Thursday, August 4, 2011

High School Reunion

This weekend is my 20 year reunion. 

Aaaccckkk!!!   How did that happen?  20 freaking years, gone, just like that.

I have really only kept up with 2 people, and in all honestly, not even that often.

The rest?  Well, I think by getting out of my little town I thought I had to get rid of all of them too.  At 18 I didn't want a whole lot of connections other than family.  When I got married and moved out of state, I felt oddly at home being all alone.  Yikes, that sounds completely depressing.  And it was.  I used to cry when I read license plates that said "You have a friend in Pennsylvania."  I didn't feel I had a friend anywhere.  And yet, I felt like I couldn't go back to any of those people that I used to laugh with and hang out with.  I had changed.  Or maybe I just hoped I had.

This weekend I will see people, old friends, that I haven't seen or spoken to in 20 years.  Thankfully, Facebook has sparked that interest in getting to know each other again, so I do feel a connection with several people.  I can't help but wonder how much things have changed.  I certainly hope some things have.  But then others...I kind of hope haven't.  I hope we can all laugh like we used to before we had any responsiblity.  I hope we can be comfortable with weight gain, weight loss, wrinkles, and changing hair color.  I hope we can take time to remember the people who should be there, but from different circumstances died way, way too young. 

And I hope I can come home knowing that old friendships endure over the years, even when I thought I didn't want or need it to. Because, truth be told,  I do.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Counting my blessings (before I go insane)

Oh my word.  First off, I couldn't even remember how to get back into this blog, and it's ridiculous how I can let that little bit of stress send me over the edge.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Breathe in.....breathe....out.  Sometimes I feel like I have to remind myself to exhale.  I tend to hold my breath without realizing it.

So anyway, counting my blessings.  Yes, I have to remind myself to do that as well. 

I already miss that relaxed feeling I had from vacation.  Sitting on the beach at 5:30 in the morning, just me, the sunrise, a few seagulls, and a few lovebirds trying to take pictures of themselves. 

The phone won't stop ringing.  The kids are arguing.  Laundry is piling up.  There's not enough time to be a business owner/mom/wife/friend/etc.

Blessings.  Oh yes.  Let's see.  I guess I'll just state them in no particular order, otherwise I'll stress myself out about one being more important than another.

~I am blessed to be married to the one person who completely gets me.  He understand me more than I understand myself some days (most days), and loves me unconditionally.

~I have three wonderful, healthy children.  They may make me crazy, but they also make me smile more.

~Our business.  While I tend to complain about it, I am thankful for it.  When the phone rings constantly, that means work is coming in and our bills are paid.  It also means we can employ others so they can support their families too. 

~My family, from immediate to far away, life is good because of them.

~Friends, new and old.  Life just wouldn't be the same without them.  Cyber-friends included.

~Church.  It refreshes me, makes me feel I belong, and challenges my thinking in a good way.

~Our garden.  It is a blessing to have more food than weeds growing this year.

~All the little things...from a stranger's smile to a butterfly spreading its wings...I am blessed with more than I can even begin to count.

Life is good!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I tend to hold onto beliefs in my life that in all reality will probably not happen.  Some would call it wishful thinking.  Others would say I am delusional.  I'd like to think it just a serious bout of optimism. 

For starters, I hold onto the the idea that one day, every room in my house will be free of dust and clutter and will be picked up and organized all at the same time.  HGTV will come knocking, wanting to know all of my secrets.  For now, it seems to work on a one room at a time basis.  If the living room is clean, the kitchen is ready to explode.  If one kid's room is uncluttered, another looks like it is bound for the show Hoarders...Buried Alive. 

I will get have a flat belly and still be able to eat chocolate cake whenever I want to.

One day, when my hair AND makeup come out flawless, I will actually run into somebody I know.

My kids will go a whole day without tattling, fighting, or asking to watch tv or play computer.

Another delusion, I mean, happy thought...that my husband and I will retire before we are 60 with enough

money, memory, and life still in us to enjoy it.

All of my pictures will be sorted and put into photo albums. 

I will win the lottery.

My kids will get full scholarships to the college of their choice.

Did I mention my house would be clean? 

Ahhh, gotta go.  My sunset is calling.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pop Quiz

Every now and again, I will give my husband a pop quiz on my life.  This tends to coincide with moments where I am feeling that he has "no idea who I really am" and generally in a pissed off mood.  He's a smart guy though and tends not to be baited quite so easily.

This morning he surprised me by giving me a pop quiz.  Our son recently did a project on Gladiators and my husband mentioned that the movie with Russell Crowe was his second favorite movie ever.  Ever so innocently, he asked, "You know what my favorite movie is, right?"

Uhhhh...I should know this.  But I didn't.  I blurted out "Tommy Boy?" because I can remember him laughing way too hard over that one.  Like, rediculously, is this my husband, crying with tears laughter.

"Uh, NO!"

I thought for a few seconds and could not come up with anything. 

"The Rock," he finally told me.  Really?  I remember that being a good movie, but I had no idea it was his favorite.  What kind of wife am I?

So of course to knock him off his pedestal of superiority, I gave him a pop quiz in return:

What's MY favorite movie? 

"When Harry Met Sally!" my 12-year old yelled out before my husband could answer.  I was impressed!

Who's my favorite singer?  (Way too easy, but I wanted to boost his confidence before I tore him apart).

"Duh, Jack Johnson."  (Well, seeing as I always have his music on, he'd better know that one).

Who's the only other man besides you who made me weak in the knees? 

"Oh, I know this.  It's that guy.  That crooner guy.  The one we saw in Pittsburgh on opening night of the NFL season.  Oh shoot...Carey?  Oh, what's his name? "

Harry Connick, Jr? 

"Yeah HIM!" 

Damn, he was right.  He did a little celebratory dance.  The one I normally get to do while I explain how he needs to listen to me better.

I've always hated pop quizzes.  Even more, I hate being wrong.

Even more, I hate when my husband is right.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rules all kids should know about Mom

1.  If Mom has to help you open your candy, Mom gets the first bite.

2.  When Mom takes you, and only you, out for a slushy, you must finish that slushy before you get home and all evidence must be thoroughly destroyed and hidden (including brushing really good so nobody sees your blue tongue).

3.  When Mom is trying to take a nap on a Saturday afternoon, do not call her name.  Do not stand and stare at her.  Do not pick this moment to decide you need to have a long conversation.

4.  You should only yell to Mom from another room if you are trapped under heavy furniture.  If you are not trapped, you will be expected to walk into the room Mom is in and talk to her.

5.  Never pat Mom's belly and laugh.  Ne-ver.

6.  Flattery does work.

7.  There is a 5 joke limit when telling Knock Knock or Chuck Norris jokes.

8.  Mom does like to have her picture taken once in a while too.  It's nice to think future generations will know we exist.  Just please take them when we have our hair and makeup somewhat done, and not when we are ready for bed. 

9.  You will always make Mom happy if, given the choice, you pick playing outside over video games.

And last but not least

10.  You can never give Mom too many hugs or kisses! 

Monday, April 11, 2011

More than "just a babysitter"

Okay, those who know me know I've worked with children most of my life.  The one true thing I knew I always wanted to do was make a difference to a child.

I've been on every part of the assistant, a camp counselor, a camp director, a substitute teacher, a preschool teacher within a child care center, a Special Instructor in Early Intervention, an in-home child care provider, and a working mom whose children have been in centers and home care.

So, while not trying to brag about my credentials, I do feel very qualified to say this:

Your babysitter?  The one who is your age or older?  Who has been providing care for years, who either has a degree or does trainings to keep up-to-date with the latest trends in early childhood education?  You know who I mean, don't you?  Yes, you do. 

Don't call her that.  The "babysitter."

Believe me, she cringes every time you do.  She's probably even sent home subtle hints (because most providers are truly too kind for confrontation).  Go ahead, open up your child's diaper bag or book bag.  See what's in there.  I'll wait.  What?  Nothing?  Sigh. Go find your child care agreement or handbook that was given to you at the beginning.  Or your tax statement for child care.  I'm pretty sure none of them will say anything about babysitting.

Hmmm, so maybe I am a bit overboard.  Nah, I've known enough providers over the years, and this is one thing mentioned over and over.  Think for a minute.

When you hear the word "babysitter" what comes to mind?  A teenage girl?  Someone who probably does enjoy your kids, but is just as interested in getting them tucked into bed so she can open a soda and text her friends?  Grandma or a neighbor who is happy to help out, but is also content to get their housework done while Nick Jr is on.

And now say this...Child Care Provider.  Kind of brings up a whole different image, huh?

So what's the difference?

A babysitter, in my opinion, is someone doing you a favor once in a while so you can have some free time to enjoy a night out, a night in, or whatever it is you want to do that you don't want to be responsible for kids. 

A child care provider does just that.  Provides care to your child.  Feeds them meals and snacks.  Pays taxes.  Plans activities based on the age of the children in care and what her personal beliefs are for learning (learning through play, structured activities, large motor, small motor, sensory experiences, language development...there's lots of ways to get there, so not all providers will do this the same way).  Some provide more of a "home away from home" experience, while others provide more school readiness, while most combine the best of both worlds!  Not exactly sure what your provider's thoughts are on this?  Ask!!  Believe me, she will love to inform you! 

Bottom line...  Respect.  Sure, it's just a word.  But words hold a lot of power within.

The following was taken from

(This story was not credited.  I do like to give credit where it is due, so if anyone knows the source I'll be happy to add it)
What Do Daycare Providers Make?

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.
One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with children.
He argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided
their best option in life was to become a daycare provider?"

He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about daycare providers:

"Those who can, do. Those who can't, watch kids."  To stress his point he said to another guest,  "You're a babysitter, Susan. Be honest. What do you make?"

 Susan, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied,
"If you really want to know what I make, I will tell you.
 I make kids play harder than they ever thought they could.
I make a completed art project feel like winning the Congressional Medal of Honor.
I make kids share, speak kindly and be accountable for their actions."

"You want to know what I make?

I make kids wonder.
I make them question.
I make them try.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them understand that if you use your brains,
and follow your heart, you can accomplish anything.

I make them know they are important and loved.
I make them know they are special.
I make them know if someone ever tries to judge them by what they make,
they must pay no attention because that person just didn't learn."
Susan paused and then continued.
"You really want to know what I make?"


"What do you make?"

If your provider makes a difference in your child's life, please tell them!  If they don't, you need to start looking for a new provider.  Respect their abilities to help you raise your child.  And whatever you do, don't call them the babysitter.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Substitute

Sometimes it's easy to think that our kids just "go with the flow."  For the most part, my kids aren't big into set routines.  Sure, we sort of do the same things most days at approximately the same times.  But if things change on a whim, they are generally okay with it.

Or so I thought.

Last night, my kindergartener got out of bed.  I was saying goodnight to her brother when she gave me a startle standing at the bottom of the stairs in the dark.

Me:  What's wrong?  (thinking, oh no...flu? fever? sore throat?)

A:  I can't go to school tomorrow.  My belly hurts.  (Cue the tears)

Me:  Why does your belly hurt?  Are you okay?  (Oh crap, it's the flu)

A:  Mrs. B is not going to be at school tomorrow.  We are having a substitute.  (crying starts in earnest)

Me:  Uhhhhh....

A:  So I can' school.  Tomorrow.  Because of the sub.

Me:  (walking her back to bed) Well let's think about this.   I bet Mrs. B would be sad to hear how sad you are.  Do you know who the substitute will be?

A:  Yes, he's very nice.

Me:  Well then there's nothing to worry about!

A:  Uh-huh!  He's not Mrs. B.  He doesn't do things like she does.

Me:  Well, that's kind of like when Mommy's not home and you are here with Daddy.  Daddy does things much differently than Mommy does.  But you still have fun with him.

A:  Well, I'm not going to school.

Me:  But Mrs. B counts on kids like you who know the rules.  You can help the substitute if he needs it. 

A:  (red, puffy face...done talking to me).

Me:  So let's get a good night's sleep so you can be ready for tomorrow.  Here's a biiigggg hug.  I love you, and I know you can handle this.  

A:  But I hate subs.

Me:  I understand.  But sometimes we have to do things even when we don't want to.  (Good Lord, how does my mother channel herself like that?)

Next morning....she's still pretty insistant that she can't go to school.  I'm stilll pretty insistent that she can.  I even try to tell her stories of when I used to sub in classrooms, but she wasn't interested in the least, so I am guessing anyone reading this won't be either.  I kept expecting a call from the nurst though, telling me to come get my "sick" child.

Fast foward to getting off the bus:  Mom!!  Guess what?  Today was a great day!  We had so much fun.  It was one of the best days.  We got to paint.  We made eggs and frogs. I can't wait to show you!

That's my girl.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Treehouse project

For years my husband has talked about wanting to build the kids a treehouse.  We both grew up near lots of woods, so we always felt that was one thing our kids were missing out on in life.  A treehouse in the backyard seemed like a close runner-up.

Of course, with most things in life, life itself gets in the way.  We always seemed to be either short on time or finances.  Or quite simply, we felt we couldn't give our kids a treehouse that was "special enough."

A few weeks ago, I opened the April/May issue of Country and the editor had written his thoughts on video games preparing kids for modern life vs kids who played in treehouses.  As he (Robin Hoffman) puts it, a treehouse "...was a wonderful place to ponder the future while fending off marauding pirates (my sister)..."

I felt like God was saying, "Share this with Frank!"  It was the sheer, simple thought of having a place our kids could escape to that would encourage imagination, not a pre-built perfect house with running water and electricity as some we have seen (that probably cost more than my mini-van).

As we were at a baseball game this weekend, we watched our two younger children (ages 8 and 5) playing on the bleachers and creating their own environment with the benches.  So little wood.  So much imagination.

This morning, our 8 year old casually said to his dad, "Sure would be a great day to build a treehouse, huh?"

Home Depot, here they come!

They worked most of the afternoon to get it started.  It still needs walls and a roof.   It still needs a ladder.  A door and possibly a window would be nice too.  But even if it's no more than a floor in the tree, they will love it and they will always remember their daddy building this for them. 

Memories in the making.  In a treehouse yet.  Who needs video games?

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Last night, we let our 12 year old spend the night with 3 of his cousins.  His 17 year old cousin recently got his license and they were eager to go out without parents.  I know some people would think we are crazy, but when you trust your kids, you give them a little "room to grow".  Were we nervous?  Sure.  But I get nervous anytime my kids are with anyone but me.  We had the long talk of expectations, being respectful, etc.  Basically, the bottom line was, If you blow this chance to prove you can handle this, don't expect the freedom again.

The line-up for the night consisted of them going to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 and then McDonald's.   Of course they posted on FB how much fun they were having, so we were able to "check in" without them realizing.

When D was dropped off this morning at home, he immediately started to tell me how that was the best Friday night of his life!  He went on to say how it was so cool to be out without grownups telling them what to do.  AND that they could really do anything without us EVER knowing.

Then he proceeds to say, "So do you want to know exactly what we did??"  I got the play by play action for the night, he got his freedom, and I do feel confident that in his excitement over being free, I know everything they did (complete with cousin getting lost and backing into a pole).

I just hope he keeps me inadvertantly in the loop for years to come.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Oh Mother Nature, what a cruel joke to play

April Fool's! 

I was really hoping to come up with some good jokes to play on my kids today.  In past years, I'd convinced my oldest son (then about 4, I guess) that because it had been a leap year nobody got to celebrate birthdays and he would have to stay 4 another whole year.  That sounds kind of mean I realize now, but he was always a "smart" kid and he had a good laugh when I called him out as an April Fool.  Plus, his birthday wasn't even till August, so I'm sure his little brain was working out a plan to still have a party. 

Mother Nature is playing quite a trick on most of us.  SNOW!  There are reasons that I was happy to move away from upstate NY, and having snow from October till Mother's Day was one very good one. 

Granted, we barely have the grass covered here.  But it's still a very wet, thick snow.  I slipped my way to the van to drive my son to his bus stop.  Then I slid walking my other son to his.  Guess I shouldn't have packed the boots away quite yet. 

I stopped to check on my flowers.  Now, if Mother Nature knew me at all, she would know that I need all the help I can get in growing flowers.  Even the ones that come up year after year have a way of spiting me by either not budding or getting choked to death by weeds before I can save them.  This morning, I do believe my crocuses croaked. 

So, dear Mother Nature...please send Spring our way soon.  I'd like to try to make the world a more beautiful place to live, but I don't really know what to do with frozen flowers.  And realistically, if it's going to be so cold, I won't be out worrying too much about them.  And I hate being an April Fool. 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Irritable Mommy Syndrome

First, let me start by clarifying that I love my children.  I actually have very few complaints about them, other than the typical attitude, eye-rolling, shoving dirty underwear under the bed instead of into the hamper kind of things.

So why is it than when my children get super silly, it drives me crazy?  I'm not talking a few knock-knock jokes silly.  I mean full out, screeching, giddy, can' t finish a sentence because they are laughing so hard silly.  Most times, I will join in.  I've even been known to instigate the craziness or egg it on.  But nights when I have IMS, I say things like, "Are you kidding me?  Do I need to seperate you?" 

"But Mom, we aren't doing anything (screeeeeaaaaaaammmmmm) wrong!"  giggle giggle giggle

Sigh.  I know.  I need to enjoy these days while I have them.  And I need to be thankful that my kids actually like each other (at least most of the time).  I need an outlet for that IMS.

I think I'll go sit in time-out for a while and do some thinking.  Maybe read a magazine.  Take a bubble bath.
Relax, calm down.

Then maybe I'll be ready to start a tickle monster fight.  And I'll tell my kids, "If you don't stop laughing, I'll give you something to laugh about!"  giggle giggle....screeeeaaaammmmm!!!