Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginnings End

Today is the first day of the rest of his life....my brother Jordan's life, that is. Without getting into a whole lot of detail, as it is too much bullshit to get into and it's probably not most appropriate, today begins a whole new book for him. Many people would say a new chapter, but after what has gone on this year, it's time for the sequel. And, seeing as we are upon the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, the timing could not be more appropriate. This rather unpleasant year is going to end, and we have a new, fresh year ahead of us.

Jordan is one of the most courageous, bravest, street smart people that I know. Jordan has endured so much over the course of the last year (well, last couple of years if you count his back surgery and the road that led him there) and while there were many bumps, hills and valleys, he always kept his head held high. He remained true to himself and to what he believed in. He refused to compromise his integrity. He refused to play dirty. He remained honest and loyal, even when others did not. He learned what it meant to have true friends. He learned that some people cannot be trusted. And, he kept his composure when he had to...which many people are not capable of. (I can lose my shit at the drop of a hat.....not to say Jordan didn't have moments, but, when it mattered, he was able to pull it together.)

Jordan has also had a fabulous support system throughout it all. (Ahem, can you tell where this part is going?? LOL) I like to pride myself (and my family)  on the fact that we are always there for each other; no matter how bad things get, we handle it together. Some people get confused since we are often rather loud and vocal with our opinions; do not misunderstand--it ALL comes from love. And, then there is Jenna, Jordan's fiance.  She has stood by him and supported him throughout this ordeal--for that, I thank her.

Anyway, what I am trying to get at is this: I am really proud of my brother.  He has accomplished great things and I know that he will continue to do so. What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” So, as this year ends, Jordan is about to make a new beginning. I wish him nothing but the best in all of his endeavors. xoxo

Monday, September 26, 2011

Grateful: Le sono enormemente grato!!!!!!!!!!!

Good morning everyone. It's Monday. Woke up to rain which is never cool. Boys are at school and I am doing a bunch of different things at once...and now I am writing this, which means I am avoiding doing things that need to get done. But. I felt that I needed to take this break to thank some people for the past weekend.

Steve and I visited my sister, Tessi, this past weekend in Nashville. Some of you know she received a promotion and moved there 2 months ago to open the new Nordstrom there. The store is absolutely INCREDIBLE. For those of you in Chicago who think that the Michigan Ave. store or Oakbrook is something to look at, you haven't seen anything yet. This store is set up totally different and is quite chic!

Anywho......we stayed at the Opryland Hotel. Let me just say, I consider myself a fairly seasoned traveler. (not compared to many who travel for work, but as a non-work traveler, I think it's safe to say, I've been around a time or two.) This hotel is the most incredible I have ever stayed at. I am an admitted hotel snob. I need things to be at a certain level and I have no problem owning up to it. I truly loved this hotel and look forward to going back. (Hopefully, over winter break to take the boys to visit Tessi and to take part in the hotel's DreamWorks Country Christmas celebration!!! The boys don't know yet..SHHHHH!)  It was such a pleasure to get to spend the weekend with Tessi. She showed us Nashville, where she lived and we just got to hang out, and it was so nice.

None of this would have been possible without the help of my mom and Tessi's boyfriend, Mac. See, Tessi has always been my vacation babysitter---going back to 2003, when she was a mere 14 or 15 years old. This was the first time my mom stayed with all 4 boys without any help. Not that there were any doubts as to how she would handle it, seeing as she has vacationed with the 4 of them on her own (and with my dad, so make that 5) but the kids have a lot of activities and the schedule can be a bit rough. The only thing she refused to do was watch Bailey. My mom is in no way, shape or form an animal person. Bailey has been to her house (in the backyard), and Jordan's (my youngest brother) dog, Oliver, has even been in her house and has a toy there for when he visits. But, she put her foot down at dog-sitting.(I totally understand.....she's a handful and the boys aren't always the most reliable at taking care of her) So, I figured we'd send her to the kennel for the weekend, but, Mac came to the rescue. Mac still lives here in Chicago and he and Tessi are doing the long distance thing. He graciously took Bailey to stay with him for the weekend. Bailey had a wonderful time with him!! Then, when my mom had a bridal shower to attend on Sunday, Mac came back with Bailey and watched her and the boys until we got home.

I have mentioned before that I am beyond lucky to have such a wonderful family and great friends. This past weekend is just another example of that. Steve and I got to get a few days away, with the bonus of seeing Tessi, the boys got to hang out with my mom and Mac, and Bailey got to stay in luxury, instead of the kennel.  Steve and I are both so grateful and appreciative of what my mom and Mac did for us this past weekend. It means so very much and we thank you both!!!!!!

So, while I should be tending to other things on this dreary day, I felt it was important to remind everyone to appreciate the people in your lives. Whether small favors or big ones, when people step up to help you, remember how lucky you are. I know too many people who aren't as blessed as we are. Money cannot buy happiness. (I hear it just makes things easier, LOL). But, having the love and support of family and friends can light up your life.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Not a Great Start To Our Day......

This morning, while getting the kids breakfast and trying to get them out the door, I did the one thing that I told myself I would never, ever do. And now, it will be on my mind all day and for years to come.

There's no doubt that my children have not been dealt that best hand when it comes to body size. We run on the larger size.  I was dealt that hand while my 3 siblings were not. (Kind of like on Sesame Street when they would sing about how one of these things was not like the other....I have always been "the other".) One of my kids seems to be a lot like me----knows the difference between what is healthy and good for him and what it isn't; knows what a "good choice" is vs. one that isn't. And yet, in the majority of cases, chooses the latter.  I know how that is....sometimes it's subconscious.; sometimes it isn't. Either way....it's a very hard habit to break.

This morning, he opened his lunchbox to see what I had packed for him. He asked if he could substitute one item out for another. I told him no; that lately his choices weren't the best and he had to eat what I had packed. He zipped up the lunchbox, grabbed his backpack and walked out, without saying goodbye.    I knew exactly what was running thru his mind and what he was feeling and my heart sank. I always hated being verbally reminded of what I should be doing; what I should or shouldn't be eating--and more importantly, why.

When we were young, playgrounds weren't built out of nice plastic. They were built out of wood and were rather dangerous. We used to get slivers in our hands often. My mom would sit us on the kitchen counter, ice our fingers and remove the slivers. I would get 2 cookies to tide me over for the "procedure".  One of my brothers--he got the entire box.  Why? He had a metabolism that could handle it and I did not.  I'm 35 years old now and this memory is burned into my head. It's stupid and ridiculous to continue to think about it.  Just like I used to get 1/2 a sandwich from the time I was in 3rd or 4th grade--none of my friends did.  As an adult, I understand now why my mom did these things. She was doing what she felt was right; what was best for me. I was resentful of it. No one likes to be made out to feel different. But, it wasn't her fault that my metabolism was practically non-existent. It's just the way it was/is.

My poor baby was crying on the driveway this morning when I went outside. He said everything that I used to feel when I was his age.  And, it absolutely broke my heart. He is aware that he is a big kid. (He's also off the charts tall....so at least it's a little more proportionate.) But, as he pointed out, it's not fair to have things in the house for other people to eat and to restrict him from them. It should be either all or nothing. I totally see his perspective.....when temptation is there, sometimes, you cannot resist what is right in front of you.  I told him he was right and that I understood. I also told him I didn't want him to grow up and be like me--that it was just so hard and I didn't want that for him. He looked at me and said "We are what we are.  It doesn't seem to matter what we do."  There was a lump in my throat and I didn't know what to tell him in those couple minutes we had before the bus came. I gave him a hug and a kiss and told him I loved him very much and that I just wanted what was best for him.  And, I do. But it's just so hard.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Apples, Bananas and Tomatoes, oh my!

It's now Fall (technically on the 21st, as Simon likes to remind me) and that means all sorts of varieties of apples are now filling the stores. Personally, I am HUGE fan of the Honeycrisp--it's just as it sounds: sweet and yet oh so crispy! Zion has found a new favorite--the Gala--but only the ones I have found recently, which are much smaller and fit his hands (and appetite) much better than the other apples I had been buying. Steve is more of a green apple kind of guy--granny smith--too tart for my taste. Andrew is out of the apple market for now as he's got his braces and Issac....he'll eat pretty much any kind of apple. I spent a lot of time yesterday (and Sunday) wandering around our new produce store looking over all of the apples. (Again, too much time--that and my Dad calling me while I was there and felt the need to tell me that a friend of his called him to tell him a mutual friend of theirs called him and then had to go as his girlfriend was ready to have sex, so he had to go. WHAT?!?!) While I walked around, nauseous and curious, I decided this year, I want to take my family apple picking. I am sure they'll all jump at the opportunity.

While I started typing this...Regis and Kelly began a banana eating contest on their show--who could eat the most in one minute--they had 3 world record holders competing. (I have so many jokes running through my head.) I love bananas but I may not be able to eat one for a while---which is a huge bummer.

While at the produce store, I discovered some new yellow,(so the package says; really they are orange) grape tomatoes.  I bought one package. Everyone here INHALED them---absolutely loved, loved, loved them!!!!!!!!!! So, I had to go buy more as people are just opening the fridge and eating them. So, while I putzed around the store (without my Dad on the phone this time) I also discovered the fresh bread counter. And, guess what I found???? Pumpernickel bread with raisins and walnuts!!!!!! Just like the bread they give you at Wildfire, only with walnuts----absolutely delish! I highly recommend.

That's pretty much all I have today. I know it isn't super exciting, but, as you probably know by my last few blogs, nothing has been exciting lately. Oh--there's this--which was a giant disappointment. I entered a contest a while back that Norwegian Cruise Line was holding. They have 2 new ships being built that will debut in 2013 and 2014. The contest was to name a ship. If they picked your entry, you would win a trip for 2 on the maiden voyage.  Well, results were posted and my name came in the top 5, but wasn't number 1, in NCL's eyes anyway. The article then took a poll, listing the top 5 names and guess which name the readers of the article picked as their fave: MINE. Kinda killed my fruit store buzz.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Big Girl Panties

To start: some random thoughts today. (not really different from many days)
A. Today is Positive Attitude Day---bite me.
B. Kelly Ripa thinks eating a box of Goldfish is pigging out and her size negative 2 skirt is "too tight" today. Boo frickin hoo.

I really have convinced myself I am amidst a mid-life crisis. (which saddens me because does that mean I'll only live til 70??---not sure if that is good, bad or indifferent....just a realization) When they say that life is a roller coaster, I believe that. Right now though, I am stuck between dips and going upside down and vomiting---to me--this is not enjoyable. I used to like going to Six Flags Great America as a kid---but basically, I enjoyed trying to win $1 toys by spending $25 playing games and by eating my way through the park and people watching. The rides, they were an after thought. Some people enjoy the adventure of twists and turns and not being able to see what is ahead. I am not built that way. I need to see what is in front of me and when I can't, it scares me. My brother, Lance, loves adventure. We are built totally different and yet came from the same factory. Perhaps, it's like Chrysler and Mercedes. All now part of the same family, and yet, so not the same.  I sometimes wish I came from the same assembly line that he came from. I don't embrace change...I run from it. The problem is, when you try to run, you just hit a wall. You cannot avoid it. So, you can either sit down and cry, or, you can put on your big girl panties and deal with it. At this point, I am sitting on the floor, but, I know I need to put on the panties and deal. I just don't know how to stand up.

I have been told by more than several people that I am a good writer. I like to think I am. I have 2 different book ideas.....they sort of overlap and 1 could be the original and 1 could be the sequel. I have notes written for both. I have started writing one. I just can't seem to move forward with it. I'd rather speak it into a tape recorder (how old do I sound now?) and let someone else type it up for me. I feel like the typing is slowing me down. My mind moves much faster than my hands, even though I am a fairly fast typer. So, I am stuck. Kind of like I'm stuck with everything else in my life right now. I don't like it. I know what I need to do to change it, and yet, I just can't seem to do it.

So, I know the solution lies within me. I know what I have to do. But, I need to be the one to convince myself to do it. No matter what anyone says to me or tries to do to help me, in the end, I am in control. (even though I totally feel out of control) I just need to figure out what "control" means.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Sunday Sermon

I want to start off by saying that today, on the 10 year anniversary of the 9.11 attacks, my heart is heavy and with all of those who suffered such a tragic loss that day. I wish everyone peace and comfort, hoping they can remember the good times with their loved ones.

Friends of ours welcomed their first child in the wee hours of the morning, a son. We are so very excited for them. And it just goes to show what so many of us who have suffered loss learn: Life goes on.

Last night, Steve and I went to the movies. We decided to go see "The Debt", with Helen Mirren.  We got in line to get our popcorn. When the man in front of us was done, he turned to walk away. All of a sudden, a woman ran up and began to order. It was as though Steve and I simply didn't exist.  I was ready to let her have it when Steve actually spoke up, much to my shock.  Steve is one of the most non-confrontational people I have ever met.  He never confronts anyone on anything ever!!!! He just turns the other cheek or brushes it off....he doesn't believe anything is worth getting upset over.  This woman goes ahead and proceeds to order her lemon ice when Steve interrupts her and lets her know we were there first and you don't just cut in front of a line.  She apologizes but goes on to tell us that the man that was in front of us was her husband.  Now. I have no idea if that was true. If it were, why didn't she walk over while he was still ordering? Why didn't she yell from wherever she was to say, "Hey, I'd like a lemon ice."  She offers to let us go ahead but Steve tells her to just finish up her order.  I stood there, fairly frozen because I had never witnessed this in almost 5 years of being together.  I mean NEVER. I was totally in shock that I didn't even acknowledge that Steve did this because I was so in awe of what I had witnessed.

When we got into the theatre, I swear it was as if the nursing home shuttled the patients for an outing. I never have seen so many seniors with walkers, canes and nurses in my life at a movie.  I think it's great they all got gussied up on Saturday night and went out. I was the youngest person in the theatre by 14 years...that is because Steve was with me.  But, next to me, he was the youngest person there by probably another 14 years-easily.  These people were so worried about saving seats, it was a show in itself to watch them doing it. They laid napkins on chairs. They laid walkers out, they hung jackets, they paced back and forth in front of seats and they yelled at people if they even glanced their way.  These people were hiking the stairs to get seats for this movie. And then, after all of this, they got shot down by the two a$$holes sitting in front of Steve and me.  We had to sit on the side of the theatre where there were 4 seats in a row. Steve and I took our usual aisle and seat next to it--which left room for another couple to join us...and another couple did. The shmos in front of us took seats 2 and 3, leaving one seat empty on either side of them. Now, I go to the movies often enough to know that these people were not saving seats for anyone. They were merely being shmucks and hogging a row.  They turned away countless people, walkers and all, by lying, claiming their "friends" were coming.  I know I have written about this before, but seriously, this drives me NUTS. (as do many other things, if you read any of my other blog entries)  These are the people that really don't have friends because they are so selfish and rude and inconsiderate!

Ok. Enough of my bitching. I have been sitting here for way too long avoiding what it is I need to be doing today--which is finishing picking out photos for Andrew's Bar Mitzvah montage. This is a very difficult task and I had no idea how time consuming and hard this would be. But, it won't get done if I don't do it.

So, on this day......give an extra hug to those you love and hold dear to your heart. Take a moment to think about all of those who can't....and remember how lucky and blessed you are.

Friday, September 9, 2011


OREO has released a new cookie: they are calling it the Triple Double. It has 2 different fillings and 3 cookies. The people at the cookie company must be in cahoots with the people who make plus size clothing. Why on Earth would they invent a cookie that, although I am willing to bet tastes delicious, has to be absolutely horrible for us to be eating? All the news ever talks about is how this country is full of obese people. Women's magazine post tons of pictures with women's eyes blacked out so no one will know it is them in the "don't" picture, with their muffin tops popping out and they're back fat being pushed out.

Now, don't get me wrong. Who doesn't love an OREO? And, they make SO many varieties now that they probably cover all taste buds.  Why do I know this? Because in this house, the children can't all agree on one flavor OREO.  Everyone likes the traditional OREO. (this should end the blog. but marketing is everything.) There's Mint filled, Peanut Butter filled, Fudge covered, White Fudge covered, Reduced Fat,(who are they trying to fool?) Golden Oreos, Flip Flops (I think that's the name for the ones that have one yellow cookie and one chocolate) Double Stuff and lets not forget seasonal OREOS. Orange filled for Halloween, Red filled for Christmas, Yellow for Spring, and now.....they make Football shaped OREOS.  I am sure I am missing more. Oh yes---mini OREOS...they come in individual bags, or the bigger pack that looks like a container of chips. Lunch packs of OREOS, that come in multi pack boxes.

Why do I care about this? Truth is, I don't.  But I am now at Target at least 3 times a week re-stocking on groceries for the pre-teen boy that lives here.  I never can just walk into the store and buy what I need...I always have to wander around, aimlessly.  Given my present state of mind though, losing myself in the aisles of Target seems to help, if only for a few minutes.  That and the fact that I have had the hardest time finding the individual bags of the regular Goldfish.  Why is that??????? I found them at the 3rd Target I went to. Just like the OREOS, my kids don't agree on which Goldfish they like. They can't eat the color Goldfish. (um, they taste the SAME!) and heaven forbid I buy the Extra Cheddar Goldfish...all hell breaks lose since only 1 kid likes those.

This is what my life has come to: discussing OREOS and Goldfish. Does it matter? No. There are kids all over the world who have no food or don't know if or when there will be another meal. And my kids: they're picky over what shaped noodle they are eating, cause ya know, farfalle tastes different than rigatoni.

Again, I am not complaining about my kids. I am grateful for them. But so many things that they make an issue out of are just so trivial.  Then again, so is this blog entry.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wow! It's been 7 WEEKS!!!!!!!

Hi everyone---if you are all still out there. It's been 7 weeks since I have posted anything. Life has been busy....and yet so not busy at the same time.

The boys and I took our giant trip out to Cooperstown for Andrew's baseball team. (Steve had to work.) It truly was an INCREDIBLE experience. It, essentially, is the field of dreams. They have built it and people come. My mom went with us (Thank G-d) and then we also spent some time with my bro and sis-in-law, Lance & Roya, which was really awesome.

There has been sadness. My BFF's son was diagnosed with a Wilm's Tumor. (childhood Kidney Cancer) He had surgery to remove the tumor and one kidney...surgery was a success. I had to leave a few days later for Cooperstown. While I was gone he went into renal failure. It was so hard to be away knowing what was going on at home. He pulled thru! Had radiation treatments and is undergoing chemotherapy now. He's back in the hospital right now due to some complications from some of the chemo. He is such a sweet, strong, brave boy. He is on our minds CONSTANTLY and always in our hearts. He will pull thru this and will come out better than ever. I know it. I just hurt for him, his sister and his parents. No parent should ever watch this happen to their child. It's gut wrenching and there's nothing we can do to make it better. It just makes me really sad.

School is back in session. I now have a 7th grader, a 5th grader and 2 -2nd graders.  It's pretty hard to believe. My boys are good boys. They are healthy and strong and for this I am grateful. At the same time, they are infuriating and frustrating and I am seriously losing my mind. No joke. Last week at Curriculum Night for the 2nd graders, I absolutely thought Simon had one teacher, when in fact I was completely wrong and needed another mother to remind me who his teacher was. I was mortified.  The next day, I ran into Issac's 4th grade teacher. She asked who Issac's 5th grade teacher was. I just sat there staring at her. For the life of me, I couldn't remember the woman's name. My excuse: that Curriculum Night for Issac was the following week. This woman just looked at me like I was insane and walked away.  I tell people this story. They retort with "you have 4 kids...it's too much to remember." I don't think that's it. I never forget these kinds of things. I don't know what's wrong.

I also have realized Andrew's Bar Mitzvah is now just over 10 weeks away. I feel somewhat prepared and somewhat terrified. I started going thru all of the pictures from the last 13 years for his montage. I just don't know where the last 13 years went. When I start to think of all that has occurred during that time, it just overwhelms me.

I also realized I am 35 years old and don't have a real career. I have jobs....and I love what I am doing right now. But. No career. Does it really matter? I never thought it did. Now--I'm not so sure. I feel kind of lost.

I'm also very tired of repeating myself non stop to the boys. No one listens or pays attention. I feel very taken for granted and taken advantage of.  (like most moms I know) Something needs to change. And, seeing as the kids most likely are not going to just shape up and start doing what's asked of them, maybe I need to change the way I handle them and the way I react to things.  I have a feeling no one is going to like it. It's too bad.  Don't get me wrong. I LOVE and ADORE my children.....but I am not a doormat or just here for their mere convenience.

Maybe I am starting a mid life crisis.....is it too early for one? Or, maybe it's early menopause? I know that can start around now. Whatever it is, I don't like it. I don't know how to make it better. I am trying...so far, nothing is working.