Getting wired on 9News’ back-to-school fashion segment

I’ve fallen into a routine of appearing on 9News every month, usually around the time my column in the Denver Post is published. Though the experience still has a measure of stress, I’ve filed it under the “this is good for you to get out of your comfort zone so suck it up” file.

What I was not expecting when my kids appeared in last year’s 9News fashion show is how much they would love it. In fact, all year long whenever I filmed a segment, they would get all huffy with me. “Why aren’t we doing it with you?”–like the show couldn’t possibly go on without them.

So when back-to-school rolled around again, I figured I’d get them off my back and do the segment again, though it is a colossal undertaking to work with the clothing stores, figure out the styles and then present it all like I’m some sort of fashion aficionado. One thing I had going for me was my models from last year were all game for Round 2: my kids and two great teens from church, Stephanie and Bennett.

My kids had a blast getting outfitted at The Children’s Place. OK, Hadley has a blast; Bode was appeased when I told him he could pick one of their Angry Birds shirts as a reward.We did a few dry runs prior to The Big Day while I told Stage Dad Jamie to watch Tom Hanks’ eloquent performance in the spoof Toddlers & Tiaras for inspiration.

Our segment went live at 8:40 a.m. and we had to be at the studio by 8:20 a.m. so I told the teens to be at my house by 7:20 a.m. Bennett planned to follow us there in his car while Stephanie asked if her mom could drop her off at 7 a.m. on the way to work.

Unlike last year’s chaos with sick Hadley throwing up in the parking lot, I just knew this would would be different. The day dawned bright, beautiful and early. When 7 a.m. rolled around, I waited for Stephanie. Then 7:05 a.m. No problem. They were running a bit late. By 7:15 a.m. I started to panic. She’s a responsible kid and maybe something had happened. When Bennett rang the doorbell at 7:20 a.m., I was in full panic mode as I texted and called Stephanie. No response. By some stroke of luck, she had left her mom’s cell phone number on her voice mail so I called immediately.

“Where is Stephanie?” I choked out.
“Who is this?” she asked.
“Amber. She’s supposed to be here. We need to leave right now for the fashion show.”
“No, it’s not until Thursday.”
“Nope, it’s today.” Today being Monday.

Then it was her mom’s turn to freak out. “She’s at home sleeping. She thinks it’s Thursday. Don’t worry. WE WILL BE THERE.”

I didn’t know how. Her mom was at work and she’d have to race home, drag her teen out of bed and be at the studio in less than an hour but I didn’t question it.

I white-knuckled the 30-minute drive, at one point telling the kids, “why don’t you sing me a nice song to alleviate my stress?” upon which Hadley belted out, “Make it… Stephanie. You will make it!”

Not exactly the distraction I was hoping for.

We arrived at the studio shortly after 8 a.m. and much to my shock, Stephanie arrived a few minutes later with her mom apologizing profusely. My blood pressure levels started to go back down until, at 8:15 a.m., 9News’ sports reporter Suzie Wargin spotted us and said, “You’re late. We’re going live in five minutes.” And then those stress levels shot up yet again. Late? Late for what and why was she the one doing the interview?

She quickly realized she wasn’t looking for us (whew!) so we hung out in the Pit (newsroom) until it was our turn. Jamie had arrived by that time and we were soon ushered in. Kyle, one of my favorite reporters, was to do the segment with us and I got wired. With a microphone, that is. Believe me, my adrenaline levels were plenty wired on their own.

We hoped to do a quick run-through so the kids could see where they needed to stand when Kyle suddenly learned over to me and whispered, “we’re up next.” Problem was the cameras were suddenly on me and I had no way of telling Stage Dad Jamie we were live and not just practicing. Good thing the kiddos performed like champs, eventually figuring out this was no rehearsal. (See the segment here).

As for me? Good thing I have a year to recover before the next back-to-school fashion segment drama.

Denver Day Trips, Back-to-School and More

Has it really been a week since I last posted? My sister-in-law Jane was going me to send me some photos of our B.C. lake adventures but I’m sure she’s busy so it hasn’t happened yet.  Hence the delay on my part. Oh, and because I’ve been too busy playing lately.

In the interim, we’re cramming in lots of goodness these final weeks of summer. And here’s a news item for you: I have very rarely complained about the heat. Of course, I was in Canada for much of July but that still leaves of couple of months of whining/misery.  Denver’s temperatures have stayed in the low-90s with the exception of a few horrendous days and I’ve realized I have learned to survive so long as the temperatures do not get above 94 degrees, after which all bets are off. You will note I said survive, not thrive.  And I am, indeed, counting down the days ’till fall and ski season.

So, we’ve been busy. The kids have less than two weeks ’til school starts and we’re cramming it all in. Yesterday, they did a fashion show on 9News, which I’ll write about later (never a dull moment, I tell ya). For my Denver Post column this month, I detailed Hadley’s lovely debut last year on the news and the (literal) mark she left on show business (think: puke).

Read it here:
Back-to-school clothes savings, the hard way  and also,

Colorado moms save on back-to-school.

In other non-school-related-news, I wrote about the best Day Trip from Denver–Peaks and Pies in Colorado’s Backcountry for Travel Mamas!

Halloween 2012: The Slime Bucket, Digging for Eyeballs and the Pumpkin’s Celebrity Encounter

This year, Jamie was delighted when The Great Pumpkin had an encounter with celebrity. TaRhonda Thomas of 9News fame was at our house interviewing me for an unrelated story and was flabbergasted with what she found when she pulled up to the house. And unlike some broadcast journalists I’ve worked with in the past (read: snobby), she’s every bit as fun and lovely as she appears in the picture.

One of the bonuses of having kids at different schools is they had their Halloween parties at different times so I was able to give each of them my undivided attention. I started with little B. The volunteers were divided up into different stations. The Room Mom asked if I wanted to do the craft.

“Err, no thanks,” I politely declined.
“Really? You look like the crafty type,” she responded.

I assure you that’s the first time THAT has ever happened.

I instead volunteered for the messy slime bucket, which was green jello that was refrigerated with plastic body parts. To demonstrate, I stuck my hand in it and pretended it was getting devoured. What’s Halloween without a bit of traumatizing?

For Dorothy’s party, she was thrilled she was the kid who got to put the finishing touches on her teacher’s mummy wrap and did a muzzle over her mouth.
I’m sure she was thinking, “That’s for all that miserable math homework.”

They did plenty of crafts and games and once again, I volunteered for the messiest of them all (sensing a pattern here?): Searching for eyeballs (marbles) in a mass of brains (spaghetti) with their feet. Disgusting. Especially when the brains got accidentally flicked down my shirt.

That evening, we met at our fire station where they handed out drinks, cupcakes, cookies, free HarperCollins children’s books and then a fire truck led a parade.

From the archives: 3-yr-old Bode at the parade. #Love

Our neighborhood pretty much rocks Halloween.

This is the first year we’ve been able to carve The Great Pumpkin because it’s usually rotting down the driveway. Since the weather was so nice (it’s been 70 degrees), we sat on the porch to hand out candy and could hear the stunned reactions of the trick-or-treaters. A large crowd was usually congregated around the pumpkin to take pictures. The Pumpkin Man was in his element.

Our neighbor Steve told us his wife Angella took a picture of their family with The Great Pumpkin. She’s a pharmaceutical rep and made it into a card to hand out to various doctor’s offices and clients. He said it was an awesome conversation-starter and opened a lot of doors.

Next year, I’m demanding a commission.