The Name Game…Part Deux

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 10/14/14 9:24 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, pregnancy, Pregnant at 45, Recipes

I received an email today from a loyal reader asking me if I’d gone “off the grid”.  It made me chuckle because I’m not exactly “off ” the grid.  I’m more like “under” the grid.  And, the grid isn’t so much a grid.  It’s more of an onslot of book edits,  a pile of laundry and never ending doctor’s appointments that seem to be usurping my schedule in a way that isn’t allowing me to spend the time in this space that I’d like.  Plus…I’m friggin’ tired.  And I’m huge.  I’m probably tired because I’m huge.  Or maybe I’m huge because I’m tired.  It’s a chicken/egg thing.

Bottom line is I’m alive…my pregnancy is well…and  I’m profusely sorry for leaving anyone hanging.

I do have to say I always love it when one of my readers notices I’m missing.  It makes me feel safe because sometimes I actually wonder how long it would take Sean to notice if I was MIA–he’s a busy guy.  It’s good to know Debbie Schaaf has my back.  Thanks, friend.


This past weekend Sean and I attended my cousin’s wedding in Chicago.  It was a quick overnight trip that gave us some alone time to talk about important stuff.  Like, how the hell did I end up 45 and pregnant.  (The miraculous conception of 2014 is still baffling to us.)  And, since the inevitability of this little guy is really starting to sink in, we’d better figure out what the heck we’re going to name him.  Because he needs a name.  And we’ve got nothing.

Sean and I have a history of not giving the topic of names for our children due diligence.  I think our lackadaisical attitude about baby names started with the best of intentions.  When I was pregnant with our oldest Sean refused to discuss names before he was born.  “You wouldn’t name a dog before you saw it.  Why would you name a kid before you saw it?”  This was Sean’s mantra and I went along with it assuming that I’d develop a short list of favorties and surely after he witnessed the pain and agony of childbirth he’d let me name the kid whatever I damn well pleased.

You know what?  I was right.  Our first son entered this world shortly after I ripped a belt loop from Sean’s jeans during transition labor and out of respect–or possibly fear–Sean let me name him.  No questions asked.

Naming Drew was easy. I’d loved the name Andrew…shortened to Drew…my entire life.  That being said, we still managed to dodge a bullet that evening after our L&D nurse gently pointed out that we should consider our son’s initials before we went ahead with Andrew Sean Savage.

That’s why he is Andrew (because I’d always loved the name Drew but wanted a saint’s name)  John  (after Sean’s dad and also because we didn’t want his initials to be ASS) Savage.

Naming our second child followed a similar pattern.  We didn’t know our baby’s gender but I knew if it was a boy we’d be going with another name I’d spent my high school years scribbling on the back sides of my notebooks.    Again, Sean wouldn’t discuss the name during our pregnancy.  And, again, after nearly losing my life during an emergency c-section I was granted unchallenged naming rights.

That’s why our second son is Ryan  (because I love the name) Sean  (because I love his daddy)  Savage.

Mary Kate’s full name is  Mary Kathleen Savage.  She is named after Sean’s mother which was truly a heartfelt gesture that conjured all kinds of warm fuzzies until my mom came to the hospital and asked me a trick question.  “Um…Carolyn, did you pick Mary Kate because you liked the name or did you pick it because you wanted to name her after Sean’s mom?”    

I was like a deer in headlights because I honestly didn’t know if there was a satisfactory answer.  After a few second hesitation I threw a hail Mary and went with, “Uh…we liked the name?”  Which seemed to do the trick.

It’s also why one of the twins is named Reagan (after the president) Linda (after my mother) Savage.

As for the other twin’s name..  Well that’s where our lack of appropriate planning bit us…or me…in the arse.  First off let me rattle off a couple of excuses.  Naming twins is hard.  Naming twins of the same gender is harder.  And, lastly naming babies when there’s a third party with a well-earned equal vote makes the process kind of crazy.  You see, we gave Jennifer a say in the girl’s names.  It only seemed fitting.  She was birthing them so she got a voice–and a veto.

Here’s the thing.  She and I were always in agreement.  Sean was the fly in the ointment.  We liked Harper.  Sean said no.  Sean liked Stephanie.  We said no.  We all liked Reagan but couldn’t agree on an equally balanced name from the contemporary genre.  As a result, I scribbled out a list of ten favorites on the back of a Lowe’s receipt about an hour before Jennifer’s c-section and we agreed to reconvene once her anesthesia had worn off and the good drugs had set in.

It seemed like a decent plan until Baby B, who was full term and weighed a whopping 6#15 ounces refused to breath after birth.  Gone were the visions of all of us sitting in Jennifer’s postpartum room contemplating names, replaced instead by an emergency transport team that worked quickly at moving our baby girl to a hospital with a NICU.  It was an unexpected and very chaotic development that somehow ended in Baby B being given a name that wasn’t on anyone’s radar.

Hence, she is named Isabella (I have no idea why) Jennifer (after her guardian angel) Savage.

So…fast forward to crunch time.  We are T-minus six weeks and counting.  Sean and I have kicked around a few possibilites for this little guy but nothing has really resonated.  Drew and Ryan think they get a say, but so far all they have come up with is “Steele”.  Um…not happening.  They’ve accepted the fact that their first suggestion has been vetoed but continue to insist their little bro has a name that is a little “kick ass“.

And that, my friends, is where you come in.  Sean and I are looking for a little inspiration.  Give us your best…your most distinguished…most creative and beloved suggestions.  And don’t forget…the name has to be a little “kick ass” too.

There are bonus points for explaining why the name is so awesome.


We can’t wait to see what you come up with.


A few recent pics from our family.

Drew ran against his high school teammate at a recent college cross country meet.  So fun to see these boys later in life.

Drew ran against his high school teammate at a recent college cross country meet. So fun to see these boys later in life.


Ryan is nearing the end of his senior cross country season.

Ryan is nearing the end of his senior cross country season.

Took our the Gust Pumpkin Farm right up the road.  We have some serious bunny love going on.

Took our girls..again…to the Gust Pumpkin Farm right up the road. We have some serious bunny love going on.


Big brother came to watch MK run her last cross country meet.

Big brother came to watch MK run her last cross country meet.

Daddy was super proud.

Daddy was super proud.


Me and my great Aunt Angie at my cousin's wedding.  Aunt Angie is my grandmother's baby sister.  I love seeing her!

Me and my great Aunt Angie at my cousin’s wedding. Aunt Angie is my grandmother’s baby sister. I love seeing her!


My baby cousin and my baby bump at the wedding.

My baby cousin and my baby bump at the wedding.

Sunday morning we woke to the pitter patter of the Chicago Marathon passing our hotel.  Awesome sight.

Sunday morning we woke to the Chicago Marathon passing our hotel. Awesome sight.  Awesome weekend.


If you are looking for the recipe for candy corn bark I talked about on 101.5 The River with Rick and Mary Beth click HERE.

Forgotten Bathing Suit Breast Pads and The Swim Lesson from Hell

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 03/10/14 12:18 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, From The Files of You Can't Make This Sh*t Up, Glass City Parent, Recipes, twins

It all started out with the best of intentions.  The twins are two, we have a pool in the back yard, and sometime…hopefully soon…swimming season will arrive.  So, in the interest of safety, Sean and I thought it would be prudent to schedule Isabella and Reagan for swimming lessons.

Perfectly normal.  Right?

Except there’s a glitch, which shouldn’t surprise any of my readers.  There’s always a glitch.  In fact, in retrospect, I probably should’ve named this blog (and our book for that matter), “The Glitch”.  It’s cathchy and conveniently rhymes with bitch which is fitting because the “glitch” always results in “the bitch”…at least in our home it does.

Anyways, since this isn’t my first time at the toddler-swim-lesson-rodeo I knew they required a parent participant–which is a glitch—because Sean has always been the CEO of mommy-and-me swim lessons.  It’s not that I don’t like to swim.  It’s that I don’t like to swim in public pools.  I have issues with communal bath tubs.  Trust me when I tell you there’s  not enough chlorine to kill the sceevy back-stroking critters of my imagination. But, seeing as how we have two toddlers, and in the interest of not wanting them to drown, I figured once a week I could swallow some extra anti-anxiety meds, squeeze into my bathing suit and endure thirty minutes in a public pool.  So, I signed them up, gave myself a mental pep talk, and packed a swim bag.

Which is where things went terribly wrong.

Because I wasn’t just packing one swim bag.  I had to pack four swim bags.  One for Sean, because he couldn’t be trusted to pack everything needed.  (See…glitch equals bitch.  I admit it.)  One for each twin because I couldn’t picture showering two slippery, wet toddlers on my own.  I was going to have to sacrifice one to the men’s locker room with Daddy after the lesson probably to be traumatized for life—you know—in case she got a visual of some random Mr. Happy taking his own shower. And one bag for me.  Which begs the question…

Why is it when mother’s have multiple people to pack for they tend to short-change themselves?

Because that’s what I did.  I underestimated the amount of time it would take to prepare four swim bags and by the time I got to pulling my own gear together I was in a mad rush, the results of which were damn near catastrophic.  How?  Well, when I grabbed my bathing suit out of the drawer I hadn’t opened in months I failed to check that all parts of the suit were accounted for.  Meaning, when I finally pulled my own suit on I realized—much to my horror—that the bathing suit I’d grabbed was missing its breast pads.


There I stood, in a YMCA that is clearly having budget issues as evidenced by the fact that the temperature in the pool area was hovering at what felt like 52 degrees.  Which is a big problem because we all know what happens when it’s freezing cold and your sisters are shoved into a bathing suit.

Upon the realization that I was in danger of poking someone’s eye out, I rummaged through my swim bag for a solution.  I was desperate.  Could I stuff my suit with a sock?  Toilet paper?  Do I have any duct tape?  Should I ask some other woman in here for duct tape?  After a minute of sheer panic I relented.  I had no solution and time was up.  So, I did what any other woman would have done in my shoes.  I connected my elbows to my nipples and vowed to stay that way for the entirety of the lesson.

When I exited the locker room my eager beaver husband was waiting for us.  I must’ve looked off because he immediately gave me the what-the-hell side eye.  I couldn’t explain, however, because before I knew it we were ordered into the water which I swear was covered with a thin layer of ice.

At that point I was accutely aware my problems were escalating.

Turns out mommy-and-me swim lessons require arms.  Full, long, bending arms.  For instance, you know when you have to hoist your two year old out of the pool and sit them on the side?  Arms.  You know when your toddler jumps to you expecting you to catch them before they drown?  Arms.  As the lesson progressed, I actually wondered if the instructor recognized my predicament and was screwing with me.  Things got really bad when he pulled out a Little Tikes slide and instructed me to catch my kid.  All the other parents were gently reassuring their children by holding their hands as they slid.  Not me.  Nope.  My kid just looked at me and my T-rex-like appendages and I shot her daggers that said, “Sorry, Sweetie. You’re on your own.”  The result was multiple unfortunate underwater plunges and probably a lifetime of trust issues for my girls.

By the end of the lesson we were all traumatized.

I’ll spare you the rest of the details that included an excruciatingly long version of aquatic “Wheels On The Bus” where the effing wheels kept going up and down, me repeatedly begging to move the lesson into deeper water and the absolute look of bafflement that continued to exude from my extremely annoyed husband.  It was truly the longest thirty minute toddler swim lesson in the history of womankind.

And, you better believe that EVERY SINGLE one of my bathing suits is currently assembled in it’s entirety.

Live and learn.



If you are interested in the St. Patrick’s Day recipe for Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage that I talked about on my weekly segment with Rick and Marybeth at 101.5 The River click here.

“Stop Worrying about It. It’s Done. I Survived” A Worthwhile Piece of Advice

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 02/18/14 1:57 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Blogging Honestly, Food on the Fly, Glass City Parent, perspective, Recipes, Resilience, thankful

Yesterday held a mixed bag for me.  It was a planned day off from school and in attempt to do something outside the four walls of our home I schlepped the kids to the other end of town with the promise of some fun at a Lego play center.   After a forgotten purse, a trip back home and then back to Lego land Reagan vomited on the sidewalk right as we were getting out of the car.  She was car sick because  I had dressed her too warmly and should’ve adjusted her clothing when the 15 mile ride became a 45 mile trek.

All my fault!

The entire episode got me thinking about all the times in my almost twenty years of parenting that I’d screwed up.  I’ve forgotten to sign permission slips and packed my kids the crappiest of lunches because I had nothing of substance in the cupboards.  Once I lost seven year old Drew in the Orlando airport, and when the boys were three and five I thought they had lice and shaved their heads only to learn the next day they had dandruff.  When Drew was an infant he fell off the couch twice because I didn’t know he could roll over.

TWICE!  Apparently I had no idea how it happened the first time.

Honestly, I could go on and on about how, due to my preoccupation, absent-mindedness or just plain stupidity, I’ve put my kids in less than optimal situations.

Not too long ago I was lamenting to Drew about losing him in the airport.

Me:  Do you remember it?

Drew:  Yes.  I got on the tram before you and you turned around and the doors shut and off I went.

Me:  Do you remember what you thought when that happened?

Drew:  Um.  Yes.  I figured I’d get off at baggage claim and wait for you.  It wasn’t rocket science, Mom.  I was fine.

We went on to talk about some of the other mom fails that are so deeply embedded in my memory.    He laughed off the crappy lunches because apparently he traded most of it away.  He has no memory of having a shaved head and was just glad to know that he never had lice as a child.  He does remember me tripping him with my purse strap as he left our church pew to take up the gifts during his first communion mass but apparently it didn’t scar him…although he’s never taken up the gifts again.  And, he thinks that maybe his two falls off the couch as an infant are the reason he can’t do a back dive.

In the end his general consensus was  “No harm, no foul.  Now stop worrying about it.  It’s done.  I survived.“.


Ever since the moment I found out I was pregnant with Logan I’ve thought about how badly my fertility doctor felt about what had happened.  Devastated doesn’t even seem to capture my doctor’s emotional state on that first evening.  I remember the immediate days after finding out about my mistaken pregnancy and worrying about the professionals responsible.  I knew there had been no malice.  No one had done this to me on purpose.   I also knew that they hadn’t gone into their professions to cause this kind of emotional strife.  They wanted to help families—not hurt them—yet there we all stood.

It was an awful mess.

Five years have since passed and although I’ll probably never say, “no harm, no foul” about what happened, I’ve learned a little something about forgiveness  from my kids.  Although my parenting misteps have probably–at times–negatively impacted the trajectory of their days, they are resourceful little souls who take life as it comes. They move forward as best they can dealing with the deck they’ve been dealt.

Stop worrying about it. It’s done.  I survived.


When I put Reagan to bed last night I gave her some extra back-scratch cuddle time trying to ease my guilt from earlier in the day.  For some reason God has been so good to me by allowing me to parent my five children.  I often don’t even know how to articulate how grateful I am for my life, and when I screw it up I get so down on myself because I want to be worthy of being the person my family deserves.  I’m guessing a lot of mothers feel this way at times.  That’s when I think it’s imperative to realize that the only thing we can do after a screw-up is vow to learn from the mistake and do our best to never to let it happen again.  I communicated that message to a fertility doctor a few years back.   It’s probably time I took my own advice to heart.

Stop worrying about it.  It’s done.  They survived.

Now onward.


A few pics from our weekend…

Bedtime sister silliness

Bedtime sister silliness


Sister love

Sister love

"Doin hair, Mom."

“Doin hair, Mom.”

Taking turns, "doin hair."

Taking turns, “doin hair.”


Sacked out.

Sacked out.


It was Valerie's birthday this past week.  Valerie is our the Savage family life-saver.  She watches the girls so I can actually get some stuff done without neglecting them!  She is a true blessing in our lives!

It was Valerie’s birthday this past week. Valerie is our the Savage family life-saver. She watches the girls so I can actually get some stuff done without neglecting them! She is a true blessing in our lives!


For the recipe we talked about on Wednesday’s 101.5 The River Segment please see this blog post!

Winter Comfort Foods: Stuffed Pork Tenderloin and Roasted Root Vegetables

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 01/21/14 1:40 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Food on the Fly, Glass City Parent, Recipes

As shared on my weekly segment for 101.5 The River with Rick and Marybeth!

Herb Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

pork tenderloin


  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped white mushrooms
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 pinch dried parsley
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pork tenderloin, butterflied and pounded flat
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet.
  2. Mix green onions, bacon, Cheddar cheese, cream cheese, spinach, mushrooms, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Spread onto one side of pounded tenderloin. Roll tenderloin around the filling in a jelly-roll fashion. Coat rolled tenderloin with bread crumbs; place on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until pork is no longer pink in the center, about 1 1/2 hours. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C)


Roasted Winter Root Vegetables

root veggies


  • 1 rutabaga peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon


1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with tin foil.

2.  Spread veggies  and onion out on cookie sheet.  Whisk garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice into EVOO.  Drizzle over veggies.  Use your hands to coat veggies on cookie sheet.

3.  Roast veggies at 450 for 20-30 minutes until veggies are soft and cooked through.  Enjoy!

Polar Vortex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Chicken & Noodles

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 01/14/14 9:14 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Food on the Fly, Glass City Parent, Recipes

I’ve only recently stopped shaking.

Not shivering, people.  Shaking.  There’s a difference.

Of course we were all shivering last week.  What else would one do when the mercury dips to a mere 22 degrees below zero for two entire days?  We managed to stay warm, however, despite the frigid temps outside.  I know how lucky that renders me.

So what caused the shaking?  Well, I’m not a mental health specialist but after having visited and paid a small army of people in that profession I feel comfortable diagnosing myself with a rare case of PTSD induced by the lingering effects of the polar vortex.  Having only recently become aware that the polar vortex even exists it’s important for me to admit I’m not well versed in the physcial impact the weather phenomenon had on my psyche.  I mean, obviously, the air pressures were doing something extraordinarily odd last week.  Whether or not they are  what caused me to run screaming from my house come Friday morning, however, is up for debate. I think it is safe to assume the  polar vortex gave me a serious and somewhat experience with cabin fever.

And it wasn’t pretty.

During the snow storm that preceded the vortex's arrival.

During the snow storm that preceded the vortex’s arrival.

A depiction of what happened to many area drivers after the snowstorm was finished.

A depiction of what happened to many area drivers after the snowstorm was finished.

Reagan's first snow ball.

Reagan’s first snow ball.

All things look fine and dandy in the beginning.  Right.  But by Wednesday morning this was happening…

photo (39)

Apparently painting the paper got boring.

Apparently painting the paper got boring.

One of the things I did to cope was to cook.  And cook I did.  Brownies, chocolate chip cookies, Italian beef, homemade chicken cordon bleu were all dishes I tried in order to get my mind off of the fact that I was trapped.  Most of the recipes were delicious but one stood out.  It was a knock off of Bob Evans chicken and noodles, and oh my…it was divine…and easy.


Chicken & Noodles

photo (42)


  • 9 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 tbs chicken bouillion
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 1 cup diced onion (I used frozen, pre-chopped onions)
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 3/4 cup of melted butter (1 and 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, deboned and shredded
  • 1 16 oz bag of Reames frozen egg noodles


  1. Add water, chicken bouillion, carrots, celery, onions, melted butter, salt, pepper and chicken to a large stock pot.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Add frozen noodles to soup.  Simmer for additional 10 minutes.  Serve warm.

photo (41)