mommy&everything

trying to find myself and humor in life

Throw Back Post…2013

Wow the things that you find in your blog “drafts”. Since I am ever-so-slowly working my way back into blogging, I thought it would be fun to peruse the 74 “drafts” I had sitting in my draft folder.

Holy Crap – 74???!!

Some of the drafts were just titles, back when I was a regular blogger, I would always start a post with the title. Once I had the title, the rest just fell into place. Now, 4 years later, I am lucky to even come up with a thought, let alone a title.

At the bottom of my drafts there were some posts with no titles and that is where I found this. I can remember this day like it was yesterday and the emotions are all still fresh. I can’t believe I never posted it.

Well better late than never. Ladies and gentlemen I bring you Nic’s TB post circa 2013….

Sometimes being a mom isn’t so bad

My son Jake was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder about 21/2 years ago. Since is diagnosis in January 2011, the  has been a roller coaster ride of emotions and “stuff” .

Jake has really good days, really bad days and everything in between. However, through it all, he has put on a brave face and is almost always smiling (unless he is angry). When he is truly happy there is nothing more beautiful than his big, blue eyes looking back at you.

The last couple weeks I have been in an “ASD SUCKS” kinda mood. I know… it can be so much worse; I should be thankful Jake is doing so well;  there are so many others that are worse off yada yada yada. Still, when it is your kid and you have to watch him/her struggle daily it doesn’t matter  – it just sucks.

This past weekend, however, was A-Mazing with J. It started last Friday when J’s school hosted a talent show. J attends a school for kids with special needs so I was really not expecting much from a talent show.

Jake’s teacher, the beloved Miss Heidi, had mentioned that she had worked with the class for weeks on a routine but kept it a secret. All we were told was that the kids should wear black pants and a white shirt.

The morning of the show, I asked J what he was performing in school. He gave me a shy smile and did some hand motions that made no sense to me at all. Ok, whatever I thought as I got him ready for the bus.

I arrived at his school to a packed parking lot and I panicked a little that I was late.  Quickly, I was able to grab 2 seats, my husband was meeting me there, and anxiously waited for the show to start.

The principal handed out programs and under Jake’s class it said  ”My Girl”. Now it all made sense!! Jake is in a class with 5 boys and 1 girl. OMG this is going to be awesome….but will J do it or freak out????

J was act #6 and it felt like FOREVER until his class got on “stage.” Finally I heard the music and in walked Jake and his class.  The boys were wearing top hats and bow ties and the little girl sat in the middle on a bench covered in pink tulle.

This kids took their places and did the entire routine to perfection! I could not believe my baby was doing this in front of a room packed with people – students, teachers and parents!  Never would that happened 2 years ago. To me it was simply a miracle.

After the song was over, the kids took their bow and the room erupted in applause as the teachers shot confetti into the air. They did it – Jake did it!

I don’t think I will ever be able to describe the feelings I had when Jake walked off the stage. It was a combination of so many emotions and feelings all mixed together. I just remember thinking “everything will be ok…. Jake will be alright” as tears ran down my face.

Daily Prompt: Second Time Around

Today’s Daily PromptTell us about a book you can read again and again without getting bored — what is it that speaks to you?

Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever re-read a book. Weird right?

Maybe if it was a book for school, I would have skimmed passages or chapters looking for facts to support a thought/theory.

I think I re-read parts of “Twilight” or “New Moon” but I can’t remember which one. It was the part when Edward went to Italy and was going to stand out in the sun because he loved Bella SO much. Sigh….I love Edward, he made fall in love with vampires. Bella, however, annoys me to no end. She’s so whiney! 

Before each “Hunger Games” movie I tell myself I’m going to read the book again to refresh my memory but it has yet to happen. I still haven’t seen “Mockingjay Part 2”  so there is still hope (lol). 

As I sit at my desk typing, the book that keeps popping up in my head is Judy Bloom’s “Forever.” I can’t remember how old I was when I read “Forever” but I am guessing 12 or 13. 

It was about Katharine and her first real love Michael and their relationship in high school and if they would take their relationship to the next level.

Love and sex, what more could a young teen want in a book! 

I was a HUGE Judy Bloom fan, as were most girls my age back in the late 70s and 80s. Her books were amazing and you always felt like Ms. Bloom could relate to what you were experiencing.

“Blubber”, “Are you there God it’s me Margaret”, “Blubber”, “Deenie” are just a few titles that come to mind. Oh how I loved those books! I remember devouring each one and being completely immersed in the character and her world.

Reading page after page desperately wanting to know how the story would end but also not wanting the story to end.

Reading “Forever” all those years ago I had ZERO clue what it was like to like a boy or fall in love.  I wonder what it would be like to read it now, some 30 or more years later, with a lot more life experience under my belt??? 

Hmmmm….I may go on Amazon after I post this and buy myself a copy. I promise to let you know how I liked it.

Thanks for reading. Have a nice weekend :)

Daily Prompt: Naked with Black Socks

Today’s Daily Prompt is are you comfortable in front of other people, or does the idea of  public speaking make you want to hide in the bathroom? Why?

Hide!

However, I will on occasion, step outside my comfort zone and speak in front of a group as long as it’s for something I am passionate about.

I have a son who is on the autism spectrum  and soon after his diagnosis I felt completely overwhelmed by the amount of information being thrown at me.

I promised myself that, if given the opportunity, I would “pay it forward” and help other parents going through the diagnosis process.

Soon I began participating in parent panels and support groups for parents of newly diagnosed kids on the autism spectrum. I’ve been doing this for over 4 years and it’s still not easy.

The funny thing is that in my head I think I am an AWESOME public speaker. Someone who can improvise and exchange witty banter with the audience.

A day or so before the panel I’ll jot down some notes but won’t rehearse or practice. It’ll be fine, I tell myself as I toss my notes into my purse and watch some mindless show on TV.

The day of the panel I wake up with a small knot in my stomach but can usually brush it off, or push it out of my head – 4 crazy boys can do that do you.

On the car ride over I start to feel nervous but it’s not until I walk into the room that I’m overcome with panic.

Crap! Why do I do this to myself? I think as I walk into the room and take a seat up front.

Look at all those people staring at me. Ugh, I don’t want to do this anymore, maybe I can sneak out. 

Before I can escape, the other speakers start, and I can feel my palms start to sweat as I go over my “speech” in my head – silently cursing myself for not practicing in the car.

As the person ahead of me wraps up, my heart starts to beat faster dreading the time when my name is called. As I am introduced, my face starts to turn a lovely shade of pink as I squeak out my name and start to tell my story.

In the blink of an eye it’s over and I survived!! No one laughed AND some even asked me a question or 2.

All that worry for nothing.

Sure, some days I tell a better story or engage with the parents more but no matter what I can still say that I did it and hope that I helped someone.

Thanks for reading.

Happy Thursday – it’s almost Friday :)

 

Voice Work

Today’s Daily Prompt is….

Your blog is about to be recorded into an audiobook. If you could choose anyone — from your grandma to Samuel L. Jackson — to narrate your posts, who would it be?

Hmmmmm…my first thought was Morgan Freeman because he just has one of those voices that grabs your attention. It’s deep and soothing and makes everything sound important.

That said, I am not sure if audiobook listeners would connect with a 78-year old man reading the musings of a 40-something, sarcastic mom of 4 boys. However, the more I think about it, it may be sort of mesmerizing to hear Mr. Freeman read My New Love or My “Date” with IT Guy .

I don’t know, maybe it could work. Maybe people would be so excited to hear Mr. Freeman read my tales that sales of my audiobooks would skyrocket!

Before long, I would be featured in People magazine or maybe even Entertainment Weekly and everyone would be buzzing about me!

That’s it, my mind is made up – Morgan Freeman it is!!

Happy Hump Day everyone :)

 

 

Daily Prompt: Happy Endings

Happy New Year to everyone out in the great blogosphere! I have been on vacation for the last 2 weeks so this cold Monday has been a little slow for me. If I am able to get into a work groove by Thursday, it will be a miracle.

My blogs have been few and far between the past year or so but today’s Daily Prompt seemed like a good way to jump back in to the blogging pool.

Today’s  question: tell us about something you’ve tried to quit. Did you go cold turkey, or for gradual change? Did it stick?

First answer that popped into my head was Facebook!

My feelings toward quitting Facebook can best be summed up by Michael Corleone in The Godfather: Part III

Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.

I have tried to stay away and/or limit by Facebook use. Last year, I even went so far as to remove the app from my phone (gasp!). But no matter what, I always go back.

Where else can you get a recipe, take a quiz to see which Friends character you are most like AND see pictures of your aunt’s high school friend’s grandchildren?

One of my New Year’s “goals” (I read on Facebook it is better to have a goal rather than a resolution) is to limit (I knew better than to flat out quit) my Facebook intake and so far I am kicking ass! Day 4 of 366 and I have not been on Facebook once – yipee!!

How long will my Facebook fast last??? I have no idea but I promise to post an update on my timeline to keep everyone updated ;)

Happy Monday!!

Lucky number 7 – Daily Prompt Seven Wonders

I am not a frequent participant in the Daily Prompt but today’s was a good one Seven Wonders.

Khalil Gibran once said that people will never understand one another unless language is reduced to seven words. What would your seven words be?

Wow, this was an easy one for a change. My words are (drum roll please)….

There is always something to laugh about

I use humor and/or sarcasm, who am i kidding it’s 99.9% sarcasm, as a defense mechanism. When life gives me lemons, it is just easier to make fun of myself or laugh about whatever the lemon dujour may be. It takes the pressure off and lightens the mood a bit.

Sometimes my humor is not always appreciated and sometimes people don’t always “get it” (shame on them!) but who cares right?

Life is not always fun and it is definitely not always easy. However, if you can find something to laugh about it just makes everything better for a little while at least.

Happy Almost Thursday!

Snips and snails and puppy dog tails

Happy Hump Day!!! Can you believe it is already Wednesday and halfway to the weekend??

Yesterday’s post was a little serious so I thought today I’d lighten it up a little. Sound good? Great!

For those of you who do not know me,  I am a mom to four boys, twins who are 9, a 7yo and my baby who is 5.

Families with 4 children are not the norm anymore so when people find out I have 4 kids AND that they’re all boys, it usually leads to a stunned look and/or a gasp.

Inevitably questions follow so today I thought I’d share and answer some of my favorite questions from the past 9 years  – please note these are in no specific order and I have been asked every single one of them

  • No I am not trying to start my own (insert sport) team
  • Why yes it is always “fun” at my house, you should stop over sometime without calling first
  • OMG yes I know how LUCKY I am to have four boys and not girls. After all, girls are SO much harder to raise than boys and I will be SO happy when they are teenagers
  • Yes, twins run in my family
  • Of course they are all best friends (see #2)
  • No actually they do not ALL play sports but we still love them anyway
  • Yes I know, my food bill will sky-rocket but for now it’s ok since they exist on Elios pizza, Eggo chocolate chip pancakes and chicken nuggets
  • No I am not trying for the girl – you know how old I am right?
  • Yes I am the “queen” of my household  and treated as such (again see #2)
  • Nope, I did not plan on having 4 children, I do not come from a large family and no, before having kids I didn’t really like kids
  • Yes, the blond one is mine and as a matter of fact, his dad DOES have blond hair
  • Yup they are all mine – would I voluntarily take 4 boys out if they were not related to me?
  • Hmmm, it’s hard to say if boys “run in my family” – they do now!
  • No, it’s NEVER quiet
  • Yes, there were (and still are) lots of hand me downs but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to buy something cute and girly
  • I don’t know if I really save a lot on clothes but I do get away with only buying 1 pair of sneakers for them
  • Yes, I know it is very sad that I was never blessed with a girl but I am sure God feels differently (this was said to me in the Carters outlet when the twins were 3 months old)
  • At this point it is hard to imagine any of them taking care of me in my old age but I guess I have a 1 in 4 chance
  • Nope, no drama in my house. I must have dreamed the episode this morning when I was told that I am no fun ever! or when the tears started because I said it was time to take a shower
  • Oh I know I will get to have my own “daughters” when the boys grow up and get married. You know how much women LOVE their mothers-in-law
  • Thank you but I am SOOOOO not managing it or “doing it”, really I am just faking it (wink wink)

Thanks for reading.

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This is what at least one of my boys looks like on any given day

Epic Mom Fail

My work sponsored a bus trip to the Philadelphia Zoo this past weekend for “Boo at the Zoo”. This is an annual event where kids can dress up in their Halloween costumes and trick or treat at various points in the zoo. There are some Halloween displays but mostly it is an excuse for kids to dress up and get multiple sugar highs throughout the day.

I knew Boo would be crowded but I had not anticipated the zoo feeling like Walmart on Black Friday. The insanity was made worse by the strollers AND wagons that accompanied pretty much EVERYONE at the zoo. At one point, after being assaulted by a Joovy sit and stand, the husband turned to me and said where we THIS BAD when we had a stroller?

After walking around for over 4 hours in 45 degree weather (technically it was probably 53 degrees out but it was cloudy and damp) it was finally time for us to all head back to the bus. The husband and I herded the boys and started the trek back to the entrance – only after stopping to see the polar bear for the 3rd time to see if he was finally awake.

It had now started to rain and this mom was D-O-N-E.

The kids stopped throwing leaves at each other long enough to board the bus. The end was near!! We were leaving the zoo!

Everyone found their seats when suddenly I was bombarded with Mom I have to go to the bathroom. Mom, can I get a snack? Mom, I’m hungry! Can I have a snack?

Ugh. I took my seat next to Lucas who was holding a bottle of water. Mommy? I’m thirsty can I have this? Sure, have at it. I said while trying to find my seat belt.

Then, as if in slow motion, I watched the water bottle hit the floor and water spilled all over  like a river.

NO!!!!

Quickly, I asked someone if there were paper towels on the bus. They said no and handed me an unopened roll of 1-ply toilet paper.

There I was on my hands and knees trying to sop up the water (did I mention it was 1-ply?), darting in and out of rows anytime another passenger got on the bus.

Before long the mess was cleaned up and again I tried to sit down when I heard Mommy I have to go to the bathroom NOW.

Seriously?

The husband was sitting in the row behind me and I ask him to take Lucas to the bathroom at the back of the bus. What? Take him now? No way, he can wait until the bus starts moving.

Judging by the look on Lucas’ face I knew this was not an option so I grab his hand and nudged him toward the back of the bus. People were still boarding and others were getting drinks and snacks so this was no easy task.

As I stood wedged in the row with the soda cooler waitinf for a family of 5 to pass, one of the twins spotted me and asked Mom? Can I have a soda? 

I don’t care, do whatever you want. I responded just as someone turned to me with a look and said Are you alright?

Oh good, that wasn’t too embarrassing, now work people will think I am insane.

Me and Lucas make it to the bathroom and are crammed in there, me kneeling on the floor, when I remember he is wearing his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume under his coat. Yikes! This means I’ll have to pull the whole thing down so he can pee.

O-M-G. Am I on Candid Camera?

After what feels like an hour, but in reality was only 10 minutes, the bus pulls away. The kids are settled, the husband is sleeping and I am left to sit and reflect on what a horrible mother I am.

This was supposed to be a fun trip to the zoo.  All week I had visions of the boys laughing and frolicking in the zoo. Smiling and getting along with each other while they trick or treated and excitedly pointed to the animals.

A beautiful family day filled with memories and photos that someday the boys would tell their kids about.

Grandma was SO FREAKING AWESOME, she took us to Boo at the Zoo back in 2015 and it was A-MAZING! She was the best mom and we were SO lucky!

Instead it was crowded and cold and I was grumpy. I spent the majority of the day counting heads to make I didn’t lose anyone while yelling at the younger 2 to stop fighting and hitting each other.

I wasted $40 on crap food because the zoo ran out of pretzels (yes, it really happened) and I didn’t let anyone ride the swan boats or pony rides (see above regarding $40 on crap food) and we never made it back to the play area like I promised Jake (secretly I am ok with this because it’s impossible to keep track of 4 boys in an obstacle course you climb with nets and a covered slide).

Crabby mom yelled and told them to stop when they threw rocks in the duck pond (they were encouraged to do this by 2 weird kids dressed up as Thor) and got annoyed when Jake kept lagging behind because he was obsessed with reading the map.

All night I replayed my epic failures and bathed myself in mommy guilt.

Is there something wrong with me?

Maybe I just need to accept that I will never be the “fun mom”. The happy-go-lucky-all-the-kids-want-to-hang-out-with-me-mom. The mom who always comes up with fun, Pinterest-worthy activities to do on rainy days or to celebrate some obscure holiday.

The mom who takes her kids to a water park or Great Adventure AND goes on all the rides (the exception being the lazy river). The mom who dresses up in a really spooky costume on Halloween (not  cat ears with whiskers drawn on with eyeliner).

No matter how hard I try, I will never be the mom who knows the most current songs on the radio or that brightly colored crew socks ARE back in style for boys.

Sigh…

I started this blog this morning and never got a chance to finish it. A little while ago, a friend told me about a young mom of 2 small kids who died last week and it hit me like a ton of bricks. The uncertainty of it all. How short life really is and how you really do need to live in the moment and enjoy the little things like Boo at the Zoo and Jake’s map obsession.

I could sit here for hours writing about my many mom faults, but why? How will that help me be a better mom?

In the end I guess all of us moms are the same. Living each day, doing our best to raise kids who are healthy, happy, and kind to others.

Some days will be really good and others not so much – like when you spend 2 hours doing 3rd grade common core math problems after dinner.

Hopefully we succeed and years from now we’ll be lucky enough to look back and laugh about all the things we thought were SO important.

Fingers crossed!

Thanks for reading.

Thank heaven for little boys….

TGIF everyone out there in the great blogosphere!! It is FINALLY Friday after what has been a VERY looooooong week here in the Garden State.

Temps are dropping and it’s starting to feel like fall. Pumpkin lattes are out in abundance and almost every female in my office has pulled out their tights/riding boots uniform (a sure sign of fall).

I have had an enormous about of mommy guilt lately – I started to blog about it but in typical me fashion, it is still sitting in my “draft” folder.

Mommy guilt is a beast and can hit a non-suspecting mom at anytime without warning. Seriously, you can be strolling the aisles in Target debating which brand of cookies to buy when BAM! it hits

OMG why didn’t I let Matthew try out for the flag football tournament 2 weeks ago? Now his flag football career is ruined and it is all my fault!

or

Why do the boys not have their math facts down yet? If “we” don’t get better at them what will happen when Mrs. X starts teaching multiplication next month? 

*Please note not all my mommy guilt is superficial, I also have guilt over serious things but I will save that for another blog.

Anyway, work has been very slow lately which means Nikki has had a LOT of time on her hands – this is NEVER a good thing for me as too much time equals dwelling (yikes!).

I can’t remember what I was dwelling about late this morning, probably something trivial like is a trip to Starbucks worth losing my parking spot at work, when I got a text from my nanny (a/k/a my mom) telling me that my youngest needed to speak with me ASAP.

Mr. L has lost his iPod touch for the weekend so I assumed he wanted to explain how he deserves to play Minecraft for the next 3 days. Preparing for a tantrum I slowly dialed the phone…

Nanny: Lucas, mommy is on the phone.

Lucas: Mommy? Hi Mommy! C invited me to his birthday party AND it’s at a trampoline place!

Me: He did??!! That’s great???!!! You have been wanting to go there. Are you excited?

Lucas: Yes. He invited me and 2 girls. Maybe his brodders will come too. Ok bye…I love you!

Me: I love you too!

Lucas: I LOVE YOU!

awwwwww he melted my heart!! If only we could all be that young and innocent again.

Happy Friday and thanks for reading!

Cinderella

I was having lunch with someone the other day when we got to talking about kids’ Halloween costumes.  Since I have 4 boys, my family’s costumes usually lean toward a superhero or video game character. In years past we have been Super Mario, Spiderman, Blue Power Ranger, some guy with a bow from the Avengers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Leo and Raph) and The Creeper from Minecraft.

During the conversation my lunch mate made a comment about princesses and the movie Cinderella and how the fairy tale went against some of her feminist beliefs. I made a sarcastic comment about Prince Charming (shocking I know) before changing the subject but her comment stuck with me.

Cinderella is my FAVORITE Walt Disney “princess”. When I was little I loved the Prince Charming aspect – heck, I love that now and would not turn down Charming if he appeared at my doorstep in a fully loaded SUV.

However, the real reason I really loved Cindy was her dress. Seriously have you looked at it? It is the BEST princess dress. It’s got tulle, bows, ribbon AND a hoop skirt! What else could a princess ask for? She even managed to get a diamond tiara and an updo before she left for the ball. Cindy was styling!

Cinderella premiered on February 15, 1950 so yes, I can see how its themes are not feminist friendly. However, there were some good things that came out of that movie that we should appreciate and applaud.

  • Survival
    Cinderella was a survivor. She was a teenage orphan forced to live as a servant with her horrible stepmother and 3 stepsisters (also in their late teens or older) after her dad died. The dad clearly did not have a will or a good attorney since his only daughter was a servant in her own house but I guess everyone makes mistakes right?

    Anyway, Cinderella should have been a bitter and depressed person moping around and hating life. However, the girl was always smiling and singing and making the best of her situation. Teens today sulk for a week if they lose their iPhone or Wi-Fi connection and here’s Cindy trying to make the best of her situation. Cindy did what she needed to do even if that meant being nice to the evil people who made her to live in the attic and wear a ratty brown dress every day.

    Cinderella never lost hope that someday she would be able to escape her miserable life and essentially live happily ever after.

  • Confidence
    Cindy went to that ball all alone, think about that. She walked into a packed ballroom and did not know a single person. Could you do that?

    When I was 23 I went to a co-worker’s wedding alone and let me tell you, it is no easy feat, especially before the alcohol kicks in! Everywhere you turn there are people in groups laughing and talking and there you are all alone trying to find somewhere to sit or lean.

    Cindy didn’t even have an iPhone that she could pretend to check. Nope, she had to go into that ballroom with her head held high and own that room! Plus, when the Prince was chasing after her (as the clock was striking midnight) she just left him on the steps (see even then this girl played by The Rules)!

  • Sense of style
    When Cindy first heard about the ball, she and her friends gathered anything materials they could find to help her make the perfect dress – very similar to Molly Ringwald’s character Andy in the movie “Pretty in Pink.” The result was a beautiful dress that would have blown up Instagram.  Plus she could run in 3-in glass heels which is amazing in and of itself!

I know that you cannot live your life waiting for a fairy-tale because real life problems can’t be solved with a glass slipper. But every once in a while wouldn’t it be nice if they did exist?

Thanks for reading and have a Happy Hump Day!

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