Suburban Scrawl

I am a wife, mom, writer, Chicago native, and a total control freak. I am the National New Cities Mentor for Listen To Your Mother,  a co-Producer of Listen To Your Mother Chicago, and a Social Media Researcher for BlogHer.

I am the author of the children's book Remembering Ruby: For Families Living Beyond the Loss of a Pet, and the Chicago travel guide for families with older kids, Chicken in the Car and the Car Won't Go: Nearly 200 Ways To Enjoy Chicagoland with Tweens and Teens. My sons are now twenty-one and twenty-four, which means I have extensive experience dealing with all kinds of crazy on a regular basis.

You can read my random ramblings about travel, parenting, fitness, motivation, pop culture, and anything else that pops into my mind at my blog, Suburban Scrawl. Come and visit; you'll make my day! 

Follow me on twitter (and Instagram!) @melisalw.

The Lazy Daze of Summer

This summer is…different for me. Here’s the thing: I operate on “high speed” most of the time. I have for years and years ....more

Community Yesterday, Today, Always.

I’ve been thinking about “community” a lot lately. Rather, I think about it all the time but lately I’ve thought about it more than usual, probably because it was conference season and my main job is to maintain and inform the BlogHer Conference attendee community on Facebook. I spent hours upon hours (as I have for the past four years since we started the group) reassuring “newbies”, what we affectionately call our first-time attendees, that they’re going to learn/make friends/have fun/come away inspired ....more

Getting To Know Knoxville With East TN Tours

I generally have a very easy time making friends. I love meeting new people and can strike up a conversation with just about anybody. That said, I was a little concerned, before we made the move from the Chicago suburbs to Knoxville, about making new friends ....more

Oh Nothing, Just a Quick Header Change.

I crack myself up sometimes (okay, a lot of the time). Since Jim and I moved to Knoxville I’ve been dying to get at the rebranding I’ve been planning for this site, but first LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER CHICAGO happened. Then, when I normally get a slow down period for a month or so before the conference crazy kicks in, I had to keep going because #BlogHer17 was moved up by eight weeks this year; it starts this Thursday! ...more

Karma’s a Beach.

I’m just finishing another fantastic week hanging with my sistuh-from-anuthuh-muthuh and the rest of my New Jersey family and, as always, there were lots of shenanigans. Some of our adventures made it onto social media and some did not, but there was one particular laugh riot that needed its own blog post. Some things I have learned about Liz over the years: 1 ....more

Moving On.

I have so much to write, so many ideas in my head, that I should probably rev up my draft folder again so I can hang onto all of it for future reference. I’ll get around to it, hopefully. Things are crazy as usual and I’ll likely write up how extraordinary our sixth and final LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER CHICAGO show was last Sunday, but for now I’m just going to give you the essay I read on stage at the Athenaeum Theatre and wish you a Happy Mother’s Day, if you’re celebrating it this Sunday ....more

Have You Ever?

Have you ever looked down at your right hand and noticed that the only ring you wear 24/7 on that right hand, the tanzanite one you got a couple of years ago when on a cruise with your husband, is missing and so you launch into a panic while you simultaneously run around the house looking for it and sob hysterically and each time you come back into the dining room where your husband is (eating a late dinner because he just walked in from his group bike ride) to report that the ring isn’t ANYWHERE, your panic level goes up a notch even as he says things like, “We’ll just have to get you a new one!” and “Don’t worry, we’ll find it!” because the ring means a lot to you and then you tell him that it must have broken off because you’ve lost weight recently but not THAT much weight and also it couldn’t have disappeared too long ago because there’s still a small indentation on your finger, and then in addition to the sentimentality of it all you realize you’re going to have to go to Charming Charlie tomorrow to get a cheap ring to wear because you nervously spin your wedding ring on your left hand and that tanzanite ring on your right hand all! day! long! ...more

I Just Keep Moving Because I’m Moving.

Strange times around here lately, as you know. As things go when you have an impending move, time seems to speed up as it passes and all of a sudden it’s as if there are literally a million things that have to be done in what seems like an extremely short amount of time. We have movers coming to pack our belongings so that’s a relief, but moving to another state is a huge endeavor even without that element, made more difficult (and exponentially complicated) with each extra year of being planted in the same place ....more

You Can Take the Girl Out of Chicago…

It’s finally time to write about what’s going on around here. I’m leaving the Chicago area. I say “I” because Jim has been gone for nearly six months, and the boys are sticking around here: one in the western suburbs and the other just over the Wisconsin border (Kenosha County is considered part of Chicagoland) ....more

Definitely A Cloud Factory, and Don’t You Forget It.

It never ceases to amaze me, the things that kids carry with them for a lifetime. Both of my boys were born in Kenosha, Wisconsin and… Wait, sidenote: I often forget, since we moved back to my hometown area of Chicagoland when the boys were two and a half and seven months old, that they are actually Cheeseheads. In fact, whenever I’ve been asked I claim them as fellow Chicagoans without hesitation ....more