Parenting: What I practice and believe in

I saw a post on a social media thread where someone asked, “what bad traits of yours do your children have?”

My response was: None. My kids have grown up to be the kind of people I wanted to be.

The person who asked the question responded, “Lucky you.”

Luck has nothing to do with it. Yes, I understand the whole nature versus nurture argument. Let’s put that aside for a moment.

We are all born with certain personality traits. We all learn certain personality and behavior traits. It isn’t a free for all. If you’re a hot mess it doesn’t mean your kids will be hot messes. If you made terrible mistakes in your youth it doesn’t mean your children will. If you hated your parents it doesn’t mean your kids will hate you.

Like I said, luck had nothing to do with the way my kids turned out. The only lucky thing they got was good looks.

What makes a successful parent? It is easy.

  1. Learn from your mistakes and teach your kids by it.
  2. Talk to your kids from the day they are born. EVERY SINGLE DAY. Don’t take grunts and one word answers to questions. Engage with your children.
  3. Show interest in your kids. I know you’re tired. I know you’ve been working. I know. I’ve been there. Show interest in them. By showing interest you will also be helping yourself. Think about it.
  4. Remember that your children are going to grow up to become adults. Prepare them for the adult world. Have those hard conversations.
  5. Trust your children. Give them reason to trust you as well.
  6. Teach them the difference between right and wrong. Not for any BS religious reason but because it is the right to do.
  7. Teach your children compassion and empathy.
  8. Teach them that yes indeed, they ARE judged by the company they keep.
  9. Teach them to be proud of who they are.
  10. Teach them to be curious and that learning is something they will do their entire lives.
  11. Teach them to be polite and to never be rude, especially when they are a guest. If they are pleasant they will always be invited back. Be better away from home than you ever are at home.
  12. Love them and put them first. Always put your children first. They need you. They depend on you. They love you. They can’t function without you. They need your guidance, your thoughts, your ear. Most of all they need your hugs.

Every child is different. Some are loud. Some are quite. Some seem too perfect (that can be scary) and some seem to make a mess of everything. Every family is also different, from the huge families with a dozen children to the family with a single child – and each child is unique. Every child has the potential to grow up and be happy and successful.

The following paragraphs are more or less what I put in my list but read it again.


Parenting – Why it is important and what I believe and practice.

My main message is for parents to talk not just at or to their kids but WITH their kids. Also to give your children the safety to be their own little personalities (or big personalities) and to be kids, but also give them the freedom to grow and fly. I am a strong advocate against over protecting children. I’m a mother wolf and yes, I’ll protect to the death, but I don’t want to be responsible for an immature, over sensitive, ignorant adult one of these days. Children, in my opinion, need their parents forever, but they also need to know about the world they’ll live most of their lives in, especially teens. They also need to know the harsh facts about sex, drugs and the company they keep. Our reputations and the choices we make as teens can stay with us our entire lives. Teens need to know this.

I absolutely love teens. They’re funny and wise and silly and so loving in ways that most people don’t even see. Just talk to one, or better yet, try to remember a million years ago in another time, another world, another planet, when you were a teen.

But I’m not going to preach those ideas in every single blog post. Through my tales about my kids, my husband, my brothers and my friends, I try to get across my messages about relationships, love, consequences, and just life. And if I can get someone to think or laugh I feel like I’ve done something. If I can get anyone to laugh I’m happy.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Finish it… odds and ends… That usually means more odds but, whatever.

Before I do anything I need to let EVERYONE know that my short story collection “Morning at the Vineyard” will be FREE on Amazon (download only) October 27 – 31, 2017. It is a fun collection of stories from this blog. Share with your friends. Read it on Halloween. Have fun. Happy Halloween.

Here is the link:

I was looking at my blog stats and noticed that someone was looking at random pages of my “Girl in the Woods” online novel. That was supposed to be finished in 2016 but I came to a chapter that needed to be rewritten and I didn’t feel like it, so I ignored it. It didn’t go away. Now it sits there lonely and alone, waiting for that chance reader to come by and read chapter 9 and chapter 19.

Another example is my house. I love my home. It is my dream home. It is a mess. I could clean. I plan on cleaning. So instead I go to the store and buy Twinkies and frosting so I can make Ghosts for a Halloween party this weekend. Actually there are TWO Halloween parties.


It is a fun and easy project. Get a box of ten Twinkies, a can of white frosting, a tube of black frosting. Spread the white frosting over the Twinkies. Draw faces with the black frosting. Presto – you have a delightful treat. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart. It doesn’t take any time at all. You don’t have to be perfect. Everybody loves these. It will make you laugh. Clara and I made these cuties a few years ago, and we’re doing it again. We don’t eat them (we’d become violently ill) but we have a lot of fun making them.

But back to my house. I wish I had a maid. I’m not a witch so I can’t just snap my finger and make everything clean up itself. To tell the truth most witches can’t do that. I’m not a Disney Princess so I don’t have animal friends who will come do it for me either. With my luck they’d be like my cat and pee all over everything just for spite. He has no reason to feel any spite, but he is a cat. Something was moved, or someone called him an asshole, or the dog looked at him wrong, or the other cat simply exists, so he pees to prove his point. He is a talker too. It isn’t like I’m not listening to him 24/7.

This is the glamorous life of a Vampire. No blood stains to wash out today. No turning into a bat. No cryptic messages from an ancient council of folks who wear robes and chant weird shit. Just a mom, who planted bulbs in the yard today, and who is going to go to the post office in a few minutes, then off to Dave’s Bottle Shop to pick up a few bottles of  Poet’s Blood and a case of Spiced A Positive.

Then we’ll decorate for Halloween.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Marla Todd _ Oscar Gray








Art, Cats, and Charming Boys

Oscar and Art

Yesterday I was sorting out old art and reorganizing portfolios. I came across pieces I’d completely forgotten about. Dozens of finely drawn pen and ink drawings filled my brain with memories of another time.

More than anything, the experience brought up memories of another me, back when I was the same age as my children or not much older.

What surprised me the most is how good much of the artwork was. I’d forgotten myself over the years. I’d forgotten who I was. Maybe who I was meant to be.

But we keep moving forward. The key is only to take things of value with us. I don’t just mean physical things, but our passions as well. Those core things that make us who and what we are.

So while I was musing and pondering the cat decided I’d made him a new bed. For it you are a cat the world is your bed. No, not the world, but the entire universe is your bed. Oscar was quite comfortable to explore the artwork, rub his face on it, bat at it with his paw, then take a nap on it. Cats know who they are. No need to muse or ponder or think in any way shape or form.

Later that night I noticed a strange jumble of dishes in the dishwasher. It was as if Picasso had come to the house and loaded it up.

I questioned the loader of dishes. “Garrett you need to learn how to load a dishwasher.”

He smiled, “don’t hate on me Mom.”

Eye roll from Mom.

“Your roommates will hate you next year. You know they will each and every time they have to rearrange the dishes.”

“I’m a Vampire. I don’t eat that much.”

“That was not my point.”

“I’ll do other things so they can clean up the kitchen.”

“You have that all worked out?”

“Of course I do.”

“Charm and good looks will only get you so far dear boy.”

Then the cat came down and Garrett scooped the furry beast into his arms. “I don’t know mom. Charm and good looks seems to work for this guy.”

He had a point.

Have a good weekend everyone and keep cool. Hug your kids. Laugh with them. Talk with them. And hug your cat too. 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Oscar the cat enjoying my art


Black tea

Splashed with fruit

A reminder to

Get up, Get up, Get UP NOW

To the sleeping teen

Even though it is dark outside.

Monday comes,

School day,

New beginnings

For everyone.


Be inspired!

Be inspired!














And so it is. That is new beginnings and new attitudes and making changes.

But school is school. It seems that mornings are easier now, more than ever. The high school aged child is getting up and actually looking forward to school. The college age one still drags but with a new sense of urgency (so he tells me.)

I’ve been working on new things as well and finishing up old projects. The past month has been difficult and filled with loss and stupidity. I try to write to inspire or give some humor. We’ve laughed a lot but I just haven’t written it down. Sometimes my mind and fingers don’t match up – or don’t want to match up. It is sort of like telling my dog to go outside and she either sits down or goes to her bed and won’t budge.

But today is Monday. I will watch the moon fade away and the sunrise over the trees. We’ll talk on the way to school about all sorts of things.

The thing that stays clear is that we find ourselves and know ourselves. Then we need to stay true to ourselves. That is difficult when doubt is alway lurking around like a gargoyle ready to dump sludge down it’s spout onto your head. I guess the moral there is to watch for downspouts or always carry an umbrella.

I don’t believe in sheltering children in a world that is filled with monkey’s covering their faces and embracing ignorance. To over protect is to open them wide to vulnerability and ignorance of a world that can hurt them, or keep them from a world that can enlighten them. I hope that each and every day will enlighten them. A new day and a new sunrise. Yes, the birds are singing. Friends will be at school. Teachers will like them. It will be a good thing – this first day of a new week.

So rise and shine. Even if you’ve already risen or live in the shadows or want to go back to bed – shine. Just try. I’m going to.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman



vampire teens

New Games and Other Random Thoughts

We’re still in the throes of the holiday season and my kids are still excited.  Don’t take offense to what I say – but sometimes living with my teenage daughter is like living with Robin Williams. She is FUNNY and she NEVER stops. I’ve been saying that since she was a toddler. It is constant in my face. Around most people she is lovely, well spoken and extremely polite. Around me… that is another story. I have to admit we feed off of each other in the humor department. At least once a day we laugh so hard I almost lose my breath completely.

Yesterday she told me about a couple of favorite high school games.

Get Down Mr. President

One group is designated to be the president. Someone yells “Get Down Mr. President.” The “President” gets down on the ground while everyone else acts like they are protecting him/her. And yes, they do this in school hallways and other public spaces. I told her it was in poor taste. Of course I had to laugh.

3 2 1 Infomercial

Someone yells (in public of course) “THREE TWO ONE Infomercial,” then everyone involved has to act super excited about whatever they are doing. Think about it.

Laugh About Mom

This is a game my family plays. I don’t participate and usually tell them to shut the F up. Yes, my lovely loving family can be… well, loud and slightly annoying. I know by reading my blog you might think we’re all perfect. We are almost there… almost.



All I have right now is snippets of thoughts. I fell off a chair on Christmas Day. Yes, I was standing on it reaching for a Champagne glass on a top shelf. I fell on my back and now I feel as if I’ve been hit by a truck. Please, do not follow my example.

After over three years, and over 1,000 posts I’m not sure where I’m going with this blog. The creative process is an odd thing indeed, as is my life. Things seems to move along with sort of a pattern, but with a lot of random… a lot of random everything.

I look out the window and can see The Ghost outside on my deck in the frozen morning air pounding out something on an old manual typewriter. He looked up at me with a snarky glare then vanished.

It is too dark and too cold and too early for any of the smaller woodland creatures to be showing themselves. It has been weeks since I’ve heard any coyotes or seen deer. They’re out there. I haven’t seen a raccoon in 6 months at least.

Today will bring a trip to the mountains (up to Tahoe) and maybe an adventure to share.

In the meantime your assignment for today is to laugh. And be random. Or maybe write some poetry, or paint a picture or take a walk in the cold winter woods holding the hand of someone you love.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Because I’m The Mom (and I don’t feel good)

As parents we like to think we are invincible. Let me reword that, we would like our children to believe we are invincible.

Unfortunately we are not. Not physically or emotionally. We can bullshit the kids and pull whatever wool we have over their eyes but sometimes we can’t do it.

Sometimes things get beyond our control.

I have been under the weather, some head spinning, bad blood sort of thing that has had me feeling out of sorts and out of control for going on four days. I can’t do this. I’m the one who takes care of everyone. I’m the one who comforts them. I make sure they’re safe. I make them laugh. Now I sit in a daze with my mind a blur like some ancient Vampire ready to close up a graveyard crypt and stuff my brain with cobwebs and brimstone. No, I will not and cannot let this happen.

It is mind over matter time. I don’t have the luxury of rest or self-pity or indulgence that illness might bring. This just blows. Right I know that doesn’t sound too poetic but it’s true.

It could be blood poisoning or something equally as awful. I don’t know. Being a Vampire can mean no common colds or flu bugs or most illnesses but we can get under the weather in the worst way with our own mysterious maladies.

The light hurts my eyes more than normal. I can’t see except in a fog. I want to be a creature of the night, yet I do not want to sleep. I don’t want to sleep because then I will not be in control – I will be out of control.

So I will say to this thing “no more, I do not want you in my world or my life or anywhere near me. I will not have you.”

This is an unwanted suitor with no redeeming qualities. Even in deep sleep he is bad in bed. He is horrible and a bore. He needs to go away.

A friend of mine with six children was once said “I can’t get sick.”

A childless friend asked “Why not?”

Her answer was “Because I’m the mom.”

Yes, that is pretty much the answer for just about everything and it is usually the correct answer (99% of the time.)

Enough of my complaining. That just about says it all.

Because I’m the mom.



Hope you’re all in good health and good spirits this week – and be nice to your mom.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman



sun in my face