All posts by kir

Building a Dream

Once upon a time John and I were building a house and then, just as suddenly, we weren’t.

Life can take your journey toward a dream on any number of paths, it can tear down one notion of happiness only to plant the seed of it somewhere else.

Eight years ago John and I had a vision of what our house should look like. Jaded and mentally drained by our infertility we began to build a home and soon discovered that a red door and stone facade might not be the cornerstones of the thing we were truly dreaming of.

The story I wrote about that period of our lives is being featured over at Brain, Child Magazine today.

The House a Dream Built is a story for anyone who has given up one dream to pursue another, or watched one path close off only to have another open and carry you onward. And it’s our story, the one that built our family from the ground up.

Hoping you can take a few minutes and visit me there today since another dream came true when Brain, Child chose to feature this piece. I’m so incredibly honored to appear on their pages.

 

dreamhousebuilt

The cutest dreams we every built!

Happiness is The Holiday Collections from Shutterfly

When does Christmas find you?

Every year, right after Halloween, I find myself in the Christmas spirit. Humming carols, sipping hot chocolate and dreaming of the warmth, joy and peace of my very favorite season of the year.

And so I call on my favorite photographer and endeavor to have funny, frame-worthy pictures taken of my family. I ended up buying the sweaters the boys are wearing during the after- Christmas sales of last year so I knew that our color palette would include cranberry and white this year.

I was giddy with the prospect of more beach pictures but this year we added a fun, midway-feel to the typical family photos. We posed, we pondered and we giggled. We tried in vain to stand up straight and I kissed the beautiful, soft cheeks of my sons too many times to count because it was soooo cold on that boardwalk.

And you know what I did after that fantastic photo shoot?

I headed over to Shutterfly to make those memories into our gorgeous Christmas cards . Every year I am thrilled, surprised and up spending  hours in their galleries picking the perfect backgrounds and accompaniments to our photos.

Christmas2014PicciniFamilyLighthousePM

This year Shutterfly introduced The Perfectly Personal™   line including their new Foil Stamped Line and I quickly set about positioning favorite photos, then adding on things like spiffy back-sides, address labels,  stickers to use as closures and personalized postage.

Their “solution sets” made it easy to put together several collections perfectly suited for family, friends and everyone else.

Christmas2014ShutterflyCollageRedCheerThe Cheers card  with matching address labels and stickers.

Christmas2014ShutterflyPeaceCollage

 The Perfect Peace card comes in signature or pearl shimmer cardstock then all you have to do is  just add a personalized address label and postage. It’s just that easy to make your pictures into a work of art.

You can choose from all different kinds of trim options like rounded, scalloped and bracket and then add back-of-card designs, various fonts and colors to compliment your color scheme.

I was lost in a palette of snowflakes, candy canes and holly leaves. No one has the kind of selections they offer and I might have used about 22 fonts and colors before I settled on one.

The joy of so many choices!

And if you’re planning a Holiday party, bash or get-together you can customize your collection with invites, address labels and stickers  to match your holiday cards and put together a lovely streamlined look.

 

Christmas2014ShutterflyCollageInvite

Is it any wonder that I turn to Shutterfly for all my holiday needs?

Solution sets for Flat Stationary Cards:  party invitation, holiday greeting, address label, sticker & personalized postage stamps

  • Layout options:  1, 2, 3, 4+ photos
  • Trim options:  rounded, bracket, scallop & ticket
  • Sentiment options:  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year & Editable
  • Color options
  • Back of card designs & layout options
  • Paper options:  Signature cardstock or pearl shimmer cardstock

There are so many options and variations to set your creativity in motion and before you know it…Christmas has found you.

Once you get over to the Shutterfly gallery be sure to check out all these amazing, whimsical and elegant designs sure to make your holidays merry and bright:

Foil-Stamped

  • Real foil stamped, gold or red, premium look
  • Trim options:  rounded, bracket, scallop & ticket
  • Sentiment options:  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & Happy New Year
  • Back of card designs & layout options
  • Paper options:  Signature cardstock or pearl shimmer cardstock

3/4 cards 

  • More photo spaces
  • Text boxes to add captions to more photos
  • Copy space for holiday newsletter/top 10/year in review within the card
  • Sentiment options:  Fixed or Editable
  • Paper options:  Signature cardstock or pearl shimmer cardstock

Tri-fold cards

  • More photo spaces
  • Text boxes to add captions to more photos
  • Copy space for holiday newsletter/top 10/year in review within the card
  • Sentiment options:  Fixed or Editable
  • Paper options:  Signature cardstock or pearl shimmer cardstock

Wishing you a wonderful Holiday Season and be sure to check your mail pile for our Christmas card in the coming weeks.

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***I was compensated with product for my honest review for the Shutterfly 2014 Holiday Collection however all opinions and LOVE for Shutterfly are my own.***

Boys and Bingo : Pour Your Heart Out

Jacob picked orange even as its front proclaimed the color as pumpkin and Gio picked red, because they were all out of pink. He begrudgingly followed us to the table and sat down next to me, smoothing the small tall stack of flimsy boards that were newspaper-like in their texture. Uncapping the oversized marker he went about smacking the color into the Free Space and then rested his chin in his palm and waited.

Both boys scanned the table of purses and bags that would serve as the prizes of the lucky and declared their intentions right before the room buzzed with the scratch of a voice over a microphone.

When I conjure my Grandma Helen my thoughts float, zip and pause for moments on things like condensed milk, crisp five dollar bills and heavy, colorful rag rugs stacked in a roomy, musty basement. I reminisce about things like Little Debbie cookies, clean houses, open doors and small juice glasses filled to the top with generic black cherry soda.

She was a sweet old woman who cursed by saying things like “son of beech-nut” and thought badly of anyone who smoked.

I chuckle when I remember how she stacked boxes of crackers and snacks in the oven she never used, bills and important policy papers in the microwave she never plugged in and her ability to gossip, apply a fresh sweep of lipstick and build her upper arm strength by shifting her small black Valiant into gear all at once as we zoomed around free of seatbelts.

Her guilty pleasures ran the gamut from Saturday night polka dances to cheap icy cold beer or the once-in-a-while highball. She never missed church or a viewing lest she miss the chance to socialize and grieve and she harbored a love of costume jewelry and the ability to match it to every outfit she owned. A trait she happily handed down to me.

But her bliss was Bingo.

From the time I was the smallest of girls my mother would tell me the stories of her family, passing down the tall tales and truly hard to believe legends that would become our history. Regale is the word that comes to mind. I wasn’t simply told stories; I was regaled, entertained and quite possibly distracted to ensure maximum help as we dusted baseboards and carried buckets of soapy water from one end of the house to the other in a futile attempt to keep dust bunnies away.

And the stories about my Grandma always start and end with the Bingo. The way she would cook dinner, clean the kitchen and leave my mother in a very quiet house with strict instructions not to wake her dad, or drink, eat or soil anything while she gallivanted off with a pocketbook full of small red markers, jingly coins and prohibited (and therefore hidden) snacks buried deep in the folds.

I was only invited to accompany her to a Bingo hall twice in the whole time she and I inhabited the earth together. My mom used to tell me to not take it personally, “Grandma takes Bingo seriously” and I got to see it up close and personal those trips where I watched her work that room and her twenty-five card spread like a barker at a carnival. Coaxing, soothing, clucking like a mother hen and then her unbelievable transformation when it came down to the first letter and number called. She’d scan her cards like a paranoid auditor and still be able to hear every story being shared in rapid whispers in between the boom of the announcer.

She treated those evenings like a job more than the one she schlepped to in the dress factory that existed to fund them.

I came out of my reverie to one son on my left all energy and talk, easily distracted  and unable to sit still while the one on my right channeled his inner competitor and seemed to challenge every middle aged woman in the room. Just as one son remembered he was six and chucked his marker and paper at me in exchange for a run around the room the other seemed to settle in as fortitude rose in his soft pink cheeks.

Raising boys often leaves me on the outside of their activities. I reject the athleticism and the roughhousing and it isn’t often I see the women of my past reflected in their eyes. But that evening, even as we went home empty handed, I caught a spark of Helen and the great grandchildren she didn’t live long enough to hold.

Gio would have given her a run for her money.November2014BoysatBingoKP

Linking with the amazing Shell for PYHO this week.

The Wait is Over: LTYM is coming to the Lehigh Valley!

There is no way  for me to announce this without  squeeing and busting your eardrums so I apologize in advance.

Bringing Listen to Your Mother to my backyard has been a dream of mine since 2013, right after I was part of the cast for the inaugural NYC show. I felt the power of those stories that Sunday afternoon and yearned to give the voices of my own community the same kind of stage.

But for one reason or another it just never came to be.

This year was looking like it would trending that way again when I sent a heartfelt note to Ann about how much I believed in LTYM and although I wouldn’t be turning in an application I would like very much to be kept in mind should she ever find a partner for me.

The day applications were due I sat at my desk and felt peaceful with my decisions even as my heart hurt with the disappointment.

Then…a miracle.

I got an email that just that morning from Ann that an application from Bethlehem, PA had been requested. The next few hours were a hazy, happy blur as I got to ‘know’ the two bloggers who live so close to me and whom I had never heard of, gathering our information, sharing our social media stats and racing against the clock to put it all together.

And just before I left my desk for the day I hit send on our application.

A wing.

A prayer.

Two new friends.

Ann Img  and a whole lot of serendipity in the middle of the details.

And a few weeks later an email that is destined to change my life, our lives.

CONGRATULATIONS!  LTYM is coming to Lehigh Valley, PA!

I felt my heart burst and I simply couldn’t control the flow of happy, disbelieving tears that flowed down my face.

Directing and Producing alongside Lauren Hale and Kristina Grum  we’re going to bring Listen To Your Mother to the Lehigh Valley.

Incredible, wonderful, amazing women and my new friends.

I have waited for so many things in my life and this is one dream I am thrilled to see coming true.

I can’t wait to join Lauren, Kristina and the national team to bring the stories, the voices, the narratives to the stage this year.

And if you’re a voice with a story about motherhood to tell please stay tuned for our audition schedule coming in January.

We’d love to offer you a stage to share it.

Welcome to THE LEHIGH VALLEY LTYM! 

I feel the need to share this piece I wrote about the audition process and the waiting I’d done between it and the announcement back in 2012.  Because sometimes it takes a little while for a dream to come true…but oh how sweet it is when it does.

The Waiting

“You wait here.” I said letting go of one small hand while extending the other to a smile that called my name and invited me in.

The Waiting.

I am used to it. It has become a part of my physical makeup like my eye color or the way my hair falls to one side without the use of a comb to guide it.

College graduation, Mr. Right and a proposal, A  Wedding, The pain of Infertility, the 35 weeks until I could hold my sons, all a lesson in delayed gratification and hope for something bigger and better to arrive.

It seems like I have spent most of my life waiting. The simple process of hanging on and holding out has become a way of life that wakes with me each morning and tucks me in at night. I call myself impatient, fancy myself spontaneous but the truth, the thing I hate admitting, is that I am good at waiting.

 I am proficient at procrastinating and I am skilled at holding myself back from risk lest it hurt or humiliate me.

Auditioning for Listen To Your Mother was a place where I didn’t wait; I just followed my heart and my voice to New York City. Sure, I felt all the feelings you would reading my own words in front of three women that I was meeting for the first time, but in the middle of my 2 and half minutes, I  took a moment , took a breath and just listened to myself talk about my sons.

 I focused on the single thought that while I was here, my stomach up near my heart, my heart up near my throat, the two boys I had waited for were right outside the closed door.

Waiting for me.

I pictured their faces and their tap dance routine on the wooden floor of the studio as I read. I let their smiles float up to the surface of my mind and knew that they had no idea what I was doing in that space. The simple explanation of “mommy is reading her writing” completely lost on the massive imagination inside a 4 yr old mind. I reminded myself that they were more excited about the train ride from Secaucus and the thought of eating Sabrett’s hot dogs when I emerged from this room.

But still, they waited, for me.

When I was done, they rushed to my arms yelling “Mommy! Can we get a pretzel now?” without knowing that I had left a heap of my love for them in that room, in the hands of those three women with the three smiles.

In the days that would follow, in those strange moments where I was swinging between hope and hopeless, I practically shimmered with anticipation, fear and expectation.

Once again I was waiting.

“I’ve been here before.” I told myself, “I am good at this and if the answer is no, the risk was taken and that is more than enough.”

So that when the call came and stole my breath, when I allowed the news to sink in, I knew that it had been worth it to linger.

The words so clear as I pressed kisses on the heads of my sons, “You were worth the wait. “ and “Thank you for pausing your life for a few minutes so I could read my words. I can’t wait to tell the world all about you.”

 

****

…and now I can’t wait to hear and help YOU share your own stories.

SQUEEEEE!!!

Why I’m Not Participating in NaBloPoMo

Many of my friends and fellow writers are knee deep in words right now. They are writing and publishing, commenting and let’s face it…not sleeping.

NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo are in full swing.

I know of some courageous souls that are combining it and writing a  piece of their book (novel) on their blog every day.

Brave, brave souls.

I am not one of them.

I participated in NaNoWriMo in 2011 and have upwards of 60,000 words for a story saved in my Word documents nestled amid the hundreds of things I’ve written before and since then. Afterwards I felt the fleeting high of authorship. That heady sensation that accompanies a job well done, not one you need to be told about or need to produce proof or validation for , but instead one where you know what you are truly capable of.

For the first time in years I couldn’t hear the voices that always reminded me of my failings, my shortcomings or even my own laziness.

I had done it and it was enough.

This year I gave both challenges more than a second thought and then I simply decided I wouldn’t be doing it.

My decision was born of sitting down one day last week and having a good old fashioned cry about my place in the blogosphere. How again, my writing and words do not seem to be enough.

But this time, instead of signing up with the clear intention of proving something I remembered the heady sensation of 2011 and I went into my Word documents and opened “Confessions to Justin…and other Letters I Wish I’d Written” and started to read, cut, slash and add to a page until I had done that to three pages.

Then I hit save and closed the file.

I then went on to write something for the Creative Non-Fiction course I’m taking. I typed quickly and with my heart in my hand.

I produced a poem and linked up.

I tweaked a short story and sent it off in hopes of being selected to be featured on an online magazine. (It was!)

After almost ten years (10yrs!) of blogging I am tired of trying to prove myself. I know it’s essential to any kind of writing , I know it’s the way of the world, I know that I sound bratty. I don’t care. I want my words and my life to stand for something and for people to want to read them without me having to  prove a damn thing.

There are other reasons of course. I work a full time job outside my home with a combined two hour + commute every day. On the day I had the mini breakdown with tears flowing I realized that you just can’t have it all.

Well some people can. But I can’t. Not right now.

My fibromyalgia diagnosis makes it hard (and frankly stupid) to stay up until anytime after 9 pm if I need to get up at 5 am. (Which I do five days a week).

And then there is a reason there is a blog in the first place.

My children.

My children who get a sleepy kiss at 6 am every morning before we race out the door to go to work and the children we then pick up anytime between 5 and 6 pm most days. The children who deserve a bit of time with me truly listening, engaging and hearing them tell their stories in our evening hours.

The children who were born of every dream I had, of every prayer I said and the heart and soul of this blog. Without them there was no reason to begin to write. I might have found a place in the blog world later than I did like I did in 2010 when I added fiction to the things I loved to share but in 2005 the sweet, painful yearning for them and my failed attempts at having them built The Kir Corner.

So I’m not going to be blogging every day in November  this year but I am going to be taking it all in, weaving words in my mind and writing when I can.

And that’s going to have to be enough.

 

 

 

You’re Really Too Busy (to get the flu)

BlogCVSMinuteClinic

 

I’m busy.

How about you?

It seems like my family is always running somewhere to do something, filling up every moment of our days with “have- tos” until I find myself falling into bed, exhausted and not quite sure how we are going to get it all done again tomorrow.

In fact I spend a lot of my time talking myself out of things, bemoaning the fact that “I just don’t have time” to do whatever it is I’m avoiding or sidestepping.

And now that we’ve started a new school year, a competitive soccer season along with various holiday functions and family outings it’s becomes even more attractive to want to throw my hands up in defeat and say “we just don’t have time to get the FLU SHOT” until I remember that our participation in those fun activities also ensures we’ll be around enough people (and their germs) and that makes it a lousy time of the year to sidestep that one important stop.

Plus who has time to get the flu when we have so many amazing people and places to visit?

It’s FLU SEASON right now and your corner CVS MINUTE CLINIC is the perfect place to take a few minutes and get your Flu Shot. Hey, you’re already there buying your Halloween candy anyway (Wait. What? Just me?) why not just head over to the pharmacy and do something that will not only benefit your health but also the health of your family, co-workers and pretty much anyone you come in contact with this Flu Season?

I know you’re sitting in front of your screen making excuses right now.

The flu shot will make me sick!

You’re wrong! The Flu Shot is an inactive (dead!) virus and will not give you the flu. (Nice try, though.)

It’s too early to get my shot!

Oh C’mon. It was too early to be selling Pumpkin Spice lattes in August but I bet some of you were drinking them.

The truth is that the CDC recommends getting the vaccine as soon as it’s available because it takes about 2 weeks for the antibodies to develop in your body.

I got a flu shot last year!

Great! Good for you! But the thing is that this year’s strain might not look like last year’s and you can’t fight a new enemy with an old weapon. A new vaccine is available every year. (You’re not watching the last season of Scandal are you? No, you want the new stuff! Exactly!)

But, I never get sick!

I’m happy for you but guess what? It only takes one nasty encounter with one flu germ to knock you into achy, headachy, feverish, sore throat agony. Plus the flu can lead to complications in some people with compromised immune systems. It’s not a simple cold and you need to protect yourself.

I was actually like you before I had my sons but then I realized that I not only had to worry about the germs around me but I also needed to pay attention to all the snotty mess they were bringing home from various places.

It hurts!

Yep, it might. For about 10 seconds. (You might have soreness or redness for a couple days.)

Or maybe you’re concerned about your children.

Let me tell you a little story about how I made my first parental mistake with the flu shot. It was 2012 and my little 4 yr old sons were terrified of all things doctor related. So I decided (in my infinite maternal wisdom) to forego subjecting them (and let’s be honest, myself) to the 10 seconds it would have taken to give them the vaccine.

The third week of October, right before Halloween, their daycare called and sent both of them home with fevers. A trip to the pediatrician and a swab later confirmed that both boys had the flu. Another trip to the pharmacy and we came home with some very expensive medicine they both hated because it lasted more than 10 seconds.

Lesson? Just get the vaccine because it’s not worth the risk if you don’t.

Plus remember all those things I was “busy” doing had to be put on hold. Things like work where I had to take PTO time to take care of my sick babies. It all could have been prevented.

The Flu Vaccine is available at your local MinuteClinic for patients 18 months and older. And they even had varieties for those of you who are squeamish about needles and for patients old than 65 who might need an elevated level of antigens, just check with your friendly CVS pharmacist.

Most health insurance plans (Medicare Part B included) cover the cost of the flu shot. Again the staff at your CVS pharmacy can answer all those questions for you. And the bonus if you choose to get your flu shot at a CVS pharmacy/Minute Clinic you’ll receive a 20% CVS/Pharmacy shopping pass.

Listen, I know you’re busy.

We all are but think of all the time you’re giving yourself to start your Christmas shopping, buy more Pumpkin Spice lattes and fill your carts with more Halloween candy.

You can visit the CDC website for more info on the flu:

www.cdc.gov/flu

or the Minute Clinic:

http://bit.ly/ZQZVDn

 

So take care of yourself and your family this flu season…

*wash your hands often * avoid contact with sick people* if you do get sick, stay home!* cover your mouth and nose when your cough/sneeze* get plenty of sleep* eat good healthy stuff*

…and remember that you’re really too busy to be sick!

 

***I was compensated for my participation in spreading the word about flu season and the importance of getting your flu shot by CVS/Minute Clinic (but I would have done it anyway because I want to keep myself, my family and my community healthy this flu season. No excuses!)***

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Harvest Banquet

It tastes like the horizon right before its fade to blue-black.

That vibrant hue of fat round pumpkins,

leaves that have gently released their hold on an overcrowded branch

or

fruit that dangles, trusting the heavy green boughs of the orchards.

 

Drink it down,

licking the sweet slick from your lips

until you’re pleading another (just one more) sip-

When you’re full, pulpy, radiating the glow of an oompa-loompa, you’ll rival the sun

eyes stinging from the burn of citrus spray your thumbnail released…

 

Some people want to taste the rainbow-

but this time of year

I’d rather swallow a sunset.

Sunset2014

***********
For MamaKat’s Writing Workshop:

Write a post (or, in my case, some poetry)inspired by the color ORANGE. 

Mama’s Losin’ It

Storytellers & Listeners

A few weeks ago, on my way back from the ladies room, I ran into a friend. She’s a work friend, in that I am sure we would hang out a lot more often if we lived closer to one another, but it happens that we work in the same building and share a similar life stories. So we are friends, here in this space instead of out there in the world.

Infertilty.

The death of parents.

The small tug of the home/work/daycare/ guilt that it seems every single mom is going to feel at some point as we try to make a living and a make a home that will help us raise good human beings.

We get one another.

So when I see her, in the atrium, walking up the hallway or at the sink in the ladies room my heart lightens and I want to talk. I want to ask how she is, to comfort and encourage her, to laugh deeply with her.

But as it happens more often than not, I am the one who ends up telling the stories; about the boys, about first grade, about life and marriage and my thoughts (strong opinions) on a host of topics, with her coming in at various points to agree, to commiserate, to disagree or simply to listen to me regale her.

I’m the storyteller and I almost feel obligated to share small anecdotes in order to keep up my end of the human bargain we’ve struck.

But on that day, something extraordinary happened. I was remarking on the weather and as conversations will we got lost in our exchange of information and soon I heard her say, “Well when I lived in Florida.”

And I stopped, right there in the middle of the atrium amid the calming waterfall noises and the deep rich green of the trees rising up out of their big-enough-to-sit-on planters.

“You lived in Florida?” I inquired.

And for the next ten minutes she regaled me. She told me stories of how she found her way from Vermont to Florida, how it is to work for NASA and eventually why she ended coming back north.

I didn’t check my watch, I didn’t stop or interrupt her, instead I ignored the normal voices in my head that would normally be telling me to interject or add my own commentary and focused on her smile while her memories took her back. I just took the ride with her. I sat on the edge of one of those oversized planters and swung my feet like a child on a swing set, happy to be entertained.

I thought I knew a lot about my friend but I found that there are always more stories. This is why I keep falling in love, over and over again, with the process of listening and relating and giving the stories back to the world.

Sometimes we are listeners. Sometimes we are storytellers.

On that particular day, in that particular moment, I was so happy to be both.

 

Just sit down and write.

Let’s Go on An Adventure with the Wild Kratts Toy Line!


BlogWildKratts2014

 

My sons didn’t discover The Wild Kratts until earlier this summer when they were treated to PBSKids on demand. But being late to the party (where it seemed all their peers were already participating in) didn’t dull the sparkle in their eyes as they took in episode after episode of adventures with brothers Chris and Martin.

Each episodes starts with the real life Kratt brothers introducing a creature and their habitat and then after they ask “What if...” they both become animated and continue the adventures where they experience never seen before animal moments.

BlogWildKratts3

Even this, “I really hate the outdoors/bugs/animal smells” mom is often mesmerized by the stories.

Talking to Jacob I asked, “What’s your favorite Wild Kratts episode?”

BlogWildKrattsJacob&Martin

“Um, the walruses. They’re the ones with the big long teeth that live with the polar bears right? Oh, but I liked the Rhinoceros one too and the one with the crocodiles. And remember when the snakes slithered coming out of the eggs Mommy?”

{{{Shiver}}} I sure do, Jakey. Still it was so cool to have a front row seat to how it happens. {{{Still shivering}}}

And Gio wasn’t quiet either, “They showed us how the Rhinos can get away from the lions that want to eat their babies.” He offered up with a grown-up knowledge of the animal kingdom.

Which is why when I was told that The Wild Kratts were getting their own TOY LINE at Toys R Us I knew the boys would love to add a toy or two to their collection.

Imagine their surprise when these arrived in the mail with their names on them :
BlogWildKratts1PMThe Kratt brothers meet the Piccini Twins.

Both boys have taken to sleeping with these and of course watching their favorite episodes with their buddies by their side. These plush retail for $14.99 and are so incredibly cool.

BlogWildKrattsToys1

 

 

They even received a book “Wild Sea Creatures: Sharks, Whales and Dolphins!”

Kids follow Chris and Martin as they travel to animal habitats all around the globe! The Step 2 book is great for helping new readers to learn lots of vocabulary words as they go on an underwater adventure with the Kratt brothers.  Both of my boys take turns (read: fight) over who gets to read it me.

Next up for Jacob  will be a Creature Power Suit because we all know how much he loves to inhabit the people he’s playing. And Gio has already told me that he’d love some (plastic!) sharks and underwater sea life of his own. 

And since we have the holidays coming up maybe some T-shirts or hoodies will find their way under the tree.

The toys are affordable and offer the teachable moments every parent wants from a toy.

We have become a WILD KRATTS family.

BlogWildKrattsPMCollage

Do your children watch Wild Kratts? What are some of their favorite episodes and what do YOU love about the show?

And if you already have some of these incredible toys tell me all about your own adventures!

From the media:

Fans of the Wild Kratts TV series on PBS KIDS will be roaring – and creating their own creature-powered fun! – with the launch of the brand-new Wild Kratts toy line that lets them bring home all the exciting wildlife explorations of the hit show for the very first time! By popular demand, the new Wild Kratts toy line from Wicked Cool Toys will leap, bounce and soar to Toys“R”Us stores nationwide and toysrus.com this month. The imagination-inspiring new assortment of collectable action figures, plush, power suits and more, encourages young animal adventurers to role play and “activate” their own “creature powers” – just like the stars of the show, Chris and Martin Kratt!

You can find the Wild Kratts line of toys at TOYS R US by clicking here. 

And learn all about the WILD KRATTS here by visiting:

 pbskids.org/wildkratts/

Facebook: Facebook.com/wildkrattsofficial

Twitter: Twitter.com/WildKrattsOffic

**I received the talking plush for the purpose of reviewing them (the smiles they gave my children were completely separate) but all thoughts, opinions and fascination with them are my own. ***

The Orange Chair

BlogOrangeChairAugust2014PM

I remember my feet not touching and white patent leather shoes.

My memories are blurry, fuzzy as if I am looking into them through the filter of a gauzy sheet. But I remember colors and the way our enormous living room was cut in half right at the built in curio shelves. There was a good side and the one with the brown couches, where we’d ask each other to make room by bellowing “square over” as we maneuvered ourselves and a favorite blanket onto a personal piece of that coveted real estate.

The brown couch smelled of sleep and lingering colognes. Perhaps Loves Baby Soft or my mother’s Tova. We were allowed to bring bags of popcorn and bowls of Apple Jacks onto that side but the good living room was off limits unless there was a family meeting or ‘company.’

Where the brown couches faded into the background becoming part of our family landscape until you required a place to sit while you took in General Hospital, the colors of  the furniture on the other side of the room stood out, giving the room more light than the wall of windows they faced.

There was a couch, French provincial style, the color of round, plump pumpkins and if felt like  soft suede boots. I would run my fingers across the skin one way, making lines, marking my territory and then take my palm and push the material back to its original state over and over again.

That couch was hoity. And toity.

If I had a voice it would have been British and condescending.

And it had a sidekick; a chair that complimented and completed it.

Striped, with a wood trim that I would touch lightly every time on my way to the sunroom or the front door to check the pile of mail that would have been pushed through the built in metal slit at the bottom, I think of that chair as the centerpiece of my life in that house.

Sometimes, when the house was quiet or empty, I’d plop down in it, throw my legs over the side and read the books I stole from the space between the mattress and the headboard of my mom’s bed. But it was never comfortable or cozy.

That chair was a conversation starter, a “piece” or prop for family pictures, a place to stand behind for prom.

I was kissed in that chair once, long and sweetly, hands sneaking up the back of my sweater, and sometimes years later, I could still taste peppermint every time I glanced at it.

The chair, not the couch, was selected as worthy when my mom moved to a new house to begin a new life with a new husband. It sat in the basement like a regal guest and we we’d pile presents on it for Christmas Eve’s or position the boys in between its wide arms to stage candid shots of them in Grandma’s house.

Just like me, they were growing up with the orange chair in the background; the chair resembling a cousin you might only see a couple of times a year but enjoy the company of.

I didn’t give the chair another thought one way or the other until my mom had a yard sale earlier this summer.

See, myparentsaremovingtoSavannahGeorgia. 

 I have taken to saying it quickly, before all the air leaves my lungs as I imagine a world in which my mom isn’t ten minutes away.

And they needed to start emptying their houses in preparation, so I stepped up to their open garage doors and into a web of nostalgia one hot and humid (similar to everyday in Savannah, I am thinking) morning in July.

Books from our childhood, clothes we wore as toddlers, plaques that adorned our walls and the makings of a nice kitchen from patterned table settings to sophisticated glassware.

Tiny pieces of our life, for sale.

And sitting on the edge of the collection was the orange chair.

Peripheral, as it often was, and seemingly out of place. Like a backwards ball cap at the Kentucky derby.

“Are you selling the Orange Chair?” I asked; my voice catching.

“Yes.”

I walked over, running my hand over the colorful material and then along the smooth wooden trim. I sat down and placed my hands on the arms, mentally saving the way it felt under my fingers.

“Take my picture!” I yelled to my husband and he came over and snapped a photo of me looking up, the sun in my eyes.

The sale went on for another day, on Monday morning my mom called. Exhausted but happy, she told me about what’d they ended up selling.

“Someone is coming for the orange chair today.”

“Oh.” I said, unexpected tears pricking the edges of my eyes.

“The woman who bought it wanted for her daughter. She just got married and is trying to decorate her new home. We sold it for $30 and that mom was so excited about the colors and the price I couldn’t think of a better place for it.”

My heart suddenly lightened.

The chair would be used, sat in, perhaps even made fun of for its bright colors and pretentious manner of appearing like it was too good to be around other furniture. Perhaps someone else would tell a story like mine about it years and years from now, in the middle of another life.

“Good.” I said, meaning it.

I thought of my feet not touching when we first got the chair and all the pictures we’d taken in it, all the times we ran around it during games of tag, and how I hated moving it to vacuum every single week. The  recollections came fast and furious as I allowed the memories of my siblings and our childhood to just wash over me.

Our orange chair had served our family well.

And I’ll always be so happy about that last picture.

Mama’s Losin’ It
 

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My last picture in the orange chair. 

BlogKirinOrangeChairJuly2014PM

 

For MamaKat’s Writing Workshop:
4.) Throwback time! Share an old photo and tell us about it.