The Number No Parent Wants to Dial

“Hey, Grant,” I yell as we tromp into the house, sweaty and thirsty from our walk.


Whose bright idea was it to go walking on a 90-degree day in 90% humidity? Oh, yeah I’ll blame Pokemon Go! for that one. Even though it felt like we were walking on the surface of the sun it was nice to break free from the confines of home.


“I’m going to take a bath,” E yells as he scrambles up the stairs.


“GRANT!” I yell again.


“He’s not here,” yells my husband.
{We yell a lot}


Wait a minute, he was ahead of us by a good block and half. He should be home by now.


Going for a Walk


My heart skips a beat.


“Seriously, Grant are you home?” I yell through the house.




The hubs runs down the stairs throws on a pair of shoes and grabs his bike. “I’ll ride around the block and see if I can find him,”


I head out on foot, thinking maybe he stopped at the park and got distracted. Scanning the crowd of frolicking children, I try to catch a glimpse of red hair, my son’s trademark.




Back at the house, I meet the hubs who is also empty-handed.


“No one has taken him,” I repeat over and over in my head.


I would know. I’m his mom. I would feel something.


He’s just lost.


Although, we’ve walked that way a million times.
Doubts creep into my brain.


“No one has taken him,” I repeat again.
As my husband heads out in the car to scour the neighborhood, I pick up the phone and dial the three numbers I never thought I’d have to dial.  9-1-1.


“911 what’s your emergency?”


“What’s your address?”


“What’s the phone number you are calling from?”


“What was your son wearing?”


“Where were you walking?”


So many freaking questions. It was hard to concentrate and answer them all. For a brief moment, I blanked on my phone number. I don’t call myself how the hell would I remember my number?


What the hell was he wearing?


Shorts, yeah. Gray I think. I can’t remember his shirt.


His shoes though I remember his shoes. His favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shoes that light up when he walks.


His red hair. Make sure they know he has red hair.


My memory was foggy and I was starting to panic.


Right at that moment, I see my husband’s car pull up in front of the house. My eyes quickly go to the backseat, and then I see the red hair and exhale.


“Oh my God, my husband found him. We are good,” I hang up the phone before the operator says goodbye.


When he sees me the tears start to flow, from both of us.


“Where were you,” I ask while wiping tears from my face.


“I … got … lost,” he says between sobs.


“Oh, buddy. Please don’t walk so far ahead next time. Ok?” I say to him.


He nods his little red head, tears damp on his cheeks.


That day could have ended so differently for us. So much worse and so different. Thank goodness it didn’t.

Thank goodness it didn’t.




Sure we tell the kids REPEATEDLY not to talk to tricky people. That if a grown-up asked a child for help it’s not right. Especially if there are other adults around. We tell them to kick, run and scream if someone tries to grab them.


However, I never told them what to do if they were lost.


This is a lesson for all of us.


I should have paid more attention to what he was wearing that day. I should have kept an eye on him and not let him get too far ahead.


Hopefully, you can learn from our missteps so you will never have to dial those three numbers – 9-1-1.

The Badges of Summer

Gazing at my arm I watch a tiny sweat bee land and proceed to wiggle his yellow and black striped hiney like Miley Cyrus in a twerking contest.

Giggling at his antics, I feel the breeze wash over me providing some relief to my sweat soaked skin. The bee, unfazed by the wisp of wind, continues twerking. Sashaying across my arm without a care in the world, I move my arm slightly in response.

He remains.

I shift more in my seat and lift my arm in the air. That’s the final straw for this twerk-happy bee. With what I presume to be a dramatic eye roll he departs for a more stable perch.

As I lower my arm, I notice the freckle – one more to add to this summer’s collection. It resides next to a red swollen mosquito bite and is adjacent to my swimsuit tan line.

Ah, the badges of summer.

They were well earned this year.

This summer has been unlike any other.



The monotonous office prison was gone. Replaced by poolside playtime, outdoor desks and dirt digging. This summer, I’ve spent more moments in the great outdoors than in the past 10 years.




This shift has transformed me. Not just in the addition of freckles, mosquito bites and tan lines but the extra fresh, albeit sometimes humid, hot and hellish, air was a balm to my soul.




Just as a seed planted in spring, fed with sun and water yields a fruitful crop in the summer, so did I.

Blooming and flourishing for the past 13 weeks, I’ve seen a new side of myself. My soul has opened just like a flower, readying itself for new relationships and experiences. While at the same time it has sprouted a few thorns to keep predators at bay.

While the tan lines will fade back into paleness, and mosquito bites will heal and cease to itch, that freckle and much more will remain. I’ll carry them with me through the coming months as long summer days turn to crisp fall nights and into snow laden yards with not a sweat bee in sight.

But I’ll never forget this amazing bee-twerking, freckle-filled, sunkissed, soul healing summer.


Stop Forgetting Your Passwords {#BetterMoments}

This post is part of my partnership with the
US Cellular Blogger Brigade Ambassador Program.

Does your teen have a cell phone?
Make sure you download the Parent Child Agreement.


US Cellular Better Moments Blogger Brigade


I’m staring at the blank screen. The cursor blinks urgently at me in the space designated for my password.


My password, or should I say passwords.

I have so many passwords for my blog, bank account, and medical record. Basically, anything tied to the Internet needs a password. Which I totally get and is completely legit considering the gazillions of people out there who want to be me.

Seriously though if they really want to be me I have ten loads of laundry to fold and a couple toilets to clean.

That’s my life.

What is also a regular part of my life is blanking out when I have to enter my passwords. I inevitably forget it, and then have to reset it, and then forget it again. It’s a vicious cycle that I blame on my “mom brain”.

Worse yet, is creating uber simplistic passwords, just so I won’t forget them. Did you know in a recent Harris Interactive survey 59 percent of adults admit to reusing passwords due to the difficulty remembering them?

At least, I’m not alone. But while comforting, it’s also scary. I’m protecting my precious life with a password a monkey could crack, YIKES!

In fact, among the password habits that need attention are reusing passwords and creating weak passwords, such as your dog’s name, 12345 or password123.

When it comes to protecting valuable information, those passwords share common patterns, creating vulnerability across the various accounts we all use every day, ranging from the ones that need to be most secure, like bank and credit cards, to social media sites or free subscriptions. If one account gets hacked, all accounts sharing the same password and email are at much greater risk.

There comes a moment when you need to call in the reinforcements. I’ve used a few password apps that take over as my brain once in a while. Here are a few of my favorites:




As the number one most downloaded password management app, Keeper provides users with the ability to manage passwords across various accounts. Keeper’s free version provides local password storage and users on one device. A $29.99 per year subscription is required to access many of its quality features. Those include unlimited password storage, secure online storage for photos, videos and documents, and access to multiple devices, along with the ability to share the information with other users. Those with a subscription can also set up fingerprint login for quick and secure access to their account.







Dashlane is another great option. It’s, rated among the top password manager apps and is listed as Editor’s Pick in the Google Play Store. In addition to creating complex passwords for accounts, Dashlane acts as a digital wallet to make secure on-the-go payments and provides security breach alerts for usernames and passwords. Offered for $39.99 per year, the premium subscription allows syncing across devices, securing Cloud backup and accessing information via the web.





This trusted app provides users with a secure vault and organization of accounts for user preference. Its features also allow for easy transitions between accounts on the same site. Like many other password management apps, LastPass can also keep track of credit card information, audit account passwords, record secure audio notes and more. Premium features for $12 a year include a shared family folder, unlimited device sync, multi-factor authentication and access to accounts from any device or computer.

The complex passwords created can be easily stored and used, and often shared across platforms, including home computers, work computers and smart devices, like the iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy Edge and iPads.

A recent U.S. Cellular survey indicates that 65 percent of smartphone users always remember to take their device with them when they leave the house. With that mobility and U.S. Cellular’s robust network with nationwide coverage, people have embraced their smartphones for shopping online, managing bank accounts, catching up on the news and emailing, all while on the go.

Some additional steps to keep your accounts safe are simple, such as refraining from connecting in locations offering free WiFi. While it may be tempting to utilize the free WiFi, the connection may not be secure, which can impact your account security if accessed while connected.

Another easy step is one of the most obvious – use built-in features such as the screen lock on your device. This feature comes standard on many devices and requires a pattern, fingerprint identification or character password to be entered before anything on the device can be accessed.


Thank goodness for all these apps and helpful tips to keep my information secure. Not only that, but I can save brain space for important things like movie quotes and song lyrics.


Disclaimer: Through the rest of the year I’ll be sharing some more of My BETTER MOMENTS as a US Cellular Better Moments Blogger Brigade Ambassador. All opinions are my own and an honest view of my story as a US Cellular customer.