Saturday, December 31, 2016

Adios 2016, Hello 2017

2016. What a year.

There are many posts on Facebook how 2016 sucked. Some of the people are talking about the presidential election, some about all the celebrity deaths, some are referencing their are own personal disappointments.

My 2016 did not suck. yes, we had tough days. We had days of concern, stress, family drama, financial issues, major worries about each of our daughters, friends and family with divorce drama, company problems for my husband, social let downs, deaths of friends' loved ones, my aunt died and my grandma died. Looking at all this, one would think my year sucked. But it did not.

In 2016, we traveled, made happy memories, smiled, laughed, made new friends, and loved. My friends and family are all healthy, thank G-d, I am healthy - thank G-d, we have a lot to smile about. We have people who love us, people we can count on. Not everyone has people, but we do and we have many.

Each day gives us new hope, a new beginning, a new promise for a day that has yet to be written. Some days are for sure crappy, but it is just a day - start again tomorrow.

Maybe you had more crappy days than good days in 2016 and maybe your 2016 did really suck, but I did not keep track of how many crappy days I had. What's the point? Shouldn't we all look forward to tomorrow?

Yes, my grandma died. Yes, I attended two funerals in 48 hours, but the two women I lost would be pissed if I said my 2016 sucked because they died. Yes, they would both love the attention that sentence brings, but they were grateful for what life brought and they would both yell at me and call me a spoiled brat if I did not acknowledge all the good that was in my life.

I celebrated another year of holidays, birthdays, field trips, play dates, bike rides, my favorite television shows, sushi with my friends, steak dinners with my husband, coffee and drinks with get the idea. Even the smallest achievement, E2 moving from a 14" bike to a 16" bike, I witnessed and celebrated. E1 coming into her own stubborn, brilliant, loving personality, I have witnessed and celebrated (and drank wine on those stubborn days.)

2016 did not suck. It had days of disappointment, days of profound sadness, but my year did not suck.

I lived this year. I smiled this year. And I will do the same in 2017. I will find the good in my year and look forward to tomorrow.

Happy New Year, readers!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Winter Break

Winter Break!
Two weeks of no school!
Two weeks at home!
Two weeks of heaven!
Two weeks of hell!

I know many of my friends dread their kids being home. I get it. Children are annoying - they are needy whiny assholes and require much attention that we, their parent, must give them. While I personally love the break from the daily grind, I will admit my girls do get on my nerves. In an effort to keep their annoyance level low, here is a list of what we do -

Play Outside - Children do not care if it is hot or cold, so get out there. We go to different parks, ride bikes, ride scooters, go on nature walks (pick up leaves, acorns, etc), dig in the dirt, search for bugs/frogs/lizards, blow bubbles, draw with sidewalk chalk, jump rope, play hopscotch

Arts & Crafts - Put beads on pipe cleaners, color, paint, play with play-doh, create a life size person (trace your kid's body, cut out, decorate), make holiday decorations, paint boxes and use a hot glue gun to create anything, put tissue paper on contact paper to create stained glass windows, make designs out of hand prints, create something with toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls, lay a sheet on your floor and just give the kids anything you have in the house and see what they can create - the mess stays on the sheet

Bake - Cookies, cakes, cupcakes, etc. If you want baking to be a longer activity, let your children do it all. Your kids can read the directions, measure everything, and even crack the eggs. My girls (ages 8 and 5) do everything except putting and taking the pans from the oven.

Field Trips - Use the internet and search fun things to do with kids in your city. I will sometimes drive up to an hour for an activity and for the most part, it is worth it. We visit museums, aquariums, parks, ice skating rinks, bakeries, farms - I also search "Free" things do to with kids

Nothing- My girls play at home, without me. I send them to play and tell them "Don't call my name unless someone is physically hurt." I do not care what they do, what mess they make, as long as they are doing 'nothing' together and doing 'nothing' without me

Screens - Watch TV, play on the iPad, play on the computer - don't forget to set a time limit!

See a Movie - Take your children to the movies! There are always kid movies in the theater during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

School Work - My girls do some kind of school daily - anything from handwriting practice to math problems. E1 brought home a packet from school and E2 has a book we use, but you can find anything on the internet

Read - Uninterrupted time to read silently or read to each other is a great activity, a favorite is when I read to them

Board Games - Hi-Ho Cherry O, Candy Land, Googly Eyes, Connect Four - Play them all!

Science Experiments - Baking soda, vinegar, food coloring, dish soap - that's all you need for our favorite activity (Wizard's Brew). I google science experiments for kids and find one that seems fun and interesting. *Some of our activities are on this blog, under the label activities*


Saturday, December 10, 2016


I thought we had put this topic to bed in our home. I thought we were a no sleepover house. What I thought is proving to be wrong....

Everyone has slumber parties! Everyone has sleepovers! My child is one of two in our little area of our huge community that is not allowed to spend the night. We made this decision years ago. Years ago when E1 was way more introverted. Years ago when E1 needed 13 hours of sleep to function. Years ago when E1 did not express her opinion.


How do I tell my daughter that I do not want her to spend the night at someone else's home because I am afraid. I am afraid because there are pedophiles at every corner. Literally. Just this week in our community, a pastor at a church was accused of this. How do I send my daughter to another house when children are not safe at church? 

I recognize that this fear is irrational on some level. I recognize that pedophilia has been around for quite some time and the media has brought more awareness to this situation. I also recognize that at 8 years old, I do not think my daughter is strong enough to say no. I do not think my daughter is strong enough to tell an adult whom she thought she could trust, no. I do not think my daughter is strong enough to endure what could happen if G-d forbid this happened. 

So now what? Do I tell her she can spend the night at this house and that house because we have known those parents for six years and I trust them, but the nice kid around the corner whom we have only known for two years, well her daddy might touch you. What the fuck? How do I even rationalize this thought in my head??? I know it is insane, but is it?? I am for real asking - how insane am I? 

E1 has left slumber parties early. And she leaves pissed off. I cannot blame her. I went to slumber parties as a kid. I am fine. Hell, I let E1 ride her bike around our neighborhood unattended, but I won't let her spend the night out. Obviously, my crazy has a line and that crazy comes out when the sun sets. 

After much consideration, agonizing, talking to myself, etc I am reconsidering the sleepover thing.

Step One: Admit I am a little nuts
Step Two: Have a sleepover at our house first
Step Three: Let her spend the night out and stop freaking out.

I do not know when step three will happen, but I do know I cannot put it off any longer. 
I do know that what I once thought could be a firm family rule needs to change.
I do know that after typing that sentence I am now reconsidering again and thinking why do I need to change the rule - We are the parents, we make the rules.
I do know that I sound crazy again.

I fucking hate sleep overs.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Life Goes On

Last week my grandma died. My whole family gathered in Florida to say our goodbyes. The days were long and somehow she died a week ago. I am not sure how a week has passed, but as the saying goes -

Life goes on when my girls are playing, but then my tears come back as E2 starts crying at school drop off.
Life goes on when the gorgeous weather today made me smile, but then my tears come back when I simply think about her.
Life goes on when I am singing songs with the radio, but then I am snotting all over myself because a song reminds of my grandma.
Life goes on while I fold laundry, but when none of my aunts answer their phones I start crying thinking of their profound loss.
Life goes on when my family is greeted with smiles from neighbors, but the kind gesture of someone bringing us dinner turns me into a sobbing mess.
Life goes on when I attend a rezoning meeting for our school district, but then I get sad reading a text from someone offering condolences.

Life goes on when I yell at the traffic, cook dinner, take a walk, ride bikes with my girls, volunteer at the school, talk on the phone, watch TV, etc. The sun rises and sets and a new day will always begin and end.

I know the sadness will lessen.
I know my heart will heel.
I know there will come a day when I forget to think about her and that day is not something I am willing to admit.

In order for life to go on, I have to let go. I have to let go of the grief, the sadness, the tears.
I have to keep the memories tight and share them, but share them with a smile.
Life has gone on this week, but against my will.

I know my grandma would never want us to dwell in our grief, to dwell on yesterday's news.
She, of all people, knew how to pick herself back up and start life all over.
Tomorrow, I will start life over.
I will start my life without my grandma.