trying to find myself and humor in life

Archive for the category “family”

The Chickens and the Bees

As some of you know, my twins are in 1st grade. It was a bumpy journey in the beginning, going from 1/2 day kindergarten to full-day, first grade.

Much to the boys’ surprise, they were expected to do school work all day – oh the horror!

Almost daily I hear Mom….do I have to go to school AGAIN?? I just went, WHY do I have to go everyday? It’s the SAME thing everyday…math, math, math!

One of our biggest challenges has been the daily reading requirement. WE are supposed to read together 20 minutes a night and learn roughly 400 sight words.

Piece of cake I thought in September!

I love to read, surely one or both of the twins will also enjoy it. Visions of us browsing Barnes & Noble filled my head. Heck, I even imagined us reading the Harry Potter series together – this would be win-win because we would fulfill the reading requirement AND make a memory.

Sadly, it didn’t take very long for my dream to be squashed by my offspring.  Everynight when I say boys…it’s time to read and I get OH NO AGAIN??!! We just read last night!

This week, through the grace of God, the twins’ advanced to Level 2 books.  This is sort of a Catch-22 for me. On the one hand, I am thrilled that they are progressing and able to read books that do not rhyme every other word.

On the other hand, Level 2 books are longer and it takes FOREVER for them (especially J) to finish.

Did I mention that J reads only 1-word at a time which can cause a tired Mom to maybe fall asleep halfway through “Ruby Bridges goes to School”.

Last night the boys and I arranged ourselves on my bed and I pulled out the book J picked from his blue reading folder.  Tonight we will be reading (drum roll) “The life cycle of a chick”.

WTF? Who the heck wants to read a book about a chick??!!

M looked at the book and immediately asked Can I go wait in my bed for J to finish? (that’s my boy!)

J…did you just pick this off the shelf or did you look at it beforehand? I asked trying to hide my dismay.

No..I looked..can I start now? was his reply.

And so he began to read about hens and roosters, the many breeds of chickens in the world (there are hundreds in case you were curious) and lastly how hens lay eggs that turn into chicks.

Obviously this brought on a discussion about where eggs come from, how come the eggs we eat don’t have chicks in them and do ALL eggs come from chickens or does someone make them?

Somehow I got J back on track and he continued reading about how an egg is fertilized by a rooster and all the different stages of the chick before it is hatched accompanied by pictures.

EWWWWW that is so gross Mom!!! J look at that, yuck I don’t even want to look at that again said M.

M it looks like an alien in this picture look! shouted J.

Finally we got past that chapter and moved on to chicks getting their  yellow “down” and how old they are when they first grow feathers.

Whew…I managed to stay awake, I thought to myself. Ok boys, let’s get ready for bed.

Mommy? I have a question M said before getting up.

M’s question resulted in the following exchange:

Me: Sure, what is it?

M: Well…where do babies come from?

Me: (Jesus Christ is he kidding me??) Ummm in their mommy’s belly, you know that.

M: No I mean, how do they grow in the mom’s belly? How do they fit?

Me: Well they start off small and then grow and grow until they are born.

M: How small?

Me: I don’t know, very small.

M: Small like an ant small?

Me (baffled and thinking back to my ultrasound pictures): Sure, that’s about right.

Now J chimes in still holding the chicken book

Look M….this is how tiny he says pointing to the picture of the fertilized egg in the book.

M: Mommy, I am really confused, I just don’t get how the baby gets in the belly. Does it just appear??

Me (not quite sure I am ready to explain a sperm and egg scenario): Hey, look it’s after 8pm and you guys have school tomorrow. You better hurry up and put your jammies on!

M (uttering to himself): This is really confusing, I hope there is a book out there that will explain this to me.

And that is how I survived my first “the birds and the bees” conversation.

Thanks for reading and have a good day!

Not quite ready for this conversation

Not quite ready for this conversation

How can these babies want to know where babies come from?????!!!

How can these babies want to know where babies come from?????!!!


Snow Painting

The weather in Central New Jersey the past couple of weeks has made me think about packing up and running away to a warmer climate.  I am a much happier person when it is in the high 70s with little to no humidity.

2014 has brought us snow and frigid temps (sometimes dipping below zero) all the result of some “polar vortex”.

Combine that with the dreariness of January and 4 housebound kids and I for one will be cheering on Punxsutawney Phil come February 2nd.

Last Saturday the boys and I were trapped at home (the battery died in the mini-van) and the “natives were getting restless”. Everyone was sick of each other, “bored” with their new toys from Santa and DID NOT WANT TO WATCH TV.

With 5 more hours until bedtime and a war brewing over a game of Candyland I knew what I had to do.

It was time for…..SNOW.

Hey…do you guys want to go play outside in the snow? I asked with mock enthusiasm.

What snow…you mean the real snow? said the 4yo.

Yes the real snow outside…won’t it be fun??

I guess…can you give me a couple of minutes? one of the twins asked I really want to finish my game.

I HATE the snow.

Yes, it looks pretty when it is freshly fallen (not when it is piled up and black on the side of the road) and nothing is cuter than a newly built snowman.

However, it is also cold and wet AND I have to dress FOUR boys in snow clothes before we can even make our way down the stairs to find boots and gloves.

Dressing 4 kids to go play in the snow is probably the equivalent to getting a tooth pulled sans Novocaine.

First I have to gather them in one room. Next comes adding layers of warm clothing amid the complaints of I don’t wanna wear this sweatshirt, it’s too small. Can’t we just go outside already, I don’t want to wait for (insert brother’s name)! MOM…where are my snowpants?

After what seemed like an eternity, me and my crew began to head downstairs for boots and gloves.

Damn Lands End for only having black boots on sale last season! All 8 boots look exactly the same size!!!

Finally we’re ready! I line the kids up and tell them to wait on the porch. I turned around and saw J sitting on the step. Our conversation went like this:

Me: What’s the matter? 
J: I don’t know.
Me (beginning to sweat from the layers) Ummmm..well something must be wrong if you are sitting here and not outside with your brothers. Do you feel ok?
J: I guess so.
Me (void of all patience): Then what is the matter??!
J: These mittens don’t fit.
Me: What do you mean they don’t fit? M is wearing the same ones. Let me see! 

J holds his hand up and there is this HUGE mitten hanging off. Oh crap! They are too big I think as I dump out the baskets filled with miscellaneous mittens and gloves. Crap!! There are no more matching pairs AND no more waterproof ones. I HATE SNOW!!

Ok J, we are going to have to improvise I tell him and hand him mis-matched mittens. Here, put this on first.

J takes the mitten and just stares at it like it was something he has never seen before.


J is fumbling with the mitten now not sure how to put it on.

OMG, what is wrong, how can he not put on a mitten??!!!  I think to myself.

He is 7 AND there are only 2 holes to put your hand in! I hate snow, I hate winter and I hate my life!!

After grabbing J’s hands and shoving the mittens on we make our way out into the snow and I carefully get my phone ready for pictures – need to create everlasting memories after all!

After “accidentally” opening Facebook (to see all the FUN stuff all my “friends” were doing with their kids, therefore, making me look like Bad Mommy of the Year) I hear MOOOMMMMMYYYYYY!!!!!

Oh crap…that sounds like L.

I look over and there is L sitting waist-deep in the snow yelling and crying.

What’s the matter???!

My hands are all wet and I have snow on me! he wails.


I am not sure how much time has passed but I do know that I have run back into the house probably 20 times for water, tissues, new mittens, a shovel, a Lego man and carrots.

On one of these trips I remembered something a co-worker had told me about “painting the snow” and frantically start searching the kitchen for a spray bottle and the food coloring I bought for L’s bday cupcakes.

The kids will be SO happy when they see this, I think as I fill the bottle. OMG I am like one of those Pinterest Moms I make fun of and secretly want to be!!

The first kid I see is M.

M..look what I got we can PAINT THE SNOW! Look how cool it is I say as I start spraying the snow blue.

M looks up from building his snow man, looks at me and the blue snow and says Why would we want to make the snow blue?

Welcome to my life!

Luckily the others loved the “paint” and before long I got daring and mixed food coloring to make new colors. I even promised to buy more spray bottles so we could make rainbows next time it snowed (this also guaranteed that it will NOT snow anymore in 2014).

A few days later I was suffering from some serious Mommy Guilt. I sat on my bed browsing Netflix hoping that one day I would finally get the hang of this whole mom-thing.

I glanced at my phone (which is attached to me at all times) and noticed a new email from J’s teacher. Oh no.

Mrs. B. was telling me how great J was doing in class, how proud she was AND how he told the whole class about how much fun he had painting the snow!!

I sat stunned on the bed. Had I really done it? Did I actually create a happy memory???!!!!

Maybe the kids won’t hate me after all!

green "paint"

green “paint”

Random Monday Thoughts

Hello and Happy Monday friends out there in the great blogosphere. I am back from hiatus (again) and hope to stick around for a while and not go MIA again – at least not too soon.

Seriously, how could I disappear and not fill all of you in on the trials and tribulations of the twins starting 1st grade AND soccer, J starting kindergarten and L switching pre schools (that alone is a 3-part blog).

It’s gonna be a super fun September (insert eye roll) and I would like nothing more to take you along for the ride.

And now here is a Random Monday Thought:

1) See you in September…..

Last September I did a post titled “Happy New Year” and talked about how the month of September is technically like a new year – a new school year, fall sports and household routines.

The carefree life of summer with its late betimes, day trips to the beach and pool and beautiful weather are over. It’s time to hunker down and get back into the real world so to speak.

Personally, I need to take charge of my life (again). I have avoided reality this summer and as much as reality sucks, I do need to get back in the game. I guess it’s time to be more pro-active in a some areas  – with blogging and job searching at the top of the list.

As much as I wish I could live in a fairytale, deep down I know that is not going to happen, that it can’t happen unless I do something.

The kids are restless, they are tired of the pool, hot weather and “fun” trips to the mall and for ice cream. I can almost feel it in the air, a chapter is closing and a new one is waiting to begin.

I have no idea what expect or how to prepare for this new chapter. What I do know is that I will NOT be making any resolutions this year.

Nah, it’s better to just go with it. Trust my gut, hope for lots of luck and the help of friends and family – to not only get through this upcoming month but also survive.

All I can do now is hold on tight and try to enjoy the ride.

Have a good week.

The Daily Prompt: My Guy

This has probably been one of my longest blogging sabbaticals of my blogging career and I am. not sure why.

I suppose I can use the excuse that I have been “busy” – with family, kids, sickness, work, stress, etc.


The truth is when I started this blog – way back in February 2012 – family, kids, sickness, work and stress were just as much a part of my life as they are now.

However, I did not use them as an excuse not to blog. Rather, I used them as inspiration.

This morning I was having a slight pity party for myself over coffee. The kids were killing each other in the other room over Legos and Skylanders and I was taking solace in my iPhone.

Skimming through my Yahoo account, I glanced at summer sale emails and Facebook updates. Then I saw it…..The Daily Prompt …describe the last time you were moved to tears by something beautiful.

For the first time in awhile, I was actually inspired to pull out the iPad and write a post.

Looking around the kitchen for the keyboard, I was torn between 2 very special memories. Separately, the memories could not be more different – one involves rain the other my son.

Yet to me, they are very much alike in that they both gave me the “feeling” that somehow, someway everything would be all right.

I am not quite ready to share the rain memory with others, for now it is all mine, where it can remain safe and pure.

So the winner, by default, is my son Jake.

Jake is 5yo and my blue-eyed, blond haired, Buddha baby.

On a daily basis I can be moved to tears by Jake and his ability to melt my heart and drive me completely and utterly insane all in a matter of minutes.

You see, Jake has autism (Autism Spectrum Disorder to be exact). He has been diagnosed for almost 2 years and it has been THE most devastating, eye-opening, inspiring, frustrating roller coaster ride of my life.

Jake attends a school for children with special needs. This past May, the school held it’s annual talent show and Jake’s class was participating.

All I was told about Jake’s performance was that he needed to wear black pants and a white shirt. I had no idea what the heck his teacher had planned, and quite frankly, if it would even be any good.

I remember sitting in the packed gym the day of the show feeling very nervous. I had no idea what to expect. Would Jake even participate or would he freak out in front of the school???

The Jake I know is shy and does not “perform” in front of a gym filled with people. Regardless, he is my son and this is what parents do right? No matter what I knew I would clap for Jake louder than anyone there.

The principal handed out programs and Jake’s class was #6. After their names it simply read “My Girl” and then it hit me, I knew exactly what his teacher had in mind and right then, I knew it would be something special.

After what seemed like an eternity finally I heard the beginning beats of The Temptations “My Girl” My stomach was filled with butterflies as I watched Jake’s class walk on stage wearing top hats and bow ties.

The boys (there are 5 boys and 1 girl) took their places around the little girl who was seated on a pink tulle covered bench and THEY WERE PERFORMING!

They sang and danced the entire song and it was nothing short of PERFECTION.

When the kids took their bow, the gym erupted in applause as the teachers shot confetti in the air and we all stood and cheered.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to describe the emotions I felt that day – the pride, happiness, joy and awe all mixed together.

I just remember thinking, and feeling in my gut, that everything would be alright and Jake would be alright.


My Summertime Woes

School is officially over for all the kids – except L who goes to “school” (a/k/a daycare) all year. I have read on Facebook, the past couple weeks, posts and comments from friends who are happy summer is here.

Some of these friends are teachers so that’s understandable – 2 months off. However, for those who are parents, especially working parents, how can they be THAT that happy?

Summer stresses me out completely with the kids. School is my rock, my 9 month, 180-day guaranteed place for the kids  M-F, 9-3.

Sure there are breaks, in-service days, holidays and snow days but for the most part, school is a constant. I don’t have to worry about who is going to watch the twins while I am at work. I don’t have to come up with activities to keep them occupied once the tv, Ipod Touch, Legos, toys, dvds, etc. become boring after an hour.

When school is in session, I also don’t have to use up all my vacation/sick time because camp is over and there are still three weeks until school starts back up.

I guess my complaining is moot, after all, there will always be a summer break. Don’t get me wrong, I like summer – longer days (except when trying to get the kids to bed while the sun is still out), beach trips and afternoons at the pool.

Summer break just stresses me out a little and, more importantly,  makes me have to adapt to yet another morning/evening routine with the kids. Seriously, you have no idea how much time is added to mornings when you have to apply sunscreen to 4 squirming boys (lol!).

That being said, I guess I need to focus more on the positive and appreciate that the boys are still kids, kids who get excited to play in the sprinkler at camp and will still let me apply the sunscreen.

I’ll leave you with this. When the twins and I pulled into camp this morning, M was commenting to me about the awesome playground (I must admit, the playground at this school is 110x better than the one at the twins’ school – in the same town). Our conversation went something like this:

M: Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy?? Do you see the playground? You see it?

Me: Yeah, that’s a pretty cool playground. Did you guys go outside yesterday?

M&J (in unison): YEESSSS

Me: Did you have fun?

M: Yes. Mom, mommy, mom…do you see that circle thing over there? (pointing out the window in the 3rd row of the van as I am driving).

Me: What? That thing? Yeah I see it. That looks cool (hoping I am looking at the right piece of equipment)

M:’s the boys’ secret playhouse. No girls allowed. We sit underneath and pretend it is our spaceship and we have lockers for our space suits.

Me: Do you? Wow!! No girls allowed at all? Not even 1?

M: No, no girls!

Ahhhh to be almost 7 years old again!

Happy Tuesday everyone, thanks for reading.

Turkey Candles

Everything has been a blur since Sandy crashed a couple of weeks ago. Halloween was “rescheduled” and now I look at the calendar to see that Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK! How the hell did that happen?

Anyway, I was putting away the Halloween decorations the other day and came across something that always makes me smile – my Grandma’s turkey candles.

Grandma had decorations for all the “major” holidays – Christmas, Easter &  Thanksgiving. Grammer was not allowed to go “all out” with decorating since Grandpa was a bit OCD but still she put out what she could depending on what the holiday was.

Gram was not a fancy decorator. She didn’t care  about Lenox or fancy crystal chachkies . No, Christmas at her house guaranteed the plug-in Christmas tree, a manger scene, some holiday doilies, a fake poinsettia for the kitchen table (along with a plastic Xmas table-cloth and place mats) and at least one Santa pot holder hanging from a kitchen cabinet handle.

Easter was Easter Bunny dish towels and some other Bunny stuff scattered throughout the house mixed in with a cross and/or Jesus since it was a religious holiday.

Thanksgiving was more low-key for Gram. There were the obligatory table-cloth and place mats and the occasional plastic cornucopia and maybe a turkey dishtowel but that was usually it –  except for the turkey candles.

These candles looked exactly how you would imagine them too – medium-sized, turkeys in gold and brown. Gram would put them out either on the kitchen table or on the radiator behind the kitchen table (it had this covering over it that made it look more like a bench).

I can remember sitting at the table drinking tea and eating graham crackers (a staple at Gram’s house) making fun of her turkey candles. I wasn’t being serious, just teasing her (something my brother and I ALWAYS did). Gram looked at me, in her flowered shirt, angel pin affixed on upper right hand side and said Stop it Nikki…my candles are cute!

She wasn’t a mushy, huggy-kissy kind of grandma, she was more a tell it like it is, give it right back at you grandma.

She LOVED to be out – whether it be the mall or Atlantic City and would spend any extra money she had on new curtains (always beige) or a top from Sterns. She LOVED Oprah (never call her at 4pm) and Jerry “Stein-feld” and would hide copies of the Star and National Enquirer under the couch cushions.

Gram did not take crap from anyone – including me. Unnecessary drama annoyed her and she could usually see right through someone. There were numerous times when I would hug her and say You are THE best Grandma! only to have her reply What do you want Nikki (with a smirk and a laugh).

She was a great shopping partner and you could always count on her to go with you to the diner for coffee or lunch. You also knew if you were bored, you could call her up or pick her up no questions asked (usually).

Gram has been gone over 11 years now and I think of her often. Usually something will spark a memory for me or my mom will say something that sounds very “Rose-like.”

I was the only grandchild she saw get married back in 2000. Now, all 5 of us have been married and 4 of us have kids of our own (I win for most kids).

When I found the turkey candles, I got sad. Maybe it was the Sandy aftermath, the insane kids downstairs or pms but I started to cry a little as I held the funny looking candles.

I kept thinking about Gram and how I could always ask her opinion on things because she was always honest – no sugar-coating EVER! I wonder what she would say to all the “drama” I have endured these past couple months (some of which was self-produced) and all the “stuff” I have fallen for and put up with?

Gram would probably tell me to knock it off, move on and tell the people who have hurt or disappointed me to Go Scratch! She would say that life is too short and to just enjoy it and stop worrying.

Why is that advise always easier said than done?? Ugh.

The turkey candles are now proudly displayed on my mantle. The kids were SO excited when they saw them and asked where I got them. I told them that they belonged to Mommy’s Wawa (they call my mom “Wawa”) and one of the twins pointed to her picture on the table which made me smile and tear up at the same time.

For Gram’s sake I will TRY to stop being so gullible (which is out of character for me anyway) and to stop making mountains out of mole hills (Mrs. Jeter will appreciate this too). I will also TRY to put an end to unnecessary drama because really,  why bother? Lord knows my house has enough drama of its own to last me a lifetime!

However, I do have one last request of Gram.

Grammer, can you PLEASE give me a sign of some sort, something to let me know that everything will be ok?? If you could make it an easy sign to spot, that would also be good – thanks you are THE best grandma ever! (LOL).

My Kingdom for…..a cleaning lady

When I was younger one of my favorite shows to watch was The Brady Bunch. It was fascinating to see these 2 families blend together so nicely and live happily ever after.

The Brady Girls were skinny,  pretty and popular (well not so much Jan) and the Brady Men were cute, athletic and popular  – except Peter when he went through puberty and had the voice changing episode – but I digress.

Mrs. Brady was the poster-girl for “THE Perfect Wife” and always managed to have a smile on her face and dinner on the table for Mr. Brady when he got home from a rough day at the office. Carol was always dressed in the most stylish outfits, even for bed,  and never had a hair out-of-place – even when she was sporting that horrible mullet.

 Mr. Brady was tall and handsome, had a good job and loved his family. He rarely raised his voice and was always able to solve any dilemma in under 30 minutes.

However, one of the most underrated characters on that show had to be Alice the Maid Extraordinaire! Alice wore a uniform and seemed to always be helping Mrs. Brady cooking, shopping or packing the kids’ lunches. Alice did laundry and vacuumed and never wanted for a day off – occasionally an evening for a date with Sam the Butcher but that was it.

Everyone wanted their family to be like The Brady Bunch and more importantly everyone wanted their very own Alice.

Back then I didn’t understand what Alice did, I thought she was just a member of the family who happened to wear a uniform. After all, she went to all the kids’ activities and even got a trip to the Grand Canyon and Hawaii.

As I got older, and was assigned chores, I came to understand Alice’s role more and how important someone like she was to a household. I am sure Marcia and Cindy NEVER had to scrub a toilet or clean out the dryer lint tray. Carol never had to take out the trash or change sheets on all those beds and I think it is a safe assumption that the Brady Boys didn’t scrub the bathroom tiles.

When I first got married and the husband and I lived in our tiny apartment, cleaning was not a big deal. Our apartment was 3 rooms and we weren’t home during the day so it was never that messy. Also, I was in the “newlywed phase” and cleaning and cooking were all part of playing house.

I got to use my new state-of-the-art-vacuum and all the other goodies I had stressed over and carefully registered for at Fortunoffs and Linens and Things.

After a couple of years the husband and I made the “big” move to our tiny townhouse. Now there were more rooms to clean and 2 dogs to clean up after. We had our own washer and dryer so laundry was now an everyday occurence and not something that was saved up to take up north on a visit to Mom’s house.

Then the kids came and overnight my house began resembling a frat house. There were mounds of laundry and toys all over. The bathrooms were always covered in toothpaste and rather than wash the windows I chose to close the blinds. The husband and I accepted that we were just dirty people.

What choice did we have? There are only so many hours in a day and no matter how many hours I spent cleaning, the kids destroyed my hard work in minutes.

I complained, sucked it up (a little) and moved on.  

Then ALL my friends, and even my brother, got a cleaning lady. This fascinated me since the only maid I knew of was Alice and my friends did not seem to be as well off as the Brady family.

Apparently it was the new “in-thing” to have a woman come to your house 1-2 times a month to do a “good clean” and more importantly scrub your bathrooms until the fixtures shined. (the fact that you clean BEFORE she arrives is irrelevant)

I was completely and utterly envious of my friends and family. I wanna a cleaning lady!!! I would whine to the husband and my mother – neither of whom seemed to care.

I tried my hardest to find a way to get a cleaning lady but it was just not meant to be. I keep telling myself someday my Fairy Godmother will answer my wish, wave that wand and BAM! get me my very own Alice  – heck at this point I would  take Sam the Butcher.

I am SO tired of cleaning toilets and doing laundry and washing sippy cups. Any down time I have is spent picking up matchbox cars and cramming Lego pieces into plastic containers.

When I was little, never did I think my Saturday mornings would be spent lugging a vacuum up the stairs or getting on my hands and knees to actually vacuüm each  step.

I never dreamed my children would constantly miss the potty or leave the bathtub filthy after their baths. It is unbelieveable the amount of crumbs and juice cups 4 kids can accumulate in a 12-hour period!

Fair Godmother, if you are listening,  PLEASE PLEASE PRETTY PLEASE help me. PLEASE wave that wand or sprinkle me with fairy dust or put some magic spell on me,  ANYTHING to get me a cleaning lady. I am not picky, I dont even care she’s good, so long as the toilets are clean!

Until then I guess my only consolation if that the boys are getting older and they have started to help me more around the house. They think it’s “fun” to help me load the dishwasher or take out the trash. They have NO idea what I have planned 🙂

I will survive – right?

You Can Do It Lake Huron Beach Oscoda Trip 9-2...

You Can Do It Lake Huron Beach Oscoda Trip 9-25-09 16 (Photo credit: stevendepolo)

Here it is after 9pm, on a school night (literally) and I am sitting here with my stomach in knots. There are a million other things I could, or should, be doing but instead I am staring at the computer and picking at my cuticles (and singing Gloria Gaynor to myself).

Why have I made myself a mental case you may ask? Promise not to laugh? Well tomorrow is a big day here. The twins start kindergarten AND take the bus to school. J starts 4yo pre-k in a new ASD classroom with a new teacher AND L has a “playground get together” AND a “classroom open house” for his pre-k class (which also means I have to meet a bunch of new moms too).

Ugh!!! It’s just too much!!

Ok, ok I know the kids will all be fine. I know it will take a little adjustment and before long this new routine will seem like old hat but, for now, it’s making me a wreck.

I decided to separate the twins for kindergarten and this is the first time in their entire lives that they will not have each other to lean on all day (technically it’s 2.5 hours but still). They will have to rely on themselves to make friends and find their way and this scares the crap out of me!!

What if I didn’t teach them all the right things? What if they get picked on? What will happen if J gets hurt or can’t find his way back to the bus? What will happen if M tries to talk to someone and they ignore him? Suppose one of their “bus buddies” is mean?

These are the things that are going through my mind and this is just with the twins. Don’t even get me started on J and L.

J’s school has decided that he is “ready” for a more structured classroom setting complete with more kids, a new room AND a new teacher. Seriously?

When I mentioned how this will be a big adjustment for him, since he has only known 1 classroom for the past 15 months, the staff told me “change is good for J” and “he can’t be too set in a routine” and “after all, he will LOVE this”

Really?! How do we know? It’s not like we can just ask him Hey J, do you want to be in a class with 10 kids and sit in rows and do lessons? Would you love that? 

He is 4 and a boy and has autism. Enough said.

L’s situation tomorrow really won’t be that bad. It’s more me I am worried about. I HATE meeting new moms on the playground. It makes me feel like I am 15, standing in the cafeteria looking for a seat (although I had the same seat at the same table in high school all 4 years).

The Playground Moms will all be younger, prettier and definitely thinner than me. Their kids will be well-behaved and greet the teacher with a hardy Good Morning upon entering the playground.

I, however, will be praying that L does NOT hit anyone or throw a tantrum while simultaneously thinking I should have worn another pair of pants because I look fat. 

I tried to share my feeling with the husband and my mom today. Neither made me feel any better. Mom asked me when I would have “time to socialize” with the other moms and the husband couldn’t remember what kids were actually starting school, let alone what time the buses would come.

I know, I know, I am being totally dramatic (aren’t I supposed to cut out the drama in my life??) and making tomorrow into a bigger deal than it is.

The twins are going to be fine. Just like they were fine at orientation and summer camp and pre-k. J will adjust to school just like he did last year and L, well… let’s just keep our fingers crossed that L is in a good mood tomorrow.

As for me, I have no idea if I will ever be “fine.” For now I can just hope for the best and believe that 1) I will survive the meeting of the moms – heck, maybe I will even make a “mom-friend” and 2) I will survive the twins getting on the bus (without me) and leaving to start a their new adventure in kindergarten (without me).

All I can really do is just have faith in what I have tried to teach them these past 6 years and hope that they were able to retain at least a little bit.

Tomorrow will be stressful, nerve-wracking and exciting. I will do my best to get through it with a smile (at least in front of the kids) and take lots of pictures.

Wish me luck!

My own brand of TLC

English: TLC Logo Português: TLC Logo

English: TLC Logo Português: TLC Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I come from a long line of “glass is half empty” kind of people. I am sure, if I tried, I would be able to trace this trait waaaaay back to some Italian ancestors living back in the Old Country. It’s not like we are Debbie Downers with everything, we like babies, weddings and a good sale as much as the next person. However, doctors, tests or sickness bring out our very best negative energy.

Such was the case a couple of weeks ago when my mom whispered to me that she saw “spots” when she closed her left eye. Mom was convinced she had a tumor while I told her to just keep her eyes open (compared to my immediate family I am Suzy Sunshine). Mom ignored my advise and saw an eye doctor – who referred her to an eye specialist who sent her to the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.

Not good. Mom’s negative thoughts were out in full force and it didn’t take long before she had self-diagnosed herself – she had a tumor, would die AND go blind. I calmly explained that if she died it wouldn’t matter if she were blind but that was met with a death stare.

Well Mom’s “spots” were actually a melanoma that would require the insertion of radiation “seeds” IN her eye. In know, W-T-F right? The only plus to this situation was that Mom’s hypocondriac-ness got the melanoma caught early and she would be fine. Still the words melanoma and my mom did not go well together so we waited (with a dark cloud over our heads) until the day of Mom’s procedure.

Mom needed to be in Philadelphia at 6am this past Thursday, so at 5am me, mom and bro piled into his Jeep Cherokee and made the trip into the city. Mom and bro were very nervous and attempted some tense small talk in the car and before long we were at Wills. As Mom filled out paperwork I chatted about the break up of KPatt and asked Mom if she wanted me to take pictures with my phone to document her “trip” in Phila.

Before long Mom was called back for pre-op and it was my job to distract her while the nurse and doctors prepped her. For most daughters this would probably entail holding their mom’s hand, being really nice and telling her it was all going to be ok. For me, however, it meant making fun of her to the nurse, asking where all the McDreamys and McSteamys were and advising the anesthesiologist that Mom’s fear of anesthesia stemmed from watching too many episodes of ER and Chicago Hope.

When Mom was in recovery and me and bro went to see her the first thing I did was make fun of her pirate bandage and ask if I could take her picture. Later on when she was settled at her hotel (insurance won’t pay for a hospital stay) I propped Mom up in her bed and let her watch HGTV all day. I brought her meds and ginger ale and  offered her all the Percocet and Ativan a girl could ask for (she refused both).

This morning I made Mom go to breakfast in the hotel restaurant (with her pirate patch) and even got her to take a walk to the Readington Terminal Market (even though the “rules” said she was not to leave the room). We ate candy and ice cream and watched Baby Story all afternoon and every once in a while I would even make fun of her hair.

I have to leave Mom tomorrow and go back to my chaotic, crazed life. My aunt will be taking over my “nursing” duties and watching Mom until her second procedure on Monday. Some people may not agree with my “nursing” style. They may think hugs and back rubs work better than sarcasm and jokes but not for me and not for us.

Mom is in much better spirits today and I would like to think my nursing skills are to thank. I will have to call and send her sarcastic texts so it will be like I am still here with her. After all, isn’t that what daughters are for?

Maybe Life is a Beach after all

Over Memorial Day the husband and I attempted to take the kids to the beach. The in-laws live on LBI and that is “what you do” on Memorial Day right? Our day at the beach was stressful and annoying and I swore I would not attempt a beach trip again for a very long time.

Fast forward to this past Friday night. I was making some returns at The Loft (don’t you love price adjustments?) and I had this nagging feeling in the back of my head that I needed to come up with something for the kids to do on Saturday. The twins had been out of school a week and by 4pm Friday they were bored, hot, tired and sick of playing with their brothers.

Hmmmm, what to do?? The husband was off from work (a rarity) and it was supposed to be nice out. I know – let’s go to the beach! I came home and told the husband my idea and he just stared at me. You want to go to the beach on a Saturday? It will take all day to get down Route 72 on a Saturday in June are you insane? was his response.

No wait, I have an idea. We will leave for LBI after lunch this way we will miss the turnover traffic and if we take the kids to the beach later in the afternoon, it won’t be as crowded and hot. We can even bring the kids pjs and bathe and change them at your mom’s and then when they fall asleep in the van we can carry them up to bed.  It’s win-win for everyone!!

So there we were around 2pm on Saturday heading to LBI. There was barely any traffic and we were able to get there under 2 hours (with 2 stops). The kids settled in and had some juice boxes before we headed over to the beach. You would have thought we were going to be gone for a week with the amount of stuff we crammed in the beach cart – chairs, an umbrella, towels, drinks and enough toys for every kid on the beach.

We headed up the beach path and when we reached the top it was amazing the beach was empty! OMG we not only had our pick of beach spots but the kids had the run of the beach. They could run, throw sand and scream and it wouldn’t bother anyone (except maybe the cute couple sharing a blanket not too far from us).

Dare I say it was one of the best beach days I ever had. I was able to sit in a chair and just watch the kids in amazement. How can it be that I have kids? I remember spending hours, alone in my beach chair, carefully calculating the best angle for tanning with my only worries being if I remembered my book or that the umbrella would fly away if I fell asleep. Now here I was sitting in a beach chair with wheels (my in-laws chairs) watching 4 crazy boys run all over the beach like they had been locked away in windowless room their entire life.

On the ride home that night I thought about the day in shock. We were able to take the kids to the beach AND have a good time AND have no drama?? WOW wonders never cease do they?!

I am sure the next time we head to LBI it as perfect but a girl can dream.

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