Monday, November 9, 2009

What I Learned This Week

I've talked a lot on this blog about how I left my whole career (the career I went to school for and studied for hours to pass a test to get certified, the career that I worked and worked and commuted and commuted for) to run my own business and have the flexibility of working for myself and being around more for my kids.

What I haven't talked alot on this blog about is how although I love running the website, connecting families, giving parents information and helping small businesses, the one thing I hate is sales. Which really totally sucks because guess what the only way this business makes any money is? Yup, you got it. Advertising sales.

What do I hate about sales? Let me count the ways....

First, I hate calling a business owner and not being able to get through to the right person because the 15 year old kid answering the phone was instructed to not put through any sales calls.

Second, I hate the fact that at that moment, the 15 year old kid answering the phone basically has the power. And not only does he have the power, but he could care less that I am calling to help the business owner get information about his business to people who would actually want to be his customers. Because then that would mean that that kid would have to do things other than answer the phone.

Third, I hate to think that when people see me coming they'll want to turn the other way because they don't want to be "sold".

Fourth, I hate the thought of calling someone and having them be mean or nasty or hang up on me. Especially when more often than not, it's a 15 year old kid.

Do I need to go on? Thanks, I didn't really want to. I'm sure you get the point.

So it pretty much sucks when you hate the one thing that can earn you any money. Yes, it does.

But here's what I learned this week. It's the surprise of all surprises. What is it? It's the fact that I'm good at sales. Maybe I'm not great at the initial cold call, but once I get in front of a person, I am good at sales.

How do I know? Because last week, not only did I get a huge brand new client who is going to run ads in twelve newsletters, but I also got four other businesses who paid to have their businesses listed in our site's directory. And I did it all myself, scheduled meetings, sat with them, walked them through the information and watched them fall in love with this website. One that I created. I've learned that I am good at this very thing that I hate. And now I think I'm going to have to get over all the hate and turn it into love.

Here's a PS for my friends in Philly - I also learned that the Yankees are the Champions. For the 27th time in a row! Hip Hip Jorge!!

For more of What I Learned This Week, head on over to Jo-Lynne's blog at Musings of a Housewife.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Scents that Linger

Twitter Moms and Downy recently posed the question "If you could define yourself with a scent, what scent would represent you and why?" As a mom, all sorts of answers come to mind, although maybe none of them are appropriate. Or anything I would choose to have as a defining scent. But I did start thinking about the question and came up with an answer. Sort of.

To answer the question, I started thinking about my favorite scent, and although I can't say what it specifically is, I can remember it well, describe it perfectly and smell it in my mind. As a little girl, I would take a trip every year to visit my grandparents in Florida. I would spend a week there swimming, getting sunburned and doing grandparent-ish things. Each night, I would open the sleeper sofa, take the sheets and blankets out of the cabinet and go to sleep. In the cabinet where they kept the blankets and sheets, they also kept am unwrapped bar of soap, I guess as a deodorizer. It wasn't a regular bar of Ivory soap, but instead a mixture of sweet and spice. Like a man's cologne. And cinnamon. And cloves. And medicine, but a good smelling kind.

When I hear the question "If you could define yourself with a scent, what scent would represent you and why?" I feel that the answer is really less about the actual scent and more about the feelings of why, more about the memories that the scent brings to the forefront of my mind. I could answer that I love peppermint because it smells clean or lavender because it smells like spring or vanilla because it smells like cupcakes. Instead, I choose this random soap from long ago that lived in my grandparents cabinet. Because even though my grandparents are both gone, I can still smell the bar of soap in my mind and remember who they were, what they were like and most of all, where I came from. I remember the time I spent with them and how I was lucky to have them for as long as I did. And most of all, sometimes, when I wake up in the middle of the night and catch a whiff of this familiar smell, I know that no matter how much time passes, they are both still here and always with me.

This was posted in response to a contest launched by TwitterMoms and Downy, asking bloggers to write about the scent that defines them. If you want to enter yourself, learn more about the contest here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Slice of American Pie....

I've always been a huge music fan. I listen to everything from show and movie soundtracks to Billy Joel to Michael Jackson to The Dixie Chicks. I have a bunch of choice music on my iPod and my 6 year old son wanted to be Dave Matthews for Halloween this year. 'Nuf said. When One2One Network reached out and offered me a chance to review the new Five for Fighting album, Slice, I figured that there really was no reason not to even though I wasn't a fan. And I realized that the only reason I considered myself "not a fan" was because I didn't realize that I had even heard them before.

When I first listened to Slice, my immediate thought was "why haven't I ever listened to this group before?" The album was awesome. Low-key and mellow with lyrics that were both inspiring and funny and stayed with you (and not in an awful Wiggles sort of way). Every time I think I have chosen the song on the album that's my favorite, the next song plays and I rethink my decision.

Here's some information about Five for Fighting--
Five For Fighting’s breakthrough came in 2001 with the Grammy Nominated song “Superman”, from the Platinum certified “America Town”. The song was climbing the charts upon release, and when 9/11 happened, it became a song of healing for the nation. FFF performed the song at the post 9/11 fundraiser The Concert for New York which paid tribute to all the firefighters, police officers & paramedics affected by the events of 9/11.

Last month, I also had a chance to see John Ondrasik perform an acoustic concert here on Long Island. The theater was small and intimate and the whole show was awesome. Even more awesome was that I got to meet him after the show and wow, what a nice guy, and more importantly, so real. He chatted about his kids and his family like any other dad I've ever met. He just happened to be one that sings fantastic music instead of sitting behind a desk all day. See that picture? Ya, that's me and John.


Definitely check out Slice. And soon. Click the video below to hear their newest release, Chances.
You can also follow John Ondrasik on Twitter and become a fan of Five for Fighting on Facebook.




Huge thanks to the One2One Network for providing me with the fantastic album to review as well as tickets to the show.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What I Learned This Week

Here we go again...

What did I learn this week? A few things. First and foremost though that I just don't think I'm meant to be a really good blogger. I just don't have the discipline. I started this blog way back after the First Disney Mommy Blogger Mixer when I met so many different and amazing Bloggers and was inspired to start writing like so many of them did. I wrote some good posts like this one and this one and this one, but they were few and far between. Every time I made a commitment to start writing here again, life just got in the way. Work. Kids. Running a business. Running a house. A few weeks ago, I was inspired yet again by my friend Jen to keep a gratitude journal because it seemed as if things just weren't always going my way and I needed to think more on the half full side than on the half empty side. And after a few days, my commitment totally fell off. Understand, it's not that I'm not committed. I am definitely committed. I think I'm just committed to too many things. Like everyone else but I think that I have my limits.

So I did learn this week that I just have to write when I can and keep this as a record for myself of what's going on over here.

Oh, and I will post again next week when I learn that the Yankees are 27 time champions.

For more of What I Learned This Week, head on over to Jo-Lynne's blog at Musings of a Housewife. She is most definitely one of those superwomen that I referred to in the above post :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 7

This is what a nasty sinus infection/cold/hacking cough will do to you. Make you take days and days off from posting to your blog because you are laying in bed and think you are dying. Oky, well, maybe not dying, but in pretty bad shape. Today is the first day in 5 days that I got out of bed and came over to the computer. During those 5 days I truly couldn't think of one thing to be thankful for, and that is no lie.

So today, I am thankful for the full Z-Pack that I had in my cabinet. It has truly saved me from my misery. While looking for Sudafed (which I didn't have), I found a Z-Pack which I must have filled a prescription for a long while ago and never taken. So now, good riddance to the sinus infection, my nose is no longer stuffy or runny and the hacking cough is dissipating. Slowly.

I will be better this week. And more thankful.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Days 4, 5 & 6

I guess I skipped this little project because it was the weekend. So this post will include 3 things I am thankful for.

#1 - The Weekends My how times have changed. As a kid, I loved the weekends because there was no school. After college, I loved the weekends because I was off from work. After I had kids, I loved the weekend because I was home with the kid(s) and not rushing all over the place to work. But now that I'm home with the kids every day, working, taking care of the house, etc. I love the weekends because my husband is home which means at some points, he can take over.

#2 - My Parents I love the town I grew up in. I love it so much that when we were looking to buy our house, I wanted to buy a house in that town. As a matter of fact, most of the people I graduated high school with live in that town. My husband didn't want to live in that town so we compromised. We live in the town next door. Literally next door. Like we could spit on the town we grew up in, that's how close it is. One of the best things about that town is that my parents still live there. Yes, 5 minutes 7 minutes away. Aside from seeing them alot, which of course is great, my kids have their grandparents so close that they can see them almost every day. I never had that - one set of my grandparents lived in Florida and the other grandmother, well, let's just say that she was less than interested. My parents LOVE being with my kids and are fantastic babysitters. This weekend, while we were at a wedding more than two hours away, my parents had the kids. And they went to Target and bought fall clothes and sneakers. And they went to the arts & crafts store and made projects when they came home. And they went to the supermarket and got snacks. And they went out for pizza for dinner. And ice cream for dessert. And slept over. And then they didn't want to come home. Can you blame them?

#3 - Our Friends I love the fact that so many of my/our friends have been our friends for years. And when I say years, I mean like 30 years. I can name probably a dozen people we still talk to and hang out with that I have known since I'm 5 years old. Last night we went to a wedding of a friend we've known since high school. We sat at a table with a 5 other couples and out of the two that we knew, I have known both guys since kindergarten. At another table sat another 4 - 5 guys we know since middle school or high school. It's great to have friends who know you forever. Or to just be able to reconnect with people once in awhile in person, as opposed to on Facebook.

So that was it, I had three things to be thankful for in this post because I slacked this weekend. But while I was slacking, I was absolutely having fun. And starting to come out of this funk....

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 3

Why is this hard at day 3? Shouldn't it be hard at day 30? I mean, day 3? Really. Technically yesterday was day 3, but it was my birthday so I am allowed one day off from this crazy project. Oh, and from work because I definitely took the day off from work yesterday.

When my son went to nursery school, I had visions of him meeting his best friend for life and whoever the mom was becoming my best friend for life. I had visions of him having a group of boys that he would go through school with and go through life with. And that I would be automatic best friends with the moms forever. And the dads would automatically be best friends forever. And that didn't happen. Oh, that SO didn't happen.

What I found, in the midst of a school that was running itself into the ground, was a few genuine moms but more of the stab-you-in-the-back-talk-about-you-every-time-you-turn-around moms. You know, the kind of moms who think that their kids can't do anything wrong even though you know that are the devil incarnate.

However, out of this school that shouldn't be standing, came a few really super great moms. The kind that although you don't see them that often because the kids all go to different schools, every time you see them feels like you just saw them yesterday. The kind that still invite all the kids to the birthday parties. The kind that take time out of their day to take you out to lunch for your 35th birthday and bring you candy and balloons to celebrate.

So that's what I'm thankful for today. The good moms and true friends that do exist and that I found in the sea of all of the craziness. So big thanks to my girls for having a great birthday celebration, even when it wasn't something I wanted to celebrate.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day 2

This weekend, I worked with another business and ran a program where, one morning, families can come and donate their kids gently used Halloween costumes from previous years and exchange them for one that will fit them this year. In the end, the remaining costumes are donated to a local non-profit day care center that serves an extremely poor community. The concept is fantastic and implementing it isn't that hard, but as with everything, one bad apple can spoil the bunch. Obviously the process described above is not foolproof. Here are some hypothetical situations that can arise. Note again that these may be are hypothetical situations.
  • If 25 people show up and donate costumes sized for one year olds, chances are that the one person that shows up with a 9 year old will not find anything in his size.
  • I'm sorry if your child is afraid of our clown.
  • If the event is advertised as starting at 10am and you show up at 930am, that doesn't mean that everyone else is late.
  • If the event is advertised as taking place at 11am sharp and you show up at 1130am, I apologize if there isn't anything left for you to choose from. Please don't send me hate e-mail.
  • Although all of the costumes are being donated by my company to a non-profit organization, I can not give you a receipt to write your donation off on your taxes because I am not a qualifying non-profit organization. Please don't spend 10 minutes arguing with me about this, after you show up 15 minutes late.
  • If you go to an event and start an argument with the person running the event for any of the reasons described above, please do not take 5 of our goody bags with you as you storm out the door.
Because this is a gratitude journal, there is some good that I can find. The people that came to the event, had fun, got costumes and were happy to make donations made it all worth it. The non-profit day care center that will now have 20 extra costumes for their kids to wear in their Halloween parade made it all worth it. The fact that I was able to organize an event to bring people together to show that even if they can do something small, it helps - that's what made it all worth it. And I was glad to have been able to do so.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Day 1

Things haven't been so great lately. It's not because of one event, or two or even three, but lately I've been feeling more of the negative and less of the positive. It seems that, in my life, the happy and good things make me feel happy and good for less time than the bad and sad things make me feel bad and sad. I have two amazing kids and I don't want to ever look back on this time in their lives and feel that I missed because I was constantly rushing through it. Every day we seem to be in a rush, but I'm not sure where we're rushing to. I was speaking to a woman the other night who has no kids of her own but she stated a very simple observation, from an "outsider" perspective - parents generally don't seem to enjoy their children. As I thought about it, I realized that it's both sad and true. I had kids because I love them, and although I do truly love my children, I can honestly say that most of the time, I'm not actively enjoying them. Which really sucks.

I also have to say that in many aspects of my life, I am constantly wanting them to be different. It's really a big giant pity party over here. Which also really sucks.

Recently my friend Jen's mom suggested that instead of holding her daily pity parties, she should started a Gratitude Journal. Each day for 75 days, she is going to write one thing that she is thankful for in the hopes that by Thanksgiving, she'll be out of her funk. Ever since I read her first post, I thought that it made sense. Focus on the positive, write it all down and put it in perspective. So this is what I'm going to do. On the happy days, it will be easy, but I hope that even on the sad days I can find one thing, even though it might be something silly.

I'm starting today and going to go through Thanksgiving, which is 52 days away. If it works, I'll continue. Only time will tell, but today is day 1.

Today I am thankful for the fact that the sun is shining and it's quiet. After a rainy Saturday and a weekend of running around, I'm glad that I have an opportunity today where the sun is shining, kids are in school, husband is at work, dog is quiet, phone is not ringing and I can think. I can concentrate on getting work done or do no work at all. I can do the laundry, empty the dishwasher, think about making dinner tonight. Or I can do none of those things and just revel in the quiet for a little while. I think that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Book Review: The Weight Of Silence


A few weeks ago, I found myself on my own on a Saturday night with a husband out with the guys and two kids sleeping over grandma’s. My night consisted of ordering in sushi and wandering around Borders – by myself. Usually in a bookstore I have two kids on hand, both whining and asking for everything in sight, but on this night, it was just me. I was able to walk around the bookstore and look at all the books I wanted to look at. One of the books that caught my eye and went on my “to read” list was The Weight of Silence, written by a brand new author, Heather Gudenkauf. A few days later when I was asked by MomCentral to read the book and write a review, I immediately said yes.

The book opens from the perspective of Calli, a little girl with selective mutism that was brought on by a family tragedy years before. In the first chapter, Calli describes how upon waking up one morning knowing that her father is leaving for a fishing trip, she tries to him out because she doesn’t want to see him. We learn that Calli’s family is much happier when her father is away, mainly because he is an abusive alcoholic. Unfortunately, she has to go to the bathroom and although she tries to slip downstairs without being seen by her father, she is unsuccessful and he begins to berate her for not speaking, forcing her to walk with him into the woods behind their house, unbeknownst to anyone else in her family. Although the author hasn’t explained it, at this point, you can assume that her father had a lot to do with Calli’s selective mutism. The same morning, Calli’s best friend Petra’s parents awake to find her gone from her bed as well. Throughout the book, both families realize that their daughters are missing and it turns into a search for the two children, who are thought to have been abducted. The question is by whom – as I read through the book, my mind raced through many different scenarios, only to change as I read the next chapter.

Because each chapter in this book is told from a perspective of each of 7 different characters, you are able to see the story unfold from all of these different perspectives and learn the back stories as well. This changing of voice made the book a little bit difficult for me to read at first, but once I got involved with the story, it actually made the most sense that the author would have chosen to tell the story in this way. Each character was very developed and their histories were all intertwined – as the reader, you being to feel like each character is actually speaking to you, telling you about their lives, their secrets and their thoughts.

The Weight of Silence is definitely not a light read but absolutely a great book. It’s very thought provoking because it could be a story about any family living anywhere, right now. Being Heather Gudenkauf’s first novel, I can’t wait to read what she writes next.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dear Time...

I had one question when I got up this morning and that was, WHERE THE HELL DID THE WHOLE SUMMER GO??

Seriously, how could it have flown right by me without my noticing?

It was apparently moving at the speed of light because I didn't even feel the breeze as it rushed by.

Maybe it was because it rained every day except for 3 during the entire month of June.

Or because our first day that the temperatures went over 90 degrees was in August.

But sigh, camp is almost over for the kids - only one more week.

Which means that I only have one more week of freedom between the hours of 9am and 430pm. And probably only one more week of finding Camryn asleep in her bed at 6pm and having her sleep until the next morning until 730 or 8am.

Soon they'll be back in school. And we'll be waiting for the school bus again every morning.

I'll be the mom of a first grader. A first grader who will be getting some serious homework this year.

And then the weather will get cold. We'll probably skip fall again and then all of a sudden we'll be knee deep in snow.

Why is it that as soon as I had kids, time just started to fly?

I feel so super young, but numbers don't lie. And my number isn't super low anymore.

So here's my plea.

Dear Time,
Please slow down. Just a little bit. Let me appreciate and enjoy my kids while they're young because if you keep going as fast as you are, I'm going to turn around soon and they will be gone. So if you could just slow down a little bit, I'd really appreciate it. Let me feel the breeze as you pass by. Pretty, pretty please? Thanks.

Love,
Amy

Friday, August 7, 2009

Grand Plans

At the beginning of the summer, I went for a physical and realized that my current weight equals my weight when I was 8 months pregnant with Aaron. Not so good. I then realized that that is a great reason why my clothes don't fit how they used to. So at the start of the summer I had grand plans to start exercising.

I bought two new exercise "games" for the Wii Fit. Yes, the one that I made my dad stand on line to get one day while I was at work. And yes, the same one that I've used probably about 6 times in the past year. I bought these two "games", used one about 3 times and returned the other one.

I thought about joining a gym for the summer. That's pretty much as far as I got with that because I didn't want to spend a lot of money.

I thought about buying a treadmill. Then I remembered the elliptical that we bought on Craigslist a few years ago and how although it made a great decoration, we used it about 3 times before it sat in our den for the next 18 months. I did though enjoy the $250 we got for re-selling it on Craigslist.

Then I saw a TV ad for Planet Fitness and how they were offering a one year membership for $99. I figured there had a to be a catch (like the commercial that screamed a $10/month, no contract offer from Lucille Roberts which apparently included a $199 membership fee if you didn't want to sign a 2 year contract). One Sunday morning, I went in to visit Planet Fitness. It was just what a wanted - about 100 treadmills, ellipticals and arc trainers. So I joined. My plan truly was just to go every day, do the treadmill for 30 minutes and leave.

The first week went swimmingly. Hubby was home on vacation from work, so I left the kids with him while I went to workout for an hour at the crack of dawn 7am every day of the week.

The second week with him back at work, my early morning workouts were a thing of the past. I then started going after I put Camryn on the bus for camp at 930am. Only issue was that by the time I got there, worked out, came home, showered and got dressed, it was between 11 and 1130am. Not an issue for most, but I have to work!

Last week I went 3 times and both days on the weekend. 5 days in a week, not so bad.

This week I had fantastic intentions to go every day again, but I think I went twice.

Sigh.

I think I need a pep talk. Somehow I doubt that sitting at my computer working will help my ass to shrink any.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Customer Service Strikes Again...

At the end of the school year, I posted here about an awful experience I had in a local retail store and wondered what happened to customer service. Today I learned that lousy customer service does not discriminate against large corporations.

In 2005, I was an employee of Cablevision, our major cable company here on Long Island. When I decided to leave the company, our family said au reviour to our employee perks of free cable, internet and telephone. We decided to change the account over to my husband's name, making him a new subscriber and therefore eligible for introductory rates. For some reason still unknown to us, Cablevision insisted on sending a tech out to our house to work on the account's name change. Even the tech had no idea why he was here and due to errors in the main office, he wound up spending the day and part of the evening with us - he was here for more than 4 hours! Soon after this very long afternoon, we decided to scrap Cablevision and move to the other side. We became customers of Verizon Fios. And the story begins....(right, the above had nothing to do with the awful customer service I'm ranting about today, it was just background!)

ClearlyI think our first mistake was signing up with one of the sales people who walk around neighborhoods knocking on doors selling the service. At sign up we were promised a $100 American Express gift card and a $150 Target gift card to be received within 60 days of installation. A few weeks later, we had the installation, which went relatively well.

After about 6 months and we hadn't received either of the promised gift cards, I started to call Verizon. Do you have any idea what it's like to try and get someone on the phone there? It's more than tough. I finally got a woman named Mrs. Brown on the phone who asked me to fax over the sales slip. I did. About 25 times over the next 6 months and for some reason, they would never receive it. Which generated another call to Mrs. Brown, another request to fax over the paperwork, another faxing of 5 fronts and backs of papers, and another result of nothing. At some point, Mrs. Brown transferred departments or left the company stopped taking my calls. The whole calling and faxing and refaxing and calling back had turned into almost a part time job for me, one where I had well earned the $250 in gift cards about 10 times over. To be honest, the whole cycle was so infuriating to deal with on a daily basis that I just wound up dropping it and forgetting the whole thing. 1 point for Verizon!

About six months ago, a salesperson from Cablevision came knocking at our door. We talked, I found out the "deal" he was offering and immediately called Verizon to let them know, hoping that they would save us from their competition and match the price. The woman on the phone expressed her "I'm sorry's" and told me how important we were as customers to Verizon, especially given the state of the economy. By the end of the conversation, this very nice woman wound up giving us enough discounts to beat the competitor's offered price by about $10/month. Perfect. 1 point for us!

Come last week, the honeymoon was over. I received that bill and read something that I was never told - the discounts we were given were to last for 6 months. 6 months that clearly were up, as our bill was now well over what we've been paying. In my mind I started figuring out how much time this was going to take, but thought it wouldn't be a big deal, another call to Verizon, another discussion about how they don't want to lose customers as clearly the economy is not much different than it was 6 months ago, they would reinstate the discount and we'd all be happy. Right?

Wrong. Really, really, super wrong. The rep I spoke to on the phone did not hesitate to tell me that there are no longer any promotions being offered that we were eligible for. I explained to her the situation that occurred 6 months ago and how at that time there were no promotions either but that Verizon doesn't like to lose customers so they were able to compromise and keep us on. The conversation was absolutely futile and in the end, I told her that although I am sure she is doing her job, I can't imagine that Verizon would want to lose a customer for $30/month and I'd like to talk to someone else that would be available.

After another 15 minutes some fantastic hold music, a supervisor gets on the phone. I quickly go through the same conversation with her and she tells me the same thing. "There are no promotions that you are eligible for." I'm still not quite sure what that means but I did voice the same reasoning I had used on the other rep, that I can't imagine how 6 months ago we were so important to Verizon and now they were willing to lose us for $30/month - customers who use every service they offer, phone, television, internet, cell phone service. So what did she say next?

Ready?

She said, "If you'd like, I can cancel your service for you right now, effective immediately so that you could switch to Cablevision."

Huh? I have to say that I didn't even know what to say. I managed to get out that I would have my husband call Verizon at a later date, thanks for your help.

As I hung up the phone, I was puzzled. Has Verizon recovered so well in this crazy economy that they train their customer service reps to offer to cancel service for their customers? Very interesting tactic, I hope it works well for them.

For us, we're looking at our different options but I will say that Verizon has been extremely disappointing. On the bright side, now that my level of loyalty to Verizon's has significantly decreased, iPhone here I come!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Parental Decisions - Good or Bad?

Admittedly, I am a big fan of TV courtroom dramas. I used to love The Practice, LA Law and Raising the Bar is one of my current favorite shows - you get it. One of the reasons why I think I enjoy these types of shows is because they seem real. So many of these cases could happen in real life, making the shows feel not as contrived as other shows on TV. I recently watched an episode of Law & Order: SVU and right now, I'm not sure how I feel about what I saw.

As the episode started out, all signs were pointing to the SVU team being faced with a case that mimicked the Casey Anthony case currently going on down in Florida, where a young mother is accused of murdering her toddler daughter. The rest of the eipsode is outlined by the following bullet points, to avoid confusion.

  • A young mother saw a rash on her infant daughter, who was cranky and irritable. The mother then put the baby to sleep for the night.
  • In the morning, the mother found the baby dead.
  • The mother was accused of killing the baby until the autopsy results showed that the baby died of encephalitis (swelling of the brain) caused by a case of the measels.
  • The detectives went to work to track down the person who passed on the measels to the baby girl, and found that it was a young boy who had come into contact with the baby at a local park.
  • In speaking to the mother of the young boy, the detectives found that the young boy had the measels and got well.
  • They also found that the young boy was not vaccinated against the measels, or anything, because his mother feared the long-term effects that vaccinations could cause her son. She felt that it was healthier for her son to grow up without receiving any vaccines. The little girl who died was not vaccinated because she was not old enough to have received the vaccine to fight the measels.
  • The police then decided to arrest the mother of the little boy for negligent homicde, stating that her holding vaccines back from her son caused the death of this little girl and that she should be held responsible.
However, I also know people who choose not to vaccinate their children. I have friends who choose not to vaccinate their children. I have friends who choose not to be open about the fact that they do not vaccinate their children for fear that their family will be ostracized within our community. I have friends who do vaccinate all of their children and have friends who have vaccinated their first child and not their second.

Both of my children are vaccinated. For me, vaccinating my first child was not a conscious decision that I made, because no one ever took the time to educate me that I was entitled to make this choice. As a first time mom, my doctor told me it was time for x and y vaccination and my son got them and that was it. To be honest, I am not sure that I would have chosen any differently had I known. With my daughter, I was a little bit more educated and knew that it was my choice and I did choose to vaccinate her as well.

The media is in a frenzy about vaccinating children, discussing time and time again how vaccinations are the cause of other health issues, a major one being varying degrees of autism. Although the drug industry, doctors and many others refute this claim, many others stand by their opinions.

All of these thoughts bring me back to the show I watched the other night and have me pondering the answers to some pretty important questions for and against each side. Isn't it a basic right that government should not exercise their will over out own bodies? And don't parents have a right to do what they feel is best for their own children, to extend their beliefs to their children? This includes making the decision to have your child vaccinated or not. But on the other side, aren't parents who choose to vaccinate their children entitled to know that their children are safe from these diseases?

This post is so open ended with no real conclusion. The episode did bother me, more because the mother of the little boy was arrested for making, what she felt, the right decision for her family. Anyone care to weigh in on this?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

She Said What?

When I was in high school, I worked in retail. First I worked as a cashier in the neighborhood supermarket, then I moved on and worked in a stationery store for a number of years. When I was in college, I worked summers at Old Navy and then as a receptionist in a hair salon. Through it all, I was always taught one thing by the person I worked for - always treat the customer nicely, even if they are the worst customer you've ever had. Smart thing to teach to someone who works for you in retail, someone who is representing you to your customers. It really should be the number one rule in any retail store. Today really had me wondering.

A few months ago, I went into this store with Camryn and my mom. Camryn is 3 years old and wants to touch things. Okay, she wants to touch everything. I tell her no, show her what she can and can't touch, always teach her to treat other people's things with respect and she's generally okay. This time, she was fine and we were there for a long time. The woman who worked there was very nice to us and to Camryn, talked to her, played a little, just generally nice. We bought our stuff, spent a significant amount of money and left.

This morning I realized I need to get gifts for Camryn's teachers and figured I'd go back to that store, but this time, it was just me and Camryn. As soon as we walked in, it was a different experience. Same lady working there, only this time, well, she wasn't all that nice. She was clearly less than thrilled that Camryn was in the store, even though she wasn't misbehaving in any way. I asked her where I could find good teacher gifts and she waved her hand toward a corner and said, "There's stationery over there," and then turned around and walked away to sit behind the cash register. Thanks for the help. I looked around a little bit and Camryn saw a small teddy bear sitting on a teddy bear sized couch next to a display of shoes and sat down to play with it. She was sitting very nicely and playing for about 5 minutes when she got up to tell me something and accidentally left the teddy bear on the floor instead of seating it back on it's chair. Before I could even tell her to put the teddy bear back on the chair, the woman comes out from behind the register in huff, comes over to me and says pretty loudly, "You know, she really can't just leave these things on the floor like that." Wow, really? I said to her, "I was just about to tell her to put them back, sorry," but before I could, she rolled her eyes and picked up the teddy bear, bringing it behind the cash register with her so Camryn couldn't touch it again.

As tempted as I was to just walk out the door, they did have gifts I wanted to buy at pretty decent prices, so I picked up Camryn and held her the rest of the time I did my shopping. All 31 pounds of her. I picked out three gifts for her teachers (you can see them here and here) as well as a pair of shoes for me (greatest flip-flops ever) and brought everything to the counter. I waited about 10 minutes while she helped another woman and then it was our turn. She rang our items up, we paid and she handed me the shopping bag. Unfortunately, my credit card decided that they needed additional authorization on this transaction so she had to call the credit card company to get the number to put the charge through. Transaction done, thank you - I really couldn't wait to get out of the store.

"Oh, wait," the woman says. "I forgot to add this," holding up (of course) the most important teacher gift that we had wanted to buy. She then goes on to say, "You don't really need it, do you?"

What?? Yes, she really did say that. If you think you didn't read that correctly (because I certainly thought I didn't hear it correctly), she said "You don't really need it, do you?"

"Yes, actually I do need to buy it," I told her.

Her reply? "Really? You know we're going to have to go through this whole thing all over again, right?" By whole thing she meant swiping my credit card. I didn't realize it was that hard to do.

Now the ridiculousness of the whole transaction is killing me, because I am about 98% ready do say forget it and just walk out the door. But that would mean taking Camryn to yet another store, picking something out, paying - basically going through this whole day again, just for one thing that I had already picked out! Talk about frustrating - I'm thinking about how I am standing here, holding Camryn and trying to explain to this woman why I need to buy something I had only not bought the first time due to an error that she made!

Biting my tongue, I said, again, "I do need to buy it," and she rolled her eyes and rang it up. When I was done, I took my things and walked out the door.

I know I'm not alone in having a bad experience in a retail store, but this annoyed me on a few levels. First and foremost, this employee was no teenager. Although she behaved like she was about 16 years old, she was a grown woman, probably in her early to mid 60s. Certainly she should know proper manners. Second, the last time I was in this store and spent a significant amount of money, she didn't care that Camryn was playing with a teddy bear on the floor. This time, it seemed like she couldn't be bothered with my lower spending. Right now, one side of my mind says that I should never step foot in this store again, while the other side says that I probably will find myself there again because of the things they sell.

At the end of the day, what did I learn? Something not so new - some people just aren't that nice. Or maybe she was having a bad day. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but this one is tough. As a business owner, I like to think that the people who are out there representing me are treating people the way that I would think they should be treated. But I do know that one person's bad experience with a business can cause that business to lose more than the one customer, a situation I'd never want to be in myself.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Man Up Little Boy!

On Friday night, Craig took Aaron to the Long Island Ducks baseball game. I've never been, but they are a minor league team and the games are supposed to be geared towards the kids and really super fun. So when Aaron's school sent home a flyer that they were having a group ticket sale for Friday night's game, I sent in a check and bought 4 tickets thinking it would be a great family night. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans right? Ya, G-d was certainly having a good laugh at my expense. With Camryn skipping her nap two days in a row, a 7pm baseball game with a 60% chance of rain and thunderstorms forecasted was not my #1 choice of place to take her. So with me and Cam sitting this one out, Craig and Aaron had a boys night with the Ducks.

For me, taking my kids anywhere is always stressful. Why? Because I want them to behave. No, change that. I expect them to behave. I am certainly no drill seargent and my requirements are not too much. Don't scream at the top of your lungs. Don't run around like an animal. When in a restaurant, don't go under the table. And when I say something, listen. Understandably, 6 year olds and 3 year olds don't listen 100% of the time. Like I said, I'm no drill seargent - a 50% success rate would make me happy. But when in public, listen to me when I tell you something. And knowing in advance that that most likely is not going to happen usually stresses me out before we're even out the door. Craig though is different. The antithesis of my Type-AAA personality, he's laid back. Sometimes it irritates me how laid back he is. It takes alot to get him riled up. So when he came home from the baseball game on Friday night with a look on his face like he was ready to clobber someone with his own baseball bat, I braced myself. Because he'd already had a 30 minute car ride to get over it and he so clearly wasn't.

For the next 20 minutes, I listed to why he was so mad. Did Aaron run around like an animal? No. Streak across the baseball field? No. Not listen? No. What then? He cried. Four times. So hysterically that every single person sitting in the section stared. And stared. And kept on staring. For a long time. And the worst part? The crying was for absolutely no reason. As Craig is relaying the goings on of the night, I'm slowly coming to realize why he's so pissed off. Because for someone who absolutely hates to be the center of attention, he had the entire section of the stadium staring at him 4 separate times while Aaron hysterically screamed his head off. I understood that if Aaron had actually been hurt or anything that warranted hysteria, Craig would not have cared who was looking at him. But for no reason? He was absolutely mortified.

I'm sure that those reading this (all three of you!) are on the edge of your seats wondering why all the crying. The first time, he legitimately got hurt. The other three times, in order, were:
  1. He wanted ice cream. And then he didn't like the flavor ice cream that he got.
  2. He wanted a t-shirt.
  3. He couldn't decide whether he wanted to sit with his friend and her dad or go with Craig to the bathroom.
Basically, he was acting like a brat. A giant spoiled brat. A giant spoiled brat who is about 3 years old. Not 6 and in kindergarten. But this is Aaron. The sweetest little boy in the world, so cute, nice and funny, but man, a total infant. At home, if he wants something and we say no, he cries. I'm talking anything from wanting to watch tv to wanting a snack to wanting to go outside. We're at the end of our rope with the crying - so close to the end of our rope that the other day I actually looked at him and said, "Man up, Aaron." Seriously. I told a 6 year old kindergartener to man up. Because I can't take the constant crying.

Our current solution is just to ignore it. Let him cry. I'll send him to his room until he's done crying because I just can't take the sound of it. But when we're out in public, it's a problem. Like Friday. Poor Craig. I don't think we'll be seeing the Ducks again this season.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm Still Here.....

Hi blog! I'm still alive, although my days have been a series of one day melting into the next. It's been awhile so I'll try and catch you up via a bullet pointed list. It was going to be a "Top 10" list but I'm not sure I have 10 things to talk about. And away we go....
  • We surprised the kids with a trip to Disney last month. I will have to sit down and write about it in detail but in a nutshell, it was amazingly awesome. The kids had fun, we had fun, Disney World is this seriously magical place where only good things happen and everyone is super nice. We didn't watch tv, see the news or read the newspaper for an entire week. I called it our state of blissfull ignorance. We got home just in time for the swine flu outbreak and truly had no idea about it until we got to the airport and people everywhere were wearing surgical masks. Special thanks to my Mom Panel friend Darcie for helping plan this spectacular week. Oh, and great surprise to be able to hang with Maria Bailey, Leanne and Laura and their mommy bloggers to watch the fireworks, even if my 6 year old cried the whole time.
  • After our week in Disney, I think I seriously fell into a depression when we came home. I spent the whole first week not wanting to do ANYTHING, which then depressed me even more.
  • We're home almost a month and I'm STILL waiting for this rain to stop here in NY. If I wanted Seattle-like weather, I would have lived in Seattle. It's the end of May and we're still wearing jeans and sweatshirts. Definitely need to clue Mother Nature into the fact that a little rain is okay and necessary but at some point it's gotta stop. Bring on the sunshine!
  • I'm glad that Kris Allen won American Idol instead of Adam Lambert. I don't think Adam is commercial enough and if my all-time fave Danny Gokey couldn't win, I'm glad it went to Kris. I didn't vote, although I did try - the lines were busy and I gave up. I did though download Kris's version of Heartless from iTunes - it was awesome.
  • I've moved from The Real Housewives of NYC to The Real Housewives of NJ. While I love the NYC girls (other than Kelly. And Ramona. And Alex.) the NJ girls are good for a laugh. A really, really, really big laugh. And a bunch of "Oh My God"s. Jersey girls, understand that this show is a huge reason why people think what they think about NJ. Just sayin'.....
  • Camryn has turned into a major bitch. That may be wrong to say about a 3 year old but I'm saying it. And saying it loud. She's driving me insane. Everything is "NO!" or "MINE!" or some other loud and obnoxious one word answer. Today she told me "I don't love you, I love only Daddy. But that's okay because Aaron loves you." I mean, when did 3 year olds get logic? If this is a sign of things to come, I'm done for.
  • Camryn also has decided that she loves to say inappropriate (and embarrassing) things at any given time, making me not want to take her anywhere. Ever. Some examples? In the bank, we walked by an older man (by older, I mean somewhere in the 80+ range) and she sniffed the air loudly and said, "That man stinks, mommy." Fantastic, right? In the next store, she decided to point to a bald man and said, "Isn't that man's hair funny?" And this morning, I had put some cream on her private area because she said she was a little itchy (just finished a round of antibiotics), and when I picked her up at school and whispered to her, "How do you feel?" she said, "I fine Mommy, and my vagina's great!" Note - all of these things that she said are at a volume of about 1000.
  • Heidi from The Hills is killing me. I mean, why does she not realize what a total ass Spencer is? And I'm bummed that LC is leaving. Let's not talk about why I am still watching this show. Sigh....
  • Frequency is so my favorite movie. It's Jim Caviezel before he was Jesus and Dennis Quaid before he started looking old. I think I've watched it about 100 times in the past two months (it's on cable). If you haven't seen it, see it. Now.
Had enough? I think that's about all. Not all that exciting. Miss me much??

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wahoo!!

About two weeks ago, I got a call from MomCentral that they were working with CNN and looking for a family to interview about cutting back in this economy and did I want to be interviewed? I think it took me about 5 seconds to say yes. Probably less than 5 seconds. Here's the result--

Friday, March 20, 2009

Vacation Over

Things here have been crazy, clearly leaving me no time to blog. I'm trying, trying, trying to fit it into my schedule and hopefully will be a bit more organized going forward. But I have something I've been wanting to remember so the best way to remember is to start writing it down...

At the end of January, we gave up our nanny (we'll call her R). She was our third nanny in 6 years, but she was great, most of the time. My work situation changed and now that I work from home, we couldn't justify the expense of full time help anymore. So we gave R ample notice, found her a job with another family and said good-bye. Sort of. The last two weeks she was here, she basically did nothing outside of irritate me like crazy, so when it came time for her to leave, it was more like good riddance, as opposed to good bye. R's new employer is another local family that is an acquaintance of a friend (we'll call her K), and I had never met them up until a few weeks ago when we were introduced at a birthday party. We exchanged pleasantries, limited our conversation to "hello" and "nice to meet you" and went our separate ways. Which pretty much was why what happened the following week was so totally confusing.

I haven't spoken to R since we said good riddance good bye almost 2 months ago. She called a few times afterwards but we didn't connect, so I've written the relationship off as over and done. We met her through a friend's nanny who lives around the block (we'll call her X) and the two nannies are still friends. About two weeks ago, 7pm at night, our phone rings and it's X calling from around the block. Here's the conversation.

Friend's Nanny X: Hi Amy
Me: Hi X, how are you?
X: Fine - listen, K asked me to call you and see if you could come here, pick up her kids and R and drive them home to her house.
Me: Umm....what???? [because I couldn't imagine that I had heard her correctly]
X: K's kids and R are here with me and K is in the city and she realized it's late so she wanted to know if you could bring R and her kids home.
Me: No, sorry, kids are in the bath, I can't.
X: Oh, okay, thanks anyway.

Now, this really happened. A woman who I met one time and barely said hello to had someone call me at 7pm at night in the rain, ask me to pick up her kids at their friend's house and drive them home. Is this normal? Not in my world.

I've been thinking for the past few weeks that there had to be something more to the story, something that got lost in translation from K to X to me.

Yesterday, I spoke to a mutual acquaintance (who is due with her third child in 2 days) and went through the story. Her response was, "Ya, that sounds about right. K is pretty ballsy, she definitely expected you to do it. Oh, and by the way, she called me that night too because she was in the city running late to meet her husband for dinner."

There's really no way to end this story because there was no resolution. I never called her and asked what the issue was, she never called me to apologize for being, well, ballsy is the best word I can think of. So really, it just ends with me still being baffled and hoping that she never calls me again.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What I Learned Over My Winter Vacation


Last week, my kids were on winter vacation. A whole week of mommy-Aaron-Camryn time. More time than I've ever been alone with them in their entire lives. It was interesting, I have to say. But I did learn a lot. Here's my list.

  • Full week school vacations are long.
  • There is ALOT of together-time when one parent is working and the other is home with both kids all day.
  • If I make plans too far in advance with certain friends, they will most definitely flake out on me at the last minute.
  • I need to mentally be on vacation when my kids are on vacation and have low expectations of getting work done, and prepare for that during the week before.
It's not a lot, but I will hopefully be prepared next vacation.

See what everyone else has learned in this great weekly carnival from Musings of a Housewife.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Nighttime Stall

When Aaron turned 2 years old, he decided he didn't want to go to sleep anymore. For about a week, we had to let him cry it out at night until he finally fell alseep. As he cried in his crib the first night, I cried with him on my kitchen floor. It was heartbreaking and torturous but every night, eventually he stopped. And every night the crying time got shorter until, after about a week, he would just go to sleep without crying. We thought we were the masters and this crying it out thing ruled. Until the next year when he started doing the same thing at 3 years old. But we did the same thing, stuck to our guns and eventually the crying stopped again.

Because of Aaron's ridiculously long bedtime routine, since birth, we have always put Camryn in her crib, awake, and she would fall asleep. She has been an amazing sleeper with random nighttime waking up, but nothing too bad and nothing on a regular basis.

Until now. The kids does not want to go to sleep. Ever. When she goes in her crib, we tell her a story and turn off the light, say good night, and as soon as we're one step out the door, we get "but mommy?" or "but daddy?" which are followed by "can I have a drink of water/a book/different music/elmo socks/my pillow/my other baby?" You get the idea. It's the nighttime stall.

Tonight the nighttime stall was followed by a nighttime cry followed by a nighttime puke. Yes, my daugher cried so hard and worked herself up so much that she threw up. And then she was petrified to go back into her crib and crying because she thought she was sick and couldn't go to school tomorrow. After about another half hour, she went to sleep, I think more though that she was so tired from not napping.

We'll see how it goes tomorrow....

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Our February Vacation

Being home with my kids after 6 years of working full time and having full time help is much harder than I thought it would be. Of course it's fun being able to be here with them and be at their schools, we are just coming off of a whole week of school vacation which meant lots of together time while my husband was working. Lots. And lots. The week was a little rough because Camryn naps in the afternoon which left me and Aaron unable to leave the house. At the beginning of the week I was really worried. What would I do without the distraction of school and homework and the regular rush of the school day?

Monday was President's Day and while almost everyone and their mother's offices were closed for the holiday, my husband's office was open. And everyone was working. So off he went to work at 730am and immediately Camryn starts wailing. Why? Because although we thought she was sleeping, she wasn't, and she saw Daddy get into his car and drive away without saying goodbye to her. Not a great start to a very long week! She got over it and Camryn, Aaron and myself went on a playdate with a boy that Aaron goes to camp with who has a younger brother the same age as Camryn. They all played nicely, although the little boy was constipated and didn't feel well. But they had a great playdate and when we got home around 2pm, Camryn napped and Aaron and I baked cupcakes. End of day thought: This week won't be so bad after all!

Tuesday was the one day that we didn't have any premade plans. We hung around the house in the morning, kids watched TV and I tried to get some work done. Keyword = tried. Didn't get, um, anything done. The kids and I decided that we would go to Bertucci's for some pizza lunch and then head over to Barnes & Noble where they were both allowed to get one book. We ate a great lunch and they each wound up with 2 books from Barnes & Noble, and after I paid I realized that Aaron has about $75 in gift cards to Borders that he got for his birthday. We got home, Camryn took a nap, Aaron watched TV and I, once again, tried to get some work done. My mom came over to babysite while I got ready and went into the city for the exclusive Yanni Voices preview concert and left for NYC. End of day thought: Two days down, three to go.

Wednesday was playdate day. Camryn went over to her friend's house while her friend's brother came here to play with Aaron. The boys played their games and Nintendo DS downstairs and I was upstairs getting work done. Everything was great until about lunchtime when Aaron's friend declared everything we had for lunch "disgusting". Hmm. Don't all kids eat macaroni and cheese, pizza and chicken nuggets? Now, I have had my share of my own kids being disagreeable and I can handle it just as well as the next mom. But when the whining starts, I just want to shrivel up and die. I really just can't deal with whining. When my kids whine, they know that it's not tolerated here. But how do you deal with someone else's kid whining? Clearly I can't send him to his room or tell him he's acting like a baby. So it was about 30 minutes of time that I would have rather spent watching paint dry than listening to this child whine about not wanting to eat any of the things I offered him. Finally he agreed to eat chicken nuggets and was fine the rest of the time. Around 2pm he went home and both my kids were exhausted, as was I, so we spent the rest of the day recuperating. End of day thought: I hope that my kids don't whine when they're on playdates.

On Thursday, my very best friend and her two kids were set to come over for yet another playdate, which we wound up canceling because Camryn didn't fell well. My friend has a 6 month old and both of her kids had just gotten over various sicknesses so she wasn't entering the house of germs. The kids and I spent the whole day doing pretty much nothing outside of the two kids fighting and me threatining to send them to their rooms about 700 times during the day. End of day thought: Is it Friday yet?

Friday. One of my most favorite words, beaten out only by Saturday and maybe 3 others. On Friday we were supposed to have a playdate with a friend of Aaron's from nursery school but it didn't work out. We had talked about staying home, cleaning up, doing some laundry and getting along. Around 11am, I got a phone call from the mom of the kids from Wednesday's playdate asking if she could come and pick up BOTH of my kids and bring them to her house for another playdate because her kids were bored. Um, what? You don't have to ask me twice. Now come over before you change your mind! And she did. She picked up both my kids, who were beyond thrilled to go with her, and brought them to play with her kids. And surprise her kids nonetheless. I did pick up Camryn around 2pm so she could come home and nap, but Aaron stayed there until about 415 when we picked him up to go get a haircut. After that, a quick visit to Grandma and Grandpa and guess what? Week was over! End of day thought: Yay!!

So, this vacation taught me alot. Like what? I think I'll use this on Tuesday for my "What I Learned This Week" carnival, hosted by Musings of A Housewife! Stay tuned....

Monday, February 16, 2009

She's A Repeater

My daughter is a repeater. I should have learned this with Aaron, to be careful what I say around him because you never know when it will resurface. Usually at less than opportune times.

Lately we've been having an issue with Aaron, who at 6 years old, thinks that just because he's bigger than her, he's "the boss" of her. Many times, we'll hear them arguing "I'm the boss of you" and then the other reply, "No, I'M the boss of YOU!" I constantly find myself telling Aaron, "You're not her mommy and you're not her daddy, so you're not the boss of her." Another favorite of mine, apparently is, "Mind your own business," although I didn't realize it. Until....

My almost 3 year old Camryn certainly doesn't stand for any of this crap of people being "the boss" of her and telling her what to do. The other day, we were in the car and Aaron was in her face about something and she just gets right up to him and screams at the top of her lungs "your business Aaron!"

Nice, huh?

See what comes out of the mouths of other kids at this great weekly meme, hosted by Unexpected Art: A Positive Blog.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I'm back. I hope. Life has gotten totally busy lately and I haven't gotten to be able to do the things I want. Like blogging. And reading. And relaxing. Lately it's been all about working. And making sales. And talking about the site. And meeting with clients. And the kids. And cleaning the house. And laundry. Please don't get me started with the laundry.

It's all good because this is what I have wanted all along.

But somewhere I am losing myself because at the end of the day, there's cleaning to be done, things to be put away, a to-do list longer than when the day started and lots and lots of work to do. And I'm exhausted.

I was never confident that I could be a SAHM. I don't think I ever really wanted to. I have always been a better mom when I could spend time with my kids not worrying about cleaning. And laundry. And work.

Now it's all on me. And I'm not complaining at all, I'm just trying to figure out a way to organize it all. And get it all done. And it's really, really hard.

I started this blog as a way for me to connect with my thoughts on a more personal level than on my business website. Somewhere along the line, I decided that every single post needed to be thought provoking. And witty. And meaningful. But I realized, they are all of those things. To me. And that's really all they ever need to be.

So I'm back. I hope. My posts may not say anything at all sometimes, but to me, that's the point. This is somewhere where I can relax. And unwind. And review my day and my kids and make sure that I don't forget the really, really small things that I always want to remember.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Green Works Cleaning Wipes

Our family recently made a decision that I'm going to work from home which was quickly followed by the decision to give up our nanny. With that decision, responsibility for all of our laundry, putting things away and daily clean up now falls to me. So when I was asked to review Green Works Natural Biodegradable Cleaning Wipes, a new product from Clorox, it truly was perfect timing.

Thirty wipes come in the container, which doesn't sound like alot, but it has managed to last us quite awhile. I've been using these wipes mostly to wipe our kitchen counters after preparing any type of food on them and again for the final wipe down of the day. Something I love about these wipes is that they are made with plant-based, biodegradable ingredients, such as coconut-based cleaners and essential oils, which means that my house smells clean withouth smelling like it just bathed in bleach. These wipes can be used to clean pretty much anything in our kitchen and bathrooms including nonwood floors, counters, sinks, stoves, garbage cans and toilets. The directions actually give instructions on how to compost, if that's up your alley, and in keeping with the green-ness, Clorox made the container recyclable .

One thing I wasn't overjoyed with though is the fact that the label says "for surfaces that may come in contact with food, a water rinse is required." It's a little bit confusing because these wipes are touted as made for the kitchen and another wipe down of my counters is just one more step that I'd like to avoid at the end of the night. But the benefits of using these wipes and the fact that they are biodegradable outweigh that extra step to me.

Get them the next time you're in the market for a new cleaning product, you can find them in your local supermarket!

This review is in accordance with Mom Central.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Best Part of the Superbowl....

No matter how you look at it, the best part of the Superbowl is the food. If you're like me, the best part of any meal is the appetizers, so really, what's not to like about the Superbowl. Um, outside of the actual Superbowl, that is.

I'm not a football fan. Never have been. I'll sit and watch or go to a Yankee game anytime, regardless of seats. I've been to hockey games (both Rangers, Islanders and NJ Devils). I'll watch tennis on tv. But put me in front of a football game and I'll find about 700 other things to do. Why? I don't get it. I have never understood the rules of football, nor do I want to. My husband is a HUGE football fan, although he likes the Dallas Cowboys, which is sort of odd because we live in NY. But anyway, when we were dating, every Sunday he would disappear to watch football. All day. I never understood why football fans are just that - fans of football, instead of fans of one specific team. They will sit and watch football all day (the 1pm, 4pm and 7pm games, and then another one on Monday nights!) regardless of the team that is playing. It's pretty frustrating.

At the end of football season, here comes the Superbowl. This year, my husband had a few friends over (guys only, no wives, no kids) and the biggest question on my mind was What are we going to eat? Well, I have to say we did pretty well. Our menu? Honey bbq wings, mozzerella sticks, chips/salsa/guacamole and then about 7 different appetizer things from Trader Joes. It was so delish that by the time the pizza came, I wasn't hungry. I left the guys to their game and went upstairs and got in bed with my book (which, by the way, is absolutely amazing!!).

Friday, January 30, 2009

My Name is Amy, and I'm a Blogger

When I went to college, I graduated with an accounting degree, got a job, my CPA and have been working ever since. I've done audit, tax and have taken on various roles of management at various companies over the years. I've managed teams of more than 10 people, evaluated and implemented software, hired and fired people, cut costs of more than $500,000 and have done major things with my career. I was always ambitious and wanting to get myself to the top with a major title and corner office. Although it changed when I had Aaron, it really all changed when I had Camryn.

After I had Aaron, I wanted to be home, but I also think I knew that I would at some point have another child and thus another 3 month maternity leave was in my future. But after I had Camryn, I had a desire to do something different. To do something more. I was sure that sitting in an office crunching numbers and fixing links in my spreadsheets was not all that my life was meant to be. Deep down I knew that I was meant to do more.

It was around that time that I had my third child, my business. I've talked about it before here, it's a website that connects parents in my area with the information that they need to make the right decisions for their families and gives businesses a way to connect with parents. Pretty much helps everyone all around, as I knew that it would. But something I never imagined it would do it bring me into a whole new world - a world of compassion, a world of friendship and world of inspiration that I never knew existed.

Over the past year, I have met the most amazing women I have ever known. Women who seem like Superwoman and Wonder Woman and Mary Poppins all rolled into one. Online, it doesn't matter what you look like, how many kids you have, what religion you are, where you live. It doesn't matter if you're black, white, purple or grey. I have been able to form bonds with people that I would have never met and if I had met them, I'we may never have become friends. I've met women who have one kid and women who have seven kids (which sort of makes my overewhelmed-ness with two seem silly).

I've found that online, you get to know the actual person. You hear feelings, you feel compassion, you find comraderie where you never would have known it otherwise. I've been inspired, I've been picked up and I've been boosted by people I've never, ever met in person. I've been asked for my opinion and consulted on issues where my opinion has mattered and made a difference. I've been introduced to the world of blogging, twitter, flickr, friendfeed and so much more. People have come to me to ask me questions about a world that I'm honored to be a part of.

Overall, the blogging community is a huge community that I had no idea existed one year ago and now, I'd be sad to not be involved in.

This post was written in connection with a contest sponsored by Mabel's Labels (www.blogcontest.mabel.ca).

Thursday, January 29, 2009

25 Random Things

Here's a fact: I love Facebook. I'll admit it, I really love it. But right now, I'm cheating. I got something on Facebook that challenged me to write 25 random things about myself, so I did. And now it's my most recently blog post. Talk about time management and multi-tasking!

  1. I never went to sleepaway camp and instead went to a performing arts camp and my husband makes fun of me for that. Alot.
  2. I'm the petrified of sickness and death for anyone in my family.
  3. I think that my kids are the funniest kids I've ever met and that they're less obnoxious than alot of kids I know.
  4. I love movie soundtracks.
  5. I would be in big trouble if I ever lost my Blackberry.
  6. I love most reality tv.
  7. I have a blog but don't tell anyone from my "real life" about it.
  8. I started taking piano lessons when I was three years old and continued for 15 years. I stopped playing in front of people when I was 12 because I had a bad experience with a NYSSMA judge.
  9. One of my favorite movies is Frequency and I've watched it on cable four times in the last week.
  10. This is the first time in 6 years that I will not have full time childcare/household help.
  11. I have two separate sets of in-laws who are not related to each other by blood.
  12. I have known my husband and one set of my in-laws since I'm in 5th grade.
  13. I wish my grandma had been alive to meet even one of my kids but am happy that my son was named after her.
  14. I believe in psychics and that certain people have the ability to communicate with people after they've died.
  15. My son shares a birthday with my mother in law who passed away in 1985.
  16. My very best friend has been my very best friend since kindergarten.
  17. I hate when someone is mad at me or when I think that someone is mad at me.
  18. I love that owning LIParentSource.com has allowed me to do so many cool things, like being invited to an all expense paid weekend in Disney World last year with 20 amazing moms that I never would have met otherwise.
  19. I love that although it is so huge, the internet makes the world so much smaller.
  20. I think it's amazing that 34 year old women have the same friend problems as 14 year old girls.
  21. I love that although I had to twist Rebecca's arm really hard to get her to join Facebook last year, she has finally reached 500 friends and loves Facebook more than I do.
  22. I love that so many of our real life friends have been our friends since high school or before. There's so much history there.
  23. I think it's adorable to hear my son talk about his "girlfriend" and how they're going to get married. He's only 6 years old.
  24. I don't feel old enough to have a 6 year old child in kindergarten.
  25. In the last year, I've learned alot about who in my life are real friends.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What I Learned This Week...


My Disney Mommy Blogger friend Jo-Lynne over at Musings of a Housewife started a great bloggy carnival - What I learned this week. So here goes for week #1----




What I learned this week is that everyone has their own crap. Seriously, no matter how perfect their life may seem, how put together they look, how great their kids seem to do - everyone has crap.

When I was growing up and didn't get something that I wanted or things didn't go as planned, I remember wishing that I was someone else. It was usually specific - the really pretty and popular girl in school, my friend whose mom didn't care what time she came home on a Friday night, the girl with the seemingly awesome boyfriend. Regardless, if someone had something that I didn't have and that I wanted, I would, at some point, wish I was them.

As time went on, and I grew up, I stopped wishing I was other people and learned to be happy with who I was, mostly because I realized, as stated so eloquently above, everyone has their crap.
  • My friend who I mentioned above, (the one who we loved to sleep at her house during high school because her mom didn't care what time we wandered in at night) well, it turned out that her mom didn't care because, well, to put it bluntly, her mom couldn't stand her. A few years ago, her younger sister was diagnosed with breast cancer (she's okay now, but fought hard).
  • A friend who seemingly had it all together all of the time and a great life - her dad got sick pretty suddenly and passed away and a few months later she was told she had the gene for breast cancer and underwent an emergency hysterectomy and double mastectomy.
  • A friend from a long time ago who is insanely beautiful and married a gorgeous guy has a son who is severely autistic.
  • A family who lives in a gorgeous house and has a gazillion friends - the husband was just arrested. For MURDER.

Do I need to go on? I did well in school, my parents turned out to be pretty cool, I got married to a great guy, had a great job, was able to buy a house that I wanted and had two amazing and healthy kids. I've got a pretty good life that I really wouldn't trade for anything.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Things are SO not getting better...

I apologize in advance for all the vomit talk lately, but seriously, this is my life right now. We last left off with Camryn's puke fest on Saturday afternoon. Sunday all day she was totally fine. Like absolutely herself, healthy and happy kid. Monday morning, same thing, totally fine. I was thrilled, we were out of the woods. Stomach viruses gone. Aaron goes to school, Camryn goes to school and I pick her up after school at 1230. They said she had a great day, ate her pizza for lunch and was very happy. On the way home, she starts getting cranky, but I figured it was because she was tired. We get home, she goes in for a nap and sleeps for about an hour, waking up around 3pm crying and she didn't seem to feel well. After a little while, she vomits. In the sink, which was a huge bonus. But still vomits.. Then she's tired, lays on the couch and watches Dora for awhile and then by dinner time is totally fine. I figured it was a lingering effect of the stomach virus and that it was over. Until the same thing happened again today!

This morning she was fine. Ate breakfast, played. Went to her friend's house with our babysitter and ate lunch, coming home around 2pm. Oh, one thing I forgot to mention was that I woke up with the stomach virus and vomiting this morning. Anyway, Camryn comes home, goes in for a nap and sleeps for about an hour, waking up at around 3pm crying. I sat with her in the rocking chair and she vomits. All over me. Then she was tired again, laid on the couch and watched Dora for awhile and now she seems to be feeling better.

It's all really odd. The doctor thinks its the lingering effects of the stomach virus but my mind is racing and hoping that's all it is.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

You Take The Good, You Take The Bad...

Today was Aaron's birthday party. After two days this week of his having a stomach virus, he was healthy and ready for his party today. For his 6th birthday, he wanted a movie party. Actually, first he wanted a party at one of those places where they have a gazillion inflatables to jump on, but the idea of a bunch of 5 and 6 year old kids running around and jumping on everything just didn't thrill me. When we talked about the idea of a movie party, what could be more perfect for a kid who loves everything about movies? It also didn't hurt that it was the least expensive of any of the party options, by far. After the debacle last year of the bowling party that cost an obscene amount of money and Aaron cried almost the entire party, this movie party was a great option.

The theater where we had the party at was great. It isn't one of these enormous 15 theater corporate owned movie theaters, but instead a privately owned four theater movie theater. They're really smart - 4 parties at 10am each Saturday and Sunday. When we got there, Aaron's name was on the marquee outside with a big "Happy Birthday" which was really cute. We had our own theater and when we walked in, there were two big tables set up down in front with popcorn, drinks and bagels with cream cheese and butter. Kids chose what they wanted to eat and took their seats. Aaron chose to see The Tale of Desperaux which he has been wanting to see since he saw the previews long ago at another movie. Everyone sat, parents stayed and they ate and watched the movie. At the end of the movie, we all sang happy birthday, he blew out the candles and cupcakes were served. Thanks for coming, the end. Truth be told, I can't wait for the day when Aaron wants to take a few friends to a hockey game or some other sporting event for his birthday. But I do have to say that this party ran so smoothly, even Aaron asked if he could have his party there again next year.

After the party we lugged home his loot brought home his presents and I took Camryn to the end of her nursery school friend's birthday party. After that, Craig's brother came over with 3 of his 4 kids and all the kids played and Camryn took a nap. Understand that Camryn is a champion sleeper. She's almost 3 years old and her naps are generally 2 - 3 hours, sometimes longer. Today she was exhausted when she went down, and when she woke up crying after only an hour, I was surprised. I went in, took her out of the crib (yes, she's still in a crib, no comments please), sat down in the rocking chair and she puked all over me. Red icing from the cupcake she ate at Aaron's party was everywhere. Literally everywhere. All over her, all over me. It was not pretty. Of course, Craig had just left so I had to yell for Aaron to help me. Here's some advice - never ask a 6 year old to help you clean up puke - too much "Mom, that's gross" and "Man, that stuff stinks" like he has never puked before! Oh, and I also made him call Craig and make him come home.I'm not a wimp but really and truly , I was covered in puke with a puke covered baby crying in my lap and I couldn't get up without getting it all over the floor and everywhere else. What a mess. Finally we got cleaned up and she was puking on and off until around 8pm tonight. Really gross. Now she's sleeping and I'm hoping there's no middle of the night calling of my name.

So although mostly good, today was a very long day. And exhausting. And long. Not to mention that our plans tonight were canceled because of the snow, so I'm really ready to watch some DVR and go to bed.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Schedule Away!

This weekend, PBN and a new SC Johnson website, Right@Home, posed the question Do you have a schedule or a system to help you clean up, pack up and put away the holidays?

This past Monday, January 5, my kids went back to school. After almost two full weeks at home, it was a great return to the life I know. Hallelujah!

Being that we're Jewish and don't celebrate Christmas, we're one step ahead in the cleanup department because we're not taking down a tree or packing decorations away. At Hanukkah time, we take our menorah down from it's shelf and light the candles on each of the eight nights, but it's not exactly a put-a-giant-blow-up-menorah/dreidel-on-your-lawn type of holiday. We get together with alot of family to celebrate, make potato latkes (very greasy but oh so yummmm) and exchange presents. Once Hanukkah is on it's way out, Aaron's birthday is on it's way in, so our house is pretty much overrun with presents from mid-December through mid-January. The challenge here is going through the old toys to find places for the new toys and throwing out toys in ways that my kids won't notice.

Craig takes an annual holiday from work from Christmas through the New Year which allows us to spend some quality family time together. Our kids are not babies anymore so they are pretty independent in the morning when they wake up - Aaron goes downstairs and watches TV and Camryn plays in her crib, so many a morning over this vacation, we were able to sleep in. 9am or later. Some of you are pretty jealous, but we've paid our dues for sure.

So for almost two weeks at the end of 2008, we were on no schedule at all. We got up when we wanted to. Ate breakfast when we wanted to. Got dressed if we wanted to - and plenty of these days we spent in our pajamas until late in the afternoon. We got together with friends and did things as a family, but we enjoyed this down time immensely.

As of January 5, we're jolted back to a major schedule. Have to get to the bus stop on time, and it's now freezing so it's a bit difficult. Have to be more organized with lunch, playdates and carpools. Back to running Camryn to school, going food shopping (no more take out) and back to the work grind. We don't so much have a schedule to get cleaned up from the holidays, but rather have a schedule to get back on schedule. It's a hard time of year but schedule away - we are trying to start 2009 off on a great foot!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tomorrow Is Another Day

Today was a day that I just didn't want to face.
I didn't want to open my eyes.
I didn't want to get out of bed.
I didn't want to work.
I didn't want to talk to anyone.
I didn't want to do anything.

Maybe it was the weather. Or the headache that I have been waking up with almost every morning for the past week. Or maybe it was just a day that my body and mind were screaming out for rest.

We're all entitled right? Even moms.

As lousy as today was, I made a decision that I will not let this put me into a funk. 2009 is the year of thinking positively. And reaching goals. And succeeding.

Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, January 5, 2009

One Sad Bachelor

The only thing I could really say about halfway through the first episode of The Bachelor 13 is "really"?
Are these girls really that dumb?
Do they really scream like that all the time?
Could the criteria for being picked for this show really have been (1) looks hot in a bikini and (2) is a total moron?
Is this one girl's name really Treasure? And she's not a porn star?
I could go on. For a really long time.

If you've read the few recaps I wrote of The Bachelorette episodes one and two and my note to DeAnna from after the finale, you would know that I was very excited for Jason to be the next Bachelor and find his one true love. I was really hopeful for him. Because DeAnna broke his heart. In front of a gazillion people. And now, after seeing his choices, I am contemplating boycotting this season. Okay, not really, but these girls are truly awful. And they need to stop screaming. Now.

I think this is going to be a really long season.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

It's a New Year - Play With Me!

2009 is a brand new year with a few resolutions that I've made. One of the things I want to do in 2009 is to blog with some regularity. Yes, with everything else I've got going on, I did pick this up during 2008, but I love it. Writing is such a release and it soothes me. What a better way to start this writing than with a great meme picked up from my Disney friend Jo-Lynne over at Musings of a Housewife! Leave a comment and a link below if you play along----

1. What did you do in 2008 that you had never done before?

I went on two trips by myself relating to the website I started in 2006. These trips were important to me because as someone who has total anxiety of doing things with no one I know, I took these trips with groups of women I had never met before. Definitely major.

2. Did you keep your new years resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don't think I made any resolutions last year, other than probably to go to the gym, which I don't think I did once during 2008.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes, a bunch of friends had babies this year, and my best friend had her second baby!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Unfortunately yes. You can read all about Bill here. We really, really miss him.

5. What countries did you visit?

None outside of the USA, unless you count my visit to Epcot where I visited a boatload of countries in a few hours!

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

More patience with my kids. And an incredible business year.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

May 30th when we went away for a night with great friends and saw Billy Joel in concert at Mohegan Sun, and May 31, the night that my father in law passed away.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Being asked to be a part of some great events like the Mommy Blogger Mixer at Disney, the Not In My House launch and the Mommy Blogger Monologues.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not having the patience to keep my cool and not yell at my kids. I'm a huge yeller, something I'm trying really, really hard to work on.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I almost broke my hand in February when I tripped over my husband's foot and went flying into the pole holding up our granite countertop. About a week later, I wound up with the flu and spent 5 days in bed. Probably the longest and most exhausting 2 weeks of my life. Thinking about them now is still horrendous.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

For Mother's Day, my husband had been listening to me and bought me a MacBook, which I exchanged for an iMac which I LOVE LOVE LOVE. Oh, and the Wii, of course!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Not my 6 year old's - he seems to be unlearning the art of listening.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

A few people who I thought were amazing friends disappointed me this year. It's pretty unfortunate.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Seriously, it's almost embarrassing to say but I really have no idea. It seems to go out faster than it comes in. Maybe our mortgage. Or ridiculous real estate taxes. Or income taxes. Or my kids as they SUCK the money right out of our bank account? I could keep going but I'll spare myself that pain.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

(Sorry Jo-Lynne but I had to steal your answer here...) Getting asked to go to Disney World with Maria Bailey! That was SUCH a surprise and a treat.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

This one I will have to think hard about.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

a) I'm happier. My kids are doing great and enjoying school and I am thrilled with their schools, something that I couldn't say for most of the last three years.

b) Definitely fatter. In fact the lovely Wii Fit told me last night I gained 8.14 pounds since the last time I used it. Definitely not something I was wanting to hear.

c) Hmmm today definitely a little poorer since I walked out of my job. However, we're watching every single penny so it's probably for the best. And, 2009 is going to be a huge year for my website so hopefully the poorer part won't last too much longer. (See, already thinking positively!)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spending more quality time with my kids and husband.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Yelling. Yup, definitely yelling.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas Day we did what the entire Jewish population in New York did - went to the movies in the morning and Chinese food for dinner.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

With so many ideas. The idea of working for myself. The idea of becoming a huge success. The idea of helping people.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

A much easier question would be my LEAST favorite TV program. Most favorite? Lots to choose from. Grey's Anatomy is sort of jumping the shark, but I do love Private Practice, The Ghost Whisperer and a whole host of reality tv shows including The Biggest Loser and a love/hate relationship with The Bachelorette.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I wouldn't say hate exactly, but there have been some relationship changes during this past year.

25. What was the best book you read?

Twilight, for sure. I didn't get to read that much this year but this one stands out.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

The Dixie Chicks. I'm generally not a huge fan of country music but I think these chicks are awesome.

27. What did you want and get?

Lots of love and support from my family.

28. What did you want and not get?

To win the lottery. A few million bucks could definitely help us out.

29. What was your favorite film this year?

Unfortunately most of the films I saw this year were for the 5 and under crowd. I did though see Twlight (which totally stunk) and Sex and the City, which I loved, so I'll go with that.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

On my birthday, we went for a sushi dinner (without the kids) and then came home for cake with our family. It was nice and simple and fun, exactly what I wanted.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I would have liked to have been working for myself the whole year and growing my business. I feel like I didn't have enough time to devote this year so certain aspects of the business suffered. 2009 is going to be the big year for that.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

Very casual and comfortable. Like I love wearing cute sweatpants & hoodies or leggings and a shirt.

32. What kept you sane?

My husband's understanding of my need for alone time at certain times.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I'll go with Patrick Dempsey. Even though every time I see his face I think of You Can't Buy Me Love, I still think he's totally hot.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

The whole election, of course.

36. Who did you miss?

My grandma. She passed away March 2, 2002 and never got to meet either of my kids. I think she would get such a kick out of them, it makes me sad alot of the time.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

My mommy blogger friends. I never knew any group of women to be so amazing and inspiring. They come from different places with different experiences but are so strong and ridiculously awesome.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

People are not always what they seem. Its' a hard and sad lesson, but absolutely true. I've learned who my friends are and who they aren't and what types of people I want to surround myself with.

Okay, YOUR turn!

 
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