Sunday, November 24, 2013


Like so many others, I've decided to use the month of November as an opportunity to reflect on all of the things in my life for which I'm thankful. 

While it's something I try to think about every day, big or small, in November I share one thing on my FB status every day. 

As I was writing my status for November 23rd, I realized it was a complete blog post in the making, and since I've been neglecting my poor lonely blog, decided to dust it off (yet again) and share with the world (or 3 people who are still reading). 

Day 23: Thankful for social media, and the connections it's allowed me to make. I recently met one of the nicest, most kind-hearted people I've ever known because of FB and the many people we share in common. Jake is someone who truly "walks the walk" - a shining example of a true mensch (really good person) who strives, on a daily basis, to make a positive difference in the lives of everyone around him - even those he doesn't know personally. Whether he's making a friend's day with a simple gesture or helping put together huge fundraisers and toy drives (please donate to the Toys for Tots drive at La-Z-Boy in Warwick if you can!), Jake is just the kind of person you just want to be around, and he makes you want to do more, be a better person. Through blogging (even when I'm not actively keeping up), Twitter, Instagram, and more, I've met many so many amazing and inspiring people. Some I've yet to meet because they're all over the country, and some have become "IRL" (in real life) friends. In my travels, I've even had the opportunity to meet a few "online" friends and have developed connections I didn't know were possible (this often makes me sad because these are people with whom I'd spend all the time in the world if I could) I know that not everyone understands this concept, and many find it weird or even scary that I'd open so many aspects of my life to people I've never met in person, but for me, it's one of the greatest parts of social media. I only wish I could sit down and have a cup of coffee or glass of wine with so many of them!

Weird or not, scary or not, it's what feels good and right for me, and I will continue to do so, and in turn, hope to continue to be inspired and enjoy my interactions with so many incredible people near and far. There are still so many of you to "meet"!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Losing my religion.

Until about an hour ago, the only reference I'd ever heard to a "God's Eye" was on my favorite episode of Family Guy - the one with "Bitch Stewie". 

I stopped in at Hobby Lobby today (I'd been there once before, but only for about 3 minutes in the floral section). I knew the company had some sort of religious focus and they close on Sundays to allow their employees time for worship with their families. I did NOT know that they sold so many religious-themed crafts. 

Summer crafts were 80% off, so I looked for a few things I thought my Mad Hatter might enjoy - avoiding those of the variety that said things like "I Love Jesus!", which were in abundance.  One little treasure was a kit that makes 4 God's Eyes, and at $.60 I definitely wasn't leaving without it! 

MH's friend came over play, and I convinced them that we just HAD to try  making them. I was so excited! What's not to love about popsicle sticks and variegated yarn?!?

For a crafter, I must be incredibly challenged because I couldn't understand the instructions to the point that I had to find a tutorial on YouTube (thank God's Eye for the digital age). As the young boy in the video was showing his mad skillz and I tried to keep up, the mom started narrating about how they make these at VBS (?), you can make smaller ones for Christmas tree ornaments, something about "four points". In a sudden flash a light bulb went on!

I looked at the picture again, and what did I see? Wow, it looked very similar to a cross with yarn wrapped around it! And THAT's when this Jewish girl realized why she has no recollection of EVER making one growing up - even throughout years of (Jewish) camp!

So, I'm still not convinced that I got it right - it looks kind of lopsided - BUT, if you're in need of a new ornament this year, it's free to the first bidder. The only thing is, you're going to have to figure out how the make the loop for hanging it, because I GIVE UP!

Those sweet little girls? They abandoned me ages ago for far more exciting activities. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

At least I'm a good snuggler.

You know those days you just know are gonna be one of those days? 

Unfortunately, no one sent me the memo about today. 

I woke up in horrible pain, but many days that's the norm, so it is what it is. 

I somehow proceeded to burn pre-cooked bacon in the microwave, in the process breaking the first plate I've ever broken. In 12 years of marriage. I know, many people are already onto a new set of flatware, but mine? I LOVE it. Have never even gotten so much as a chip. And now? I can only have 11 of you for dinner. I no longer have 12 perfect settings. Of course it had to be a dinner plate and not a saucer, which never gets used anyway. 

While the bacon was burning, I was somehow messing up my famous (according to the Mad Hatter)  scrambled eggs with cheese. I still don't know what I did wrong, only that as I was running around the house throwing on workout clothes and packing snacks for camp, that pile of eggs was not getting any smaller. 

"What's wrong with the eggs honey?" 
"Nothing, mommy. I'm just kinda full."
"But you haven't eaten a thing. Is something bothering you?"
"No. (pause) They just taste kind of weird."

Translation: I'm convinced since you burnt PRE-COOKED bacon you have also become completely inept at scrambling a couple of eggs

The next few minutes were a combination of me offering her other breakfast options while she said she was fine, me silently berated myself (and my husband for buying a new kind of cooked bacon that takes less cooking time), and me continuing to rush around throwing random snacks in her lunch bag while insisting that she had to eat something. We settled on a granola bar. Some days you just have to go with it and be glad snack time is in an hour. 

My smashing start managed to make us 5 minutes late for camp, and when we arrived, the door was locked (bonus points for keeping my kid extra safe all day, but today it would have been great if you could have held off until 9:06). We had to be let in by someone in the other part of the building, and by this point I  know that MH is mortified in general, but especially that on this particular day, I happen to be her mommy. I could tell she actually thought she was in trouble for being late, even though the teacher warmly welcomed her and assured her they'd just started - definitely not my goal for an awesome week (okay, at this point day) at art camp. 

I'm sure she was fine a minute after I left, but me? Total hot mess. Without much hope for changing that, as we're going for 101 degrees today. And I'm sitting here in the car blogging from my iPhone before I step into the already oppressive heat for this morning's walk. 

Right before I left, I gave her a huge hug and whispered in her ear how sorry I was for a not-so-great morning, and that I wanted her to have a great day. 

She squeezed me back, and in the most serious and sweet little voice said "We all have bad days Mommy. I think maybe you're just tired. And you did a great job at one thing this morning - snuggling!"

Well, at least there's that. Now someone, please wish me luck for the rest of the day - snuggle time doesn't happen again for at least 10 hours. 

Monday, July 15, 2013


It's hard for me to believe that tomorrow will be exactly 3 months since my lumbar fusion. 

The time has flown, and there have been so many stages. Unlike my 2 previous back surgeries, my recovery has been going well. Don't get me wrong, I have good days and not so great ones, and I'm a long way from full recovery, but I'm feeling more than optimistic about what my future holds. 

I'm currently in the rehabilitation phase.  In fact, I have dedicated this summer specifically to spending the majority of my time working on rehab. I started physical therapy a few weeks ago, and while it is HARD work, there have been no surprises. I'm waking up muscles that haven't been worked in ages. There has definitely been an increase in pain, but I can easily distinguish between muscle soreness (good) and true back pain (not so good). I try my best to listen to my body and treat it with kindness. 

In addition to working on a variety of core-strengthening exercises and stretching, I walk daily. This is probably one of the most important things I can do to help promote healing. 

After my morning walk, I tend to snap a pic of myself for my Instagram account - I like the accountability it makes me feel, and it feels great to share my progress with others! It also feels great to look at my album and see tangible proof of my commitment. 

I am not a hat person. Outside of a floppy sun hat, I own just one baseball cap. It's a Life Is Good hat I picked up ages ago before a vacation to Florida, and the front is simple: a flower and the word "grow". 

One day last week as I was uploading this pic, it occurred to me how appropriate my one and only hat is. 


I'm a silver linings person - I tend to need to find some good in any less than positive situation. In that moment, it hit me. This was my 3rd back surgery in less than 6 years. Life doesn't get much harder (at least in my own experience) than healing from major back surgery. 

BUT. You can feel sorry for yourself and wallow in your pain, or commit yourself to doing everything in your power to gain your life back - to build a new and better one than before! I will not lie and say I don't have days where I feel down - I am human. However, overall, I choose the latter. 

I have chosen to grow. I consider my current state ground zero. Only I can build the me I want to be, and this is my clean slate with which to do it. A blank page in the story of the new life I'm choosing for myself: commitment to daily exercise, losing weight, making drastic changes to my nutrition. Adding in more exercise as I am able. These things will not only make me feel better and more energetic, therefore making me a better mom and wife - they will make a better ME. 

I know I will never be pain free, but if continually working on my growth can help keep it at a manageable level and allow me to live the life I feel I've been missing out on living, I will take it. 

So? I think I'll stick to my one hat. Every time I put it on, it's a reminder that I'm a work in progress. There are many hills and valleys on the road to recovery, but we are NEVER too old to grow. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013


The past three days have probably been the best days I've had in over 8 months. 

I have stood without feeling like my hips might break in half. I haven't felt that excruciating, gnawing, constant pain down the front of my thighs. I've walked -more slowly than I'd have liked, but without constant agony. 

My back hurts, and I have to stop and remind myself I had major spinal surgery just over 5 weeks ago. But this pain? Seems almost normal. Not to say it doesn't hurt, but it's telling me that the choice I made, the one I tried everything in my power to not have to make, the only choice I could make in the end, was without a doubt the right choice. It is, for the most part, bearable. 

Mother Nature has been flooding us with humidity, which is never a good thing for a bad back. In a cruel twist, she yanked our beautiful spring weather without warning and this morning brought cool, rainy, windy, stay under a cozy blanket and watch Lifetime movies (I can't believe I even wrote that - bed rest and recovery will weaken even the strongest constitution). 

I didn't give in to Mother Nature. Not today, not yesterday, or even the day before. I moved. I spent time with people I love. I did things I enjoy. I felt normal. 

While I wouldn't change a thing, and will continue to strive for these days that are helping make me feel like I'm finally returning to the land of the living, I'm acutely aware that although there is a need to challenge and push myself, I also need to acknowledge the delicate balance that comes with healing. I'm trying so hard to find where that balance falls on my healing journey, and am finding that it is far from an easy ctask. 

Sometimes a good thing really can be a little too much of a good thing. Sometimes we need our pain to nag us a little to remind us to slow down. Not to stop, but to be kind to ourselves. 

Tomorrow, I plan on listening to what my body is telling me: I need some rest. So the plan? Nothing at all. Tomorrow will be time for cozy blankets and family snuggles. For enjoying just being us, with nowhere we need to be or any particular obligations. Maybe an "outing" as I've come to call them, and maybe not leaving the house at all. 

But most importantly, listening. Because listening means more wonderful days ahead. More and more days of "normal."

As for the things that really helped make these past three days extra special? More on that soon. Maybe tomorrow? Then again, who knows. It will keep, as will my smile. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

June 27, 2011

May 2013

A little less than 2 years. 
A world of difference in a million ways. 
A mommy who wishes she could freeze time. 

Tap, tap, tap ... Is this thing on?

Hello? Anyone there? The silence is deafening. Hmmm, could that be because I started this blog over 5 years ago and my last post was on January 21, 2011?

Wow. I just realized that's exactly 2 years and 4 months ago. No wait. It's 3:04am, making it May 22, 2013. Insomnia is what finally brought me back. Sort of.

Here's some irony. In February of 2008, I underwent a spinal fusion at L4/L5. My daughter, The Mad Hatter, had just turned 3. With the surgery's long and brutal recovery, I knew I needed an outlet. Writing? Has always been my first love. Cathartic. Creative. The words just seem to flow out of me faster than I can type them. If you're new here or know me IRL, you will quickly realize that I write exactly as I talk. Which is a lot. But I'm always just trying to keep it real.

Anyways, where were we? Right, irony. So, recovering from major surgery, loving writing, needing an outlet, I thought to myself, maybe I can do this blogging thing - how hard can it be? So I thought about a name. I was a mom. I was learning to blog. There you go - Mommy Learns to Blog. Not too hard so far. As I started to write, I realized this was going to be far from hard. Instead, if I had to choose one word, I'd call it amazing. I found an entire world online that I would lose myself in for hours. Because, as bloggers know (or learn), when you have your own blog, it's pretty likely that you're going to seek out other blogs you enjoy reading. You will comment on blog posts that resonate with you. People will in turn read your blog and comment on what strikes a note with them (sometimes people find your blog in some very interesting ways, but that's an entirely different post). And before you know it you've got this huge group of friends in what you learn is called the Blogosphere. Or maybe all this time later that's not what we call it - leave me a note in the comments. Friends you've never met in real life, who live all over the world, but yet in many ways become closer than some of your real-life friends. And these friends? Are the only ones who really "get" this phenomenon. The ones (when you later get more into social media and create Facebook and Twitter accounts) you get to know inside and out, even though you've never met. The ones you've connected with in your own state, even city, and communicated with for years without ever having met in person. And then maybe you're at an end of soccer season party, look across the room, and realize "OMG! Is that Liza? And you run over to confirm that it IS indeed Liza, and you are so excited to hear what her voice sounds like, give her a huge hug, and finally "complete the circle." And if you're really lucky like me, all of a sudden the fact that you and Liza have many IRL friends in common will suddenly align with the universe, and you will start running into each other all over the place, and begin to take that friendship to the next level. Did I mention that I still find all of this amazing? Yes, amazing.

In fact, for the last 2 or 3 months I have been telling Liza that I was giving a lot of thought to dusting off this little space and starting up again (if it still existed, which I was happy to see it did) and she has been telling me to JUST. DO. IT. And I've had all these reasons for not doing it. EXCUSES. The design needs updating. I've switched to a MacBook Pro when I'm used to blogging from a PC. Blogging is so different now - there will be all these new things I need to figure out. My pictures are outdated. Is there some way to beam pics from my phone to my blog or do I actually have to connect the freakin' cord and work for it? Maybe I'll blog from my iPad. Or when I'm on the go from my iPhone. The bottom line is here it is 3:04am (now closer to 4:00am since I'm an editing freak), I am wide awake, tired of tossing and turning, and decided now was the time to get up and JUST. DO. IT. So Liza, thank you for telling me I could do this. I can honestly say that as I've been typing, I've been feeling this deep exhaling. Peacefulness. And some anger and disappointment with myself for allowing my excuses keep me starting sooner.

I just realized I still haven't hit the ironic part, so I'm gonna let you have it, and save the rest of the details for another post. I mean, if anyone is here reading (with any luck I'm still in someone's reader!), I don't want to put you to sleep. Although I do hope after I hit publish I might be able to put myself to sleep. I'll tell you this - on April 16th of this year (yep, just 5 weeks ago), I underwent another lumbar fusion - this time at the level above the last one, L3/L4. It's been a hell of a journey since December of last year, and I feel like my world (at least my blogging world) is finally coming full circle. It has taken another major surgery to bring me back to my passion for writing. For sharing. For connecting with old blogging friends (although thankfully for FB, I stay in touch with most of you pretty much on a daily basis). For the excitement of how much social media has grown over the past 5 years and all the people I've yet to meet. One of the most incredible things that has happened in RI over the last year is that a large and growing number of bloggers here in our humble little state have found each other and formed an organization called Rhody Bloggers. I've watched as the group has grown (since many of my still-blogging friends have been the ones to create it), and collectively they have done some truly amazing things. They have grown their own local community of incredibly intelligent, creative, really diverse women, and I truly hope as I recover, I will find a way to get involved and finally meet some of them in person.

One last thing ... I would be completely remiss if I didn't give a shoutout to my friend Jen from ! Jen and I met on Twitter YEARS ago when I posted a picture of some cute new style of Vera Bradley bag and she responded to my tweet, or something like that (I have a crazy memory. Can't tell you details of a movie I watched yesterday, but people and events - try me!). Yet another blogging/Facebooking/Twittering friend I've grown to love over the years. We joke about how we feel like we know SO much about each other's lives and kids because we are both those moms who are forever posting pics of our little divas with insane stories and antics to go along with them. Like me, Jen writes like she talks, and I love it. Anyways, the Saturday night before my surgery, my husband and I went out for dinner. I instantly recognized a guy at the table next to us (because he's a star on Jen's FB page too), looked next to him, and realized his wife Jen was sitting right there. Again, one of those total full circle moments I almost can't believe never happened sooner, but I hope now that I'm on the mend will happen on purpose in the near future!

I feel like this is a lot longer than I meant it to be, but it feels great. Cheesy as it sounds, it feels like I've come home. And believe me, like it or not (hope you like it), there's so much more swirling around in this crazy head of mine I cannot wait to share. I have no idea where this rekindled blog will take me, but I'm excited and hoping for some adventure!