trying to find myself and humor in life

Archive for the tag “family”

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

Say Cheese!!

Back in the day when I was a newbie mom,  I always made sure that the boys had professional pictures taken. When the twins were babies, I did the obligatory photos at 3, 6, and 12 months old.

I would spend hours planning the “perfect” outfits making sure everything down to their socks matched. The day of the photos I would give myself a heart attack worrying how the boys would, or more likely would not, behave.

It was always a disaster with someone (usually me) leaving in tears.

The years went on, more kids arrived and soon anytime I had to think about professional pictures was long gone! Besides, I had an iPhone so if there was anything I was NOT lacking in, it was photos of my kids – ask anyone who follows me on Facebook or Instagram.

Life went on.

Then this past fall I had an idea. The boys are older, they sorta listen and I have no pictures of them all together looking “happy” let’s take them to have pictures taken!!!!!! (no I was not drinking when this idea popped into my head).

I booked the appointment for a Sunday in October and tried to block it out of my head – not a hard thing to do with 4 crazy boys, school, soccer and work. My mom and the husband thought I was totally insane.

Why would you do this to yourself? You know that you will be disappointed when no one listens? Well if you are going to do it…just prepare yourself for the worst.

Those were just a few of the little pick-me-ups that were offered in the days leading up to picture day.

Before I knew it, it was the day before the pictures and I had NOTHING ready. In my mind I assumed it would rain and the pictures would be canceled since we had planned to take them outside at a college campus.

Well what is the saying about assuming???

Yeah, here is was Saturday night and the weather forecast for Sunday was going to be warm and sunny – YIKES!

Off to the mall I went to try to find 4 perfect “look at what I just threw together don’t my sons look amazing like they just stepped out of a Ralph Lauren print-ad” outfits.

Needless to say I struck out at every store I went to. Why can you NEVER find something when you really need it?????

Somehow I was able to buy a white button-down for L and a pair of jeans for J. On the ride home from the mall I crossed my fingers and said a silent prayer that the twins had something decent (and clean) to wear in their closet.

Sunday morning I woke up, saw the sun and listened to the boys downstairs screaming and fighting over nothing. I

Immediately began to panic OMG….am I out of my fn mind taking these kids out in public to have their pictures taken????!!!!!!

I went downstairs to make coffee and the husband was checking his phone. Ya ready for today? he asked with a huge smirk.  Good luck he said laced with sarcasm as the twins started crying because the 3yo was yelling at them and chasing them with a pirate sword.

All morning I prepped bribed and threatened the boys. What? Don’t judge.

Hey, I had a lot riding on this and I didn’t want M crying about his hair or J screaming he wanted to go home to ruin the experience AND I deserved at least 1 nice picture of my boys all together god dammit!

The car ride was good, I played some Kidz Bop cd and kept the kids talking and happy. We pulled up to the college and saw Mr. D waiting for us. I took a deep breath before opening the van doors and letting the monsters out.

Mr. D made the boys line up and handed gave them “the rules” for the day. Everything they listened they would get a blue marble. At the end of the day, each boys could turn in his marbles for a prize bag AND candy!

Never have I seen the boys smile so big for a total stranger as they followed him (walking single file) down the path on campus.

It’s going to be fine, stop worrying he told me as he posed them on the steps of a building.

Here is a small sampling of what the boys said that day (please picture it said in a whiney/annoying voice):

L stop touching me! Mom, L is sitting too close to me! Ewwww J’s leg is touching mine and I don’t like it! Mom..there are people looking at us.  Mommy…can I have a lollipop? NO I WANT A RED LOLLIPOP this is blue!! Hey look over there…it’s a huge pile of leaves!!!!! I don’t want to smile. I am tired, can we go home? Mom, can I play with your phone? Why does J get to play with your phone and I can’t. Why do you hate me? My mouth hurts, I can’t smile anymore. Can I go play in the leaves? Mom? Mom? Mommy?? Can we play in the leaves? Hey J I bet you can’t catch me!!!!!

At the end of the photo shoot, I was completely drained. A few hours trying to get 4 boys to smile, stay clean and look happy will do that to a grown woman.

Mr. D has assured me that we had at least 1 great shot – and that wrangling 4 kids was WAY harder than he had anticipated (lol).

On the car ride home as the boys played with their prize bags – that contained containers of slime that made fart-like noises when they squished it with their fingers – and congratulated myself on surviving.

A couple of days later the proofs arrived in my in-box. I was a nervous wreck opening the attachment. I had no idea how the pictures had come out and if the boys even managed to smile for one.

The minute I saw the pictures my eyes welled up with tears…the pictures were beautiful!! OMG how my babies have grown up.

Mr. D made me a special mosaic picture which I attached below, it’s my favorite! (his work is absolutely AMAZING!).

Thanks for reading :)

ps – Thank you Mr. D!!

Me and The Boys

Me and The Boys

On the good ship lollipop…

The older I get,  the more it amazes me how I can remember every detail about something that happened in 1975 but can’t for the life of me remember where I put the twins’ Valentine’s Day card list.

Case in point….

This morning I read that the legendary actress, turned politician and diplomat, Shirley Temple Black had died at the age of 85.

Sitting on my bed, listening to L and J kill each other over a cardboard box (the screaming was still below the intervention level so technically this was my “alone time”) I had a flashback to being about 3 or 4 years old, sitting in the living room of my grandparents’ house on Chestnut Street.

I was watching tv on the floor in front of the coffee table. On the coffee table has a lace doily in the center and some random knick-knacks on top.

In my mind I am wearing a pretty pale pink dress with ruffles and black patent leather shoes – there is no way in hell this is accurate but it sounds WAY better than the shorts and t-shirt with apple juice spilled down the front that I was probably wearing.

The tv was on channel 5 or 11 but I can’t remember what the show was. I do, however, remember a commercial that came on for a Shirley Temple record album and I was completely mesmerized!

She was SO pretty with a big bow in her curly hair (my mom was not able to appreciate my curls back then so my hair was usually cut short and boy-like) and a pretty dress. She was tap dancing up and down a stair case and singing.

My two aunts were in the kitchen with Grandma and I yelled for them to hurry up and come in the living room.

Look, look! I yelled pointing to the tv. You HAVE to buy me this record PLEASE???????!!!!!!!!

My aunts looked at each other and then at me and said Sure, we’ll buy it for you. We just have to order it over the phone.

The happiness and excitement I felt was insane!!! I could not believe my aunts would really buy me that record. Soon I would be singing and tap dancing all over the house – I assumed just owning the record would give me the talent to sing and dance.

Afterwards, I remember my aunts taking me for a walk on Park Avenue (Rutherford, NJ not NYC) and I skipped along asking WHEN my record would get to my house.

Soon was all they would say.

Needless to say, it is now 2014 and I am STILL waiting for that damn record to show up on my front porch. Yes, my aunts lied to me. Imagine that?!

Looking back,  it’s funny to think about how naïve and gullible I was to even dream they would but me that record album! Luckily they made up for it over the years (lol).

LOL….so that is my Shirley Temple memory may she rest in peace.

Thanks for reading :)

Random Monday Thoughts

Hello friends out there in the great blogosphere!! Have you missed me???

Let me first begin by apologizing for my rather long hiatus. I thought I would be gone just a couple days but days turned into weeks and before I knew it, I was smack in the middle of June!

Of course I could just tell you that life at Casa Chaos got in the way of my blogging.

There were end of school year parties, a family “vacation” to Amish country and the conclusion of the 2013 t-ball season. Combine that with some family drama, health scares, strep throat, daycare, Donuts for Dad (with a special guest appearance by Mommy) and job stress (my newly redone resume looks amazing btw) and that would be just a taste of life at Casa Chaos.

The more I thought about it, however, I decided Screw that!! I will not play the “pity/martyr card”  with you my fabulous readers. No, I will be honest with you and tell you the real reason I have been MIA.  Deep breath…and the reason I have been MIA for so long is because…..

I have been on a holiday with my one true love, my soul mate George (Clooney of course). We have been traveling the Italian coast and it was just breathtaking (Seinfeld reference anyone???).

Lounging  on his boat by day and eating and drinking (LOTS of vino) by night. It was hard work. It is not easy being wined and dined by a handsome movie star. However, the relaxation, romance, and blogging material alone, was well worth the trip.

And not without further adieu I bring you my Random Monday Thoughts….

1) What’s in a name?

Apparently NOTHING if you are Kim Kardashian and her Baby Daddy Kayne West who named their new baby daughter North. Yes, if you hadn’t heard (if say perhaps you were in a coma or living on the moon) their baby’s name is NORTH WEST.


These are 2 grown adults, both in their 30s, and they named their child a direction on a map? For months all I read about was how Kim and Kayne wanted nothing more than to have children. A baby girl was all they ever wanted because as Kim said (I am totally paraphrasing) “What is better than a baby girl?”

So you know you are having a girl (for at least 4 months right?) and this was THE absolute best name 2 well-rounded, well-traveled, ADULTS could come up with – North – Nori for short????!!!

I think it is a safe bet, that in the weeks, months and years that Kimye and North are in our lives, we will forever hear the meaning and reasoning behind their baby’s “unique” moniker. Who knows, maybe we will grow to love it too (not).

Let me just say this, when I was growing up “Nicole” was not a common name. Jennifer, Lisa, Mary and Susan were THE names of the times.

Never did the chick on Romper Room “see” my name in her Magic Mirror and I had a better chance of winning the lottery than finding the name “Nicole” on a cup, key chain or necklace at the mall.  Good luck North!!

2) Mimosas ROCK

Saturday I was VERY lucky (thank you Mom, Aunt and the husband – it takes a village to have 4 kids) to be able to meet 2 of my dearest friends for brunch. I have written about R & H before and how we have known each other since 1986 and been there for almost all of each others’ “firsts.”

No matter how long the span of time in between visits, we can almost always pick right up where we left off and this past Saturday was no exception. As soon as we sat  (and H ran across the street to get some chilled champagne) I knew we would have a good time.

In between catching up on our families, talking about work, pop culture and Candy Crush, R&H were also able to give me a bit of slack about my sudden blogging hiatus (I didn’t tell them about George, I didn’t want them to be jealous).

Thank you R&H. Thank you for being a part of my life, loving me despite my flaws, and “getting” my sarcasm. Most of all, I would like to thank you in advance for NOT making fun of me, or giving me a bad “grade” when it is my turn to plan brunch.

Next stop for us Mall Day!!

3) Milestones galore

When you have 3 kids with June birthdays (well 2 are twins so do they count as 1 or 2???) , it’s a busy month.  Throw in a kindergarten AND a pre-k graduation (a week apart) and you have mayhem!!

First J, my blond-haired, blue-eyed Buddha Baby turned FIVE!! Wtf, I remember J’s birth more clearly than any of the others, how the heck can he be  5?????!!!!!

J had a great day with a paper crown, party at school, dinner at Red Robin and vanilla cupcakes with vanilla icing. Top that with a brand, spanking new bike and you got yourself a kick ass 5th birthday.

Next came the twins Kindergarten graduation. OMG my babies, the boys who at the age of 3 hid behind the door for 2 hours every Wednesday at YMCA art class were done with kindergarten.

As I sat next to my mom and watched M sing and J stand there frozen, I could not help myself from reliving their lives in my head.

When they were born, I remember crying, begging actually, the nurse to not release me. How can you let me take care of not 1 but 2 babies??? I have no idea what I am doing??? I sobbed.

While I have no been the best parent these past 7 years, I guess I have not been the worst either because the twins made it to 7 (well next week) and completed kindergarten – yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Class of 2025

Class of 2025

M asked me the other day when he will be a man. HA!! Little does he know that he will ALWAYS be my baby.

Lastly, we had J’s pre-k graduation this past Friday. Never have you seen a graduate more excited than J. Look here he is marching in with a grin from ear to ear.

The Graduate

The Graduate

J deserved every bit of that excitement too. He has worked harder than anyone I know to battle his ASD and come so far in such a short time. I am proud to be his Mommy. Congratulations J!! I can’t wait to see what else you will accomplish in the years to come.

Congratulations J!!!!

Congratulations J!!!!

Thanks for reading, have a great week!
ps – H I dedicate this post to you, xoxox

Life goes on

Hi everyone. Sorry I went MIA again – maybe that should be my new blog name (lol). After the horrific events in Boston, it felt almost disrespectful to blog about the everyday nonsense and drama in my life.

I remember being really young and my neighbor telling me to ask my mom where she was when Kennedy was shot.

I had no idea what my little friend was talking about, who the heck was “Kennedy” and why were they shot??

I did eventually ask my mom, although I can’t remember what her answer was. I asked her how she was able to remember something that happened so long ago and she said it was a life changing event, something you always remember.

Oh, ok I thought to myself before I went back to play. “Life changing” at the age of 5 is losing your favorite toy little did I know.

In the years since I have experienced a lot of life changing events and I can remember where I was for all of them.

The space shuttle Challenger explosion,  Oklahoma City bombings, Columbine, the first World Trade Center bombing, 9/11, Newtown and now Boston.

It’s sad that we as a nation and world have experienced so many horrific events in a lifetime. Sadly, we will more than likely add more to our memories over time.

Personally, I can’t let myself dwell too much on all the media coverage. Yes, I follow current events and like to know what is going on in the world, but if I devote all my waking hours to the 24/7 coverage, quite frankly, I would never leave my house or let my kids out of my sight.

I caught myself the other day, reading several articles on the young, 8yo victim in Boston. My heart broke for his family. His mom and sister both suffered serious injuries and his family is left trying to make sense of it all while trying to get through the next hours and days.

I felt myself getting into a mood and had to force myself to put the Iphone down and do something else. I don’t remember if it was refereeing an argument with the twins or helping my 3yo put on his cape.

Whatever it was, it made me realize that my kids have no idea of the troubled world we live in. Yes, they know there are “bad” people out there that do “bad” things but that’s it.

To them, not getting a toy on a Target run, their beloved Lego creation being smashed by a sibling or their pet Bella going to live with the angels in Heaven is as bad as it gets.

I envy them. They are innocent, happy and good at heart. They need to enjoy life and experience all it has to offer.

For them and for us, life goes on even after tragedy. I keep reading on all the media and social media sites how America and Americans will persevere because we are good and good always trumps evil.

It’s true. Look at all we have gone through and we always come out stronger as a nation and community.

Today my 3yo’s daycare was holding a prom for the students. Parents were encouraged to dress their little ones in their “Sunday Best” and the kids would be treated to music, snacks and LOTS of dancing.

L looked pretty darn handsome when he left for Prom today. His smile was huge and he was so proud when I told him how cute he looked.

Life goes on.

My Little Prom King

My Little Prom King

I am THE MEANEST mommy ever

This has been a crazy week at Casa Chaos with me going back to work and the kids settling into another new routine. I thought we were all adapting and told myself by next week it should be good – well as good as it can ever be with 4 young boys.

I will admit that I may not always be the most patient mother, especially in the mornings before (and during) coffee, but my children (2 in particular) could really test the patience of a saint at times.

Whenever I tell someone  I have 4 boys, within seconds this response follows

“4 boys really?? You going to try for the girl?? oh….well… you are lucky boys are SO much easier than girls.”

I laugh and change the subject thinking about how nuts my house is 24/7.

Lately my “older” twin M has been a little moody. Not sure if it is the terrible 6s, a mid-life crisis or maybe his room isn’t zen enough. Ever since the womb, M has been either hot or cold.  There is no in between with him.

One minute he will tell me he loves me SOOO much and the next he’ll tell us he wants to live alone.

I remember the first time M yelled I hate you!!! It was like a kick to the stomach.

How could my M, my little Bugman, say such a thing to me HIS OWN MOTHER???!!!! I carried him AND his brother for 37 1/2 weeks and gained 80 pounds! I have done everything for him and he has the nerve to hate me?????

I remember telling Mrs. Jeter and she laughed and said her son tells her that all the time. Other friends told me the same thing and after a while I got over the hurt.

Now M says it to me almost daily so the words don’t sting or even phase me – mostly. Once in a while it gets to me and instead of ignoring it,  I  tell him to go find a new mommy. I have even offered to help him pick one out from the
“New Mommy Catalog.”

A week or so ago, M and I were arguing over something “important” (probably chicken nuggets or juice) when he got really upset and yelled YOU ARE THE MEANEST MOMMY EVER!!!!

Gasp – say what????!!

I can’t remember what set M off that day but I gave him some time to cool off. I didn’t bother him or try to talk to him until he had calmed down. A little while later he came over, sniffling and wiping tears, and told me he was sorry and he loved me and I was the best mommy.

So sweet right??

Well since then M has told me at least 5 or so more times that I am a “mean mommy” so I thought I would make a list of all the mean things I do and share it with my friends in blogosphere.

In no particular order, here are M’s reasons why I am THE meanest Mommy ever:

1) I always make him take a shower/bath when he is playing Legos

2) All I ever make is chicken and chicken is dumb

3) He is never allowed to have soda and Mommy and Daddy drink it and it’s just NOT FAIR

4) I refused to buy him the $400 Death Star Lego and some other random $50 Star Wars ship at a recent trip to Target

5) How dare I pick him up from after care and not bring snacks with me

6) When M is in time out, I don’t  allow him to have a cookie or watch tv

7) I always make him get dressed for school when he is watching tvf

8) We never have any good snacks, he is sick and tired of Cheez Its, Goldfish, cookies and crackers they are SO BORING

9) M wants to live alone because our house is too loud and messy

10) OMG how could I not have jean shorts for him to wear to school today???!

This list is just from the past week or so, and as you can see, I am THE meanest mom alive! Poor M, he has no idea what he is in for in the years to come (lol).

Enjoy your Thursday!!

ps – This list is just from the past 2 weeks, I am sure I will update it soon :)

Somewhere on the spectrum….

On January 10, 2011 my son J was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I can remember everything about that day. It was a Monday and I had taken the day off work. The temperature outside was in the teens and so J and I were both bundled in our puffy coats patiently waiting for J’s name to be called.

The waiting room was not child friendly, surprising since it was a children’s hospital. There were some torn books scattered on a table and some weird mirror shaped like a fish that reflected everything upside down.

J tried amusing himself as I filled out what seemed like a million forms.  There were insurance forms, privacy forms, health history and family background questionnaires. I answered questions like:

How much did your child weigh at birth? Has your child ever had surgery? Does your child look at you when you call his or her name? Can your child point his finger in the direction of an object? How many words can your child say and at what age did he/she say their first word(s)? Was your pregnancy “normal” ? and What age did your child crawl?

After what seemed like forever, J’s name was called and off we went to get weighed and measured before being ushered into a tiny room with a huge table and a bunch of toys. I was introduced to the Advance Practice Nurse (Sally) who asked me pretty much every question I had just answered on the forms in the waiting room.

Sally then asked J (who was pretty non-verbal at the time) questions before she “observed” him in several different controlled settings. J was asked to “play” with things like baby dolls (I mentioned J is one of 4 BOYS right?), goldfish crackers and a magic wand

Nurse Sally explained that there was no definitive “test” to diagnosis autism. Rather, children must meet a number of criteria in a developmental screening or standardized assessment, to determine if they are on the  autism spectrum.

Well, J is fine, I know he does NOT have autism, I thought to myself as Sally babbled away.

Finally after a half hour or so the nurse turned to me and very matter-of-factly said …your son has Autism Spectrum Disorder….

My world was shattered. All the hopes and dreams I had for my blond-haired, blue-eyed baby were gone.

The weeks and months that followed J’s diagnosis are a blur. Suddenly the only things I talked about concerned OT, PT, sensory-seeking, redirection, speech therapy, story boards, PECs, ABA, IEPs, support groups, dietary concerns and whether I would allow my almost 3yo to ride the “little” school bus to his new, ABA, autism, inclusive preschool.

WTF happened to our lives? Why my J??????

Slowly, VERY slowly, things started changing with J. He started to become more and more verbal, using words for things like “cookie” and “tv. ” He stopped pointing to get our attention and started to write his name and do “normal” preschool activities.

In the 2 years since J’s diagnosis we have had many highs and even more lows. For every new milestone it seems like there is a set back hanging out on the horizon.

I often tell people having a child on “the spectrum” is like riding a roller coaster. Just when you start to get used to something and think everything is going to be ok, you plunge into another unknown and feel like you are back at square 1.

J’s teachers and therapists have alwayst told me it’s all about the “baby steps.”  I need to focus on how far J’s progress has come and NOT dwell on  how far he still needs to go. While I know this advice is true, it is ALWAYS easier said than done.

Last week was President’s Day and J’s school had a small assembly. J’s teacher sent a note home that J gave a small speech about our 4th president James Madison. Miss Heidi said J worked on his speech for weeks and was VERY proud when he was finished.

I saw the laminated “speech” in his backpack and decided to ask him to read it to me and my mom. The little video that follows is nothing short of a miracle. Here is a little boy who, 2 years ago, could say only a couple of words and now he was reading about James Madison!

The look on J’s face at the end of the video says it all and the pride I feel and love I feel for J is overwhelming. He has worked SO hard and it pays off everyday.

Having a child with autism is not easy and there are days I wish J was “normal.” However, then J will do something really, really great, like this video, and I think to myself everything IS going to be alright.

My 2013 in review

imagesHello my friends out there in the great blogosphere. It’s me, I am back – did you miss me????

To say it’s been a crazy couple weeks, would be an understatement. Heck,  who am I kidding -2013 has been having a REALLY good time with me thus far.

It’s given me sickness, health, humor, drama, drugs  AND a herniated disk. What more could a girl want – besides maybe George Clooney waiting at my front door???

Seriously, 2013 has been kicking my ass but I have tried to maintain my sense of humor through it all. It’s all about making lemonade out of lemons and all that other positive crap right?

I wasn’t sure what to write about today. I had a couple of ideas and have a couple of drafts started and saved for a rainy, writer’s block day.

Even as I sit here typing, I am still not quite sure what I should write about. I guess I figure if I babble long enough the
“perfect” blog will magically appear.

You know what, maybe I will just give you guys some of the “highlights” of the past couple weeks. Hopefully I will be able to convey the humor, irony and lesson(s) learned. One thing is for sure, my life is never dull.

1) My Aunt

On January 21st my aunt/godmother/nanny/second mom, went into a diabetic coma and spent 2 weeks in the ICU. It was touch and go there for a while and no one knew what would happen. It was like the rug was pulled out from under me and my family and we had no idea what to do.

For weeks, life revolved around ICU visiting hours and status updates while trying to keep up a “normal” life for the kids who had lost the only babysitter they had ever known.

Throughout the weeks my aunt was in the hospital, I did Facebook updates to keep friends/family apprised of her progress. When I did the first update, I wasnt really thinking too many people would read it, or if they did that they would comment. Never have I been so wrong.

The outpouring from friends, family and acquaintances was overwhelming. The heat felt messages and prayers really touched me and made me appreciate the people in my life. I even connected with people I hadn’t talked to in over 20 years.

I came out of this experience having learned some stuff 1) your true friends are there for you in a crisis 2) I am a strong person and really capable and able of getting through a tough situation  3) there is something to be said for the power of prayer. I am not a religious person, despite 12 years of catholic school, but I truly believe that the prayers of friends and family helped my aunt and 4) I begged my mother that if I am ever hospitalized to make sure someone does my hair and tweezes my eyebrows daily.

2) My herniated Disk – not just any herniated disk, no friends it is a SEVERE herniated disk in L5 resting on not 1 but 3 nerves (cause if you are going to have a herniated disk, you may as well go all out).

The disk is causing excruciating sciatic pain down my entire left side and is like nothing I have ever experienced (including 3 c-sections). At times the pain is all-consuming and I have been out of work the past couple weeks on disability with my new bff – my heating pad.

Despite this, some good has come out of this. 1) I survived an MRI w/o freaking out 2) I got myself some GOOD pain meds 3) I was able to spend an afternoon with Mrs. Jeter, the ONLY person who could make me laugh AND make getting an epidural steroid injection “fun” 4) I was referred to the MOST attractive back doctor which makes going to the doctor a lot more fun  5) I have stopped my online retail therapy addiction (for the time being at least) so I am actually saving money and 6) I am out of work in disability!!!

3) After working in the same town for 13 years I was FINALLY able to get my hands on a PBA card. That said, it’s a shame the card is for 2012 (I got it in January btw). I’m told I’ll eventually get a 2013 card but only time will tell. For now, I am curbing my cell phone use while driving (shhhhh) and coming to a complete stop at all stop signs within the city limits.

4) The twins and I survived craft projects for both Valentine’s Day AND the 100th Day of School without crying – I am not gonna lie, the oxycontone the doctor gave me for my back helped in this greatly

5) The husband “learned” to make the kids’ lunches – and they say miracles never happen

6) The twins started Turning Point and after care at school and absolutely LOVE it (knock on wood).

7) My baby L started a full-time day care program and not only adapted but is thriving despite some dramatic tantrums we are ignoring

8) The twins started basketball and while I do not foresee any basketball scholarships in their futures, they actually like it and look forward to every game.

9) I celebrated a year of blogging and managed 135 posts  – some good, some bad and some awesome (lol)

10) After a year of blogging I got my first negative comment that started off with the words “Oh quit your bitching….”

11) I FINALLY got back to Hoboken, NJ a place I have very fond memories of. Sadly, never did I think that when I finally got back there I would be trying to parellel park a minivan and limping into a doctor’s office.

12) I found out M had his first girlfriend. It was a true romance with the little girl telling M that he was indeed her boyfriend. They sat next to each other at their table and all was going well.

Then yesterday I asked M how things with the little lady were going. He looked at me and said (ever so serious) She isn’t my girlfriend anymore, she just forgot about me.

OMG what is wrong with this girl??? Does she not see how great M is????! Ugh, it took all I had not to go to that school and give that hussy a piece of my mind!

There you have it, my year in review. Exciting stuff right and it’s only mid-February. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for me.

Happy Thursday!!

Phew (well for now at least)…

A couple of weeks ago I did a post about this nagging feeling I had, my inner voice alerting me to a change on the horizon. Me, being a slight drama queen,  assumed the “feeling” would involve me – new job, weight loss lottery win, etc.  – but be nothing too severe or life altering if it even happened at all.

Fast forward to last Monday, MLK’s birthday and President Obama’s inauguration. When I woke up my main concern was getting M to the pediatrician by 8:20a (he had told me his “brain was spinning”) and entertaining 3 kids home from school.

Nothing could have prepared me for hearing that my aunt (a/k/a “my nanny”) was unresponsive with labored breathing. Immediately I went into Super Mom mode (i.e. control freak mode) as my aunt was transported to the hospital.

There I was racing down Route 130 South, to beat the ambulance to my aunt’s house, as I texted and called (I know but it was an emergency) the husband and others filling them in on the situation. I calmed my mom and other aunt (there are 3 sisters) and assured them I would take care of everything and it would be fine.

Sitting in the ER waiting room with my uncle, we were met by a chaplain (never a good sign). Chaplain X looked at our last names and let us know that he was also Italian, paisans so to speak. Super, a funny priest-type person, I thought as I watched my uncle tell him the regions of Italy his “people” were from.

Chaplain told us my aunt was sedated but alive. In that instant, my world was completely rocked. It felt almost like a scene in a movie, when a character is transported in time. The room sort of spun and I realized my life with “my nanny” was over.

Sure, having your aunt act as your nanny is not always easy. I couldn’t really yell at her or tell her what to do because she would always tell my mother on me. Nikki….what do you expect? or Nikki, that is just too bad, she is helping YOU out. or Nikki, I am NOT getting involved were typical emails from my mother.

Yes, aunt drove me 100% crazy, however, she loved my kids (all 4) as if they were her own.

Aunt was never able to have children of her own so she took on me, my brother and 3 cousins as her surrogate kids. Aunt was only 20 when I was born so we grew up together. She was always there to take me to the mall or to lunch. Buy me the “cool” clothes or let me sleep over her house.

Aunt would do anything for my kids and they loved her like a grandma. Sure they would yell and argue and I would get phone calls saying Your son is EXACTLY like you but in the end there was unconditional love.

Sitting in the ER, trying to accept that my aunt had almost died, took my breath away. I was flooded with emotions that ran the gamment from anger to sadness.

O-M-G wtf am I going to do with the kids???!! was all I could think. It was on a repeat loop in my head as I talked to friends, family, doctors and nurses. I could hear myself telling everyone It will be ok, she is getting the care she needs now but on the inside I felt like a selfish bitch for worrying about who would watch my kids, let alone how the hell I would afford daycare for 4 kids.

Suck it up, people go through far worse than this! What is wrong with you, no one told you to have 4 kids. See, all those years you didn’t know how good you had it. shuffled through my head all the way home from the hospital that night.

The husband told me it would be ok, “we” (me) would figure it all out and it would be fine. The next day I called daycare and extended day programs frantically trying to find a spot for the boys. People were telling me about openings and enrollment fees and all I could ask was Do you accept credit cards? and Can they start on Monday?

By Thursday, it was all sorted out and all the kids had a “plan”. Mommy had no idea how to execute the “plan” with work but figured it would work itself out some how. All weekend my stomach was in a knot. I told the twins how “fun” school would be and how awesome it would be to eat lunch with the big kids.

I took L to visit his “new school” and told him how much fun he would have (being there 12 hours a day). J was another story altogether but he would have to deal.

Today I woke up and the morning ritual I have followed for 6 years was out the window. Lunches needed to be made, kids dressed and busses to be met – and all by me. There was no time to fret over my bad hair day or how big my ass looked in my black pants.

When it was time to leave for bus #1, M told me he was NOT going to school and he did not like his lunch. I took a deep breath and said Well I guess you can just sit on the bus all day, and continued to go about my business. \

The twins nervously held my hand as we waited for the bus and anxiously they boarded looking for a seat. I love you!! was all I could say.

All morning I busied myself with work and internet research (i.e. to take my mind off the kids. The worry was always there but just not as prevalent.

As I sat at my desk getting ready to eat lunch, I checked my yahoo account. Emails from the Gap, Victoria’s Secret and Old Navy filled my inbox. Mixed between, however, was an email from the twins’ teacher.

Just wanted to let you know that Matthew and Joshua had a good morning with me…

Relief flooded over me. Thank god 2 down, 2 to go. Feeling lucky, I called L’s daycare to check in on him. L is great, he ate his whole lunch and is napping. He didn’t cry once.


I know it is only Monday, I have days, weeks and months ahead of me. Soon the newness of everything will wear off and the kids will not be as willing to go on the bus or get ready for school.

Thus is life though right? Fingers crossed I will be able to make it through. I guess there is always red wine at dinner right (lol)?

ps – my aunt is doing well and getting better everyday :)

24 Hours

It’s funny the games life  – God, the universe, etc – play with you. One minute everything is “fine.” You are living your life, “going through the motions” so to speak. Performing your everyday,  normal, (often mundane)  routine and chores mentally counting the days, weeks, months until the next big vacation, weekend, celebration etc.

Wake up, take shower, make lunches, brew coffee, plan dinner, fight with kid(s) over breakfast, tv, DS, school and then BAM your world is turned upside down.

Sometimes, I guess, there is a warning. A premonition or feeling that things are going to change. Usually though, it comes out of the blue and gets you completely unprepared.

As an adult you are supposed to “roll with the punches” be strong and get through or survive the obstacle thrown at you, no matter how big or small.

Sure you can cry and say “why me/us/them/her/him” or my favorite “that’s not fair” . Inevitably, however,  someone will respond with a “no one said life is fair” or “God only gives you what you can handle.”

At the time you want to punch the person that said that. Tell them to go f-off and leave you alone. What do they know, are they close personal friends with God?

Sloooooooowly you begin to see and know that they were right – damn them – and life does go on and you will survive.

Monday, in a matter of hours, my life was turned upside down. Even now, days later, it still seems surreal to me.

On Monday I kicked into survival mode. Shockingly, I am able to handle crisis well – it is very out of character for me. Little things like a bad haircut can make me cry but throw me a family crisis and I am super woman.

Immediately, I separate myself from all the drama and upset and focus on what needs to be done and the best way to do it. There I was on Monday making phone calls, texting instructions and giving information to doctors and staff in the ER and the whole time I was completely calm. Heck, I actually flagged down an ambulance and paramedic truck and got them to stop!

I comforted my aunt and mother, told them all would be fine. I reassured friends that things were being taken care of and everything would be ok. Don’t worry, I will keep you posted…feel free to call or text me anytime I heard myself say over and over.

Once in a while, a thought will cross my mind and I feel myself start to panic. OMG I have no daycare! WTF am I going to do with the kids next week!! Holy Crap, it costs how much to put the twins in after care?! (this is all about me after all).

I have been coping as best I can with my “go-to” items – chocolate and sarcasm (which is not always appreciated by people). The whole family is actually trying to cope all in their own way – although some of their ways boggle my mind at times. I guess I should cut them some slack since we are all living in a haze of hospital visiting hours and sporadic updates from nurses with poor bedside manner.

Each day I tell myself things will get better, it will all work out even if I don’t 100% believe it. However, the one thing I know I can always count on is the support of family and friends. Their messages and texts have been a god send and make me smile.

Whether it be Mrs. Jeter bringing me a latte or Mrs. Gray and her Crew cracking me up at a Charlie Browns restaurant, it’s been a blessing and I hope to pay it forward one day soon – or at least make everyone a batch of jell-o shots.

Thanks everyone xoxox

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