Writer? Runner? Neither? Still take this quiz.

January 14th, 2014 by Motherblogger

The Hairpin has run a clever inspirational quiz asking you to plug in the word writing or running to a quote. It’s a fun distraction on a dreary day and you may even be inclined to add some of the quotes on your vision board. The quotes can go both ways, and yes the word fucking can beautifully work too.

Take the quiz!

A post for 5th grade mothers concerned about middle school

January 10th, 2014 by Motherblogger

I think I’m getting stressed about middle school. Last night I had a really bad dream that I was in middle school with Conrad and Dash and they completely ignored me and there was no room for me at their lunch table. Dashy was slightly nicer than Conrad, but it was so isolating and David worked at French Connection and I didn’t have the right kind of money to buy lunch so I had to go to his work to get money (thankfully he was nice) and then I went back to the lunch cafeteria (which was actually the Conde Nast cafeteria) and bought a lunch that was weird and people thought it was a risky choice and didn’t want to be near me…

Check out my story in Good Housekeeping

January 3rd, 2014 by Motherblogger


Here’s the link: How-To Bring the Outdoors Inside

My favorite discovery in this story was the Wooly Pocket. It’s a planter that you hang flush to the wall that creates a living art peices when you use a bunch. Here’s my favorite example…


3 Things Every Tween Boy Birthday Party Needs

December 30th, 2013 by Motherblogger

Conrad is turning ll. He was, much to my surprise, not psyched. Apparently, Conrad has been feeling the slight tremors of tweendom and is wary of change. On the way to school one morning in an attempt to cheer him out of a Monday morning funk, I said, probably a little too enthusiastically, “Oh and its time to start planning your birthday.” From the rear view mirror I saw him look down and say, “I don’t want to do to celebrate this year, I don’t want to be 11.”

I get it. Ten feels like you’ve arrived. Eleven feels like you’ve should be packing up to go somewhere.

So I told him we’d do something low-key. A few friends. Dinner…Problem is I don’t know how to do anything low-key. I’m usually high-key or off-key but never low-key. My plan sounded simple: take a few friends into the city, dabble in a little culture and have dinner. Along the way I realized that as we officially leave the Little Gym, possibly even the “beloved” Funplex behind us in our birthday repertoire, the tween birthday requires a few unexpected things for success:

1. An obstacle that needs to be overcome. You’d think that when  your soon-to-be 11-year-old is dreading his birthday you’d want everything to be just right. But on Conrad’s big day it was raining—relentlessly. The kind of rain blots out your windshield when you drive through a flash flood and you wish for a moment that you’re just going through a car wash and not on route 3 with bunch of kids in the car. It was freaky—and it turned out to be just the hump we needed to get over. The boys knew the situation was dicey and it made the whole trip in more memorable.

2. Boredom in novel places. We had a lot of lag time and in-between time our activities and dinner reservation. We waited for burgers for a more than 15 minutes at Schnippers. I was restless and driving David crazy but the boys were happy to hang out and chat in the window filled restaurant watching the screens in Times Square. They were also fine waiting for 1o minutes before we entered the Lego Show, The Art of the Brick at the Times Square Museum. And they killed time with the effortlessness of seasoned NYU college stundents on the subway platforms (N, 1, and 3) trying to figure out which way the train was coming. It took me a while to realize that even though my kids can’t sit in a car for two minutes without asking to play on an electronic device, the city is more interesting than the suburbs and no one ever asked to look something up on my phone.

3. Fear! Fire! Darkness! We took the boys down to Ninja in Tribeca, our favorite Japanese restaurant in the city where Ninjas scare the crap out of you while you are eating edamame on platters of dry ice they  light you fish filet and Kobe beef on fire before serving it to you. It’s an upgrade from the Ground Round birthday parties of my youth but the gist is the same: crazy stuff can happen at any minute and when a Ninja jumps down into your private dining nook brandishing a sword you can be sure that it’s good to be turning 11.

Poppycock Press Released That Has Me Sold

December 12th, 2013 by Motherblogger

My hair has been on my mind lately. It seems that if I can’t get Botox/Radiesse injections and often as I need my hair is really my best defense against wrinkles. I know it probably doesn’t make sense but I’m stuck on this idea that that if I have great hair, it will diffuse what’s going on on my face.  The boys are getting used to seeing me walking around the house with velcro rollers and spraying my hair with Elenet before I go out for teachers conference. And today this press release arrived in my in box.

Subject: The Vitamin B5 Blowout

Cut drying time by 50% while power boosting youth back into hair with Peter Coppola Keratin Concept’s Vitamin B5 Blowout

To rewind the strands of time and achieve a younger looking, blow dry each and every style time, the next big blowout trend has arrived: The Vitamin B5 Blowout. With products containing the ingredient of Pro Vitamin B5, this powerful beauty vitamin is celebrated for its moisturizing, detangling and thickening features, while its ability to reflect light will make tresses shinier and glossier.

Now mind you a I’m not easily swayed. I swear. Yesterday I turned down and invitation to have a “Mouth Facial”  because my bogus beauty radar is in working order. I googled vitamin B5 because I didn’t really know if it’s an actual vitamin. According to WedMD (the online medical school where I’ve earned my self-diagnosing doctorate) it is a real vitamin and is used to treat a stunning array of health issues such as: acne, alcoholism, allergies, baldness, asthma, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, burning feetsyndrome (WHEN DO YOU GET THAT?!), yeast infections, heart failure, carpal tunnel syndrome, respiratory disorders, celiac disease, colitis, conjunctivitis, convulsions, and cystitis. It is also taken by mouth for dandruff, depression, diabetic nerve pain, enhancing immune function, improving athletic performance, tongue infections, gray hair (THIS IS A GOOD SIGN), headache, hyperactivity, low blood sugar, trouble sleeping (insomnia), irritability, low blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, muscular cramps in the legs associated with pregnancy or alcoholism, neuralgia, and obesity…and believe it or not much much more.

So if the vitamin can do all that, it’s worth a spritz or two and who knows what else it can help with.

Most important people on your list

December 11th, 2013 by Motherblogger


Mother. Father. Brother. Dog. These are all important people on my holiday gift list. But there’s another list of people who come to mind when I’m admiring the clever selection of holiday chocolates at Trader Joe’s. These are the people who help me save face all year round and I want to say thanks for everything they do. They are:

1. School secretary. For all those times she ran out the door to make sure that Dash did not get on a bus when he forgot he was going home with a friend for a playdate—or more accurately, for the days I realized at 2:49 that I forgot to send in a note and tell him he’s wasn’t supposed to come home.

2. Nurse/administrative folks at pediatrician. Some mothers think this is a grouchy crew, but for the crying, germ exposure and excuses they have to deal with, they should get a batch of sugar cookies everyday. This year they didn’t even bat an eye when I called in a panic 9 days before Conrad was supposed to go to sleepaway camp because I realized I never scheduled his yearly physical and was suddenly struck with the fear that he’d be denied a bunk without the essential forms. They talked me down, offered to write a letter (and a damn good one) explaining that even though he hasn’t seen the doctor, he’s healthy and he’ll have a check up real soon. It was went so smoothly I didn’t even have to mention it to David.

3. School nurse. For playing understudy for our family doctor when I can’t figure out if my kids are faking or not. More than once this year we’ve dropped by her office in the morning with a cough or tummy ache for a verdict, though, much to my chagrin, she’s suggested I take them home.

4. Dry cleaner deliver man. For bringing the clothes around to the back of the house when he doesn’t see the car and it’s a long weekend because he knows if dress shirts hang on your front door for more than three days you might as well be sending burglars a Paperless Post invite to rob your house. Last year, I gave him a jar of hot sauce, now he always kisses my hand. But word on the block is that he kisses everyone’s hand. Sometimes I hide from him, because I look crazy or I need to work and don’t want a wet hand but I’m still giving him a gift, this year I’m thinking spicy chocolates.

Liquor Store Guy: He stocks David’s beer. Saves me cases of it if he’s running low. Special orders microbrews, crémat and St. Germain for us. Tells me when one of my BFFs, Erin, has been in and what she’s bought in case I’m going to her house and want to bring something new. The only thing is that I usually give liquor as gifts so naturally I have to think of something different for him. This year I’m probably giving him the Trader Joes Dark Chocolate “Passport” collection. It’s super cute packaging and delicious. Just have to make sure Erin isn’t doing the same.

So that’s my list for gifts for folks who quietly rock my ordinary life. Who is on yours?

My Injections Story in W

September 19th, 2013 by Motherblogger

Hi all,

Here’s the link to my story in the Oct issue of W about how injections keep me and my family happier!

We’ve enjoyed the Mail’s rereporting! And yes I am ‘highly competitive’ when it comes to who is more tired in our house.

It’s 6:30. Lights Out.

December 10th, 2012 by Motherblogger

Okay so its 6:30 and my very nearly 10 year old and my 7 year old are in bed—asleep because I sent them there. I didn’t know where else they could go after being so relentessly flip, so “no I’m not going to wash my hands”, so “yeah I’m going to expect something in my advent calendar and still not listen you tell me to put my homework in my backpack,” for the third—no fourth time.

They were doing nothing and so they were doing everything—wrong. And  I know they were hungry, and tired. I know Dash didn’t get enough time at recess. I know Conrad was home sick and on an Advil high.

But the more I  tired to redirect them by saying things like ” It looks like you need a job, go walk the dog,” or “Help me set the table,” the more rolling around on the floor there was, the more snickering and giggling and secret jokes there were between them. I refused to “get mad” to raise my voice as in the olden days of when they were 5 and 3. Instead I removed myself I told them I wasn’t going to have a dinner where people weren’t listening, or respecting me. I told them I was going to Hawaii… Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering to call my mother

October 2nd, 2012 by Motherblogger

I probably get my tendency to think long-term from my mother. She is always thinking ahead—I mean way ahead, like to her funeral. I know all her burial plans: She doesn’t want a wake, just a party; she doesn’t want a grave, just a big hydrangea bush instead. At 72, she can outsmoke Mad Men’s Roger Sterling, but despite her habit, she’s in very good health. Death, however, still lurks in every conversation. When I called her last week, our conversation started about a leak in her bathroom and ended with her saying she should sell the house because if my dad were to drop dead, she didn’t want to be in an old house worrying about a leaking bathroom. Her concerns are valid, but they also depress me, and I end up calling her less.

This week I let the calls slide by five days but it wasn’t just because I didn’t want to hear her stories I had my own Debbie Downer tales. Our vet thinks Chewie has liver cancer or Cushings disease both not cureable illnesses in a dog that’s 15. David and I have been annoying each other, so much so that when our voices pick up Conrad or Dashiell or both will say, “Okay guys, not everything has to be a fight.” Then the kids didn’t have school so I missed a day of work. Then I went on the fourth grade field trip to Sandy Hook and that night I served a bunch of homeless folks dinner at my church and then we had soccer and went to the maker faire where I got officially reprapped out… and then it was Monday I was driving home with Dashiell after his first drumming lesson and 24 balloons in my car for Stacie’s birthday and I decided to call her.

Immediately I could hear in her voice that she was annoyed. When my mom is angry but trying to be cool about it she stretches out her hello to sound like hellllllnooo.  The emphasis is on the hell part as in I‘ve put her through hell by not calling and she drops her voice down a notch for the noooo part as in no you are not going to be able to make it up to me. I immediately apologized and also told her Dashiell was in the car so she knew she was on speaker. We talked a bit but with a kid listening in we found we couldn’t really talk about why I hadn’t called or what we were planning for Christmas (a constant topic of ours) so I told her I’d call her later.

Later came at 9:30 while walking the dogs. We had a kooky night because I lingered over a drink with stacie and her balloons so dinner was late and when I got home we found out that Conrad had a math test and Dash had also had homework which he did in his bed at 8:00 in tears because he didn’t have time to play and Chewie had peed on the floor and thrown up and….I was the one calling with a story sequence of sad, sadder and saddest.

I was launching into all the reasons I hadn’t called: the field trip,  having to heat each meal individually in the microwave Friday night because the stove didn’t work and one of the men got so upset he was hitting himself on the head which was upsetting the other guests and now the vet thinks it’s Cushings which is actually better than cancer because there’s a drug but it may be super expensive and then I hear a clacking and banging and clacking and thumping.

My mom dropped the phone.

It takes at least three more clacks, and whirrs (the cord perhaps) and a little ding of the phone until she is back on.

“I dropped the phone,” she says.

“I know,” I say.

I’m about to launch right back into a rant about Conrad’s new nasty science teacher when I hear clang, ding, bang fumble fumble fumble again.

It takes a minute, but she’s back.

“I dropped it again,” she say.

“I know.” I start talking but I something’s not right she sounds really far away.

“You sound really far away mom. Is the phone okay?”

“Yes. It’s fine.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, its fine I’m here,” she says but it sounds like the phone is still on the floor and she’s talking into it while lying on the bed.

“I really can’t hear you…”

“Wait wait I know why, you can’t hear me. I’m holding the phone upside down.”

And there it is a contagious crazy moment between us. Me under a tree on the corner and her in her room with cigarette smoke and TMC in the background laughing so hard, I almost have to pee and I know really need to call my mother more often.

Check Out My Harmless Halloween Pranks Story in Parents

September 26th, 2012 by Motherblogger

skullIf you don’t know about it already Parents is running 100 Days of Holidays, a newsletter packed with cute and  clever ways to celebrate all the holidays that fall between the first day of school and New Years.

I wrote up a post on a few silly ways to spook your kids out— it’s all in good fun. By the 10th prank you start to think I’m a little crazy, but I’m not suggesting you do them all. There are some for really little kids and some for big kids. My faves are the skull eggs and bacon (above) and tying a plastic skeleton to a dining room chair to freak them out when you call them to the dinner table.

Try one and let me know how it goes or share some of your best Halloween pranks. We are very pro-prank household so we’re open to anything.

The best prank every played on me was in 1981 when I was in the 7th grade. My dad had picked me and my friend Adrienne Johnson up from a Halloween party at Nancy Hargrave’s house in Lloyd Harbor. From a 7th grade perspective the party was “amazing” the boys brought Lacrosse sticks and eggs and chased all the girls through open fields in a nature reserve lobbing eggs in our direction. We retaliated with hiding in bushes and staging surprise attacks with silly string and shaving cream. Teenage dream, right?

But it was after the party that was the most memorable. As I said my dad picked me and Adrienne up and on the way home he made an unexpected detour and suggested we check out a graveyard high up on a hill. We drove down some winding roads, got out and parked and wandered through the graveyard, finding people who died on our birthdays and getting genuinely creeped out.  At one point we realized that my dad was no longer with us. We walked through the graveyard calling his name, but he didn’t respond. We kept calling but there was nothing. Nothing for a long time and our laughing turned to pleading. We were deep into the graveyard at this point and  I’m pretty sure Adrienne was on the verge of tears when my dad suddenly jumped out behind an gravestone shouting Booooooooooooo!!

We screamed and cried and laughed and I don’t think I’ve loved anyone as much as I loved my dad that night.