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Friday, October 24, 2014

Five on Friday: Ways I'm Attempting to Keep My Family Healthy This Winter

Summer's over and the kids are indoors more and germs are rampant. Here are somethings we do around here to try to keep them healthy:

1. Vitamins and elderberry syrup every morning. Occasional gelatin "flu shots" from this recipe on the Farmer's Almanac ( http://farmersalmanac.com/health/2014/09/29/gelatin-flu-shots/  ). It might not really do anything  but it's pretty much an apple pie jello jiggler so they love it and it can't hurt (it's local honey, local apple cider, cinnamon sticks and fresh ginger in jello form)

2. Speaking of vitamins, in the winter I add chewable vitamin D for the kids since it's so good for flu-fighting and they aren't out getting it naturally from the sun as much as they were in the summer. Lots of fruits and veggies even though they're not as fresh and abundant as they were all summer.

3. Vigilance in hand washing, particularly before eating, even just snacks.

4. Soaking toothbrushes in boiling water for a few minutes about once a week. Also remembering to clean light switches and toilet handles.

5. Lastly but most importantly: Never, ever, EVER mention how rarely the kids get sick. Actually, forget I even wrote that.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Five on Friday: The Shocking Pictures They Don't Want You to See!

I've had fun all week taking over the Official Nick Mom Instagram Page http://instagram.com/officialnickmom?modal=true

They asked me to send them pictures from one day in my life, but they didn't say how many.

I sent fourteen. They chose what they wanted to share and thought the public would never be able to see the forgotten photos from my last Thursday. But I was granted top-secret access to my own iPhoto library and will share with the public those pictures that THEY didn't want you to see.

A shocking Five on Friday photo spread. Remember, you saw it here first:

1.  My four year old and I like to lunch like we're at a cocktail party.

2. I I think this look says "I forget to make sure my scarf is covering my shirt stains" as well as "I have a preschooler that makes me banana necklaces and takes a really long time to buckle up."

3. They're hooooome! This is what the counter looks like when you don't let four kids buy lunch.

 4. The rest of homework and lunch packing will have to wait until after soccer


5. Kids, your Mom is crazy.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Five on Friday: Five Great Things About My Oldest Daughter

B is fourteen today! I had a different Five on Friday lined up but it felt wrong to not post something celebrating this great kid. Here are some memories from her childhood thus far that really make me smile:

1. That time she started sleeping through the night at three months old and never, ever woke me up since. #bestbabyever
2. In second grade she had to come up with a list of compound words and rocked it with fireman, doghouse and (our personal favorite) whatthe.
3. Winning the school spelling bee in fifth grade, beating out all the sixth, seventh and eight graders.
4. The time we won tickets to see "How to Succeed in Business Without Even Trying" on Broadway starring Daniel Radcliffe and John Laroquette. Not only was the Mommy-Daughter date wonderful, the show was amazing and we even got a great photograph of Daniel Radcliffe on his way into the theatre (for my huge Harry Potter fan, that was just the icing on the cake).

5. When she got to be "Tinkerbell" in Peter Pan. The look of joy and excitement on her face each time she flew across the stage made everyone in the audience smile.

Happy Birthday B! I sort of wish I was fourteen, too, so we could be friends. But I'm really proud to be your Mom. I love you!

A snapshot of a fantastic person in her natural habitat on her last day of being thirteen.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Five on Friday: Kids These Days

As in, these five kids these past five (or so) days. Here are the top five things they've been doing to cause me either joy or agita. From oldest to youngest, here we go:

1.  B has been a creative powerhouse lately! Recently she lugged my sewing machine up to her room and has been making clothes for herself and lot of other people too. Getting back into knitting as well and made me a super cute and comfy scarf.

2. G never wants to go anywhere or do anything so I have to force him and then he has fun. Last time I told him to go to the school dance, he hung out with his friends, ate snacks, generally had a great time. This time I told him he should go and he said he'd rather stay home and read books. Knowing that he'd have fun if he goes (especially since one of his good friends that he never gets to see at school anymore will be there), I said, "Um. No." So he made this hat. Tonight should be interesting.

3. E is rocking the schoolwork this year. Math and spelling were both a bit of a challenge to him last year but it seems like something is really starting to click for him and I'm so happy, proud and relieved.

4. Z bought school lunch yesterday (they each buy once a month just for the novelty of it). I asked how the hot dog was, he said good, I asked if he had ketchup and he stared me straight in the eye and said, "You already know the answer." When I tried to repeat the scenario for my other kids (because I thought it was so funny) he watched me and said, "HEY! I didn't blink when I said it!" This kid takes his ketchup a little too seriously.

5. A has been crying at preschool drop off for however many seconds it takes for me to get out of sight (I know this because I hide around the corner and listen). We were almost to school the other day when she asked if I'd put her music on. I told her I'd make a deal with her and put her music on on the way home if she could try to be brave and not such a crying freakout when I said goodbye. Without missing a beat she said, "Actually, I like your music." (And a minute later, sounding quite satisfied with herself, said, "That mean I get to cry!!") Stinker.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Rocket Math

So, uh . . . you got kids?
Do they go to school?
Are they old enough to have homework? Do they have . . . Rocket Math? Or  Mad Minutes? Or some other kind of name that attempts to disguise a timed (read: stressful for some kids) at-home math test as a super fun game??

If so, you know that Rocket Math means homework for you, too. Two minutes doesn't sound that long but when you're helping multiple kids with homework while trying to cook dinner and get them ready for soccer, it can be a tight squeeze. If it wasn't every single night I wouldn't mind as much.  And I guess when it comes down to it, I'm not the biggest fan of homework anyway, especially for my younger kids. They work hard all day, as made evident by all the papers coming home and how tired my first grader is. After school I really want them to just play, chill, read and generally enjoy themselves.

As I helped my third grader with his Rocket Math last week, I started getting a little punchy and belting out "Rocket Ma-aaa-aath!" to the tune of Elton John's "Rocket Man." Naturally I had to then write lyrics for the entire song (see also: trying to juggle five kids, cook dinner, get ready for soccer. No time for helping with homework but plenty of time for rewriting lyrics. Hey, I know my strengths.)

So if you are an occasionally frustrated homework helper or a homework-doer yourself, cue up this karaoke version of "Rocket Man" and sing along! I'm particularly fond of the last verse, written with some help from my 13 year old.


Mom unpacked my bag last night, after school
Zero hour, four pm
But I wanted to fly my kite right then

I miss my yard so much, I miss my life
Summer was so great
It was such a stress-less time

And I think it’s gonna take a long, long time
To get my homework done so I can find
Time to hang out with my friends and play
Oh no, no, no  . . .
No more rocket math

Rocket Math 

Two minutes never seemed so very long

Math ain’t the kind of thing to teach your kids
In fact, it’s dull as hell
And there’s a calculator on my phone---- anyway
And all this science I don’t understand
It’s just my class five days a week

No rocket math, no rocket math . . . 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Five On Friday: Memorable Prizes I've Won

 In honor of winning the Liebster Award this week, I decided for today's Five on Friday list I'd tell you about some other memorable prizes I've won.

1. Pre-kids Daddy-O and I went to a restaurant/brewery on Halloween dressed as Cruella DeVille and a dalmatian pup. We won a nice gift certificate to go back there to eat sans the costumes.

2. Okay. I didn't win this one, not really...but I was in a very small rinky-dink talent show when I was very young, maybe about five years old. I had a very large stuffed dog and sang my heart out to "Dumb Dog" from the movie "Annie." Everyone loved me but I didn't win. So many people came up to my mom telling her that I should have won that my Mom made me a badge saying "People's Choice." So I didn't really win that one, but it was pretty memorable.

3. Several years ago at the high school tricky tray I kept winning all sorts of stuff. I don't remember all of it but I do remember one of the prizes was a SpongeBob skateboard with matching helmet and elbow pads. I didn't have any kids with me and it was at the height of SpongeBob-mania so all the kids that WERE there were staring at me with jealous disdain.

4. A gift card I don't remember entering to win at last year's Foster and Adoptive Families holiday party. I love me a good gift card.

5. I entered a talent contest and was one of the winners. Our prize was the opportunity to be on television for a local cable company's "Free Disney Channel" weekend. I got my lines that morning, aced them and then flubbed the actual tape. I'm going to share the awful video here but I promise it's going to hurt you more than it hurts me:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Liebster Award

You guys--I have been nominated for an award! I have never heard of it before and didn't know a thing about it . . . so I'm pretty sure its kind of a big deal.

It's called the Liebster* Award and it's a way for bloggers to acknowledge other blogs that they enjoy and help share them with new readers.

Back when people kept encouraging me to start a blog of my own, I would say "but I'm not a blog reader so I'm not sure I'd be a good blog writer." I did finally bite the bullet and realized immediately the benefits of starting to follow other blogs, too. As a stay at/work from home Mom, I haven't had co-workers (read: adults to talk to throughout the day) in years. I've therefore always had lots of online interaction with other people (mainly Moms) to help me get through my days. Once I started the blog and began finding other people's blogs, it opened up new contacts for me, other people creatively sharing with the world the things that are most important to them. On a daily basis I laugh and cry with them and get some damned good recipe ideas, too.

One of these blogs that I've just discovered and enjoy is called Life with the Bearded J's. And apparently she also likes me, she really likes me! She even nominated me for this award! Thank you! But I have to work for it by answering these questions and then making up my own questions for my choice of nominees. So here goes:

1. What's your favorite past-time, aside from blogging? I really enjoy performing. I’ve come to the realization that although musicals were fun for me for a long time, it’s not the kind of performance I want to do now. I love having opportunities to read my rape survival story for college and high school students either on my own or with my Social Justice Theatre Company (https://www.facebook.com/MetaTheatreCompany). On the flip side, I love comedy and am really proud of my humor piece I read in North Jersey’s Listen To Your Mother performance last May (watch it here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndOhjnB4QF4&list=PL5oPQWgVdsDmHlweem4mx3NpQGURcbWEw&index=12) I’ve been realizing lately that I'd love to do be in a comedy improv troupe.

2. If you could turn back the hands of time and do one thing in life differently what would it be and why? I’ve done the wrong thing sometimes. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve hurt people. I’ve had my own heart broken, my trust breached, my body violated. But as cliché as it sounds, I really do believe I’ve learned from each of my life experiences and they’ve been the building blocks to make me life what it is today—and I love, love, love this life I have. So I wouldn’t change a thing. (You know when the clichés start coming true you're comfortably into being middle-aged. Ouch.)

 3. What is your main goal you would like to accomplish with your blog?     When I first started, I had no ever loving idea.  I’d always liked writing, had a lot to say and many people encouraged me to start a blog. I responded to a call for submissions for adoption-related stories and had my essay shared on the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/08/adoption-portrait-foster-adoption_n_2432547.html?page=2) and that was the impetus I needed to go ahead and try blogging.

Once I got started, several interesting performance opportunities began to crop up making me realize  (again) how much I really enjoy performing and want to do more of it. So now I consider the blog a place to see which writing people respond to most and hopefully use it as a platform for future performances.

 4. If you could have lunch with one person,  dead or alive, who would it be and why?  Hands down, my Grandmother, Babci, who was  the most influential person in my life and died last year at the age of 97. She was so strong, sassy, clever and hysterical. I’d like to sit in her kitchen where we could take turns fussing over each other, telling old stories, talking about the babies, sharing pickles and mugs of instant coffee, just like we had done a hundred times before. Thirty-nine years of having her in my life just didn’t seem like enough.

 5.  What inspires you to write?  There have been a few times I have asked myself that same question, or, more specifically, why do I bother? And then someone sends me a message, letting me know they’re also a survivor or they’re a foster/adoptive parent that can relate or that they get a laugh every day reading my Facebook page and it makes me feel so satisfied. So I guess I’m inspired by the fact that other people get something out of it. 

 6. What is your blogging routine? (How do you go about creating a new blog entry from start to finish?) I try to jot down ideas as soon after they come to me as possible because I know better than to think I’ll remember them later. I jog 3-5 times a week and do most of my writing in my head as am I’m jogging. Finding the time to sit down and make it work on paper (er, computer screen) can be a challenge but when something comes out the way I visualized it, it is very gratifying.

 7. What is one thing you want the blogging community to know about you? Every absurd or witty or impossible sounding thing I say we/the kids do? All true. We’re just that wacky.

 8. What is your fondest child hood memory? I might occasionally forget things like the fact that I’ve had my gallbladder removed or how old I am but somehow I remember a LOT from my childhood. Also I’m terrible at picking favorites of anything: colors, food, children. So this is hard for me. I’ll say it’d be a big collective memory of so many happy times spent outside playing alone or with sisters or neighbors in our big backyard with playhouse, swingset, stream and even a pony. Pretty magical, really, and something I hope I've replicated for my kids.

 9. If you were not doing what you do everyday (doing the same thing is not an option) what would you be doing? (for work or for fun) Refer back to question #1. If I could make my favorite past time my job, I might be even happier than I am now. And I'm already pretty damn happy.

 10. Describe your first *real* date, the one with no chaperones! I’m not sure I remember it, says Ms. “I remember a lot of my childhood!” I do remember my first real date though where a boy I didn’t know all that well but thought was very cute asked for my number and then called and asked me to the movies. It’s true his parents drove us but they went to a different show so we were alone (gasp!) for the movie. I mostly remember his Mom’s faux fur coat with a Mickey Mouse design on it.

So now it's my turn to nominate other blogs and come up with my own list of questions! Here are some of my own personal favorites, take a minute to check them out:  
Written by my real life friend since High School, Kimberly, who has taught me a lot about blogging networking
Found via Kimberly!
Another LTYM cast member but from another city
A real-life friend from my semester in Spain who apparently recently surpassed 1,000 followers but since she and I have a history of being rule breakers together I am going to go ahead and nominate her (supposed to be blogs with less than 1000 followers)
One of my online friends with lots of great ideas

The Official Rules of the Liebster Award

 If you have been nominated for the Liebster Award and choose to accept it, you must write a blog post about it in which you:
1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
3. Answer 10 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. Nominate 5 – 10 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers.
6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
8. Inform the people that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it.

My Questions for You
1. Where is one place you'd really like to travel to before you die?
2. Do you run blog posts past anyone for feedback before sharing? Sometimes? All the times? Who is it?
3. What do you do just for yourself on a daily or weekly basis?
4. Favorite blog post of your own? (link please)
5. Favorite blog post of someone else? (ditto, if you still have it)
6. Would you like my autograph? Okay just kidding/getting punchy over here. Coming up with questions is harder than I thought. How about: who is the most famous person you've ever met/gotten an autograph from?
7. Is there a food you used to hate but now love? What is it?
8.  What is something that surprises you about your life as an adult?
9.  How is your blog different than you thought it would be?
10. Favorite guilty pleasure?

*The word “liebster” is of German origins and it has several definitions: dearest, sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, welcome, sweetheart and boyfriend, being among them. Some describe this award as a daisy chain. You get nominated for the award and if you choose to accept, you get to nominate additional bloggers for the award. You answer their questions, the new bloggers nominated answer yours, and so the chain of happiness continues to grow and expand. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Five On Friday: Best Fan Feedback

 Why do I blog? At first I really wasn't sure, so many people encouraged me to do start one I just thought I'd give it a go. Now I use it as a platform for discussing so much that's important to me and also get to share with the world (well, five hundred and something of you anyway) all the great, funny and poignant things my kids do.

Once in awhile I really wonder why I keep at it and then I get a message from a follower that makes me feel good about my writing. Here are my favorites:

1. This is hard for me--but I wanted to thank you for being one of the strong ones.
2.  I was a kid . . . and I can't talk about this shit. But I heal through your words, because you are being the adult I needed. And every time you talk about that stuff, I heal more.

3. I love reading everything you write. You are now on my mind frequently! And I so enjoy your helpful creative mom stuff.

4. I just had to write and say that I have no children but I find myself everyday laughing at your page. You make me smile and I look forward to your posts......this kinda sounds creepy but I mean it genuinely. I appreciate your talent of writing....yup sounds creepy....anyway, look forward to your five on friday next week!

5.  I LOVE your blog! I just love it. It's so funny. Every day when I see there's something new, I'm so happy because it always makes me laugh. Your kids are just so funny. I mean, I have my kids, but you know, they're not as crazy as yours.