Sunday, August 21, 2016

First Day Teacher Gifts

Last year for those that do not know, E1 transitioned from a private school to our neighborhood public school. While the 1st grade year as a whole was awesome, her very first day was a complete cluster fuck. You can read about that here:

I also learned on that first day that some suburban moms, about 60%, arrive with gifts for the teachers. I was completely thrown off guard. There were small gift cards and pinterest inspired gifts. Nothing too major, but just enough to say "Thanks for what we hope is a great year."

This year, I remembered and succumbed to peer pressure because let's be honest - I love this shit. I love decorating for parties, hosting dinners, entertaining kids, arts & crafts, etc.  I am a full blown creative weirdo. I really do enjoy the little stuff.

Like any normal suburban mom, I drove to our mecca- Target. There I googled candy sayings for teachers while I said fuck a million times because the fucking Target didn't have the fucking candy needed for the fucking sayings. Fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

Up and down the aisles I walked looking for something else. Too expensive, Too cheap. Too dumb. DAMN IT, WHY an I doing this??? Oh yeah, I like it and peer pressure.

I went back to the candy aisle and in between fucks and shits and damn its, I created my own teacher candy saying.

"I will BURST with SMARTS having an EXTRA GRAND teacher like you!"
(Starbursts, Smarties, Extra gum, 100 Grand candy bar)


In the words of Taylor Swift, "Cause the players gonna play, play play....And the Haters gonna hate, hate, hate..."

Don't be a hater, be a player!!!  Or just SHAKE IT OFF!

Damn I love Taylor Swift.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Rainbow Grilled Cheese

A friend of mine posted a picture of her kids eating a rainbow grilled cheese and I thought it was cool, so we made one!

E1's cheese did not "stretch" like the pictures on the link, but she did not care.

Super fun.
Super easy.
Rainbow grilled cheese!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Whole Hand

Happy 5th Birthday!!!!

How did we get here? How are you five? A whole hand! My teeny, tiny, horrible, awful, make me want to stab my eye with a fork, newborn has become and continues to be an amazing, determined, generous, thoughtful, kind, happy girl.  You amaze me, daily.

You are the best teacher I have ever had.

You have taught me the true meaning of thoughtful.
Each night as we sit down to dinner, you get up and get your sister a glass of water first. When you finish your speech therapy or occupational therapy and you get a lollipop, you ask to get one for your sister. When I ask you what you want to watch on TV, if your sister is around you pick her favorite show. When a friend is hurt, you bring them a band-aid. When a friend is sick, you ask daily if they are feeling better. When we have a play-date, you tell me what games your guest will want to play. When Daddy is out of town, you ask how is he doing. When your cousins come to play, you remind me of their favorite restaurant. When you draw or create, it is always for someone else. You are always thinking of others. Even when it is your time to shine, you still think of others. You rejoice in other's triumphs. You cheer for everyone.

You have taught me the true meaning of determination.
Each day as you wake, you wake to a day of learning new tasks and you wake ready to go. You do not know the meaning of I cannot. You only know the meaning of I can try. As you continue to achieve new goals and soar to new heights, you continue to try. You are the hardest working child I know. Your determination has no time table. If you want it, you will do it. You did learn to ride a two wheel bike. You did learn to flip over the uneven bars in gymnastics. You did learn to skip. You did learn to catch a ball. You did learn how to play T-ball. You did learn how to play hop-scotch. You did learn to jump in the water. You did learn to climb the rock wall. You did learn to write all the letters of the alphabet. And now, on your 5th birthday, you are determined to read. You ask for work every day. You are determined to figure out beginning, middle, and final sounds. Just when I think we have hit a brick wall, your determination shines through and you do it. You always find a way.

You have taught me the true meaning of joy.
Not everyone in this world is happy. Not everyone can find their smile. But you- Your smile has never been lost. You are joyful. You are happy. You are radiant. From ear to ear, your smile takes over your whole face. You smile when we run errands, you smile when you play, you smile when you go to school, you smile when you sing songs on the radio, which by the way is the cutest thing ever. You smile when you you sleep, yes you really do. You smile when it rains, when it is sunny, whenever whatever the day brings, you smile. Your smile makes others smile.

You have taught me the true meaning of grateful.
You are thankful for everything. You tell Daddy and me thank you if you receive a present. You thank me for dinner, you thank me for doing your hair. You thank your therapists, your teachers, your friends. You are grateful for all this life has offered and continues to offer you. Their is emotion behind your "thank you." It is not just a word to avoid the parent stare. It is a true emotion in your huge heart. When you say thank you, you mean it. You understand it. Your thank you means the world to anyone that receives it.

Not a day goes by without someone commenting how beautiful you are, how cute you are, how gorgeous you are. What you need to know on this 5th birthday, is you are SO MUCH MORE. Your pretty face is no match for what you carry in your heart. You are beautiful on the inside and that is what fills me with immense pride. You will accomplish anything you want because even at the young age of five, you know you are in charge of your future. You know patience and time is all you need.

Behind the twinkle in your eye, the joy in your smile, and the love in your heart is the secret to a happy, successful life. Success is what you define it to be and my five year old daughter, you are the most successful little girl I know.

I love you more today than yesterday.

HAPPY 5th BIRTHDAY to my rainbow obsessed daughter.

What a year it has been and what a year it will be!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

For My Grandma

Every time I sit down to write this, I find something else to do. How do you tell someone you love them without thinking about when you won't be able to tell them? There has been some tragedy in our community recently and before I don't ever have the opportunity to say it loud and proud, I will say it now.


I know you know, but just in case my sarcasm and bitchy attitude has led you down a different path please know I love you.

This past Saturday as we sat in shul, the Rabbi asked if there was anyone in the congregation that wanted to add a name for his weekly Mi Shebeirach - a prayer for healing. Without prompting, your eight year old great granddaughter stood up to say, "My Bubbe."

I cried.

You are not sick. You are fine. You are 87 and even my eight year old knows people don't live forever.

Please know I love you. We all love you. You created four amazing daughters who created their own children who are creating their own children. You created a family that knows nothing is more important than family.

I know we pick on you. I know I pick on you, but that is because you can take it. You dish it out pretty well too. If anyone needs to know where the women in our family got their attitude from - all they have to do is meet you. We got our strength from you too.

When you mailed me cookies in a shoe box and they arrived all broken, I loved you.

When you worked at Burdines and bought me clothes I did not like, I loved you.

When you called me a spoiled brat, I loved you.

When you took out your teeth and just left them on the counter like it was NOT the grossest thing ever, I loved you.

When you slapped me at my Bat-Mitzvah under some "tradition" of becoming a woman, I loved you.

When you took me to the beach every summer, I loved you.

When you forced me to race my brother and cousins in the water to make us better swimmers, I loved you.

When you sent a picture of yourself to me and I asked if I was to show this to the police if you got lost, I loved you.

When you ask on the phone if I am feeling OK, I love you.

When I roll my eyes at your ridiculous comments, I love you.

When I yell at you because some old lady at your apartment complex was rude, I love you.

When you can barely get in the car and yell at me for trying to help you, I love you.

When you tell me I am being a bitch, I love you.

When you trust me to tell me your gripes, I love you.

When you ask me to get you something and then yell at me to do it because I am not moving fast enough, I love you.

When you get mad at us at a family dinner because we are too loud, I love you.

When you get your feelings hurt because I am actually being a bitch, I love you.

When you tell me your time is coming and you are marking things off your bucket list, I cry and I love you.

I love you on Facebook, I love you during our phone calls, I love you.

When you disagree with my political beliefs, when you disagree with how I parent, when you disagree with anything, you tell (yell at) me. You always let me know how you feel because you love me and I love you too. You are who you are and at 87, there is definitely no changing you. And honestly, even though you could literally drive me to drink, I would not change you. I love you.

I know we all carry a piece of you. I know every woman in our family is headed to be the mayor of crazy town and I know our kids will love us. They will love us when we are funny, caring, mean old ladies because we love you.

You created that. The family that loves no matter what.

Yes, I get frustrated with you sometimes.
Yes, I want to strangle you sometimes.
Yes, I want to scream at you sometimes.
Yes, I roll my eyes at you sometimes.

But most of all, I love you all the time.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Party On

When was the last time you went to a Bat/Bar-Mitzvah party?

In the last 18 months the hubs and I have been to four. My nephew's and three friend's. There are the staple items at the party: photo booth, glow necklaces, dancers, and another party favor. I have seen T-shirts, hats, wax hands, henna tattoos, the list is endless.

What I love most about Bat/Bar Mitzvah parties are the guests, kids included. It is some of the best people watching in the world.

There is always a kid crying somewhere. Someone hurt their feelings, someone took their seizure inducing blinking ring, the crappy plastic piece came off their glow in the dark necklace, someone stepped on their toe, or my personal favorite that actually happened to us - crying because dancing is not fun. E1 actually pulled this line at a party. I wanted to strangle her. Dancing is not fun? If I could have said shut the fuck up, I would have. She snapped out of it after about 20 minutes, but damn. Like I said, some kid is always crying.

Another favorite kid of mine at a 'BM' party is the show stopper. That kid is the one that takes over the dance floor for a few minutes and everyone thinks the kid is the greatest dancer of all time. Pretty sure at this point most of the adults are drunk and the kid is just cute, but maybe I am wrong and all these show stoppers will get into Julliard.

Did I say drunk adults? Oh yes, I did. DRUNK ASS ADULTS ARE AWESOME.

Between the wine, the bourbon, the vodka, and whatever else we got from the open bar we have decided that not only are we the best dancers, but we are just the best period. The men dance off and on while the women strut their stuff like their shit don't stink. All the women join in the fun of dancing to only find themselves and their friends sweating like we just worked out with a trainer. Is it the alcohol causing the sweats? Maybe. Is it early menopause and hormone imbalances? More likely.

There are also dresses which inch closer and closer to grown women's ass cracks as they jump up and down. Boobs go up and down too because bras made for 40+ year olds are not made for dancing and wearing a sports bra under a cocktail dress is unacceptable.

The women, mostly moms, eventually take a break from dancing to literally yell at their shitty ass husbands for doing nothing but schmoozing while their children need to use the restroom, eat dinner, and don't forget cry. It is hard work to down your second glass of wine, dance, and talk while your damn kids cry for your attention. Fucking dads. They do nothing.  At least I got my own kids to eat some M&Ms for dinner. What did my husband do? He brought me another glass of wine so I would calm the fuck down.
Remind me again why we brought the kids...oh yeah, family event.

Then there is the Single Ladies dance. Oh Beyonce', we love you. We are all married. We are all just about 40, 40, or over 40, but your song comes on and we shake our asses and pretend we have no husbands. This song is the new "I will Survive." Move over Gloria Gaynor, I will prove to Beyonce' I am hot by waving my hand that actually has a ring on it.

And it is not just Beyonce'. You gather any group of women in this age group and we will lose our ever loving mind if a Justin Timberlake song comes on. And for the love all things holy, do not, I repeat do not get in the way of a group dance. We will not only drag your ass into our white girl dancing circle, but we will make you dance in the center of it while you look like an idiot, but since we are drunk we don't realize it until the video shows up on Facebook.

I cannot even talk about the Cha Cha Slide by DJ Casper. Drunk adults do not know left from right and it is important to know left and right when needing to 'slide to left' or to 'stomp.'  This won't stop us. It for sure does not stop me.

The photo booth is another one of my favorite people watching experience at a 'BM' party. There are the family shots with the props and then there are the family shots of the perfect family smiling. However 30 seconds before the flash went off the kids were crying and the parents were annoyed telling them to stop. I am totally guilty of these pics and I laugh when I see them hanging on my fridge. We are SO perfect. HA!

BUT, my personal favorite pictures from the photo booth is of course the pictures of the moms - myself included. What is wrong with us??? Between the kissing lips, the Miley Cyrus tongue out pose, the inappropriate ass grabbing pose, the arm on hip to make you look skinnier pose, or just the accidental picture of our mouths wide open from laughter - these pictures are by far the best ever.  BEST. EVER. I love it.

Bat/Bar Mitzvah parties are just fantastic. This party is in celebration of the awesome 13 year old that read from the Torah and made a life long commitment to Judaism. It is a beautiful simcha shared with family and friends.

So where is this child at the party?
They are busy hanging out with their friends, dancing here and there, and whispering about the drunk adults.


Where is my next invitation?

Friday, August 5, 2016


I am already crying. It happens every year. Your birthday rolls around and I start to cry. This year, you are eight. I swear we were celebrating your 7th birthday yesterday.....but we were not. 365 days have passed and now you are 8! EIGHT!!!

Today and every day you should know how much I love you. 

At eight years old, you are caught between child and tween. You are not little anymore but you are not big either. You sing songs to Kids Bop and yet write letters to the Dream Fairies because you are believer. 

You are a BELIEVER.

You believe in greatness. 
You believe in honesty. 
You believe in perseverance. 
You believe in family. 
You believe in G-d. 

We are so lucky to be your parents. This year has been phenomenal. You believed in yourself, you trusted our advice, you held your head high, and you showed the world exactly who you are. You are intelligent, funny, athletic, passionate, and most importantly - kind.

I hear your kindness when you tell me about a friend from school. 
I hear your kindness when you tell me about your teacher and how others treated her.
I hear your kindness when you talk to me about our family. 
I hear your kindness when you offer help to anyone in need. 
I hear your kindness when you talk to me about your concerns.
I hear your kindness when you give a "pep talk" to a friend or your sister.
I hear your kindness when you pray.

I see your kindness when you invite everyone you know because no one should feel left out. 
I see your kindness when you ask if we can give food to the homeless man on the street. 
I see your kindness when you wave hi to a friend at the grocery store. 
I see your kindness when you silently take a step back to let someone else have a chance.
I see your kindness when you decorate cards for our family.
I see your kindness when you take your sister's hand to cross the street.

I feel your kindness in your strong embrace, I feel it when you cry, I feel it when we snuggle.

I know you are not perfect, although you strive to be. 
Your passion gets you in trouble sometimes and those days are tough. 
On your worst day, you are still kind.

We know your future is going to be amazing and I have even come to terms with the fact you will most likely be an Aggie. It is your kindness that will keep you wanting to be a veterinarian. 

The world is a better place because you were born.

Our world is a better a place because you were given to us. Believing that one day G-d will bless you with the child that is the right for you is hard to do, but after eight years I can promise you one thing - You were always a part of us and we were always meant to be.

On this 8th birthday, I hope you never stop believing and never stop being kind. It is these two things that will lead you down your path of greatness. 

Happy Birthday. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Spray Paint

This is an outside activity!!

Spray Bottles
Powder Tempera Paint
Duck Tape

My girls love to do projects. They especially love to paint. As I have stated in previous posts, I buy powder tempera paint from Amazon. All you have to do is mix the powder with water and voila, paint! The amount of water necessary depends on how thick you want the paint.

The spray bottles and paper are from Wal-Mart. The spray bottle handle needs to be the right size for your child. If it is too big, their little fingers won't be able to squeeze it.

I mixed the paint and water in the spray bottle and let the girls work their fine motor skills!

Both of them had so much fun making creations.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Just Because You Can

**Warning- some of you are going to disagree with me and that is a-o-k.**

Reading. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

As a former reading teacher I heard it EVERY year - "I already read that book." My response was always the same, "Well, you haven't read it with me."  Funny how the child(ren) who had already read that book never made a 100 on any assignment - why? Because they didn't truly read the book. They read the words, but they didn't understand the novel on the level it was intended to be understood.

Reading levels tell parent and educators what type of vocabulary to expect, what type of sentence structure to expect, the maturity level of the book, and more.

I know many children read above their grade level. I get it. I taught those kids. I also parent that kid. It is annoying to find books that can challenge a gifted reader.

What is more annoying are the parents that think just because their kid can sound out every word means they should read any book in the store or library. Just because your 8 year old can read on a 5th or 6th grade level, does not mean they should read that book. Yes, their vocabulary is high. Your child is articulate. The books designed for their age group are SO below their ability. I GET IT. The same goes for my oldest. You know what she is reading? Junie B Jones (which I hate), Boxcar Children (which I find boring), some other second grade chapter books, and picture books like Pinkalicious (she still loves them.) She is reading those books independently because the material is appropriate for her.

TOGETHER, while she was in first grade, we read the Ramona series. (4th grade level)

TOGETHER. E1 read pages out loud, we read out loud, E1 read silently. We discussed the book and all the topics that were in that book so she could truly understand the book. We discussed parents losing their job, lost wages, the stress of family changes, and all the other subject matter E1 would have skimmed over had she read alone. We helped her discuss if she was like Ramona or Beezus and why. We talked about the difference between frustration and anger. We discussed how sisters can hate each other but still love each other. We discussed doing the right thing when no one is looking vs being a suck up. We discussed many things.

Since the Ramona series is on a 4th grade reading level and E1 can read all the words with no problem, then E1 should read that level. WRONG. I don't want her reading Number The Stars alone. That book is on a 4th grade reading level, but it is about the Holocaust. I do not think that subject matter is something for an 7 year old to read about alone. Or how about some Judy Blume books? Those are 4th grade reading level. Pretty sure E1 doesn't need to read about getting her period for the first time in the bathroom during school. My kid has enough worries...that doesn't need to be one of them.

This past week I read Wonder. It is an AMAZING book! I am tutoring a 6th grader in reading and this book is required by his middle school. My niece (almost 10, going into 5th grade) saw the book and told me how so many of her friends had read that book a year ago or even in 3rd grade. I was beyond irritated. My sister told me the same thing.

The book is labeled with a 5th grade reading level. E1 asked if she could read the book. My response was, "Yes you CAN read the book, but you will wait to read the book." E1 was pretty annoyed and I don't care. The book is about the trials and tribulations of an incoming Jr. High student who has been home schooled due to his facial deformities. On the surface the book seems to cover social acceptance and bullying.

But, there are much deeper topics. Topics that do not belong in an elementary school brain. For example, the main character's sister states "Countless babies who'll never be born." She says this when discussing being a carrier of the "mutant gene" that deformed her brother. E1, at age 7, does not need to 1) read this sentence and not understand it and 2) read it and then have us discuss what it means. She is 7! Why does she need to know about decisions like that - Decisions about whether or not to have babies based on your genetic history...NO THANKS! This is just ONE example of many mature topics in this book that are perfect for adolescents to discuss, but not perfect for little children to discuss.

I do not believe in censorship. I would much prefer E1 and E2 learn about things through reading vs the television, but I am still the parent and I still decide when is the right time to learn about certain topics.

It is fine if you let your child read books above their grade level....BUT READ IT FIRST! Make sure your child is capable of understanding the entire book and mature enough to read the book.

Or if you are going to have your child read a novel above their grade level/age, then read WITH them so you can discuss the topics, define words they typically would not have known, and check for understanding.

Children learn much more than basic comprehension skills when reading. They learn about cause and effect, predictions, figurative language, imagery, making inferences, theme, author's purpose, plot, character development, point of view, using context clues, and a shit ton more!

My list of what children learn while reading could go on and on and on...I am after all, a former reading teacher.
And if you do not understand one thing I just wrote, don't worry - your kid's teacher does.