My Real Life

January 26, 2015

Then and Now

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

As the blog gets more followers, I’ve been going back and reading some of my older posts.

I find it fascinating, at times, to see where I was then with where I am today.

Yet, in many areas, it’s interesting to see that as much as things change, they also stay the same.

So, I thought it might be fun to do a Then and Now post for you, where I take an old post and update it with how I would have written it, were I writing it today.

To begin the process, I’m taking you back to September 2009, where I decided to answer 20 questions for you, the readers.

In 2009, I was a 37 year old mother of a 7 year old girl, a 4 year old boy, and a 2 year old boy.

Tiny wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye.

Scratch that…Tiny was the furthest thing from a twinkle in my eye because I was feeling overwhelmed with just three kids.

I was the Instructional Leader for Math and Science at my middle school, and was teaching piano lessons after school.

I had been blogging for a month, and not too many people had read anything I had ever written.

Today, I’m a 43 year old mother of a 13 year old girl, and 10, 8, and 3 year old boys.

Most days, Tiny is the one who actually puts the twinkle in my eye.

I’m the Supervisor in charge of Language Arts, Social Studies, and Technology in my middle school, and am still teaching piano after school and on the weekends.

I’ve been blogging for six years, have been published in an anthology, on the Huffington Post, was a semi-finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel of the Year contest, and write for my author’s group as often as we can meet.

It’s been a good six years.

So, click back to that old post and then let’s take a look at some of these questions and see what else has changed:

1.  Show us the inside of something cute.

I didn’t get this question in 2009 and I don’t get it today.

The inside of something cute?

So, ruin the cute thing by cutting it open?

Yeah, no, I don’t think so.

2.  What’s the last home cooking you had?

As I write this, the last home cooking I had was the taco dinner that I made for the family last night.

I make dinner pretty much every night, for the family, so this one hasn’t really changed too much.

3.  What do you miss?

What do I miss?

These girls:

IMG_3724

So much.

It’s been too long, and I can’t wait to get together and just hang out with my girls, again.

4.  What makes you laugh often?

Tiny.

He’s ridiculous.

He’s trying out new words all the time and sometimes he uses them correctly, and sometimes he doesn’t.

He’s been enjoying the snow and it’s a blast to watch him slide down the hill and then carry his little board back up.

He gets to the top and yells, “Again!” and flops down and slides right back down again.

He sneezes and yells “Boogers!” and expects me to run after him with a tissue, and if you don’t get there fast enough, then he just uses his sleeve.

Or the sleeve of the person nearest to him.

Tiny is a 3 year old with more personality that you can imagine and he makes me laugh every single day.

5.  What’s your favorite word?

Kindness.

Kind is all I want my kids to be, and I find myself looking for kindness everywhere.

When I see my kids being kind to each other, I point it out, celebrate it, and reward it.

I try to model it, but know that, often, I fall short.

Kindness.

We all could use a little more of it in our lives.

6.  What are you trying to quit?

Biting the inside of my mouth.

Since I was a kid, it’s been what I do.

There are probably a million photos of me with my mouth contorted mid-face bite.

I always figured it was just a bad habit like nail biting, etc, but recently, I’ve noticed the stakes are a little higher on this one.

I’m getting some weird wrinkles around my mouth that seem to fit, exactly, the shape I make when I’m biting the inside of my mouth.  So, I gotta quit.

7.  What’s your favorite commercial, right now?

Ooh, those Matthew McConaughay Lincoln commercials!

No, no…I kid.

I’m actually really enjoying the Rob Lowe commercials for Direct TV.

These may be regional…I’m not sure, but I think they are creative and funny.

Not hilarious…more cheesy and “Oh, Rob Lowe, how far you’ve fallen,” but I look forward to seeing a new one when it comes out.

Check this one out.

8.  Whose style do you dig?

I still dig Jennifer Garner’s style, but these days, I am loving Kristen Bell.

And Dax Shepard.

There really isn’t anything I don’t like about these two.

I saw them interviewed on a show where they were discussing paparazzi laying off of the children of celebrities and thought they made their case so eloquently and clearly.

I loved their commercials over the holidays.

I believe I’ve shared my Veronica Mars love before, so I don’t need to go there.

I just like them as people, as a couple, as parents, as celebrities, and so I feel pretty confident in my answer that I dig their style.

9.  Link to a great blog you’ve discovered recently.

I haven’t discovered it recently, but one of my favorite blogs is Bad Parenting Moments, written by my friend and co-author, Bethany.

She is often funny, but more often, she is honest and frank, and she writes about things that others are too afraid to write about, and makes me say “Yes…exactly,” every time.

Please check her out.

I know you won’t regret it.

10.  What’s the last craft you made?

Ahahahahahahahahahaha!

That’s just hilarious.

Craft.

Me.

Monkey Boy is the crafty guy around here and spends most of his time making things out of construction paper and tape, but his Mama isn’t the crafty type.

11.  A photo of the last “happy” mail you received.

The last piece of happy mail that came to our house is a letter accepting Monkey Girl into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy at the high school.

It seems to be what she wants, so we are happy for her.

Right now, she wants to either be a veterinarian or an architect, and she feels this is the best way to get there.

Proud of her for going for it.

12.  Something you’ve got lately.

I didn’t really understand this question six years ago, and still don’t “get” it, today.

So, “this question” is not my answer.

13.  What are you looking forward to?

What am I looking forward to?

I’ll tell you what I’m looking forward to.

Morristown’s Got Talent.

Monkey Girl and I auditioned, back in December, and they whittled down the performers from 70 acts to 16, and we made the cut.

We are thrilled beyond belief, and completely nervous, and very, very excited.

We can’t wait for February 25!

14.  Post a recent snapshot of yourself.

Did you see the picture from 2009?

I had such long hair!

I still drove the minivan!

I loved that leather jacket!

Anyway…here I am, today, with Monkey Boy:

10868054_10205300475688776_7250768742731720907_n

15.  Recent Favorite Movie?

Into the Woods

Hands down.

It was amazing.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll mention it again.

The audience applauded when it was over.

I’m a sucker for a musical, and this was absolutely no exception.

16.  Something you’re working on right now?

My author’s group met last week and I shared a short fiction piece I had written.

They gave me excellent feedback and I’m working on revising it so that I can figure out what I want to do with it.

Maybe I’ll share it with you!

17.  If a movie were made about you, who would play you?

It’s still Reese Witherspoon.

Six years later, and I continue to get stopped in stores and told that I look like her.

The older I get, the less I see it, but I’ll take it, because I think she’s a cutie.

reese1

18.  What gives you goosebumps?

Broadway.

Monkey Girl and I saw “Mamma Mia” last night and it was amazing.

I’d seen it before, but it doesn’t matter how many times I see a show on Broadway (Les Mis…6 times) it gives me goosebumps.

Call it a dream unrealized, call it being unbelievably impressed with the talent, call it the wow factor, but Broadway gives me goosebumps and I realized, last night, that I don’t get there nearly enough.

19.  Share a new obsession.

My latest obsession is getting Monkey Girl to watch old shows with me.

She didn’t go for Gilmore Girls, so I almost had to disown her.

However, she seems to be hooked on the original Beverly Hills, 90210, so, we’re good.

Although, she has been watching an inordinate amount of Saved By the Bell, so I am a little concerned about her taste.

But only a little.

Because, Zach Morris.

GTY_mark_paul_gosselaar_jef_140807_16x9_992

20.  What’s the meaning of your life?

To positively influence other’s lives.

I just want to make sure that I don’t leave a negative impact on the world and that I leave the world a better place than I found it; whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

If this was everyone’s goal…oh, what a world it could be.

January 19, 2015

Pulling the Plug

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

One of my 15 Wishes for 2015 was to give up some of my television shows.

Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I love television.

I love the escape.

I don’t actually start watching tv until 9 or 9:30 at night, so most of the things that I watch I’ve recorded and am watching as I fall asleep or while I’m folding laundry, but we upgraded to the super duper platinum ultimate dvr contract so I could record up to six shows at a time, and that, in and of itself, is a pretty good indication of how much I’ve been watching.

There are a lot of things I want to do in 2015, and I really don’t think I’ll be able to do them if I keep up with this television thing.  At one point, my friend, Matt, counted 52 shows that I was currently watching.

That number actually felt pathetic to write.

So, it’s time to pare down and carve out some time for the other things in life I enjoy.

Here’s what’s going:

American Horror Story – I think my relationship with AHS has come to an end.  Season 1 hooked me.  No one loved Season 2 Asylum more than me.  Then Season 3, Coven, showed up.  Eh.  So, I gave Season 4 a good, old-fashioned try.  But, when I realized that I had seven episodes DVR’d and I was willing to watch the shows my kids had recorded, without the kids, instead of AHS, I knew it was time to say goodbye.

Revenge – Oh, Emily Thorne.  Pretty much everyone knows your secret now.  Your father is back from the dead.  Your gorgeous fiance is dead.   Your gorgeous ex-husband is dead.   You aren’t getting together with Jack any time soon.  I think you’ve taken this story as far as it can you.  You got your revenge.  And, I think we’re done.

The Vampire Diaries – Yeah, yeah…it’s not a show for 43 year old middle school administrators.  I get it, I get it.  But, I’ve loved it since it started.  I don’t love it anymore.  How many times can someone switch places with their doppelganger, anyway?  People die on the show, but they are still hanging around.  The story just goes on and on and on.  Enough.

Parenthood – Okay.  This is cheating.  The series is ending.  However, the truth remains that once they broadcast that final episode, I’m not watching the show anymore.  So, technically…I’m cutting it out.  Go me.

Covert Affairs – It’s a USA show and I really enjoyed it, and then they finally put Annie and Augie together and I LOVED it.  And then they broke up and she went dark and it all just got weird.  Covert Affairs…I gotta quit you.

Grimm – I tried to love this show.  I never watched a full season, but I watched a lot of episodes of each season.  I tried, but I never loved it.  I’m not even sure why I kept watching it.  I mean, I know why I kept watching it…I love that kind of stuff, but this just didn’t deliver for me.  Besides, I’ve got enough supernatural stuff in my television arsenal.  This one can go and I won’t miss it at all.

Gotham – I know of one person who is probably disowning me at this very moment (if he actually reads the blog) but I just can’t do it.  I loved the first episode.  I liked the second.  I tolerated the third.  And that’s where I stopped and I haven’t felt like “Ooh…I need to catch up on Gotham” for even one second.  The premise is great.  How did all the villains in Gotham get to be villains, and how did little Bruce Wayne get to be big, tough, Batman Bruce Wayne?  It’s just too much Oswald Cobblepot, who was always the creepiest Batman villain, as the Penguin.  Danny DeVito did such a good job with that role in the movie that I am seriously creeped out by just the thought of the character.  And Donal Logue is just a big jerk.  I like him much better in Vikings, which is a show on the History channel that I am NOT going to let go.

Castle – It actually pains me to write this.  I love Castle.  I really do.  And I don’t feel like the show jumped the shark when Castle and Beckett got together.  I think they handled it beautifully.  I love the characters.  I love the writing.  I love the mysteries.  There really isn’t anything about the show that I don’t like.  But, I don’t watch anymore, and although I have a ton of episodes recorded, I don’t feel the need to watch them.  I’m sure when the kids are out of the house and I’m in my late 50’s, they’ll still be showing it in syndication somewhere, and I’ll just watch it then.

So, that’s what I’m walking away from.

However, there are some shows that I’ll never leave until they get cancelled (which they probably will, because most shows I like get cancelled) or come to a natural conclusion.

What are they?

Here’s a few:

Reign – Another CW show that is probably not for my demographic, but it has totally sucked me in.  Give me kings and queens, and you’ll have me at “your majesty.”  Make them attractive with love triangles, Nostradamus, and some mysteries and I’m a goner.

Outlander – I don’t even feel a little bad about this one because it has a short season, I read the book (three times) before watching the show, and it’s Scotland.  Scotland, people.  Time travel?  I’m in.  And, oh, there’s this:

outlander

Oh, Jamie Fraser.  Ní fheicfidh mé a stopadh breathnú ar do seó , which, if Google Translate is accurate means, “I’ll never quit watching your show.”

Game of Thrones – It’s on for, like, three months a year.  I refuse to feel guilty about this one.

Sherlock – Speaking of short series, Sherlock has 3 episodes a season, and it has a season every two years, or so.  Benedict Cumberbatch is so, so good. Martin Freeman is amazing.  I love to watch Sherlock think, and it’s highly entertaining.  Plus, it’s a BBC show, and lord knows I love those Brits.

New Girl – Is it the best show on television?  Not even close.  But it makes me laugh, and it’s utter and complete nonsense.  I feel like so much of my life is serious, serious, serious…sometimes it’s nice to just indulge in some idiocy.  And I like the characters.  Independently, they would probably annoy the heck outta me, but together, they work.  And they care about each other, in their own twisted way.

The Bachelor/The Bachelorette – I don’t want to hear it.  I love this show.  I also love how Real Man “doesn’t watch” with me.  Talk about mindless entertainment; this is it.  I’m surprised I love it because I get so upset because they never pick who I want them to pick.  There were a few seasons where I let my friend, Carolyn, tell me the ending, but I’m back to being surprised and letting the story unfold naturally.  Or, at least, as naturally as one person dating twenty other people at the same time and proposing to one of them in a matter of weeks can be.

There are some other shows in the lineup, but I’m feeling pretty serious about cutting back and spending more time doing the things that I keep saying I want to do.  I’ll never be one of those people who says, “I got rid of cable,” or, “I don’t have a tv,” because, to quote my Grandma, I gotta have my stories.

I love tv.

Not as much as I love the movies, of course, but that’s a post for another day.

January 12, 2015

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

When I woke up, this morning, school was delayed due to freezing temps and icy conditions.

Winter was slow in coming to Northern NJ.

My kids played outside for most of December, and I’m not sure I even made them wear a coat.

But now it’s January and winter is here.

Every day, Facebook is filled with people’s photos of their car thermometers, or the snow on their decks, and I gotta tell you, I love it.

The majority of my friends are biding their time until the sun comes out and the coats come off, and I’ll be honest…give me a few months and I’ll probably be eager for a day without gloves, as well.

However…

There is just something about the winter and the cold.

Whenever I’ve imagined the possibility of moving somewhere else, “south” never came to my mind.

I’d want to go somewhere were there were mountains and snow and perpetual fall and winter.

I enjoy seeing my breath outside, and being able to come in and warm up.

There is something about the briskness to the cold air that wakes me up, invigorates me, and makes me feel alive.

I dream of Maine or Vermont or Alaska.

While I want to visit Scotland and Ireland, the glaciers of Greenland call my name, as well.

In the summer, there’s only so much you can take off and still be appropriate.

In the winter, you can bundle up all you want, and there’s nothing like burrowing under the covers with a loved one and hiding away from the chill.

Evenings in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot tea and a good book, or a family board game while you let the fire warm you enough until you have to move slightly away.

I love the silence of snow and the crisp whiteness as it blankets the world.

Sunglasses in the winter to fight the snow glare are ultimately more satisfying to me than sunglasses in the summer.

If I’m being honest, I’ll say that I also look forward to the possibility of a snow day, in the winter.

There’s nothing like just being able to snuggle up with your babies a little longer in the morning and laying low with them all day.

The machinations of getting four kids in snowsuits are a pain, but there’s no joy like that in child’s face who is sledding down a hill, showing off their snowman, or shrieking as they run from snowballs.

So, bring it, winter.

I’m ready.

snow

January 5, 2015

Break…Over

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

By the time this posts, our winter break will be over and we’ll all be back to work, school, daycare, etc.

I know as I walk the halls of school, the majority of conversations I’ll have will begin with the question, “How was your break?”

People will respond “Too short!”  “Great, how was yours?”  “Too much food!”

I’ll probably respond with one of those, as well, because as you pass in the hallway, surrounded by middle school students, it’s difficult to really convey the events of a winter break.

Five seconds, in passing, is too short to say “My 8 year old made his way through all of the Harry Potter movies, for the first time, and through the original 3 Star Wars films, so I consider that a win.”

Too short to say, “The kids and I saw Annie, which we loved, even though I wasn’t a fan of the new songs or the changes to the old ones, Night at the Museum, which made me cry, and Monkey Girl and I saw Into the Woods, which was fantastic, made the audience applause, like we were at Broadway.  We laughed, we cried, and we loved it.  Oh, and we saw the preview for Pitch Perfect 2 which made me way too excited for summer to get here.”

How do you wrap up “Christmas was wonderful with the entire family (25+ people) here for the day, New Year’s was so much fun, spending the night with close friends who make us laugh, and my birthday was relaxing and fun and the kids kept the fighting to a minimum,” in a head nod at a colleague.

When someone asks “How was your break?” I’m not sure they want to hear, “Too long for two of my monkeys who thrive on routine and busy-ness and need to get back to school/daycare, and too short for the other two who love downtime, and time spent with family.”

Is there time for, “Well, we lost power, and then the generator oil tank kinda lost it’s mind and shut down the generator twenty minutes before a houseful of guests was due to arrive on Christmas, and we had to, unexpectedly, also buy a new hot water heater before the New Year?”

It may sound to cheesy to say “I watched Real Man play in the high school alumni hockey game, and do a great job, and it made me feel like I was back in high school when he was my boyfriend and I was so proud of him out on that ice.”

So, I’ll probably just go with “Good, thanks…yours?” and leave it at that.

But, I’ll know in my head that there were ups and downs, and that when they say the same, that they, too, probably have a whole lotta story that they are also paring down to a few words.

January 3, 2015

15 Wishes for 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

 

  1. Take the family to DisneyWorld. Not a need, and definitely a first world problem that we have never taken the kids there, but I’m making it number one on my list because it’s something I’d really like to experience with them.  Although, at this point, I should say “either Disney or Universal Studios” because with most of the kids being older, I think that would probably be the draw.
  2. Participate in at least one random act of kindness per week.  I felt really good about this one, this year, and plan on doing it again, and hopefully, challenging my kids to do the same
  3. Exercise at least twice a week.  Ideally, it would be five times a week.  However, as you’ll see later on the list, I need to be a little kinder to myself this year, and part of that is not setting myself up for failure with unrealistic expectations.  This doesn’t mean I’m not going to challenge myself.  However, I definitely need to learn to pick my battles, and this is one where I’m not going to beat myself up.
  4. Watch less tv.  Hahahaha!!! Oh, that’s a good one.  Okay, but seriously folks…I dvr a lot of shows, and I think it’s time to cut back.  I used to read myself to sleep at night, but have fallen into the habit of falling asleep to the tv at night.  RealMan gets frustrated because I’ll put something on and fall asleep partway through, leaving him watching the rest.  It gets to the point where I’ll put something on, say “Ooh, I need to finish this,” and he’ll say, “Amy, I’ve seen this three times, already, while you’ve tried to ‘finish’ it.”  Truly, I don’t watch tv until after 8:30/9:00 at night, but  if I’m looking for more time to do some of the things on this list, maybe cutting back my shows is a good way to do it.
  5. Make $1,000 by selling on eBay, consignment, etc.  I’m putting this one back on the list for 2015.  We definitely have things we can sell, and I’m always looking to purge things around here, so I want to give this the ole’ college try.  Again.
  6. Blog at least once a month.  Last year, I said once a week.  Didn’t even come close.  This year, I am committed to posting a blog post at least once a month.  Anything else will be gravy, but I feel like once a month will help me ensure quality, and is a reasonable goal for someone with my work/home schedule.
  7. Read 50 books (and keep track!)  I did 46 in 2014.  I’m shooting for 50 in 2015.  When I’ll get this done, I have no idea.  I used to read while on the treadmill, but then I fell away from the treadmill.  So, maybe I kill two goals with one stone this year.
  8. Really go through my closet and be ruthless with getting rid of what I don’t wear.  Totally doing this one this year.  It sort of ties in to wish #5, but I want to write it down so that I’m holding myself accountable for it.
  9. Play piano at least once a week. I miss it.  I just do.  I’ve had my piano since I was 7, and I do some of my best thinking when I’m sitting at the keys, lost in the music.
  10. Write in my journal more often.   I’ve been thinking about this goal, a lot.  Everything I write, I write for someone else to read.  Even my journal, I think about the fact that my kids will wind up reading it when I am gone, so truly, EVERYTHING I write is for someone else’s consumption.  I post a lot on Facebook, whether on my personal page or my blog FB page.  I write in the blog (okay, okay…not often, but sometimes).  I write for my writer’s group, again, sparingly, but I do it.  It almost feels like, when I sit at the journal, what will I write?  I need to start thinking of my journal as just mine.  Just for me, and not worry about if the kids will read it when I’m gone and be upset about what they might read.  Because, the truth is, with as much as I write for everyone else, I still need an outlet for myself.
  11. Get published, again.  By published, I don’t necessarily mean in book form, although, let’s be honest…that’d be incredible.  I would love to be published anywhere.  I’ve been on Huffington Post, I’d love to be on Scary Mommy or some other blog.  I’d take a fiction website.  And, of course, being in another anthology or publishing my own work would be amazing.  But, I do want to be published again, because, nothing makes us work harder, as writers, than knowing your work is being read by a large audience.
  12. Re-edit my novel.  It needs work.  It does.  My plan had been to share bits of it with my writer’s group, but I really enjoyed writing new material for them, so I may ship it off to a different writer friend (any volunteers) to give me some good, hard, critical feedback.  Then, I’ll move from there.
  13. Shred and pare down all of our files. Keeping this one for 2015, because it’s so necessary.  It’s one of those things, though, when I have a little spare time and look at this list, I think, “Do I want to sit on the couch and read or shred some files?”  I won’t insult you by telling you which one wins every time.
  14. Entertain more.  I did this last year, and enjoyed it.  I plan to do even more of it, this year.  We’ve made a great circle of friends and we just enjoy spending time with them all.  Hoping to do much more of it in 2015.
  15. Be kinder to myself.  I can’t fix it all.  I want to.  Desperately.  But I can’t.  I think I need to accept the AA motto of “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  There are definitely things within my control, and those that are outside my control.  I don’t have to hold myself responsible for everything.  And so, I start with making this a list of 15 things, this year, instead of 20.  Because 15 is a lot.

January 1, 2015

Twenty Wishes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 12:00 pm
Tags: , , ,

I don’t know…

Maybe as just about enter my 43rd year, it’s time for me to stop making resolutions, goals, wishes for the new year.

Or, maybe it’s just time for me to whittle down the list.

One of my author friends posted on FB, recently, that her only goal for the new year was to be more peaceful, and I gotta tell you, it sounds like a lovely, lovely goal.

Another posted that her goal for the new year was to not hold herself, or others, to impossible expectations.

Again, so lovely.

And yet…

I’m a lister.

A checker-offer.

A task-master.

I’m someone who is most satisfied when they are accomplishing a task, and the new year provides an excellent opportunity to come up with a bunch of tasks.

And yet…

So, let’s start by looking at my list of Twenty Wishes for 2014 and see where I wound up.

1. Take the family to DisneyWorld. This was #1 on the list in 2013 and 2014.  Didn’t happen in either year.  I’m feeling like I should just take it off the list, because the whole thing is daunting for a family of 6…financially, physically, etc.  But, I’m leaving it.  And trying to make it happen.
2. Participate in at least one random act of kindness per week.  Not going to go into too much detail about this one, but I’m feeling very good about this one.  In small ways, all year, I made sure I practiced what I preach to my kids.
3. Get weight down by 15 pounds AND KEEP IT THERE. Not 15, but a few, and still working on it.
4. Incorporate more vegetables into the family diet.  Ahahahahahaha.  That’s all I can say about that.
5. Make $1,000 by selling on eBay, consignment, etc.  Didn’t have the time, and just didn’t get to it.  I really would like to attempt this one, again.
6. Blog at least once a week. Well…I think we all know how this turned out.
7. Make home office neat, organized, and functional.  Kachow.  Success.  At least, my half of the office.
8. Read 50 books (and keep track!)  I got to 46, and considering my work schedule and home life, I feel really good about it.  I’m going to aim for 50 again in 2015.
9. Have one “No Spend Month.”  I still love this idea, but it just didn’t happen.
10. Have family photo taken.  Nope.  Although, I do love the photo of the kids from the Christmas card.
11. Really go through my closet and be ruthless with getting rid of what I don’t wear.  Didn’t get to this, but will probably keep it on the list for this year.
12. Play piano at least once a week. Some weeks were better than others, in this area.
13. Only eat out once a week, if at all.  We did great with this one.  In fact, Monkey Girl said, the other day, when my parents were taking us out to dinner when was the last time we ate out?  And none of us could remember.
14. Write in my journal more often.   I don’t believe I even wrote in in once.  That’s a shame.
15. Get published, again.  I barely even wrote, at all, much less writing for publication.
16. Re-edit my novel.  Nope.
17. Shred and pare down all of our files. Nope.
18. Entertain more.  Done.  And I loved it, and I hope to do more of it, again.
19. Spend more time outside.  Definitely did this, and it felt great.
20. Making it happen.  Some I did, some I didn’t, but there needs to be more making it happen in the new year.

So, stay tuned.  I’ll be making my new list, ideas, thoughts for the new year and sharing them with you, shortly.

Also, if you follow me on Facebook, please note that FB is changing the way it shares things from pages, and will be requiring me to pay to share my links and updates with you, so make sure you actually search for me on FB to see what I’m up to.  Because I don’t get any money from writing this blog, and my love of writing won’t pay the FB bills.

December 20, 2014

Christmas Confusion

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 3:40 pm

As I’ve been browsing the internet, this holiday season, I’ve been seeing a million posts about what family Christmas letters SHOULD say or showing pictures of Christmas card fails.

They all make me laugh, but the truth is, a few months ago, when trying to figure out what photo to use for our Christmas card, I decided to go with a real shot, because, getting four kids to “smile pretty,” all at the same time, is a daunting task.

I don’t know how people do it.

I imagine it takes some pretty creative bribery.

Because, for the most part, my four are never smiling at the same time.

So, we went with this:

Christmas2014

And it turns out, that as much as people say, “Oh, I wish people would be more real with their holiday cards,” in reality…

…it just confuses them.

I thought we were being funny.

The grumpy kid.

The choice of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” underneath the grumpy kid.

The “Happy Holidays from 83% of the Bozza Family” to take the joke a little further.

Don’t get me wrong.

Many people laughed and loved it.

And then, we got a phone call from a relative, asking if we had some news to share.

We were completely confused, and then we realized they thought I was pregnant and the 83% was an indication that there were more children to come.

Then, I got questions about the math.

“Amy…it should 75% of the family…only one of the four kids are grumpy.”

Yes, I know…but it’s about 83% of the whole family.

“Amy…you know it’s not exactly 83%, right?”

There were also flat out, “I don’t get it” responses, and “I don’t like it.  Holiday cards should be cheerful and joyous.  He’s going to be really mad when he grows up.”

However, the one that got me the most was the person who said, “I LOVE it!  How will you ever top it next year?”

Because that sounds vaguely like a challenge, and now I gotta top it.

But for now, Happy Holidays from our home to yours…

May the majority of your family all be happy at the same time, this holiday season.

And if they aren’t?

Run with it.

November 24, 2014

Goodbye, Old Friend

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 2:44 pm

I said goodbye to an old friend, today.

It was surprisingly hard for me to do so, because I’m not a sentimental person.

Real Man has drawers full of cards that the kids and I have given him over the years.

Me?

Let’s just say that if it doesn’t have a handprint or footprint on it, anything is fair game for the trash, once it’s been oohed and aahed over for a few minutes.

But this?

This was hard.

Fourteen years ago, my friends and family held a baby shower to celebrate the impending arrival of our first baby.

At the shower, I received many, many generous items.

Tons of diapers and little, tiny onesies and socks and booties and blankets.

The actual arrival of my 9 pound 15 oz little Monkey Girl created the need to exchange many of the smallest items, but we were thrilled, nonetheless.

When I got to a package from my sister-in-law, she prefaced it with “You know how practical I am. You can’t use it now, but you’ll be happy for it in a few years.”

I opened the package and found the cutest pair of overalls, with an embroidered Winnie-the-Pooh and friends scene.

They were size 2T.

I remember laughing, thinking that I could barely even imagine a time when the little one I was expecting would fit into those overalls, but, eventually, she did

When she turned 18 months, she was already fitting into size 2T clothes, and so we pulled them out of storage and tried them on.

She loved them.

She wore the heck out of those overalls.

They became her favorite thing to wear, and they became my favorite thing to put on her.

And, too quickly, she outgrew them.

And so, we passed them on to my sister-in-law who had given birth seven months after I had.

Her little sweetie wore them, and when she, too, outgrew, she sent them back.

And eventually, Monkey in the Middle wore them, and soon thereafter, Baby Monkey had a turn.

Then, we passed them on again, and they were worn by various other nieces and nephews, and eventually, they made their way back to us.

I remember, last year, when I pulled them out, again, and put them on Tiny.

He loved them.

And so, he wore them until we just couldn’t fasten the clips any longer because he had grown far too tall, no matter how much we adjusted the straps.

Today, I packed them up and passed them on to Kim, for her little guy to wear in the near future.

And while I’m thrilled that they continue to live on and be loved and be worn, I’m sad to know that they won’t be making a return trip to my home.

They’ll move on to one of Kim’s friends or neighbors, and I’ll never see them again.

Because, it would just be weird for me to ask for them back when she’s done with them so I can save them for a grandkid.

Right?

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October 19, 2014

The Saturday Shower

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 1:11 pm

I’m a fairly low maintenance girl.

I get up in the morning, take a quick shower, use a two-in-one shampoo plus conditioner to save time, hop out, run my fingers through my hair, clip in a barrette, throw on a little eye makeup and I’m out.

The whole process probably takes about 10 minutes, from start to finish.

I need to make five lunches, get people up, dressed, and out the door before I leave at 7:00 am, and so the shower is what takes the hit in the time department.

But on Saturday…

On Saturday, I get a real shower.

It may not happen first thing in the morning, but, at some point, on a Saturday, I take some time, just for me.

I pull together the various and random shower gels, lotions, and creams that I’ve acquired over the years, and I get ready for an experience.

I use actual shampoo.

Separate from the conditioner.

And when I actually get to the conditioner, I let it sit and sit and sit, while I exfoliate and shave and indulge in some steamy aromatherapy.

Saturday showers are ME time.

And, if I turn up the music loud enough, I can almost drown out the sounds of the people pounding on the door yelling, “Mom!  You’ve been in there for three minutes already!  What’s TAKING so long???”

July 21, 2014

Opposites?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

After four children, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve read almost every children’s book that’s out there.

Some of them are fantastic.

Some of them are fine, if you read them once or twice, but after thirty-thousand times, even Good Night, Moon gets a little dicey.

Some of them, I’ve written about before.

I wrote about the insane ABC book.

Nicole Leigh Shaw invited me to ride her Character Assassination Carousel, and I wrote about Bert and Ernie and their misadventures with a mop.

After reading to Tiny, last night, and the millionth time having to explain this book to, yet another, child, today, I thought I’d share with you the book Opposites.

The premise is simple enough.

Take a bunch of pictures of things that are opposites, write the words, and teach the kiddies a thing or two.

However, implicit in a children’s book is the understanding that the information will be presented in a way that doesn’t confuse the kids.

I think someone forgot to tell this to this particular author.

In all fairness, most of the book is straightforward.

You have “above.”

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And then you have “below.”

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You see a kitten that is “awake.”

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And then you are shown a kitten that is “asleep.”

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But, what about words that may be opposite, but you can’t really find one subject that demonstrates both words?

Just take two things that are completely unrelated and put them together, I guess.

For example;

“Soft”

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Aw.

Look at the cute bunny.

Look at the cute, soft bunny.

Don’t you want to pet and kiss that cute soft bunny?

Totally an example of soft.

But how do you use a picture of a bunny to show “hard?”

Take a visit to a taxidermist?

Put it in a leather vest and pop a lit cigarette in it’s mouth?

Serve it, well-done, with a nice bearnaise sauce?

Nope.

My friends, to make a bunny into an example of “hard,” you turn it into…

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A Volkswagen Beetle.

I get it…it’s hard to make a bunny look hard.

However, maybe if that’s the case, you pick something else.

Like gum in someone’s mouth and gum under the desk in a classroom.

Or, if it’s too difficult, then skip that set of opposites.

Because, here’s what happens my friends.

When Tiny reads the book (and his sister and brothers before him, I might add) he reads it fine.

“Soft!’

“Hard!”

But, in general conversation, when you say, “Hey Tiny!  What’s the opposite of ‘soft?'” the kid responds with a proud shout, “A car!”

And what about the pictures that are straightforward, but still manage to confuse the tykes?

Pictures for words like “left” and “right.”

Left.

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Right.

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Okay, I get it and I can see the logic in the example.

However, I’m 42 and feel like I have a pretty strong grasp on the concept of left and right.

Most of the time.

And if I am feeling muddled and confused about it, I simply pretend I’m about to say the Pledge of Allegiance and it clears things right up.

But this picture?

Let me explain.

We turn to this page and Tiny says “Left!’ turns the arrow and says “Right!” and I say, “Yes!”

And then he says (every single time) “This side is left!” and puts his hand over the word ‘left,’ which is actually on the right side of the page.

And I say, “Correct!  Well, no, actually.  That’s the word left, but it’s the right side of the page.”

And he lifts his right hand and says “left!”

And I say, “No, that’s your right hand.”

And he points to the word “left” on the paper and says, “This says ‘left!'” and I say, “Yes!”

And the whole thing starts again.

Maybe we could have just had the word “right” on the right hand side of the page and the word “left” on the left hand side of the page and left it at that.

But, what do I know?

 

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