Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Weekend-Wrap Up: Spring In Our Step

Breaking News: We wore flip flops this weekend here in Jersey.  Astonishing, I know.  It was almost... dare I say... hot on Sunday. 
Yet, no one complained. It was a long, cold winter.

Saturday was a morning soccer game followed by a Egg Hunt #1 which is the township's annual hunt.  We use the term "hunt" lightly. There is no actual hunting of eggs - they are simply laying right out in the open in the freshly mowed plot of grass behind a roped off area. 
You don't do it for the challenge. You do it for the chocolate inside each egg that has turned into a melted puddle of goop thanks to the hot sun. 
And, you do it because it's tradition. We love tradition 'round here.

And you do it for the freakishly man-sized Easter Bunny who comes to visit on a firetruck.
Rella loves this dude, but the other girls have long been unimpressed. I think when they gaze into his mesh eyes and see the outline of a human head, it freaks them out.

Post-festivities, we headed off to our afternoon charity project - helping Angels of God assemble 628 Easter baskets! These were  distributed to local homeless shelters, food pantries, and needy families. Each 'basket maker' received index cards with the gender and age of specific children who would be recipients. Then, they personalized the basket for that child - the girls LOVED this part, and I think it made it more meaningful...especially when they got a girl around their age! We are so blessed to live in a community that offers wonderful philanthropy opportunities for children.

CB was a trooper through our three hour shift, and as a whole did AWESOME.  But, I had to keep a constant eye on her as she kept stealing and shredding the beautiful yellow ribbons volunteers were working so hard to assemble. Then she kept trying to steal the grass out of the Easter baskets.  It's like... I have a toddler.  
Perpetual toddler. 

Palm Sunday is a big event with the Italian Catholic "Dr. Fabulous"side of the family. We all congregated at my in-laws with the North Jersey constituency and ate and played all day long. 

The traditional egg hunt was a hit, as always.  Hunt #2 - done.  Two down, two to go Easter Weekend!

During this wonderful family afternoon, I realized it was again like I had a toddler.  I changed  3 wet and one soiled diaper, cut up food, cleaned up spills. I chased CB more than once as she went bolting too far outside of the yard, and apologized for her hitting other children. She ripped a decorative wreath off a wall and destroyed it, broke a pair of rosary beads, ate the "palm" that was given to us for Palm Sunday, stuck her hand in the bowl of salsa, and stole everyone's drink.  That was just her warm-up.

Yup, I still have a 19 year old toddler. Sometimes you gotta laugh. Sometimes you gotta drink the strong stuff. Some weekends necessitate a little of both.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Parallel Play

As close as CB gets to "playing with her sisters."
We'll take it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Catching Up

Spring Soccer season has commenced as has my own training for my first triathlon. Like Fall, Spring is a busy time when this family runs around a bit. Between four kids in three different schools, two in swimming, two in soccer, three in art, two in girl scouts and one in tennis and a partridge in a pear tree we are seldom bored.

In between the running, there is the living.  Two missing top teeth for Tink. Her smile is ever altered.

But as she says, "Mom, I still rock the cuteness."
Not modest, that one. Not modest at all.

The sun has finally come out.  I think Spring is "springing" at long last.  Rella had fun finding the buds on the trees. We had a picnic lunch outside before she got on the afternoon bus today, because we were just that excited to be in the warm grass.

Weekends are soccer-oriented now, with games on both Saturday and Sunday.  Pink is meeting new girls on her team and we are meeting new moms and dads on the sidelines. 

"Who is that?" one of Pink's teammates asked looking over at CB as she swirled her beads and squealed sitting on a blanket. My ears pricked and I immediately did the I'm pretending like I'm not looking or listening but I really am thing. Of course, I was interested in how 9 year old Pink was going to manage the question.  She's had a lot of practice, but usually she just tells me what she says to her peers later.  I get the recap.

"Oh, that's my big sister," Pink said looking over at CB affectionately.  She offered nothing else but a smile, pure and genuine, that lingered on her face.

That's my Pink.

My husband is watching some disturbing, violent movie in the next room that is totally distracting so I gotta wrap this post up. I seriously need ear plugs. I hate that crap he watches.

Peace, out.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up

The evening is coming to a close, the girls are playing gleefully in their bedroom waiting for me to start the bedtime ritual. I will, as soon as CB eats her way through a half pound of cheese and I try to squeeze in a blog post. They have dwindled because it's hard to find the time, so I suppose I'll just have to catch it when I can.

As a reward for working on my freelance deadline until midnight last night,  a glass of wine is waiting for me on my bedside table, next to a stack of the most random books that I probably won't get to before falling asleep. The wine is the dregs from last Tuesday's bookclub. Someone had to drink it before it went bad. Actually, it might well already BE bad given that six days have gone by, but my body is far from a sensitive one. My mamma raised me with lots of dirt and germs. Did me good.

Back to the random stack of books. I have 'Eleanor and Park', a middle grade book I recommended to my 14 year old niece and she has now lent it to me.  It is supposed to be very smartly written. Plus, what 40-something woman doesn't want to feel what it was like to be back in high school?  I have a chick lit book by Lisa Genova that my good friend from Virginia mailed to me weeks ago because the character reminded her so much of me. I have a handbook on how to help tweens navigate the social media waters called @Sophie Takes a #Selfie that I will be reviewing here very soon!

Stay posted for that!

Oh, and I also have a book entitled: "Your First Triathlon."

Yeah, because somehow I'm doing that — Training for a triathlon. It's a sprint distance, mind you. That's the shortest one they make. It's "only" a quarter mile swim in open water, a 10-mile bike ride then a 5K (3 mile) run. But no worries. It's 2 entire months away and I only just started training a few weeks ago.  Haven't swam in over 20 years and don't know how to swim yet without dying?  Don't own a bike and have only ridden on a stationary bike thus far? Need to train for a triathlon like I need a hole in my head?  Well, these things are true. I suppose I'll improve eventually, but at this point all this training is doing is making me tired, hungry and deeply humbled.

So, there hasn't been much blogworthy over here. Tink lost both front teeth and looks cute as a button. You could drive a tractor through her face. CB had a successful IEP meeting and we are requesting the return of her 1:1 aide. We'll see how that goes. Our family is planning a trip to Disney in the near future and Dr. Fabulous and I will hopefully heading for Nashville for a three-day, kid-free vacation.  The kids won't get out of school until June 25th due to all the snow.

Our weekend was a wash out but rain is far better than snow.  Though, when I left the house this morning at 6:50 am to take Pink to her weekly 7:00 am school band practice (and, why yes, that is quite an obnoxious hour now that you mention it) there was some sort of wintery mix falling from the sky.  It's like Old Man Winter just had show us who was boss on this last day of March.  Whatever. I think we're all just grateful that Spring is around the bend, even if it's not that warm yet and it's all rainy and overcast. It's amazing what you appreciate when you adjust to a new baseline.

That probably sort of catches us up a little bit.  Hope you all are doing well!

Thursday, March 20, 2014


A few weeks back, a deaf man began attending our church. He is tall, thin, nicely dressed, probably in his seventies. He sits in the very front row to see his interpreter signing the entire service. 
It is quite beautiful, her signing. 

The first day they were there, the priest introduced the interpreter and the newest member to our parish. I craned my neck to watch all of her signs. And he, enraptured, signed his responses with large, dramatic motions.  

We did "The Peace," where we turn to our neighbors and offer each other a little "Peace be with you" accompanied by a handshake. Across the room I heard a sound, belonging to the deaf gentleman. It sounded like a voice muffled underwater, a voice saying "Praise!!" Loud, bold, full of joy. 
I saw him turned around to the entire congregation with a giant grin on his face, hands waving high in the air, sharing the peace.  Shouting out the words he himself could not hear.  

I don't know why, but it filled my heart with such happiness.
Maybe it's because I spend so much time trying to hush CB, trying to hide in a little corner of the room. I loved how he just let himself be known.  

After the service, we do our little ritual. We stop at the coffee shop and meet up with family.  We hang out and drink the best coffee ev'ah. Then, we hit the Sunday free samples next door at the chain grocery store. This particular day, Dr. Fabulous cut out from the coffee shop early to head to the gym.  I had all four girls and my instinct was to just take them home. But the pouts of the three little ones (and the fact that I actually needed milk) sent me heading into the grocery store outnumbered.  

CB proceeded to drool all over the fresh bagels, run, drop to the floor, and have a quasi melt down in the check out line.  But, my little ducklings stayed in a row, each taking a bag without question or complaint. We all fell seamlessly into the act of a family. We all know the drill.  

And oddly, this time, I felt proud to be out in the world, not conspicuous. Proud that with only two hands I managed to keep a hold of CB's coat as she tried to run off, crying and wild, while paying as a long line formed behind me, that my girls were magnificently helpful and not barraging me with a million questions, that I was calm and smiling despite the teenage check-out dude's odd glances at us. 
That we made it out alive. 
That I didn't care what everyone else thought.

As we bolted to the car in relief, CB like a missile through the crowded parking lot, coat half hanging off, shoe flying off her foot onto the pavement, milk bag threatening to rip wide open, I felt a sense of triumph. 
Felt like flinging my arms out into the world, and hollering into the blue sky 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up and More Snow

... and let there be snow.

More snow.  Another school day off.  I think at this point, we're going to be going to school until July.

But, the girls don't mind at all.  They love bundling up.

They love making the world's lamest 12 inch high snowmen that are more like mounds of snow with a carrot stuck in it somewhere.

As far as the snow - slash - extreme cold goes, I think all of us grown-ups are so over it.

But hey, it's winter. What'dya gonna do.

All I know is that I love this -

'Nuff said. 

As far as our "Weekend Wrap Up" goes... it would read more like a laundry list of a million things all crammed into 48 hours like some type of ancient Chinese suburban water torture.  Girl Scout cookie selling, birthday parties, visits to Pennsylvania, church, swimming... blah blah blah.  

And one thing that was really lovely.  Making Valentines Day cards in honor of one of the Sandy Hook School shooting victims, Emilie Parker.  She was only 6 when she was shot and killed last year.  She loved making cards.

So, that is what the local non-profit 'Angels of God' did - They organized a big card-making event in Emilie's honor.  It was a great turnout. 

Cards will be distributed to nursing home residents, Meals on Wheels recipients and the troops in goodie boxes.  

Speaking of volunteer and charity work and acts of kindness specifically for young children...
I have started a facebook page called Charitable Children and I'd love it if you would check it out and give it a little follow!  

The page is intended to be a resource hub for parents who want ideas, websites, inspiration, and opportunities to get their children more active in charity projects.  I try to post about twice a day. Some events are local to Southern NJ but much of what I post can be done anywhere... or at least get you inspired to start a project of your own in your neck of the woods!

You can follow Charitable Children on Facebook HERE.

Hope to "see" you there... and in the meantime

Happy Snow Day!

Thursday, January 30, 2014


In the dark of 6:00 am, as I helped CB step out of her pajamas and into her school clothes, I had this random thought. A thought about how I'll never have all my children out of diapers. But the thought didn't really bother me. Certainly, it used to, and I'd dwell on it and feel a bit sorry for lots of things.  Mostly for myself.  But this thought just passed, like a gust that merely stirred the air.

By the time the bus arrived out front, I had wrestled CB's gloves on. A process that takes a full five minutes for both hands.  I let her out into the bitter, bitter cold of morning. I watched her walk through the still dark morning down the driveway toward the yellow blinking lights. Her silhouette looked straight, her gait had no trace of a tilt or shuffle. Her arms were uncharacteristically by her side, unstimming. She was walking, quite unassumingly... with no trace of her disability.

She looked (though I dislike this word because it means nothing) "normal."  Of course, she is normal all the time.  I suppose I mean she looked like my other girls look.  Like someone without Autism and neurological impairments. Like the rest of the high school girls across the street.

She boarded the bus and I went into the kitchen to prepare the lunches for 'round two' of the morning madness.  In my heart was the slow, wrenching pain of missing something that was never mine to know. Wistful, fleeting. Gone by the time I took out the bread for the sandwiches.
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