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Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to take a minute to reflect on 2012.  There are some wonderful things that have happened for our family in 2012 and I am so grateful for those things.  I have an amazing husband and we have two wonderful daughters.  Our family is very blessed.  I can't help tonight but think about those that have been less fortunate and pray for them that their 2013 is better.  I hope that your 2013 is blessed.  I hope that 2013 sees the Jersey Shore come back better and stronger than ever.  I hope that 2013 finds some respite for those that have suffered from the Newtown tragedy.  I hope that 2013 finds our country in a better fiscal position and our politicians understanding that their constituents need them to come together to serve us as a nation not as two parties.  Ok enough pontificating :) May 2013 be a year of health and happiness for you all!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Don't let LIFE get in the way of LIVING

I am in the middle of something so unreal and unbelievable that I haven't even fully processed it yet.  I got a call yesterday that changed my life.  My best friend in the whole world had collapsed and preliminary tests were showing a brain tumor.

My heart stopped beating, the tears began to flow, and I just kept saying no this can't be happening.  We have plans, we are supposed to hang out over Christmas week while we were home in Jersey.  The kids and the husband and I were planning on heading to their house for New Years.  All in an instant life just changed.

As of right now she is responding to the medications that she was put on and has been released from the hospital.  Her prognosis is still up in the air because they won't really know exactly what is going on until the tumor is removed.

This post is to serve as a reminder that life can be short, life can be long, but life isn't always what we expect it to be.  We need to roll with the punches, stay strong for those who need and cry with those that support us.

Stop putting off seeing that old friend and make time.  If you have a bucket list shred and just do it.  Don't wait another second.  I am by no means insinuating that the world is ending on Friday.  I just had a wake up call that one of the most important people in my life, the one who knows me like no one else on this planet and vice versa is going through something so terrible, and for a moment I thought that I would lose her.

So LIVE, live for the laughter, live for the tears.  Say I love you.  Dance and be silly and have a good time.  Because when it's all over who cares what anyone says you lived your life and loved it.  Make sure you have no regrets and if you do turn them around.  Don't let life get in the way of living.

Please if you could all take a minute and say a prayer for my friend and her family that they make it through this ordeal and that she comes out stronger than ever.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Watching playtime

All my girls ever want to do is be dressed up in costumes.  J2 especially from the minute she wakes up in the morning, until bedtime, she wants to be dressed up.  She dances and prances around the house with different characteristics of the particular costume that she is wearing.  It's pretty adorable.  When she's dressed as Aurora she sings "Once Upon a Dream" and dances around the living room spinning and twirling.  When she has Cinderella on she sings "A Dream is a Wish".  It really is too cute for words.  She never wants to just be J2.  She always wants to be in a fantasyland.  J1 likes to dress up but is far more practical.  She plays with her dolls and has elaborate conversations and scenarios that she plays out.  I love listening.  I almost hate to play "with" them because watching their imaginations work without my involvement is so amazing.  Listening to J1 with her toys and her blocks is so intense sometimes.  I hear her telling her dolls some of things that we tell her.  She makes sure that they say "please" and "thank you" to each other.  She talks to them like she talks to us.  She sings songs to them.  She also loves to build towers and castles with her blocks.  I never thought that watching my kids play together and apart could be so fulfilling.  As much as I love to play with them, I enjoy watching them use their own imaginations to play on their own even more.  I just can't believe how lucky I am that I have two healthy and beautiful little girls, and an amazing husband.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Magic" the Elf

The Elf on the Shelf, that lovely and sweet little tradition that is meant to be a family experience.  Why do I feel like it's a tool that my husband and I use for 30 or so days a year to "bribe" the kids to behave. This whole elf that moves around the house watching the kids all day, am I the only one that finds this a bit creepy?  Last year I thought it was totally adorable (except the 2 times that "Magic" forgot to find a new spot in the AM).  This year I am finding it weird.  I don't know what has changed.  I was ecstatic last year that the kids picked a cute name that didn't make me want to scream every time I spoke it.  This year I look at him and I am totally creeped out.  In fact he's creeptastically staring at me right now as he sits on the Christmas tree.  The kids love it.  They remind each other that "Magic" is watching, and Santa will know.  Why don't they just behave all the time.  Why is the threat of a creepy looking elf and a big white haired fat guy move them to best behavior ever.

Are my husband and I such pushovers that the threat of Santa is better than the sum total of our parenting skills?? I don't feel like it's about the presents yet because they haven't asked for anything crazy or outrageous.  I just don't get it and I don't know why I don't get it.  This is the same thing that my parents did (minus the creepy elf).  Should I be using these things to get the easy month out of my toddlers?  Am I completely overreacting?  Or and I just having a hard time because that creepy little elf  is watching my every move?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Head Injuries?!?!?!

Ok so J1 has been exploring in the bathtub.  She for some reason is recently fascinated with it.  Well today she learned a very hard lesson.  Fooling around in the bathroom can hurt.  Apparently she tried to stand on the edge of the tub and toppled over and whacked her head.  I was changing J2's diaper when I heard this awful crash and then I heard the tears.  I didn't feel a bump and she returned to normal rather quickly.  This isn't the first time this week that bangs to the head have upset me.  Earlier this week we were playing "Snuggle With Mommy" when I asked for kisses.  They both leaned in at the same time.  I subsequently heard the most horrific noise that I have ever heard.  I actually heard my kids skulls crack together.  It was awful.  There were no bumps, or bruises but it didn't make me feel any better.  The noise was horrendous.  It was completely the worst noise imaginable.  I know that kids are supposed to "bounce" and all but when should we start to be worried that these things could be causing permanent damage.  I don't want to be one of those mom's that rushes to the pediatrician for nothing. Where do you draw that line?

I think that I am usually good in a crisis, but when it comes to my kids I'm just not.  I can often go with the flow and do what needs to be done and then when it's all over fall apart.  When it comes to my girls I just don't have that instinct.  I want to be able to handle the situation at hand, and then have my minute.  I don't want to overreact, and I don't want to scare them and make it worse.  It's just so hard to be rational when your child is in danger, hurt, or anything other than happily snuggled in my arms.

How do you react when one child hurts another.  I'm pretty lucky because J1 and J2 get along really well, however there are times when they aren't BFF's.  When one hurts the other my inner "mama bear" gets so confused.  I'm frustrated that one could hurt the other.  I'm concerned for the offended party.  I'm often at a loss as to how to handle the offender.  Usually the girls are so sorry when they hurt one another that I'm not certain how to handle "punishment".  If I can tell that they are sorry is that enough? If I think that they did it maliciously should the "punishment" be stiffer.  I have a hard time with these questions.  With my girls so close in age, I imagine that these times will become more often.  I know that each situation should be handled individually, but I also have those old school "let the punishment fit the crime" mentality floating around.  I struggle with this kind of stuff.  It doesn't matter how many books/articles/websites you read, you are never 100% prepared for these situations.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Girly Giggles

There is no more beautiful sound than that of my angels giggling.  Luckily they are crazy ticklish so it is easy to elicit the beautiful sound.  My girls are such happy children.  They may drive me crazy and they may be in their terrible 2's and their torturous 3's but they are mine.  I have had some very special time with them this week.  They are the sweetest most amazing little girls.  I am so pleased at how happy they are.  They are growing each day to be some really amazing little people.  They may not know the things that other kids know at their age, but they know other important things.  They are loving, kind, sweet, and they are respectful.  I constantly second guess my decision not to send J1 to preschool this year.  She may be behind because I'm not the best teacher or spend enough time teaching her the things that kids learn in preschool, but I feel like she knows things that are just as important.

I am not sure why I feel that I need to justify this.  I know that my kids should be better with their  ABC's.  I know that other kids can read site words, and know how to write their names at J1's age.  My girls don't do those things.  They can sing their ABC's but can't pick them out all the time.  They can count to 20 but can't pick the numbers out all the time.  They build with blocks and play so well together.  They share and they love and look out for each other.  They have their moments where they don't get along but nothing that isn't to be expected.  I know that I need to be more proactive with working on the basic academics with them.  I know that they watch too much TV and that I can change that at any time.

I just am so pleased that at 2 and 3 my girls say "thank you" and "please".  They play amazing make believe games.  They giggle, laugh, they live for their Daddy and love him like crazy.  I know that their obsession with all things princess may be detrimental at some point, but I also know that then social things that they do know will never be lost.  Am I crazy to think that social things are just as, if not more important than the academics.  My girls are my world.  I am just feeling so blessed that they are so terrific and that they love me all the time, even when I feel like I don't deserve it.

Even though some days are hard, and my girls aren't perfect, (heck I am certainly not perfect or any shadow of it).  I am proud to be a stay at home mom.  I am proud of my girls and where they are in their development.  Sometimes I need to remind myself of how amazing they are so that I can quell my often unrealistic expectations of where they "should be" and just be happy with who, and what they are.  They are beautiful, loving, and beautiful little people, and I couldn't be prouder to be their mom.  Every time they giggle I know that they are happy, and that if they weren't happy then they wouldn't love me the way that they do.  I have great kids and I can't take credit for all of that, I can only take credit for teaching them what my husband and I think is important.  The rest is all up to them, and I am pretty confident that they are both going to be capable of wonderful things!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Christmas Dresses!!

Ok so it drives me crazy that as soon as Halloween is over and even before I can eat my turkey I have to start looking for Christmas dresses for the girls.  It's a very trying process.  I like them to match (duh) and I also am not looking to spend a ton of money for dresses that they are going to wear for pictures and 1 day.  I have finally found my answer!! ZULILY!!! I have ordered from here before and been pleased with what I have gotten.  It's where I got their Easter dresses and shoes for this past year.  I wasn't sure how it would go with Christmas.  While I was out yesterday, my sister and my mother were busy checking out Zulily's site and picking out dresses.  They both fell in love with a dress.  Only problem was that by the time I got home and checked it out with my mom the dress was only left in one size and it wasn't either girls size.

Well that was quite the bummer because I really liked the dress, and to find a dress that my mom, my sister, and I liked was pretty unprecedented.  My fabulous sister went back on the site today and they had restocked! So the dresses were available in BOTH girls sizes.  I wasted no time snatching them up (at a great discount)!! I love that the dresses were less than $25 each and still look ADORABLE!  They are going to look so cute!!!! I just had to share my joy and excitement over having that often stressful time behind me.

Christmas dresses bought, first Christmas presents bought, I am on a roll!!! Bring on the Turkey I am ready for the holidays!!!

Here's a pic of the dress

Check out Zulily here and tell them I sent you!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sleepy time blues

So J2 is going through another one of her wake up in the middle of the night phases. Poor J1 suffers worse for this drama because she is a sleeper. She loves her sleep and when J2 is up so is the whole house. I asked J1 if J2 woke her up and she said no. She then proceeded to explain that she was asleep and J2 was crying and she heard her and that's how she woke up. Poor thing clearly doesn't get the concept of your little sister woke you up. Now little J2 starts a fight every time these wake up fiascos occur. She wants everything that she can't have from juice to candy to TV and then throws a fit. I just wish that she would get that she's just tired and needs to sleep cause I promise her that I need the sleep and so does Daddy. Here's hoping round 2 of bedtime is more successful than round 1. From what i hear so far is not so good. Wish me luck, well actually wish hubs luxknb/c they want Daddy not Mommy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Potty Training J2

Potty training J1 wasn't easy it took some time, but she is there 100% even night time potty trained.  I am beyond thrilled and so proud of her.  Now comes the issue J2, J2 would sit in a nasty skanky diaper all day if I let her.  She likes the potty and wants to use the potty but not to actually go potty.  If J1 was the Lord of the Rings Trilogy of potty training, J2 is already the Harry Potter series.  She just wants nothing to do with it unless it assists her in avoiding something like bed.  So tomorrow come hell or high water she is going to use that damn potty.  We are going to put pull ups tomorrow.  She gets so excited about the concept but we have no results.  I am going to try the M&M (actually Smarties) cause those are her favorite route when she does use the potty.  I ask her, I put her on it, it doesn't matter the minute she's off is when she goes.  So keep thinking of us and sending good potty vibes this way!

So it's out let's hope it makes it successful

So here it is the press release for the Jersey Mike's fundraiser.  I have emailed it to all the appropriate places.  I am hoping that we can get some serious interest.  I am really hoping that this fundraiser can be successful.  My old high school is in such dire need.  Wish me luck!! 


Jersey Mike’s Partners with Joliet Mom to Aid Jersey Shore Hometown

JOLIET, IL November 12, 2012 – On November 19 - 21, Jersey Mike’s Subs in Bolingbrook will donate $1 to Jersey Shore Relief for each sub sold at its 214 North Weber Road, Bolingbrook location. According to Bolingbrook Jersey Mike's General Manager, Tremell Bush, "we are hearing from shelters and distribution centers along the Jersey Shore about their ongoing need for diapers, wipes, baby formula, non-perishable foods, blankets, pillows, and toiletries. Our store will have a donation box for contributions of those non-perishable items which will be shipped directly to shelters and distribution centers in New Jersey’s hard-hit Ocean and Monmouth Counties."

Joliet resident Kimberly Blackburn grew up on the Jersey Shore and spent part of the summer there sharing her own childhood memories with her two young daughters. Media coverage of the Hurricane’s destruction, along with firsthand reports from family and friends, moved Blackburn to action. "I called my local Jersey Mike's right away because I knew they would want to help with Hurricane Relief efforts, and I was heartened by General Manager Tremell Bush's overwhelmingly generous response," recounts Blackburn.

The burgeoning Jersey Mike's franchise started in 1956 as a small sub shop in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, one of Hurricane Sandy's hardest hit areas. Recalls Blackburn, "I grew up on Jersey Mike's subs. My parents grew up on Jersey Mike's subs. I know firsthand the company's longstanding commitment to the Jersey Shore, and I am pleased to assist with their Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts." 

According to Bolingbrook Jersey Mike's General Manager, Tremell Bush, "Jersey Mike's franchises across the country are stepping up to help Jersey Shore residents. We hope everyone will join us November 19th, 20th, and 21st when we will be donating $1 directly to Hurricane Sandy Relief for every sub purchased.” 

Jersey Mike’s is located at 214 North Weber Road Bolingbrook, IL, next to the Verizon store and across from the Meijer. Their hours are 10am to 9pm.  You can call ahead to place your order at (630) 226-6855. 

About Jersey Mike’s:  Jersey Mike’s, a sub sandwich franchise with more than 750 stores nationwide, has a long history of community involvement and support. Started at the Jersey Shore in 1956, Jersey Mike’s serves authentic East Coast-style subs on fresh baked bread – the same recipe it started with over 56 years ago. The company’s mission is to bring its customers the highest quality, freshest made sub in the industry and give back to the communities in which it operates. 
About Kimberly Blackburn:  Kimberly Blackburn grew up at the Jersey Shore and currently lives in Joliet with her husband and two daughters. Blackburn’s family still lives on the Jersey Shore. In a story by The Associated Press picked up nationally, Blackburn was interviewed about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and quoted in the article, Will Jersey shore ever be the same after Sandy?


Kimberly Blackburn
Tremell Bush

(815) 714-2628

(630) 226-6855


So here it is the press release for the Jersey Mike's fundraiser.  I have emailed it to all the appropriate places.  I am hoping that we can get some serious interest.  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Always check the weather!

So I was given a free pass today to go across the street to watch the Giants game (or fiasco which is what I would call it). So when I got home I felt guilty about being away so the kids and I decided to walk to Garnsey Park.  It was crazy windy but warm so it was actually really nice.  The only problem is that it's about 8 blocks away.  So we walked. The girls played on the swings and it was great.  They got to run around and burn off some energy so I thought it was perfect.  Then all of the sudden it started to rain.  So here I am trudging back home in the rain with my two toddlers.  We were sloppy wet messes by the time we got home.  We all giggled about it and put on dry clothes.  My girls went on and on about how much fun they had at the "playground" with Mommy.  It literally melted my heart and even though we got rained on, got wet and soggy and it wasnt' ideal weather, the 20 minutes those girls had to play they talked about all night.  It was worth every minute and every bit of sogginess.   I love to make them happy :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Saturday Sister Play

Well it's Saturday and my girls are cracking me up.  We have already had Princess Belle and Princess Aurora dress up times. We have built block towers, and talked about the plans for the day.

J1 and I were snuggling and playing on the couch and I pretended to fall asleep on her and snore.   J2 came flying over and saying, let my sister go she not a pillow!  I love how protective they are of each other.  I love watching them play make believe and pretend.  I just love watching them play period.  I honestly prefer watching them play together than just about anything.  They play so well together 85% of the time.  It's just so sweet.

J2 came up to me today and say "how are you sweetie?" These kids are just so sweet and loving and adorable and I need to make posts like this so that when they do crazy things that drive me bonkers I can look back and remember what sweet little girls they usually are.  They are very excited for Daddy to wake up they missed him b/c he's been on wacky shifts this week and they know they get to play with him today.

These are the kind of mornings that make me not care that we are up 6am.  These are the kind of mornings that remind me that I am one of the luckiest women in the world.  I have two beautiful, healthy daughters, a husband that loves and supports me and our girls.  There is nothing more that I could ask for!  Happy Saturday!!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Toys, Toys Everywhere!!!

Ok so I don't think of my kids as crazy spoiled, but when it comes time to clean up it seems that the toys never fit.  Also currently their playroom and my living room are one in the same.  I am so tired of tripping over toys and constantly asking them to put the toys away.  Today I am moving the toys into their bedroom and the extra bedroom down here off of my living room.  Maybe if I put the toys away where I can't see them I won't feel like they are overtaking my house.  Moms what do you do to keep your kids toys in order?  How often do you go through them and toss/donate?  How do you get the kids to put the toys back where they belong?  Honestly if everything went back into it's places then it seems that it might not be as bad.  How can I get them to put them in the correct places so everything fits? Or am I just going to live an existence of toys toys everywhere?!?!?

Hurricane Sandy that BITCH

Hurricane Sandy ripped through my home.  She destroyed my childhood and has brought my hometown and the surrounding communities to their knees.  It’s Day 12 and some friends and family still don’t have power.  It’s been really hard for me to be so far away from family and friends while all this has been going on.  I know that I may not live there anymore but these places are my home.  

I spent a summer working on the Point Pleasant Beach Boardwalk.  I have been Jenks more times that I can count for drinks and almost got into my first (and only) fist fight on the boardwalk there leaving the bar one night.  I just spent an amazing day this past May there with my Dad and little brother and my kids.  We had lunch at Martells and then took the kids to the rides.  

I used to go to Seaside as a kid to the boardwalk and eat pizza at Maruca’s and ride the Jet Star and the Log Flume.  Then as an adult I would go there and hang out at the SawMill and the Bamboo and have an adult beverage or two.  There is no end to the memories of these places that I have and it’s been so hard to watch all the devastation and see the pictures, and videos.  

Since the hurricane hit, I have felt helpless, impotent, and just sad.  Especially after seeing the pictures of my old High School.  St Rose High School in Belmar was beyond devastated.  The school was flooded with what looks to be at least 4 feet of water.  The school reported that during the industrial clean up portion 800 lbs of fish were removed and 5 sea turtles were found swimming in the hallways.  I decided that instead of feeling helpless I was going to be as helpful as I could from here.  

I decided, after being interviewed for an article about my memories, that there were things that I could do from this far away So I called the local Jersey Mike’s and the fundraiser was born.  

For 3 days the Bolingbrook, IL Jersey Mike's location will donate $1 per sub sold.  In addition we will be collecting donations of items that are still needed for those that have lost their homes to Sandy.  Check out flyer above for any questions!