feel like a beast, like something not human!”


“A beast!”  Harry said. “Well, I can fix that!

Quick, bring me my wand, my cape and my hat!

I will drive out that fiend! I will shatter that curse!

I will make you a potion before it gets worse.”


“Now, let’s see…

First, I will need the dog’s chew bone, then some old bubble gum,

three hairs from a hairbrush and an earring from Mum.

A sock that is smelly, a Band-Aid that’s new,

a crayon that’s green and dad’s left running shoe.

Some Halloween treats, an old boiled egg,

a button from your sweater, a scab from your leg,

some bologna that’s slimy, an elephant with wings,

three rotten apples and a dolly that sings.”


Eliza reached under sofas and reached under chairs,

she peered into closets, and ran up and down stairs.

She pulled back the curtains and opened the drawers,

she climbed into the bathtub and searched behind doors.

She gathered it all, the old and the new,

the smelly, the gross, the slimy, the chewed.


“Let’s go!” Harry said, throwing open the door.

“Outside! We aren’t done, there is still a lot more!

We must search all around and find all that we need,

like that slippery worm! Quick! Over there, by that weed!

Next a butterfly, then some flowers: both yellow and red,

a grasshopper and a rock from under the shed.

Wild goose feathers, and a jumping bull frog,

a nut and a twig and some moss from that log.”


So, Eliza ran and jumped and climbed into the trees,

she crept through the bushes on her hands and her knees.

She gathered it all up and put it into a pail.

“And lastly,“ said Harry, “one teeny-weeny snail.”


Eliza searched and searched until at last she found one.

“There!” She said, “Is that it? At last, are we done?”

“Almost,” said her brother, slowly stirring his brew.

“But there is just one more small thing I still need you to do.

You must jump! Dance! Leap! And sing out a song!

And when you are done, that beast will be gone.”


Eliza growled and groused, but did as he said,

singing sort-of-a song and barely nodding her head.

She gave one leg a slow shake and the other a jiggle,

she wiggled her backside and then… she started to giggle.



Eliza’s eyes grew round, her mouth opened wide.

“Harry,” she whispered.  “I feel different inside.

I am no longer crabby, or mean, or a beast!

I feel silly, elated and not mad in the least!

All gone are my monsters, my meanies, my pout,

I just feel like singing and dancing about!

I feel crazy and happy! I’m Eliza! I’m me!

Oh, thank you! You did it! You set my fun free!”


“You’re welcome,” said Harry, with a wink and a bow.

“My magic always works and I’ll tell you how.

First you conjure up some sillies, then stir in some fun,

give a hip and a hop and… ABRACADABRA! It’s done!

Because no beast can survive, no grumpies will stay,

if you just let a little Harry-magic into your day.”

I Love You!

       Happy Valentines Day everyone! Here is a small, silly, rhyming children’s book I wrote for my kids about all the ways in which we can express and keep I Love You in our heads and hearts. Hope you like it and feel free to share it with those you love…especially if you love a publisher of children’s books 🙂                                                  safe_image.php

I Love You

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.


I can yell it out real loud,

or whisper it real low.

I can chant it, I can hum it,

I can tap it with my toes.

I love you!


I can holler it as I wiggle,

I can whistle it as I skip.

I can shout it as I jump,

I can shake it with my hips.

I love you!


I can say it in Chinese,

or how they do in France.

I can sing it hopping on one foot,

or while I do a crazy dance.

I love you!


I can quack it like a duck,

I can croak it like a frog.

I can spout it like a whale,

I can bark it like a dog.

I love you!


I can be a scary monster and say it with a growl,

or maybe with a grunt…

or a roar,

Or a HOWL!

I love you!


I can scratch it in the sand,

and scrawl it in the snow.

I can write it in the clouds,

and in the brown dirt down below.

I love you!


I can spell it with spaghetti,

or from carrots, or even peas!

I can scribble it in the bathtub

while I scrub my dirty knees.

I love you!


I whisper it in my bed

while I’m counting sheep,

and I see it in my dreams

when I’m fast asleep.

I love you!


I hear it in my head,

but I keep it in my heart

for those times when we’re together

and those times when we’re apart,

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

Anne Sawan, 2014

Wedding China



I took down my wedding china this morning. I pulled a stool over to the cabinet where it is hidden away on the top shelf, I climbed up and took it all down: the smooth, ivory plates with the ebony and ruby etched borders, the dusty, cut crystal wine glasses and the tarnished silver forks, spoons and knives.  I took them down and stacked them all by the kitchen sink and after I finish writing this I am going to wash them off, and get them ready to be used tonight. Why tonight? Because it’s Monday.  Because it’s Monday and we are having lasagna and salad and garlic bread for dinner. Because it’s Monday and my kids will get a kick out of having their milk poured into those fancy wine glasses. Because it’s Monday and after dinner my kids will pull out their notebooks and calculators and start their homework. Because it’s Monday and for the twenty-three years I have been married I have only used my wedding china twice. Twice.

I remember the first time I used it. It was our first wedding anniversary and I made my husband a “Chinese” dinner using some sort of pre-bottled sauce that I poured over a few pieces of chicken and some frozen vegetable mixture. Then, as the gummy concoction sat and simmered on the stove, I proudly set our tiny, second-hand kitchen table.  I took out two settings of our wedding china, filled the sparkling glasses full of wine and carefully polished the silverware before neatly placing it by each plate; and then we celebrated.  We celebrated with cheap wine and gluey chicken over sticky Minute rice served on magnificent china plates, in a four room, drafty apartment we rented above a dance studio, across the street from a noisy twenty-four hour gas station, and it was grand.

We’ll do this every year I thought. But we didn’t, we forgot how nice it was and went out to eat on our other anniversaries because for some reason we thought we should, because somehow that seemed better, fancier, more grown up, and so the china stayed unused up on the shelf.

The second time I used my china was years later, when I hosted Thanksgiving in my now bigger, not so drafty home. I was nervous that day, nervous about the turkey being too dry, the stuffing being too bland and my china being chipped or broken.  When the kids reached out with their sticky fingers for the pretty china dishes, I smiled politely and quickly handed each one a paper plate, hoping to avoid dropped dishes and shattered glasses.  After dinner, when everyone had finally left and the kids were in bed, I washed, dried and carefully inspected each piece of china before breathing a sigh of relief and placing it all back up on the shelf; it had made it through unscathed.

Then, this past week my parents who have been married for fifty-four years finally decided it was time to move out of their home. The home they have lived in for forty-five years.  The home where they raised their children, and kept them warm and sent them off one by one to find their way into the world.  It is too big now for only two people, it needs a lot of work, upkeep…and it is just time. So, as we sat around the other day, drinking coffee and discussing the impending move, what they will take with them, and what they will have to leave behind, my mother mentioned her wedding china.

“I need to take my wedding china. You know, we never even used it.”

“Never?” I said in disbelief (as if using mine two times in twenty-three year was so much better than never.) “Why you should be eating off china every night! You earned it! Forget getting new plates, use your china!”

My brother chuckled. “I’ve never used mine either” he said, the pain of his still recent divorce barely hidden beneath his deep laugh.  We all paused and then giggled as we imagined the certain therapeutic release that would be felt if he were to eat off his wedding china and then promptly smash it all on the floor, before sweeping up all of the broken pieces and throwing them away.

So, that’s why I am using my wedding china tonight. Because it’s Monday.  And because we are having lasagna. And because the truth is, no one gets through this life unscathed.

Sweet Sand

Sweet SandIMG_1468


I went to the beach last week with my kids. After forcefully applying sunscreen to my two older boys they finally broke away and ran off, quickly gathering a group of kids for a wiffle ball game, while my five year old, Eliza, plopped herself down on the sand by the edge of the water and began digging.

Soon a stout little girl in a flowered bathing suit sidled up.


“Whatcha ya doing?” She asked.

“Building a mermaid castle,” my daughter replied. “Wanna help?”

“Sure.” The girl said, picking up a shovel, “I’m Ava.”


(Amazing: a bat and ball… a bucket of wet sand, apparently that’s all you need to spark a few friendships. We adults certainly have a lot to learn, or unlearn perhaps.)


The two little girls planted themselves not far from my chair and began to dig, chatting as they worked side by side: How old are you? Do you have a cat? How many teeth have you lost? Important stuff like that.

“My mom had a baby.” I heard Ava say as she flung a shovel full of sand into the air.

“Oh,” said my daughter, pouring a bucket of seawater into a hole.

“She’s my sister. Her name is Sophie. See?”


Ava pointed a few seats down to a woman sitting under a large umbrella with a baby sling wrapped protectively around her body.


“Do you remember being a baby?” Ava asked.


Eliza shook her head.


“Me neither,” said Ava, diligently digging. “But my mom said I was sweet.” She laughed, “She said that she ate a lot of sweets when I was growing in her tummy that’s why I came out so sweet. She’s so silly! What did you mom eat when you were in her tummy?”


I glanced up from my book, curious to hear my daughter’s reply.


Eliza shrugged, “I don’t know…Maybe mac and cheese?”

Both girls giggled.


The girls worked on, decorating their structure with broken shells and gathering some unsuspecting hermit crabs (excuse me, I mean mermaids) to occupy their castle but soon the tide began to creep in, the water splashing at the walls of sand until at last the mermaid castle crumbled. The girls shrieked as the shells swirled about on the beach and the freed crabs all quickly scurried away.


After a brief lemonade and snack break the girls recovered from their loss and happily skipped off to swim together in the ocean.

It was a good day.


Later that night back at the beach house after a dinner of charred hamburgers, a trip to the local ice cream shop, and an evening full of silly cartoons I laid down, exhausted, in bed next to Eliza, bits of sand scratching away at my legs and back. Blasted sand, I thought, always sneaking into the house no matter how much I insisted everyone rinse their feet with the hose, use the outdoor shower and leave their flip flops at the door. I tossed and turned trying to get comfortable.


Eliza rolled over, flinging her tanned arm across my chest and pushing her nose against mine.


“Mom,” she breathed. “What did you eat when I was in your tummy?


My heart dropped.


“On the beach,” she continued. “Ava said her mom ate a lot of sweet stuff when she was in her tummy and that’s why she’s so sweet. So… what did you eat?”


“Well…” I took a deep breath, giving a futile swipe at the sheets, trying to brush the irritating sand away, down, onto the floor. “You were never in my tummy remember? You grew in someone else’s tummy.”


“Oh, yeah…right.”


There was a long silence then as we lay there together in the bed listening to the soft whir of the overhead fan, little pieces of sand poking insistently at our legs, our backs. Invisible bits that never seemed to leave no matter how hard I tried to sweep them up and toss them away.




“I think you ate a lot of sweets too.”


I held her close.

“Me too sweetie. Me too.”