Thursday, September 3, 2015


It's September.
Time to wrap up the summer and get things started for a bright and shiny new school year.

New backpacks, new lunchboxes, new shoes, new haircuts, new friends, new teachers... new, new, new.

For years, to me, September represented a fresh start.

Summer was done.
Gone were those hot, sluggish, dog days and ahead were those cooler days of September that smelled like new books and freshly sharpened pencils.

September brought new beginnings.
September was filled with anticipation.
It always felt like anything was possible in September.

September ALSO meant that my most favorite month was right around the corner.


I can almost smell the word October.
It's crisp, it's pumpkin-y, it's gold and burnt orange and deep red, it's Halloween, it's jean wearin' weather... and it's what I look forward to ALL. YEAR. LONG.

Or, I used to.

That is, until my brother died.

While September used to feel like a new beginning to me... it now feels like the beginning of the end.

As soon as we get that first fall-ish night at the end of August... where the temperature drops and you can sleep comfortably with your bedroom windows open...some switch flips in my brain.
Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's the smell, ... but 5 years ago suddenly feels like just yesterday.

You would think that after 5 years I would maybe feel a little bit... LESS.

Or maybe feel a little bit more... detached.

But the senses are funny that way, aren't they?

Take music, for instance.
Certain songs trigger specific memories...and you can see them so vividly in your head.
20 years feels like a split second ago, right?

The end of summer is like that for me.

It's melancholy.

It's the feeling of wanting to hold on a little bit longer... savor the final moments....

because your mind knows they won't last forever, and your heart, your poor heart is BEGGING these moments to just -- STAY.

I don't remember when it happened, but sometime after my brother died, September became Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.  In the past few years, every September we've been urged to, "GO GOLD" and "Spread awareness".... encouraged to share the facts and statistics about pediatric cancer.

Pediatric Cancer.
Go Gold.
Be Aware.

I'm aware...and here is how.

My brother's cancer took a turn at the end of August, 2010.
We knew it was coming, but we couldn't quite bring ourselves to admit it.
His cough had gotten bad.  He couldn't catch his breath a lot. Going up a flight of stairs was work.
We knew...but we didn't want to know.

We took a family photo in August - that was the last family photo taken.
Since then, it's really just unbearable and kind of unthinkable to take one of all of us without him.
We aren't us, without him.  Besides, it hurts too much.

September came and my brother was admitted to the hospital for the last time.
September 23rd.
He never came home.

I remember the night that I saw him alive for the last time.
Tuesday, October 19th.
I took the train from CT to Grand Central Station.  I met my older brother and a best friend from college at a bar just outside the train station.
We had a drink because.... I needed it.
My friend brought me an umbrella that he had stolen from a closet in his office.
It didn't look like rain but,
"You never know. I'm Jewish.", he said. "We do these things."

My brother and I walked to the hospital together.  We tried to talk, but what's to say when your little brother is dying?

I remember the morning that he died.
October 22nd.
My mother called me.
I was standing in my laundry room.
Before I answered the phone I knew.
I just knew.
Our babysitter was at our house and I went upstairs and choked out the news.
And my five year old daughter kept saying over and over again...
"Big Charles died?  Big Charles died!"
Over and over and over and over again.

It was like she didn't know what it meant.

OF COURSE she didn't know what it meant.

I didn't even know what it meant.

I remember driving to the funeral home with my parents and brother.
My cell phone rang and it was an old friend from grade school.
He was crying and so distraught about the news.
I remember thinking how strange it was that I was on the way to make arrangements for my brother's funeral and I was consoling someone on my cell phone.

I remember the wake... and standing next to my father as people came through the line to give their condolences.
The endless line.
My father did this weird thing that day...straightening people's collars while he spoke to them.
It was like he didn't know what to do with his hands.

I remember the funeral...and holding onto my mother as we walked down the aisle of the church, behind my brother's casket that was surrounded by his best friends, his pall bearers.

There are things that happen in your life and you have an imprint of them on your brain that you'll never forget.

These are the things I think about in September.

We talk about being aware... spreading awareness.

And most of us think that by changing our profile picture on Facebook or posting a meaningful quote about pediatric cancer that we're doing our part.
But really... is that enough?

No, not when only 4% of government funding is solely dedicated to childhood cancer research.

They say that pediatric cancer is rare.  RARE.

How rare is it really when my brother had the same cancer as three other young men...all in their early 20's... all at the same hospital?
All four of them are gone now.

This is unacceptable.

Every day - 43 children are diagnosed with cancer.
12% of the children diagnosed with cancer DO NOT SURVIVE.

If you have children, if you have nieces, nephews, grandchildren, students, friends(so basically ALL of us) ... THIS STATISTIC SHOULD FRIGHTEN YOU.

It frightens me. It keeps me awake at night sometimes.

Every year I try to do something in my brother's honor and memory.
I've run a few marathons, a half marathon, a Tough Mudder... .all in the name of raising funds for pediatric cancer research.

This year, I'm trying something a little bit new.
I've created a virtual fundraiser - through Alex's Lemonade Stand. (the link is at the bottom of this post)
Alex's Lemonade Stand is changing childhood cancer, one research grant at a time.
They have already donated millions of dollars to support life saving childhood cancer research.
If you want to be inspired - read Alex's story.  I couldn't get through it without crying.

So no, I won't be running, or getting muddy. You won't be getting lemonade or a cool shirt for donating.


I'm giving you all an opportunity to DO something you can feel good about.

September should be Pediatric Cancer ACTION month.
It's not enough to just be aware... We need to be DOING something.

Think about this -
Americans spend 20 times more on potato chips than on pediatric cancer research.

Um. What?
That can't be real.

Really, America?
We love our chips more than our kids?
Come on. We're better than that.

Maybe this month instead of that bag of chips - you put that money toward pediatric cancer research?
Or instead of stopping at Dunkin Donuts on your way to work - you put that $3 toward this cause.

Or maybe... $1 a day for the month of September... $30 in total.


I am hoping this post will motivate even just one person to help me make a difference -  because I can't let September pass me by without doing something.
And this may not be much, but I believe if we all do a little something - we'll achieve something really big.

We have to try.

I have to try.

For September.

For my brother.

Thank you for reading.

If you'd like to make a donation - please use the below link.  EVERY dollar counts.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The end of the year CRAP

Yes, I know I posted about this previously...but this subject has me so up in arms and in a tizzy that it definitely requires another rant.

Here goes.


Now that we've reached the end of the school year, my head is spinning once again.

Places to be, end of the year events to attend, money to donate for gifts....teacher gifts...coaches gifts, piano teacher gifts, choir teacher gifts....the endless list of gifts is unreal.

Money is flying out the window - $5 here... $10 there... no big deal... I'm made of money.

I have a tree outside in back that just grows it.

You want a gift? You got one. End of the year? Here's your gift.

It's like Oprah.  YOU get a gift! YOU get a gift and YOU get a gift!


I don't remember getting gifts for coaches at the end of every season of a sport. Did we DO that?

Did our parents do it behind our backs and that's why I don't remember? I don't know.
I don't think so.

But then I don't remember getting a trophy just for participating either - we didn't, right?

You got a trophy if you won the final championship game...and you held that trophy up for the team photo and you were DAMN proud.

Now everyone gets a trophy... and it's like.... "oh... yea... cool... let me add it to my collection of trophies on my shelf... with the ten other trophies I've already gotten..." the ripe old age of six.


Anyway... I digress.

Back to the end of the year chaos.

Is anyone else wondering why the teachers wait until the end of the year to send home papers from September?

My kids roll in after school and empty their overflowing backpacks on the living room rug and I'm in full blown panic mode.

Suddenly I'm seeing stuff that they made in the fall... pictures they've drawn, old homework that is just now being sent home...and it's EVERYWHERE.


And seriously?
There are certain things that just need to be thrown out. AT SCHOOL!!!

I don't need paper flashcards being sent home in a small envelope or a drawing from the second day of school.
Because it only turns into a huge ordeal here with my kids...It becomes Let's Make a Deal.

"If you throw out the paper clock you made when you were learning how to tell time(I'm still not sure they know how to tell time, btw), I will let you keep this fantastic drawing you made of Pokemon"

And really? I don't want the damn drawing of Pokemon either! Because we already have TWENTY drawings of Pokemon here.  I see Pokemon EVERYWHERE.

I just don't know.
But I don't like it. And I certainly don't want it.

Teachers - please - I BEG you.


And please... I know you're cleaning out your classroom and getting rid of pencils, erasers, old rulers, and books from 1982... but for the love of GOD, please don't send them home with my children.

I don't need books from 1982 in my house. I don't.

And if I my kids come home with another pencil, unsharpened, sharpened, mechanical, or otherwise,

I'm going to FLIP. MY. LID.


I have three... yes THREE... pencil boxes filled with pencils and yet, when it's time to do homework... guess what? MY KIDS CAN'T FIND A PENCIL!!!

Lord have mercy.

And then there are allllllll the very very very many activities and events that are planned for the end of the school year that the parents are invited to and encouraged to attend.

Super!  Let me fill in my calendar... Oh look! I'm at the school every day this week.

My mom was never at the school when I was a kid - EVER.

In fact, I was in class one day in elementary school and saw my mom walking up the sidewalk to the school.  It was SUCH an anomaly to see her there, that I shot up from my seat, ran to the open window and shouted, "HEY! MOM!!!" and waved to her!

I also had to stay after class and get a lecture about why it is inappropriate to yell out the window of the school to your mom.  

But the point is... she was never there.

I, on the other hand, am ALWAYS there. And I'm not bragging about this. At all.
I don't want to be there.
There is time for home. And there is time for school.
I should be home. And my kids should be at school. That's it.

I DO like going to the school occasionally... a concert here... a book reading there... an ice cream social....

But when an "author's share" is scheduled for 2:30 on a Thursday afternoon, after I've already been on a field trip earlier in the week and I know I have to be at the school on Friday as well...

Well, frankly, I'm pissed.

# 1. 2:30 is close to the end of the school day... but it is NOT the end of the work day.
So in order for all of those parents that work in an office to attend, they have to take a half day of work.
A HALF DAY!!! They have to use part of their vacation or personal time to attend an author's reading of something their child wrote and brought home three rough drafts of for you to read - so it's not like it's anything new they are sharing with you.

 Are you kidding me?

Why can't we have these events at 9:00 AM ... half hour... boom, done, leave for work. Get to work a little through lunch...whatever.
Nope. 2:30 it is!

#2. I have twins. Inevitably their school events are scheduled for the exact same time. Convenient.
So unless both my husband and I are able to attend(which, in most cases, at 2:30 in the afternoon...he's staying at work) ... I'm there... splitting my time between two classrooms...running back and forth like a lunatic making sure I'm sharing myself equally.  Usually in a full sweat-- hearing nothing but white noise in my head.

#3. I have another child who is NOT in school.  And yes, he still naps. So 2:30 in the afternoon is not only inconvenient, but it's the Holy Grail of time for me. It's quiet. It's peaceful. It's when I get the majority of my work done...and now I have to wake the little dude up and drag him to the school?!?
This one is majorly not OK.

So what's the other option? Don't go? I don't HAVE to go.
But I'm home. I work from home. How do I NOT go?

How do I disappoint my kids who see alllllll the other parents there...

and by the on earth do alllll of the other parents attend every. last. event?!?!?

DO THEY NOT WORK??? I really don't get it.

Why can't some of these things be planned for ... I don't know... the evening???

I remember when I was a kid... we had concerts... chorus, band, & orchestra concerts...and we got all dressed up in our finest healthtex wear...and we went to the school at night.

The school looked different at night. It SMELLED different at night.

And the gym was decked out with risers and it was dark...with stage lighting and the cafeteria was filled with kids waiting for their turn to go on stage - playing UNO "quietly" with a group of friends.

And it was all really magical.

And everyone went to Friendly's for an ice cream cone afterwards to celebrate.
And it was awesome. Seriously.

Ahhh... memory lane and the smell of Salt Brook School cafeteria.


Now everything is scheduled for during the day - AT THE END OF THE YEAR-- and parents at the school all have that same look on their faces like, "Oh hey... isn't this great?"(No.) and

"Didn't I just see you??" (Yes. Because we were both here for Field Day YESTERDAY.)


And don't even get me started on the last two days of school being half days...

It feels like I'm being cheated out of my last meal in prison.
Just let me have two full days.
I have my kids for the whole summer... and I've attended your picnics, and concerts, and field trips and shares,... I've been the recipient of papers and pencils and old books from 1982... the LEAST you can do is give me TWO FULL DAYS on the last days of school.  You owe me this much.


My daughter just came to me with three binders of school things asking...
"What should I do with this?"


Peace,  Love and RIGHT NOW

Friday, November 14, 2014

Two really IS terrible

I love my son.
I adore my son.
I really, really, really, really, really, REALLY do.... love AND adore my son.

But lately,

I'm OVER him. And frankly, some days... I just. can't. stand. him.

He's two.

That should be enough explanation right there. Shouldn't it?


That's how I feel about him these days. I hear him in his bed in the morning and I groan.
Because... maybe he SOUNDS happy... but I know that'll quickly change.

I can go in and get him with a smile on my face and a sing-song voice...,
"Good morning, sweet boy!" 

Annnnnnnd he's not happy to see me because he wanted DADDY to get him and NOT Mommy.
I just LOVE starting my mornings like that.
Conflict from the get-go.  

Then there's breakfast.
He refuses to eat cereal, eggs, sausage, oatmeal, fruit, yogurt.... ALL of the things he used to eat every single day before he turned two.
He eats nothing.
I used to think I was so fortunate that I had a baby that would literally eat anything I put in front of him.
NOW? I'm lucky if I get two or three bites of Cheerios in him before he's up from the table and claiming he's, "All done!?!?!" And running away.

He refuses to sit in a high chair. And trying to get him INTO a high chair is like trying to give a cat a bath. So we gave up.

So meal time is like musical chairs... he's up, he's down, he's up again, he's under the table, he's down the hall, he's back and sitting in a different seat.
Short of holding him down at the table and sitting ON him.  What can we do?


So after he's "all done" with his "breakfast" ... fifteen or twenty minutes later he's back and asking for something else.
And usually it's Cheez-its or Pirate Booty.
At 8 AM? I don't think so.
Although some days I'm already so worn down by 8 that it seems like,
"Whats the harm? Pirate booty for breakfast? At least it's something!"
(Note: I don't actually allow pirate booty at 8 AM, I don't allow that until at LEAST 8:30.)

There is always, ALWAYS a meltdown when I say no to the snacky food and offer a banana or apple instead.
As sure as the sky is blue... there is a meltdown.
I can almost set a clock to it.
And it's always about the same time of morning that I'm silently cursing out my husband for working in an office.  I imagine him with a warm cup of coffee in his hand... standing at the desk of a co-worker, chuckling over some office humor... while I'm standing my ground over a GOD DAMN CUP OF TEDDY GRAHAMS.

Living with my two year old is like living with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
He is as sweet as can be... and at any given moment he can turn on you and you have no idea why.

He talks about his babysitter all day long... talks about her car, is she home?, is she coming tomorrow? in a couple minutes?
When she actually arrives in the morning... he flips out.  He clings to my legs, wants to be held, wants ZERO part of the sitter.  The transition is a nightmare... every. single. day. As if he's meeting her for the first time every single day. It's like the movie, 50 first dates... I have to remind him daily how fun she is and how much he actually does like her.   I don't get it.

He's irrational.
He'll ask me for random things that I can't give him.

"Go to Nanny's house today? Go swimming in pool?"
Umm.... dude, we live in Connecticut... Nanny lives in New Jersey... not to mention that it's NOVEMBER and effing freezing out.
I try to explain all of these things...and you can imagine how well that goes over...

"GO SWIMMING!!!!!!!! NANNY'S POOL!!!!!!" *tears* *screaming* *door slamming*

Oh. My. God.

And he'll follow me around the house. Clinging to my leg... demanding to go swim at my mother's pool ... in New Jersey on a random Wednesday morning... in the month of November.

This is not an exaggeration.

And I swear he didn't do this at age 23 months.  It was two.
It all happened at the stroke of midnight when he turned two.
Cinderella's coach turned into a pumpkin at midnight.
My son turned into an irrational lunatic.

I used to think that living with three girls born within two years of each other was exhausting. The drama that they bring to the table can drive anyone to drink.  Well... my two year old has all three of them beat.

He's bossy.
He's emotional.
He's stubborn.
He's whiny.
He cries at the drop of a hat.
He refuses to hear the word no.
He's two. And it's TERRIBLE.

But he's sweet. He really is. (Ugh. I'm struggling even typing that today)

Getting him dressed is like attending a rodeo. I've been kicked in the face more times than I can count.  Getting him dressed is a workout. Like, a HARD workout.  Like, a sweat inducing, heavy breathing... WORKOUT. I'm not putting him into a tuxedo or three piece suit.   It shouldn't be this difficult, am I right?

Baths? He loves baths. Except for when he HATES baths.
And I never know when that will be.
He doesn't want to take a bath.  
I get him, struggling and fighting, into the tub.
He doesn't want to take a bath.
I wash his hair while he cries.
He doesn't want to take a bath.
I scrub him up while he screams.  
I go to get him out... Annnnnnnd HE DOESN'T WANT TO GET OUT!
It's mind boggling.

How about car rides? Simple enough.
Ohhhhhh not so.

I'll drive 10 or 15 minutes OUT OF MY WAY to find a drive-thru in order to avoid taking him out of the car and putting him back in.

Getting him out of the car...
He wants to get out the other side of the car. NOT the side that I'm on.
Obviously. Because that's convenient.
And he wants to open and close the door himself, "MY TURN! I DO IT!!"
Fine. (insert deep breath and sigh here)

Getting him out of the car can take a good ten minutes. And believe it or not... it's easier to get him out than it is to get him back in.

This is not an exaggeration.

If we go into a store... he refuses to get into a cart. He wants to walk. And because I actually want to get something accomplished at the store(silly me)... I want him in the cart.
I literally have to strong arm him into the seat and there's tears(his and mine) and I'm sweating.
And strangers are staring...because strong arming him into a cart looks an awful lot like physical abuse.

"If you would just bend your legs and put your feet through the openings... we could get on our way and get out of here... " And he's screaming, "NO MOM!!! NO CART!! WALK!!!!"

And then there's the screaming through the store,  "ALL DONE!!! ALL DONE!! HOME!!!"
(I'm having a panic attack just typing this, by the way)

And I think to myself, "I used to be able to get through a store with a three year old and two one year old's easier than this!!!"

Now there's getting him back in the car.  He gets in the actual car, but he wants to close the door himself.  OK.
But then he tries to close both back doors himself which prevents me from being able to get him buckled into his seat.  That is, if he actually GOT INTO THE DAMN SEAT.

He stands in the aisle of the car... almost taunting me... with a little grin on his face.
I ask him nicely, "Please get into your seat... we have to get going."
He ignores me.
I TELL him, "Get into your seat.  I'm going to drive the car."
He ignores me again.
He's really, really good at ignoring me.

At this point, one of two things happens...

1. I grab him by his arm and wrestle him into his seat. He arches his back, kicks his legs, swings his arms and screams... making it nearly impossible to get him strapped into his seat because I'm using one arm to hold him down into the seat... and I need two hands to actually buckle the belt.

2. I give up.  I close the door. I get into the driver seat. I turn on the car. I back out of the parking spot... making sure to tap the brake hard enough to make him stumble in the back of the car and get nervous enough to climb into his seat and beg to buckled in. 

If you're reading this you're either applauding me or you're ready to call child protective services.

Either way, I'm just trying to survive over here.

There are days when I'd like to throw in the towel...give in to his every whim, bribe him with lollipops, and allow pirate booty for breakfast... and, of course, there are days when I sometimes DO. Because honestly, sometimes I just want a tantrum free trip to the grocery store.
Is that REALLY too much to ask for?

But for the most part... I wake up every day and brace myself for a ton of tears and whining and tantrums, armed with what I hope to be a never ending fountain of patience and love.
And by the end of the day, I'm exhausted and that never ending fountain of patience? It's tapped dry.
There is NO doubt that my little guy has been the greatest joy for our entire family...and there is no doubt that he is so, SO loved.
But there are those days when he's making me want to beat my head against the wall over and over and over again that I really DO have to remind myself that I love him.

I mean, this too shall pass, right?
He can't be a little jerk forever....can he? (Please say no. Please say no.)


Well, here's to his two-ness not lasting forever... and with that, the hope that age three isn't somehow worse.
Oh God.

Peace, Love & RIGHT NOW


Friday, June 6, 2014

Officially Done...

So this happens to me every year at this time.

School? I'm done.

Activities? I'm throwing in the towel.

I'm officially done with the schedule, the routine, the waking up and rushing the kids out the door for the bus, and rushing them off the bus and grabbing snacks and rushing out the door to this, that, or the other activity.

I'm ready to hang up my chauffeur hat and give my over scheduled brain a break.

I'm done with policing the homework and the reading and the math facts.
I'm really done with trying to figure out math homework. I went through both the third grade and the first grade years ago and homework wasn't this hard. I promise, it really wasn't.

I'm done with school concerts and picnics and teas and exhibits and recitals and field days and field trips that all seem to be scheduled for the same week.

Can't they schedule some of this end of the year crap in February when we're just sitting around doing... "nothing"?
Instead it's all crammed into like five days. 
A school picnic? Eat lunch with your kid?
Sure, but I was just at the school yesterday and will be there tomorrow... Plus, I eat breakfast and dinner with my kids every day, so now lunch too?
Add that to the schedule. No problem-o.

I can no longer be held responsible for remembering sun screen, a towel, a hat, a share, chocolate syrup for the ice cream social, bug spray, a soccer game, wearing a red shirt or a gray shirt, sneakers only, a library book that was never returned(I swear that librarian is lying.  THAT BOOK IS NOT HERE) etc. etc. etc.

My brain is too full.
It's "end of the year" full.
It's filled with knowledge I want to get rid of and dates that are floating around...
just floating... with nothing attached to them.

June 13th... June 18th.... floating... floating...

Someone will say, "Can you do this on such and such a date?" And I panic because I know the date sounds familiar, but there's nothing on my calendar. WHAT AM I MISSING??? SOMETHING!

Sure, we are free that day. But are we REALLY? Or did I not write something down and we have some place to be with something to do with an item we're responsible for???

Clearly, I've reached my breaking point.

I am longing for schedule free days where my kids don't have to rush out the door or be anywhere... where they can watch an hour (probably two hours if I'm being honest... ok... maybe three) of TV without my yelling, "I'M NOT GOING TO SAY IT AGAIN!! PUT YOUR SHOES ON!!! THE BUS IS COMING!!!"

And we can leisurely eat breakfast and not pack lunches...
Oh, I didn't mention the lunches.


It's not so much the lunches... its the containers.

When I went to school we were sent with a brown bag with our name on it... a sandwich in a plastic bag... a bag of chips and maybe a fruit roll up. You got twenty cents to buy milk. All of the 'containers' were THROWN AWAY afterwards. I did not come home with containers and lunch boxes to be washed or emptied.

Washing containers sucks my will to live.

YES, I send my kids with lunch in a lunch box. Sandwiches in a sandwich box. Water in a reusable water bottle. Snacks in a small tupperware container.
YES, I'm helping save the planet by reusing all of these containers.
YES, this for the greater good for future generations.
YES, I'm slowly losing my mind.


(Of course there's a but and not just a small but... a semi big one)

On one hand, I'm SO done with school, but on the other hand...
I just watched a school year whiz by. LITERALLY.

It went by so fast, I almost didn't see it. It was a blur.
All of it. It was JUST September.

I was JUST sending my three tanned(Yes, I used sunscreen and they STILL got tan) beauties off to first and third grades...and now... it's over!

I was just making a tooth fairy, angel and fairy costume for Halloween.

What happened to Thanksgiving? And Christmas? And Easter? I have no idea!
And what happened to everything in between?

Where is that time?
It's gone! GONE!  And there is no getting it back!!! What the heck????

So while I'm loving the fact that school is over and the schedule is done....

I DO wish I could freeze time for a little while and have things stay the way they are right now.
I'd whisper into my kid's ears, "Stay small my little people.... stay small."
Come home and share with me the fifty states in alphabetical order song...and sing it over and over and over again until I too know the fifty states in order.

Turn cartwheels in the living room until you kick your brother in the head and knock him over and then you get sent to your room.

Carry your bunny blanket around and suck your thumb while you sit on the couch and watch TV.

Show me your loose tooth that isn't really that loose and wiggle it and wiggle it until it comes out the next day at school and the nurse gives you one of those tooth necklaces to wear proudly around your neck.

Stay small. And innocent. And precious. And perfect. In every single way.
Stay just like least for a little while longer.

We spend so much time wishing for the next... ready to move out of one stage and into the next that we forget to enjoy the stage we're in.

These moments are fleeting. All of them.
Every day contains thousands of moments to be cherished.
Every. single. Day.
The schedules, the activities, the teas, the games, the sunscreen, the bug spray and even the containers... all of them moments.
Breathe those moments in. Slow down and cherish. All of it.

Because before we know it, those moments will be gone and we'll be on to the next.

IN the meantime...

What the hell am I going to do with my kids for an entire summer???

Pray for us.

Peace, Love, and RIGHT NOW

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

and five months later... we have a post

Yeah, so I haven't posted anything since September.

I'll blame it on the start of school, or the holidays, or after school activities... or my job.... or my kids... or my husband...or the laundry.....the never ending piles of, "oh look, I was caught up ten minutes ago and now there is a ANOTHER EVER LOVING PILE OF LAUNDRY sitting in front of my washer."

Right. Blame it on that.

So recently, I read an article on Facebook  from a working dad about his wife, a stay at home mom and how her job is ridiculously hard. 
Yep, we know. 
Just a little bit funny how it takes a man to write an article about a stay at home mom for anyone to acknowledge the fact that it's the HARDEST JOB IN THE WORLD. 
I'm pretty sure moms have been saying it for centuries and it's only just now being shared, and shared again on Facebook with people liking it a thousand times over. Social media, gotta love it. 

And then I read another article or blog post from a working mum to a stay at home mum. And yes, it said 'mum'.  And I'm pretty sure the article wasn't referring to a flower, but a mother.  And of course, after reading the word 'mum', I ended up reading the rest of the article in an English accent in my head.  And not a good English accent.  I don't excel at accents, except my own which was once a New Jersey accent and is now a weird mesh of New Jersey and Connecticut where I don't know if I should say the name Shannon, like Shaaaaaanon or the way people in Connecticut say it... which is way more cute-sy and less Tony Soprano and...well, I can't even phonetically type out what it sounds like. 

Anyway, I digress.   
The working mum was acknowledging how hard the stay at home mum's job was and vice versa.    
Both jobs are equally difficult.  ABSOLUTELY.

I have yet to read an article about the "working from home full time mom".  I'm pretty sure I know why. 
I'M one of those working from home full time moms...and I'm pretty sure there are no blog posts or articles about those women because those women don't have the damn time to brush their teeth, never mind write an article about their job(s). 

So here I am...taking a few moments out of my day(and yes, my teeth are brushed) describe the trials and tribulations of the "working from home full time mom". 

I wake up at the butt-crack of dawn. I'm not even sure I would call it dawn, I'm pretty sure it's still the middle of the night.  The rest of my house is still sleeping, although, I often hear my youngest stirring at that time... and that's when I hightail it out of the house to hit the gym...because I'd rather be working out at 5:30 AM than dealing with my still tired, hungry and demanding to be held and fed, 16 month old.  
Mother of the year here.  
 But I workout at 5:30 mostly because that's the only time of the day I can fit it in. 

Work out at 5:30 am, home by 7:00 to 3 children trying to get dressed, pack backpacks, eat breakfast and get out to the bus on time, or as I like to call it - hell on earth.

Let me preface this by saying, I do everything possible the night before to have our stuff together for the morning. I do everything short of insisting that my children sleep in their school clothes and order to be ready for the morning.    But, without fail, we end up behind the 8 ball... EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  

This morning... everyone was ready. Ready EARLY and then I remembered it was Tuesday.  One of the twins' share day.  Today she had to bring in something to represent the 100th day of school. She had to bring one hundred somethings to represent the 100th day of school.  Awesome. 
100 pennies.
Down to the wire, 100 pennies counted and in a plastic bag and running out the door to catch the bus.  

Three kids out the door, turn back to see what's left of my kitchen... dishes next to the sink, dishes in the sink, milk and juice out on the counter, coffee cups, and cereal boxes - oh, and there's my toddler, with all of his sisters' toothbrushes in his mouth.... oh, and I still haven't showered.  
I have exactly forty-five minutes to get showered and dressed and try to clean up the kitchen in order to log onto my computer for 9 am. 

Now, normally, I'd have a sitter to help with my toddler, but my sitter went and found a new, REAL job and I'm left holding the bag.  So because I'm the work from home mom, that falls under one of my job find a new sitter AND care for the kid until we find the new sitter, while working from home.  Excellent. 

9 am, log into work... kitchen is now semi-clean... also managed to throw in a load of wash, I mean, I'm home.. might as well at least WASH the clothes(folding is another story)... Sit down to work...and fire off a few emails while fending off little hands that are reaching for my keyboard and my phone. 
Second cup of coffee, thanks. 

There are things that fall under my responsibility because I'm the work from home mom, they are including, but not limited to the following: Sick kids, doctors appointments, kids being sent home from school with some sort of illness(real or not), answering the door and being available for any sort of repair man, starting dinner, snow days when all the kids are home, after school activities, teachers conferences, school concerts, presentations, teas and other school events that school administrators think are a good idea to schedule for the middle of the day, because, you know... no parents work or anything.   And these things are my responsibility not because my husband is some tyrant and refuses to share the workload, but because logistically, it makes sense. I'm here. And he's in an office 45 minutes away. 

NOW...I can hear some of you saying, "You don't HAVE to work from home. You could put your baby in daycare, your kids in before school care, and head to an office all day."  
And yes, that is true. 100% true. 

I was laid off this past summer and I refused to take a new job in an office. I only wanted to work from home. Why? Because I get to be the one to get my kids on the bus, off the bus, pick them up from school when they're sick and attend their school concerts and teas.   Call me crazy, but I like having it all. 
I like making money and working, but I also like, you know, actually SEEING my kids. 

But with that comes the insane juggling act of doing it all. AT THE SAME TIME.
Conference calls on snow days include wildly flailing limbs and muting my phone to yell at my kids to be quiet and watch the movie I put on...and to also keep their brother from eating the rainbow loom rubber bands. 
My days seem endless.  
They start before dawn and end way past what a bedtime should be for someone who gets up before dawn.  
What work I don't get done during the day, I do at night. 

Most days I feel like I survive by the skin of my teeth... especially now without a sitter... (please God, let me find a good sitter)  And every day, 4 pm rolls around(Bus drop off time) and my anxiety level kicks in. Because now it's a circus act until bedtime.... after school activities, homework, snacks, baths, dinner, refereeing arguments... all while still being accountable for work. Oh yeah, WORK! 

When I tell people I work from home... their response is usually, 
"Wow... that's really awesome. You're so lucky!"
And I know I am. I am SO fortunate to be able to BE HERE(and the working in sweats isn't a bad gig either). 
HOWEVER, being here also has another side to it. It has the making the dinner, loading the dishwasher, throwing in the wash, side to it... BECAUSE I'm here.  There's that "doing it all' side that you can't shut off. 

And yes, there are days I'd like to actually leave my house and see other adults and maybe, ya know, LOOK nice?  Most days I look and feel frazzled and tired. I'm really tired. 

And there's this ever present feeling I have of not being able to do anything at 100%.  Like I'm not excelling at any one thing.  Because I'm not 100% a stay at home mom...and I'm not 100% (although full time) a work from home employee... My dinners aren't exceptionally delicious, my house isn't spectacularly clean, my attention is never 100% focused on any one thing...because there are always a zillion things going on in my house...and in my head.  So while I'm having my cake and eating it too(I'm not sure this is the right analogy describing this)... I'm not doing any of it well or really enjoying any of it - mostly because I'm just trying to survive. (Much like the first year after my twins were born). 

So what's my point? 

My point is...

ALL mothers make sacrifices. ALL mothers are struggling on some level. 
No ONE has the perfect situation all the time. 

And the grass is ALWAYS greener in your neighbor's yard(especially if they're retired and have ALL THE TIME in the world to tend to their yard and flowers and trees) 

ALL mothers -working from home, working in an office, or stay at home moms- want to know that the sacrifices they're making and the juggling, circus acts are worth it. 
That every struggle won't last forever, and every struggle will make us(and our children)stronger and better people. I mean, they will, right?(Please say I'm right)

And I know with absolute certainty that ALL mothers want to feel appreciated, encouraged and to feel like they're doing a good job - especially when they're sure they aren't! 

So for all the mothers out there... whoever you are, wherever you work..... Keep it up.  
Keep on keeping on. 
You're doing a great job! 
And it's ALL worth it. 

Peace, Love and RIGHT NOW

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Am I keeping up?

For the past few years I've had the honor and privilege of calling myself a "soccer mom".  

My oldest daughter has found a love of soccer and my younger two are trying(Valiantly) to follow in their sister's footsteps.  So more often than not, during the weekends during the school year, I can be found on the sidelines of the soccer field.

And in the beginning...when my daughter was five, the games were...well, comical. They were less like games and more like controlled chaos. The girls played on a short field with maybe four players on each team, and no goalies.  There was no score. There was really just a lot of chasing the ball. All of them. In a pack like wild dogs.
This was all to teach the fundamentals of the game. Perfect.

As my oldest has gotten a little older, the field length has gotten longer, the girls actually hold their positions on the field(Somewhat) and there are goalies(even though they look like these teeny tiny breakable dolls in front of these HUGE nets) .  Perfect.

It all started out so cute and fun...and actually kind of nice to spend my Saturdays watching my girls play and learn a game. 

So last the beginning of second grade the practice/games went from once a week, to twice a week.  Ok, no biggie.  But there was also an option to add two extra days to sharpen skills and play more games.  And I bought into it for a while.  Sure... give her those two extra days... for a few hours each day. Why not? She loves it. 

Second grade. Seven years old....Four days a week of soccer?
I mean, there are only seven days in the week, right? So FOUR of them were spent playing soccer.

Let me say it again...SHE. WAS. SEVEN.

I can't stress that enough here.

So here I was, signing her up for these extra days...thinking...
"Great, she'll sharpen her skills... she'll become a better player... blah blah blah blah blah" 
Was I serious?

I mean, she's a child. A baby, really. 

Why should she be sharpening her skills when she's really just learning the fundamentals of the game still and trying to find out if this is something she really LIKES and wants to pursue?

That point got kind of lost.  
And I think it's gotten lost on a LOT of these "Soccer parents" (You can really put any sport/hobby in there instead of soccer... it applies to anything, really)

We get so caught up in...well, KEEPING up... that we're talked into signing up for more... and we push push push...and for what?

To have our kids burn out at age eight and tell us, "Yea, ya know what?! I don't really like soccer anyway." 

I just don't get it.
Where we live... it seems that the trend is that you have to start your child in a sport or activity by the age of three or he/she will be BEHIND. 
Are you kidding me right now?

There are SO many sports and activities my kids would like to try, but heck, I don't have time to sign them up for them all NOW. 
So I get sort of frantic thinking...
"Holy crap... if they don't start now...find their passion RIGHT NOW... they'll be so far behind, they'll never be as good as the other kids... they'll miss out on so much"

And I've come to realize that really? I'm being a freak.  And there are a lot of other freaks out there just like me .... freaking out about the same damn thing! 

And it's not our fault... it's like a wave... it knocks us down.
We get so swept up in keeping up and trying to do what's best for our kids that we forget what's actually BEST FOR OUR KIDS!!!

My girls want to try new things... art classes? Sure! Tennis? Maybe! Basketball? Yup! And the list goes on and on.  They're 8 and 6... they're babies. They have time. PLENTY OF TIME.

But as parents, it seems like we're constantly being pushed to sign them up for more... sharpen their skills... get them ready for the next level.  The next level? But what about THIS level?   How about we look at THIS level and hope the kids are having fun and learning something new and if they're good, well that's just an added bonus.  I mean, right?

But is this what it has come to? It's like we're already prepping them for college... a scholarship, maybe(Because frankly, who the hell can afford college anymore?) ...    But it seems less like a recreational activity for them and more like WORK.
And as we all know... there is plenty of time for work later in life, but for kids? Their time is so short to just be a kid and do what they like! LETS LET THEM BE KIDS!!!

I mean, don't get me wrong... if my daughter begged me to play soccer four days a week, telling me she didn't want to do anything else... I'd sign her up.  I really do want her to be happy.

But when I ask her if she wants to play extra days and her response is "maybe" instead of "YES, YES, YES!"... isn't that a sign that maybe it's time to introduce her to something else?
Open a door to something that may pique her interest more?

I don't know... maybe everyone else has figured this out ahead of me, but from what I've seen, I don't think so. 

I've seen the panicked look of the mom who just signed her daughter up for soccer for the first time at age eight...wondering if she'll be the black sheep because all the other kids started when they were three.  

I mean, that's sad, really. 

At eight years old you're still figuring out what you like and what you don't, right? You shouldn't be an expert in your field at that age.

I mean, I'm in my mid-30's and I'M still figuring out what I like... I'm certainly not an expert at... well, ....anything.

Heck, maybe I'll give soccer a try.. ;)


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Things I've learned 15 days into summer vacation


The last day of school was on June 26th.
That's 15 days that I've been with all four of my kids nearly around the clock.

And although I seem to have lost a bit of my sanity... I have definitely learned a few things in a very short period of time. 

Lucky for you, I get to share what I now know.

1. No matter the time of day or even if they've just eaten a 12 course meal, my kids are always hungry.  Like brought to tears, "Hunnnngrrrrrrry"

2. Cleaning up the kitchen and keeping it clean for more than 10 minutes is a pipe dream

3. There is "NOTHING" to do at my house. EVER.

4. I never have enough scotch tape

5. I should've bought stock in scotch tape

6. Laundry is a joke especially when my kids put on clothes, then bathing suits, then a new set of clothes, then a new bathing suit and at the end of the day throw it all in a wet pile on the floor of the laundry room.
Don't EVEN get me started on towels.

7. No matter how well you rinse off limbs, empty out shoes, brush off clothes, shake out hair...
sand still gets EVERYWHERE

8. There is one tattle tale in every group and tattle tales are REALLY annoying.

9. My oldest daughter thinks she is the boss of everyone.... including me.

10. Having a baby that naps and three other children stuck at home while the baby naps could possibly warrant a trip to an insane asylum OR an emergency room.  Either one.

11. My husband's, "very little TV this summer" rule is laughable.  The person who does not stay home all day should not be allowed to have a say-so in any rules. Period.

12. Getting ready for the beach definitely takes longer than getting ready to play in the snow. 
At this point in the game, snow is a clear winner.  At least in the snow my kids are 100% covered and NOT by sunscreen ....ANNNNNNND I'm not afraid of them drowning or getting eaten by a shark

13. Inside voices are like unicorns... they don't exist.

14. Grilling is old... and has been since June ...of 2007

15.  Bees cause PTSD. 
Day one of summer(Literally off the bus from the last day of school) there was a bee sting incident.  "We" now see bees EVERYWHERE and feel the need to sprint from the house to the car in order to avoid being stung.

16. "But it's not even dark out!" is not a good enough reason to stay up later. 
Note for next summer: Black out shades.  For the entire house.

17.  The one who says, "I didn't do ANYTHING" has always done SOMETHING.

18. I need to actually learn how to take a door off the hinges. 

19.  Just because it's summer vacation, doesn't mean that real life ceases to exist.
Laundry still has to be done, groceries bought, dinners cooked, bathrooms cleaned...all with children in tow.
It's like taking the physical challenge on Double Dare. Honestly, I'd rather stick my arm up that giant nostril to pull out the boogery red flag  than go to the grocery store with my four kids.

Being the fun, "yes" mom I thought I'd be this summer is proving to be a lot more difficult than I initially thought.

Just today I contemplated drinking at lunch time and I just heard myself saying,

"For every time I have to come downstairs because you three are fighting, you'll all go to bed 15 minutes earlier"
At the rate we're going ... they'll be in bed in the next five minutes.  (Which might not be a bad thing)

Gotta run(and possibly hide).... I just heard, "I'M TELLING MOMMY!!"

Oh....There's no need to tell mommy...she already heard the entire thing... those inside "unicorn" voices are a dream.  :)

Peace, Love & RIGHT NOW