Being “Besties” With Your Child?

Things Parents of Sons Are Missing Out On In Life…

Parents of sons, please enjoy the following. Here’s a little taste of the fun you are missing out on…
(Parents of daughters will totally understand!)

1. Having to dress shop at the mall on Monday for 2+ hours because your daughter “needs a new dress because every girl in my class is wearing one on Wednesday”. She will have to check every single “cool” store first, before actually finding a dress in the store you suggested in the first place. You will also have to make the requisite stop at Starbucks for some type of Strawberry concoction. She will be mad at you because you will not let her get a coffee because she is 12, and you don’t see how a 12 year old needs coffee. She will let the cat out of the bag that she orders coffee when she goes to the mall with her friends, and then stare at the floor. She will give the barista a fake name when she orders her drink, and when you ask her why she did that, she will reply in a whispered tone “Mommm. It’s not cool to give them your real name! Everyone knows that!” She will grin like a champ when they yell her fake name when her drink is ready for pick-up.(For the record, you are the only people in the store, and they still yell.) She will get in the car and take the perfect selfie of her and her Starbucks drink with her fake name prominently displayed and will post it to Instagram. She will spend the drive home telling you how many “likes” she got on that one.

2. Having to leave work yesterday for 20 minutes to run home and drive your daughter to school because someone (Mom) accidentally put the dryer setting on low and the yoga pants she HAS TO wear to gym did not dry in time for school. She will text you at work 7 minutes before the bus is coming to let you know this. No, she cannot wear something else to school! Your daughter will beg and plead to stay home, but that isn’t happening. When you are driving her to school you will hear all about how she has now missed gym but is wearing the yoga pants anyway because that was her chosen outfit for school and she knows you would have been mad if you got home and she didn’t have them on. (She is correct on that one!) Also, she will tell you that because of the dryer mishap this is her first time being tardy in 7 years of school. The streak is broken and she will be upset about it. (Tardiness is a catastrophe that you are unaware of), and now because it is after 9:00, she will not be able to sit with her class at the assembly that is occurring, because she is tardy for that too. All of this will be your fault. You will drive back to work thinking about the million times she has made you tardy for work over the past 7 years. At 3:20 pm, she will come home smiling and say that she was glad she didn’t stay home because she had a great day, but will still be upset at the tardiness marring her permanent record. She will then grab a snack and go up to her room to blast music and scan Instagram for anything she has missed in the last 6 hours, as well as to see if there are anymore likes on her Starbucks selfie.

3. Having to get out of your pj’s on your sick day (there’s no such thing for a Mom) because you HAVE TO drive a very specific outfit over to your daughter’s school (after a series of panicked laden texts, which she is doing while hiding face first in her locker, because phones at school are a bigger no-no than tardiness) because the dress that you spent two hours shopping for, and that she looks so beautiful in is ITCHY…VERY, VERY ITCHY and she “can’t take it for another minute”. When you get there, the secretary will want to know how you know your daughter needs a new outfit if she isn’t in the nurse’s office because they’re not supposed to have phones in school. You will reply that your daughter is 12, 12 is a fun age, and you are part psychic with a $hit-eating grin on your ugly, sick face. The secretary will look less than amused at your answer and will make “the face” at the other secretary who is sitting there listening to your conversation. You will then stand there awkwardly pretending to read the bulletins hanging on the wall while you wait for your daughter in the itchy dress to make her way down to the office. It will feel like an hour, but probably will only be about a 3 minute wait.

4. Your daughter will finally come down to the office to get her specified clothes and will actually give you an unexpected heartfelt thank you for bringing that in, will hug your arm, and tell you that she hopes you get some rest…and you won’t be annoyed anymore. In fact, you will smile as you drive back home.

Yes, that’s what having a daughter is like. (God bless my friends that have more than one!)

Give a Penny, Take a Penny…NOT THE WHOLE THING!

From the “Who Does That” files…

Oh Yes They Did!



From the “I-Witness” files…

Every once in a while, I post a story from my life on this blog. Today is one of those days because it is seven hours after the fact, and I am still shaking my head in disbelief.

What had happened was…this morning I stopped at 7-11 for my morning cup of coffee on the way to work. I was having a nice morning because we had a delayed opening thanks to yesterday’s snow…and then this occurred…

The older, well-dressed guy in front of me is getting ready to pay for his small coffee and is making idle chit-chat with the cashier. (Clearly he is a regular by their conversation.) As he reaches into his pocket and starts counting off two dollars out of the wad he has in his hand, he looks down at the “Give a penny. Take a penny” change tray, and…

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Say It Ain’t So Mo!!! Thoughts From A Depressed Yankee Fan…

I posted this a year ago, and thought it fitting to re-post it once more. Last year I hoped we would get a chance to give him the goodbye he deserves…and today is that day. Thank you Mo for the incredible memories you have given this hard-core family of Yankee fans, both live at the stadium and from our living room couch. You are the most amazing and humble man that ever played the game. There will never be another #42. There will never be another one like you. You truly are the greatest closer in the history of baseball, and perhaps the greatest Yankee of all time. Thanks for meMOries!

The View From Here

I have been a Yankee fan from birth…that’s 41 years if you’re counting. Growing up as a girl in my house had no bearing on being raised to love them. I have incredibly fond memories of sitting on the couch (with the plastic slip covers, because we are Italian after all) with my father and watching game after game. I remember how my mother would stop in her tracks and watch whenever Bucky Dent got up to bat, because she thought he was so handsome. (Agreed!) I smile when I think back to the many times my dad took my brother and I to the stadium to catch a game…my all-time favorite being Old Timer’s Day, when my Dad would explain something about every single former player that got announced. I remember walking into that stadium holding my Dad’s hand and loving it because you could just feel the history…

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Helicopter Parenting…Please Stop It!

Oh Yes They Did!

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**Warning…I will be veering from my usual sarcastic blogging style in the form of a much needed rant!***

I was perusing the NY Post online, as I do every morning, and came across an article that made me cringe in disbelief.  Rich parents in NYC are hiring “play date consultants” to teach their children how to “play better” for private school admissions. These parents are actually paying these “consultants” $400 an hour to teach their children how to play andsocialize  “correctly”!!!  The article states the following:

*Rheault’s pricey play dates involve groups of three to five 4-year-olds playing in a room. The experts closely monitor how the kids share crayons, color, follow directions in Simon Says, and hold a pencil. 

*Experts said that kids may need the play-date tutoring because their young lives have become so regimented, with classes in subjects like Mandarin and violin, that they…

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A Teacher’s Open Letter to NJ Governor Chris Christie

This amazing piece speaks for all of us who are proud to be teachers in NJ!!


Dear Mr. Christie,

Before you were elected in 2009, you wrote an “Open Letter to the Teachers of New Jersey”, in which you promised you would be a “strong ally for teachers in the classroom.”

You concluded your letter by saying, “We may disagree on some issues, but I know we agree on what’s most important – delivering the best education we can for our kids.”

My, how your tune changed.

On Tuesday, June 25th, you accepted a “Citizen of the Year” award from the privately-funded Children’s Scholarship Fund of Philadelphia—and told parents that they “have to challenge a status quo that wants to maintain a system that serves their interests, often, ahead of the children’s interests.”

I’m sorry, to which “system” were you referring with this comment? Teachers? (The NJEA, which is made up of teachers?) The teachers who you said seek to deliver the best…

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When I Wasn’t Looking…

When you’re a parent, you hope for a lot of things for your child. You hope your child will be born healthy. You hope your child will grow up happy. You hope your child will be smart and self-confident. You hope that whatever is thrown their way in life, your child will come out of it on the other side better and stronger because of it. You hope your child will turn out to have a life better than yours. You hope that when your child goes out in the world all of those little lessons you taught him or her stick and they do the right things…especially when you’re not looking. You do the best that you can as a parent, but in the end, you do “hope” a lot.

Today, I got to smile at one of my “hopes” coming back to me.

As I set out to pick my daughter up from her after-care program at school, I texted her and said “On my way. Be there in five minutes. Be ready please”. In return, I got her typical “K” response. (Yes, she still does that to me daily.) When I got there, I could see her on the far side of the room, seated with two other kids, playing a game. When I finally got her attention, she gave me her “just a minute” gesture, and I had to stand there making idle chit-chat with the ladies who run the program. That “just a minute” was more like five minutes, and I could feel myself getting antsy because I had things to do. As she finally gets up from the table, I see her pat the boy she was sitting next to on the back as she says goodbye, but I didn’t think anything of it.

When we get in the car, I say “How come you weren’t ready to go today?”, and then I get the whole story. It turns out that she was seated at the table with a boy she has known since she was three years old, whom she went to preschool with. He has Autism. He is beyond smart, but socially and behaviorally, he struggles.When she was three, she had a hard time understanding him but it didn’t take her long to get it and accept it. He has come an incredibly long way since he was three, and I smile whenever I see him because his progress is quite amazing. The problem is other kids, especially those who don’t really know him, don’t quite “get” him or his outbursts. Luckily, my daughter does…and she has always been his friend.

She tells me that the reason she wasn’t ready is because she was sitting with her friend playing a game. She said that this is what she does every time she goes to aftercare and he is there, so he doesn’t have to sit alone or get picked on by other kids. Then she launches into a mini-tirade about how she hates when other kids tease him, and how she sticks up for him…even if he’s not around. She tells the other kids that they are ridiculous and maybe if they would stop for a second and get to know or understand him or his disability, then they’d be ashamed of how they have treated him. (She also throws in lines like “By the way, he’s super smart. Maybe he’s just too smart for you!” Atta girl!!) She proudly tells me that the other kids are finally starting to leave him alone, especially when she’s with him, and she says it in such a staunch manner that I want to stop the car and hug her as tight as I can. Instead, I pat her on the leg and tell her that I am proud of her for being a good person with a good heart. I tell her that I am proud that she stands up for others, even if it goes against “popular” opinion, because she’s saying what’s “right”…and I drive the rest of the way home with a smile on my face, hiding the tears in my eyes behind my sunglasses.

I have to say, in the past 11 years I have been there to see plenty of things my daughter has done that have made me proud…but one of the things I am most proud of is what she did today and what she has been doing…when I wasn’t looking.

I Believe…

Believe what you will, but I know what I believe in…that our loved ones who have passed are always around us. I believe it with all that I am, and today reminded me, yet again, of why…

Today Alyssa told me, out of the blue, that she dreams of Rob’s mom. In fact, Rob’s mom came to visit her in her dreams last night. She said it’s the same dream she has always had…that his mother comes to her, hugs her, and tells her that she loves her. Last night she told her to always remember that she always wanted to meet her as well.

Rob’s mother passed away at the age of 44…far too young. We were only 19 years old, so clearly Alyssa never got to meet her. Alyssa has seen a few pictures of her grandmother over the years, but I wouldn’t say that she studied them enough to be able to describe her…but when she sees her in her dreams, like she did last night, she can do just that. When I asked her to describe her grandmother as she saw her, she was able to describe her as perfectly as we remember her….and it made my heart smile and my eyes fill with tears.

We have always said that she watches over us, and especially over Alyssa. She always wanted to have a girl, but was blessed with three wonderful sons instead. When we found out that we were having a daughter, we looked to the sky and thanked her. When we saw Alyssa take her first breath, we thanked her again and knew she was there smiling down on us, and on Alyssa.

Throughout Alyssa’s life, she has always been circled by tiny butterflies that flit all around her…sometimes white, sometimes yellow (which was her grandmother’s favorite color) and it makes us smile. To us, that has always been our sign that Bobbie is with us and watching over our daughter. Even in times when we are alone, those little butterflies will come flitting by us, and we are reminded that she is watching over us…and it brings us a sense of comfort and peace.

The day before Hurricane Sandy, when we were cleaning out our yard, we noticed one lone yellow rose that had bloomed on our rose bush. Yellow roses were her favorite flowers. Rob snipped it off of the bush, brought it inside, and put it in a vase. We knew she was with us and would watch over us….and we believe that she did. That yellow rose stayed hearty for a week, and we silently thanked it everyday when we looked at it sitting in that vase in the middle of our counter. I have yet to take that rose out of the vase. It’s no longer in bloom, but most of the petals are still on it. It’s our symbol of strength…

Today, Rob’s mother would have been 67 years old. We think of her constantly and always say “I wish she could be here to see this or share this with us” but Alyssa’s dream reminded us of what we already know…she is always around us. She may not be with us physically, but she is always here spiritually. She does see our lives, she does see Alyssa growing up, and she, above all, protects us. We’ve have plenty of signs from her over the years, and each and every time, we smile and are thankful for our Guardian Angel.

Happy Birthday Mom. We love you too…

Believe what you will, but I know what I believe in…


Hello Everyone. Normally this blog pokes fun at things, but not today. Right now, nothing is funny. I have a feeling this will be a fairly long blog post, but I hope you will read it to the end, because I need to get it out.

I live on the Jersey Shore. To be more specific, I live on the mainland in Ocean County, smack-dab in between Seaside Heights and Long Beach Island…two areas that have been completely destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. My town has been devastated on the bay front areas, and torn apart in the inland parts of our beautiful town too.

I was very fortunate, and although I am not the most religious person, I have been thanking God for days for sparing me and my family. I live a few blocks from the water, and by what I think is a miracle, the tidal flood stopped about a block from my house. A huge tree fell outside of my house into the street, snapping poles in half like wafers, and pulling lines down everywhere. Miraculously, my house was completely unscathed. I don’t know how it’s possible, but I do know that we were incredibly lucky.

For those of you reading this who are not from New Jersey, I know you have seen the pictures on the news of the destruction here. I’m sure you cringe or just stare at them in disbelief. You can multiply that feeling by a million, for those of us who live here and grew up frequenting the beaches and boardwalks, or spending lazy days on the Barnegat Bay on our boats see it in magnification. We stare at the destruction and envision our childhoods, our liveliness, and everything we have ever known, knowing what it used to look like, in comparison to now.

I am a teacher at the high school that the students of Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, as well as other destroyed waterfront communities attend. Some of my friends, my co-workers, and my students have lost everything. When we go back to school, my job will be a thousand times harder than it ever was. Algebra suddenly becomes highly unimportant. Letting them come in and talk it out will be the education they will receive, because it is what they will need most. I keep trying to figure out what I will even say to them. What can I say to a teenager who has lost everything? I honestly don’t know, but what I do know is that I will have the strength to give them whatever support they need when they walk into my classroom, starting with big, tight hugs, mixed with tears. I will hide my broken heart. Theirs is broken more than mine.

My power was restored last night, and I have never been so thankful for electricity in my life. Unfortunately, my neighbors here and so many others in my town and the surrounding areas are still living in darkness. I felt a twinge of guilt flipping on the coffee maker this morning, knowing others wish that’s how their day was starting today. I cried (again) when I put my steaming cup of coffee on the counter and stared at it, because the tiniest things now bring big emotions with them.

I will probably never feel the same about complete darkness. I will never forget what it felt like to stare into that darkness in the height of the storm, literally wrapped around my daughter on the living room floor and praying for safety as the storm came whipping through. The sound of the lashing winds is something I hope you never know, and it is something I will never forget.

My husband is a police officer here. He was out in that storm, and has been out every night since, working to help and protect the people of this ravaged town. I had no way to contact him during the storm because everyone’s cell phones failed, and words cannot describe the terror I felt inside about that. How would he know if we needed him? How would I know that he was alright? I never want to know that feeling again.

Speaking of cell phones, we all learned quickly here just how dependent we are on them, as well as what it’s like to pray for bars to be on the screen. Service was incredibly sporadic, and getting a text or hearing someone’s voice for a second was like getting the Christmas present you wished for as a child. At least you knew others were alright, even if just for a mere second, but then it would go dead again, and your stomach would knot right back up. I will say that the amount of people that care about you becomes quickly apparent, and sometimes from places that you wouldn’t expect. I am incredibly grateful for the people in my life that love me.

Facebook, when I could finally get it on my phone yesterday, has been an amazing tool. I was able to see that my friends were “ok” (a term I use very loosely right now), and I was able to get my first look at the damage here via pictures. I thought I knew what I would see because I had listened to the radio in my car for days, but there was no preparing myself for that in actuality. I stared in disbelief, and then sobbed looking at those pictures. It was beyond the realm of my imagination, and truthfully it still is. Our beloved Jersey Shore was demolished. Seeing it with my own eyes made the nightmare a fact, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away. We all say the same thing here, after we get our first look at the pictures for ourselves. (BTW, if you are on Facebook, please like the following page: Jersey Shore Hurricane News. It has been in existence since Hurricane Irene came through last year, and is absolutely amazing. The guys that run this do it for free and are like heroes to all of us. We all use it here for information year round, and it will give you the reality of what it is to be here, more than I ever could. It also has great information about making donations to those who need it most. Just be careful to read thoroughly and use some common sense.)

I could continue to go on about what I experienced, but I won’t. My personal experiences are nothing compared to those around me here. Really what I want you to know most is this:

We live at the Jersey Shore, but we are nothing like “The Jersey Shore” that you see on MTV. We are people that are kind, yet as tough as nails! We are people who always stand together as one in the face of adversity. We huddle up like no others can, and take care of each other. Despite the fact that there are reports of looting and crime, that’s NOT who 99% of us are. We are people who will help one another in a time of need, without exception. Even with our own lives in tatters, we are people who help our neighbors. There is no “I” in team, and we all know it. We are standing amid destruction right now, but we see can see past it. We might currently be knocked down, but we are people that always get back up. We will rebuild this area and our lives. We will never forget what Sandy has done to us, but we will come out of this on the other side, better than ever and as one. Believe it.


This is beautiful…

Oh Yes They Did!

1953 – 2012
I was Born in Salt Lake City, March 27th 1953. I died of Throat Cancer on July 10th 2012. I went to six different grade schools, then to Churchill, Skyline and the U of U. I loved school, Salt Lake City, the mountains, Utah. I was a true Scientist. Electronics, chemistry, physics, auto mechanic, wood worker, artist, inventor, business man, ribald comedian, husband, brother, son, cat lover, cynic. I had a lot of fun. It was an honor for me to be friends with some truly great people. I thank you. I’ve had great joy living and playing with my dog, my cats and my parrot. But, the one special thing that made my spirit whole, is my long love and friendship with my remarkable wife, my beloved Mary Jane. I loved her more than I have words to express. Every moment spent with my Mary Jane…

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