Too Sexy for Halloween

Halloween costumes have come a long way from the plastic outfits with matching masks that tightly pinched the back of your head. I remember buying them with my mom in the grocery store for under $10. Looking back, those masks weren’t probably the safest, nor were the 100% plastic costumes we walked around in, but in the ’80’s, E.T. and Strawberry Shortcake never looked so good!

Fast forward thirty years and good luck finding a costume for under $10! Not only that, if you want to dress up to go trick-or-treating or to go to a Halloween party with your kids, good luck finding a costume that doesn’t look like you walk the streets the other 364 days of the year for different kinds of tricks and treats.

I’m not saying we need to go out covered head to toe, but I also don’t think some of these super sexy costumes are practical for the average mom on-the-go at Halloween time.

Recently I went to one of those pop-up Halloween stores…you know the ones that disappear November 1st. I just needed a costume that I could wear to a party with my kids and for Halloween night. Shouldn’t be too difficult, right? Well, you name it and nearly every costume was way too sexy! From nurses to police officers to maids, there wasn’t anything I could see myself wearing comfortably. On top of that, I couldn’t find a costume for under $30.

It’s funny, when I clean my house I don’t look anything like those maids do on the costume bags, nor do I look like any of those nurses when I’m cleaning puke at 2a.m. I think having a maid costume consisting of old bleach-stained sweats, a tank-top and a headband is more appropriate. But, what do I know?

Needless to say, I walked out of the store a half-hour later costume-less. So, I went to a few more stores in search of something that was fun, practical, and somewhat comfy. I was disappointed to discover the same types of costumes. Unless I wanted to be a bottle of ketchup, a minion, or a hot dog, there wasn’t much out there for this mom. So, I went home without a costume.

I was ready to dust off my kitty cat headband and wash my black leggings and shirt for yet another Halloween when a lightbulb went off. Well, not really, I saw a pair of my husband’s shorts and I remembered a costume he put together to make the kids laugh. It was a nerdy looking guy with big knee socks, shorts hiked up, a sweat band, and funny glasses.  So, I re-created the costume for myself and couldn’t be happier! This was far better than anything I saw in any of the stores. It was comfy, funny, and practical.I added my own touches with some new socks and a t-shirt that was on clearance in Target. The bonus was that I spent under $20! Take that over-priced Halloween stores!

So, here’s the bottom line. Costume makers, can moms have some variety? Can you make some fun stuff for those of us who don’t want to catch pneumonia on Halloween by going out in barely nothing with our treats hanging out? Something besides ketchup bottles and hot dogs, please? Many of us would greatly appreciate it! Thank-you and Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

 

Everyday is Mother’s Day…Okay 5 out of 7

Sunday is Mother’s Day.

Yeah.

Sorry for my lack of enthusiasm but there is so much energy and commercialism put into the second Sunday of May each and every year that I lose my excitement. It’s not because I don’t think mothers should be recognized and showered with gifts, because I do. I am a mom, remember? But, I always hate to get things and have people be nice to me because that’s what the calendar tells them. It takes the sincerity out of it if you know what I mean.

If Mother’s Day means getting showered with gifts and your kids telling you how much they love you, then everyday is Mother’s Day for me. Okay, maybe not everyday, but a good 5 out of 7. Before you think my family buys me gifts everyday, you are sadly mistaken. But, my kids do make me funny pictures and give me pennies and say, “this is for you, you deserve it.” Heck, I’ll take it!

I love when my kids tell me they love me just because they feel like saying it. It’s those times when they aren’t just saying it because they want something. They aren’t trying to make up for pinching each other for the tenth time in an hour. It is truly heartfelt. For some reason an emotion inside of them makes them feel as though they want to tell me that they love me at that moment. That makes it Mother’s Day for me, even if it is a bitter cold day in February when it happens.

While getting Hallmark cards written by someone who has never met me is a special kind of special, the cards and pictures my  kids make would put Hallmark out of business. The misspelled words and pictures of little figures with whacked out hair that are supposed to represent us are priceless. The dozens of pieces of paper they steal from my printer to make signs that say “I love you” make it Mother’s Day everyday…oh wait, 5 out of 7 days.

I can’t forget those nights when I’m awoken from the deepest of sleeps and dreams of being on stage with Jon Bon Jovi, only to hear a little voice call “Mommy…Mom..eee.” When I go in the room and ask what’s wrong and that tiny voice answers, “nothing, I just want to snuggle with you”, makes it Mother’s Day at 3a.m. no matter what day it is.

Those other 2 out of 7 days when motherhood is an ugly beast can truly be unbearable. Luckily the other 5 make up for it.

While Mother’s Day is a nice thought on paper, I’ll take my Mother’s Days over it anytime. Give me some homemade cards, some heartfelt “I love you’s”, a few pennies found around the house, and a call to snuggle at 3a.m. and I’m good. That’s a real Mother’s Day…oh and maybe some cake, you can never go wrong with cake!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommas out there…here’s hoping everyday is Mother’s Day for you too…pennies and all!

 

To Bunny or Not to Bunny? That is the Question.

The Easter Bunny.

It’s the tooth fairy’s second cousin and Santa’s third cousin, twice removed on his mother’s side.

Although they play the same game, there’s just something about the Easter Bunny that doesn’t sell well. Santa brings the magic of Christmas with reindeer and elves. The tooth fairy has a mystical quality about her, flying through the night, collecting random teeth and leaving money. Did anyone ever ask her where she got her money to hand out or what she does with those teeth? Hmmm…inquiring moms want to know.

Then there’s the Easter Bunny. He apparently has time to hop around to all the houses the night before Easter, eat a bunch of carrots, and leave baskets filled with toys made in China for kids everywhere. Oh, and don’t forget all the candy that will have your kids in a sugar coma by breakfast. How does he carry all of those baskets by himself without any elves or a sled? Although he must log some major steps on his fit bit, it’s hard even for a kid to believe.

When my kids were born and throughout their toddler time, we put on our bunny ears like any other good parents and did the bunny thing. We went to see the freaky person dressed in a bunny costume at the mall, put the carrots and water out the night before, and carried out the basket tradition Easter morning. I also did a little hunt, hiding small things around the house like my mom did for me Easter morning.

Now that my kids are 5 & 7, I’m wondering how much longer I can carry on this bunny charade. We did go to see the Easter bunny at the mall this year, only for my kids to tell me, “You know mom, that’s someone dressed in a costume.” Of course I know that silly rabbits, but Easter is still for kids…so hop to it and take a picture with the bunny. That wasn’t so hard of a sell, but as I was shopping for basket fillers this year, I was coming up with bunny block after bunny block. A lot of the things I used to put in their baskets felt babyish this year. The things I  really wanted to buy would raise too much suspicion and might blow the bunny’s cover. The Easter Bunny can’t give a gift card and some candy and call it a day. I know my kids will ask how the Easter Bunny hitched a ride to Barnes & Noble to get them a gift card. I don’t think they’d buy it if I told them there was a gift card kiosk at the CVS in bunny land. All of this got me thinking, do I do the bunny thing this year or pull the ears off of this charade?

I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to rip off the bunny ears for them. I want them to continue to slowly figure it out, one whisker at a time. So, I put my ears back on, grabbed a carrot, and found two pre-made baskets that were do-able for their age groups. I just need to take off the WalMart tag. If I don’t, my kids will ask me how the bunny got to WalMart. I could tell them Santa took him, but that wouldn’t solve anything.

So, it’s full-on bunny this year. Next year, who knows? We’ll just take it one hop at a time.

Nice, Chocolate-Free Kids…Must Be Lent

Daughter: “Mommy, I’m going to be nice to my sister for Lent.”

Me: “You know, Lent lasts for 40 days.”

Daughter: “That’s a long time. Never mind.”

Yep, this was a recent exchange I had with my 7-year-old daughter this past weekend. She learned about Lent in her CCD class. They learned about doing nice things for Lent and maybe even making sacrifices when it comes to their favorite things. My daughter’s CCD teacher said my daughter told the class she was going to give up McDonald’s and chocolate. I find this more doable than being nice to her sister for 40 days. Even then, I know this is not going to happen.

As with anything else that goes on in my house, my younger daughter needs to follow her sister.

Daughter 2: “What should I do for Lent?”

Me: “How about not pinching your sister when she wins a game and you lose?”

Pause….

Daughter 2: “I don’t think so.”

Me: “Okay…how about only using nice words?”

Giggle…

Daughter 2: “Sure.”

For some reason I think that “sure” was to appease me. I can see that lasting for about 40 seconds, not 40 days.

Daughter2: “Mommy, what are you going to give up for Lent?”

I paused and thought about this for a few minutes.

Chocolate? No. This is unrealistic seeing that Girl Scout cookies come in this weekend. I’m Team Samoa all the way.

Wine? No. Just no.

Soda? Sure. But, that really wouldn’t mean anything to me seeing that I don’t really drink soda anyway.

Finally I got one.

Me: “Mommy is going to try not to yell as much.”

Dramatic pause. Some giggles. Then, serious faces.

Daughters: “Sounds good.”

It was settled, my Lenten “thing” will be to try to yell less. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. But, we’re going to see how it works out…at least for 40 days!

As for the little divas, they’re still undecided. I’m trying to get them to do something rather than give something up. I know Lent is about sacrifice, but I don’t really see how giving up something like Oreos is going to make them a better person at the end. If they can’t have an Oreo, they’ll have a chocolate chip cookie. There’s really no sacrifice there.

But, not throwing a shoe at your sister or pinching her takes much more restraint. That is a real sacrifice around here. You see, if there’s less of that going on, chances are there will be less yelling on my part. So, it’s a win-win for everyone. Go Team Lent! Let’s have an Oreo…or two!

 

 

 

 

 

Heartfelt Valentine’s Day Gifts

As a mother, I have a unique bond with my daughters. But, the bond they have with their father is immeasurable and indescribable. There really is something to be said about “daddy’s little girl”.

My girls can be with me all day, but once their father comes in, I suddenly become invisible. It’s all about daddy. I totally get it. Daddy does cool tricks with them, lets them eat more than one rice krispie treat at night, and sings karaoke becomes he’s just as tone deaf as they are. Who wouldn’t want to be around daddy?

So when Valentine’s Day rolls around it should come as no shock that they want to get something special for him. Homemade valentines are a given. Not only are they super-cute, they also make for a great winter activity that’s time-consuming , if you get my drift. Beyond the valentines, we usually look for a gift that’s heartfelt, useful, and meaningful.

Usually I find these types of gifts in photos. Photos in different forms make great gifts because they capture a memory and a moment that has meaning. Some photo gifts I’ve done in the past include photo albums, photo mugs and photo blankets. This year is no different. I’ve done the blankets before as Mother’s Day gifts, but never as a Valentine’s Day gift. Cue this year’s gift.

Living in the Northeast, you can never have too many blankets. That’s why they make such fantastic gifts.

IMG_7534

This year I decided to get a photo blanket from Personal Creations for my girls to give their father. Choosing a photo was the hardest part. As a parent, we always take so many pictures of our kids and the things that we do that it’s hard to pick the perfect one.

After scrolling through all of the jpegs in my computer, I settled on a picture of the four of us from this past Fourth of July. It was the first time we spent the holiday away from home.  We ended up having a fantastic time and made many memories.  

Hopefully when my husband opens up this year’s Valentine’s Day gift, the memories of that day will warm his heart just as much as the blanket. Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

More Patience & Presence in the New Year

It’s almost time to watch the iconic ball drop in Times Square, signaling the start of another year. It’s the time many of us make a list of cliché resolutions like losing weight and exercising more. While those are important, often times we make them, can’t or don’t keep them, and then feel like a failure…again. Aren’t resolutions supposed to lift us up instead of pull us down?

I love the start of the new year for the fact that it’s a time to start with a clean slate. This is not to say that everything that happened the year before doesn’t matter, because it does. You can learn from what the previous year left behind, but you can also embark on new journeys with the hope a new year brings.

A chance to do better.

A chance to be better.

A chance to make a difference.

A chance to chase your dreams.

A chance to appreciate the things around you.

As a mother the days are so jam-packed with work, kids, and everyday nonsense that you forget to appreciate the things around you. In fact, instead of appreciating them, you often ignore them and tell yourself you’ll have that extra five minutes tomorrow to take it all in. But, tomorrow doesn’t seem to come. There’s always something to occupy that extra five minutes.

If 2016 has taught me anything, it is to truly value each moment and day because tomorrow is not guaranteed. Things can change so quickly that you’ll think you’re living someone else’s life.

That’s why 2017 will be the year of patience and presence.

Patience with my kids when they yell “mommy” for what feels like the hundredth time in a day. One day they’ll think they’re too cool for their mommy. That’s why I need to appreciate every minute I have with them now.

Patience when my kids want to play another board game when all I want to do is sit and enjoy my coffee. Time will pass so fast that those board games will end up in a tag sale quicker then I can say “go fish”.

Patience when I need peace and quiet and my house feels like it’s out of control. One day the house will be too quiet and I’ll miss all the noise.

Patience when things don’t happen fast enough or when I think they should. Everything does happen for a reason. Every time I get frustrated and look back it’s clear why things turned out like they did.

Patience when I get down on myself for one thing or another. No one is perfect no matter how things may appear.

Presence with my family. Facebook and e-mail can wait. Our parents didn’t have their heads buried in their phones, so why do we? I can admit I’m guilty of it.

Presence in “little” moments…a laugh, a smile, a sunset. Not to sound morbid but you don’t know when it will be your last.

Presence in everyday life. Many of us, myself included, just seem to go through the motions. We do what we do because it’s what we’ve always done. Are we really into it? Many times the answer is no. It’s time to tune in and take in every moment, even the mundane ones. Sometimes being present in your life means saying no to people every once and awhile and doing what makes you happy. This is not to say we should all become selfish people, but there comes a time when you have to put yourself first. Be present in your life.

The list can go on and on, but I think you get the idea.  I simply felt compelled to write this because I think patience and presence can get pushed aside when we’re dealing with our kids and busy lives. They are the things that we sometimes need to be reminded about from time to time. There’s no better time than the start of a new year. Hopefully I inspired just one person to try to be more present and patient in 2017. If I didn’t, that’s okay too.

Here’s to a new year of new memories and possibilities…and to patience and presence! Cheers!

 

Gifting Experiences Over Presents This Holiday

As I sit here at my kitchen table and write this blog post, I can’t help but notice something out of the corner of my eye. It’s my children’s playroom. It’s a mess. I’m not ashamed to admit it because it’s the truth. Sure there are bins in there to organize the toys that are too small to put in my hands and the ones that are too large to leave out. But, those bins have failed. Or, should I say I’ve failed those bins. My kids and I just keep jamming more junk in there to the point where I couldn’t tell you what’s in there except for toys.

Many of those toys my kids haven’t played with in who knows how long. They always play the same things…school, dancing, Barbies, games. The other miscellaneous toys seem to get lost in the clutter. I can honestly say I think I’ve only bought about 10% of the items that are in that room. With two kids you tend to accumulate a lot of things through birthdays, holidays, and other events. That’s the reason why I’m choosing to gift experiences over presents this Christmas.

Of course my girls have asked Santa for toys. Honestly, they haven’t asked for all that much. They will get the one or two things they really want from Santa, minus an iPhone, because no 7 year-old needs one,  and minus a FurReal Cat because I find it extremely creepy. If Santa has the toy thing taken care of, what do Mom and Dad give? More toys? Nope. How about something that can’t really be wrapped?

I’ll explain. See, my 7-year-old has been asking for guitar lessons since she was five. I don’t know why, but she is infatuated with the guitar. So, this got me thinking. How about giving lessons as a Christmas present? Lightbulb on and Google activated. After a bit, what did appear at my googling fingertips, but music lessons in my area that not only specialize in the guitar, but several other instruments! This was better than using manufacturers coupons and store coupons on an item that’s already on sale! It gets better! Hard to believe, I know. There are even classes that my younger daughter can take since she likes music as well.

My husband and I decided this would make the perfect Christmas gift because it would introduce both girls to several instruments so they can figure out which ones they like. In the end if they decide playing an instrument is not their thing right now then that’s okay too. At least they gave it a try.

Giving the gift of this experience is far better than some toy they’ll play with for a week and then toss in the bin. Sure they may be confused when they open the box and see a paper explaining the lessons, but they’ll have the memories they’ll make together while learning something new. Perhaps it will even make them want to pursue more lessons. Whichever the case, I think it’s a win-win all around. Plus, it alleviates the clutter in the house which makes me one happy momma. Merry Christmas!

The Real Meaning of Mother’s Day

While many mothers may actually look forward to the second Sunday in May, I can’t say I do.

It’s not that I hate it or anything. It just doesn’t make me want to back flips.

In case you didn’t know this Sunday is Mother’s Day.

It’s the one day of the year when you’re obligated to buy Mom an over-priced bouquet of flowers, a shiny new necklace, chocolates and a spa treatment.

Been there, done that.

Retailers love Mother’s Day if you couldn’t tell by the bombardment of ads that we see for all of the “perfect” Mother’s Day gifts. I think I read somewhere that Mother’s Day is one of the top “holidays” for retailers. I can’t say I’m surprised. But I can say that it makes me sad.

While it’s great to be recognized for all of the jobs that fall under the mommy umbrella, I don’t need my family to pay homage on one day. I know it’s just a gesture, but sometimes I hate when people do things because they are expected of them. It means so much more when it comes out of nowhere and for no real reason in particular.

The real meaning of Mother’s Day comes in everyday life. It comes in the “I love you’s” and hugs my kids give me everyday because they want to, not because they feel like it’s what they should be doing on Mother’s Day.

The real meaning of Mother’s Day is when your child says a big thank-you for chaperoning a class trip.

The real meaning of Mother’s Day is when your kids ask you to snuggle up on the couch with them to watch TV.

The real meaning of Mother’s Day is when your child isn’t feeling well and only wants mommy to comfort them.

The real meaning of Mother’s Day is when your kids do a household chore without you screaming at them to do it.

The real meaning of Mother’s Day is when your child colors you a picture of your family because they want to, not because their teacher told them it was time to make Mom a Mother’s Day card.

The real meaning of Mother’s Day is when your kids tell you that you look pretty when you’re not especially feeling that pretty at the moment.

The real meaning of Mother’s Day can’t be measured in flowers, chocolates, or facials. It’s measured in those special moments that you just want to bottle up and save forever.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommas out there! May you find the real meaning of Mother’s Day.

 

 

5 Things to Say When You Hear “Mommy That Easter Bunny Isn’t Real”

As a parent we take on a lot of alter egos. Santa Claus. The Tooth Fairy. The Easter Bunny. It’s our job to keep the façade alive for as long as we can. But, as we know, all good things must come to an end. Sooner or later our roles as those alter egos are gone faster than we can say “of course they’re real”.

In my house, the tooth fairy hasn’t made an appearance, but we are eagerly awaiting her arrival. So we’re good there. Santa Claus is still alive and well although my older daughter is starting to use logic when it comes to that jolly old soul. The Easter Bunny is another story. I think his days are numbered.

After this year’s annual photo shoot with the dear old bunny, my 6-year-old abruptly turned to me and said, “Mommy that Easter Bunny isn’t real.”

Put a dagger in my heart! Are you crazy woman? If you’re going to debunk one of childhood’s greatest myths can you not do it in front of your 4-year-old sister who still believes this God forsaken bunny hops around to all the houses dropping baskets of Shopkins to everyone, including her?

So, what’s a momma to do? Here are 5 things to say when you hear those dreaded words, “Mommy that Easter Bunny isn’t real.”

  1. Deny it, but play it cool. Children are like dogs. They smell fear. They will sense that you are nervous about their latest discovery. Instead of wiping the sweat off your forehead and rocking back in forth in the corner, lie…it’s for their own good. I told my daughter, “What? Are you crazy? Of course the Easter Bunny is real. He’s just like Santa Claus and Santa Claus is real.” It seemed to work for me…at least for now.
  2. Play the helper card. Santa has helpers so why can’t the Easter Bunny? Think of all these mall and Easter hunt bunnies that pop up as the real Easter Bunny’s helpers. They’re kinda like elves…right? Wink, wink. The mall bunnies help out the real bunny. The Easter Bunny outsources. Deal with it.
  3. Confront the elephant or in this case bunny in the room. When my daughter made this revelation I asked her why she thought this blasphemy was true. I got a simple answer…”Because I could see a face through the top of his head.” Good answer. My answer: “Really? I didn’t see anything. You must be seeing things.” Silence.
  4. Defer to the other parent. When all else fails throw the other parent under the bus. If your child is acting like he or she is on “CSI” and won’t let up with the questioning, hand them over to your partner. That’s what I did. “The bunny is real, right Dad?” See what he comes up with, hopefully it’s better than the hand you’re holding.
  5. Ask the burning question. If the Easter Bunny didn’t handle all the baskets then who would do all that work on Easter? If your child answers “you would mommy” then you need to tell him or her “ain’t nobody got time for that.” If your child answers with an “I don’t know” then perhaps you have won this round of bunny madness.

I know I will probably cry myself to sleep when my kids realize I’ve been lying to them all these years. They’ll understand it was for their own good. If they don’t at least they will have appreciated all the loot they acquired over the years. Sigh.

 

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas 2015

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a Barbie in the dream house.

The stockings were hung by the fireplace with care, hoping to be filled with anything but silly underwear.

The children were nestled all snug in mommy and daddy’s bed (did you really thing they were going to sleep in their own beds?), while visions of Baby Alives and Barbie campers danced in their heads.

And Mama with her wine, and Daddy snoring fast asleep were so glad to finally not hear one peep.

When out on the roof there arose such a clatter, I  didn’t feel like pausing the DVR and getting off the couch to see what was the matter.

So I peaked through the window, not really getting up, but I did see enough that made me actually want to jump.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick, it couldn’t be Grandma, so it must be Saint Nick!

Santa is real! Does that mean the Elf on the Shelf is too? Let’s not get crazy, I’ll believe in one, not two.

Before I knew it, he was calling their names! This night was turning into anything but lame.

Now Dasher! Now Dancer!

Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid!
On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch!
To the top of the wall!

Then he said, I brought the Baby Alive so your daughter won’t bawl. She won’t visit it in Target and won’t bug you at all. You can thank me now because I saved you a trip to the mall.

I got that Barbie pop-up camper too. Hopefully your daughter will play with it for hours and not say boo. Yeah, yeah I know…you’re welcome for that one too.

I couldn’t bag up peace and quiet for you and the hubs. You can’t have everything. Maybe next year you’ll ask for some other grub.

It’s been fun, but it’s time for me to go. I have plenty more stops and lots of toys for these reindeers to tow.

Before I dash away, dash away, dash away all, I need to tell you one thing.

If you think that silly Elf on the Shelf comes to see me in the North Pole, then all that sleep deprivation has really taken its toll!