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Showing posts from 2016

My LTYM Experience or How I Accidentally Ended Up On A Stage

The final chapter of my participation in the Listen To Your Mother Show ended with our live performances. I turned 39 on May 3rd and on May 7th, I was on a stage at the beautiful South Orange Performing Arts Center with 12 other souls  (as well as our incredible producers, Sandy, Brooke and Deborah) that handily out-shined the beauty of the space. It all still feels as if it may have been a dream. A very gratifying, emotional dream.

It ended the same way it began, with my worrying about clothes. Before our first rehearsal, I was stressing out knowing that the next morning, I would be meeting a room full of strangers. Not only that, I would be taking a cast picture with these strangers and reading a story of the worst moments of my life. It seemed like too much to be vulnerable about my story and about my precarious self-esteem at the same time.

Despite all of that, I got into my car on a Saturday morning, armed with coffee and the soundtrack to "Hamilton." Clad in the pink a…

White Girl Talking

The news lately has swirled with stories of division, hate, fear and exclusion. From the stories that made national news in my own little town, to the stories that made national news for their heartbreaking disregard for human life, it all certainly gives way to a lot of talking.

I had a conversation with someone today about a YouTube video he had seen. In the video, an African-America.n gentleman told his story of an encounter with police that remained un-contentious (is that even a word?) and peaceful. He conveyed that the reason for this was because he was respectful and cooperative. Which, of course, is more than likely true. His tale seemed to say "If it happened to me, it can happen to you. Just behave."

Of course, in 99% of the cases, this is true. I know that most people have positive interactions with law enforcement, no matter how they feel about getting a speeding ticket or being caught without car insurance. Things almost always go a little easier when every acts…

Today, I am...

Today, I am...
...happy. We had a weekend full of friends and family and celebration and playground time and Mr. Softee truck treats. I tucked my son into bed tonight, worn-out and full of the stories of all he did this weekend (a weekend that was extended by a day off today!). Even better, he fell asleep the second his head hit the pillow. Winning. 

...weird. I have been away from writing for a while now as I learn to navigate going back to work. It's been about four months, and while I love my new job and am thankful for this new opportunity, I am still learning to juggle All Of The Things. God bless the mamas who go back to work full time and have more than one child. Or any woman who works full time and has a full life outside of her work as well, for that matter. I am pretty certain that level of life management is just not in my skill set. Still, I have missed writing, missed this outlet, missed being creative. I am rusty (hence this lame post), but hoping to become shiny ag…

The New Face of #Xfinity

{sponsored post}

So, real talk, peeps.

Comcast has not been known for spreading happiness. If I talked to my friends about Comcast, I often heard tales of poor customer service- the kind of poor service that has reached internet meme status.

Often it can seem like those kinds of complaints reach deaf ears. But, guess what? Comcast heard you, and Comcast has made changes that will blow your mind in the best possible way!

When I first got the call to join the #XfinityMoms for a presentation at the Comcast Xfinity Store in Willow Grove, PA...well, I almost RSVPed "no." My experience with Comcast stores was kind of bleak. Long lines, bullet-proof glass, and cranky staff. Thankfully, I was highly impressed with the first change I saw Comcast had made- I arrived at a sleek, gorgeous, welcoming store where a cute guy named Maurice held the door open to welcome me!

I glanced around the store and saw all of the amazing options #XfinityHome has to offer. It was, frankly, pretty cool! …

Thoughts On Autism {re-purposed}

Originally posted April 2014

Today is April 2nd, World Autism Awareness Day, and it is Autism Awareness Month.

The month begins on the heels of news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that Autism is on the rise. 1 in 68 children in the areas followed by the CDC are identified as having an Autism Spectrum Disorder, up from 1 in 88 just a few years ago. In New Jersey, the numbers are far higher then the national average at 1 in 45. 

You can view a summary of the latest CDC report here, but there are two points of the report that stood out to me:
Less than half (44%) of children identified with ASD were evaluated for developmental concerns by the time they were 3 years old.Most children identified with ASD were not diagnosed until after age 4, even though children can be diagnosed as early as age 2.Content source: National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
PJ was diagnosed with Autism shortly after his second birthday. Pete and I had already utilized an e…

Autism Awareness Life

I was out for a walk with PJ last night, thinking about a million things while he rode on his scooter ahead of me. His blonde hair was sticking out of the top of his helmet as he scooted along. We are coming up into my favorite time of year, when there is enough light and warmth for a walk after dinner.



One thought was that is was March 31st, and that the next day would be the start of Autism Awareness Month. I watched PJ riding along and thought about how, at this time last year, he didn't have the motor skills to ride a scooter. Foot planted, using other leg to push, steering; it was all too hard for him to do. PJ's scooter skills still need some work, but he happily moved himself along as fast as his legs would go, straightening himself when he stumbled. Not only that, but this year, his new-found scooter skills were accompanied by his telling me "Mommy, I can ride my scooter! Mommy, I can DO it! I can do it by myself!"

That's new, too.

It's a little diffic…

Me, Version 4.0

So, it's been a month.

I know, I know. Every time I have a lull from my blog, I think about how bad it is for my mental health. Writing has always been the thing that soothes my soul, and an absence from my favorite form of therapy just is not good for me.

It's been kind of a crazy month, full of distractions and changes for my little family and I. The biggest change is that I have gone back to work.

In my past life, I was a workaholic. I often worked 10-15 hour days, seven days a week. I would juggle two jobs with the rest of my life and I thrived on it. I liked being busy, I liked being productive, and I liked making my own money. It made me feel competent and womanly, somehow, to keep all of those balls in the air.

Ha, ha. I used "womanly" and "balls" in the same sentence. But I digress.

I was a workaholic (V. 1.0), then a wife (V. 2.0). Then I was a mama (V. 3.0), and the mamahood took over. It was not an easy decision for me to stay home with PJ, but i…

Maybe I'm An A-Hole, But I'll Pass On The Pity Date

Do not hate me for this one, guys.

It would seem that "Prom-posals" are the new thing. It's when one teen asks another to prom, but makes it an event. Balloon bouquets, flash-mobs, celeb cameos, flower arrangements- some of these put my actual marriage proposal to shame, much less my awkward heywannagotoprom conversation I had with the guy I was dating my senior year.

It just occurred to me that I should dig up one of my prom pictures. {shudder}

Anyway, back to proms. These extravagant invites have become the stuff of YouTube videos everywhere and, even thought I think the way these have become over-the-top is kind of insane, I'm totally along for the ride. Roses in math class? A flock of minstrels from the glee club to serenade a prom hopeful? I will watch the shit out of that. I think the romanticism is sweet.

At some point, I start to think about PJ as a prom-goer. Right now, while he's in kindergarten, it's hard to know if that's in the cards for him.…

Announcements! Announcements!

The past few weeks have been kind of complicated. It's been a busy time for my little family, and things have been emotional, exciting, busy and amazing. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but I am really, really happy to share some of the ups!

I am absolutely thrilled to share that I will be joining the North Jersey cast of the Listen To Your Mother Show. Listen To Your Mother is a live, spoken word show, showcasing readings of essays written about the amazing experience of motherhood from the perspective of parents, children, siblings and friends. This show has been a writing goal of mine for a while. The first year I heard about it, I chickened out of auditioning. The second, I didn't make the cast. So when I got a phone call from one of the directors, I was expecting another kind rejection. Instead, I found myself jumping up and down in my friend Amy's kitchen while I made squeeing noises! I could not feel more lucky, more blessed, or more in awe that I will get to…

Hopeful Reincarnation

Please stop by Caitlyn Chrystler Dodge and check out my post on keeping your car kid-safe! Everything from car seat installation, proper seat belt use, and putting down your phone can make your vehicle as safe as possible for your little passengers!  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
{stream of consciousness}

It's Sunday. It's the official first day of a new week, although Monday is generally where the action is. Sunday feels like the day before you give birth; you nest and prepare and think about the future and rest. Monday? Well, that's the day you're shoved into the cold, bright world to sink or swim.

Monday has always been something of a day of hopeful reincarnation for me. It's the day I try to reinvent myself. I suppose I could start a new habit on a random Wednesday, but Monday seems so fresh and new start-y somehow. New parenting technique? We'll get started on Monday. Finally going to start meal planning? First dinner served on Mo…

The Brief, Easy Moments

I'm guest posting at Reedman Toll Chevrolet this week! Check out the latest in my Road Tripping series and consider taking a drive to Shawnee Mountain in the Poconos!   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Raising little people is hard.

Don't get me wrong, it is the best job I have ever had, but holy moly. It is hard. Making sure he eats and sleeps, the right things and enough. Keeping his body safe. Trying to help him grow into a kind person. Teaching him to tie his shoes and look both ways and keep his hands to himself and Jesus, dude! Please be gentle with the cat! Being the decision-maker is difficult enough when picking a book or a restaurant. When you are making decisions about another human, another human who is your flesh and your blood and your heart? Hooooo, boy.

Still, every now and then, the stars align and the decisions are easy. On a day that therapy was cancelled, we found ourselves out front. A moment on the swing, on a warm day, lead to …

PJ's Belated Birthday Bash!

Because it makes total sense, we finally celebrated PJ's November birthday with a school-friend party on a chilly January morning.

It actually does make sense. Late-November birthdays come at a chaotic time of year, particularly if you are a child with parents of mixed religion. PJ's birthday was actually on Thanksgiving this year, followed in rapid succession by (in chronological order) a week of half days at school, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Winter Break from school. It's a chaotic time and sometimes, it's a struggle for PJ to keep it together. So rather than try to squeeze a birthday party into all of that, we made the decision to postpone it until after the holidays. We figured the kids wouldn't care about timing so much as they would the chance to run around and eat pizza and cake. 
We were unhappy with PJ's trampoline party last year, so I poured over finding the perfect spot. We finally settled on a parkour party at The Movement Lab in Hainsport, NJ. I kn…

L'Oreal was right! I am worth it...right?

Spreading my wings as a writer has been a labor of love. It's sometimes scary to face possible rejection (and I get plenty of it!) but the idea of sharing my words and art keeps me going. It's also safe- I am behind the paper and computer screen and even when everyone can see my insides, nobody can see my outsides. Except when the publications you write for ask for a head shot to use with your bio. That'll thwart your plans for sure.

I had been using a selfie I took in our bathroom. It was snapped after a night out with my friend Mary Beth and her husband. The humidity left my hair in curls and days at the pool with PJ left my skin tanned (I know, I know. The sun is bad, m'kay?). I saw adequate when I looked in the mirror, and knowing that I needed a "head shot" for a piece that had been accepted to an online magazine, I snapped the selfie. 
As writing opportunities have come my way, I have trotted out that selfie for any bios that I needed to turn in. I wou…

Mastering the Group Picture

Did you see my guest post for Reedman Toll Auto World? Even though the holidays are over, it is not too late to spoil your vehicle with some brand-new goodies!Click here to stop by and  check out my list of the seven things your four-wheeled baby needs!  ***************************************************
We are three days into the New Year, and I find myself still reflecting on the last one. 2015 was a full year for us- full of adventure and happiness, full of challenges and obstacles and, of course, with smidgens of the usual hardship and sadness that a year in any human life brings. We grew and stretched in all the ways we should.

For PJ, 2015 was  a complicated year. School, in particular, has been both his greatest achievement and most fervent nemesis. While his academic skills have increased in leaps and bounds, his behavior has remained a challenge. Some of it is the program, and some of it are the limited verbal, social and coping skills PJ himself brings to the table. He is a c…

My Happiness Is My Responsibility

Happy New Year, everyone!

Today was a relaxing day. PJ and I stayed in our pajamas all day as we puttered around the house, playing with trains, watching tv, and breaking a New Year's Resolution (ahem...Diet Coke). I finally gave in and turned on the heat now that Mother Nature seems to promise a sustained dip into cold weather, and I'm trying to make peace with the fact that there are only two days of vacation left. I have loved these lazy mornings with my best Guy.

I was looking at Facebook this morning, scrolling through everyone's New Year's Eve pictures and good wishes, when I happened upon a video of Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter, and her mother. I had skipped over the video a few times before; I once read a description of the Smith children (Jaden and Willow) that categorized them as "charmingly bizarre" so I disregarded the video as something that would not hold my interest. Today, I clicked on it:




I was surprised to feel such a powerful connection…