They say half of life is showing up or maybe it’s a third. To be honest I’m not that good at fractions. But I’m guessing whoever said that thing about showing up didn’t bring along their 19 month old.
I know I’m traveling here but my hair is looking a little too 2007 Kate Gosselin.
We flew to New York to celebrate our fabulous friend Monica turning 40.
Our two older girls stayed with Rick’s parents. Our twins stayed with my dad and his girlfriend. And we found Cash looking into weekend senior cruises to the Bahamas so we told him to just come with us.
It’s kind of like how Prince William and Duchess Kate traveled to the U.S. last week – except they left their baby in England with a royal staff.
By the way, have you seen Prince George’s Christmas portrait?
Ridiculous cuteness, right?
I was so relieved that some of my friends are finally turning 40 – until of course I realized I’M NOT 40 ANYMORE. Crap.
On the flight there, this very nice guy recognized Rick from his days at Fox and now CBS and bought us a drink. Cash let me drink half of it before spilling it all over my jeans. I honestly appreciated his initial restraint because I’m sure he was anxious to spill it on me much earlier.
It was so nice to see some of our NY friends. But once it dropped below 30, we told them, weather trumps friendship and we promptly flew back to Ft. Lauderdale.
In case you are keeping track, a few weeks ago, I went to Connecticut with my kids alone, then we did this trip and now because we believe in being overly optimistic and ambitious, we are soon driving to Memphis. I’m not sure how long the drive is but I think it’s like 14,000 hours.
Cash has asked to stay at home with his royal staff.
Proving people never miss an opportunity to critique someone else’s parenting, former “American Idol” star Kelly Clarkson got folks riled up on the internet when she put her 5 month old daughter River Rose on a horse.
No, not alone silly. Justin Guarini was holding her!
Actually it was her 13-year-old step sister.
Clarkson innocently posted this…
Well, I guess not everyone thought it was stinkin’ cute because when US Weekly printed the photo, it got comments like this…
The smiley face is clearly the equivalent of the popular 80’s phrase “no offense.” Like, “Your parenting sucks. No offense!”
And another commenter said this…
Poor Kelly, who already can’t stray too far from the sidewalk, is now taking heat for trying to post a snapshot of her children.
I mean, I guess the horse could have started bucking or whatever horses do. But I’m sure it was a pretty quick photo.
Maybe Kelly needs to take a lesson from Rick and me.
You see Rick decided to put all 5 kids on the roof of our minivan. And I’m sure that would have raised a few eyebrows. But this seasoned dad brilliantly cropped out the minivan!
Now that’s how you parent Kelly!
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These are the things that could possibly happen if you decide to throw a DJ dance party for your daughter’s 8th birthday…
1. You will think it will be cheaper than having it at one of those Monkey Javas Chucky Cheesy Kids Ice Skating Bowlarama Joes places but it likely won’t be. Although you’re not completely sure because you’re too scared to add up all the receipts.
2. The morning of the party, you will drag your kids to the grocery store and after you get everyone back in the car and the groceries in the trunk, you will not be able to find your keys anywhere. You will search. You will mutter under your breath. You will rip apart all the grocery bags in desperation. You will finally find the keys in your 4 year old’s carseat…
You will ask your 4 year old how he didn’t notice the keys under his tush as you were madly searching and he will utter these very wise words… “I don’t know.”
3. The same weekend you are throwing the party, you will also be taking part in a preschool project for your twins in which you have to take photos of all the fun you have with Pete the Cat.
That’s Pete the Cat at the grocery store.
That’s Pete the Cat shopping for Christmas trees.
4. Although you will notice that Pete the Cat helps with very little party prep.
5. At the very last minute, you will text your neighbor, “DO YOU HAVE BIRTHDAY CANDLES?! I NEED BIRTHDAY CANDLES!!” You will want to ask your husband why he didn’t buy candles when he picked up the cake but then you also remember that you told him to never ever go rogue and always just follow your list.
6. Your dance party is apparently so rockin’ that security will be called twice because of loud music and noise. You will think to yourself, “Hey, I’m still a party animal! I’ve still got it.” And then you will remember that your daughter’s DJ stopped playing at 7:30 pm.
7. You will wonder why you didn’t pay for express shipping when it came to the party favors. Which will arrive the day after the party.
8. It will all seem worth it because your kid was this happy.
9. And Pete the Cat loved the party favors.
I was holding my breath when my 10 year old got into the car after visiting with her best friend Sophie in New York. The last time was horrendous. She sobbed. She yelled. She blamed me for every inequity in the world – including the fact that she was now 1,000 miles from her best friend.
But this time there was just quiet.
Me: Hey Dylan. How was the sleepover?
Me: Are you sad?
Dylan: Yes. I just feel different with Sophie than my Florida friends. I like my Florida friends but I just don’t feel as comfortable around them. With Sophie, things are just easy.
Me: You’re right Dylan. There is just something about the ease, comfort and familiarity of old friends.
Over Thanksgiving, I also saw some old friends (mostly from high school). And I even saw one friend that I hadn’t seen in 20 years. The day after Thanksgiving, my sister and I stopped by our old house in Wallingford, Connecticut.
I lived there from age 9 to 12. I really wanted to go in and look around but no one was home and breaking and entering is apparently still illegal. So I had to settle for peering into the windows.
As so often with childhood memories, the rooms seemed to have shrunken in size.
I looked into our old den and it seemed so recently that I sat on one of those net swings that were popular in the early 80’s while watching the newly debuted MTV. And as I looked at the yard, I remembered the day I dragged half of our furniture out of the house and onto the front lawn in an attempt to hold a tag sale to raise money for candy.
In fact, that’s just the kind of thing my daughter Dylan would do. Come up with some grand, creative idea that would invariably take a lot of manpower to clean up.
As we drove off from our old home, I decided to stop by another house… just two doors down where my friend Alysha used to live. A big smooth rock in the drive way still said her last name and I noticed a car sitting in the driveway.
My mother (who was with me) encouraged me to get out and say hello. As I walked down the driveway, I had a flashback to all the times, I played at this house – only returning to my house when the cartoons came on because I didn’t care for animation. I know. I was a strange kid.
I approached the car and sitting in the driver seat was my friend Alysha.
I reintroduced myself and a big smile spread across her face. And just like that I was talking to my old friend. She lives in Colorado but was home for the holidays. Had I heard about her car accident that had left her in a coma? Her dad had passed away. She was divorced. Life had happened. But she was doing well.
We said goodbye and promised to connect on social media.
Now here I was looking back at my 10 year old daughter as she sat with the sadness of saying goodbye to her best friend Sophie.
I told her that when Rick and I first left New York City and moved to Westchester (when Dylan was 4 and Summer 2) – I really knew almost no one. I’d see lots of moms everywhere but couldn’t figure out exactly how to meet any of them. Or once I met a few people, how to turn a quick greeting into a real friendship. It was pretty much a blur of yoga pants and tennis skirts.
But then one mom invited me to dinner and then I started hanging out with a few and eventually I realized that I had an incredible network of amazing women. I was creating a history with them.
And Dylan would one day do the same.
“Dylan, old friends are wonderful. And I have a feeling you and Sophie are going to be best friends for a very very long time. But you know what? Something really amazing can happen with new friends. Keep spending time with the ones you like and you’ll find that new friends can turn into old friends. It just takes a little bit of time.”
I’m not sure she knew what I was talking about. But someday she will.
Because I’ve been looking for ways to increase stress in my life, I decided to take my five kids to Connecticut for Thanksgiving.
Solo. (Because Rick had to stay in Miami and work.)
On the plane, one unlucky passenger had to sit in the same row as me and my 5 children. So as this passenger got to our row and surveyed the situation, I said,
“I know it looks bad but I think this will all turn out better than you think. Keep your expectations low and if it’s truly horrible, I’ll give you 20 bucks at the end of the flight.”
And I still have my 20 dollars so I guess it turned out okay.
I always fly Jet Blue with the kids because those TV screens make my life incredibly easier and as a bonus, 18 month old Cash and I watched a few episodes of “Love Triangle” hosted by Wendy Williams.
Because I know you’ve never seen this show, let me explain. In “Love Triangle”, there is a woman who is trying to decide between two guys she is dating. So of course, the best thing to do in this scenario is come on TV so she can choose “the one” and humiliate the other by not picking him.
On the show, they do fun things like subject the guys to lie detector tests and show you what the men will probably look like in 20 years. I’m telling you, it’s worth the price of the airline ticket to watch this guilt free.
Once we landed, we got our luggage…
and then our car service arrived. I installed the 3 carseats and we were driven to a car rental place where I installed the 3 carseats yet again in the rental car. Honestly, could the day get more glamorous? It was like the ironman of carseats.
Well, I must have used up all my carseat installing magic, because a few days later, I had to install yet one more carseat when I borrowed my mother’s car and when I reached my destination (with my son Cash in tow), I opened the door to get him out and this is what I found…
OMG. What is wrong with me?! Thankfully, Cash was safe and it certainly didn’t seem to to interrupt his nap.
The trip has some great moments. I loved seeing my family and friends. And I always enjoy seeing my mom’s new design choices like a two tone toilet…
and her organizing techniques like storing her slow cooker with her toilet paper.
And you all might remember that back in June when I visited my mother, she could not recall her wifi network or her password. And her computer guy who knew this info was vacationing in Puerto Rico. Where the wifi was reportedly excellent.
Well, I can report that 5 months later, my mother still does not know her wifi network or password. No update on her computer guy’s travel schedule.
I did develop laryngitis over the holiday. At one point, I was having dinner with my friend Abby at a local bar and this bartender…..
“What’s wrong with your voice? Did you go see a band last night?”
“Yes. I was at a rave last night. You know how that goes,” I replied.
How old could this guy be? 20? 25? So that fact that some 20 something bartender could even think that I might have been at a band the night before – well, that is a true Thanksgiving miracle.
Before you buy anything this holiday season, check out my review of the hottest toys of the holiday season. I tell you the hits, the misses and the total junk.