P90X or PB&J

I was at the park the other day with a bunch of moms and their children from my town.  I am, undoubtedly, the oldest of our group.  I realize that our ages make little difference.  We mostly talk about our kids.  We watch them interact.  We bond over parenting trials and triumphs. The differences in our children’s ages seems more apparent than our own ages.  At least from my perspective.  The other mom’s could totally be thinking, “Who is this old lady?”  Lol.  But, Ok.  I digress.

So we are at the park and someone brings up some work out DVD. I was going to write video, but that really glorifies my age.  It may not even be a DVD, but some type of “on demand” thing you can subscribe to.  You, by now, are getting the idea that I have no clue or interest in any kind of P90 X, Y or Z.  Someone brought up the 30 day diet or challenge or fix… or something.  Again, I have no clue about anything paleo, Atkins or Zone.  I had to actually google “diets” to find those.  Did you know there is something actually called the Taco Diet? You literally only eat tacos for thirty days.  That’s insane.

When I was younger (in my 20’s and 30’s) I was a vegetarian.  When I turned 40 I started incorporating meat into my diet.  Not a crazy amount, but I realized I really liked a good steak every now and then.  I ate clean.  Healthy.  Fast forward to present day, 47 year old me.  I’m on the PB&J Crust diet.  It’s when you eat the remnants of your child’s meals to stave off hunger, or, let’s be honest, just because it’s there.  My breakfast intake yesterday consisted of 1 spoonful of yogurt, 1 peanut butter covered slice of banana, and a morsel of spinach banana muffin.  All from the picked over plate of my son.  My lunch was the diet’s namesake, a PB&J crust, plus 1/4 of his unfinished sandwich and a handful of graham bunnies.  Delicious.  No wonder I eat all Willy Nilly the rest of the day.  Now this isn’t everyday.  There are days when I am actually conscious when parenting and make myself egg whites and avocado.   But some days it’s like I am in a trance and what happens between my hand and my mouth is all but a blur.

Now I can tell you for a fact that my younger self would have never let herself eat so poorly.  She would have never let herself gain 5 0r 10 pounds.  It just would not have happened.  But as I age and I don’t have to think about wearing costumes onstage now, I am way more relaxed about what I eat and, in turn, I am more relaxed about what I look like.  I think there will be a limit to my madness.  (Like I’m pretty much there.) But I can’t imagine myself being crazed to be thin, like I was when I was younger.  I remember believing my worth was directly correlated to my appearance.  I suppose, in my line of work, there may have been some truth to that.  But I think I took it further than just work, especially when I was 20 & 30. I think I believed that I was lesser than if I wasn’t aesthetically at my best.  Ah, youth! This 47 year old feels sorry for that silly girl.

Don’t get me wrong.  I want to be healthy.  And power to any mom who gets herself to the gym!  I admire anyone striving to get back their pre baby body.  But I gotta be honest, being over forty puts you at a big disadvantage.  Recovery from anything takes so much longer, let alone pregnancy and childbirth.  Ugh.  This PB&J Crust Diet is all fad and will have to go, for sure. But as long as my clothes fit (cause I LOVE my clothes)  I don’t mind too much if I’m a bit softer.  Well, a lot softer.  I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and it clearly isn’t correlated to my appearance these days.  I guess it just means that my mind is the healthiest it’s ever been.  And I’ll take that.

Until next time,  keep fighting the good fight.  And remember behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up.  Thanks so much for reading! Xoxo





Great Expectations: How to Enjoy Disney World With Your Three Year Old

As I write this, I am sat in the window seat of a 747 with my son next to me and my husband on the aisle. We are headed to Florida. Disney World to be exact. I am mildly relieved, thus far, as with only one hour to go, things have gone pretty well. One word. iPad. I think I should write Apple a thank you letter.

I’ve decided the only way to approach this vacation is to anticipate it being the most stressful, horrible, un-relaxing experience I could imagine. That way, anything more positive than that is a win. I think it is the only way to approach ANYTHING with a three year old. That way we are not imposing unrealistic expectations on our son and, somehow, it helps to keep our sanity intact. There will no doubt be backlash later in the day for allowing two hours and forty minutes of screen time, but for now, all is quiet on the O front. And I’ll take it where I can get it.

They say flying in the morning with a child is best. I kind of have to agree. Our son, at least, is the most agreeable early in the day. This ungodly hour (5:30 am takeoff) won’t wear well on us later today, but again, for now, there is a sense of peace and calm. One Bloody Mary each and all seems right with the world and our present situation.

Expecting nothing from the first time you take your child to Disney is easier than it sounds. If we truly expected nothing, we probably wouldn’t go. Or at least we would go somewhere way less expensive. That way the sticker shock wouldn’t slap you across the face and add insult to injury. So as much as we tell ourselves to have no expectations, you kind of just do. And if you are like me and my husband, you grew up going there with your family and you have all sorts of memories and attachments to the place.

I guess I have to remind myself over and over that my child is only 3. I have to try and put myself in his shoes a bit on this trip. If I get tired and overwhelmed, what must he be feeling? If I am hangry (yes, hungry and angry) how does he feel? There is much to enjoy, of course, BUT it’s all new to him! His senses will be on overload, no doubt. It’s entirely unrealistic to expect him to just roll with everything and foolish of me to think it could even be possible.

So these are my self imposed rules: I will try to keep my cool. I will try to let go of any expectations I might have. I will try to take in all the magic of each moment. And, if certain things aren’t quite magical this trip, well, there is always next time. Here’s to a wonderful vacation at Mickey’s house. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Until next time, keep your fingers crossed for me. And remember, behind every great kid is a Mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up. Thanks for reading! Xo

Pink or Blue

“When you ask your child if they are a boy or a girl how does he or she answer you?” This was a question on a progress evaluation for O from a preschool playgroup program he is involved in.
I had never thought to ask him this question. So I followed directions and asked him. His answer was not what I anticipated. So I asked again. And again, he repeated his answer. “I am a boy or a girl.” Maybe he didn’t understand the question? I asked him if his cousin Nora was a girl or a boy. He said, “A girl….or a boy.” Clearly gender is not on his radar yet. At three and a half should it be? I don’t know.

We knew the sex of our child before he was born. It was obvious when we had our amniocentesis and we wanted to know. My practical nature was more than happy to know. We didn’t go crazy with blue for boy stuff, but he did have a nautical themed nursery. It was grays, blues and greens. I dressed him in basically what people gave me….so lots of boy stuff. Onesies with sayings like Handsome like Daddy, Little Slugger. His toys were lots of cars and trucks mixed in with a cooking set and a pink interactive picnic basket he just adored. I honestly didn’t give it much thought. The only hand me downs he got were from other boys, though I would not have minded putting him in a color typically associated with girls. In fact, people always thought he was a girl. “Oh! She’s beautiful!” “Thank you, yes I think he is.” “Oh, I’m so sorry!” (As if they had said something truly awful). I was never phased by it. He was a really pretty baby. I honestly didn’t care if anyone thought he was a girl.

Fast forward to present day in the toy department at Target. It’s a frequent destination on our travels. O has his favorite toys and every visit he will bee line for the “Our Generation doll” aisle. He asks me to help him get the big car (which happens to be pink, as it is marketed towards girls) and the camper so he can play with them. His latest interest is the new laundromat and, of course, the ice cream truck. Have you seen that thing? It really is amazing! He can spend 30 minutes playing with these items. I literally have to coax him away.  He tends to put one of his matchbox cars (which he is rarely without) inside these setups. We sometimes get odd looks from other parents and older children, as if to say, “Why is your boy playing with girl toys?” I don’t acknowledge the looks and they go completely unnoticed by O. I have heard Fathers, after looking at us, tell their sons, “Let’s go look at some boy toys.” I have even heard men and women tell their sons, “You don’t want that. That’s for girls.” The level of ignorance is staggering.

We are so offended at the abundant misogyny in our society. We are so astounded by the gender inequality that is rampant in our culture. And when I say “we” I mean many of us, but certainly not all of us. Yet, aren’t we sort of setting it up right from the start? We have these picture perfect roles for our children to fit into and we seem to unapologetically, and I’m sure, quite innocently, jam it down their throats without much thought to what their thoughts or feelings are (or will) be as they become more gender aware. It starts at these gender reveal parties which seem to be all the rage these days. Pink or blue? The term for these events should really be sex reveal parties, as that is what is actually being revealed. Just because you have a child born with male genitalia, doesn’t mean he is going to identify with being a boy. But if you think about it, the child, before even being born, is being expected to fit into our idea of what his or her identity should be. Blue is for boys. Pink is for girls. It’s just so banal.

You know what I want O to be? Happy. I want him to be so freaking happy and secure in his own skin. I want him to beam joy.  I just can’t see that happening if he isn’t allowed to be his true self, whatever that true self may happen to be. I have many friends, who from a very young age, felt they were different. And from a very young age, knew who they truly were wasn’t going to be accepted by their parents. So they hid their true selves from their families, or they denied their true selves altogether, only to come back to it as an adult with a plethora of issues. I can’t imagine anyone wanting that for their child. And yet…

Because of my theatre background, several people have asked me if we plan on Oliver taking dance or theatre lessons. I don’t know. He is certainly exposed to it. He sees the shows I direct. He sings with both me and my husband. I will let him decide. Just like we will expose him to baseball or other sports.  If he wants, he can play. If he’d rather take dance, then he can do that. If he wants to do both, then fine. He needs to lead us.  I believe that our job is to show him the possibilities. He must choose without feeling he is letting us down by following his own path. I think this starts way earlier than most of us think. (Pink or blue?)

We talk so much about raising girls to be strong. And I support that wholeheartedly. But you rarely hear about raising our sons to be caring and empathetic. Why is that? Why are we so afraid to teach our sons traits that are associated with being female? Won’t it make them better Fathers, husbands and caretakers? Won’t it teach them how to be better men? I think so. But that’s just this Mommy’s opinion. So don’t jump all over me for expressing it. But it’s worth a thought or two, don’t you think?

Until next time, keep fighting the good fight, and remember, behind every great kid, is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up. Thanks for reading! It’s good to be back. Xo

DIY Nautical 1st Birthday Bash


It is hard to believe it has been a year since I gave birth to my little O.  When I think back to the first few months of his life, it seems like a lifetime ago.  And I seem like a completely different person from that terrified, bluesy mommy of the early days of O’s life.  I have found my footing as a mother.  My tentative wobble has turned into a confident stride.  I can honestly say, I’m good at this mothering thing.  And I couldn’t be happier.  All of that,  along with the one year milestone for O, means there is MUCH to celebrate!  It seems appropriate to share some party tips I used  for my little ones first big day.

I chose to do a nautical theme, as I did with O’s nursery.  We have such a connection to the sea, especially now living here on the beautiful South Coast of Massachusetts.  I adore sailboats, shells, anything to do with the ocean.  If you live anywhere in the Northeast, you might be familiar with the Christmas Tree Shops.  They have a wonderful assortment of beach and nautical themed paper and party goods.  I got a lot of stuff from there.  But most all the food and baked goods were made by yours truly.  It is more time consuming than store bought, but I actually enjoy cake making and decorating, so it is worth the extra time it takes.

I decided to do a picnic/party, as most of the guests were adult relatives and it took place on Memorial Day weekend.  So the fare was pretty typical.  Hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, cole slaw, and baked beans.  It was the appetizers that I got to have a little fun with.  I can’t take credit for the idea of this red pepper crab, but I love it! Found it on Pinterest, of course.

Veggie and hummus tray with a red pepper crab critter for decoration!

Veggie and hummus tray with a red pepper crab critter for decoration!

I also wanted something a little more unique to add to your typical chips and salsa.  So I did a mix of goldfish crackers and pretzel nets.  Get it? Fish and nets?  Turned out very cute and there is nothing to it.  Just put them into cute little baskets lined with colorful napkins.


I also decided to use a beverage dispenser filled with lemonade and sliced lemons, rather than sodas.  Nothing worse than a bunch of 2 liter bottles or cans all over the place.  I used clear cups and added blue and green straws for a pop of color.  Again, super easy….but the theme and color scheme stay intact.  As far as decorations, I used light blue and aqua colored balloons and a nautical banner I got from Christmas Tree Shops.  I attached it to the drink/app table.  I thought of adding shells and starfish around the tables, but to be honest I forgot them at the last minute, but they would have been cute.

Drink & Appetizer table.  Banner is from The Christmas Tree Store.

Drink & Appetizer table. Banner is from The Christmas Tree Store.

The real focal point was the dessert table that featured the Smash Cake and cupcakes, among other treats.  I added glass candy  jars of Swedish fish and blue, white, and green M&Ms.  I made the cake and cupcakes on my own.  Even the cupcake toppers.  I couldn’t find anything nautical that I liked, so I made little navy blue flags with toothpicks and colored masking tape. Unbelievably easy.

Dessert Table!

Dessert Table!

DIY cupcake picks! Nautical Flags!

DIY cupcake picks! Nautical Flags!

Now the Smash Cake is new to me. We didn’t have those things when I grew up, nor when my nieces and nephews had their first birthdays.  But, I kind of love the idea and the photos I’ve seen of other kids smashing into them are just dear.  To tell you the truth, I didn’t know how it would all go over.  O has never had sweets yet, so I wondered if he would even like it.  As it turns out, he wanted nothing to do with it.  No cute photos.  No face filled with icing.  It wasn’t his bag.  I can see where I went wrong.  The texture of the buttercream icing must have felt odd to him, as well as it being light blue.  It tasted GREAT to US….but that really isn’t the point of it.  I think I will try it a again on his actual birthday this week and use homemade whipped cream and Cheerios to top it.  He is familiar with Cheerios.  Lol.

The "un-smashed" Smash Cake!

The “un-smashed” Smash Cake!

The cupcakes were super yummy. I made two kinds. Blue Raspberry with a vanilla buttercream icing.  I found the cake cups in the Marshall’s Home Section.  Loved those! The second variety was vanilla with vanilla buttercream icing.  You really just need an icing bag and a good icing tip.  Again, Christmas Tree Shop has a box of 20 bags with 3 tips for $1.00.  Crazy, right?

Blue Raspberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Blue Raspberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

We had such a nice day with my family in NJ.    I can’t tell you how thankful I am for all of them.  It’s so important for us to have O grow up with a sense of family, which is why we make the 4 hour trip as often as we do. We were exhausted at the end of the day, but it was all so worth it.  Thanks for letting me share and, as always, thanks for reading!!