Just Saw This…

by admin on June 21, 2012



Amy here. Went on my favorite local tv station, New England Cable News (NECN) this a.m. to talk about helping kids manage their money during the summer.

Already a handful of kids have raised cash via lemonade stands — and donated part or all of the hard cold cash! Way to go kiddies.

Here’s the link below…

Teaching Kids to Manage Money During SUmmer


Watching Firestarter, alone, in a dark room. Hmmm. If I knew it was THAT easy, I’d have ditched the Lululemon workout gear and breakfast in bed!


I Didn’t Like My Dad. There, I Said It.

by admin on June 16, 2012

Father’s Day is always such a mixed bag of emotions for me. When I was a toddler, my Mom married her second husband Bruce, who legally adopted me. I didn’t know until I was 11 that he wasn’t my ‘real’ Dad.

I didn’t feel connected to him. I never felt that special father/daughter ‘bond’ that chokes me up when I see it in Paul and Emily now. I never looked into his twinkling eyes, hoping that one day I’d meet someone half as amazing as him. Turns out, when I was 23, I met someone 100 times more than anything he was. Thank God.

Bruce was a dictator, and if you got in his way, watch out. He wasn’t fun, and fun equaled LOUD and irritating to him, so I learned from a very early age to play without a sound. So my favorite place quickly became my coveted bedroom with the four poster bed, alone. My prized possession was a tape recorder that I could turn into my own private recording studio, and even though the ‘record’ button was broken and I had to keep my aching finger on it for hours at a time, it was okay, because it allowed me to create my own little world that I could live in, and sing in (albeit horribly), and create in. And no one could hear me.

The one surefire way to win Bruce’s accolades was to get straight A’s. And even though I was a horrible math student, somehow, I managed that feat most of the time. I remember clutching my report card on those lucky days, heading home with a smile, knowing that he’d be really proud.

At bedtime, he would lean in for a goodnight kiss, and I always unconsciously turned my head so that he had to kiss me on the cheek and not the other way around. One night, when I was about 8, he screamed at me, wanting to know why I always did that. It’s weird that these are the moments burned in my brain. And that now, with our kids, Paul and I go overboard with the hugs and kisses and cuddles.

When Bruce disowned me just before turning 18, after I had called the cops on him when he threatened me and my Mom, it was kind of a relief. Even paying for college on my own felt liberating, and soon thereafter my parents divorced.

Bruce died a handful of years ago, and I did not attend the funeral. I do think about him now and again, and hope that somewhere, somehow, he’s found his peace.

So although Father’s Day can feel very bittersweet for me, I also celebrate it though my kids’ eyes — and soak in their giddiness and love for a man whom they adore. A man who plays such a positive, encouraging, loving role for them. Who gives them unconditional love. Those lucky little devils.


A friend of my second grade daughter was over the other day. She’s a lovely, sweet girl, who I know quite well and really like. We were sitting around the kitchen counter, and as I was cleaning up I heard ‘Erica’ ask Emily, ‘how much do you weigh?’ I literally gasped a sharp breath in, my head spinning like a top, feeling light headed and panicky. My daughter replied, ‘uh…I don’t know…I was at the doctor’s the other day….54?’

FIFTY FOUR, people!! 54 pounds. Am I being punk’d?!? I mean, I get the whole middle school thing where girls start to compare and freak about stuff like makeup and how they look. But WTF? Second grade?

And I just froze, like an idiot…not sure what I should’ve done. I think I just shoved some snack in their faces, probably adding to the neurosis for all of us.


Help! Thoughts?!? What would you have done?


There’s a reason sales of the Nook are waaay UP right now. Why? It’s the ‘mommy porn’ book. Otherwise known as ’50 Shades of hair-sweeping-low-slung-pants-Grey.’ And it’s so horribly embarrassing to be sucked into this whirlwind, awfully written, just as bad as Harlequin romance schtick that I have to read it in secret on my Nook, and even then I’m slanting the screen away from anyone who might catch me in the act.

So here’s my question: WHY are women — especially moms — devouring this thing like it’s better than heroin? You’d NEVER catch me in a million years reading anything with a Fabio-like cover. Yet every single night, as my quasi-smart brain screams at me, urging me to stop reading this trash and delve into something that I can really LEARN from, I snatch my Nook from my bedside table and sink my teeth into this alternate reality with a hunger that baffles me.

I’ve talked to a lot of moms about this, and one in particular recently said something that made sense to me. For her (and she’s been happily married for some time with three kids), it’s the craving for THAT feeling, the one that you get when you’re first falling in love with someone and it’s all you can do to brush your teeth in the morning because you just want to BREATHE into them every second of every day and night. That chemical connection that (and this is true science) fades — ALWAYS fades — after 24-36 months with someone. The craving that leads lots of married people (especially after kids) to go astray, in search of THAT feeling again.

So for this particular mom, what 50 Shades has done for her has been transformational. She’s transferred this craving, this longing, over to her husband. No, she doesn’t have THAT feeling back for him…we simply cannot recreate the chemistry exactly. But — she’s making out with him like she hasn’t in years. She’s buying all kinds of toys she’d never dream of buying and shocking the hell out of him in a good way. She’s feeling sexier than ever, and now, as she’s rounding the bend on the third book, she’s feeling panicked that it’s about to end…and is wondering what she can read next to keep stirring THOSE feelings up.

I think that’s simply fantastic. Best explanation of why women are so crazy in lust with these books I’ve heard. (Although, if the author says, one more time, that Anastasia ‘bites her lip’ and Grey goes nuts, I might become a cutter.)

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Trish and I (and 10 other amazing women from all over the country) got back from a week-long trip to Haiti on Friday. We had no expectations going into the trip – but we knew we’d be volunteering with some orphanages.

Every single day seemed like a month – we packed so much in and visited so many kids. We were exhausted, but woke up every day with a kind of euphoria that’s hard to put into words.

When you give a 9 year-old child their first soccer ball, and watch how incredibly overjoyed they are, and grateful, and excited, something in you changes forever.

When you watch 81 orphans lead their own church/choir service on a Sunday morning, singing their little hearts out, clutching their faces in emotion, you know you’ll never be the same.

When you tell a small child in Haiti that they’re beautiful, and they look up at you and smile at you as if you’re an angel, you know you’ll go home and just…be…different.

On the plane home Friday, I wondered ‘but HOW will this play out? I know I feel different, but I’m not sure what that means.’ And now, five days later, I can tell you this: I am more relaxed. I know for certain that our kids are more than ok. They are healthy. They are well taken care of. They get as much food as they need every single day. They have excellent medical care. And they did JUST fine without me for an entire week. Things may not have gotten done just the way I like them done, but it JUST DOESN’T MATTER. When you get a glimpse into the bigger picture of this world, and see how happy children in a third world country are with so little, your priorities just suddenly shift.

Give me a few weeks, and I’m sure I’ll slide into my ‘normal’ way of thinking…I’ll stress out about some project my son has to get done, or that they’re not going to bed on time. Or maybe I won’t, at least not as much.

I love my kids, and now I have a lesson from those beautiful Haitian kids that I keep having flashbacks about: Look at what you have, not what you don’t.

Our kids will be perfectly fine, as long as they learn this lesson, too.The Power of a Beach Ball


I Feel Bad About the Yelling.

by Trisha-and-Amy on March 11, 2012

Before I had kids, in my head, I was the kind of laid back mom who drifted along with her kids, from experience to experience, laughing and shunning the pack of other stressed out moms who I definitely WASN’T part of. As the kids got older, I was the kind of mom who graduated with them, watching them grow, giddy with the freedoms that come along with getting out of the toddler phases. I was the kind of mom who didn’t yell — life’s too short for that! I mean, if you have inner peace, and you see the bigger picture of life, then yelling at your kids over something silly like not listening for the third time when you ask them nicely to brush their teeth before school just seems ridiculous. Right?

Yeah, ugh, right, er, NOT. In my head I’m still that mom — and I guess I was until my kids got old enough to tell me that I’m actually, well, NOT that mom. Yesterday in the airport on our way to a relaxing fun-filled beach vacation, my 7 year-old daughter, walking along with Paul, said “you know Dad, it’s funny because YOU used to be the mean parent, always yelling, and Mom was the nice one. But now, Mom’s the one always yelling, and you’re pretty nice.” Ouch! Really? No one told me that these little sweet bundles of joy would morph into MIRRORS OF MY SOUL. I laughed it off, but deep down I know she’s right — lately I’ve been way more impatient than I should be, and have raised my voice more times than I can count. Is it that damn IUD I just got? Maybe that’s it. Uh, yeah.

The truth is, I feel bad about the yelling. And I’m not sure what’s going on here. I definitely feel more nervous as a parent now, which is surprising to me. I don’t know…the older they get, the more paranoid I feel about them slipping away, and me not having control over something bad happening. What if they go on a playdate to the movies and the parent isn’t paying attention and they — poof! — disappear into the abyss of weird moviegoers, never to return from The Lorax? Is it ok for them to walk around the corner from our hotel room, down to the grassy area, without us? At what point do I really give them that freedom? Lots of kids in our neighborhood get to walk by themselves to get ice cream, as long as the oldest in the pack is 10 or 11. That just doesn’t seem ok for me, at least not yet.

And then, paradoxically, I feel like I’m annoyed with them for things they SHOULD be doing, but aren’t yet — like putting dirty clothes in the hamper, or clearing the dishes, or just putting themselves to bed once in awhile when we have guests over.

And then there’s the whole thing about WHO they’re growing up to BE. Yeah, that pesky little element that I feel totally and utterly responsible for.

I guess it’s this gray area — they really still are ‘little’ — but not really, in certain ways. It’s all kind of confusing to me. And I’m sad that my daughter thinks of me as the Mean Mom. Somehow I’ve got to figure out how to be the laid back cool mom while making sure they turn out ok.

Ideas, anyone??

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Just Got Back From a Kid-Free Weekend. Woooohooo!

by Trisha-and-Amy on February 19, 2012

Just back from a glorious kid-free weekend in Manhattan with Paul.

Accomplishment one: I packed and wore really cute clothes that I dug out of the back of my closet (behind all the Lululemon black lycra)! And I even packed super cute jewelry.

It’s kind of magical, the thing that happens the minute the wheels take flight, you’re on the airplane, just the TWO of you. No mini backpacks to keep track of, no tiny Lego guys to fish out from under the gross fabric airplane seat. You kind of see each other in a new light…’oh yeaaahhhh, that’s why I married you. Uh huhhhh.’

Accomplishment two: We actually, after awhile of unloading kid stuff, started the kind of brainstorming-y ‘what do we want to do with our lives’ chatter that feels so frivolous and carefree, and well, indulgent. We never ever get that kind of freedom, to just while away the hours dreaming about our future, what it’s all for, where we see ourselves 5 or 10 years from now. Not sure we figured much out, but it was very fun to aimlessly chat over vats of wine.

Accomplishment three: We really truly did NOT feel any guilt. This time, and maybe it’s just because the kids are 7 and 9, we truly owned this weekend for us. We deserve to know each other on a different level, one that doesn’t involve third grade geometry or fighting over the Wii. We talked about how, if the goal of having kids in the first place is to equip them with all the tools to be independent and live on their own, then it’s our DUTY to let them fend for themselves every now and again (with a babysitter, of course) while we nurture this marriage thing.

I just asked Paul what his favorite part of the weekend was, and after giving the obvious ‘guy’ answer that I won’t print here, he said it was just sitting at Pastis, our favorite brunch spot, and having no time crunch, just eating and drinking and being.

So go – even if it’s for a day or one night – somewhere, anywhere, ALONE. Without kids. Later, when you’re still married, those kids will hopefully thank you for it.

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