Tuesday, October 29, 2013

new kindergarten update, plus zip lining!

In my last post I explained why I was taking Lilly out of the kindergarten where she was and place her in my home district.  Lilly has been there for 2 weeks.  Almost immediately she seemed much calmer at home.  The morning time anxiety that we had been seeing was greatly reduced.  On the 2nd day she did decide that she had changed her mind and wanted to go back to school with me.  Once she realized that was not a viable option, she moved forward and has been doing great!

We are helping her catch up with the curriculum.  She is working very hard on learning her letters, manuscript-style, because this district places importance on it, whereas the last one did not.  She also has tons more homework every night.  Most importantly, she has made friends, and she is happy!

Lilly had a big day this past weekend when she attended Camp Riverbend's Family Camp Day.  My parents came to walk around with her, since Vinnie was working.  Lilly went to the high ropes course, climbed the high wall, and then zip lined down.  I was insanely proud of her when I found out!  I am so grateful my parents were there to encourage her and cheer her on while I was doing my baking thing with the other families.

climbing the wall

she made it to the top

zip line!

the swing.  Love that smile!

Next up...Halloween!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A mom's lesson in bullying...and trust

I have written about bullying before, referring to my own experiences as a child who was bullied.  I have gone to anti-bullying seminars as a camp counselor and as a teacher.  I did not think that I would be thinking about bullying and my 5 year-old daughter who is in kindergarten.  I thought had a few years to deal with that.  I was wrong.  

To be clear, I do not know or think that Lilly was bullied in the sense of what the new laws call bullying.  But old-fashioned bullying?  Yeah, that happened to my kindergartner.  

It started with headaches and stomachaches in the morning.  Crying, telling me that she didn't want to go to school.  Classic signs that something was wrong.  It took a little while to tease out the situation, especially because Lilly was commuting with me into Hoboken each day.  It is a long, sometimes ardous commute.  I wondered if it was the commute alone that was causing her distress.  

About 2 weeks ago it came to my attention, because Lilly tells all, that a certain child in her class was bothering her.  Usually physically (punching, hitting, etc.) but also doing some other things that really frightened her and made her feel uncomfortable.  I wrote to the teacher and principal and was told they were working on the issue, because it was not just my daughter being targeted.  However, the incidents kept occuring.  Little ones, but something every day.  It was notable to Lilly when she had a day without an incident.  Yikes.  

Here is where it gets a little tricky.  Lilly goes to the school where I work.  Her principal is my boss; her teacher my colleague. Our district allows BOE employees to bring their children into the district for schooling. (with special permissions, of course)  I had an inkling that the commute might be too much for Lilly.  Heck, it's too much for me some days.  Lilly is such a good kid and rule follower that I had not anticipated problems in th classroom.  

The bottom line is that I realized that Lilly did not feel safe, emotionally or physically, in that classroom.  The school did offer other solutions, but combined with our crazy commute, my husband and I decided the best action to take would be to put her in our town school system.  

Our new school staff has so far been a pleasure to work with, even holding a space for her in the room I requested.  Lilly is going to be with her BFF Christian, about which she is over the moon excited.  She will not have to be in the car for an hour each way.  She will eat breakfast at home, not in the car, and Daddy will bring her to school.  She will not be so exhausted that we cannot do anything after school.  We had not been able to start Irish dance yet or even see her MumMum who lives the next town over because of the sheer exhaustion that we both have had.  She was tired and super cranky every day.  It was noticable to other people, even.  

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.  I was getting so concerned with doing the right thing for Lilly.  I wanted her to know that she could get through this difficult situation and we would face it head on together.  I did not want her to think it was okay to quit or run away because it was hard.  However, I really wanted her to know that I trusted her feelings and intuition.  She may not have been able to tell me that she felt unsafe in so many words.  But she told me the actions and words of others, and I saw her reactions to situations.  I needed to listen to my daughter.  I needed to trust her feelings, and she needed to know that I trusted her feelings.  

I am confident that Vinnie and I took the correct action for Lilly's well-being.  I am excited for her as she begins this new chapter of kindergarten.  Lessons learned from this?  Trust your child.  Be their advocate.  Trust your parent intuition.  You know your child best.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mini Me

Seriously, how sweet is my Lilly?  Holding me around the neck, ear to ear Momma, she said.  I love these captured moments.  Those eyes...I can get as lost in her soulful brown eyes today as the moment she first looked into mine.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The wedding!

I had posted last about the wedding I was going to be in.  Well, a week ago my sister-in-law married her "hunk-of-love," as Lilly calls him.  It was a great day all around.  We had beautiful weather, and Gina & Anthony had done a magnificent job with the planning.  It was a seriously fun wedding!

Without much ado, here are some pictures that I know you have all been waiting on the edge of your seat to see.

on our way!

walking in with her daddy

daddy's girl

the gorgeous bride!

Blue Steel with my other SIL Bri

Sunday, September 22, 2013

pre-wedding jitters

I'm in a wedding next week.  Yay! for my sweet sister-in-law and her awesome hubby-to-be.  But holy GAH!  I am not feeling ready to be in my very cute dress.  You'd think that I would have considered this, oh, maybe a year ago.  In all fairness, I did actually consider it, but the actual doing-something-about-it did not happen so much.  I have had a few false starts.  I have had some very real challenges, like thyroid stuff, that does not help matters.  I have had a lot of chocolate.  And bread.  I love bread.

But truly, I feel this past year, as I move closer to (gulp) 40, I have spent time getting to know me a little bit better.  I know, I know...I only turned 38 this year.  But hear me out.  I have spent time doing yoga, meditating, and really contemplating my future, and where I am going.  I have spent true quality time with my little girl.  I worked at a summer camp that I love.  I have been blessed to get to know friends better.  There are other things, too, that I have learned about myself.  Private-ish things, but all good.  All leading me to where I am today.  It is a good place to be, feeling more confident about yourself.

About a week ago, when I realized that the wedding was in 2 weeks, I started to panic a bit.  But then I stopped myself and told myself that #1. I will not be the center of attention and #2. I am okay good the way I am.  And then I would google juice fast and lemonade diet to see if they were feasible.  Are they?  Just kidding.  Kind of.  And just as quickly I would tell myself ENOUGH.  Seriously.  This is insane.  I have spent so much time trying to accept myself where and how I am but those thoughts that I need to weigh less or look thinner are still sneaking in there.  It's maddening, actually.

So just for tonight, I will be okay where I am.  And I will wonder when "Give a shout out" became popular again while I watch the Emmys.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Above my kitchen sink.
You might wonder what that insect is.  I certainly did when it appeared in my kitchen this evening.  It is such a beautiful night afternasty humidity all week that we opened the back door to let the breeze in.  And apparently the icheumonoidea.  The insect with a name as long as its tail.  That, by the way, does not sting humans, but is used to insert its eggs into another living insect.  Lovely.  I have never seen anything like it, and really hope that it was the last I will ever see.

I zoomed in.  That long line is its tail.
And....dead in the kitchen sink after being wacked by my flip flop and sprayed by Method counter spray.  It kind of made me wish for toxic chemicals.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


This morning on our way to school, Lilly and I prayed the rosary for peace.  I felt called to do so last night as I was watching President Obama's speech about Syria.  When I am driving to school, I am basically driving as close to NYC as I can get without going through a tunnel.  Hence, I see the Empire State Building and the Freedom Tower every day.  This year I explained to Lilly in the most simplistic (age-appropriate) way possible why there is a Freedom Tower.  We include the people who keep us safe in our  nightly bedtime prayers.  It is never, ever an easy thing to discuss violence with our chidlren, but I believe it is as important as it is hard to do.

It takes a lot longer to say the rosary with a 5 year old, but I believe those prayers...those of our children...are heard loudest of all. Her vision of peace is most likely a lot different than mine.  But doesn't it start with our 5 year olds?  If our 5 year olds do not have peace in their lives, I cannot see how they can grow up to be peaceful adults.

So today, and every day, let us PRAY for peace.  Let us TEACH peace.  Let us ACT peacefully.  And let it begin with ourselves.  And our little ones.

My baby is in kindergarten!

Lilly's 1st Day of Kindergarten.  
I feel like Lilly should be entering preschool for the first time, or even just learning to walk.  But instead she has begun kindergarten.  Her journey of learning has just taken a huge leap.  I remember when she was a baby and people would say that time flies, and that she'll be grown before I know it.  Well, they weren't lying.  There are some days when I just cannot believe it.  It feels like yesterday that she was in my womb, sticking her toes in between my ribs.  (I can still feel that spot sometimes!)  
Ocean Grove, NJ

That's why sometimes I just need to take a day off; get off this crazy ride we call life.  I took Lilly down the shore.  One day.  One day was what I absolutely, positively needed, though more would have been nice.  We both needed to feel the sand between our toes, the waves washing over us, hearing them crash against the shore.  It was seriously one of the best days of my life with Lilly.  Lilly is her mother's daughter, in her love of the shore.  (Yes, in NJ we go to the shore.)  I had to drag her from the ocean to drink non-salty water.  She was completely covered in sand when she was out of the water.  She was riding waves in.  "I'm bodysurfing, momma!"  We took our time going there in the morning.  We stayed on the beach until we got to hungry for dinner.  It was just...the best.

Moments before she dashed off to the surf.
I promise she was smiling.  It was super bright!  

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Camp begins!

Camp begins tomorrow and runs for 7 weeks. I'm excited even though I know how tired in going to be. It's different than my usual job. And sometimes different is good.  It allows me to explore different sides of myself. Wish me luck on my adventure!

Friday, June 14, 2013


I have written about yoga before, about how it makes me feel better.  I have written about how I sometimes struggle with acceptance of where I am now, in yoga.  My flexibility is not what it used to be.  I need to modify poses a lot.  I cannot stay in them as long as I was once able.  yada yada yada, blah blah blah.  It's all useless chatter, really, those thoughts.

Part of the anxiety I have been feeling lately has caused me to breathe very shallowly, which then constricts blood flow to muscles and joints.  My acupuncturist was explaining this to me and asked me to spend several minutes daily just breathing deeply.  I have been doing that and I can definitely feel the difference in the tenseness of my body...my jaw, my shoulders, etc.

Recently I started doing a yoga journal dvd introduction to ashtanga.  What I love about ashtanga yoga is that it is all about connecting the breath to the movement.  It has really helped me get into a pose and stay there longer.  It's quieting all that chatter going on in my head, because if I am concentrating on breathing deeply I cannot hear the negative voices.

Today I didn't feel great, so I did a restorative yoga video.  The instructor has some good tidbits that I want to share with you, but I am too tired to remember them exactly.  Needless to say, I am feeling better, both physically and emotionally, having made yoga an important part of my day.

Monday, June 3, 2013

My time

Hey all!  I know I haven't been writing much.  I have had another writing project going on, that has kind of taken up my time.  It's exciting for me because it is a totally new project, but fits me well.  I wish I could be less vague about it, but the company prefers that I write as "the company" and not let myself be known, yet.

Plus, you know, life.  It gets busy around these months for teachers.

I've been in a fitness/weight loss slump.  But I feel the tides changing.  You know when you just get sick of feeling sick?  That is kind of how I feel right now.  I know that cutting dairy and sugar out/down makes me feel better.  I know that yoga makes me feel better.  I just gotta do it.  I really do, because I am so sick of feeling like this.  I just have to get over that hump.  You know the one I mean.  The one that tells you that you cannot, absolutely not live without candy.  Or doughnuts.  Or mac & cheese.  Or ice cream.  Or whatever it is that makes you feel oh so good when you take those first bites.  But truth?  I don't just take one bite.  Ever.  And another truth?  My tummy really hurts when I eat that shit.  My body starts to get achey.  I get tired and lethargic.  Like, too tired to do yoga or go for a walk, the very things that make me feel better.

Melanie, you are saying, you have told us this before.  Yeah, I know I have.  Such is the journey of life, my friends.  Sometimes we have to make mistakes a few (lots of) times before we get it.  I think this is my time....

Friday, May 3, 2013

Why preschool?

As you might realize by now, I am an early childhood educator.  Meaning?  I taught preschool and I now coach teachers who teach preschool and kindergarten.  I have my Masters in early childhood special education.  I am a HUGE supporter of preschool for all children.  I have heard people say to me that preschool is just babysitting, or playing all day.  This is for them.

I received this infographic through a professional group I am involved in and it is used with permission by EducationNews.org

Please Include Attribution to EducationNews.org With This Graphic Preschool Infographic

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Celebrate with Crayola on their 110th birthday!

Did you know that Crayola has been around for 110 years?  Neither did I, at least not until recently.  Crayola contacted me to ask me to let all my readers know about the excitement they have planned.

To celebrate, the original 8 crayons are throwing a birthday bash at the new Crayola Experience in Easton, PA.  Right now they are out on a colorful adventure and they want you to follow along.  You can do so by heading to the facebook page to see where they are right now!

Visit the Crayola facebook page and enter to win a trip for 4 to celebrate their birthday and the Grand Opening of the Crayola Experience in May 2013.  You can enter once a day to win a 3 night, all-expenses paid stay and be one of the first to experience the fun of the colorful, interactive exhibits and attractions.

I have never been there myself but Lilly has gone with her grandparents who live in Pennsylvania.  She raved about it and cannot wait to go back.  She was able to be creative, have fun, and it was set up in a way that allowed her to be independent while she played!  Even if we do not win the tickets, we will absolutely go to to the Crayola Experience once they re-open.

What's your favorite Crayola color?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Reading sad things

I am a reader of blogs.  Kind of a lot of them.  Sometimes they are very funny; sometimes they are informative.  And sometimes they are sad.  Recently I have been following the story of Kate and her son Gavin in her blog Chasing Rainbows.  I cannot possibly do her justice, so I will let you read about her yourself.  Please do, because her grace is well, amazing.  Last week something incredibly sad happened.  Gavin died.  He was 5 years old.

I have been asked why I read sad stories like Kate's.  I have been asked if they affect me.  They do affect me.  I am deeply saddened, yet unable to stop reading the stories that are written.  I have asked myself why, because other people ask me why.  This is my answer.  If someone (like Kate) has been brave enough to write her story down and allow me (and others) to read it, then I feel I owe it to her and to her beautiful son to read it.  I will cry for her, her husband, her other son, for Gavin.

It helps me feel connected to women who are just amazing.  I am learning how to have grace and courage from these other women who are not afraid to share their stories with the world.  So  I read them.  I try to learn from them.  

Today was Gavin's funeral.  I wrote his name on my hand, along with a a little rainbow.  I held space for Gavin'd family today.  I prayed and held them up, mentally, every time I saw his name.  And maybe that is why I really read blogs.  So that I can be reminded to not give up hope.  And I can, in my own quiet way, hold space for another.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

How to take a relaxing bath...or not!

Last Friday night I decided that I wanted to take a hot bath.  I was feeling a bit stressed and just needed to feel that hot water sooth and relax my muscles.  I have always loved baths but somehow it is hard to find the time these days.  What transpired after the decision to take a bath was made was either going to make me laugh or cry.  I decided on a good laugh (more stress relief) and thought you might like it, too.  Enjoy!

How to Take A Bath
Decide to take a bath and walk into the bathroom. 
Hear 5 year-old crying for Momma.
Calm her down and put her back to sleep.  Realize that running the water in the tub will keep her awake.
Go to sleep instead.
Wake up to aforementioned child crying again.  Bring her into your bed.

Next evening decide to take a bath, again.
Make sure the cat is in the bathroom so he doesn't meow outside the door and wake the child.
Put a moisturizing fascial mask on to soak in while you are bathing. Smart multitasking!
Get into bath and allow the hot water to envelope you and relax your muscles.
Close your eyes and lean back. 
Feel the furry tail of the cat pull all the way across your face, leaving cat hair in the moisturizing mask.
Sigh and take mask off with warm washcloth.
Close eyes and lean back again.  Remember that bathtub is barely long enough for 5 year-old, let alone 5'11" grown woman.  Attempt to relax anyway.
Get scared out of your mind when the door bursts open.  Wish your bathroom door locked.
Try to shoo dog out.  Be satisfied that she stops whining so she doesn't wake 5 year-old.
Diffuse potentially tricky situation between cat and dog in small bathroom space while still in the tub.
Realize bathroom door is now wide open.  
Feel freezing cold air coming in.  Give up on relaxing hot bath.
Get out of bath and immediately get rubbed on by cat on the left leg and the dog on the right, leaving long orange and white hairs and short gray hairs on each respective leg.  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Jello Memories

In my last blog post I wrote about making new memories.  I think one of the things I love most about making new memories with Lilly is how it often brings me back to my own childhood memories.  I am pretty darn lucky that my memories are so wonderful.  I know how blessed I am to have had such a childhood because I work with children who do not always have good memories.  Or their good memories are so far from how I define good that it saddens me.  While I know that my childhood was not perfect, I have very few bad memories.

Yesterday I was making jello with Lilly.  A few years ago I tried making it but she refused to eat it.  I ended up eating an entire pan of orange jello.  It was more than a little sickening.   She has now decided that she likes jello.  She picked out grape (hello, purple!) and raspberry lemonade or some such newfangled flavor.  She was very excited to make it with me.  I obviously stirred it initially since it requires adding boiling water, but then she helped stir the jello powder until it disolved.  We talked about how it would not be ready until tomorrow (today) which is why we made it at night.

Waiting is a hard thing for kids.  Scratch that, waiting is hard!   Lilly was pretty okay with it.  She understands what finished jello looks like so she knew that this was NOT finished.  Without telling her what I was doing, I got out a spoon and scooped a bit of the cooled jello mixture just before I put it in the fridge.  I told her that this is what Nanny used to do for me and I gave her a taste.  It brought me right back to 188 aka Nanny's house, where she would give me a little taste of the not-yet-ready jello from the fridge.  Watching Lilly's face light up at the taste of the warm liquidy goodness was fun.  Watching her smile as she thought of me as Nanny's little granddaughter was priceless.

And you know what?  Knowing that I look back and see the good memories gives me hope that Lilly, too, will someday look back and see only the good, and forgive me for my mom-mistakes.

Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Fun

Lilly has her sweater on.

As long as I can remember, my family has celebrated St. Patrick's Day.  When I was younger the parade went by our street and we would have friends and some family over to watch the parade together.  As I got older, I would sometimes go into NYC to the parade there or to the local Irish pub in town.  

This year, we went to our county's parade, where my daughter danced and marched with her Irish Step Dancing school.  It was so exciting!  Lilly was thrilled to show off her dancing skills to all our family who came out to see her.  I thought that she would be too tired to walk the whole parade, but she not only walked nearly the whole parade, she skipped the entire time.  

Lilly is in the front, 3rd from the right.  

Lilly is in a long gray sweatshirt, with her ponytail flying out behind her.

The next thing we did this weekend was to bake Soda Bread.  Usually I make it and Lilly just enjoys it with me.  This year I had her help me.  She loved helping me measure, pour, and mix.  I am pretty sure it made the bread taste all the sweeter, too!

Stirring the dry ingredients.

So tasty!
I  am really enjoying creating new memories with my little family!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Apparently I say "crap" a lot.  I know I have said, "What's all this crap all over the floor?"   I'm not proud of it.  It's a terribly crude way to express myself.  This was made glaringly clear to me on Sunday evening when I was getting Lilly ready for bed.

me: Lilly, what happened to your room?  It's a mess!  You have stuff everywhere.
Lilly: I don't know mom.
me:  Okay, work on it tomorrow with Daddy.
Lilly: But it's too much.
me: I know, start with putting your clothes away.  Tomorrow I want you to fold your clothes and put them in your drawers.
Lilly: Okay mommy.  And I know, I know, pick up all this crap off the floor.
me:  audible GULP and nearly pass out
me:  You know Lil, I say that word a lot...
Lilly: You mean crap?
me: Yes, I say that word a lot, but it is actually not a nice word to say like that.  I am going to work really hard on not saying that.  
Lilly: Okay Momma

What is it about our children that makes our short comings jump out at us? I'll add it to my list of things I need to work on...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Writer's Block or How to Blog When Life Sucks

So here is my problem, really.  Things are kind of challenging right now in my life.  This in turn makes it hard for me to blog.  It makes it easy to write, but it is not the kind of stuff you want to read.   It is the nitty gritty, real-life crap.*  It's complaining.  Praying.  Begging for Vinnie to find another job.  Like, NOW, universe.  It is stress and worry and tears.  I am over that, I think, for now.  I need to move forward.

And truthfully, life doesn't suck in its entirety.  Vinnie is doing great as a SAHD right now.  It would not be his chosen role, but he has embraced it this time around.  I came home to baked ziti today.  Baked ziti, that I didn't have to do anything for, and the kitchen was CLEAN!!!  Lilly is being cared for and he is still managing to get some job searches done and resumes sent out.  Life might be hard, but there are many positives.

I miss blogging.  I miss the interactions I have with blogging, and with fellow bloggers.  I just have to get out of the mind rut.  Maybe you will see different kinds of posts from me.  Maybe not.  I guess I have to see what gets me out of this writer's block.

I think part of the problem is that blogging is a weird world that straddles the public and the private line.  People in my life have been upset with me over posts I wrote that (I thought) had little to do with them.  I have been sometimes over careful in posts I have written so I would not offend people.

Bottom line is this: I like to write and specifically, to blog.  I think I need to just do it, as the old Nike ad goes.  The rest will come.  I miss you my bloggy friends!!

*funny Lilly story about "crap" to come...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Letting it go

Long hair (after being done at the salon)
I cut my hair last  week.  I had been thinking about it for so long that I was not sure I would have the nerve to do it.  I have been growing my hair long, and then cutting it short, and then growing it long again for my entire life.  It will be long for a couple years, and then short for a couple years.   This time I was really loving it long.  Except when I didn't.

I resorted to the ponytail almost daily.  And no matter what my beautiful co-workers think, this hair just does not get the same kind of body that their stunning Latino hair gets.  But the main thing was the ponytail.  I hate putting it in every day, but it is so darn convenient.  Sweaty? Ponytail.  Late for work?  Ponytail.  Too humid or not humid enough?  Yup...in a ponytail.  Even if I started the day with gorgeous hair, by mid afternoon it was up in a ponytail.

Yet something was keeping me from cutting my hair, and I had a difficult time figuring it out.  To be honest, I am not 100% sure I get it now.  I just became attached to my long hair.  I was feeling that it defined me somehow.  When I saw pictures of myself I thought it made me look prettier or younger.  Or both.  But it was not just that.

Maybe it hid me.  I feel more vulnerable with short hair.  More "out there" or something.  My neck is literally out in the open, exposed.  I get noticed more.  Attention to my physical attributes makes me feel anxious.  I have worked hard at accepting compliments.  Truthfully?  I still don't always believe them.  I always want to attach a qualifier to the end.  Kind of like this: Mel, you look beautiful!  Thank you, even though I still need to lose a lot of weight.  Obviously I don't say those things out loud.  But I think them.  And it sounds really loud in my head.

The realization of how attached I was to my hair coupled with the reason behind it helped propel me to the decision to go under the scissors.  I was even brave enough to go to someone who was in training at my salon.  gulp.  Every step was cleared by a senior stylist, so I was not too nervous.  I am really happy with my hair cut and with what I look like right now.  Every once in a while I get a small flashback thought of my long hair.  Most of the time, I am loving the short cut, even if my neck is out there just a bit more.
Ta-Da!!  The short hair.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Grocery shopping, kid traps, and healthy rewards

Headed to the store with mom, purse in hand!
The other day I went on a particularly laborious grocery shopping trip.  We needed to do some major pantry restocking and I had lots and lots of coupons.  And....I had my preschooler with me.  Normally she is a very good shopping companion and I keep her occupied with writing lists and looking for the item on a coupon.  However, the grocery store where I shop has toys and candy around every bend.  I swear, not one aisle is safe from these kid traps.  Freezer aisle?  End cap has matchbox cars, which my little girl loves.  Entering the meat department?  Seasonal Barbie!  Leaving the meat department?  Entemann's doughnuts and holiday cupcakes.  And did I mention that the cereal aisle has cereal on one side and CANDY on the the other. I know you must be crying with me by now.  

I seriously need to say, "No" so many times, that it has sometimes felt worth it to go to the slightly more expensive grocery store because it has only one easily avoidable toy aisle.  No matter how many ways I try to positively spin the no, she knows it still means no.   And there are lots of ways to spin it!  Not today, my love.  Let's save for it.  We'll discuss it later.  We can put it on the Christmas/Valentine's/Birthday/MakeUpSomeDamnHoliday list.  Sometimes I get a little creative.  

So on this particular day I prepped Lilly before we got to the store.  I have done this before, but it does not always work because, well, she is 4 and a new Barbie, matchbox car, or box of fruit snacks can be just too irresistible.  On this day, though, she was just amazing.  She did not ask for one treat or toy.  She didn't whine or have any tantrums.  This was an hour-plus shopping trip.  I was so proud of her.
I remembered to praise her during the trip to take advantage of that positive reinforcement.  

I had not promised her any kind of reward going into the store, but as we were checking out I decided that I wanted to reward her extraordinary behavior.  My first thought was to stop at the DunkinDonuts for a doughnut treat on our way home.  I immediately decided that I was not going to do that because I did not want to be around them.  It was amazing to me how many times the thought to go to DD kept popping into my head.  Even when I had made a smarter, healthier reward choice the thought came to mind, unbidden.  

What does this tell me?  It was so clear to me that I use food as a reward for myself, and now for my family.  One of my main goals in changing my eating behavior is to be a healthy example for my daughter.  There have been many times when I have failed her in that regard.  Today I succeeded.  Instead of stopping for a doughnut with my 4 year old, I made time for us to play with play dough together when we got home from the store.  She was thrilled to do something special with me, and I was thrilled that I stood strong against my own weakness.  Choice by choice is the way to a healthier life for me! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Increase my qi?

I had acupuncture today.  I know some people have mixed feelings about it, but I just love it.  It has helped me with asthma, gastro/digestive issues, and stress relief. I am going now for pain relief, namely that damn plantar fasciitis that won't seem to go away.  In both feet.

Today I went for the 2nd time to a different practice/practitioner.  My insurance covers them, so that's a bonus.  I also had the most stressful days today at work.  I can't even tell you why it was more stressful than most days.  I realized afterward that I had an anxiety attack and then the rest of the day I was feeling tense and on the verge of tears.

I went home and changed my clothes and went to acupuncture.  Roye, my practitioner, could tell that my qi was low, especially compared to last week.  As she started to needle me I felt an overwhelming sense of energy surging through me.  And then the emotions, and tears, released.  It felt never ending but was probably only about 5 minutes.   She kept her hands on me and talked me through some deep breathing.  The rest of the acupuncture session proceeded and I walked out with a little less pain and hopefully increased qi.

It occurred to me that I need to really start some kind of something to help me manage stress and just for me.  I keep saying I am going to start meditating and I begin for a few days.  It always fizzles out.  I think it is time again to incorporate meditation into my life. I have been doing a little yoga, but I think I need to do both...regular yoga and meditation.

I am open to hearing from you about your yoga and meditation practice.  Or maybe your acupuncture experience?  How do you handle stress?  Talk to me...what works for you?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

title change?

I wrote the other day about transitions in my life.  There have been many transitions and changes as of late.  What I also realized, as I reflected on my writing, is that my blog is not so much about being a Mommy any more, if it really ever was.  The name Mommy Chronicles doesn't really fit it or me.  I never really loved that name, but so many names that I had considered were already in use.

So now I am on the hunt for a new blog name.  One that encompasses me and my writing.  Again, as I was thinking of some options (Melanie's Musings?) I googled them.  Yup, taken.  Meh.

Ironically, over at my other blog Girls Can Grill, Too I have also been going through some change.  I always really wanted to get into grilling and write about it.  I started the blog, thinking that would be my motivation.  But then it didn't happen.  What did happen was that I started cooking and baking other things.  I became the cooking counselor at a summer camp.  I decided to blog about all things food on Girls Can Grill.  In fact, I don't think I have written about grilling in over a year.  I just can't seem to give up the title partly because I cannot think of a new one.

The bottom line is that I write because I like to.  When a new title comes to me...and is not taken...I'll let you all know.  Until then, thanks for reading and commenting.  It means a lot to me.  xo

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sha-la-la, our Elf on the Shelf

I know I am a bit late to post these, but I wanted to show some of our elf's more memorable antics.  Lilly loved having the elf and gleefully readied herself for school each morning so that she could go find Sha-la-la.
Trying to brush her teeth.
Taking a ride in the family car.

Taking a moment to remember the "why" of Christmas.

Wild, swinging times with Jessie.

A cereal bath?

Hope it was something good!

Her final night, she left magic pajamas that helped Lilly fall asleep and stay asleep all night on Christmas Eve.
Obviously we had many, many more Sha-La-La moments, but those were the highlights.  I am already stockpiling ideas for next year!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I've been asked a few times recently about when I was going to write something new.  I wasn't sure.  I am still not sure why I haven't really written since Thanksgiving.  A busy life is one answer, but not the complete truth.  I just was not inspired to write about anything in particular.  Or maybe I had too many topics from which to choose?   My life was in flux.  

My husband started a new job.  This was HUGE.  It has been so great for all of us.  But change, even when it is positive, is tricky.  Responsibilities and expectations have to be adjusted.  Who is doing Lilly drop-off, pick-up?  Who has to stay late, go in early or has an appointment?  Who is doing the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry?  After he was home for 2 1/2 years, this was just one big giant transition.  Again...good problems to have, but mentally, they wiped me out!

I have not even posted about Christmas!  It was a wonderful Christmas and Lilly loved everything about it.  We had fun with Sha-la-la, our Elf on the Shelf.  We have been to tons of birthday parties for Lilly's classmates.  We bought a new car!  
Our elf Sha-la-la visited our gingerbread house.

One thing that haunts me a bit, because I have written about it so many times, is my stalled weight loss.  I am still having issues with the plantar fasciitis which makes walking, my preferred form of exercise, darn near impossible.  I have to walk for my job, so I do that.  But to exercise before or after work is daunting.  If I had an elliptical or bike I think I would be okay, and swimming, as always, would be amazing.  But I do not have those options right now.  

I had decided that I was not going to beat myself up about eating and enjoying cookies or other food over the holidays.  And I didn't.  What good is eating a cookie if I was going to beat myself up after?  And I baked lots of cookies!  I tried all of them.  That would have been a lot of negative feelings.  
A sampling of the cookies and fudge I made for friends and family.
Additionally, I was found to have low thyroid and put on some medication.  I had gained about 10 of the pounds back that I had lost since June.  I had noticed the weight gain at the same time I noticed the other symptoms that sent me to my doctor.  In my head I had really believed that the weight would come off when I started the medicine.  Yeah, that hasn't happened.  Meanwhile, I have been eating so much healthier since the holidays ended.  I was actually so sick of sugar by New Year's Eve that I considered giving it up completely!  I keep waiting to lose the weight again, but it doesn't want to go anywhere right now.

I have blogged about losing weight so much that I was feeling embarrassed about not only not losing more weight but gaining weight.  It weighed on me.  No pun intended.  

Well, I am back.  I am me.  I have been working really hard, personally, to not let my weight and size define me.  I have let it for for too long.  That goes for my writing and blogging, too.  It is part of what I write about, but not the only thing.  Do I want to be healthier?  Yes.  Do I want to set healthy eating examples for Lilly?  Hell yeah!  But I am not going to wait to lose weight before writing and blogging again.  Welcome back to me!!