Halloween is always a fun holiday, however it’s become quite the tradition for our family to really make the most of it over the past few years. I’m sure the family fun won’t last long… we are well past the age with our oldest, to pick his costume for him… we are running low on time to make those all important Halloween decisions.. but we will embrace this year as long as we are able to… since so far… he’s in agreement with the theme! Keep your eye out for what the Tiernan’s are doing THIS year… but in the meantime, prior memories of Halloween’s Past below…

2010 FAST FOOD (and a Ninja Turtle, a happy meal toy?)




2007 ELVIS, ELVIS & Marilyn

2006 Friends: Ross, Rachel & the pet Monkey


I was twenty-two years old at the time of my most memorable job interview; working by day as a graphic designer at a small medical manufacturing facility and some evenings at the donut shop that I had worked at throughout high school. I received a phone call about an interview for a position that I had applied for via a newspaper ad that would be based in Pittsburgh for a company located in Deerfield Beach, Florida.

The interview was scheduled for 6PM on a weeknight. It was scheduled in a hotel lobby downtown – who holds interviews in hotels??! So, not only did I need to rush home from my day job, only to turn around and get back on the road to fight traffic on the parkway to go into downtown essentially during rush hour. Oh, and I had to call off work at the donut shop to do it. (Sorry to all my donut shop co-workers who are now friends on facebook). I was exhausted after a long day and not super excited about fighting traffic and paying to park for an interview I didn’t know much about.. and found weird meeting two men at a hotel for an interview. But, nonetheless, I went. As I waited in the lobby of the hotel for my next potential bosses, who were late arriving in Pittsburgh, I people watched… and people watched… and people watched. At one point, I thought of leaving, because it was much later than I had hoped it would be. But finally Jeff and Hassan showed up. Jeff, as the classic New Yorker that moved south – the company President/Owner. Hassan, who reminded me of Chris Rock (visually and personality) – the plant manager/production director.

The position I had applied for was a Desktop/Production Artist position. My role would be to make type/graphic changes to the art files for packaging for the Ore-Ida brands for Heinz Frozen Foods onsite in Pittsburgh. As I was still fairly new to the graphic design field, I certainly didn’t have much packaging experience, but I had a lot of attitude and confidence. The interview itself was interesting, not too long and I walked away from it knowing, without a doubt, that I had the job…even though they had a few more candidates to meet with.

Not long after my interview, I did receive and accept the offer. I was soon making a trip to South Florida for a week of training and then to Boise, Idaho for two weeks of further training, before ultimately landing back in Pittsburgh onsite at Heinz. From that moment forward, packaging became a passion of mine and the science of printing still inspires me. If I didn’t end up at that interview, who knows where the road would have taken me, but I’m sure glad I went. It was the kickoff to a career that I truly enjoy… and I’m pretty darn good at it too!

So, a great big THANK YOU to Hassan Shareef and Jeff Randazzo for showing me the ropes with prepress and packaging and bringing me on-board thirteen years ago. I’ve come a long way since then and am still grateful for the opportunity!

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Sometimes it takes hearing others complain about their troubles and pet peeves with their spouses and significant others to make me a little more aware of just how lucky I am. Don’t' get me wrong, I know I'm lucky, but hearing the complaints of others sometimes just makes it that much more obvious to me.

My husband may not be perfect. In fact, if you were a fly on the wall in our house sometimes, you might think that I think he does everything wrong… but in fact, he actually does a lot of things right. YES, SWEETHEART… if you are reading this, I SAID IT…. You do LOTS right. 🙂

I do the cooking, he does the dishes (and sometimes even remembers to turn on the dishwasher! lol). I do the laundry (however long it might take me), while he cleans up after the animals, takes out the trash, mows the lawn, maintains the pool in the summer… all, for the most part, without me having to ask. I handle the bills, our schedules, the kid’s schedules, doctor appointments, grocery shopping, planning for holidays and birthdays, etc. He goes along with all of it, mostly without complaint.

The best of the best, however, is what a great Daddy he is. From the moment our first child was born, he's been hands on. Making bottles, changing poopy diapers, taking turns getting up in the middle of the night, letting me sleep in (on my sleep-in day on the weekend), doctor appointments and everything in between.

While I leave early in the morning, typically before the kids are out of bed, he gets himself and both kids ready in the mornings, and takes them to the babysitter before going to work himself. He not only helps with bedtime & bath time routines, but is pretty much the master at getting the baby settled down for bed.

Although his patience is worn after having two and then suddenly three children, and he tends to argue with them on their level at times, he's still the ultimate playmate to the kids. We are a hockey family. All hockey, all the time – none of them ever get tired of it.

Some daddies miss moments, but not this one – he's there for all of them.

So, when I hear friends complain about the lack of help they have at home and doing so much with their house and kids on their own… I have to step back and say "Aha! I'm a lucky girl. I sure do have one of the good guys."

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With two full time kids, one part time kid, two dogs, one cat, two full time jobs and many kids, grown up and work activities, our life is far from calm. On any given night, a person could witness many of the following things:

1. The dogs and cat performing Tom & Jerry renditions as both the BIG and LITTLE dogs chase the cat from any room he enters… ensuring to use every growl, bark, and nail screeching noise possible… primarily AFTER we’ve put the children to bed.

2. Our five-year old becoming irritated for some reason or another relating to why he cannot finish his dinner… “My belly hurts… or…. I have to go to the bathroom… or HOW MANY bites do I have to eat?”

3. Our five-year old chasing our one year old around the house so that they are both screaming and yelling like little wild animals

4. Our one-year old using his new found sense of climbing on furniture to get to the computer or the remotes, while never letting go of a hockey stick.

5. Our one-year old going into any one of the many closed doors in the hallway, closing the door behind him as though you may never know he went in… and once he’s inside…. Oh what he might get into… if it’s big brother’s room, he goes for the pens and markers by the handful…. If it’s the bathroom, he climbs up the stool by the sink to try and turn on the water, or he plays in toilet water…. If its mommy & daddy’s room, he gets into the dog’s crate and closes the door behind him.

6. Our three children in the backyard playing hockey, undoubtedly with someone crying because they are hurt or in trouble for playing too rough.

7. Our five-year old and my husband arguing with each other over…. ANYTHING

8. And sometimes, a houseful of our teenage babysitters/younger siblings… facebooking, video chatting with friends at college, or even dying their hair while eating ramen noodles or mac & cheese.

So, maybe if our life was a reality TV show, we’d be “Tiernan’s Fun House or House of Fun?”

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This past weekend, a new angel went to heaven. She was only two-years old and lost her battle with brain cancer.

I’ve followed the blog of a high-school classmate’s wife over the past two years, which so eloquently described not only their day to day struggles with their daughter’s brain cancer diagnosis and treatments, but also the happy moments along the way. When I first began reading the blog, I was pregnant with my second child. Needless to say, learning of a baby with brain cancer opened the floodgate of hormonal emotions I was already going through. Those tears continued long after the birth of my son. Sometimes they were tears of happiness for hurdles overcome by such a strong willed little girl, and sometimes they were tears of pure sorrow that God could let something like this happen to someone so innocent.  After doing so well for so long, a major setback occurred for Hailey. The cancer had come back, surgery did not remove the entire tumor, and treatment wasn’t meant to be.

I cried and cried much of the weekend after hearing of Hailey’s passing. My husband even asked me why I was so upset since I didn’t actually know her, which of course resulted in me being so angry with him. It was plainly obvious, especially over the past few months, how attached to Hailey’s situation I had become… since I’d be found at home, or even at work catching up on the blog, sobbing. How could he not have noticed how affected I was by this? Being a mother myself, I cannot even begin to imagine being there for both the very first and the very last breath of my child, my baby. My heart breaks for Hailey’s mom – for the whole family.

I didn’t know her personally, but from the heartfelt stories told by her courageous Mommy, she was a joyful child, no matter how awful her circumstance was. She loved life, her siblings and her family. I wish I had the privilege to have known her, my life will be forever changed because of her. I wish Miss Hailey everything she couldn’t have here on this earth… and I hope she is happy and smiling down on this world and her very brave family.

This situation truly shakes my faith in God. Everything happens for a reason, at least I think… but what reason could this be?

For anyone interested in reading Hailey’s story, here’s a link to her Mom’s blog

I hope she considers publishing her beautifully written story of her daughter’s life someday. It will be an inspiration to many who may go through the same journey, or those who already have.

Donate to help find a cure for childhood cancer in memory and in honor of Hailey Ann Trainer

This weekend we celebrated Eion’s 5th birthday. We had a Pittsburgh Penguin birthday party this year. The invitations were designed as tickets. Each child received a lanyard with a VIP printed name tag to wear. The treat bags came with a customized hockey puck with my little guy’s picture on it. And everyone made their very own fan-finger to cheer on their favorite team. Of course, we also had a delicious Pittsburgh Penguins cake made by Rena Fisher of Bethel Park (Yum!). Big and little kids had a fun afternoon of ice-skating. Even the littlest kiddos (as little as one-year old) took the ice in some way, shape or form.  It was a very memorable day. I hope I am able to keep up with the creative themes when my little Finn-ster gets bigger!

I can’t believe time has gone by so quickly. He’s turning into a little man already, very strong-willed, an opinionated. I have no idea where that comes from (he he).  He is bright both intellectually and emotionally. He is extremely athletic and fairly good at just about every sport he plays (golf, soccer, baseball, and these days, a LOT of ice hockey).  Although he takes after me and is small for his age, he is fearless. He loves to entertain kids and grown-ups, alike. Although he can be a bit challenging at times, he’s truly a great little boy and I’m really lucky to be his mom. Happy 5th Birthday, buddy.

birthday treats for school

my little hockey player


ticket invitation



“When is he going to play with me?!” said E, not long ago in regards to his baby brother.

Now that my oldest son is nearly five years old, and my youngest is nearing sixteen-months old, they are starting to interact together more. It’s wonderful and terrifying all at the same time.

Although E has more toys than any child could ever use, like most do these days, there’s just something about baby toys that fascinates him to no end. I have a lovely playroom set up for E with all the “big boy” toys, and our living room houses all the “baby toys”, since that’s where the little guy spends most of his time. However, most days one would find E in the middle of the baby-toys, crashing the little cars or counting the coins in the baby piggy bank. The little tiny fold out couch is also a fan-favorite of Eion’s. I have to tell him often to remember that he is big enough to sit on the couch, where little brother can’t yet…

Sometimes, E will bring some of the big boy toys (matchbox cars, hockey sticks and nets or whatever he could find) into the mix, which I hate, since then I have to try and sort it all out later so the baby doesn’t end up eating a matchbox car wheel. Finn will get right in the middle of whatever E is doing and sit down and bang cars or hit toys with his hockey stick right along with E. Last night, Eion brought out his little play tent that’s shaped like a fire truck and let Finn wear the hat that the firemen handed out when they visited his school (Finn was over the moon with the hat). They played in there for a good while…well, of course until big brother started getting too rough, and mommy started getting too nervous with the little one holed up inside there with E.

Finn has also started this high pitched screaming for absolutely no reason, which Eion just LOVES… because then he joins in too. So, every evening ends with Tylenol for mommy & daddy. But, they are starting to play together… that’s a good thing. I hope that they will grow up to be buddies. Friends forever.

At what age did your kids start to “bond” as buddies?