Happy Birthday Blondie

A while back I posted a piece about Milestones. You can read it here if you missed it. Since this whole blogging thing is new I am always seeking feedback from family and friends. My older daughter read Milestones sitting in my living room with me nervously watching and when she burst into tears I knew had “done good”. Blondie hasn’t been home much with school, her summer internship, etc. so I asked her one day, “Have you read my blog?” I was surprised when she erupted and went on and on about me not being proud of her and she was sorry she had never done anything blog worthy. Yep, parenting fail folks. I explained that each blog post is inspired by recent events and needs to be something I think people would be interested in reading about. To which she went on about “not being interesting or inspirational” and “never had a milestone worth writing about”. This whole conversation turned into a little banter that has gone on for several months now between us. Every time I would tell Blondie she did something wonderful or express my delight in her latest accomplishment she would simply ask, “Are you going to blog about it?”. Well let’s just say stubbornness is in the family DNA and I decided not to write about her specifically until I tortured her for a little while it felt right to me.

So why today? It’s not the lack of inspiration or pride I feel. I am overflowing with those feelings on a daily basis with this kid. Quite simply, my baby is turning 21 today and I wanted to write an entire blog post about the little shit. Continue reading “Happy Birthday Blondie”

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My French Connection

This summer I hosted two french exchange students. This is my second time hosting students from France with Horizons du Monde and our third time hosting an exchange student. I enjoy the whole experience tremendously. There is something very exciting about showing our country to foreigners.

Many of my friends tell me that they find the whole process interesting but they are too busy – too broke – too lazy – or just too intimidated to attempt. I’m writing this blog post to encourage you to consider conquering your fears (or excuses) and consider participating in an exchange program in the future. We haven’t hosted a year long program and prefer the smaller 10 day to two week experience ourselves. It fits our lifestyle and find it to be just enough time. Friends of ours have done both and while there are pros and cons to each I will focus on our most recent short term experiences. Continue reading “My French Connection”

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4114802404_a6aeb47762_oFor my birthday this year Mr. B gave me a lavish gift certificate to Mohonk Mountain House Spa. We are fortunate that this award winning spa is literally in our backyard. I didn’t want to go to the spa alone so I suggested to my husband that we visit for a day of relaxation prior to our daughter’s wedding. After thinking about it for a split second, he said “yes!” and a massage (for him) and facial (for me) were booked! Continue reading “SPAstic”

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Uncomfortably Numb

Get ready. This post may make you uncomfortable. Get set. It may even make you mad. Here we go…

It seems that every day when I turn on the news or open a newspaper someone somewhere is bashing public education. As a product of public school and a teacher for over 20 years it makes me crazy. I’ve literally spent almost half a century walking the halls of public cinderblock buildings with ugly tile and I can tell you that although not perfect places, they are not the main problem when it comes to educating today’s children. No, I’m not from an inner city. No, I don’t teach in a wealthy district. These circumstances are excuses for a bigger problem. It doesn’t matter where you attend school because the issue at hand has nothing to do with reading, writing or arithmetic. It doesn’t have anything to do with Common Core, state testing or how a school district is funded. It has everything to do with how messed up families are today. Continue reading “Uncomfortably Numb”

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Happy Mother’s Day to all my fellow moms out there. Or should I say Happy Smotherer’s Day? I would like to take a few moments to not apologize to my children for smothering them with my love and affection throughout the years.

Dear Lizard Breath and Sarah Bear,

I’m not sorry for smothering you all of these years. You see, when the doctors and nurses in the delivery room put you in my arms I was overwhelmed with an incredible sense of responsibility.  I was in awe of how much I loved your squished little faces, crooked noses and folded over ears all covered with bloody grossness. You were mine and I was yours…forever. Your dad was there too but I’ll admit at that moment I didn’t notice anyone else in the room except you and me. When we brought you home I sat with you in your newly decorated bedroom and cried at the realness of you. I was convinced I was not up for the job of being your mother. You were totally relying on me to not kill you. It was such an overwhelming feeling. It still is. Continue reading “Smotherhood”

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Naked and Confused

So my kids are growing up and striking out on their own. Left in their moving wake are empty bedrooms that are hardly used.  While my college age kid, a.k.a. Blondie, is still a solid year away from moving out, she won’t be home for more than a few weeks over the next year. Her room resembles more of a storage unit than bedroom. Her sister, a.k.a. The Bride, has officially moved out and all her crap now resides in my basement her new apartment. We are excited for her and relieved it’s only her memories living down in our basement. Now my husband and I are left staring at her former bedroom in bewilderment. What exactly do we do with this empty space? We could just buy a bed and keep the room’s originally intended purpose as a place to rest one’s head. You know…for all the guests that never spend the night. However that seems kind of wasteful and well…boring. I have been pondering all the different possibilities trying to come up with a new use for this old room. Once a space full of beanie babies, team jerseys strewn all about and trophies displayed with great pride, now an empty space that echoes for a new purpose. I’ve researched “spare bedroom” online to see how other people feather the uninhabited area in their empty nest. I have to say, my research reveals many people are very creative in the different uses they have come up with for their extra bedrooms.  I’ve even contemplated selling the house and downsizing to a smaller abode. Mr. B and I aren’t quite ready for such a change so instead I’ve come up with a few ideas that I’d like to share with you. Continue reading “Naked and Confused”

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Relationships Are All Relative

This past weekend my family and friends gathered to celebrate my daughter’s upcoming wedding with a surprise bridal shower. A lot of planning went into the event and everything turned out lovely. To see a room full of so many women who love my daughter and our family in one place is a humbling experience. As I looked around the room at all those beautiful women, I couldn’t help but think about how each one is such a special part of our extended family.

Love Is Gathered Here
Love Is Gathered Here www.ericaleephotographyny.com
Although neither one of my biological sisters was able to present at the shower for a variety of complicated reasons, my sisterhood of friends showed up in force. I knew they wouldn’t have missed the event no matter how complicated their lives are. One particular friend spent the last two weeks at her mother’s side as she grasps at remaining present during her battle with Alzheimers/Dementia. Continue reading “Relationships Are All Relative”

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Venturing Beyond the Mousetrap

Throughout the years my husband and I have been fortunate enough to take our girls on some pretty fun adventures. Sure, we visited the mouse rat in Florida and a bunch of theme parks along the way. They were certainly fun trips that my girls remember fondly. However with the average cost of a week long visit to the mouse’s house for a family of four ranging anywhere from $3,500-5,000 and up, putting some thought into where your family vacations is an investment that should be carefully considered. It took us several years of no vacations so we could save enough to visit the magic place. Although a fun, memorable trip for sure, I started thinking that there must be other options for families that are (A) more affordable and (B) more educational. Thus, 20 plus years ago, my quest to find interesting things for us to do together where we learned something along the way had begun.  Parents looking for a vacation or day trip beyond the typical tourist spot might consider something off the beaten bath. With the amount of money and precious time spent on a vacation why not consider venturing beyond the mousetrap? I thought it would be fun to tell you about some places we have visited that you might find worthwhile to check out. Continue reading “Venturing Beyond the Mousetrap”

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