Video: Muppets Talk to Kids About Moms in ‘Muppet Moments’

Muppet Moments airs on the Disney Channel. Photo: Disney Junior/Rick Rowell.

Most moms love getting homemade cards, pictures, trinkets, and other mementos for Mother’s Day. I especially love those little questionnaires that they fill out in school. (I’ve seen a few interesting answers regarding my age, weight, and favorite hobbies.) Could you imagine what some of those responses would look like, if the questions were being dictated by a Muppet?

That’s what a few lucky kids got to do, as part of Disney Junior’s Muppet Moments. The new short-form series features all of your favorite Muppets, talking to kids about a variety of different topics.

GeekMom has an exclusive sneak peek at Friday’s episode, titled “Moms.” It features Gonzo, Kermit, Rizzo the Rat, and a few really cute kids.

If you want to see more, check out the “Moms” installment of Muppet Moments this Friday, May 8 at 8:25 a.m. (ET/PT) on the Disney Channel.

2015 GeekMom Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is right around the corner. It’s the one time of year when you “legally” have to shower Mom with love—and gifts! Of course, we’re kidding (sort of). While most moms do love the homemade cards, hugs, and brunch offers, a lot of us also love to get a gift that keeps on giving. So instead of giving your mom (or yourself) the same old wilted flowers, consider one of the gifts listed below in our 2015 GeekMom Mother’s Day Gift Guide.

The Sprite Bag by Pixelle is a ThinkGeek exclusive. Photo: ThinkGeek.

Bookworm Shoulder Tote
Haul around your mom gear in this large zippered bag from Blue Q. It’s waterproof, wipes clean, is made from recycled materials, and is crazy strong. It measures 11-by-15-by-6.25 inches. One percent of the sale price supports The Nature Conservatory. And if the bookish design doesn’t do it for you, check out the same tote with a Da Vinci design or a Batista design. [$13.30]

“I Aim to Misbehave” Car Decal
This car decal serves two important purposes: It shows off your mom’s love for Firefly and that she is one spirited lady! [$6]

Multitool Hair Clip. Photo: Yaacov Goldberg/Monkey Business.

Multitool Hair Clip
Made of stainless steel, this creative hair clip for Mom is a secret multitool. It’s a screwdriver, wrench, trolley coin, ruler, and cutting edge, always handy and helpfully keeping her hair out of her eyes. [$9]

Ogio Hudson Pack
GeekMom Dakster is a huge fan of Ogio bags. As a mom on the go, her go-to laptop bag is the Ogio Hudson Pack in Peacoat blue. It fits her laptop, iPad, iPod, writing supplies, and all without feeling bulky on her back. [$64.99]

Pelican Elite Weekender Luggage
Built for the adventurer, this luggage will take any beating the cruise line, airline, or any other transportation service can throw at it. GeekMom Dakster likes having her bag around to protect her costumes when traveling to conventions. [$445]

The Sprite Bag by Pixelle
“Level up your look” with the subtle touches of The Sprite Bag by Pixelle. It’s just the right size for a mom on the go and comes in white or black. [$49.99]

ThinkGeek Star Wars Stainless Steel Pendants
For the Star Wars mom, check out these pendants from ThinkGeek. Choose from Boba Fett, Rebel Alliance, Stormtrooper, or Tie Fighter. [$29.99 to $39.99]

A peek inside Ryder Windham’s Ultimate Star Wars. Photo: © 2015 Dorling Kindersley Limited.

Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book
Coloring books intricate enough for adults are trendy right now, as if we haven’t been coloring in them all along! You may prefer a different adult coloring book like Steampunk Coloring Book or Unicorns Are Jerks. [$11]

Furry Logic
Furry Logic is a fun book filled with furry animals and cute logic. It’s a quick and easy pick-me-up read for anyone. [$8.99]

How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike (And They Will)
Get Mom prepared for the inevitable attack of the garden gnomes. They may look harmless, but these cute and decorative keepers of gardens are secretly planning to attack you and everyone you love. [$11]

Instant Happy: 10-Second Attitude Makeovers
Everyone needs a pick-me-up every now and then. For the days when Mom is feeling the weight of everything on her shoulders, hand her Instant Happy: 10-Second Attitude Makeovers. It has 128 pages of happy thoughts, with cute drawings and animals to accompany each one. [$11]

Knit Your Own Zombie. Photo: Fiona Goble/Adams Media.

Knit Your Own Zombie: Over 1,000 Combinations to Rip ‘n’ Reassemble for Horrifying Results
Easy-to-knit, hard-to-kill zombies held together with Velcro strips and snaps, so you can create your own mashups. Knitting never looked so easy and yet, so softly terrifying. [$12.04]

Subversive Cross Stitch: 50 F*cking Clever Designs for Your Sassy Side
Stitch some snark with this updated anniversary edition of the now-classic book that upended the ladylike craft of cross stitching. “Eat, Drink, and Be Quiet” may add some charm to your kitchen. If you have no intention of making any of the designs, just leave it out to shock your Great Aunt Rhonda next time she visits. [$11.50]

Ultimate Star Wars
A trained tauntaun of your own would be a fantastic gift. Sadly, Echo Base won’t ship them to Earth. Instead, consider this newly released large-format hardcover book to explore the Star Wars galaxy chronologically. It’s packed with in-depth information about characters and storylines. Yes, it has photos of tauntauns. [$26.49]

Your Family in Pictures: The Parents’ Guide to Photographing Holidays, Family Portraits, and Everyday Life
Your Family In Pictures takes mom from the basics of family photography to the more advanced setups. Our recommendation? Pick one of the suggested cameras out for her in the first few pages and wrap it up with this book. Say cheese! [$15.99]

Geeky tees. Photo: Friendly Oak.

Banned Book Socks
Ankle socks with a kick, these Banned Book Socks feature titles on one foot and strike-outs on the other. Wearable all year ’round, not just during Banned Books Week. Made of nylon, polyester, spandex, and cotton; machine wash. [$10]

eShakti Gift Card
eShakti lets Mom customize clothing in sizes from 0-33. With numerous patterns and styles, she can pick out her favorite neckline, hem length, and sleeves style. The online retailer features a wide variety of fabrics. GeekMom Fran likes the cotton dresses very much. Did we mention that most dresses feature actual full-size pockets that you can put things in? Yes. [Varies]

Friendly Oak Geeky Tees
Printed on super soft American Apparel tees, these women’s shirts come in a variety of geeky designs: An octopus in a top hat! Sloths! Hot air balloons! Pirate ships! Bugs! Books! Dinosaurs! Bats! [$18 to $19 each]

High Commander Cardigan
Mom is the ultimate power in the universe, and now she can show her Imperial strength with the High Commander Cardigan from Her Universe. The light sweater is perfect for everyday cosplay, but subtle enough to pass as a simple gray sweater. But true Star Wars fans who catch a glimpse of the insignia on the front will give Mom a knowing smile. [$50]

Hot Topic’s Orphan Black Fit & Flare Dress
Hot Topic’s latest television show-themed clothing line is Orphan Black, and the red DNA-patterned flare dress is a standout. One of the best things about this simple dress is you don’t have to be a fan of this popular sci-fi series to appreciate the cool DNA double-helix design. This could be the perfect gift for science teachers… or just any mom who loves and appreciates the building blocks of life. Keep in mind Hot Topic’s women’s clothes tend to run in juniors’ sizes, so it may be a smart idea to get a size larger than Mom would usually wear. Oh, and FYI: This looks cute with another item in the Orphan Black line, the Lightweight Ombre Open Cardigan. [$29.50]

Solar System Knee Highs. Photo: Sock Dreams.

Marvel Ladies Knee High Socks
Comic book fans of Captain Marvel, Black Widow, and Spider-Woman will wear these knee-high socks with pride. Whether she’s padding around the house stealthily in Black Widow socks or channeling her inner Princess Sparklefists in her Captain Marvel knee-highs, Mom will feel like a superhero in these ThinkGeek exclusives. [$14.99]

Octopus Arm Cozies
Above the elbow arm cozies are a stylish way to tell Mom she’s cool and keep her warm at the same time. Sock Dreams has several styles and colors, but everything goes better with cephalopods. Made of 95-percent cotton with spandex; machine washable. [$25]

Solar System Knee High Socks
Mom will be walking on the sun with these Solar System Knee Highs from Sock Dreams. Made of 75-percent cotton with polyester/spandex, they’re machine-washable and keep their shape. For all the times she’s found your socks, or told you she loves you to the moon and back. [$10]

Toothless Tail Fin Skater Skirt by WeLoveFine
Help Mom show her dragon pride with the Toothless Tail Fin Skater Skirt by WeLoveFine. It’s flowy, it’s twirly, and it was designed to look like Toothless’ tail fin—complete with a white Viking skull on the back. [$25]

A peek at the “Relax” setting on the Philips hue lighting system. Photo: Philips.

D-Link WiFi Smart Plug
If you’re anything like GeekMom Rachel, you’re constantly telling someone to turn off the lights. This handy gadget bypasses the people who never seem to learn and allows you to take control. Just plug the Smart Plug into any existing outlet, push the WPS button on your router, and the button on the Smart Plug. Then, you’ll be able to power off (and on) everything that’s plugged in via the mydlink Home mobile app, which is free for iOS and Android devices. [$39.99]

Martian Notifier
The Martian Notifier is GeekMom Dakster’s new favorite phone accessory. It’s a simple smartwatch whose only job is to send notifications from your phone to your wrist. What’s great about it is that there are no fancy bells and whistles; it’s simple, to the point, and the battery lasts over five days on a single charge. It also comes in white, black, and red. [$95.99]

Me-Shot Deluxe 2.0
Give Mom the gift of selfies with the Me-Shot Deluxe selfie stick. It comes with a remote to help her get that perfect group shot and it’s compact enough to fit into her bag. [$49.99]

Martian Notifier. Photo: © Martian Watches.

Parrot Flower Power
For the mom who lacks a green thumb, this little device can be a lifesaver—or at least a plant-saver. It’s basically a little smart sensor that sticks right into the soil. Once it’s embedded, it can measure moisture, fertilizer, ambient temperature, and light intensity, and will send all of that info to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. In case Mom needs a little extra TLC for her plants, Parrot also has a library with info on thousands of plants, flowers, herbs, and more. [$49.95]

Philips hue Connected Light Bulbs
Sure, you could offer to mow the lawn or do the dishes, but the gift of automated lighting is something that Mom can use every single day. And it’s downright addictive! That’s because the hue offers remote control of lights via any smartphone or tablet. Even better, it’s also a nice decorative element, since the hue can be adjusted to make mood lighting in over 16 million colors. [$199 for the Starter Pack]

Sonos Play:1 Wireless Speaker
Just because Mom isn’t partial to extra-large speakers doesn’t mean that she can’t rock out. This small, mighty speaker is the least expensive in the Sonos line, but still packs the power needed to drown out Dad’s singing. It’s important to know that it needs WiFi or the Sonos Bridge ($49), as well as the Sonos app. Once everything is hooked up, it can stream music to anywhere in the house. Also nice to know is that you can always add on to this gift later, since it works well alone, in pairs, and with every other speaker in the Sonos line. [$199 each]

XSories Large Power CapXule
The Large Power CapXule keeps Mom’s GoPro camera safe and charged with the case’s built-in battery. [$79.99]

Sauria Cakestands. Photo: MoMA.

Kitchen Goods
Don’t Talk to Me Yet Mug
For coffee- or tea-loving moms, for sleep-deprived moms, this white ceramic mug lays out when it’s safe to approach with questions about where your socks are, or whether you should be allowed to wear flip-flops in 20-degree weather. [$17]

Evil Genius or Everyday Super Hero Mugs
Is your mom a superhero, or does she get a certain amount of pleasure from being just a little bit bad? Be careful picking the appropriate one for your GeekMom—or buy both and let her decide how she feels in the morning! [$10.50 each]

Kitchen towels. Photo: LoveYouALatteShop.

KitchenAid Mixer Decals
If Mom has a KitchenAid mixer, it most likely lives on the countertop. Why not help her put a little bling into that permanent fixture? There are an endless number of decal options, from flames to flowers to a Flying Tiger Shark Plane. GeekMom Rachel has a set of superhero-themed decals for her KitchenAid and can tell you that they are easy to apply and stick quite nicely, even after a messy, marathon baking session. [Starts at $9.99]

Onion Goggles
GeekMom Rachel says that she loves a good cry—but not when that cry is initiated by cutting onions. Her husband got her a pair of these a little while ago. “They make me feel like a superhero and work like magic,” she says. [$19.95]

“They See Me Rollin’ They Hatin'” Kitchen Towels
These towels are too cool for school. Kick-ass kitchens? That’s another story. In case your mother isn’t down with the lyrics of Chamillionaire, there are plenty of other punny options that she’d be happy to display in her kitchen. [$18]

Triceratops Cake Stand
A 2014 Grassi and Bertoni design for the Museum of Modern Art, these dinosaur cake stands can hold all of Mom’s favorite cakes. Made of porcelain, the triceratops stands approximately 5 inches high, with the brontosaurus being 3.5 inches high. [$130]

Tsuro: The Game of the Path. Photo: © 2015 Calliope Games.

Toys & Games
Cluedo Sherlock Edition
Eagle-eyed fans of the BBC’s Sherlock know even the great sleuth himself enjoys Cluedo (or Clue in the United States), provided he wins. Now, the BBC has come up with an official Sherlock Edition of the classic mystery game. There’s a reason the original version of Clue is still a tabletop favorite, and now this version has made it even more enjoyable to match wits with friends and family around the table. A perfect Mother’s Day gift for those treasured family game nights and those who are still waiting… and waiting for Sherlock Season 4. [$39.49]

Fiesta Sea and Shore Series 36” Giant Octopus
Ignore all descriptions that allege this stuffed creature is a child’s toy. Those staring eyes, curling tentacles, and soft body make for an awesome cephalopod pal for someone your age too. You don’t have eight arms to attend to all your mom-ligations, but at least your giant octopus does. [$69.99]

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D. Photo: Nintendo.

A beautiful board game to play with the family. Players compete to see who can stay on the board longest. For two to eight players, ages eight and up. Each game takes about 20 minutes to play. [$24]

Xenoblade Chronicles 3D
If Mom has fond memories of playing Final Fantasy or other Japanese RPGs, Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is a no-brainer. It looks fantastic on the New Nintendo 3DS, with phenomenal voiceovers, a sweeping story, classic JRPG elements, and a big world to explore. Hours of epic gameplay just might fill that Dragon Age-shaped hole in any RPG fan’s life. Just FYI: This title is only compatible with the New Nintendo 3DS. [$39.99]

If GeekMom Ruled the World…

Word cloud of character traits popular with the GeekMoms. Graph by Ariane Coffin using Wordle.
Word cloud of character traits popular with the GeekMoms. Our first step in world conquest. Graph by Ariane Coffin using Wordle.

In honor of Mother’s Day, we thought we’d ask our GeekMom writers what they would do if they ruled the world.

And we’re actively working on many of these.

If GeekMom ruled the world, children’s clothes would have an unisex section. (Corrina)

If GeekMom ruled the world, zombies wouldn’t stand a chance! (Ariane)

If GeekMom ruled the world, all geeky t-shirts would come in unisex and ladies cut. (Ariane)

If GeekMom ruled the world, teachers would be well paid. (Ariane)

If GeekMom ruled the world, variety packs of Lego/Duplo would come with the pink and purple blocks too. (Sarah)

If GeekMom ruled the world, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Commander Hadfield would be getting MUCH more press than they do. And the world would ignore Lindsay Lohan and Justin Bieber. (Patricia)

If GeekMom ruled the world, comic books would replace fashion mags at the OBGYN. (Lisa)

If GeekMom ruled the world, the best-selling men’s cologne would smell like book stores and Earl Grey (maybe perfume as well). (Lisa)

If GeekMom ruled the world, kids would know that boys can draw flowers and girls can play video games. (Cathe)

If GeekMom ruled the world, public schools would be filled with hands-on learning opportunities and internships. Everyone would come out of 12th grade with some coding skills. Standardized testing would largely disappear. Kids would be evaluated on portfolios of their work that they could bring with them on job interviews. Community college or technical school would be free.  (Andrea)

If GeekMom ruled the world, STEM and STEAM activities would be as common as drawing in pre-K schools, and Firefly would not have been canceled. (Karen)

If GeekMom ruled the world, there’d be affordable high-quality daycare without a six-month-long waiting list (so that you have to register a three-month-old fetus to get a spot) for those who want to get back to work soonest. (Karen)

If GeekMom ruled the world, English lit would spend an entire year on comic books and women would never end up refrigerators again. (Dak)

If GeekMom ruled the world, the regular topics of conversation at toddler groups and on the school playground would be Doctor Who, Firefly, comics, etc., and we wouldn’t get strange looks for wanting to discuss the latest development in the X-Files and Buffy comic series at coffee mornings with other moms. (Sophie)

If GeekMom ruled the world, smartphone hardware wouldn’t give out after two years, and software wouldn’t update every two minutes. No one would ride in anything with a Capissen 38 engine. There would be no “fake” anything, and maybe one or two real dragons. (Fran)

If GeekMom ruled the world, there would be women leads in at least half of all the big budget fantasy/sci-fi/superhero movies. (Rebecca)

If GeekMom ruled the world…

… people would know the difference between knitting and crochet.

… Benedict Cumberbatch would be President of the World.

… Every child would have access to loads of brilliant books, and someone to inspire and teach them to love reading. (Helen)

If GeekMom ruled the world, all women would be able to stay home to raise kids if they like and not have it impact their return to the workforce. (Helene)

If GeekMom ruled the world, being a tomboy wouldn’t be a part of some shameful past to which women admit with embarrassment and say they outgrew.  (Jules)

If GeekMom ruled the world, not only would people stop addressing a group as, “Hey guys!” but also as, “Hey ladies!” because you never know what gender is actually sitting in the room even if it appears that one is staring back at you. (Jules)

If GeekMom ruled the world, this conversation wouldn’t be happening because none of these things would be issues. People would just treat people as people and we’d have unlimited options without judgement. (Jules)

If GeekMom ruled the world, kitchen and bathroom decor ideas would switch from “French Country Kitchen” and floral patterns to “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Bond, James Bond.”

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

7 Life Lessons I Learned From My Nona

Photo courtesy of S. Cook

I was one fortunate girl. After my mother and father divorced, I was raised in a household where my single mother worked but devoted herself to my sister and I when she was home and my Nona (Italian grandmother) held the space of home with love and warmth all day, every day. Essentially, we got the love of two mothers, but with grandmothers there is often an emotional/generational separation that allows us a unique relationship. “Though she be but little, she is fierce,” is the quote that comes to mind when I think of my Nona, her endless energy and no nonsense approach to life making her a force to be reckoned with, even though my boys tower above her at this point. Born in 1926 in Yugoslavia, her family migrated to Northern Italy where she lived through World War II before moving to the United States with her handsome (and Italian) U.S. soldier husband. She has always been an example for me of what is valuable and good and worth holding onto, and what is worth letting go of.

These are some of the lessons she has taught me over the past four decades:

1. Everyone dies at some point or another. Make the most of the time you have.

During the war, my Nona’s town was occupied by German soldiers and witnessed unspeakable horrors. Rape, people being set on fire, children shot at in the street for sport. War is hell and it has a tendency to make one lose faith in humanity. But the times of greatest adversity also brings out the best in humanity, and she also witnessed neighbors helping each other, hiding each other, sharing food, and risking their lives to save others. She says they all got through it by recognizing that everyone dies. If it was their time to go, then so be it, but they would make the most of each moment they were allowed on this earth. I think of this every time I am bothered by something insignificant. Comparatively, my life is incredible and I intend to live it as fully and wholly as I can, in part because life is too short not to, and in part to honor those who don’t get to grow old. Every birthday is a blessing, as my Nona would say.

2. Not everyone deserves our forgiveness, but they don’t deserve power over us either.

My Nona’s experience in the war shaped who she is, and she admits that she will never be able to forgive what she saw. At the same time, she accepts that part of herself and does not let it have power over who she is or what she was able to accomplish. She married, had children, moved to a new country, put herself through nursing school, lost her husband, helped to raise her grandchildren, and empowered us kids to be able to hold our own feelings without guilt or regret. I learned from her that there is a difference between forgiving and letting go. This idea is a bit controversial, I think, in a world that is keen to heal. But I get her point, forgiveness isn’t always a necessary step to moving on. There is a quote that goes something like, “if somebody doesn’t want a story told that illustrates their wrong-doings, then they should have behaved better.” I have always liked this quote, because it reminds me that I can’t control others nor am I responsible for their story, only myself and how I move through the world. I can let go of something without forcing myself to feel anything I don’t.

3. Sometimes “progress” isn’t progress.

When I decided to have my first child at home, while my mother was freaking out (she eventually came around), my Nona very calmly looked at me and said, “Well, why shouldn’t you? That’s the way we did it in Italy. I have worked in hospitals for decades. You don’t want to have your baby there unless you have to.” Not only was I thrilled to have her on my side, but I was honored to have her at all three of my births. She sat by me each time holding my hand, rubbing my back, blessing all three of my babies as they came into the world. Those moments were the most profound of my life. It may not be the choice everyone makes, but my point is that what has been lost in the “progress” of birth is that human connection, that nurturing care of a midwife and family around you. I have never felt so loved and safe and full of joy. Every woman should feel this, whether she is at home or in a hospital.

Later on, when we decided to home school, she was again our biggest champion. Her concern for her great grandchildren having the freedom to learn and experience the world outside a regimented, test-reliant system was a relief. Again, she pointed to an old world system that used to allow people to focus and apprentice in the skills they were most interested in. It was incredible to have her support from the beginning and my children have benefited from having a flexible life that includes time to develop a relationship with her. Recently, they spent hours with her, teaching her how to use the iPad and Face Time.

It’s not that either of us are adverse to progress, but my Nona has taught me that there is plenty of value in history and traditions as well, much of which is worth keeping. In moving forward, we need to make sure we are also bringing with us that from the past which works. That we don’t lose the intimacy of being connected and the empowerment of doing for ourselves what we can.

4. Family is everything.

My Nona came from a large family. Some of them died before she left Italy, the rest she had to leave behind when she married my grandfather. Moving away was one of the most painful things she has ever done. She had no idea at the time that most of them she would never see again. Her twin sister ended up also marrying a U.S. soldier and moving close by, but she would not return to Italy for almost 50 years. By then, she had one sister left, as well as many nieces and nephews, and the reunion was incredible. They were certainly devoted, speaking every week on the phone, but seeing each other again was a powerful testament to their love and their past. Here in California, our family is everything to my Nona. I have seen her sacrifice and compromise and give more than she had to give for her family. I have also seen her hold us accountable for the same commitment, and we give it with our whole hearts. Some family situations are complicated, but the lesson I have learned is that whether your family is blood or chosen, they are the reason life is good. They are the meaning. In our busy, over-scheduled lives, they should be the priority, the people we schedule around instead of schedule in.

5. The kitchen is the best place to heal.

Italians, particularly Nonas, like to feed  their family and their guests. Even if you are not hungry. “Mangia! Mangia!” as she would say. My Nona makes the most incredible fettuccine in the world. Fact. When any of us were having a problem or upset, she would immediately fire up the stove and get to work. But the truth behind the kitchen curtain is that while the food is comforting and delicious, it was the compassion and conversation she gave while stirring a pot of sauce or rolling dough that allowed us to heal. She is always full of advice, and we always felt heard. Somehow, the creation of our favorite foods would always parallel the creation of a solution. I very rarely left that kitchen without a sense of direction and relief. Today, with my own children, we have the same ritual. If the little ones are having a hard time holding it together or the older is working out a problem, we tackle a project. Cookies, gardening, art, cleaning, whatever we are inspired by that gets our hands, hearts and head all working together. Works every time.

6. Talk. Specifically, talking with your hands helps to communicate your point.

Italians talk with their hands, it’s true. I can tell how my Nona is feeling just by the gestures she is making with her hands. The lesson here, though, is that they talk. About everything. Feelings, ideas, what she thinks of my new shirt, I hear it all. Some might find this overwhelming but I am so grateful for the open communication. Now, I talk with my hands just like my Nona, and my family and friends are always very clear on what I need or how I am feeling. That openness has, in turn, allowed my other relationships to benefit from clarity and transparency. It allows me to move through my life with authenticity and I am grateful that my Nona taught me to never leave anything unsaid. Even if I have to back up so I don’t accidentally whack someone in my enthusiasm.

7. The best way to get someone’s attention is with a broom.

I think this one is old school and pretty self-explanatory. But worth mentioning. It certainly did get our attention. She never needed to actually use it. Just a little wave and we knew we had crossed a boundary. The funny part is, we knew she would never use it. But we played along because the lesson here was, we all need a signal when we have reached the end of our rope. In our family, we tend to go for the more dramatic or theatrical methods, but it doesn’t need to be. A word, a sign, can convey that attention is needed. In our family, this kind of signal is taken seriously. We make an effort to read each other. We take care of each other. Capisce?


Teaching Nona about “selfies” courtesy of S. Cook

The One Photograph You Should Take Today

Family at Chatsworth House 1988 © Sophie Brown
Family at Chatsworth House 1988 © Sophie Brown

Several years ago, I decided to take on the task of digitizing the immense number of old family photos stored at my mother’s house. The pictures dated back to the 1870s with the quantity taken per year exploding in the mid-1980s. There were photos of old houses, old pets, and old friends. All-in-all, it was a deeply emotional experience.

For the most part, the task is now complete. It’s hard to give an accurate number of photos because some smaller ones were scanned together in groups and haven’t yet been separated into individual files, but the number is well over 8,000; possibly much higher. However in all of those photos there is not one single image that contains me, my sister, and both of our parents together. Every other possible combination is represented multiple times. Me and my mum? Check. My sister and my dad? Check. My mum and dad? Check. But not one single photograph holds us all together. Not one.

My father passed away suddenly when I was five years old (which is admittedly very early in my life). We had five years to take that photograph. Five whole years where all four of us lived together under one roof. My dad was an avid photographer and my sister even worked in a processing shop—yet it apparently it never occurred to anyone to grab a camera and take that one photo. These days I’m hoping that a picture might one day show up in a relative’s album, something snapped at a family get-together that I’ve never seen before. But as elderly relatives slowly decrease in number and the elusive shot I’m hoping to see continues not to materialise; I have to admit my hope is starting to wear a little thin.

This Mother’s Day you might be getting together with your family and if you are, I’m going to ask you do to do something. Take a photo. Grab everyone together and take it today. Don’t worry about the lighting, or whether someone’s a bit tired or  hasn’t quite got over a cold. Just take it. Set up a timer if you can or just hold you phone out at arm’s length and snap a selfie. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is capturing that moment. It might seem morbid to think about loss on a day like this—I’ve never been very good at judging what others consider depressing—but you really don’t know how long you have together. Before we know it, people leave and the opportunities become fewer and fewer. So today, take out your cameras, gather everyone together and take that photo with everyone together. If nothing else you can frame it and give it to your mom next year, present sorted!

This Baby Just Won’t Give Up

As the mom to four kids, I’ve had my fair share of baby years. One of my strongest memories is of trying to convince my babies/toddlers/preschoolers that it was time to just “give up and go to sleep already!”

In honor of Mother’s Day, and all of the moms who will spend the day trying to reason with a tired, fussy baby (or toddler), here’s a little video you might relate to. It’s made with a GoPro camera, the same one I told you about a few months ago, and quickly edited on their Studio 2.0 software.

Who says every video you take of your kids should involve blowing out candles and toddling across the floor? Sometimes you just need to capture these more realistic moments. Of all of the things I could wish for my fellow GeekMoms on this Mother’s Day weekend, the one at the top of the list would have to be sleep… peaceful sleep.

Nothing Says “I Love You Mom” Like a Pink Cadillac

Cadillac Celebrates Teddy Bridgewater and Rose Murphy
Image: Cadillac

Most of us get flowers, breakfast in bed, and cute handmade cards for Mother’s Day, but football player Teddy Bridgewater bought his mom a shiny pink 2015 Cadillac Escalade.

The timing is perfect for the holiday, but technically he’s fulfilling a promise he made to his Mom when he was just a little three-year-old boy. He promised his Mom that, someday, he’d buy her a pink Cadillac and he was finally able to follow through and deliver on that promise.

Bridgewater just finished a successful stint as the star quarterback for the University of Louisville and will soon be moving on to the NFL. In fact, he’s expected to be be a first-round pick in today’s NFL Draft. He figured that now was the time.

The reason for the color has a lot to do with his Mom, Rose Murphy. She’s a breast cancer survivor who raised four children and served as an inspiration to Bridgewater and his whole team at the University of Louisville. Spike Lee even made a short film chronicling their story.

Bridgewater presented the Cadillac, in a shade of pink that he custom chose just for his Mom, in New York yesterday.

You might not be getting a custom pink Cadillac on Mother’s Day, but even in the case of this gift, it’s the thought behind it that make it special. I know I’ll love whatever my kids get for me just as much, if not more than, a new car.


Giveaway: Mom’s Office Upgrade Kit From Logitech

Photo © Logitech, 2014.

In honor of Mother’s Day, Logitech would like to give one lucky GeekMom reader an entire kit to help upgrade their desk.

Through their “Mom’s Office Upgrade” campaign on Facebook, Logitech is encouraging moms to revamp their desk space with new technology and DIY decorating projects. You can share a DIY tip for upgrading your office space on Facebook and be entered to win a $1,000 gift card (click on any item in the virtual office for a link to the sweepstakes entry).

Enter GeekMom’s giveaway below for a chance to win an awesome Mom’s Office Upgrade Kit loaded with the following goodies:

·         Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio

·         Logitech Bluetooth Audio Adapter

·         Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse T630

·         Logitech Harmony Smart Control

·         Logitech Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard K810

·         A number of DIY project materials (examples include mason jars, spray paint, washi tape, contact paper, etc.)

To enter our giveaway, log in to the Rafflecopter widget below with your Facebook account or email address (please use a valid email so we can let you know if you win). You can then like us on Facebook or send a tweet for up to two entries. A winner will be chosen at random at the end of the contest and their name will be posted right in the Rafflecopter widget so you can check back to see who won.

GeekMom’s giveaway ends 11:59pm ET this Friday, May 9th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2014!

Me and my little geek \ Images: Dakster Sullivan
Me and my little geek \ Images: Dakster Sullivan

Mother’s Day is May 11th and to help you get some of your shopping done, we’ve come up with our top picks of items we think your mom will love. From the book worm to the technology lover, we have something for every mom on this list.

Clothing and Accessories

Ogio Hampton’s Laptop Bag ($70)
Next to Oakley, Ogio makes some of my favorite bags. The Hampton’s Tote is big enough for a laptop and mom’s other every day needs and comes in eight different colors.

We Love Fine Princess Luna shoulder bag and matching dress \ Images: We Love Fine
We Love Fine Princess Luna shoulder bag and matching dress \ Images: We Love Fine

We Love Fine Luna bag ($39) and matching Fit and Flare dress ($34)
This year at MegaCon, I discovered the We Love Fine My Little Pony Princess Luna purse (say that six times fast). While on their website looking for the perfect ensemble to go with my new shoulder bag, I found the Fit and Flare dress! Talk about a match made in MLP heaven.

STEM Girl Swag tank ($28.99)
Just a fun, simple tank for the science nerd in all of us. Great for summer.

Frehiwot scarf ($36.00)
Handmade with soft 100% cotton. Each scarf offered by helps to create sustainable women-run businesses in Ethiopia.

PlanetBox \ Image: Amazon
PlanetBox \ Image: Amazon

PlanetBox Stainless Steel Lunchboxes ($39.95-$79.95)
In the past year I have thrown myself into a mid-life romance with home-made lunches. Suddenly, I’m carving out portions of my evenings in order to make tuna-olive tapenade, provencal potato salad with green beans and hard-boiled eggs, and barley salads with chickpeas, mint, and feta. My first question (“where is this coming from???“) has quickly been supplanted by a second, more immediate question: how am I going to get this to work?

Enter: PlanetBox’s stainless-steel, bent0-style, machine-washable lunch systems. The hasped boxes come with covered “dippers” or containers to hold a salad, dressing, or dip, and can be slipped into colorful, coordinating carry bags. The thing that delights me most? This is ridiculous, but I adore the  fairy magnets that I bought separately to fit into the lunchbox top. Sometimes it’s the little things…


ADAPT \ Image: Amazon
ADAPT \ Image: Amazon

Adapt Bluetooth adapter ($39.95)
I’m a headphone junkie, but one thing I’m not a fan of is the wires. By plugging your wired headphones into the adapter and turning bluetooth on your device, Adapt makes your wired headphones, wireless. I love using this with my earHeropro headphones while at work to ease anxiety and be discrete about having headphones in my ears!

HP Envy Touchsmart M6 Laptop ($620)
The HP Envy Touchsmart M6 laptop is great for moms who have a lot on their plate and want a laptop that can handle it all. With 6GB of memory, 750 GB hard drive, Beats audio system, and a dedicated graphics card, this laptop is great for moms who like to surf the internet, listen to music, do a little photoshopping, play graphic-intense games, or anything else they desire. I’ve had mine for a month and there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not happy with it.

Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4-Inch Tablet (Black) ($369.99)
Now we’re talking. High-res 8.4 inch display to watch movies, play games, edit documents, take pictures, read, video chat, and more. View and use two apps at once with multi-window feature. Uncomplicated with multi-user mode, letting family members logs in separately to view their own apps, background, and email. Use it as a universal remote control. This one does it all.

iBN26 NFC Bluetooth Stereo System with Speaker Phone ($70)
As a mom, I have my hands full enough without a bunch of wires keeping me down. That’s why I like this stereo system with a built-in speaker phone. It’s small enough that I can move it to my work area and stream my music while I work in my office or the living room. My favorite feature of this unit is the lacking of fancy lights on it, so I can put it beside my bed and not worry about it keeping me up at night. Compatible with Apple and Android devices.

Clarus Premium Dual Driver Earbuds with Mic ($199)
The Clarus Premium Dual Driver Earbuds by Moshi are by far the most comfortable over-the-ear headphones I’ve ever worn. From the moment I opened up the box, I knew I was going to be treating my ears to luxury with the padded case and attractive clear stand. Included in the box is a set of three ear pieces to ensure the perfect fit and a splitter in case mom wants to share her beats with you.

PowerShellController \ Image courtesy of Logitech and used with permission
PowerShellController \ Image courtesy of Logitech and used with permission

Logitech PowerShell Controller + Battery ($99)
For gaming moms on the go, this will charge your iPhone while you use the satisfying controller to play. There’s an extensive list of compatible games, offering something for whatever strikes your fancy. The combo is kind of a lifesaver on flights, in doctor’s offices, and even when commuting on public transportation. If you’re all thumbs when it comes to gaming on your iPhone, this is a great alternative.

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad mini ($79.99)
The iPad mini is such a feel-good size for a tablet, but sometimes a keyboard would be amazing. Logitech is now offering their Ultrathin Keyboard for the mini, and it is just great. A powerful magnet turns the keyboard into a sturdy cover, and it transforms the very portable tablet into a great little laptop alternative.

UnuAeroCase \ Image Courtesy of Unu
UnuAeroCase \ Image Courtesy of Unu

uNu Aero iPhone 5S Battery Case and Charging Pad ($99.95)
If you’re looking for a way to charge your phone on the go, this is a great option from uNu. Put your phone in the hard case, place the case on the Charging Pad, and you don’t have to fiddle with docks and wires ever again. Plus, when charged the case itself provides an extra six hours of battery life for your phone just by pressing the button on the back. A clever, easy system to ensure your phone never dies on you again.

Cricut Explore ($299.99)
The new Cricut Explore is an impressive piece of machinery. The die cut system is the latest evolution of the Cricut line of products, and it is fully digitized. No more cartridges necessary, and the software is a true design space where you can create your own images and even upload images to be cut out. A luxurious item for any craft room.


The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks by Amy Stewart($15.26)
Find horticulture in every sip of alcohol in this fascinating guide to your favorite drink’s biology, chemistry, and history. Fifty drink recipes and gardening tips included.

Tequila Mocking Bird \ Image: Amazon
Tequila Mocking Bird \ Image: Amazon

The Beauty of Different by Karen Walrond ($19.13)
This gorgeous book explores beauty in fresh ways, helping readers see their own beauty in differences that are not shortcomings but distinctions, maybe even superpowers. The author’s work can also be seen on the photoblog Chookooloonks.

Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle ($11.40)
This is the ultimate gift for the book-obsessed. It features 65 delicious drink recipes, each with a literary twist, such as The Last of the Mojitos, Love in the Time of Kahlúa, A Rum of One’s Own, and Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margarita. Each drink is paired with wry commentary on history’s beloved novels. Oh but there’s more, like drinking games, appetizer recipes, and delightfully witty illustrations.

BookBook covers by Twelve South by Twelve South ($34.99 to $69.99)
These covers look like vintage books, but are actually cases for your phone or tablets. The hardback cover and rigid frame protect your device while also disguising it from theft. There are no corner straps or elastic bands, this case has a secure hold on your electronics. It has two zippers, making it easy to unzip just enough to connect to headphone cable or charging cord. It features an a variable-angle display stand and a built-in typing stand. It looks and feels like you’re holding a book, which you are.

Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman ($13)
Sure, if you have kids, Mother’s Day is all about you. But if you happen to be mother who has already lost her own mother, this day can bring up some sad emotions too. Having been a “motherless daughter” myself since my early 20s, I highly recommend the book Motherless Daughters, by Hope Edelman. I’ve re-read it many times, and each time I do it touches me in a new way.

I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed her follow up book called Letters From Motherless Daughters ($12), that is broken up into chapters according to how long ago you lost your mom. Either one would be a touching gift for someone on your list who might be having trouble celebrating the fact that she is the mother, when she’s missing her own so deeply.

Renewed \ Image: Amazon
Renewed \ Image: Amazon

Renewed by Lucille Zimmerman ($11)
Starting to feel like you’re living your life for everyone except yourself? Need to be reminded why it’s important to listen to your own needs, even when there are little people in the house? The book Renewed by Lucille Zimmerman might be exactly what you need. It’s quick to read and you just might find yourself bookmarking several sections that speak to you the most. Buy one for yourself, and for any other mama in your life who might need a bit of renewal.

Game of Thrones: A Pop-Up Guide to Westerosillustrated by Michael Komarck and designed by prolific pop-up designer Matthew Christian Reinhart.($40)
This item combines so many things I love: maps, books (including interactive books), that steampunk-meets-fantasy intro to HBO’s Game of Thrones, and, of course, the dangerous and wonderful world of Westeros. In addition to the individual pop-up elements, the larger pop-ups combine to form a map of Westeros, complete with Winterfell, King’s Landing, and the ominous Wall. I challenge anyone to look through this without chanting the theme song, as well as any Games of Thrones fan to not want this in their collection.

For the Home

UniFlame WAD820SP 34-Inch Slate & Marble Firepit with Copper Accents ($129.00)
Stylish outdoor firepit made from slate and marble with wrought iron stand. This includes a heavy steel grate, with a 22″ round firebowl that’s easily loaded with wood. Game nights on the patio!

ProjectLife: Clementine design \ Image: ProjectLife
ProjectLife: Clementine design \ Image: ProjectLife

Project Life Memory-Keeping System ($19.99 and up)
Not everyone is a born scrapbooker, and the aisles of stamps, stickers, and decorative papers in craft stores can make some people itch. This was the case for GeekMom Jackie, who began using Becky Higgins’ Project Life when her daughter was born. The entire system consists of gorgeously designed journaling cards and endlessly customizable plastic sheets to hold photos and cards. You can even fit Instagram photos in special sleeves. The system is fool-proof and addictive, offering both print supplies for memory binders or a digital option to make your scrapbooks online. $29.99 for core kits (cards only), $19.99 and up for binders, and $29.99 for big packs of page protectors (all sold separately).

Hängen Wall Planter ($58.00)
Opus Garten offers unique, durable, and sustainable options for anyone who likes growing things, without any fuss. Their products contain no PVC, BPA, phthalates, or paint. GeekMom readers, use the coupon code “wiredmom” until Mother’s Day for a 20% discount on any Opus Garten products including Hängen Wall Planter and Airplant Nests.

Hänge Wall Planter is an elegant planter with sub-irrigation that hangs easy as a picture using a quick-release ball and cord system. Perfect for growing herbs or ornamentals, indoors or out

Airplant Nests  ($16.00)
Airplane Nests are wall-mounted flexible fingers especially designed to hold Tillandsia (air plants). Each pack contains four Airplane Nests for creative wall arrangements.

LED Color Changing Showerhead ($39.95)
Turn regular showers into something far more colorful. The lights are water-powered, infusing the (flow restricted) stream with ever-changing hues.

Disclaimer: Some GeekMoms may have received review samples. 

Blue to Pink: The Magic Chemistry of Violet Flower Tea

Violet Tea Image by Lilianna Maxwell
Violet Tea Image by Lilianna Maxwell

My daughter is a student at the Boston School of Herbal Studies. She came home from a weekend class excited about making violet flower tea. She collected a handful of violet flowers from our lawn and placed them in a jar. Then she poured boiling water over them and let it sit for 24 hours. The concoction turns a lovely shade of blue that can be sweetened with sugar.

Violets steeping Image by Lilianna Maxwell
Violets steeping Image by Lilianna Maxwell

On Mother’s Day, she put out the violet tea for me along with a small pitcher of lemon juice and told me to watch as I poured some in. It turned pink! It tasted delicious!DSC_1057

Continue reading Blue to Pink: The Magic Chemistry of Violet Flower Tea

The Mother’s Day List

Image: Nicole Wakelin
Image: Nicole Wakelin

There’s a ritual to Mother’s Day that unfolds somewhat predictably each year. While I sleep in, or at least lounge peacefully in bed, my family cooks breakfast. The hustle and bustle in the kitchen eventually gives way to the patter of footsteps headed for the bedroom door and a delicious breakfast, along with presents and handmade cards, is delivered to my bed. The cards are always cute, but this year there was one that I just might frame.

I don’t think I’m unusual in feeling overworked at times. This isn’t a bad thing, not even a complaint, more like a statement of fact. It doesn’t matter if you work at home, in an office, or if you don’t have a “real job” outside of raising your kids. Moms are busy. We juggle a lot and sometimes all that juggling can make your head explode.

Continue reading The Mother’s Day List

Why GeekMoms Rock!

Geek Mom Book, Natania Barron, Jenny Williams, Corrina Lawson

When you’re a woman you’re supposed to be
grateful for crumbs.
I don’t want crumbs anymore
I want the whole cake and the icing too.

—Billie Jean King 2005

Every now and then, I like to revisit why I love being with GeekMom and what I want for all geek moms going forward.

While we strive for equality in parenting, moms and dads still tend to parent differently. Moms still, statistically, take on parenting full-time more often than Dads, and even moms who keep an outside job tend to do a higher share of the day-to-day parenting (though it is changing).

In most cases, the challenges of parenting tend to be different for men and women, which is why we have both GeekMom and GeekDad websites.

For example, in the first GeekDad book by our publisher, Ken Denmead, there were a number of awesome projects that I would likely never attempt simply because the day-to-day stuff with the kids keeps me too busy. When the editors of GeekMom put together GeekMom: Projects, Tips and Aventures for Moms and Their 21st Century Families, we wanted to include not only more involved projects but also day-to-day and spur of the moment activities that don’t require a lot of pre-planning.

Being a geek mom is also complicated by the fact that being geeky is seen differently in women, so we encounter some unique challenges.

How differently?
To use an example, there’s this post about an incident at PAX East involving cosplayers. This is part of the reason GeekMom exists and why it rocks to have female voices in the geeky world.

Another great example is the gender-flipped cover, like taking George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones covers and changing it to reflect what would happen if it’d been written by Georgette Martin.

This is not the kind of issue men deal with as part of their daily geekiness. Read John Scalzi’s post on “Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is.”

There are also the comments over on an article wrote about an Audi commercial on GeekDad when we were still with Wired. The point of my post was that it contained inherent and not-so-good assumptions about women as “the prize” and we should think about those assumptions.

The comments affected me very little, except I shook my head at those who called me a sad, lonely woman, etc.  But it did bother me in the sense that it’s definitely part of a pattern of sexually-tinged insults  that are directed at female bloggers.

I’m more of the “let’s keep pointing it out so we can get the problem out there” camp rather than the “ignore them because the jerks will never go away” camp, though the latter view certainly has some good points and, yes, dealing with the problem is never going to eliminate the bad pennies altogether. I simply don’t like them going unchallenged.

Things will never change if we don’t speak up.

There’s lots of us, even if some still believe we’re like the mythical unicorn: rare and almost non-existent, but recognition of that is changing. Look at the success of Ms. Marvel in comics and the force TheMarySue website has become for women.

Despite the success of The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, there are no plans for a Black Widow movie. As Scarlett Johansson famously said in Entertainment Weekly, she’d have to wear pasties to get one approved. Since her comment, there has been a Captain Marvel movie announced but still no Black Widow and we’ll have to sit through Ant-Man and one more Spider-Man reboot before that every happens.

There has been, of course, the amazing Agent Carter. That’s a start. But I’m not going to be happy with just a start. See the Billie Jean King quote above.

We have a unique geek experience, and that’s why we’re here, and that’s why I think we rock.


This Week With the GeekMoms

GeekMom News

This week, the GeekMoms are relaxing before a Star Wars weekend, buying new cars, stage managing, and back from vacation!

Dakster Sullivan will be enjoying her last Saturday free before the Star Wars Weekends season. This means resting up, drinking lots of water, and making sure all of her costumes are good to go. She hopes to debut a new costume this year, so stay tuned to see what she has planned.

Rachel Cericola just got herself a new car. Continue reading This Week With the GeekMoms

What the GeekMoms Want for Mother’s Day


Each year, as we contemplate gift guides for Mother’s Day, we think about what we want for Mother’s Day. Chances are good your GeekMom will like this stuff, too.

Photo: Penny Arcade
Photo: Penny Arcade

Penny Arcade Match T-Shirts and Onesies: Mom and her Player 2 can team up in these cute matching tees. There are a bunch of different combinations available, including shirts for older kids and for Dad.



Photo: Oliver Jeffers for Digby & Iona
Photo: Oliver Jeffers for Digby & Iona


Oliver Jeffers Jewelry: Children’s author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers has turned his delightful illustrations into equally delightful jewelry, like this Paper Airplane necklace from his book, The Great Paper Caper.

Continue reading What the GeekMoms Want for Mother’s Day

Enter To Win a Samsung Galaxy Note II

Samsung Galaxy Note II, Image: Samsung
Samsung Galaxy Note II, Image: Samsung

Just in case you’re not sure you’re going to get exactly what you want this Mother’s Day, enter our Samsung Galaxy Note II giveaway and win yourself the perfect gift!

That’s right, we are giving away a Samsung Galaxy Note II in the carrier of your choice to one lucky GeekMom reader, just in time for Mother’s Day. This handy gadget is part phone, part tablet and all function. Especially if you’re tired of touchscreen keyboards that have your fingers typing gibberish, then you’ll love the S Pen that lets you write on the screen like you’re holding a pen and paper.

To enter the contest, simply leave a comment telling me why you need your very own Samsung Galaxy Note II and a winner will randomly be selected after the contest closes on Monday, April 15th at 12:00 midnight EST. Also, be sure you leave a means of getting in touch with you so I can let you know when you win.

Good luck and Happy Mother’s Day!

How A New Mother’s Day Tradition Healed My Heart

I love that Mother’s Day comes along in the spring. Not only does it give my kids a chance to get me something that I’ll love all summer long (they usually fill my flower beds for me, the gift that keeps on giving!), it’s a time of renewal and optimism. The only real problem is, I’ve not always been able to enjoy this holiday. From the moment my own mom died unexpectedly, sixteen years ago, it’s been a struggle not to make it a day all about missing her.

mom-300x218The first time it rolled around after her death I had a three year old and a two year old. My whole life I had celebrated the holiday as the giver, not the receiver. It was easy to pamper my mom. She was one of those moms who gave to everyone else before herself. She raised five kids of her own, while taking in foster children at the same time. When the foster care years ended she began taking in babysitting kids. She started a youth group for the kids in our remote country neighborhood. As her kids left home she started a lawn care service and hired hard-to-employ young adults, teaching them how to be responsible. She never stopped giving, so finding ways to celebrate her life came easily.

Then suddenly, just months after her fiftieth birthday, she was gone. I was such a new mother myself that seeing Mother’s Day as ‘my’ day didn’t quite sink it. It was all about her, and all about the absence of her. With the patient encouragement of my poor husband, I trudged through the first couple of years, trying my best to hold back the tears as my preschoolers handed me construction paper cards.

One year an unexpected turn of events changed how I saw the holiday. The month after my third child was born I took all three of my children to the town park that was just past our backyard.  As my two older children climbed on the play equipment, I paced with their fussy newborn brother. My attention slowly turned to an event in the pavilion nearby.  There were long black limos, a full orchestra playing soothing music, and rows and rows of folding chairs. It took me a few minutes to realize what I was witnessing.

I had read in the paper that a couple in my neighborhood had lost their daughters in the crash of TWA flight 800, just the week before. Their two young adult daughters, their only children, had been traveling on a long anticipated trip together to Europe. And in an instant, they were both gone. As I stood in that park, trying to calm my colicky baby, they were putting their beautiful daughters to rest.

Tears began to stream down my face as I tried to take in their loss. As I pushed through my days, sleep deprived and hormone driven, in my house that seemed to be overflowing with children, their house was forever silenced. No grandbabies would hug their necks in the future. Instead of two future weddings, they had planned one, combined funeral. The tragedy of the moment shook me deeply.

I thought of that mother for months afterward. When the demands of young children threatened to overwhelm, I’d think of her, and her forever quiet house. It calmed me and kept me centered.

Then a new Mother’s Day rolled around. The familiar dread began to creep in. Until one day, when I thought of my neighbor with the incredible loss. I couldn’t imagine how hard the day would be for her. Two girls who most likely showered her with gifts, cards, and flowers were no longer on the planet. I was fairly confident that it would be a dark day for her.

So I got out a card and I wrote a note. I told her I was thinking of her, and how hard the day might be for her. I told her that she must have been a great mom, to have raised two such accomplished daughters. Their funeral had been full of testimonies of how special they were. I told her that although I didn’t know her, I would be thinking of her on Mother’s Day. I wished her peace and comfort. Then I sealed the envelope and dropped it in the mail.

And as hard as that letter was to write, it cleansed me somehow. By reaching out to someone else, I was comforted. I realized it was exactly what my own mother would have wanted me to do. Her life had been about giving to others, seeing needs and meeting them. It felt so good to write that letter that I wrote another.

That year, and every year since, I’ve seen Mother’s Day in a new light. I send a card to my wonderful mother-in-law, and one to my stepmom, but I also send out a small stack to others. Every year I think of women I know, especially women who might be overlooked on this special day, and in memory of my mom, I write them a note.

One year I sent a card to my husband’s aunt, who had lost her teen daughter in a driving accident the year before. Another year I sent one to a mom I knew from the kid’s school, who had had a tough year as her son battled a long term illness. Single moms get overlooked a lot, especially the ones with kids who are too young to really get it. It’s rarely hard to think of moms to put on my list.

A few years ago I had a special card made up, with a picture of my mom on the front(the picture above). It felt right, continuing her mission, in a way that I think would make her proud.

My Sam, one of my precious gifts.

As the years have passed and my own children have grown, I have been able to relax and settle into my own role in the day. I solidly acknowledge my role as a mom and see how it’s important for children to spend one day celebrating the role a mom plays in their lives. I definitely saw how deeply I needed my own mom, once she was gone. I suspect my children need me as much as I needed her.

So this year I’m making my list and writing out the cards. It’s become a part of the tradition for me, as much as admiring my newly planted flower bed. Being a mom is hard, and helping each other out whenever we can only makes sense. And it doesn’t hurt that it happens to make my heart ache a little less in the process.

What to Get Your GeekMom for Mother’s Day

Here it is, the definitive GeekMom Mother’s Day shopping guide. I surveyed my fellow GeekMoms to see what everyone most wanted for Mother’s Day, outside of the lovely pleasantries of nice meals cooked for us, time spent with our adorable children, and moments of solitude. This is our list, and chances are there’s something on it for the GeekMom in your family.

The Sims Medieval made it onto a few GeekMom wish lists this year, perfect for the GeekMom who wants to rule the kingdom. Then you can top off a day of gaming with dinner at Medieval Times.

16 rainbow-striped red resistors + 12 gold choke coils + 12 red and black diodes = geek chic with these earrings from Etsy seller girlgeekboutique.

For a GeekMom who travels with her lunch and wants to do it in style, give her the Thermos Dual Compartment Superman Lunch Kit with Cape. It also comes in Batman and Hello Kitty!

For the GeekMom who loves her iPod but would happily trade in playlists for liner notes, hop onto eBay or Craigslist and find her one of these amazing and stylish music credenzas. What home wouldn’t be better with one of these in it?

Sometimes mom just wants to curl up with a great new book, like Aimee Bender’s The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake or GeekMom icon Tina Fey’s new Bossypants. If you could magically create time for her to read it, that would be awesome, too.

For lounging and gaming, give the Sumo Omni Lounge a try. One GeekMom described it as the Best. Chair. Ever.

While lounging, mom might want to enjoy her favorite beverage from a mug that’s perfect for her style, like this stoneware teacup from Bennington Potters or a Poppet mug from Momiji.

If yours is a steampunk-loving GeekMom, how about a lovely leather underbust corset?

Gardening GeekMoms will dig a Fermentation Pot to give a little culture to the veggies from the garden. Or give your GeekMom a Cast-Iron Griddle to cook up the backyard harvest.

If you read the Sleep Talkin’ Man blog, you’ll understand why a GeekMom will double over laughing if she receives this messenger bag that says, “Don’t leave the duck there. It’s totally irresponsible. Put it on the swing, it’ll have much more fun.”

Give a TV-loving GeekMom a box set of her favorite show, especially if it’s one you can watch as a family, like the Star Trek Voyager complete box set.

For some moms, gifts in tiny velvet boxes are a standby, surefire hit. The sure thing for GeekMoms comes in larger packages, say packages that are Nook Color-shaped, netbook-shaped, or the diamond of them all, the iPad 2-shaped.

Or, if she already has her dream device, pop over to Etsy and get her an handcrafted case, like these fabric covers from Etsy user dobeeubags.

Most of all, just throw some love your GeekMom’s way. And, as some of my fellow GeekMoms have pointed out, don’t forget to show a little extra love to the single GeekMoms out there.