Friday, April 23, 2010

Bungalow or Mansion

In a discussion about whether or not you'd buy back the house you grew up in today I stated "I'd rather live in a bungalow where I live now, then in a Mansion in North Jersey." Then I really thought about what I had just said.

Where I live now is down the Jersey Shore. I'm not on the ocean or even have a good view of any water. But I love it down here. Of course there are downsides, one is summer traffic. One time it took my husband & I 45 minutes drive to the beach. It's only 3 miles away. Our fault though, we left the house around 11am on a Saturday of a holiday weekend. You learn not to do these things after you've lived here a while. Another is Bennys (tourists) - we avoid the boardwalk on the weekend, we only go during the week.

My house isn't anything spectacular. And in all honestly, we'll be losing this house sometime in the next year due to foreclosure. But there is just something about living near the ocean that inspires/encourages/feeds me that I just can't explain. Recently I started an endeavour of writing names in the sand and taking pictures of it. (click "My Etsy Shop" link over on the right side of your screen) While I have gone down to the beach at other times, I mostly do it at sunrise.

That's right, I get up before dawn and go down to the beach.

If you know me, I'm sure you're laughing. I am not a morning person, I am a night owl. I'd rather see 5 am because I've been up all night rather then get up at that time. I breastfed my kids because it was just easier to pop them on the breast while laying down then to get up and warm a bottle. (ok there were other reasons too).

But there is something about watching the sunrise that can not be put into words. It truly has to be experienced.

I haven't brought the family with me yet, but as soon as we have a Saturday or Sunday that the kids don't have 10 bazillion things to do, and the weather cooperates, I'll wake them to come with me. Our younger son really wants to come with me.

What is there up in North Jersey that can compete with driving 10 minutes down the road to watch the sunrise over the Ocean? Sure we have family up there, but they're only an hour away, no big deal. Shopping? Nah we've got lots of that down here too. Pretty fall scenery? Sure, in the fall. The beach is beautiful every day.

So, if it means we have to live in a house that has just 2 bedrooms and 1 bath so small only 1 person can be in it at a time, so be it.

Besides a smaller house is easier to clean!

Friday, April 16, 2010

My son wants a Facebook page

My 11 year old son wants a Facebook page.

As a protective mom, my first response is "No." Period, end of sentence, no further discussion. I'm the parent, my house, my rules.

Now we can get into the whole discussion about internet safety, online predators and peer pressure/harassment. But like I said, I'm a pretty involved mom and would monitor his page & his interactions, so that really doesn't isn't my argument.

However, we're considering it. We told him if he got 5 A's on his report card this marking period, we would allow him to set up a Facebook page.

I'm stressing over it, there is a very good chance he will get 5 A's. I'm not stressing because the internet is a big, bad place, my problem is that the internet is my place. I have a few hundred friends on Facebook and even though we're adults, sometimes we say things on Facebook that I would rather not he see. It's the place that I can be "me" not Mom. So opening it up to him means I lose my privacy. It means I have to censor what I say. I'm not very good at sharing.

It also means he's growing up and entering a more adult world, this affects me as well. My baby will be 12 this year. That being said, he really does need start to learn what the real world is like. Like real life, you can't keep your kids locked in the house watching Barney until they're 18 then thrust them out into the world without any experience. Sure their friends expose them to things that as parents we'd rather then not see. And don't even get me started on the school bus! I only took the bus in 9th grade, but I remember it very well.

Experience on the internet is important as well. They need how to weed out the real friends from the weirdos. They need to learn what is safe to download and what they should just delete immediately.

In order for him to learn, I have to give a little too. It means I have to share my world.

I love my boys more then life itself and would give them the moon if they asked me for it. So I guess I can change a little bit and share my experiences with my boys.

That's what parents are supposed to do, right? Teach them right from wrong, give advice but let them experience things on their own so they can learn from mistakes. Give up themselves to better their children.

So pending a report card results, Facebook will no longer be my place to play freely, it will be a place I can be a role model for my son, it's my job & my life.

And my boys are worth it.

Don't forget to visit my Etsy shop.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Ahhh Opening Day 2010, for a while there last year, I didn't think this day was going to come.

Long story short, lots of bad things went on with the "old league" and our town said ENOUGH and kicked them out of the field complex they had occupied forever. It was sad, but in order to have an opening day 2010, it needed to be done. There are still some bad feelings, but on April 10th over 850 children lined up to welcome in the 2010 Little League season.

Ok, maybe not all 850 children showed up, but it sure felt like it! There were little boys & girls in their bright, clean, crisp uniforms running around having a great time.

Still trying to figure out whose bright idea it was to give over half the teams WHITE pants!!! LOL After 1 game for each of my children, we found the extra wash & soak cycle on the washer machine. Pants, so far, are still white.

I love children's baseball. You couldn't pay me to sit and watch a major league game on TV. But sit at the stands (or my case, my beach chair) and cheer on the kids, sign me up! Win or lose, they learn so much and have such a good time.

Baseball isn't just about learning how to play the game. Sure they get exercise and learn the game, but there is teamwork and sportsmanship learned as well. These are 2 very important life lessons that they don't get in school. If they have a classmate that fails the class, it doesn't normally affect them. Having a teammate that isn't very good, that does affect their team. So they learn to work together to either help them get better or step up and work harder to cover for that player.

Throwing a hissy fit in class because you don't like something a teacher did, will probably earn you detention. Do it on the field and it affects your whole team. This happened to us Sunday at my older son's travel baseball team. I'm sure the other team will remember our team because the last kid that was pitching threw a temper tantrum on the field when we lost. You don't want to make your team unhappy. Stuff like that follows you.

If you want to get on a good team, you have to be more then a good player, you have to be a good person as well. No one wants a "poor sport" on their team.

So like many parents around the country, for the next two months my tushie will be in my beach chair somewhere outside the outfield fence cheering on not only my boys & their teams, but anyone that makes an awesome play.

Play Ball!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Other People's Children

Every so often I will run across someone who doesn't want to have children. I commend those people for knowing what they want and not bowing down to the social or family pressure to have children. However, I never understood when I would hear people say "I don't like children." It's one of those statements like "too much garlic" or "I don't like the beach," it just doesn't make any sense to me.

Then I had kids.

Don't get me wrong, I love and adore my children. Each new phase they go through creates challenges and push you to be a better person so you mold them into good people. I would gladly give up my own life for them.

Downside, because of your children, you are introduced to "Other People's Children."

Each set of parents have their own ideals on how to raise their children, and more often then not, those ideals will be different then yours. And the ones that have completely different rules then you are, more then likely, going to be the ones that live next door. Their ideals are not necessarily wrong or bad, they're just different then yours and sometimes make you want to bang your head against the wall.

This can range from abiding to the helmet law to when homework gets done or how far from home they are allowed to wander.

Or, like the one I deal with often, how often they can play video games.

I like video games, but I never wanted a game system in the house. I know my older son would be very happy to sit and play video games all day long. So we came up with the rule that they only have free access to video games if it's raining (or other extreme weather) otherwise they are outside, End of Discussion.

The other times they are allowed to play is at doctor visits or long car rides. We feel this is more then enough.

Other children we know are allowed to play all the time, any time. One walks around with his Nintendo DS all the time.

Yesterday neighbor child was begging my younger son to play video games with him. My son told him no, he can't play. He's not real happy about this but he knows those are the rules.

Small neighbor child then proceeds to tell me I am mean, my rules don't make any sense, and I'm not fair.

After regaining my composure from being spoken to like that from a 6 year old, I told him I did not care what he thought, our rules are our rules and if he didn't like them, he could just go home.

All children quickly vacated my front yard.

My friend told me I should have said to him "You're very lucky that I only spank rude children on Friday's" (I would never touch someone elses child, but he doesn't know that.)

I probably should have called his mom and let her know what happened, but I was pretty annoyed and not in a good frame of mind to speak with her, so I let it go.

This morning she came to me at the bus stop and apologized to me. Her older son ratted the younger one out.

These things happen. My children are allowed to do a few things another neighbor child is not. Like I said, everyone has different rules.

If you can manage to find parents that have similar parenting styles as you, hold on to them tight!!! They are more precious than gold!

Because every once in a while, you will run into children that make you understand why some species eat their young!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The ducks are coming!

If you haven't figured out from the title of my blog, I live at the New Jersey Shore. Ever since the MTV show, Jersey Shore, I joke that I live among the "fist pumping guidos," but honestly my neighborhood is normal middle America suburbia.

I am 3 miles from the beach and less then a mile from 2 other rivers or inlets. That being said, in the 25 years this neighborhood has been here, no one has ever had a problem with their basement flooding, until March, 2010.

My poor neighbor had a large amount of water in her basement twice in March. Thankfully her home owners insurance will cover everything, but still, it's a hassle. She's considering selling the house.

So Monday I hear this weird bird noise. It's loud and constant. I look out the window and there are two ducks in my front yard! I know I live by the water, but I don't remember seeing ducks walking down my sidewalk before! I quick run upstairs, grab my camera, pop on the telephoto lens and take a bunch of pictures.

Then the "wise ass" in me comes out.

I print the picture above and write the following on it:

"Dear Friend,
This couple heard you are thinking of selling your house, they are very interested after hearing about the indoor pond"

I haven't seen her so I stuck in in her door last night. She's still home, the note is still in the door and I'm on pins and needles waiting for her reaction!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter is for Little Ones

Let's face it, the whole Easter Bunny deal and baskets are for little kids. Sure it's fun giving baskets to everyone, but the little ones are the best.

(Disclaimer Of course the whole meaning of Easter is religious, but I'm not religious at all. So if your idea of celebrating Easter is spending all day at your house of worship, that's awesome. But that's not how we do it here. We celebrate Spring and the Easter Bunny. We're very honest with the kids about how the holiday came about, but we don't celebrate the religious aspect of it. )

I have an 11 year old son and an 8 year old son. Older one doesn't believe any more, but the younger one does so we play it up for him. Even the 11 year old gets in on it for his little brother. We dye eggs & some years we do an egg hunt. This year we didn't do an egg hunt at home, but more on that later. We try to make it as fun as possible!

This year though we went "a-visiting". First to husband’s grandmothers house. She's getting old (83) and recently broke a bone, so we packed up the car & went to hang with her and hubby's family for a little while. Grammy is such a wonderful person! Then off to my Jewish Aunts house for Ham! LOL

Yep, we celebrate Easter at my Jewish Aunts house. She just LOVES the holidays and like me, any reason to get together is a good reason!

We don't care about how the food looks or tastes, we just like to sit around, possibly drink and enjoy each others company. Usually my dad says something inappropriate and my brother is almost always running late. But eventually we all end up at the table enjoying each others company.

This year it was so nice outside that we ended up spending most of the day on the back porch. The ham dried out and the asparagus got mushy, but no one cared it was all about being together.

After a few drinks, my aunt & I decided that we are celebrating the Spring Passover Bunny and henceforth it will always be called the celebration of the Spring Passover Bunny!

That way we cover everyone and still can do the fun things about each holiday. Like Easter egg hunts! My Aunt and 2 cousins (27 & 29) hid a ton of plastic eggs for my kids and my niece (nephew was home sick). She fills them with candy and little toys, this year she managed to find a bunch of the Silly Bandz. Considering the kids range in ages from 6 to 11, it's hard to find something everyone likes, these fit the bill!

Ok maybe Easte.. I mean Spring Passover Bunny isn’t just for the little kids after all.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hello world!

Let's face it, every "mom" blog out there, all they talk about is what diapers are on sale or what to feed babies.

Well, I'm past that stage & never want to look back! (I turned f-f-f-fourty recently)

I have 2 wonderful sons ages 11 & 8 and a husband that can't be beat as well! Also included in our family are two pretty fabulous dogs, you'll meet them all eventually.

I like to be creative, but I don't want to make burp clothes or try to compete with better seamstresses at some craft show, I want to move on to more grown up creative things.  So I picked up my Canon digital rebel camera, dusted it off and headed out to the beach this morning at 6am!  We've lived in this house for 8 years and today is the first time I ever went to watch the sunrise.

And it was foggy.

But I took the Forever picture this morning and am pretty happy with the results.  That one is a freebie.  If you want it, go ahead and take it.  The rest are going on Etsy.   I'm also going to offer personalized pictures on the beach. As soon as I get that up and running I'll link to it.

In the mean time, grab a cup of coffee, kick back & relax, parents of older kids can do things like this.