Saturday, May 8, 2010


There was a time in my life when I thought that I might not be a Mom. Wow, what a crazy thought. I’m so glad that there were other plans for my fate. There are days when I feel like this is what I was born for and then there are others where I wish I could sit my little three-year-old down and explain to him that two failed epidurals, full on labor and having a c-section anyway gives me the right to watch Bravo instead of Sprout. Oh, it will be so much easier when he understands what any of that means.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and I am officially missing my mom. However, I am extremely fortunate because my mom is in New Jersey – and not gone from my life like others I know. So for Mother’s Day, I thought I would give a few shout outs for some of the mom’s in my life that brighten or have brightened the lives of those around them:

Julie (my mom!):

Thanks for being a fabulous mom. You have always done the best you know how. Thanks so much for spreading your love to my friends who have had to say goodbye to their own moms. I love you. Wish you were here to spend Mother’s Day with me.

Judy (Chad’s mom):

I miss you! Thank you for raising a wonderful son, who is a wonderful man. You would be so proud of the husband and father he has become.

Lori (A’s Mom):

Deep down, I know you have Jersey in you…and I love you for it. A is very lucky to have you in her court.


You are classic, old fashioned and full of sunshine – about a perfect combination. Thanks for being here for us since Judy has left us.


Thanks for Amy…enough said!


Having one is hard enough, how you did it on your own with five seems unfathomable. Amazing.

Think about all the moms you cross paths with daily…every story unique, every life their own. Take a minute this mother’s day to say thanks, thanks for being mom to you, your husband or your best-friend. Say thanks to those birth-moms who loved in a different way, who loved enough to allow another woman to become the mom she was destined to be. Say thanks to a single mom who is doing it on her own, and to every mom who is simply doing the best she can.

Tomorrow I am going to say thank you to my son – because of him I get to be called MOM!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Family Snapshot

Family is such an amazing thing…or should I say families and the dynamics that happen in them every day. Every day, we are surrounded by so many different types, styles and make-ups…it’s a wonder that anyone ever coined the phrase “traditional family.” Really, does such a thing exist? But really, does it matter?

I love my little family…father, mother and…well simply put, the light of my life! And in the last few months I have come to the hard realization that my family is complete. Hard realization because I LOVE being a mom. Having my little boy just gives me so much happiness…but I have limits, real or imagined, but they are my limits, and they tell me that this just needs to be enough. I’m okay with that!

I have also had to come to some other realizations in my life, the biggest being that no family (not even my own) is ever going to be perfect. Rain will fall, parents will fight and milk will always spill. But you know what, every day I am learning that it is okay. I’m also starting to think that perfect is an illusion that was created to make us all feel like crap when we have PMS! Ok, maybe not, but for whatever reason, every woman I know has gotten caught up in that need to be perfect. Misery loves company…so it’s good to know that I am not the only one who does this.

The hardest part about making my family work, and the struggles that it takes, is that it is hard not to feel the emotions that are happening in families around me. Right now, I am feeling a roller coaster of emotions for one family. Those around them are watching as a little family falls apart. But the roller coaster of emotions comes from the sadness of witnessing it, the awe of watching my friend show characteristics and grace that I could only dream of possessing and the happiness I feel knowing that we all get to watch it rebuild. The best part of the emotions is feeling confident that it will rebuild into something different…something new.

This week also presented some news on another family. This family is one I only know from a far. They are more like acquaintances to me, but there is a bond that connects us. See my son is named after a friend of my husbands. The funny reality is that it was really…just because we liked the name. But because the name is not common or heard every day, it creates a connection. Well, Big Corbin has been battling a brain tumor and as of recent, the prognosis is not so good. This little family is suffering in a way that I could never, don’t ever want to, imagine. Right now, the most amazing thing is that through it all they are fighting for their little family. They are doing the best to have as normal of a life as time and circumstances will allow.

On the other end of the spectrum there is another family that just confuses me. Oh this family makes me lose sleep at night…tossing and turning consumed with grief, anger and just plain old dumb-foundedness. Now, every family has a certain level of dysfunction, but it is how we chose to deal with it that is the true reflection of the effort. How is it that this family can make a conscious decision to live in chaos? I think the thing I struggle the most with is that the family operates on a hierarchy of selfishness. By no means am I posing as an expert on parenting or marriage, but this is not a tactic that works. The reality is that they will continue to wallow in self made misery – and sadly, we will probably watch as the next generation lives on to repeat the same pattern.

Back to that premise of the “traditional family”…

When I look around at the people in my life I can only say that I…and my son…are lucky to have such diversity in the families that surround us. From my best friend the single mom who has plenty of ups and downs with her own children (her family!)…yet has enough room in her life to take on more “children.” To my other best friend who’s family is a map of the world in both ethnicity and character - constantly facing challenges and obstacles…usually not of her own making.

Big ones, little ones, ones with steps, and some with no pets…traditional or not…thriving or merely surviving – you will find some that need your help, some that need your prayers – and sometimes you just sit back and laugh. Like I said…I love my little family. I love my big family too, the big family that is made up of all the people surrounding my little family - my lifeblood, my oxygen.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Images, Questions and Love

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about love.

Those who know me know that I wear my Grandmother’s wedding band. It’s such an amazing band and for the five and 1/2 years it has been on my finger, it has become a part of me. A symbol of the commitment Chad and I made to each other in front of our family, our friends and the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. But, it is actually so much more than that. I actually feel honored to wear it.

Margaret Cymerman, “Grandma Peggy,” passed away from breast cancer when I was not quite seven. So the reality is that I didn’t really know her too well. I know pictures; pictures that show her as beautiful, stylish and always “together.” But the thing is I feel like I do know her, at least in my own mind. I have developed a relationship with her because of the bond that we share - a bond that now lives within a beautiful bauble that symbolizes the greatest love of my life.

She and my Grandfather were married over 25 years. One thing that lives so vividly in my mind are the photos from their elaborate 25th anniversary party. Now, I know that they didn’t have a perfect marriage or a perfect relationship, but the pictures of that party have become a symbol of what I want my marriage to be. She was exquisite. Wearing a beautiful long white gown with perfect beauty-parlor hair…she just looked happy. An amazing kind of happy! For most of my life now, that image lives in my head…that image is what love looks like.

This past week gave me a lot more to think about. You see, I have this amazing group of women in my life. These women have become such a huge part of me and it makes me so happy to be able to be there for each other through good and bad, happiness and sadness…love and loss. We are learning from each other that love and relationships are not all sunshine and roses. We are learning that sometimes love tests us…tests beyond our limits. However, even at the furthest of these limits, we have been able to witness the grace and beauty that comes along with unconditional love.

A friend of mine once gave me a quote about love and the uncertainties we endure and the questions we ask over and over. It’s so relevant to me today, and I dedicate this to one of the bravest women I have been fortunate enough to have come into my life:

Be Patient... toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves... Do not... seek the answers, which cannot be given... you would not be able to live with them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will... gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. --Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

What I know is that love is never simple! When I think back along the relationships in my life, I have been fortunate to know love. But now that I am older and have more life experiences under my belt, I am starting to see that some of the love that I have experienced – well, it may have not been love after all. Something different altogether, but definitely not love because I now feel that real love doesn’t go away. It changes and it changes you, but real love doesn’t end. It heals you when you need healing and comforts you when you need it most.

I have always believed that people come into our lives for a reason. Recently, something made me think that maybe it’s not just the person, but more the love that we receive from that person. I have been fortunate to have had love in my life that has sustained me…that has given me strength long after life has moved in another direction. And, it is the love that I have in my life now that shows me what life is all about.

I think once again about the pictures from Grandma Peggy and Grandpa Walter’s Anniversary and I dream of walking in their shoes. I hope for a day when my husband and I can share the longevity of our commitment the way they did that day. As the thought crosses my mind…I smile and my heart feels happy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Just a Quick Update

Two weeks ago I wrote about needing to have a fresh start on the road to a healthier, better me. I am happy to report back that two weeks later the results have been great. Fourteen days of fresh food, veggies, reduced complex carbs, reduced caffeine and sugar has yielded a great result…my body feels amazing. I am sleeping better, have more energy and my left arm twitch is the most under control it’s been in years…oh and the best part – 7lbs are gone.

The journey needs to continue though, now is not the time to derail. I will continue to follow this path and see where it takes me…wish me luck, and hang tight for the next update.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Reality of Reality...

What is our fascination with reality TV? More specifically, what is the fascination that makes us tune in time after time to watch a bunch of women compete for the affections of some eligible bachelor? Now, there are a lot of things that are easy draws…cat fights, hot tubs, flowers…then you get to the end and have exotic locations, pretty dresses and… big earrings. What’s not to love? Really, I still can’t quite put my finger on it.

So, the more I thought about it I started to think that maybe it was the promise of what the show holds - the promise of a fairy tale, happy ending. Is it the promise that the “right girl” is going to win in the end and she’s going to get the man of her dreams? But I don’t think it’s that either…cause reality TV history says something totally different:

So, if the Biggest Loser has a better track record at love than the love show-of-all-shows, then just about everything I said above is completely debunked. Truth be told, there are no pretty dresses, diamonds or hot tubs on The Biggest Loser. Regardless, for some strange reason at the end of every Bachelor season we all tune in – even those of us who didn’t watch one episode prior!

OK, I do have a confession. I really only watched so that I could see the new competitors on the upcoming Dancing with the Stars! Keep in mind, I don’t really watch DWTS either…go figure. Earlier in the day I saw the internet rumors that Kate Gosselin and Shannen Doherty were going to be doing the Merengue and the Cha Cha. The reality TV junkie in me had found her next fix. Oh, but was I even remotely prepared for the amazing surprise that awaited me…NIECY NASH. MMMMMHMMM, it was like my Birthday…oh the FOOLISHNESS!! I am giddy. I may wear my flower in my hair tomorrow as a celebration. The printer has the order for my TEAM NIECY velour sweat suit!

Now, if you are staring at your screen going, “who the heck is Niecy Nash?”, then you need to check out this YouTube video reel with some of her highlights. Personal favorite – at about 2:47 she shows up back stage at a Kimora Lee Simons fashion show during Fashion Week…with a box of Dunkin Donuts!

All joking aside, reality TV has really changed the way that we as American’s not only watch TV, but it has changed our perception of celebrity. Think about it, not too long ago, celebrities were the people who sang, danced, acted or were great athletes.
“It's a rather astonishing change in the way we regard public people. Public people were once defined as such based upon the fact that their remarkable skills had brought them to the attention of the public. Now, though, we appear to be entering an era in which the skills are unnecessary. One can become a public person just by being a person, in public.” – Bob Greene, Jewish World Review

How and why is it that we make celebrities out of people who are just people, in public? Really, is it possible that Snooki is going to retire a lot earlier than most people I know (OK,I realize this takes into account that she will actually be responsible with the money she’s earning ). And for what? Getting drunk on the Boardwalk in Seaside Heights? Really, like who hasn’t done that (wink, wink)?

Maybe the fascination is just that we are looking to be entertained; looking to be entertained by a “real” glimpse into people’s lives, adventures and antics.

Maybe it’s an escape; a way for us to forget the things going on in our own lives and for a moment, picture ourselves in the shoes (dancing shoes!) of someone else.

And maybe, just maybe, that’s not such a bad thing – because sometimes those escapes are what gets us ready for the new day. Those escapes are a chance to turn it all off and focus on the next sister squabble between two Kardashian sisters, or the next pound lost by a person who really wants a chance at a better life. Then in the morning, we wake to a whole new reality!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Is rock bottom really the place to start?

Ever get to that place where you go to get dressed for work and you have two clothing choices in your closet? Now, I’m not saying literally (because my closet is full. Ok, over full, but who’s counting…okay I counted Chad’s shirts once, but I’m sure you get my point!)…where was I? So, two choices out of a full closet; and you ask yourself how this could even remotely be possible. Didn’t you just buy a new pair of pants? A new shirt? Hmmm, how did this happen?

rock-bot•tom [rok-bot-uh m]
at the lowest possible limit or level; extremely low: rock-bottom prices.

And that would be where I sit. But I have no intention of staying here very long. I have picked myself up, dusted myself off and am moving in a positive direction. Been here, done this. But hey, it’s a journey and I’m never one to say no to a journey. The only thing is – I want it to be different this time. I want the reality on the outside to live up to the wishes, goals and dreams that go on inside my head. I need to get rid of the thoughts that haunt.

I have this fear. I have a fear that I am going to be “that mom”, the one that can’t keep up with her child. The one that is always out of breath and wanting to sit...the one that holds her child back so she doesn’t get left behind. And I’m mad at myself. I am mad that I have let it get this far out of control for me. This is where this turns into a very emotional place for me. And wow, this is getting much more serious and personal than I had set out to write.

Almost two years ago we lost Chad’s mom (one day I will devote an entire post to Judy, I promise! She was pretty cool in that mid-west woman kinda way!). Today in order to place the focus where it is relevant, I need to keep this simple. So for intents and purposes let’s just say that she did not take care of herself when she needed to. I have a feeling that by the time she realized this simple fact, it was too late to change her ways. Well, after she passed, I went through the grieving process and tried my best to help Chad through it as well. But, to be honest, after the sadness subsided…I was pissed! Yes, I know the step in the grieving process is “anger”…but I was more than angry! I was pissed because my son (who was only 1 at the time) is never going to know that he had such an amazing grandma and that she loved him so much. I kept wondering; if she knew that she was going to have this amazing little person in her life earlier, would she have done things different to give herself more time with him? Would she have taken better care of herself when it would have made a difference? Definitely rhetorical questions…but I realize it is one that I don’t want asked about me someday.

Now maybe it’s a little over dramatic, but there has to be a point where you stop asking the questions…where you just realize you can’t turn back, you have already gone way too far down that road. I however, do not want to find out where that point is. I need to fix it now. I need to take control of my life, of my health and of my future.

Starting today…that is what I am going to do!

So now we are in countdown mode. Countdown to my impending Bitchdom!


Two nights later, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. It does need to be said that I did have a fortunate detour on the diet trail through the “house of meat” – ok, so maybe not the house of meat, but a Brazilian Steak House (same thing!). It was nice to enjoy the evening out and I successfully did not have a cocktail - a feat for which I am very proud. But, all in all, the journey so far is pretty good. I am eating lots of healthy foods, no alcohol (for at least one week) and very, very limited caffeine. The best part is…that I am surviving. Hopefully tomorrow will go just as well.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Hot Dog and the Gold Medal

So finally, an urge or a little inspiration has finally gotten me to sit down and write. My friend Jess (actually closer to a niece!), but friend too, told me that she was waiting for me to blog…waiting for that little bit of Jenn that would what…give her entertainment? Make her laugh? Or maybe just help her to kill some time in between her bouts of being amazing? Who knows! Well tonight it finally hit me.

I just spent the evening watching the Olympic Games and the amount of emotion that I am feeling right now is so overwhelming, so consuming, that I needed to find an outlet. The weird thing is that I’m not a writer, so why the sudden need to write? Hmm.

I felt like crying when Shaun White won gold. Crying over snowboard half pipe? How could you not cry? How many times in a person’s life will they have the opportunity that he just had? He had the opportunity to just go out there and hot dog it – the chance to not only BE the best, but then to go out there and enjoy it. To stick his tongue out and say nah, nah, nah nah boo boo! What a day at work! When was the last time you got to do that? Will you ever get to do that? I just might give it a try next time I have a moment of greatness at work…I’ll report back how that goes over.

Of course my mood then shifted a little - I started thinking that as a mom of a little boy (and a Colorado native to boot) – someday he might want to do that, hot dog it in a snow half pipe like Shaun White. Oh help me. Ok, enough on that thought.

Well before the whole waterworks over the snowboarding episode, I was cheering when Lindsey Vonn won her gold medal. Simply amazing! And she did it injured. How many times have you thought of calling out of work for a headache, a cold? She just won a gold medal with a shin injury that would have most of us in the hospital. Personally, I would probably be in traction (come on…y’all know my threshold for pain). Why can’t we all have that same drive, that same energy? What does it take to feel like that? I can’t stop asking myself what is it that she knows, that someone like my (hopefully, soon-to-be-ex) brother-in-law can't even get a glimpse of? And of course…I got angry.

So I went from excited and cheering, to crying and proud…and then found myself angry. It is simply amazing to me how closely tied our emotions are. The reality is that I have spent a lot of time being angry lately…so I wasn’t particularly surprised. But I knew that I had to shift it back…so I started to think about the “podium worthy” moments of my day…

Today, I won the gold medal at being a mom! I sang the “poopie on the potty song” to my little boy who was so proud that he actually did it on the potty today (subsequent tries were not as successful, but credit where credit is due people). Oh, I guess I should mention that I sang this song in the parking lot of daycare – with the accompaniment of our part-time nanny, Kris. Yup, it was a proud moment.

And I think I take home the bronze for my good wife efforts. I would have liked another gold, but it was a tough crowd tonight. I definitely lost points for making spaghetti for dinner – I’m sorry, I can eat spaghetti for dinner and not be overcome by the evil carb guilt – forever will we disagree on this. Besides tonight I couldn’t help it, it was quick and easy. Carbohydrates aside, I tried to regain my position, by giving him a little pep talk. I know that sounds lame, but I really meant it when I told him that everything is going to be okay, and really, I believe that.

Hmm…I believe that! Not a bad note to go to bed on.