July 31, 2013

can it, kid

So, I ran into some unfriendly kids at the playground today. My first encounter of many I assume. Scarlett and I tried a different playground that is really close to home. We were the only ones there for a while so she explored and climbed and tried the different slides. We walked around the field and she, of course, found a dirt patch to play in. We ran around a bit and just had a good time. I saw a few kids approaching on their bikes accompanied by a couple of ladies. Game on.

Scarlett was excited to see the kids and their puppy. The ladies put their bags and iced coffees down on a bench and had a seat. No hellos were exchanged. The kids ran to the playground. Scarlett stood smiling and enthusiastically saying Hi! to each of them as they ran past her. Okay, that's fine, they are kids, they don't know enough to - WAIT. Don't they know enough to say hi when someone speaks to them? What are they like 8? 7? They should know. Shouldn't they? Shouldn't their moms correct them? Am I being weird? Whatever, no biggie, let's move on. "Come on, honey, let's go back to the slide," I say as I grab her sweet little hand. 

The kids are now jogging off in another direction and Scarlett grins excitedly and starts toddler-running behind them yelling LET'S GOOOO!!!! She was so excited. They completely ignored her. They ran off and did their own thing. As I expected. Little bastards. Not one of them could acknowledge her??? And seriously, Iced-coffee Moms, you can't just say - hey my kid, can you say hello to the little girl? I know it's gossip time but please be somewhat aware that your kid might be a douche. "Come on, honey, let's see if we can find a four-leaf clover in the grass!" I say as I grab her sweet little hand. We head over toward the swings and one of the boys sprints to the swing in front of us. Scarlett smiles at him and says, HI!!!! and the boy shoots back a salty, "I'M USING THIS ONE!!" Ummm listen you rude little F*@C$#R, she was saying HI to you, she didn't want your GD swing. Hope that rusty chain is safe, jerk.

Again I took Scarlett's hand and walked away. Another child, a girl, began swinging as we walked past and I told Scarlett not to walk in front of the swing or she may get kicked. Scarlett was slow moving and the girl continued to swing even harder as I ran to grab Scarlett just in time before she was booted across the yard. Are they doing this on purpose?? It's like Children of the Corn out here! WTF with these little maniacs!! I realize children don't always pay attention and aren't looking out for little ones but come on. And honestly, by this point I was shocked that the mothers hadn't even glanced up from their chit-chat. How about reintroducing manners to your children? Maybe ask them to be mindful of others?

We were going to hit the slides one more time before leaving. I reminded Scarlett not to walk in front of the slides or swings or she may get kicked. I saw the boys listening as I told her. I took her hand just in case and was walking her toward the steps while one of the kids came shooting down the slide at us. You couldn't wait two seconds you little shit??? I'd had it. Clearly we weren't able to play with the older crowd. At least not a crowd with hands-off parents. We were outta there. We took a slow walk around the field - to distract Scarlett from the fact that we were leaving - and headed back to the car.

Yesterday, Scarlett dominated the playground. There were boys and girls older and younger and she had a blast with them - because their mothers were involved and paying attention. They were taking turns and being safe and playing with each others' toys. I'm realizing this whole mothering thing is going to be more challenging than I thought as I have to factor in the other parents - not just the other kids. Which is something I hadn't given much thought to - until today. I smiled at those boys and girls today while I wanted to knock the wind out of them... but really I was angry with their mothers. How can we make the world a better place if we are setting our kids up to be assholes? Sure, I am seemingly overreacting - it was just one instance. And I am a "new mom" and veteran moms will most likely scoff at this post. But it was a shitty instance and I hated it and I hated seeing Scarlett overlooked and I know it's going to happen a million more times. And I know it's not going to get any easier.

July 29, 2013

helping Scarlett to learn ...

A few friends have asked how Scarlett has learned so much so quickly so I thought I'd write a post answering that question.

I've always tried to be good about teaching Scarlett different things each day. I figure since I am home with her (for the time being) I should take full advantage of our time. I always talked with her in very descriptive ways. For instance, getting her dressed I would say, "Let's put your right leg into your blue pants" or "Do you want to wear your yellow shirt with orange circles?" I started with colors when she was about seven or eight months old. We had a cheapo dollar store book that showed a few same-colored items on each page. She loved that book so, using that technique, I grouped her same-colored toys into piles and she caught on pretty quickly. We worked on shapes (with her favorite Melissa and Doug shapes puzzle) and colors for a few months and she learned them by the time she was thirteen months old. We moved on from there, adding new things daily, weekly or monthly. I'm not strapping her down and forcing her to learn, we incorporate it into playtime and she enjoys it.

I started using flash cards when Scarlett was about nine or ten months old. I found an awesome website with tons of free printable resources. I printed a cute alphabet poster as well as a set of alphabet flash cards. Each morning after breakfast we would choose a few pictures and a few cards to discuss. With these tools, a few books, the help of another Melissa and Doug puzzle and episodes of Super Why! Scarlett was able to recognize all twenty-six letters by the time she was 20 months old.

I created this "chart" when Scarlett was around fifteen months old. I used foam-board, cellophane sheet protectors, twine, a hole puncher, an envelope, mailing tape, a glue stick, card stock and photo paper. (This would be a really sturdy keepsake if I'd used higher grade materials and a sewing machine). I created weather cards, numbers, letters, months, days of the week and special holiday cards. I also used alphabet flash cards and recently printed number lines and robot emotion cards - all which I found on the Mr Printables site. We rotate different things every other week to keep it interesting and fresh. Scarlett looks forward to changing the weather card and day of the week each morning after breakfast. It easily became part of our routine and she has learned SO MUCH from it.

The other night I printed some cards to use for matching and memory games. She loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse so I used those characters. She lovvvves playing with them and carrying them around and she is SO GOOD at the games! I was very surprised at how fast she made her matches. I really enjoy spending time doing things like this with Scarlett - and she clearly loves it too!

*** I say "I" a lot in my posts because it's my blog and my point of view but it doesn't mean that Gregg doesn't help teach Scarlett. He plays games and reads lots of books with her too!

July 27, 2013


Obviously I'm going to say my health and my family and friends first because otherwise I'm a big, dumb liar - also even though this list is in random order I'd look like a jackass putting a K-cup above my own child.

The refillable K-cup. It's just ingenious in a really obvious way. I want to invent something ingenious in an obvious way. Damnit.

Counter space. I am blessed with lots of kitchen counter space. I'm always listening to people complain that they have none and I just nod with a half smirk/half womp-womp lip.

Music. I really don't think I've ever spent a single day in the last ten years not listening to music by choice. My playlist is a reflection of my mood - unless I'm listening to Ice-T because I am quite certain I'll never feel that dope.

Central Air. I am that person who hates the heat. I love the beach but otherwise I'll kick a summer right between the eyes. I hate sweating for no reason. I hate keeping Scarlett inside on really hot days because I just can't stand to be at the boiling playground or in our full-sun backyard. I lovvvve having central air. It is well worth the $9K we spent three years ago to replace our old-ass unit and duct work. I'd go without cable, frozen yogurt and even good shampoo if I could always bask in the c/a. Bees knees times eleven.

Flip flops. Sound ridiculous but they are just the most versatile footwear! I know Stacy and Clinton would not approve as they've stated a million times that they were made for the pool or the beach. True. But I think they were also made for: walking around the house, the playground, the grocery store, my mom's house, the park, window shopping, actual shopping, the salon, doctor's appointments, taking a pet to the vet and even library trips - if you don't flip too loudly. When you can't find the right shoe to wear a flip-flop almost always comes to the rescue. Aside from highlighting my tree-stumpedness, they're super. 

Efficiency. I love when I can call a company and just get my issue rectified without any hassle. It's very rare but it does happen occasionally and it's worth mentioning here. 

Make-up. This became overly apparent as I jokingly took 'before and after' pictures today that were frightening enough to stop a bird mid-soar. (I'll admit that I made the before picture look extremely heinous just for the over-the-top 'after reveal'). Honestly though, who doesn't love the option of being perked up a notch when you are looking (or feeling) a little haggard? 

People that say 'God Bless Her' for my daughter. Growing up, many family/extended family members would offer this little prayer and I always felt special when they'd say it for me. As these beloved people passed away I noticed the blessing went with them and the newer generations didn't carry the torch. There are still a handful of friends and family that say it and I pay attention, love and appreciate that.

Creativity. I am at my absolute best when I am able to be creative. When I have free time (and I'm not cooking or cleaning) I love doing something that requires imagination - graphic design, blogging, making crafts or games for Scarlett, painting, renovating, organizing, etc. It keeps me very happy.

July 26, 2013


Does your heart race after you eat a mixture of pretzel goldfish, Reese's Pieces and Hershey's Special Dark chocolate chips for lunch because you didn't have anything else to make and it's too close to dinner time to care?

Do you feel nauseated for five minutes every single day after you eat Oikos black cherry yogurt and Bel Vita biscuits for breakfast?

Do your arms and hands burn and tingle after eating chicken prepared a certain way or with a certain ingredient but you can't figure out what way or which ingredient?

No? Just me? Interesting. Trials and tribulations, right? 

Anyway, I don't want you thinking that I eat junk food lunches all the time but I will admit that mixture has become my new favorite snack. My breakfast has evolved from egg whites and wheat toast to yogurt and whole grain biscuits just because it's quicker and easier. Dinners usually consist of some form of grilled chicken breast, ground turkey or veggie pasta salad with chick peas. Ho hum. We always make and eat the same things it seems. So, yesterday I tried one of those crock pot Hawaiian chicken dishes that have been floating around on facebook. I used that simple recipe and paired it with white rice and steamed broccoli and it was pretty good! If you're looking for something different, tasty and easy as hell (I won't say "easy as pie" because I just don't think making pie is as easy as everyone says it is) I say try it out!

Or just make some microwave popcorn and put some candy in there.... I won't judge.

July 25, 2013


My mom is entertaining miss Scarlett for the day which gives me "free-play." Instead of doing my nails and watching a John Hughes movie marathon I decided to spend my time wisely by sending out my children's book manuscripts to new publishers. I used to send exclusive submissions (which means I send the manuscript to one publisher only and if I don't hear back within three months I submit elsewhere) but I've decided to send multiple submissions from here on out. Life is too short, I'm putting it all on the table!

Today I sent a total of eight submissions. Three publishing companies, three manuscripts and one batch of artwork. All I can say is cross your fingers and wish me luck. I can do this a thousand times over and never hear a word. I've received a few rejection letters in the past but usually it's crickets - I just keep track of time and move on. I have to say, sending a few at a time raises my hopes just a bit more - not enough to the point where I'll be super disappointed to be rejected, but it's nice to feel hopeful. Ya never know until you try, right? Nobody is going to knock on my door and ask if I've written anything. I'm just going to keep chucking my work in your face, world! Love it or leave it.

Now that my three hours of hard work and trip to the post office is complete and dinner is in the crock pot I'm going to look into designing iPhone cases. Why not, right?

July 24, 2013


Welp, Scarlett is 22 months now and we have hit the 'horror-screaming-tantrum-throwing-shit-fit phase'. I am not pleased. And apparently neither is Scarlett. She's a lunatic. It's that simple. She's a mini-maniac, no other explanation. I'm kidding (kind of) - she's still a dollie-face. But now that dollie-face has a wide hole where her sweet smile used to be and out of that hole comes a noise that is quite possibly inaudible to some animals. (I wish it were inaudible to me).

It crept up slowly - just over the past few weeks we noticed her temper becoming more and more ludicrous. She would fling herself to the ground and yell for a couple of seconds just to get her frustration out. That's fine, that's typical. But this past weekend she flung that same attitude on a breakneck escalator leaving Gregg and me speechless and knocking back Advil.

I assume it's a combination of factors that have collided at some crucial developmental peak moment to form this monstrous beastzilla. You know, her age, a growth spurt, the start of toilet training, the full moon, her distaste for macaroni and cheese, etc. Clearly a super-cell from hell. Toilet training seemed to be the starting gun for her alarming screaming fits. We started her on the toilet Friday night and she was fine... until she dropped anchor. Yeah, we were completely shocked too. She quickly went from relaxed to terrified. The next day same thing- sitting comfortably, 'reading' her books and then she peed and all hell broke loose. Since then she's refused to get anywhere near the toilet, screaming as if we were chopping her arms off - it is really unbelievable. We figured she isn't quite ready so we put that on the back burner. But now she is boycotting the bath tub. She normally LOVES baths. For two nights she's spewed blood-curdling screams while standing up repeatedly as I force her to sit back down. It's a battle of wills I am learning. She wants to control everything. Sorry, kid - that's MY m.o. If you wanna control something take over the finances for me will ya?

I have considered the possibility that she could be scared of being flushed down the toilet or sucked down the tub drain. However, this behavior shows up in "safer" areas and I know she isn't afraid of having her hands cleaned or waiting to get out of her highchair. But what can ya do? I keep telling myself every day comes to an end eventually.

Today she woke up way early and was - hmm, let's go with ill-natured. So I did what any loving mother would do, I gave her a long beaded necklace to play with. Sure, I was worried that it may break apart leaving seven thousand beads to be vacuumed up immediately before Scarlett digests them but I was willing to take that chance - and that thing has kept her occupied in so many creative ways today! Thank God for junk drawers...

July 23, 2013

5 things...

5 least favorite foods:

1. tuna
2. steak/beef
3. cranberry sauce
4. cooked carrots
5. anything 'on the bone' (wings are unacceptable)

5 hopes, pipe dreams and shooting star wishes:

1. to have a book published
2. to sell original creations
3. to make all those desired "cosmetic upgrades" in the house and yard
4. to have an oceanfront home - with a peaceful wing for my mother
5. to win Powerball - that's kind of a 'given'

5 ridiculous things I did as a child:

1. After being told we were too young my friend Kim and I secretly "shaved" our legs for the first time with dull scissors in my parents' basement. We were probably nine or ten.

2. I used a dart to carve the names of all the boys that I had a crush on into the knotty pine paneling in that same basement. And I liked a lot of boys.

3. I refused to eat anything other than Froot Loops for a few weeks because I was convinced that I had mozzarella cheese stuck in my throat. The doctors even took x-rays.

4. I fell into a swimming pool filled with ducks in the dead of winter. (I lived in the sticks).

5. My friend Amy, my brother and I accidentally locked ourselves in a coat closet and were trapped for hours. We were sweating after knocking all the winter coats on top of us. We could barely breathe after my brother sprayed WD-40 to try to loosen the lock. We managed to knock the doorknob off the door completely which ruined any chance we had of getting out. Our mothers found us when they came home from work.

5 interests:

1. the story of Titanic
2. tornadoes
3. sharks
4. ghosts
5. serial killer bios/profiles

5 favorite songs:
(not necessarily a top 5, just 5 out of like seventeen thousand)

1. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want - The Smiths/Dream Academy versions
2. Always on My Mind - Willie Nelson
3. Vienna - Billy Joel
4. Smile - Pearl Jam
5. Have You Ever Seen the Rain - Creedence Clearwater Revival

5 things I despise:

1. insects
2. awful people (murderers, molesters, abusers, terrorists, liars, braggers, thieves, etc)
3. bills
4. Scarlett's tantrums
5. asshole drivers

5 favorite rerun television shows:
(in random order)

1. Roseanne

2. Seinfeld
3. The Office
4. The King of Queens
5. The Golden Girls

5 jobs I've had:

1. cashier
2. waitress
3. nanny
4. office manager
5. graphic artist

5 things I typically order at a restaurant:
(not all in one sitting of course)
1. calamari
2. crab cakes
3. eggplant
4. salmon burger/fish sandwich
5. Grey Goose and tonic with lemon 

5 nicknames I have for Scarlett:

1. pea-pod
2. bo-beetie
3. honey-pie
4. goosey
5. dollie-face

5 movies that I never get sick of:

1. The Shining (natch)
2. Rosemary's Baby
3. Funny Farm
4. The 'Burbs
5. Bridget Jones's Diary

5 guilty pleasure movies:

1. Can't Buy Me Love
2. Teen Witch (yup, you read that right)
3. Bride Wars
4. Mean Girls
5. Clueless

5 favorite blogs (in random order):

1. Scathingly Brilliant
2. Achieving Clarity
3. The Bearded Iris
4. Design Sponge
5. How About Orange

July 20, 2013

new mamas, do not fear!

I remember when I was pregnant how so many people would scoff at my daily routines. They would often say things like, "Just wait 'til you have the baby, you'll never (insert random thing that I do everyday ie: sleep, put on makeup, straighten hair, wash dishes, clean the house) again." I would think, Why would these people try to frighten me into thinking my life is going to turn into nothing but rice cereal and diaper blowouts?? Like I'm going to become that cartoon picture of that frazzled lady in her nightgown and fuzzy pink slippers with curlers in her hair with her coffee cup in her hand and her head on the kitchen table surrounded by a giant mess?? I would hold my tongue on most occasions but normally would fire back a, "Yeah okay, I'll just let my house turn to filth and walk around with bags under my naked eyes, sure." I knew I would beat the odds, I just knew it. And I did.

Pregnant lady friends, do not fear. While it will be difficult to go about your normal biz, you will still find time to do the things you really want to do. Things will change for certain, you may not be able to shower in the morning as you always did, you may be doing dishes at 11 pm, you may shorten your makeup routine or lasso your hair more often - but there will still be time to be YOU. After all, life is what you make of it, right? If you would rather read a magazine than sweep the floor - do it! Just remember that you DID have time to sweep the floor. If you want to spend an hour catching up on your DVR - do it! Just remember you had that hour to spend. There will be time. You just have to rearrange things a bit.

Sometimes it's best to ignore the 'been there done that' comments and just wait until you're actually in the situation for yourself. Best of luck, mamas!

July 19, 2013

Designs by S

Since it was blazing hot today I decided to stay indoors and carve out some creative time with Scarlett. We had tried painting in the past but it didn't go so well (think: tears and a green Hitler mustache). Today was quite a success however and I think Scarlett has a new favorite hobby.

I like to use card stock for drawings and coloring and I had three pieces handy so I let Scarlett paint three pictures. I liked them so much I decided to switch out my old dining room art for her original creations.

July 18, 2013

best movie characters ever

While cooking dinner tonight I was randomly thinking about how much I love Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30. Weird, right? Anyway, it got me thinking about my favorite movie characters of all time - hence this blog post.

A few of my most favorite movie characters - in random order:

Melvin Udall- As Good as It Gets 
Jack Nicholson is noticeably fantastic in this role. A semi-hostile yet brilliant best-selling novelist suffering with O.C.D. and crushing on his favorite NYC waitress. Who else could nail that character but Jack? He's got the anger, the crazy, the charm and the comebacks. He's perfect, which is probably why he snatched Best Actor.

Juno MacGuff- Juno
I can't be the only one who fell in love with Ellen Page as Juno, she's adorably amazing. I feel like Juno is Ellen Page or vice versa. I can't separate the actress from the character because her performance was flawless. Juno is a somewhat unorthodox teenager with razor-sharp wit who becomes pregnant and decides to give the baby up for adoption. She's blissfully sarcastic, immature in a mature way and cute as all get-out.

Bill 'The Butcher' Cutting- Gangs of New York
Daniel Day-Lewis brought to life this frightening character that you wouldn't turn your back on yet you kinda wanna hang out with. He has the grit and the grime and the devil in his eyes. And I guess I'll admit that I'm terrified of him when he is wearing his hat. Who knew a ruthless gang leader could be so intriguing?

Bridget Jones- Bridget Jones's Diary
I love herrrrrrrrrrr. I love Bridget Jones. She is the epitome of every girl at the most awkward point in her life. Clumsy, vulnerable, jaded yet hopeful - you route for her to come out on top in every mortifying situation she gets into. Like most, she relies on her best friends to get her through her lonely thirties and her daily disasters. Renee Zellweger made a fan out of me.

Clark W. Griswold- National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
I really don't even know what to say here, you all know Chevy Chase's most famous character, Clark Griswold. A hilarious, bumbling family man with a heart of gold who always means well but seems to get screwed at every turn. I feel the need to rate the Vacation series in terms of my personal favorites (1 being the favorite) - 1. Christmas Vacation 2. Vacation 3. European Vacation 4. Vegas Vacation.

Holly Golightly- Breakfast at Tiffany's
Audrey Hepburn is unforgettable as a beautiful New York City socialite who, while hoping to marry one of the world's the richest men, realizes she is simply longing for a tangible life. Quirky and offbeat she wins your heart instantly. Truly one of the most beloved characters of all time.

Gilbert Grape- What's Eating Gilbert Grape
If you haven't seen this film I highly recommend it. I don't know if I love it so much because I watched it at such a pivotal point in my life or just because it's so damned good. Johnny Depp is hauntingly beautiful as Gilbert Grape. He's just a regular guy trying to have a life of his own but trapped in a dead end Midwestern town under the weight of his family. He feels obligated to take care of his mother and special needs brother but wants so desperately to break free. His spontaneous relationship with a girl passing through town (played by Juliette Lewis) shines a light into the depth of his character. You just want to take care of him.

Dr. Hannibal Lecter- The Silence of the Lambs
Oh, Sir Anthony Hopkins, you terrifying charmer you. I love him in this role. Lecter, like Bill 'the Butcher', is someone I'd love to be friends with but with a heart full of fear. His supreme intelligence makes him a superior villain, read as: you don't feel like he's just another scumbag murderer. Despite his taste for human organs I almost find myself routing for him.

R.P. McMurphy- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Coolest criminal ever. Another phenomenal award-winning role for Jack Nicholson. McMurphy is a tough-guy/wise-ass who has been in and out of the joint and is sent to be evaluated at the mental hospital. Figuring life on the ward would be a cushy piece of cake, he sits back and makes his friends, plays his cards and torments the head nurse. He quickly realizes he's misjudged and mismanaged the situation and unfortunately it's too late.

Rosemary Woodhouse- Rosemary's Baby
Mia Farrow is the most darling demon-carrier I've ever laid eyes on. Rosemary is a sweet, innocent young lady with good morals and manners. She is happy to be a housewife living in an upscale building in NYC with her actor husband, Guy. She's not all daisies and sunshine however and finds her moxie when the situation calls for it. Rosemary is thrilled when she becomes pregnant and just like any mother she will do anything for her baby - even when it means setting aside her lifetime beliefs and facing her worst fears. She's the perfect blend of princess and warrior - not to mention her wardrobe is to die for!!

Of course I have dozens more - such as Quint from Jaws, Bob Wiley from What About Bob? and Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird - but we would be here all day if I actually dug deeper. So tell me, who are YOUR favorites?

July 17, 2013

Guess Who's Coming to My Tea Party

Scarlett and I have some pretty deep conversations during her bath time. Last week she was pouring me some "tea" and saying tea party over and over in her adorable little voice. I asked her who was coming to her tea party and that question instantly knocked a memory loose for me.

One of my favorite books as a child was Guess Who's Coming to My Tea Party by Barbara Williams. My father used to record my brother and me and on one of those archived cassette tapes you can hear my big mouth saying, "Guess who's coming to my tea party. Mrs. Brinkerhoff, my kindergarten teacher." Every now and then this will come up during family conversation - we all remember it very well.

I decided to hunt down this book so I could read its pages once again and see the illustrations that had made it such a big hit for me. I found a very good, used hardcover through Amazon and it came to me yesterday as a former library book from Westbrook, Connecticut. It is decorated with the finest of dust jackets and stamped Canceled by Librarian in the back of the book. It smells heavenly. Don't you love the smell of library books???

To my surprise, I actually remembered a few of the illustrations and a couple of the weird passages. It's a very strange book (which is probably why I loved it so much). I read it to Scarlett and she actually sat still in my lap from start to finish. She liked it! I love finding old gems like this. We all have those little dusty memories tucked in the way back, high on a shelf... and I find it so comforting when they make their appearance once again.

Did you have a favorite book as a child?

July 16, 2013

Story Time fail

Welp, I can finally say we tried Story Time at the library. And I can finally say, I told you so (to myself). Wow, what an awkward memory I've just made. Perhaps the most awkward of all memories since Scarlett's birth. Eek.

For weeks, even months I've been feeling somewhat guilty about not bringing Scarlett to the library. I mean, it's such a typical mom thing to do. Take your toddler to the library for a story. Simple. Something to do in the A/C while it's a thousand and four degrees outside. Opportune time to try, right? But... Scarlett isn't your typical Story Time client. Scarlett doesn't really care to listen to what other people are saying. She doesn't sit still - she is very much on-the-go and very much wants to do-do-do. But then again, a short story, a group of children, a fun, bright setting... how bad could it be? Well, had I known what Story Time actually entailed I wouldn't have even attempted it.

We arrived early so we could play for a bit. Scarlett loved the big wooden boat play area - she dove in and found the puzzles and blocks right away. She also took a shine to the various plush puppets laying around. I grimaced as I stuck my hand into Filthy Clifford - but Scarlett smiled. I sat silently as the boy next to Scarlett reached for the same puzzle pieces with a hand and face full of green slime. His mama said, Oh you've got a runny nose! And left it at that. Runny? More like toxic waterfall... but whatevs. Various kids gathered around playing and sharing and snatching and falling. Scarlett rather enjoyed this mini circus. Then came the bell.

A bell was somewhere ringing and children and mamas alike were gathering belongings and hurrying toward a door. What's this, now? I watched as though a fire drill was taking place. Okay, I guess Story Time takes place in that room over there, behind that closed door, with that smiling lady. I alerted Scarlett to this scenario and to my surprise the fury was unleashed. She clearly did not want to leave the play area OR head anywhere near that door, that lady or that swarm of regulars. I let her know we were going in there to sit with all the other kids for a story. She VERY reluctantly obliged. The smiling lady gave me an extra smile (you know the one you get when your child is whining and carrying on) and I told her we were newbies and I wasn't quite sure how this would play out. She assured me we can go in and out as we please but urged me not to miss craft time because it was going to be really fun. Craft time? Yeah, that's not going to happen.

If we'd sat any further back in the room we'd have been on the window sill. I desperately tried to convince Scarlett that this would be fun - while still trying to figure out what the hell I was doing in that room. I felt ridiculous sitting there on the cold tile floor holding a little girl against her will. We were all jammed in there, in a wacked out circle listening to our smiley director give her greeting. Everyone was pretty excited. I felt seasick. The songs broke out. Songs??? Scarlett loathes sing-a-longs. She is petrified at every birthday party. This is going to be a disaster. Three songs were sung but I can only remember You Are My Sunshine as I was rocking S and begging her to uncover her eyes. Kids were having a blast, caretakers were doing all the hand motions and sign language - these people were clearly weekly participators. Finally it was time for the story. Thank God it was a super short one, something about penguins and bath time. I described each picture to Scarlett as she all but begged me to get out of that room. We left as the teddy bears were being handed out. WHEW!

Scarlett was back to putting together puzzles and building block towers happily. I thankfully dodged the teddy bear and craft time bullet. I am NOT judging those other parents/caretakers - by any means - but I couldn't have felt more like a fish out of water in that room. I'm just not 'that mom'. The clapping, sunshine spreading, sing-alonging, song-dance-jumping mom. Maybe someday I'll morph a little better into that mold buuuuuttttt not today. Or tomorrow. And we're never going back for Story Time. It's just not our bag.

We watched as the happy children ran out from behind the closed door holding their fun, painted picture that they created during craft time. Scarlett and I lingered behind the fish tank until I could break out without looking like the mother who sucks at library interaction. It's okay though, not every new experience is going to be a success. We learned that lesson early on at the Christmas Tree Farm. Either way I can write this down in Scarlett's baby book... Library Horror Show, CHECK.

July 14, 2013

the kindness of strangers ...

Imagine receiving devastating news. News that would affect your entire family, your entire life. News that would flip your world upside-down in a single second, leaving you speechless, deflated and scared to death. News that would make you question your future, everything you thought you believed in and everything you lived your life for.

Now imagine that the only way you can overcome this heartbreaking situation is by relying on the help of others - family, friends and ultimately the kindness of strangers. Imagine the vulnerability.

I've been sharing a link on facebook repeatedly and I'm sure a few of you have seen it, some have even shared it for me (thank you). I've posted the widget on my blog page for visitors to stumble upon. I've made many pleas to my friends and family for help - and those pleas have not gone unnoticed. I'm going to ask again - PLEASE HELP MY FRIEND'S FAMILY. 

I've known Danny for most of my life. My mother tells me that we played together as children long before I realized. Danny is my godparents' nephew. He was dealt a tough hand throughout his life but none tougher than what he is dealing with right now. The love of his life, his wife Michelle, has cancer. While pregnant with their fourth child, she has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and that cancer is spreading. They have now set up a second online fundraiser to raise money for Michelle's treatment. While she is away from her children seeking treatment Danny is trying to handle everything as best he can - CAN YOU IMAGINE??? The money they've raised and been given by family will only cover three weeks of treatment at the cancer center. THREE WEEKS.

I'm asking you to just think about this situation. Think about the deep love that you have for your family - your parents, your husband, your wife, your children. Think about how Michelle's children need their mother. How Danny needs his wife. How YOU can help them. Even if you have five or ten dollars to spare. If you have a thousand dollars collecting dust, just waiting for a rainy day... this could be that rainy day. PLEASE help. You can click here to donate or do so through the link at the top of my page. Please donate. Please share this with everyone you know. Thank you.

July 12, 2013

I'd like ...

...to see a sunset in the mid-west. Ya know, like that scene from What's Eating Gilbert Grape where Johnny Depp and Juliette Lewis sit in a field of hay watching the sun go down. Yeah, like that.

...to get up in the morning and put on the clothes that I feel like wearing without finding reasons to toss them aside out of frustration.

...to have a personal chef to prepare a variety of meals for the family - we tend to eat a lot of the same things over and over. Hey, different choices can be expensive.

...to paint my kitchen cabinets white. I just don't feel like doing all the sanding and junk.

...to buy Rogaine for my eyebrows. How come the strays that you constantly pluck keep coming back time and time again yet those super important hairs decided to quit ten years ago?

...to have Jennifer Aniston's hair and body... and wardrobe.

...to visit Colorado - but I fear I'd never want to come back to RI.

...to publish the children's books that I've written.

...to find a way to get my car to make "that noise" when I bring it to the mechanic.

...to have a giant art studio with tons of natural light - one that overlooks the ocean... or a lake. I'd have a whiteboard wall, a chalkboard wall, easels for painting and a Mac for graphic design. And maybe my laptop for blogging. And possibly a station for crafts.

...to have a lovely singing voice.

...to learn to sew. I want to make my own pillows and hem clothing and make weird little dolls.

...to do something special each weekend. Something I can write about on a piece of paper and slip into my "awesome memories of 2013 jar". (No, seriously, I have a jar).

...to stop getting shitty letters in the twelve games of Words With Friends I am currently playing.

...to blog about more interesting things - kinda. (not really).

July 11, 2013

I'm gonna be grouchy...

Just a few minutes ago I contemplated exercising. I pictured lacing up my sneaks and working out for maybe thirty minutes, leaving me just enough time to take a quick shower before Scarlett's speed-nap is over. Do I have my sneakers on? No. Am I doing crunches while I type this? Nope. Why not? Because today I have chosen to sit in my recliner and relax for a few minutes. It's not going to help my lasagna arms, true, but it's going to make me feel good just the same.

So maybe I don't always make the best decisions. I'll admit I haven't been exercising for months - I just can't get back into a routine. Right now my schedule allows for either thirty minutes in the afternoon or 5:30 am workouts. I normally get up between 6:15 and 6:30 and realllllllllly enjoy the days where I can just have a slow cup of coffee before Scarlett wakes up. Most days I'm rushing around showering, making breakfast and getting myself ready before 7:30. There is no real break until the afternoon nap - which is never for more than an hour. I typically spend that free time cleaning, writing or prepping dinner. The terribly apparent fact is that early morning workouts are my best bet right now. Ugh.

I've always hated exercising but I love the feeling I get when I am in a good routine. Even just three or four days a week, working different parts of the body each day, stretching and toning --- it feels great. Noticeably great. Like, I can actually feel my muscles working differently when I climb the stairs great. I love that. I love feeling strong and limber. I've noticed a difference since being somewhat sedentary. Not that I'm sitting around on my ass all day but chasing a toddler around is just not a real workout. Tiring, yes, but it's just not enough. So, I'm going to have to bite the bullet and get up earlier. But I'm gonna be grouchy.

The good news is that I haven't gained a pound since pregnancy. I'm actually fifteen pounds lighter than I was before I got pregnant, so that makes me feel better. My good eating habits keep me in line but I know that's only half of the equation. I just wish I had the same amount of free time that I had years ago... who doesn't?

By the way guess who just woke up... 

July 9, 2013

I miss Rocky Point...

Yesterday morning, as I was reading blogs and drinking coffee, I heard a song on the television that stopped me dead in my recliner. It was Van Halen's Panama. I was instantly transported back in time about twenty-five years and I was listening to that very song on the Musik Express ride at Rocky Point while enjoying the breeze with my bestest friends.

Rocky Point Park was just awesome. When I was a kid it was the absolute coolest way to spend a day with friends. Our parents would usually come along and give us a time and place to meet at the end of the day. These were the best of those long days of summer vacation - packed with the feelings of freedom, invincibility and many, many crushes on many, many boys. We met up with friends and spent hours running from ride to ride, getting drinks and snacks from the various venders, playing games with cheesy prizes, cooling off on the log flume ride and enjoying every single second. Nights were even more fun as the sun set and the stage was set up for bands. The views overlooking the bay from the super high rides were just amazing. And I loved every ride, the slow, the fast and the scary - but the crazier the better. Rocky Point had something for everyone.

Oh, how I wish it hadn't closed. I wish it was still a functioning amusement park. And - even though I grew to loathe the Rocky Point Shore Dinner Hall after having worked there in my teens - I wish I could go right this second and sit by those big old windows enjoying the best clam-cakes around. I'd love to find a place like this to take Scarlett to. I want her to have a special place to look back on with such fond memories as these. We were so lucky to have what felt like a gigantic personal carnival in our hometown. I miss Rocky Point!!

July 8, 2013

ghost stories ...

I've been watching a lot of Celebrity Ghost Stories on the bio channel lately. If you haven't seen it, it's basically a few actors/musicians sharing their stories of past encounters with spirits. I find it interesting because no two stories are ever alike - and because I believe in all that stuff having had a few experiences of my own. It's funny, if you talk to enough people you'll always find someone who has a story to tell.

Click here to read about my ghostly tales ...

Do you have any stories to share? Feel free to share in a comment... 

**** Please consider making a donation to the fundraiser on my page. You will be helping a wife and mother of three who has been diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant with her fourth child. Her cancer is spreading and she is in desperate need of donations to fund her treatments. It's a life or death situation and my friends are relying on the kindness of strangers to get them through. If you have anything to spare PLEASE do so. Pass the link along to anyone you know who may be in a position to help. Unfortunately getting information to "go viral" isn't as easy as it sounds. Thank you!

July 6, 2013

unhappy for two more years...

Well, this morning was certainly an ice cream cone in the dirt. Gregg and I headed out on this nine million degree day just after breakfast with Scarlett in tow. We had a simple errand to run - drive to the mall, enter AT(and)T and exchange our phones. Our expectations were high, we felt confident. We left, however, pissed off and dissatisfied.

Two weeks ago Gregg's phone crapped out. Our contract had recently expired so we decided to get new phones. We loved almost everything about our Windows phones but wanted to join the apple gang, so we did. We chose the iPhone 4 since it was free and right away we found several things that we didn't like - the camera being most important. Our Windows phones had ridiculously awesome cameras, these don't even come close. We also didn't like the overall layout, the email, the volume on calls, the ringtones ... etc. Besides Face Time and the variety of apps - these phones were beyond disappointing. We decided to exchange them - under the 'thirty days' policy.

We entered the store and were half-assedly greeted by a cocky little man with no intentions of helping us. I explained the situation and he showed me two phones we could choose from based on the criteria I provided. One phone was $200 and the other wasn't at all what we wanted. He then informed me that we would be paying a $35 re-stocking fee per each phone. Ummmm... yeah no. He said that our phones would be useless now and they can't resell them so they charge the fee. OKAY yeah, you're not going to turn around and sell our phones as refurbs or whatever. Bulllllllshit. I let him know how ridiculous that was, that I would never pay that fee and that I'd rather just carry two phones, using my old one for its camera. We left the store as he cheesily told us to enjoy our weekend. I wanted to punch him in the throat. You're probably thinking it's not HIS fault but I disagree. It's all in who you talk to and it's all in what you say. He was very callous, matter-of-fact, and unhelpful if you will. Probably employee of the month.

So, here we are ... for two more years. It just makes me irate thinking about how these companies really have you by the balls. What's the alternative?? Downgrading? To what? A pager? Cans and string? They know you're going to upgrade over and over - because you have to. Just like the cable companies. If you want to watch television, you re-sign your contract each year but you pay more for the same services. It is out of control.

Sometimes I just want to unplug it all. We could save hundreds of dollars and buckets of priceless patience. Maybe one day I will have the guts to do it but for now I guess I'll settle for being about thirty percent satisfied. I suppose we'll get used to our phones and forget how awesome our old ones were. Just don't Face Time me unless you're prepared to see my bitchy resting face.

July 5, 2013

the September block...

I am itchin' for Christmastime. Is that wrong? I can almost picture you guys crumpling paper and throwing it at my face... and did I see an apple core in there??

But I LOVE Christmastime! It's all so Robert Frost and Norman Rockwell. It's nice and chilly outside and there are hearty meals on the stove. The house feels even more like a home with it's festive red and green decorations, the fireplace lit and stockings hung - so picturesque. I can sit for hours watching holiday movies and cartoon specials or listening to the seasonal music channel. I try hard to push the stress of what gifts to buy, how to afford them and who is going where at what time for dinner to the backseat of these most treasured moments.

To be honest, I start getting excited when I switch the little wooden block on my perpetual calendar. Each time I flip it from May through August I see that September block lurking in the shadows ... it won't be long now. The last day of August is always exciting to me - knowing Fall is on its way and my favorite block will be on display for four whole months. I sound like a lunatic right? Who enjoys a calendar block? I think you know what I mean though - leaves a-fallin' ... bugs a-dyin' ... temps a-droppin'... it's poetry, really. I heart Fall and Winter. It's that simple.

So today, on our most majestic Independence Day, while celebrating our red, white and blue with the temperature into the humid nineties, I'm going against the grain and daydreaming of Charles Dickens and Bing Crosby.

July 3, 2013

twenty-five sheri facts you thought you could live without knowing ...

1. My preferred method of yogurt stirring is by butter knife.

2. The first time I was pulled over by police I got out of the car - shit almost got REAL.

3. I refer to Pete Rose a LOT when making fun of random hairstyles.

4. Reading Rainbow is a beloved favorite of mine. Anyone remember the "Miss Nelson is Back" episode? Come on!! That was GOLD.

5. I once lost my mother's original wedding band while on a sailboat. I blame the slip-off on the tanning oil and yes, I've felt guilty ever since. (I'm never letting Scarlett anywhere near my wedding rings).

6. I don't feel comfortable in my own backyard - I always feel like the neighbors are going to peek out and point and laugh at me. And I don't know why I care if they do.

7. I've always had a sort of fascination for the morbid. Growing up I had a lot of horror movies and books about serial killers - along with my stuffed animals of course.

8. As a reformed smoker (11 years!) I really can't bring myself to even buy a pack of cigarettes for someone - and god forbid I inhale second-hand smoke...

9. I would love to work in a library.

10. One of my favorite snacks is nutella slathered on golden oat Bel Vita biscuits.

11. It takes me a reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally long time to let things go - especially situations in which I've been treated unfairly.

12. If I could eat one meal for the rest of my life it would be eggplant parmesan with pasta and a delicious salad, italian bread, glasses of red wine and water followed by ice cream.

13. Analog clocks can still trip me up from time to time. I've always been a words girl - I just hate numbers.

14. Once while hiking my friends and I were nearly ten miles lost in 90+ degree weather with our only water supply from streams we came across. We ended up having to hitchhike back to our car.

15. I am not a fan of the circus. Not a fan of clowns, not a fan of chained animals, not a fan of loud noises or bright flashes.

16. I don't really eat red meat... or much pork. I'm more of a poultry kinda girl.

17. I hardly ever answer my home phone or my front door. Peddle your goods elsewhere, gang.

18. I had always wanted and recently got my first iPhone. I'd take my Windows phone back in a heartbeat.

19. I had two imaginary friends when I was very young and they went by the names of Noonie and Bernantha. I haven't yet ruled out writing a children's book about them.

20. I have written several children's books but can't seem to get them published. They reserve those slots for people like Katie Couric and Leann Rimes these days.

21. I have an engraved bracelet that reads, Scarlett June, you're my moon and I won't leave the house without it on my right wrist.

22. My teeth are cavity free.

23. My favorite cocktail is a Grey Goose and tonic with lemon.

24. I really hate: the terms chick flicks and girls night out, the phrase You Go Girl and most bachelorette parties. I'm not your normal gal.

25. I'd love to start a business with my creative friends --- who's putting up the dough??

July 2, 2013

trigger songs from the 80's...

I'm always mentioning how I love that certain songs can conjure up such vivid memories. Today I thought I'd share ten of my favorites - (memories, not songs) and we'll go with an 80's theme. Enjoy!

Faithfully, Journey: This song was on a mixed tape that I listened to while on a flight to Disney World. I remember staring out at the clouds so anxious to just get there and start enjoying time with my family. We'd been through the ringer that year and my father had won the trip in a contest he found in USA Today. (Miracles do happen).

You Give Good Love, Whitney Houston: Ridiculous as it may sound, I was convinced this was my "good luck song." Maybe twice while listening to it a family friend called to invite my family over to use the pool which is exactly what I had been hoping for. The song was in heavy rotation on 92 Pro FM - but it couldn't have been a coincidence, right?

Doin' It All For My Baby, Huey Lewis: My family and my godparents' family went in on a beach house the year this song was popular. (Can you believe this song was ever popular?) We had an absolute blast. I remember that musty-ass smell throughout the house, "the funky chair" the week-long sleepover feeling, my godfather's ridiculous sunburn which rivaled John Candy's burn in Summer Rental, long days on the beach, going to see Adventures in Babysitting... it was a week none of us will ever forget. Or was it two weeks? Guess I forgot.

Breakout, Swing Out Sister: This is actually my least favorite song in the world. That's including TV show theme songs and various anthems sung heinously by that guy at the hockey games. This song was playing while I was forced into a wallpaper store by my parents one evening. It may have only been twenty minutes but I'm pretty sure it was closer to nine hours. I really would've rather done my math homework.

The Flame, Cheap Trick: Being driven to and from basketball practice on Friday nights. What? You're surprised I'm not in the WNBA????

Dress You Up, Madonna: My friend Kim, my basement, various outfits, various dance routines. Singing at the top of our lungs. And I had this amazing light pink sleeveless shirt with the image of "80's-cool" Madonna on it. It was the bessssssssssssst!

No Easy Way Out, Robert Tepper: Staring out the rear window of a friend's parents' car driving away from the theatre where we'd just seen Rocky IV. Man, I love that movie! DRAGGGGOOOO!!!!

I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Whitney Houston: This video shows Whitney at her greatest, with a long curly wig and outfits and makeup to die for (in the 80's of course). I remember dancing around my living room just wishing I could look that cool...

Manic Monday, The Bangles: Playing 'Hotel' in my old bedroom. My dad gave me outdated schedule planners from his secretaries and I thought they were the coolest thing ever. Kim came over and we taped room numbers to the three doors in my room, used old sets of keys to hand out to the 'guests' and an old phone to schedule arrangements - all which would be written in the planners of course. So fun!

Little Red Corvette, Prince: This was my absolute favorite song when I was around five or six. I remember my dad taking me along on errands and stopping at this little store called Blueberry Hill for some Country Time Lemonade. Mmmm.

This post was so fun for me ... I may have to do more installments in the future. 
 What songs transport you to 'the good old days' ??   

July 1, 2013

hagging out ...

Ever go out with a group of people and realize you are the oldest person amongst the crew? And are older than a few of them by more than five years? Or eight years? That's a pretty awesome feeling isn't it? (Nope). Well, this happened to me Friday night while celebrating a friend's birthday at a bar with a bunch of his friends. I don't really ever remember it happening to me before which is why I think this is such a big deal. I know it doesn't matter... at all... to anyone but CRAP! Who wants to be the oldest person anywhere??

Not helping matters, I've recently started to notice I am looking older. I'll see it in pictures, especially the ones taken in natural light - are you KIDDING ME, sunlight?? How bout you stop being such an asshole??  I've caught a few extra lines cropping up around my mouth and yes, there are often some bags under my eyes. I guess I could blame those on being a mom to a toddler but I think we all know it's the mid-thirties bullshit that everyone has to deal with. I've been buying random creams and serums trying to fight the inevitable. Some of which have disgusting odors and/or burn my face. All of which are just too expensive to explore any further. So, here I go. Into the deep end.

I will take some responsibility of course for my years of sun bathing and tanning. And I know I couldn't have talked my younger self out of doing either. A lot of us just can't resist a golden hue. Especially in our glory days.

Sure, everybody says I look the same, I don't look my age, they don't notice the lines... nobody wants to tell a friend that they are hagging out. I mean, I like to be honest but I could never look at a friend and say, How old are you? Yeah, that's what I figured... I can tell by those lines around your mouth. Nice way to get a busted eye. So, the real truth is between me and the mirror (and the sunlight). Don't let me down, Olay Regenerist. Or Garnier stinky-face serum. Or various dewy complexion promisers. We'll re-evaluate next year... and your asses will most likely be fired.

*** While this post is utterly ridiculous in nature - please take a few seconds to read about a heartbreaking situation that my friend's family is enduring. A mom of three, soon to be four, has been diagnosed with breast cancer and her insurance will not cover the natural treatments that she needs to help heal her body while keeping her unborn baby safe. This is her second attempt at a fundraiser. Please click here to read her brief bio and make a donation if possible. Share the link with everyone you can (facebook/twitter) to help increase her chance of reaching that goal! Her family is depending on the kindness of strangers --- Thank you!