April 26, 2011
by heather

Big Top Boondoggle


See bottom of page for Exclusive Discount on Ringling Bros Circus Next Week

Last month, Daughter came home from preschool each day with stories of tigers, elephants, trapeze artists, monkeys and…clowns. They were studying the circus! (Don’t you wish you could go back to preschool?) She cut out and painted pictures of various animals and brought home an entire circus train filled with traveling acts.

Somehow, we haven’t managed to take our kids to the circus yet so I started searching for when the big show would be in town. I Googled “Ringling Bros” and found dates for May in Hartford. That was two months away and an hour away.

Then one afternoon when we were checking books out at the library, I noticed coupons for Picadilly Circus. Kids get in free! It was close by in Danbury, Connecticut with shows at 4 pm and 7 pm the following week. How perfect, I thought. Close by, cheap – my kids would get to see the circus! I browsed the web site and it looked….like a real circus.

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March 25, 2011
by heather

Parents R Us


“Mom,” Son says, eating his ham, egg and cheese at the counter before school. “Did Daddy tell you the secret?”


“What secret, honey?”


I’m at the sink, running water over strawberries, lopping off their green tops and placing them in mini Tupper wares for the lunchbox.


“The secret about how babies are born,” he says casually.


I give him my full attention.


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December 31, 2010
by heather

Mom’s Top Ten List for 2010




Below are the top items that made my life as a mother of two young kids easier this past year.


1.    Care.com


Care.com blows away SitterCity for finding local babysitters for two reasons:


It has better candidates. Period. We now have two favorite sitters – one is a second grade teacher! – and several more to call on if they are busy. I was looking for local college students and Care.com serves up more.


It has a better interface. Each sitter’s profile includes a contact page, reviews from other parents, videos, and recorded references. There are private pages where you can store notes on various sitters and it alerts you when new sitters, who meet your criteria (e.g. must like dogs!) register in your area.


I paid $35 for the first month and figured I would interview a bunch of sitters, create a list to call on when needed and cancel the service. But I can stay subscribed for $10/month to contact 10 sitters and that’s an easy way to take advantage of the new sitters that register.

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December 13, 2010
by heather

The Long Hanukkah Christmas Day


What happens when a Wasp and a Jew prep for Hanukkah and Christmas all in one day? Last week Husband and I were scheduled to take latkes into Son’s first grade classroom for a Hanukkah party. Then we planned to put up the Christmas tree. At least that was the plan….

Two Alarm Bells Ringing

First, came the latke making. Husband loves to make latkes each year for Hanukkah. Me, not so much. While I love eating Husband’s latkes -  crispy, fried concoctions of potato, sweet potato and beets; I hate the oil frying, smoky, stinky mess they make. But, given the tradition, I suck it up each year and open windows to the freezing cold then spray Febreze all over the house. It takes days to get rid of the grease smell that manages to seep into hidden surfaces and release a little eau de McDonalds just long enough to remind me why I’m glad we only make these once a year.

The mishap can occur when you neglect to open the windows before  cooking the latkes thus allowing the smoke from the hot grease to billow up towards the… smoke alarms. It didn’t take long for the first screech to sound. Next, the alarm system fire alarm went off. Big deal. As the sirens screeched and pounded, Husband and I yelled at each other to… do something! It’s amazing how you can lose your head in the midst of heavy grease smoke and unbearable sound.

Dog, who had recently (finally!) been neutered, barked excitedly from inside his big plastic cone collar. He can’t get excited and jump or run or pop the stitches! I grabbed the dog and the phone in case the alarm company called and took him outside. Wait, the alarm code! I went back inside and punched in our code on the alarm system. Silence. The alarm company called, I gave them the code, Husband opened more windows and made the rest of the latkes. They were delicious. The kids loved them but more so the chocolate coins they won playing dreidel.

One Tall Tree Falling

After a successful celebration in Son’s class, we went to get our Christmas tree. That night, after decorating the tree in what was our smoothest effort yet, after eight years of marriage, Husband I commented on the lack of stress. Yes, I had opted not to micromanage his hanging of the lights; no, I didn’t obsess about the hole that needed to be turned towards the wall; yes, I let the kids pile all their ornaments in one spot.

After the kids were in bed, Husband took a call and I decided to push the tree against the wall so I could swag the crimson velvet tree skirt around its base. I crawled underneath and gave it a little nudge. WHOOSH! The entire tree fell on top of me. Note to readers: It doesn’t hurt to have an eight foot tree fall on you. Not one bit.

“Help!” I announced to Husband.

 He found me underneath the tree and quickly pulled it upright. We cleaned up the broken bulbs and the puddle of water and secured it again. But we didn’t tie it to the wall.

Shortly after 4. a.m. Husband turned on the light.

“I think the tree fell again,” he muttered. “I need your help.”

I stood there, pre-tooth brushing, pre-coffee, pre-everything; holding that damn tree up for half an hour while Husband searched for twine or rope, an eye hook, and drill. We tried and tried, with stress this time(see pre-coffee comment), to get it to stand up as straight and lovely as it originally stood. But the trunk had been cut at an angle and not only was it not a secure tree in the base, it was a tilted tree. Finally, secured with rope, it was good enough.

We climbed back into bed with cups of coffee, looked at each other, and laughed. Another day in our Episcopalian Jewish household. Husband puts up Christmas trees. I put up with frying latkes. The kids love both. And that’s what matters.

October 26, 2010
by heather
1 Comment

Doggy Truths

I realize now that for the past six months, I should have just started a second blog titled, Doggy Truths.  Because my thoughts each day have been less about what works and doesn’t in raising the kids and more about how to raise the dog.


After seven months with us and at ten months of age, our Golden Retriever, Archie, is giving us a run for our money: Financially, emotionally, materially (furniture, rugs, socks, beach buckets, dish towels, napkins, did I mention socks?). Now, he’s  even acting like a toddler and the minute I get on the telephone he starts nipping at the bottom of my pants. (The squirt bottle finally stopped that. Lesson #1: Use a spray bottle of water to stop really annoying behavior!)


So, here encapsulated are my doggy truths, training tips, lessons learned. Since you are probably a parent if you’re reading this and may or may not have a dog; take what you will from my doggy truths for raising children.

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September 22, 2010
by heather
1 Comment

Dress Code


You may recall that six year old Son loves sports. He loves to play them, talk about them, watch them, and dress for them. Last Spring, we bought several pairs of athletic shorts for him to wear on hot days in the summer. You know, the kinds that hang down to their knees. The kind that many older boys wear to school. We see our ten year old neighbor wearing them each morning at the bus stop. After swimming class, we see all the boys at the Middle School wearing them as they board the buses. Son wants to wear them to school, too.


The only problem is me. Mom. I don’t think they look “nice.” And I want to have a nicely dressed son. Now, for those of you snickering, guffawing and wagging your finger that I should presume to control Son’s outfits (or nodding your heads in agreement that, horrors, you certainly don’t want your son dressing like this for school); let me fill you in on the background behind my micromanaging madness.

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August 24, 2010
by heather



Friday Night

Daughter comes into room at approximately 2 a.m.

“Mommy, my mosquito bite really itches.”

In the darkness, I slather anti-itch cream between her toes. I can’t really see but figure I’ve doused the bite and she’ll go back to sleep.

Ten minutes later, “Mommy, it’s still itching.”

I turn on the light and put more cream between her toes. We’ve been eating dinner on the back deck a lot. Boy, she sure got munched.

Half an hour later. “Mommy, it’s itching!”

I give her a Benadryl and she finally sleeps.

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July 17, 2010
by heather

Chief Worry Officer

Husband leaned in close, looked directly into my eyes and said, “You’re the CWO – the Chief Worry Officer.”


I smiled, well, smirked, back. He was right. In fact, my mind these days is consumed with worry.


Is it unhealthy for Daughter to live on Gogurt? Is she getting enough fruits and vegetables? Are three Max and Ruby’s a day too much? Should I have put her in camp instead of hiring a mother’s helper? She’s sunburned under her eyes! Will she have wrinkles at thirty?

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June 9, 2010
by heather
1 Comment

Art Lesson

Sobbing, four year old Daughter stared defiantly back at me.

“Yogurt,” she choked.

“No!” I said for the third time.

Exactly why I chose to dig in my heels over her third yogurt is one of the great Mommy Mysteries. Sometimes, we aren’t capable of choosing our battles. They choose us.

Daughter, however, inherited not only the color of my eyes and my odd penchant for launching into one of a few alternate characters at any moment, but also my own particular strain of stubbornness. She can dig in her heels with equal gusto. The result? At times I resort to childish behavior to break the cycle.

Hence, when she wouldn’t budge and hand over the yogurt, I grabbed it from her tightly clenched fingers and pulled it away.

(You can decide who was acting more like a four year old at this point.)

We both stared at the streaks of strawberry yogurt spilled across the hardwood floor.

“You may not have a third yogurt! It will give you a tummy ache,” I said again with as much conviction as I could muster to justify my actions.

She just stared at me and sobbed.

Then, without another word, she turned around and sat down at the kids’ art table and started drawing. I cleaned up the floor and went about my business preparing dinner. I heard lots of hardy scribbling from the corner but she didn’t make a peep.

After awhile she walked over to me and held out a piece of a paper.

“Here, Mommy, I made a picture of you.”

I looked at her questioningly.

“Am I angry in it?”


She handed it to me and there I was, a stick figure with a triangle skirt and – a happy face. “MOM” was written at the top.

She reached out and gave me a hug.

“I’m sorry I was angry. Thank you for my picture,” I said into her hair. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

We were at peace again.

I put the drawing in the recipe stand on the kitchen counter and glanced at it over the next few days, thinking about her ability to draw through her feelings and process what had happened between us. And come out in a good place. It seemed that for all my mommy screw ups she had at least one healthy approach of resolving them.

And then one day I remembered all her ferocious scribbling in the corner that afternoon and I got to wondering…. So, I went over to the art table and picked through the sheets of old drawings. Sure enough, a few pages in I found the preliminary drawings. There I was, a stick figure with a triangle skirt. But instead of a happy smile, I had a circle for a mouth. Angry Mommy. She’d expressed me. And herself. And in the happy face that sat on my counter, found a way to move on.

May 24, 2010
by heather

Two Points


Six year old Son loves sports. LOVES them. Baseball, football, soccer. He loves watching them on TV. And he especially loves playing them. But basketball is his favorite. It runs in the family. Husband is six feet, six inches tall and basketball is in his blood. Son’s too.


Not mine. I’m more of the hiking, rollerblading, cycling, long walks type of athlete. I think I could run to the end of my street. Maybe.


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