Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Letter To My Daughter On Her College Graduation

I remember the first day you started at St. Francis. You called me on the phone from downtown, frantic, as you had just gotten off the train and you couldn't find the college. It turned out you were right around the corner. Eventually, you found your way. Since then, Dad and I have watched you challenge yourself in demanding classes like cognitive neuroscience, take on internships at the Brooklyn Autism Center, RTP, and Women's Initiative, be inducted into Psi Chi, give countless presentations, put in hundreds of hours of studying (and as Katie would say "thesising" day and night), and hold down a job in the admissions office for the past four years. You also served as president the photography club and had a photo exhibit at the college and then took a marine biology course in the Virgin Islands, complete with jumping from a boat into the sea to snorkel...at night.... in the dark!
Not only did you set out to get a Bachelor's degree, but you also decided to pursue a Master's degree at the same time. We have never seen anyone put in as much blood, sweat and tears (literally) into a project and we were not at all surprised when you found out a few days ago that you got an A on your thesis. And all the while you have been a wonderful daughter, a caring sister and friend, and a sweet granddaughter and niece.
22 years ago, when we had you, we worried if we would do all the right things to give you the best life and you have exceeded our expectations beyond. You are the first person in our immediate family to obtain a Master's degree and this is just the beginning.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Saying Goodbye To A Beloved Pet

About a week ago, our oldest cat, Lily, stopped eating out of the blue. She began vomiting a bit and quickly appeared dehydrated. She had become very skinny over the past few months but I chalked that up to age because she was still so friendly, happy, and lively. However, one day she was rubbing up on the kitchen chair and chomping down on a bite of pizza with the kids yet just a few days later, she was vomiting and parched. I took her to our vet, Dr. Jeff Beverly at Marine Park Vet Group in Brooklyn on Wednesday.

Initial blood work ruled out a few suspected diseases, like thyroid issues and kidney failure. She was given fluids for dehydration and the next step was an ultrasound scheduled for Monday morning. But on Friday night, she looked listless and was projectile vomiting. Dr. Beverly said to bring her in at any time if she became any worse and I did on Saturday morning. I was sure she needed fluids and honestly, I was afraid to keep her at home. Dr. Beverly agreed she should hospitalized because she needed IV fluids and had a heart murmur, but since their practice was closed on Sundays, he quickly set us up with an emergency care hospital where they could also perform an immediate ultrasound. In less than an hour, Lily was being triaged at the 24-hour facility.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother's Day Gifts: From The Kids vs. From Dad

The countdown is on! With only a couple of days left till Mother’s Day, some of you may still be scrambling to find the perfect gift, card, or activity to celebrate the special moms in your life this Sunday.

I offered some suggestions in my article, “Mother’s Day Gifts: 5 Things Moms Really Want“, and while many of you agreed with the ideas, some of you commented to say a few interesting things about Mother’s Day, and gifts in particular. It made me wonder how traditional today’s moms are when it comes to Mother’s Day.

A few of you objected to the mass commercialization of Mother’s Day. I have to agree with that sentiment because as much the perfect gift can make a mother smile, knowing she is valued and appreciated is what matters most. Impersonal gifts mean less in every circumstance on any holiday.

One savvy reader said: “Mother’s Day has become, like Valentine’s Day, a celebration of consumerism, not a way to honor one’s mother as originally intended. Moreover, mothers who are respected and treated with kindness year-round don’t need a special pretty princess day.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

You CAN Save Money As A Stay-At-Home Mom

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Deciding to stay at home as a mom is a huge undertaking, and not one taken lightly. Many are just not able to accomplish it financially, and not everyone wants to, but if you are already a stay-at-home mom or think you might want to be and may possibly be able to swing it financially, consider that there are quite a few ways to save money.
In my career, I have been a full-time worker, part-timer, and freelancer, and I’ve also been a stay-at-home mom, too.
Here are some of my tips to help you save money:

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Strange Eating Habits Of Kids: When Do You Indulge?

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When it comes down to it, every single thing that a parent does is a judgment call, from breastfeeding to braces, and beyond. Typically, when you think a particular action is wrong, you discourage your kids from doing it. But what about all those gray areas?
Eating is perhaps the one area that causes us great concern right from the start. Should I breastfeed? Should I let my kids eat cookies? How many? How often?
My firstborn had a seemingly normal appetite, but a really strange affinity for breadcrumbs and grated cheese. When I would take them out to make a meal, she would stick a spoon in them and eat them plain. It was cute yet weird at the same time. My husband and I joked that she thought she was a bird. Her odd affection for these two plain ingredients did wear off, but for a certain period, she asked for a spoonful of breadcrumbs or a spoonful of grated cheese and I indulged her. No harm done, I figured. She was a good eater otherwise.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Toxic Friends, Mean Girls, and Why We Allow It

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Do you have a toxic friend? If you are a woman, chances are you have had a toxic friend, and surprisingly, you may have kept that friendship for a while. Self Magazine and Today.com asked 18,000 readers about their experiences with toxic friends. 84 percent of women said they’d had a toxic friend at some point, and 1 in 3 surveyed said they had a toxic best friend.
The disturbing part is that 83 percent said they had held onto a friendship longer than was healthy simply because it was hard to break up with that friend. Yet a dysfunctional relationship is still dysfunctional, even if it is between two female friends, so why is it so difficult to end the friendship?
“The reason it’s hard to dump a toxic friend is the same reason people stay in all kinds of dysfunctional relationships,” says Dr. Gail Saltz, associate professor of psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital. “There’s something in it that you find compelling or familiar. Depending on the nature of what’s going on in the relationship, you may feel guilty [about breaking things off]. Or it could be that the person has implied you need them in some way — that you would be a bad person to walk away.”

Monday, December 29, 2014

Searching for Santa Claus

When my oldest daughter Amanda was 3, we were at my brother-in-law’s house one freezing-cold Christmas Eve. My husband has seven siblings and many of them had kids at the time, so the house was filled with Christmas spirit. As they waited for their presents, they ate, played, danced, and asked the big question over and over, “When will Santa come?”
At regular intervals, one of the adults would take all the kids out onto the stoop, and we would stare into the sky looking for Rudolph’s shiny red nose.
“Be quiet,” my daughter said. “I think I hear his bells.”
“I think I see something. Look over there,” another would say pointing to the dark sky.
Amanda swears she heard those bells and listened each year after that for them to ring again or see the lights move along the heavens.
At home, we would track Santa on North American Aerospace Defense Command’s (Norad) website (there is a science to tracking the big guy!), but once we got to the Christmas Eve celebration, we lost track of the Command’s path since my brother-in-law’s computer was not downstairs (and this was before everyone had a smartphone). By the time we got back home, the kids would be exhausted, and if they hadn’t already fallen asleep in the car, they would conk out the minute their heads hit the pillow.