December 29, 2011

OUT WITH THE OLD...

A couple years ago, a friend sent me the most massive astrology forecast I had ever seen. I had just separated so things were obviously a little tough and life was complicated. Looking and hoping for better luck, I turned to this 4 page horoscope outlining details of what would hopefully become a bright future. Show me the money.

Alas, no dice. It appeared that financially, romantically, and professionally, my life would basically SUCK until sometime in 2011.

Of course, it didn't suck. Always. Just sometimes. 2011 came with a lot of highs and lows. Many wins and losses. Constant pushes and pulls.

And while there's been many successes, small triumphs, and wonderful moments of luck and love, more than not: I'm happy to say goodbye 2011. I'm happy to start anew.

I won't list all my resolutions for 2012, but I will say, in general, this will be the year to BE KINDER. More kind to my family, my friends, my body, my mind. I'm very hard on myself. It's time to lighten up, worry less, be STILL more. Time to get off of your Facebook and on to my fantastic stories. It's time to stop stalking and start taking stock in what's in front of me. It is time to BREATHE.

Before I tip my Forty to the year that put hair on my chest and "didn't kill me, but definitely made me stronger," I'd like to look back on a few of my favorite stories and posts. Boy, did I accrue some kick ass stories. Some of which, sorry, will never see the light of day on this blog. (Gotta save something for my memoirs. Ha). Here are some of my favorites from 2011...








And now... the new!!! I look forward to sharing many more stories and memories in 2012.... Here's to a beautiful and bright, happy and healthy, simple and sacred New Year.

Cheers!!!

WHY?

The other day, I told J that in a few weeks soccer would be starting again.
"Who's going to be on my team?"
"Well," I said, "Blake and Sammy... They'll be on your team again..."
"Who's NOT going to be on my team?"
Pause. Seriously? Who's NOT going to be on your team? Um, kid. About 6 billion people won't be on your team.
"There's a lot of people that won't be on your team, Jonah."
"Tell me who."
I literally started naming random people, "President Obama, Lady Gaga, The Backyardigans, Grandpa..."
"Who else?"
Conversations like this obviously amuse me. But mostly? They concern me: They. Can. Go. On. FOREVER. There is no answer that will satiate him. EVER.

I know I'm not alone though. I know this is an epidemic/rite of passage that every parent experiences. Few people are as honest about how taxing (ie. downright pull your hair out annoying) this can be than comedian Louis C.K. He has some great bits about his daughters. This is one of my favorite ones. Enjoy.


December 22, 2011

JUST FOR CHANUKAH

Recently many family members asked me what Jonah wants for Chanukah. I would often respond with a "he doesn't need anything" (an answer that grandmothers cannot accept) and follow up with "okay, um....okay... he's in to robots and science stuff..." But at a recent westside "be a better parent" group, I learned from the jedi parenting master that 4 year olds are in such a "gimme gimme" stage, that now would be the time to talk to them about giving back. That instead of them telling us all the things they want and need, we should encourage them to think about what we can do or give to others.


So I tried that. I sat Jonah down... Told him how lucky we are to have so many family and friends and how nice it would be to give everyone something special. We went through and made a list of all our loved ones. For whatever reason, he thinks my my mom needs a new blanket, my boyfriend needs a mirror and my nana needs a new pan for making cookies. (All of this stuff may be true).


Of course, the conversation of gift giving didn't last long as his concern over how many gifts he would get this year prevailed. Just as he was getting in the bath, he asked me to go get a piece of paper and pen. "Why?" I asked. "Because I need you to write down all the things I want for Chanukah." "Ohhhhhhhh. Okay."


So, dutifully I obeyed.


***

Pen & Paper in hand.

Me: So. What first?

J: A volcanU thing. That were going to give Joe-Joe for his birthday. But I want it. A volcanU science explosion thing. I want that.

Me: Next...

J: A big shooter gun that would shoot people with a pretend bullet coming out of it.

Awesome.

J: ... and a ball to play with... Inside.

Me: Ok...

J: ... a big boat to sail... on the floor. (Pause). What else do IIIIIIIII want?

Me: Hmm... How about a computer game for you to play on Mommy's computer?

J: No. You don't have an app store.

Me: Oh. (Pause). How about books?

J: Yes, books. And dress up stuff.

Me: What kind of dress up stuff?

J: Scary dress up stuff. With masks. Like Count Dracula. Or Spiderman, or Batman.

Me: How about an instrument, for music?

J: Yes, I'd really like a guitar. And a tuba. And a keyboard. And a violin. And a trumpet.

Taking notes feverishly.

J: I need new play dough. Different colors. Like purple. Or blue. Or yellow. Or green.

Me: This is a great list. I think that's ----

J: Whaaaaat else do IIIIIIIIIII neeeeeeed?

Me: Jeez, that's a lot of stuff. I'm not sure...

J: I need more stuff.

Me: Puzzles?

J: Yes. New puzzles. A puzzzle of a volcanU to see all the lava.

Me: Okay, well this is a big list. So I'll let everyone know.

J: But, mommy, I need 100, ninety, 30, thousand presents.

Me: Gotcha. Alright, well last final thing... ?

J: Oh, I want a (cash) register. That's like the one at the Zimmer Museum.

Me: I'll see what I can do.

J: Is that a good list, mommy?

Me: Very good. BUT remember, the holidays are not just about getting. It's about giving too.

J: But mommy, we don't celebrate Christmas.

Me: That's true.

J: Because we're jewish.

Me: That's true.

J: So Santa doesn't bring me gifts on Christmas...

Me: That's right.

J: So you only need to get me all this stuff for Chanukah. Ok, mom? Just for Chanukah.

Me: Got it. Just for Chanukah.


Good thing there are eight nights.

December 21, 2011

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: SMILE PRINCESS!

Something tells me working the breakfast shift, just down the road from the actual magical kingdom, wasn't part of "Jasmine's" fairy tale.


December 13, 2011

THE MOMMY WITHIN

When J first started preschool, I always seemed to get stuck with the stuff on the sign up sheets outside the classroom that NO ONE would wish on their worst enemy.... Taco salad for 35 people, muffins (without dairy, wheat, nuts, or flavor), kosher egg salad, etc... I cursed the gods (and moms) of preschool and complained that no one understood the plight of the working mom. Sorry I'm not at all the pick up and drop offs wearing a stupid cardigan, skinny jeans and flats, and getting all excited and nervous about what to sign up for on THE list. OH, that GODDAMN LIST.

Well this year, somehow (and I swear to you, it wasn't voluntary) I became a room rep. This combined with the fact that I now am an independent contractor and work from home means I do a lot more pick up and drop offs and therefore have much more access to said goddamn list, ie. First mother effing dibs bitches!

So a couple weeks ago, as I was leaving morning drop off J's teacher said she was about to put out the list for the class Chanukah party. She told me to sign up for something before all "the easy stuff" was taken. EASY? I want easy. Don't get stuck with the noodle kugle, or worse latkes. NO. I paid my friggin' dues. I want easy. I scanned the list. Napkins and utensils, fruit salad, Chanukah cookies, mini bottles of water.... MINI. BOTTLES. OF. WATER? Done and done. Who's bringing the bottles of water? Jennifer Fucking Brandt is. That's who.

Feeling victorious and like I just scored the last, hottest dress at a sample sale, I turned to leave. And then it hit: Bottles of water? Bottles of water???? Really?! You're going to bring bottles of water to your son's Chanukah party? That's what you want him to remember you by? The mom that brings bottles of water to the festival of lights? Be better than that, Jenny. BE. BETTER. THAN. THAT.

I scanned the list again. Cheese sandwiches (for 25). I can do cheese sandwiches. Bread, cheese, sandwich. My mind started to race. I can do MORE than bread, cheese, and sandwich. I can do butter and wait for it: shapes. CHANUKAH shapes. And if I'm feeling extra ambitious and cute, I might even grill the little effers. (Well, let's not get carried away with ourselves here...).

Excited to let the mommy within do her thing, I had our afternoon of sandwich making all planned. I set up a little assembly line... I buttered, J put on the cheese, the bread, and picked his shape. Chanukah, oh chanukah, come make some cheese sandwiches....


Little by little, the crafty, clever and culinary master I knew existed within emerged and I was mentally kicking the asses of all the other cardigan and flats wearing moms out there
. Of course, I wasn't exactly prepared for what to do with the remnants of the 2 loaves of bread I used to make these miniature dreidel, menorah and star of David prizes....

At the urging of my mom, I'm going to try to make a souffle. Alas, I'll finally be able to summon the French, butter loving, woman I know exists within....

December 7, 2011

December 4, 2011

HOLIDAY LOOKS

Ho, friggin', ho. 'Tis the season to be jolly... and make fun of holiday sweaters. Whether the lit up mall and long lines for Santa are getting you in the holiday spirit or not, one thing is for certain, this time of year, especially for parents, is pure madness. From holiday parties at schools, to gifts for teachers, to scheduling play dates and plans while school's out, our dance card is full... And that's not including the holiday work parties and family/friend get togethers (where I pray that the egg nog is spiked and the latkes are extra crispy). A few weeks ago, my girl Robin Saperstein of High Heel in a Haystack came over and we played adult dress up. Faaaaaashion! We started talking about the holidays and some of the events and parties I've got (believe me, I'm not that cool)... Robin helped me come up with a few outfit options. Hopefully this will inspire you to think about what you're going to wear... assuming you haven't already committed to a lovely red knit sweater adorned with an embroidered Rudolph and a yule tide log.... If you have that look picked out, please wear it. And invite me to the party. Oh, please.

November 30, 2011

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: GOOD FORTUNE

Now this is the kind of shower I can find the time for....


November 28, 2011

POKER FACE

Last night, I took a trip down iPhoto lane and stumbled on a slew of old videos from when Jonah was about 21 months old. Watching them, I started to feel very sentimental... Though I love watching this child bloom and truly become a little boy right now, I must admit, part of me misses "Baby-Ko...." First steps, first words, first songs... Now he's putting concepts together. Like big concepts. Take this conversation for example... From the back seat... where the most meaningful conversations seem to start....

J: Mommy, tell me about the day I came out of your PA-CHINA.
And cue the poker face.
Me: Um, wha-- Oh. Um. Uh, okay. Uh, the day you were born...?
J: Yeah, tell me.
Me: Okaaaay....
J: Did it hurt when I was coming out of your pa-china.
Me: Yes. It did.
J: For how long?
Me: For about 40 minutes.
J: Is that a long time?
Me: Uh, actually... It's pretty good. Not bad.
J: Did it hurt me?
Me: No, it didn't hurt you.
J: What did it feel like?
Me: Uh.....
(Is this where I tell him about anaesthesia?)
J: Did it feel like a pinch?
Me: Uh huh. Like a pinch.
J: Like a shot?
Me: Yep. Like a shot.
J: Like a big, big poo poo coming out?
Me: Um. Yes. Definitely like that.
Silence.
J: But Mommy, I'll never have a baby...
Me: Well, one day you wi--
J: No. Mommy, no. I don't have a pa-china.
Me: That's true. You don't. But you'll marry a mommy and she will have one.
J: Where will you be?
Me: Well, I'll live very close by.
J: Will you live with me?
Me: No, not when you're married.
Silence.
J: Mommy, do you want to marry me?
Me: Jonah, I .... Mommies can't marry their sons. But I will love you forever.
J: Even when I'm an old man.
Me: Even when you're an old man.
J: Do I get to step on the glass at my wedding?
Me: (laughing). Why, yes, Jonah. Yes, you do.
J: Turn on Lady Gaga.
Me: Okay.
Speaking of Poker face...

I do. I miss the A, B, C's.

November 24, 2011

MANY THANKS....

... for family. The traditions new and old, the questions that my mom asks repeatedly (still), the goodbyes that take forever (even though we'll see each other tomorrow). It means I have family. It means I have support.

... for my health. The extra stuff around the middle, the puffy eyes in the morning (and at night), the muscle cramps and aches after a hard workout (or bad night of sleep). It means I have health. It means my body works.

... for my home. The loud and unfriendly neighbors, the (always dirty looking) tile that I would not have chosen, the clutter that waxes and wanes, ebbs and flows (depending on how hard a 4 year old cyclone hits). It means I have a home. It means I have a haven.

... for my friends. For my friends, for my sweet, sweet friends. Your words of encouragement, your words of wisdom, your words through decades and disasters. It means everything. It means I have a team.

... for my child. The many questions I cannot answer, the whining and temper tantrums I cannot quell, the energy I cannot handle at certain times. It means I have a child. It means I have given life.

... for my dreams. The many disappointments, the many visions of life and love (past and present), the twinkle in the stars I manage to believe shine for me even when it feels like the world is telling me otherwise. It means I'm a dreamer. It means I have hope.

Today I am grateful for all this and more. Happy Thanksgiving.

November 20, 2011

RED JEANS: 3 WAYS

Earlier this year, Robin Saperstein of High Heel in a Haystack and I met and as I've said before, I was convinced we were not only separated at birth, but that we shared a deeply stylish karmic fashion connection. Robin, a fashion stylist based here in Los Angeles gave me a complete wardrobe makeover. Not only did she go through my closet and help me determine which clothes shouted 1993 and needed to be bagged immediately, but she put together some fantastic looks for me that inspired me to continue to think about style and actually enjoy getting dressed (in something other than yoga pants and my American Apparel pullover).

Well this weekend, we hung out and ended up playing dress up. Literally. We started talking about some outfits I could wear to different events and holidays and also some ideas for fully functional days (meaning, what do I wear on fully kid, fully exhausting, down in the trenches days). Equipped with a fab pair of Current Elliot red skinnies, I had Robin show me three ways to wear red jeans without something just black. I loved what she came up with so we decided that we'd film it and share it with you.

Btw, can I still look stylish with these jeans unbuttoned on Thanksgiving???? Just wonderin'.... Enjoy!

November 16, 2011

November 14, 2011

NATIONAL LIKE YOURSELF DAY: YEAR 2


The other day I noticed a picture on my phone that Jonah must have taken one morning during a round of "Mommy, what does this button do." I have to be honest, at first glance, I saw nothing but blur and went to delete it. But then I took a second look, "Do my thighs look as great as I think they do here?"

Totally self absorbed and obnoxious as it may sound, the photo gave me that sort of... "hmmph" feeling... The kind of feeling when you try you try on a pair of jeans you think will look terrible, but lo and behold, your butt actually looks (a la Larry David), "pre-tty, pre-tty, good."

Similarly, while taking Tae Bo class this morning, and feeling particularly proud of myself for how high I was kicking, I got a rush of "I'm kind of a bad ass" and remembered a post I wrote last October. After spending time in what I dub/dubbed as "woe is me land," last year, I decided I'd take a day to honor the strictly superficial things I like about myself and shout it from the roof tops. Read Post HERE. I got a lot of positive feedback... a lot of you were up for the challenge and shared the things you liked too...

One year later, I'm happy to say I'm still feeling great about my ankles, eyebrows, and what should be a genetically impossible nose. Though I still hate my arms and frequently curse the Gods of Breastfeeding, there are days like today that liking myself comes easy. I'm not sure if I have Hipstamatic and/or fogged up gym mirrors to thank for the feeling, but either way, I'm gonna roll with it. And like it.

Now it's your turn again. It's National Like Yourself Day and I'm challenging YOU to like yourself today too. Choose three things that you love about yourself physically. Share them in the comments here and/or on your own blog. Be sure to leave a link and link back to me too. Tweet it, Facebook it, share it with your community and spread the like yourself love....

Who's in?

November 10, 2011

GET DOWN ON IT

So.... you know how I tried that whole "go to your room and spew obscenities" thing a couple weeks back? Well, yeah... So it worked. For a brief period... For a few days, I went without hearing my little 38 pound mad scientist/dictator grunt his favorite one word: "fuckit." When he needed to get out the "dammits" and the "assholes," he fled to his room for some quality-tourrettes- alone-time and re-emerged relieved and ready to talk about worldly and important things like how we need to start bringing money to school because they're trying to help "the poor HOPEless people" or how in heaven WE (me and him) will "share a big, big house and God will taaaaalk. toooo. US. LIIIIIKE. THIIIIIIIS." While they haven't necessarily explained that we (Jews) don't entirely believe in heaven, I'm thinking that at least his Jewish Preschool is teaching the kids from an early age the importance of giving back and that they shouldn't, OY, god forbid forget about they're mothers. Clearly, guilt, like writing, is a learned skill. And if he's to be a dahctah, he should learn everything he can... NO? But I digress...

Okay, so this language issue/obsession, for a moment in time, seemed quelled. (Not withstanding our current battle over the word "stupid," which he thinks his hilarious despite my attempt to Westside parent his ass about how utterly tragic it would be to be a "stupid person, who essentially has a BROKEN BRAIN....") I've realized, however, I may have a bigger battle on the horizon (Dear God, I think I just quoted the last line in his Transformers book): MUSIC.

While a 4-year old calling everyone and everything "stupid" is nothing to brag about, having your child bust out a little dance move and sing "You sexy and you KNOW it!" does not entitle you to mother of the year award either. OBVIOUSLY, he hears these provocative and (entirely inappropriate) songs while driving with adults... So it's not entirely his fault for being the sponge that he is. But here's the thing: There's actually nothing we can listen to on the radio that's appropriate. Turn on any station. Right now, someone is either putting their back into IT, shaking IT, getting down on IT, or making someone sweat from IT. There's even a lovely little ditty in which the singer tells a "honey" they look better with the lights off. (That one's a real gem).

In thinking about wanting to set a good example, I've tried in the past few days to redirect his attention to some of the music he used to enjoy like Mary Poppins, Wizard of Oz, and his rabbinical all time favorite, Siman Tov. (For those of you familiar with the ultimate Bar Mitzvah or Jewish Wedding song, imagine that on a loop for 45 minutes. GUN. TO. HEAD.) I even turned to my XM Disney Kids station in hopes that we could be saved. What song came up? Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA." (Oh, yeah, 'cuz "moving your hips like 'yeaaaaaaaah'" sets a great fucking example. Literally).

I don't know. Call me crazy, but I think I'm going to give up on this issue entirely until I figure out the best course of action for this language and vocabulary battle we continue to have. Actually, call me STUPID. Because when it comes to this parenting issue: My. brain. is. BROKEN.

HELP!


November 2, 2011

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: WRONG. JUST WRONG.

Who knew an inflated pumpkin could look so... um, inflated.

WRONG.


WRONG.

WRONG.

Goodbye, Halloween!


October 20, 2011

IT'S ALL ABOUT APPEARANCE

When it comes to "the home," I'm not sure the saying, "it's what's on the inside that counts" really works. Sure a home needs to be filled with love and warmth-- a safe haven from the outside world. Stuffed with family, kids, and pets, it needs to be functional and utilitarian, and not just decorated, pretty and impressive... sure ... And while keeping your home tidy and perfectly organized is all the time impossible, there are a few ways that can sort of mask the chaos (aka. Stuff it away) and make it appear like you have your shit together.

BTW, What am I even saying? I'm writing this past my bedtime and I still have 2 Jersey Shores to watch (which is actually nothing compared to the 18 Grey's Anatomy's sitting in my DVR). ANYWAY, recently I shot a segment with the Kate to my Alli, Diane Mizota of Yahoo Shine's This Week in MOM. Hopefully some of my tips will help you get (look) organized... (aka.Perfectly Disheveled!)

October 12, 2011

WORKING MOM: WHAT I DO

Without getting into a diatribe about the plight of the working mom and how no one will ever understand our woes and Debbie Downer cries of "waaaaaah waaaaaaah," I would like to say simply: it's not easy. Especially when your son attends a school where the majority of moms don't work, or at least, are so involved in the minutia of the school it appears as if they don't work/ need/want to work and the joys of planning a bake sale or book fair pales in comparison graduating from Yale Law. This is not to say that those women, some of my favorite, sweetest and dearest friends, to be exact, aren't brilliant and capable of work... it's just that... well. They. don't. work. And. I. do.

Lately, Jonah has been asking me about this... "Why do you work and the other mommies don't?" There are days I'd like to respond by saying, "Because they're lucky bitches." But, of course, I refrain and offer a very matter of fact and confident, "Because I am a writer and I tell stories. That is my job. Some mommies work. Some mommies don't. Your mommy works." Often, I throw in a "I like to work" bit in there too because even though there are (jealous) days that I wish I didn't HAVE TO, the truth is, I do LIKE to. I like to work. And I want Jonah to grow up not only proud of me but see an example of a strong, smart, and professional mom.... To know that I have a full a life... To know that mommies and daddies can have careers, goals and passions and love their family equally.

However, the tricky part about my job is that it's not a one-liner. So to try to explain to a 4 year old about why I can't pick up from school today and what exactly I'm doing at work... in a world called "Digital Media" and "blogging" and working as a "spokesperson" or "brand ambassador" and how I'm connecting it all with "social media..." blah blah blah... Um, yeah. It's not so cut and dry..... and apparently NOT sooooooo veeeeeeeeeeery important or impressive according to said 4 year old anyway.... see job description below....

Actually... the kid might be on to something. I do type letters. Which does lead to sentences.... Which does lead to stories... It's simple and precise. On that note, I think I'll keep this typing to a minimum. I have work to do. ;-)

October 6, 2011

PARENTING ADVICE: F**K IT

A couple years ago, I wrote a post when I worked at Momlogic about Parenting from the Gut. I had decided that my all things Westside and Neurotic was getting out of control and I'd try to listen to my instincts instead of flocking to the gurus that I had (still am) been paying good money to, to tell me what kind of pajamas my toddler should wear in mid October.

Sure... that "laissez faire," whatever works mentality works sometimes, but there is one area in particular that my own "here's how I'm going to handle this" strategy has been failing big time: Potty Talk with a capital Shit. My 4 year old has been swearing like a truck driver and literally nothing I do or don't do works. Last year, it was all Poop and Pee all the time. J's teacher suggested every time he says Poop or Pee out of context like he has Turret's that I quickly swoop him up and take him to the bathroom as if to say (and actually say), "Oh, you're saying Poop. That must mean you need to go...." Yup. That worked for a week. Then there was the "next time you say that, time out/toy taken away/done playing/no TV blah blah blah" phase. Then there was the "do nothing" phase.... which maaaaaaay have lead to bigger words being spewed like "Stupid. Dammit. Asshole. Shit." And his number one favorite, which he actually will only whisper because he knows just how bad it is: "Fuckit" (Said as one word).

Now before you go judging me and wondering where this angel gets this foul and massively inappropriate vocabulary, allow me to assure you that if, I repeat IF it comes from me it would never be on purpose and only during moments, at least for me, when I'm driving and people don't know how to signal or stop short or drive. really. at all. (Yes, I'm working on my road rage). And it's certainly not from watching Real Housewives or any of that garbage. In fact, if it comes from his exposure to media at all, then the fucking Backyardigans are really the ones to blame... But I digress...

Though his language has been a little extreme, I can say proudly (er, um... as proudly as a mother of a child with this problem should be) that this is language he DOESN'T use at school, but DOES use in proper context. Case in point, the other day: I had to return something to Zara. The manager and sales associate were being complete biatches and extraordinarily rude. When I walked away from the counter in a huff (with J in tow), he asked me why we had to go, I said, out loud, so the two B's could hear me: "Because they're NOT being very helpful."
J: Mommy, were they mean?
Me: Yes.
J: Mommy, should we call them assholes?

I laughed. Yes. I laughed. And in my opinion, the fact that he was able to identify the store manager as an asshole means he is good at reading people. That will save him years of bad relationships. I mean, he was a little off on wanting to call her "Dammit" a few minutes later, but I totally caught his drift. AND yes, I know this is not okay to encourage this behavior which is WHY, I pulled his preschool director aside the other day and told her about my little fouled mouth friend and asked her what in the fuck I should do...

So, her advice: Tell him that we have a new plan. From now on, when he needs to say not nice words, he must go into his bedroom or bathroom, shut the door, and say them to himself. It's private and those words are hurtful and not acceptable, especially not acceptable when you're saying them to your mommy. He must not use this language only in private.

Well, when I picked him up from school and he called me a stupid poop head, I seized the opportunity and told him the new plan. You have never seen a child so excited to get home and close the door by himself. For about 30 seconds I heard, "stupid. shit. dammit. asshole. fuckit. awful. poo poo. pee pee. throw up." Then he came out, took a deep breath and said he was all done. Not ONE bad word has been uttered outside his room since and I swear he has been in a great mood for like 2 days straight. This may have been the best parenting advice I've gotten yet.

We'll see how it fucking goes...

Speaking of parenting advice, here's some of my favorite nuggets of advice I pulled together for Momversation & YouTube. Enjoy ;-)


October 3, 2011

HAPPY CHAOS, HAPPY NEW YEAR

Do your parenting tactics change when you're in public? Mine do. At home, I'm all rules, all Betsy Brown Braun and Wacky's class up on my boy. I stick to my word and mean what I say. (Kind of). But when others are around, even close others, like family, my will to parent perfectly goes to shit. You'd think in public that you'd be more on your game, but No. Not me. I fall apart. I have no backbone and no follow through. Too scared to make a big move and too scared to do too little. The result? A whole lot of nothing.

I've decided that by the time Jonah turns 7, I'll have this portion of the show down. I hope.

Recently, I got a chance to chat with my sweet friend Soleil Moon Frye at her Happy Chaos book launch party hosted by Target Baby about this very subject... It should come as no surprise that this lady is consistent in her parenting, aka Happy Chaos. Speaking of which, here's to a very sweet New Year for those of you that celebrate.

Soleil Moon Frye talks tantrums with Jennifer Brandt from Diane Mizota on Vimeo.

September 28, 2011

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: FUNNY FACES

It's easy to see where he got his devilish good looks...



September 23, 2011

YOUTUBE: CELEBRITIES UNPLUGGED

Michael Buble serenading Rachael Ray. Jim Carrey professing his love for a woman far too young for him. Khloe Kardashian talking about how she really felt about meeting Lamar Odom. Pauly D giving the 101 on how to get Jersey Shore hair in a flash. And me... dorking out to meeting Mr. Two and a Half Men Hottie Ashton Kutcher. Check out my YouTube Celebrity Unplugged Playlist that I recently filmed for Momversation.


September 20, 2011

FOUR.

If you asked me 4 1/2 years ago what I thought my favorite thing would be about having a child, I don't think my answer would have been what it is now. I was pregnant. On the verge. Unaware of what it would really mean to fall deeply in love (on a daily basis) on less than 6 hours of sleep a night. I had no idea, NO clue, that my favorite thing about having a child would be anything other than plain love... After all, the mere ability to love a child... YOUR child... Isn't THAT the best thing? Isn't THAT the gift?


Yes. That's definitely part of it. But over the past 1460 days (okay, maybe 1457 days... as the first three were a complete blur), I've discovered that there might be other gifts. Other delicious and precious nuggets of love, if you will, that melt my heart and fill me with crazy joy....


Though I'm only four years into this gig, I realize I will never be able to pin point the single thing that I enjoy the most about life with Jonah. I can only assume it will have to be our conversations, his kisses and his questions though that I'll cherish always and will define all that it means to adore this child.


This morning, his birthday morning, is a perfect example....


6:39am... Footsteps into my bedroom.

J: Moooommy. (Tap on my shoulder)

Me: Good morning.

J: Moooommy. Am I four today?

Me: Yes! You're four! Happy Birthday!

He climbs into bed and I squeeze him tight.

J: Moooommy? Now that I am four, I am a big boy.

Me: A very big boy.

J: And I can't have a fit...

Me: A fit? (Containing laugh). Nope, no fits.

J: And I can't hit...

Me: Nope, no more hitting.

J: And I can't pinch....

Me: Definitely no pinching.

J: But what can I do?

Me: Oh! Now that you're four, you can do so many wonderful things!

J: I can hug....

Me: Yes, hug...

J: I can kiss... Like this... (He kisses my forehead).

Me: I love kisses.

J: I can share with my friends...

Me: Absolutely.

J: What else?

Me: You can say please and thank you, and be a kind person.

J: And not say "poop" or "pee" a lot...

Me: Yeah, four year olds don't talk like that.

J: Or say fart....

Me: (Nodding) Or say fart.

J: Or touch my "pee-nuz" a lot...

Me: Right. Or that.

J: Are you so happy I'm four?

Me: So happy, my love.

J: Now that I'm four do I get to sit in the front seat?

Me: No. Sorry, baby. You have to sit in the back still. For a few more years.

J: (Thinking). Mommy, tell me about how I got into your tummy and then how I came out of your tummy when I was a baby...

Me: Time to get up!!!!


Happy 4th Birthday, my angel. I love you just as you are right now and always.

Love,

Your Very Proud Mommy.

September 19, 2011

GETTING ORGANIZED: PART 2

Preschool. Year two. Definitely not as anxiety producing as last year when everything felt unknown. This year, Jonah seems to be hip to the notion of all things circle time and hasn't shown an ounce of separation anxiety as I get barely a 'bye' after drop off. All this is a relief, of course. The hard part, getting organized and getting a good morning routine down pat. The morning routine... a definite work in progress. But thanks to P-Touch Label Makers, I have to say, I'm feeling on top of my game in the organization department.

The night before school, Jonah decorated his plastic bin for his cubby and we of course labeled the outside of the bin using the P-Touch-1090, Home & Family Simply Stylish Labeler. Jonah said he wanted his bin to be "the fanciest," so I upped the coolest cubby ante and chose the white on gold tape. He also chose this tape for the outside of his lunch box. So cute. Since the bin is filled with extra clothes, I decided I was going to summon the spirit of my mother (who loved to label everything) and try the Fabric Iron-On tape. Though this meant actually using my iron for the first time this year, (or decade), I was totally up for the challenge and I congratulated myself for saving other moms several rounds of "Do these Lightening McQueen Underoos belong to Jonah."

We opted for good 'ol black on white for his sippy cup. I think it definitely sends a message- Let it be known, children. This is Jonah's cup. Get your own.

Okay, so now that said child's belongings are clearly marked, It. Is. Time. To. Organize. My. Office. SERIOUSLY. Though putting my name on files for bills is not nearly as fun as labeling a lunch box! Happy Back to School Everyone!

September 14, 2011

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: THE END OF SUMMER

A perfect day at the Santa Monica Pier.





This was summer was a great ride.

September 9, 2011

THREE. FIVE. NINE. ELEVEN.

Do you ever think back about your life and assess where you are based on some of the stories you could tell?

Certainly, my life experiences must be an indication of all that I've accomplished, all that is good, all that keeps me hopeful... Right? You know, all those "times" that are etched in our memories that define who we are, where we've been and what life still has in store...?

Like the time I was 11 and on a national talk show. As a comedian. Telling jokes about Pee Wee Herman.

Or...The time I experienced a 6.0 earthquake by myself also as an 11 year old....

Or... The time I moved to New York when I was 17 and swore I'd never move back to Los Angeles again.

Or... the time I got married. And divorced.

Or... the time I got mono. And was too sick to blow out candles on my sixteenth birthday.

Or... the time I was mugged in broad daylight.

Or... the time I played my first game of "Spin the Bottle," and when the bottle landed on me 3 times in a row, the boy spinning decided he didn't want to play anymore. And made out with my best friend in the alley instead.

Or... the time I broke my wrist in 2nd grade on the jungle gym because, after counting to 100, this bitch of a girl wouldn't get off. So I hit her. And missed.

Or... the time I became a homeowner.

Or... the time I decided dressing up as Monica Lewinsky on Halloween (post Clinton scandal) was a funny idea.

Or... the time I spent 10 days backpacking through Europe by myself after college.

Or... the time I flew from Chicago to Los Angeles to visit my dad by myself. At age 4.

Or... the time I won a goldfish at a carnival. Then killed it as soon as soon as I got home.

Or... The time I competed to become All Junior Varsity Champ in Track for the 2 mile, and won. Because no one else actually competed in my division.

Or... the time I saw a baby's heart beat on an ultrasound and met Jonah....

On Sunday, September 11th, (Yes, the Sept. 11th), I will be celebrating my 35th birthday. Obviously, the past ten years have made it hard to feel happy about such a horrific and tragic day- a day that families were ripped apart. A date that will haunt all of us that watched our world fall apart forever. But the thing is, on the 11th, September 11th, I will have no choice but to celebrate. I have so very much to be grateful for. I have been blessed with such a full life. So much love. And SO much more to look forward to.

Here's to a new chapter. A new beginning. A safe world, full of life. And a life full of rich stories....


August 30, 2011

SOME QUESTIONS

My son asks a lot of questions. Always has. And while his curiosity and his need to know the details and inner workings of everything inside and out is inspiring and infectious (and entirely genetic), there are days, that I. Just. Can't. Take. The. Questions. Especially when I have no answers... Or I do, but they don't even make sense.

For instance, I think a long time ago Jonah saw a video of Lady Gaga performing and then maybe Usher too, and they both were on stage and coming out of smoke. Okay, fine. Theatrics. Fantastic. BUT, now whenever J hears a song playing, he always asks: "Where does this singer come out of on the stage mommy? Does he come out of smoke?"

Sometimes, depending on who is singing, (like Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Rihanna, etc) I say, "Yes, they came out of smoke" (because, let's face it. These names are synonymous with Dry Ice). His next question after that is always, "Is it hot?" I explain to him that it's not the hot kind of smoke. It's the cool kind. And with the lights, it looks super smoky and hot (literally and figuratively).

But when it's another singer, like his favorite Dean Martin (oh, 'tis true) and he asks me if he comes out of smoke during "Mambo Italiano," I feel like I can't lie. I usually just say, "No, he didn't come out of smoke. He just walked out... from back stage...." Which then leads to a whole slew of questions about curtains and what happens when they go up, and when they go down and how does "Deem Marden" get off the stage....

I know the whole thing sounds wacky and complicated, but what am I to do? He's asking me very detailed questions about the strangest thing, and if you think you can explain to a 4 year old how the backstage at Staples Center works and what a Stage Manager does, then I will happily allow you to come over and diagram this shit out for him.

But I digress....

So this particular topic comes up a lot and it's one of those questions that my brain goes dead and no matter what answer I give him, it doesn't satiate him. He can't let it go. If I could only understand what it is that he's really trying to understand then I think he'd move on to another odd/quirky curiosity. OR, maybe I just need to come up with more convincing answers...

Case in point: The other day.... We were in the car listening to "Give Me Everything Tonight..." You know...Pitbull, Ne-Yo, Afrojack's hit. Right....

SONG: Me not working hard? ...Yea right picture that with a kodak
And better yet, go to times square... Take a picture of me with a kodak...

Jonah: What's Times Square?

Me: An area in New York with lots of buildings and television screens. It's really cool.

Jonah: How cool?

Me: Like one of the coolest places in the world.

Jonah: Do they have casinos?

Me: Nope. No casinos.

SONG: Excuse me... But I might drink a little bit more than I should tonight...And I might take you home with me if I could tonight...

Jonah: Why is he going to drink more tonight?

Me: He's super thirsty. From dancing at the club.

Jonah: What club?

Me: This club.

Jonah: WHAT club????

Me: THIS club. This club that he's singing about. People go there to dance.

Jonah: Can we go there to dance?

Me: It's for adults.

Jonah: How old?

Me: You have to be 21.

Jonah: How about 22?

Me: Even better.

Jonah: Mommy, why is he going to take "a baby" home from the club tonight?

Me: Oh, the baby's mommy couldn't drive. So he's helping.


See... there are some questions I have the answers to. The other stuff... It's a little, well... smokey.


Speaking of questions... Join me on Thursday, Sept. 1st at 7am PST/ 10am EST as I'll be a guest on Living the Dream Radio with Nina Frye. I'm so excited for this opportunity. Please feel free to call in (877) 864-4869, or chat with us live (see link below), ask me questions about my blog, my life, my terrible parenting strategies ... AND tell the world how much you love my blog. Kay? Kay. Thanks. ;-)


www.toginet.com/shows/livingthedreammom


August 24, 2011

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: SLINKY

I guess he didn't get the memo about these things being cool on things like stairs...


August 19, 2011

LANGUAGE BARRIER

Here's the thing: I like sports. I do. I like watching sports. I do. And it's probably mostly because I like men... and chips (...and dip...and beer), but still, I like sports. I do. However, it's a language, that doesn't come naturally to me. I hear the announcers speaking. I hear words. English words, even... Yet, I simply do not comprehend. SIR, I DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. In fact, without fail, every Superbowl, I have to relearn what is happening. Generally speaking, of course, I know the importance of a touchdown or a defensive tackle (just kidding, I really don't), but when it comes to following the game and the intricacies of the sport- I'm lost. I don't follow.

I've always attributed my inability to comprehend sports talk with the fact that I grew up with a single mom and I sang Dionne Warwick songs in the shower... and for anyone that would listen. But lately, I realized it's something else. I am a female. (Yes, there are those women who GET sports and understand what Al Michaels is saying, I know.) But there is a chemical, I think, missing from my brain- a deficit in the lobe or hemisphere or whatever of my brain where language comes from, that it simply down for the count.

It occurred to me recently that THIS language barrier though doesn't stop at sports. The other day, Jonah begged me to buy him a Transformers book. First off, isn't he a little young? Second, I said yes. I want to be the cool mom that can talk all things Decepticon and Opitmus Prime. Except, what the F is a Decepticon ?! As I read him this book, and his face lit up, I expected him to ask seven thousand questions about what was happening and why Autobots are firing missiles (missiles?! really? He's not even 4!) BUT, he said nothing! He listened as if he actually understood what all this meant. In fact, the only thing he asked was what a "Corvette" was (Apparently "Sideswipe" turns into a Corvette?? I don't know. It's confusing). ANYWAY, my point is, I'm relieved... because though he has a single mom and we may watch Mary Poppins together, at the end of the day, he has been born, and maybe even blessed, with a gene that I will never have... He will understand the world of the Galactic Empire... he will appreciate Middle-Earth, and he will find movies like "Caddyshack" and "Fletch" funny until he's well into his 30's....

Inherently, I have a boy. And apparently, he's already from Mars....

Well. Okay... Go Lakers.

August 16, 2011

SHOPPING SEARS STYLE


For those of you that don't live in the world of all things (mom) blog, two weekends ago, I headed down to San Diego to attend BlogHer. There were about two dozen incredible and fun things that happened that weekend thanks to the Kate to my Alli, Diane Mizota, and my future bridesmaid (though she doesn't know it) Jenny Feldon. But one of the best parts of the weekend, was that I got to spend the day shopping for Sears Style with the beautiful Erika Lehmann and Ellen of Thrifty and Chic Mom. The mission of Sears Style is to make women look and feel good in affordable and stylish clothing. Well, I gotta tell you. I was delightfully surprised by the outcome of this mission....

We definitely shopped 'til we dropped...


Cute UK French Connection dress.... Fun print...


I wanted to try on a romper... just to see....


Yep... and now I know: No!

This blazer was really cute. I ended up buying it too- from UK French Connection. (Yes, I will wear it in public with a shirt underneath. Everyone settle down).


Gotta suck it in...


This was a UK French Connection dress. Needed a strapless bra (and better boobs).


How fun is shopping with friends??

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! I loved the skirt.... $39.99. Tee Shirt $5.99. Hello!


And now it's time to shop for shoes....

How hot are these from the Kardashian Collection? $59.99. Not exactly cheap (for Sears) but they look fab.

Then of course, you have to find accessories... They had a great selection...

Thank you to the Sears Style Team and Collective Bias for a fabulous day!

August 11, 2011

VACATION OR "STAY-CATION?"

So the word around town these days is that more and more families are opting to take "stay-cations," rather than yes, you guessed it VAAAAAAAY-cations. Okay, to be completely fair, I don't really actually know for certain that more families are doing this... I mean, I haven't seen a statistic or poll on this, BUT given the general state of our economy (which, feel free to email me and actually explain what the eff is happening to our economy and why Wall Street is crumbling. Hi, I majored in theater.), taking a stay-cation with your family actually seems like a wise and quite lovely choice. Recently, I shot this segment for Her Say, sponsored by Oscar Meyer. I really don't know what to tell you except that, I mean, you know... Quality time means quality lunch meat. Or something like that.

Enjoy.


Well if you want a real vacation with a real tan (and maybe a cabana boy), head to Her Say! We're giving away a 5 day/4 night Beaches Resorts Luxury Included® Vacation in Jamaica, with airfare for 4, provided by Delta Vacations! Amazing, right? AND It's super simple to sign up. DO IT. And take me. CLICK HERE.

August 10, 2011

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: TIME WILL TELL

One of my favorite views from one of my favorite cities....

August 5, 2011

A LOT OF LOVE

From the back seat....

J: Mommy, how much do you love me?
Me: Soooooooo, much.
J: How much? (Opening his hands). This much?
Me: Oh, way more.
J: How much more?
Me: To the moon and back, around the world 98 million times, to the bottom of the ocean floor and up, then around the world again. That much.
J: I love you that much too.
Me: I'm so glad.
J: NO. Mommy. NO. I love you... (Opening his arms). To the roof, to the neighbors, to Disneyland, all the way to the beach, and down Coldwater Canyon, and around the world 47 hundred 3, 5, zero, times. I love you that much.
Me: Wow, that's a lot.
J: Yeah. It's a lot... And do you know what else?
Me: What's that?
J: It's really far to the moon.
Me: I know.
J: What's a moon rock?
Me: That's a good question.
J: Do you know. What. I. Want. To. Be. Um, mommy, mommy, mommy. Do. You. Know. What. I. Want. To. Be-
Me: Yes?
J: Do. You. Know. What?!
Me: What darling?
J: I want to be an ASTRONAUT on Halloween.
Me: An astronaut. Okay! Very cool.
J: Can you get that for me, Mommy?
Me: I'll see what I can do.
J: Mommy, what will you be?
Me: A pretty mommy.
J: No, mommy. Something else. How about a princess?
Me: I like princesses--
J: A princess with a tutu. And a wand.
Me: That would be fun.
J: Yeah. And you can come trick o treating with me. Okay?
Me: Thanks baby. I'd love that.
The car ahead of me sits at a light.
Me: (Under my breath) Come on, dude.
J: Mommy! No! That's a not nice word.
Me: What did I say?
J:. You. Cannot. Say. Dude.
Me: You're right. It doesn't sound very nice. I was frustrated.
J: But Mommy. I'm very disappointed.
Me: You're... You're disappointed?
J: Yes. When we get to Daddy's, you are going to have a time out.
Me: (Holding in my laughter) Oh, my goodness.
J: No IFTS, ands, or butts, mommy. That's the rule.
Me: Oh... You are in charge?
J: Yes, I am in charge. I am the boss. You cannot say not nice words.
Me: You're right, Jonah. I need to think about my language.
J: Never, never, again, Mommy.
Me: Never.... You're pretty angry at me. Huh?
J: I will still love you though.
Me: How much?
J: That much. (Uses his fingers).
Me: That's a lot less than before.
J: I'm still very disappointed.

XO