Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mama Bear

There are so many fictional moms that I love that it was hard for me to come up with one to write about for this post. But being that the majority of the books I read these days are to my kids, I decided I’d write about the first fictional mom that came to mind, and -- don’t laugh -- but it’s Mama Bear from the Berenstain Bears.

I was a big Berenstain Bears fan as a kid – maybe because I grew up in the same county where Stan and Jan Berenstain lived and wrote their books – but also because I loved Sister and Brother Bears’ adventures. I think I owned every single one of the books, and now my kids do, too. Also, they request that I read them. Repeatedly. Oh, and we watch the show, too!

But back to Mama Bear – I have to say there is no one more level-headed than she. She’s a great mom and she lets her kids and her husband learn their own lessons, while being kind, even-tempered, and an excellent sewer and honey-maker. In one of my favorite books – The Berenstain Bears and Mama’s New Job -- Mama starts her own quilting business and when her children get a little worried that she won’t have time for them, she teaches them that women can work, go after their passions, be entrepreneurs and still be a great mom.

Oh, and in the book where Sister Bear is born – The Berenstain Bears and the New Baby – which I read to my oldest son countless times when I was pregnant with my youngest – Mama Bear manages to pop out the new baby, regain her girlish figure, and get her new baby to sleep in the crib – all in the time it takes Papa and Brother Bear to go out in the woods and gather some timber for Brother’s new bed.

Seriously though, there is not a wiser mom I can think of in fiction. Or a mom with more passion, guts, love, life lessons, and kindness. And a cute little blue dress and matching hat to boot.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Love Lucy . . . and LeeLee

I suppose "Favorite Fictional Moms" week here at the Novel Girls is a great time to tell the world what a Lucy Lover/Freak/Groupie I really am. I (absolutely) Love Lucy! I've seen all the episodes so many times that I know almost every single line of dialogue by heart. Lucille McGillicuddy-Ricardo makes me laugh harder than any other TV character ever has, or probably ever will.

Number one, Lucy's a comedienne in a class all her own, but for purposes of staying in line with this weeks' topic, let's acknowledge that she's also mother to Little Ricky. I'm not so sure that I'd say she's the best, most perfect TV mom but I know this about her - she always, always has crazy fun. Like the time she and Ethel climbed over Richard Widmark's wall to pick one of his grapefruits to take home as a souvenir.

I can't believe I'm going to admit this to the world but one of my best friends (the one I named my protagonist for in WHISTLIN' DIXIE), LeeLee, and I were inspired by Lucy and Ethel's escapades to Hollywood one spring break during college. We had signed up for the Grayline Hollywood tour of celebrity homes when we learned Lucy's house in Beverly Hills was on the tour. As we approached Lucy's home our faces were pressed against one of the glass panes of the bus. Our guide tells us that Lucy and Ethel had actually hopped Lucy's wall at her own home and pointed out the grapefruit tree in her side yard that the two crazy star-struck women had climbed.

You'd have to know LeeLee and me but that's the last thing we ever heard that guide say. We looked at each other right then and there and let our facial expressions do the talking. Both of us knew what the other was thinking. We'd be back to that part of Roxbury Drive right before midnight. We saw no reason why we shouldn't climb that same wall and grapefruit tree in hopes of taking home our own juicy souvenir!

I don't think it's in the best interest of this writer's reputation to tell you the rest of the story but I will tell you that we indeed did climb the wall and that we indeed were successful. That's all I'll say.

Tonight I'm simply thanking God for TV LAND, and the fact that we did NOT try and remove John Wayne's footprint slab at Grauman's Chinese Theatre! Mostly I'm hoping the real LeeLee is reading this and remembering back to one of the most memorable nights of our lives! Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mr. Mom

Hey all! So this month, we're posting about mom-related topics leading up to the week of Not Ready for Mom Jeans release on May 25th. It's amazing to me that I will soon have a second book out, as it seems like just last month that A Bump in the Road hit bookstore shelves. Even those close to me seem shocked that it's time to release another book baby into the world! But enough about that--I have all month to get used to the idea!

This week we're talking about our favorite fictional moms. I'll admit, I was thrilled to choose the topic, but now that it's actually time to decide, I'm a bit stumped. So I'm going to cheat a bit and choose one of my favorite mom-related movies: Mr. Mom.

For all who haven't seen Mr. Mom, it stars Teri Garr and Michael Keaton and is about a stay-at-home mom who re-enters the corporate world while her former working husband stays home as...Mr. Mom. Throughout the movie, he deals with a wayward vacuum cleaner, a baby that somehow manages to open a can of chili, organizes a poker game for grocery story coupons and battles the temptation to wear the same outfit every day. Now that I write full-time at home, I can certainly identify with some of those! Speaking of which, I should probably find some new jeans...

But what I love best about this movie is that it portrays a real family. In reality, not every situation is Donna Reed or June Cleaver-esque. Sometimes, the mom works and the dad stays home. Or both parents work and a babysitter comes to the house. Or one parent works during the week and the other on the weekends or at night. It's never as clean and neat as Hollywood sometimes portrays. Families are messy and flexible and ever-changing--and THAT is something to celebrate!

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Favorite Fictional Moms

Before I get to today's post, I need to congratulate the winner of last week's Release Celebration for A Breath of Magic! I used to select the winner, and that person is...


Congratulations, Em-Musing!!! You get a signed copy of A Breath of Magic! I have your e-mail, so I'll be contacting you.

Okay, on to the post!

To celebrate Mother's Day, The Novel Girls are talking about moms all month long (leading perfectly into Maureen's release week at the end of the month!). This week, our topic is our favorite fictional moms.

I have to say choosing my favorite fictional mom proved more difficult than I thought it would be. Mostly because I just can't think of a lot of fictional moms right now. Seriously. I'm sure as I read through the other TNG posts this week, I'll smack my head and go "Oh, yeah! Me too!!!" but for now, I'm going to go with the first two fictional moms that popped into my head:

Marion Cunningham from Happy Days, as played by Marion Ross. I watched endless reruns of this show when I was growing up, and yeah, I was a Fonzie girl. But I always loved how Marion was the perfect mother. I mean, come on, she so totally was!

Home-cooked meals on the table every night, perfectly clean house, great with her kids, and she even put up with Howard. I don't even come close to her level of excellence (nowadays, I'm more likely to order food than I am to cook, and you don't want to see the pile of laundry that needs my attention!). And yes, I am aware that this show is set in the fifities, but that doesn't take away her excellence at being a mom.

Now, on a funny note, has anyone here watched Gilmore Girls? Marion Ross also played a mom and a grandmother on Gilmore Girls, and oh, wow, she was kind of scary. I wouldn't have wanted to be her daughter-in-law, I can tell you that much.

Madeline Westen from Burn Notice as played by Sharon Gless. I love, love, love this show for one thing. For another, Sharon Gless is an amazing actress, and her portrayal of Madeline Westen is awesome. In the show, Madeline's oldest son is a burned spy, and he has a rocky relationship with his mom. But he loves her. And she loves him. But she keeps him on his toes, which I love and appreciate. I totally think part of my job as "Mom" is to keep my kids on their toes. If you haven't checked this show out, you totally should.

So, those are my two choices for favorite fictional moms. Who are your favorites?

And don't forget, there are still contests at my blog all month long to celebrate the release of A Breath of Magic!