Archive for the ‘lessons’ Category

Roll your eyes if you must, but (as you know) I consider my dogs my kids.

But lately, I feel more like I’m raising teenagers. Yes, 4-legged teenagers.

Case in point:

That’s Ryder, riding shotgun in my car.

Remember those teenage years of riding in silence with your parents because you were too cool to talk?

Doesn’t it look like she’s pulling that attitude with me? “Yeah, mama. Whatever.”

Meanwhile, Sethy just sleeps in the backseat, basically telling everyone to leave him alone.

“Leave me alone.” Remember that one from teenagehood?

Speaking of sleeping, my kids are champs at that.

Again, case in point:

That’s Seth sleeping, one of his favorite things to do. He loves to sleep in the car. On his dog beds. On the deck outside.

But despite my pleading, he doesn’t like sleeping on the couch next to mama. No matter how many times I invite him up next to me, he kind of looks at me like, “Um, nah…” and then goes off to sleep somewhere else.

Meanwhile, if I’m on the couch downstairs, Ryder is usually up in our bedroom, snoring away on the bed.

Let’s see… who else likes to be alone in their rooms? Oh, yes. Teenagers!

And finally, when it comes to eating, my pups aren’t exactly patient. Like teenagers, when hunger calls, all else must stop and mama must deliver.

The other day I was preparing breakfast for the kids, and as usual, they sat and watched me.

I got sidetracked for a second and had stop the food prep for a minute. Ryder let out a big sigh (and I swear I saw her roll her eyes) and left the room, like, “How dare you delay my breakfast!”

Of course, I’m sure I don’t help the situation, as I’m a total sucker when it comes to their puppy dog eyes.

Like any parent, I always try to do what’s best for my kids. Acting like teenagers or not, they are my babies and my very best friends.

Come on, look at these faces:

Wouldn’t you give them anything they wanted?

– Jane

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Yesterday I had one of those experiences about which you can laugh hysterically… after the fact.

You know what I mean?

I took William to his karate class, and brought Alexander along, too. All 3 of us had to use the bathrooms before class began. So we booked it real quick to the restrooms.

The only restrooms that were unlocked were the “kid” bathrooms. Oh yes, that means stalls that even I am taller than (I’m 5′ tall) and toilets that are about 1 foot off the ground.

So being 8 months pregnant, you can imagine how fun this was.

William decided to go all by himself in a separate stall, “like a big boy.”

Alexander had to come in with me.

As I turned to lock the stall, I noticed it was busted. It wouldn’t latch. So I showed Alexander how to hold the door shut so nobody would get in.

I tried to make it like a “big adventure” for him… I guess that was my first mistake, asking my 2-year-old to hold the door shut while Mommy went to the bathroom.

Well, guess who decided to let go of the door and run off to play in the sink while I was going to the bathroom?

Oh yes, Alexander.

And guess who had to lunge at the door mid-(TMI alert!)stream to grab the door?

Oh yes, me.

I could hear William laughing from his stall and saying, “Look Alex, Mommy peed on the floor!” (Remember, I’m 8 months pregnant… there are some things that cannot be stopped when you’re at this point.)

And my 2 boys thought it was, hands down, the funniest thing they had ever seen and said.

So I quickly finished up, began to clean up the little mess… and as I was doing it some other moms started to come in with their kids.

I was on the floor with paper towels, cleaning up. What could I do? What could I say?

(Oh Alex, honey I’m so sorry…) I actually said, “My middle guy is just learning to go potty and he had a little accident.”

That’s right, I blamed my son.

Of course, every mother gave me that “oh-we-have-been-there-with-our-kids” smile and asked if they could lend a helping hand.

I assured them I had it under control.

But really, I’m not so sure about that! 🙂

– Audrey

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An ode to my Mom

I always knew that I had a special relationship with my mom.

But it took me awhile longer to realize that not every daughter had a mother like mine.

I guess, when I was younger, I thought that all mothers were just like mine.

I thought that all mothers woke their daughters each morning with a loving kiss and a declaration that today would be a great day.

And that when their daughters would say, “Just let me sleep a few more minutes,” all mothers would gently tuck the covers back around their daughters and wish them sweet dreams during those extra minutes of sleep.

I thought that all mothers would stay up late with their daughters as they studied for a big test or finished a big term paper, checking in every once in awhile with snacks, cups of hot tea and encouraging words.

I thought that all mothers had the right words to say, at the right moments, whenever their daughters needed them. That all daughters saw their mothers as the first person to go to whenever they needed to be comforted.

I thought that all mothers and daughters laughed together and genuinely enjoyed each others’ company.

Because that is all I have ever known.

By the time I got to high school, and girls started to “hate” their mothers, it began to hit me that I had something with my mom that not many other people had.

My mom has always just been my best friend, even back in high school.

If I had a fight with a friend, or if I wasn’t invited to something that everyone else was invited to, or if a boy broke my heart, or if I needed to vent about a teacher or a coach, or if a friend put me in an awkward situation… she was always the first person I wanted to go to.

For her advice. For her words of wisdom. For her love.

She never tried to be that “cool mom” who wants to be best friends with her children because she’s trying to act like a teenager.

We never had fights, or didn’t talk to each other. I never told my mom I “hated” her.

My mom just is, and always has been, the first person I go to when I have news to share… good, bad, funny, interesting or otherwise. I genuinely enjoy my mother’s company, and her opinion and her approval mean so much to me.

When I have (human) children of my own someday, I will know I have had the best role model, who has tought me just what a mother should be.

And until then, I will continue trying to emulate the kind of wife, daughter – and woman – she is.

I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!


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I had the opportunity to learn about Safe Kids while at Camp Baby earlier this month.

The mission of Safe Kids Worldwide is to prevent accidental childhood injury, a leading killer of children 14 and under, and has actually reduced the unintentional injury death rate for children within that age range by 45% over the past 20 years.

Founded in 1987 by Children’s National Medical Center, with support from Johnson & Johnson, the organization brings together health and safety experts, educators, corporations, foundations, governments and volunteers to educate and protect families.

This week, April 26th through May 4th, is National Safe Kids Week 2008. It includes research, advocacy for public policy initiatives, advertising, distribution of safety devices and grassroots events through hundreds of Safe Kids coalitions and chapters.

Safe Kids USA has developed a safety checklist on the top injury risks to children and the steps parents can take that will have a major impact in keeping their kids safe. This is an excellent resource to have and to refer to often:

1. Child passenger safety – I ensure that my children under age 13 are and under are properly secured in a back seat of a car for every ride.

2. Car seat selection – I make sure to keep my children in the right type of car seat or booster seat until the adult lap and shoulder belts fit them correctly.

3. Wheel safety – I make sure that my children wear a helmet and other protective gear every time they bike, skate, skateboard, or ride a scooter.

4. Pedestrian safety – I teach my children to cross streets at corners and look left, right and left again before crossing. I also make sure that children under age 10 always cross streets with an adult.

5. Water safety – I always keep my eyes on my children when they are playing in or near water.

6. Open water safety – I always make sure my children wear life jackets when riding on boats or playing in or near open bodies of water.

7. Fire safety and Poison prevention – I have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors installed on every level of my home and outside of every sleeping area. I change the batteries once a year, and test the alarm every month.

8. Suffocation prevention – I do not place blankets, pillows or other soft items in a baby’s crib. I keep small items such as toy parts, coins, buttons, and beads away from children under age three.

9. Poison prevention – I keep poisonous items, such as medicines and cleaners, locked away and out of reach of children.

10. Fall prevention – I do not let children play on stairs, furniture, balconies, roofs, or in driveways, streets or parking lots.

Help the Safe Kids cause on:

Other resources:
Join the Safe Kids monthly newsletter
Donate to Safe Kids

– Jane

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I had an epiphany of sorts last week.

Audrey’s oldest son, 3-year-old William, is getting very interested in letters and words. I happen to have a little sign hanging on my back door inside doorknob, and he was studying the words on it: In the Garden.

“What does this spell,” he asked.

I answered, “In the garden.”

“What does it mean?” he innocently asked.

“Well, Honey… I hang this little sign when I am going out to work in my garden. That way you’ll know where I am.”

Silence. Then he walked four little 3-year-old steps to gaze out my bay window.

Finally, “Grandma, where’s the garden?”

Oh, yeah. Little detail. There isn’t one.

And I got to thinking that this little guy has never seen me work in my garden. My husband and I moved to our home 3 years ago. We had sold our home a little north of here when William was a mere 6 months old.

Now THAT home had gardens. I had a garden for each of our 4 children. We celebrated Audrey and Jane’s graduations from college in those gardens. I had a grandchildren garden (we had 5 grandbabies back then, and William was the youngest).

Audrey and Jane dressed for their weddings in that home, and we captured my gardens in the photographs.

I had a garden tea party baby shower for Audrey when she was expecting William.

My neighbors and I divided our beautiful plantings and often stopped to chat, have a lemonade… or a beer!

I had bountiful blueberry and raspberry bushes. My granddaughters had the greatest fun picking those little fruits.

I had exquisite garden decorations (stone, granite… each with a precious meaning). Thank God my home purchase and sales agreement specified that I take these with us. Oh. They’re in my shed.

But anyway, back to William and his question. I realized at that moment that William was too young to see my gardens. He never saw me at sunrise, noon, sunset, and even in the dark… planning, digging, planting, watering… loving the earth and its glorious bounty.

I realized that he couldn’t know that when we moved to our new home (well, old home… our home was built in 1780), my husband and I spent two years renovating the interior, and almost three years renovating and rebuilding the back of our home. We added decks. A pergola. A shed with its own little cupola, with a rooster weather vane. We leveled the yard of all its weeds and growth and nastiness.

William didn’t know that I would awaken at night and stare out of my bedroom window onto the front lawn below. I actually had nightmares about the front. One day I took a sledge hammer from our shed and hammered the crap out of a horrible fence that smothered the front yard. I felt a twinge of bad for the former owner… and then it seemed that all of my neighbors simultaneously were shouting “hurrah!” I raked all the dead things away… and that’s where we are today.

Ah… my little William who loves to work with his daddy in his own gardens (Audrey is not the gardener in her family) didn’t even know about grandma’s green thumb.

Long story, well, long! I have entered DIY Network’s America’s Most Desperate Landscape contest. I’ve gotta get back to the soil. I’ve gotta hit dirt.

But I had to have a little fun doing it. So. Have a couple of laughs on me (and my son-in-law, Steve, and my granddogs in their breakthrough acting rolls) in the video HERE.

And while you’re there, rate my landscape as the worst in America so my front yard will get a little respect! Rate it as ONE shovel (“landscape emergency!”). I’ll thank you all on the Today Show if I’m a finalist!


– Sharon


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Girls Gone Stupid

Girls, young women, ladies… all ya’ll, listen up.

Do not take your clothes off for this man:

I cannot emphasize this enough.

Oh, that smiling face? It’s one Joe Francis. In his mugshot.

You may not be familiar with the name Joe Francis, but you may be more inclined to recognize the name of his company, which has brought him the fame he enjoys – Girls Gone Wild.

Yes, that is the face up there of the man for whom intoxicated smashed idiotic dimwitted co-eds take off their clothes.

What do these fine young ladies get in return? A GGW t-shirt? More beer? Public humiliation? All of the above?

Is it worth it, girls?

Look, at this point in my life, there are three people in this world for whom I will take my clothes off.

My doctor (because I have to). My husband (I won’t go there). And George Clooney (call me!).

But even when I was in my late teens/early twenties, I know I still made “showing skin” decisions based on what future repercussions would be.

Ergo, if Mr. Francis The Sleazeball had approached me on Spring Break or at a bar, dangling a carrot in front of me to lift my top on camera, you can bet your ass I would have responded with a big, fat “Step off!”

There have been nights that I haven’t been able to get to sleep, so I’ve turned on the television to kill the time. There’s not much to watch at 3 A.M. beyond Magic Bullet infomercials and Girls Gone Wild commercials. I’ve watched the Magic Bullet debacle enough times that shooting a bullet at the TV has crossed my mind, so I’ve had to move on to the GGW freak show.

All I can think when I’m watching it is, “What if someone who had just interviewed me for a job… or my next-door neighbor… or my mailman… or my brother(!) was watching this… and all of a sudden they saw me pop into the screen exposing my lady bits to the world?”

Mortifying thought. I cringe just thinking about it. And so I end up just getting mad at the half-wits who put themselves in these situations. Yes, the whole GGW idea is just gross. But these girls have to be held responsible for their decisions, too.

The reason that this is on my mind is because I recently read that Mr. Francis The Sleazeball had approached Ashley Alexandra Dupre, former Governor Eliot Spitzer’s favorite call girl, this genius:


… with a $1 million offer to take part in the 2008 GGW Spring Break tour. Gross enough, right?

But then the next day, Mr. Francis The Sleazeball reneged on the offer because he had found 5-year-old video of Ms. Dupre in the GGW archives.

She had, in fact, spent a week aboard the GGW bus in Miami back in 2003. A week isn’t a long time, but it was apparently enough for Ms. Dupre to get some nice girl-on-girl action and other naked escapades caught on tape.

I don’t know who to be more disgusted with, the man with no morals, the girl with no self-respect, or the people who actually buy this crap (because someone is paying the $29.95 monthly subscription to the GGW website).

I don’t see any end in sight to the glamorization of idiotic behavior. Because as I type this, I guarantee there is a GGW bus at some Spring Break location, filming away. And there are plenty of girls supplying the camera crew with the footage they’re looking for.

But I’ll tell you one thing, if you ever find me in a provocative position on film, you can bet your ass it will involve George Clooney.

– Jane

Cross-posted at:

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We’ve all done it.

That polite smile.

You know what I mean… the type of smile when somebody you’re talking to goes on and on and on (and on…) about something you already know about, but you still must stand there listening.

I don’t know about you all, but I often find myself doing the polite smile.

Yesterday, for instance.

I had to go to the DMV to update my license. Not something that’s ever fun. EVER.

I was prepared for the long wait, so I brought some magazines and my latest Barbara Taylor Bradford novel, The Heir.

As I was settling in, I heard a voice say to me… “When are you due?”

I turned around to see a woman about my age, sitting there with a big belly that matched mine.

I greeted her with a smile. Not the polite smile, a real genuine, oh-cool-someone-I-can-chat-with smile. For those of you who know me… I’m a talker. I could chat for hours. Just give me a willing individual!

It turns out the two of us are due about 2 weeks apart. Both with boys. Both having C-sections.

Ironic, huh?

So we began to chat about our pregnancies.

And truth be told, I really didn’t get a word in edgewise. Looks like I was up against the talker-of-talkers. She went on and on (and on and on) about everything pregnancy. About everything baby.

I guess, in some ways… she viewed herself as an expert.

I did get a word in here and there.

“Oh yes, my oldest son had a Papasan.”

“No, I formula fed all my kids.”

“We found out the sex of all our boys.”

“My 3rd son had horrible acid reflux.”

And you know something is a little amiss with your conversation when, after chatting for a half hour or so (and saying the statements above) she asks me…

“So is this your first?”

Ahhh… that polite smile.

That polite smile that speaks a million things going through your mind… but you can’t possibly say those kinds of things in a public place.

“No… this is my fourth.”

To which she replied, “Will this be your first boy?”

Polite smile. (And an eyebrow raise.)

I pretended my phone was buzzing.

Said a polite “good bye” and “good luck with the rest of your pregnancy” and got up and walked away.

The highjinks of Britney Spears and Angelina Jolie had suddenly become much more interesting!

– Audrey

Cross-posted at New England Mamas

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PatriotsI imagine that most sports bars and Super Bowl parties across New England looked and sounded the same last night around 10 o’clock.

Stunned faces. Dead silence.

(Meanwhile, I pictured the reaction at similar sports bars and Super Bowl parties across New York, New Jersey – and the rest of the country, for that matter – as being quite different. Jubilant would probably sum it up).

Yet, as much as I would have loved to see the Patriots win the Super Bowl and have that perfect season that seemed so attainable before last night’s game, it just didn’t happen. And that’s that.

I couldn’t even listen to my favorite talk radio show this morning. The Patriots fans calling in were so depressed that it was just downright… depressing.

And the non-Patriots fans were calling in sounding so giddy, it was as if they had singlehandedly won the game.

But that brings me to my point.

Guys? When it comes down to it? It’s just… a game.

It’s grown men running around in spandex and shoulder pads, throwing (and kicking) a ball from one side of the field to another.

It’s grown men getting paid millions of dollars to do this. It’s what they do for work.

Not a bad gig.

And last night after watching the game at a neighbor’s house, my husband and I walked back to our little home on our little street. Monday morning, and another work week, would be coming soon.

And although I was disappointed in the Super Bowl loss, I couldn’t help but think this: There probably isn’t one player on the Patriots roster who would lose any sleep if I had a bad day at work.

Because the reality is, that’s what it comes down to. They had a really, reallllllly crappy day at work.

But they’ll wake up this morning, hop on a private plane back to Boston, have a limo drive them to their multi-million dollar homes, maybe get a really nice massage, relax in their giant jacuzzis and/or home movie theaters (hey, I’ve seen MTV’s Cribs) and start their months-long off-season hiatus.

Oh, and on that hiatus? Maybe they’ll take a trip (or a few) somewhere warm. Earn a few more million pulling in some endorsements. Get some team workouts in. Play a little fantasy baseball just for the fun of it.

Yes, I’m generalizing a bit. But what I’m getting at is this: life goes on after a Super Bowl loss. In fact, life goes on quite comfortably for the players; even those on the losing team.

So let’s try to look at it as a bad day at work. We’ve all had ’em. The Pats had one last night.

You may have one today. And if you do, just call up your masseuse for a nice, deep-tissue rubdown. And don’t listen to talk radio. Hearing your depressed fans will just make it worse.

– Jane

Cross-posted at New England Mamas

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Green Chum

Speaking of GREEN

Our chum CK has started a new blog called Green Is Her New Blog. We’re loving this new site and it has tons of GREAT tips for GREEN living!

(Our pal C is a guest contributor, too!)


Our lucky mama pick today on Pinks & Blues is the Great Uses for Vinegar book… loaded with green living ideas!

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allysipping.jpgMy husband loves coffee milk.

Coffee milk… as in 2 or 3 tablespoons of Autocrat Coffee Syrup mixed into a nice, tall glass of cold milk.

This, in my experience, is kind of a Rhode Island thing. I had never heard of Coffee Syrup until I moved to Rhode Island. And the phenomenon doesn’t stop with coffee milk. It extends to coffee milk shakes. Coffee frappes. Or the all-Rhode-Island expression, coffee cabinet (don’t even ask me where the name comes from!).

So should I be surprised that my little 2-year-old grandson Alexander has coffee milk running through his veins? In his very DNA?

It all came to the surface yesterday.

My husband Barry, or Pop-up, as he is called by his grandchildren, and I had our little darling Ally for the afternoon. His older brother had his first school-kid-invited birthday party at the local YMCA and his littlest brother needed a nap.

We asked Ally what he wanted to do, and he immediately said, “Horses.” Which means the carousel at the mall.

That was easy. A couple of twirls on the merry-go-round. Then a trip to the Disney Store. A stop at the fountain “to trow in coins… lots of coins.” And how can you leave the mall without lunch.

Here in Rhode Island, lunch with kids means Newport Creamery. Ally is probably one of the easiest kids in the entire world to please, so we thought his usual grilled cheese and milk would do.

Not so easy.

Ally spotted Pop-up pouring some coffee-colored substance from a shiny stainless steel container into a glass.

“What’s that, Pop-up?” And not waiting for a response, “I want some.”

Now you must understand that a Newport Creamery Coffee Cabinet to my husband can be likened to Jimmy Choo shoes to me. Something to be savored. Delighted in. Loved.

But what trumps your favorite thing? A grandchild wanting it.

So Pop-up gave Ally a taste. That taste turned into his very own kid-cup. The kid-cup got traded in for Pop-up’s glass. The glass and its contents ended up as lickable remnants on Ally’s precious face.

Ah, Pop-up, it’s in the DNA!

– Sharon


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