…the only mistake is not to begin (the irony of my tagline)

lblivingbetter:

I can’t believe it has been a year since I wrote this post. Makes me smile now to think how much I have learned! This year my new social media “jump” is Twitter. Please join me @lblivingbetter!

Originally posted on LB Living Better:

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I am a planner, there is no denying it, but sometimes you have to be a jumper. You can plan yourself to death, this I know. However if you are always planning than you are not actually doing. I can’t help but hear a very wise old priest, my uncle, saying “if you want to see God’s sense of humor, just tell him your plans!” So today I jumped, sort of by accident, but a jump nonetheless. I created a facebook page for the website and future book that I am writing. I sent the page to a few friends hoping they could give me some feedback, when they of course “liked” the page therefore making it public. After a quick panic, I realized that even though I write about organization, and emphasize to everyone that it is not about perfection, I somehow felt that this did not apply to…

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Thank You to the Best Bus Driver Ever

images (15)When we send our children to school, we naturally worry about their education. Who will their teacher be? What classes are they in? Will they succeed? What will they learn? Are they happy? Will they make friends? What is their day like when they are away from  home? And the list goes on and on…

I don’t think that I ever gave a second thought about my children’s bus driver.   And yet, much to my great pleasure, my children were fortunate to have one of the best bus drivers ever, Ben.

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A Mommy Clique … Are You Kidding Me?

images0RTMZRZQA Mommy Clique?… Are you kidding Me?

While waiting anxiously for the arrival of my twins, I stumbled upon a magazine article about “The Mommy Clique” and it has stayed with me for years.  I could not believe or actually just refused to believe that “mommy cliques” actually existed.

Didn’t we leave cliques in high school? Little did I know, that a few short months later, I would walk smack into the ridiculous points this magazine presented.

My boys were about two months old when I decided to venture to a park in a neighboring (very affluent – though this is not an indication of cliquishness, but does pertain to the story) town. I parked the twins under a tree in their double seat infant stroller and proceeded to watch my near two-year old explore the sand and new playground structures. Let the fun begin…

Moments later a very well dressed Mom (who wears heels to the park?) passed by, and I said “hello”.  I’ll admit I was desperate for some adult contact. She looked at me, did not respond, and walked about 15 feet away. I rationalized that she didn’t hear me, while quickly checking to make sure I had buttoned my blouse after nursing and wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. More mother’s joined the first mom, each one cooing over their child’s and mother’s outfits (apparently many mothers get dressed for the park).

A few moments later,  I overheard (as I was meant to), that “someone was sitting under their tree”.  Since there is only one tree in this park, I was pretty sure they were talking about me.

The loudest member of the mommy group arrived and commented as well about the tree, but, then she continued to walk over towards me. Great I thought, finally a friendly mom, coming over to include me in the group (NOT! ~sometimes my thinking is oh so flawed). The only thing that brought this mom and several other moms over to talk to me was the novelty of the twins in the carriage.  Moms love a baby, and well you really can’t resist when there are two babies.

They “ooed” and “ahhed” as most do, and then proceeded to quiz me on the “label” on their blankets and the make of the carriage. Since I didn’t have answers to either question, I mumbled an “I don’t know”. Thankfully they did not wake the babies and within minutes walked away without so much as a hello, an introduction, or even an invitation to join them (silly me, did I think that I was dealing with grown-ups?). The mommy clique did however size me up from head to toe and based on the laughter upon returning to their group, I’m surmising that I did not pass muster.

I held my ground under that tree as long as my children would last. I watched the clique ignore their kids, laugh like phonies, and every now and then glance in my direction to see if I would move. The magazine article was correct there are moms who never outgrow the cliquishness of high school and perhaps will raise the future “most populars”. Thankfully this group of Moms is definitely in the minority, as I would go on to find wonderful motherhood friends and park acquaintances.

I do wonder however, what if all cliques dissolved as soon as you entered the sorority of motherhood. We may not all agree with each other’s mothering but you can be sure we could be the most powerful, influential, inclusive, group alive.  I’d love to hear if you’d like to join my all-inclusive clique!

copyright LB Living Better, 2013

About ~ Updating Your About Page

aboutIgnoring the obvious. I wrote my “About” page when I started blogging about nine months ago.  I dare say that I have not given it much attention since, shame on me. Where do I go after I read a blog post I like, to the About page of course. I want to know something about the writer, what are you like, what motivates you, what is your story and what else are you writing about?

Today I spent some time revamping my About page. Truly defining my “platform”, my reasons for writing, and some things about me I thought you should know. I added key links to social media as well as to my work as an organizer and public speaker.  I also introduced my newest travel blog.

Here is a link http://wp.me/P3fnXI-1 to my About page.  I would love to hear what you think and please share if you update your About page!

You Know It’s Serious When the Colored Pencils Come Out.

lblivingbetter:

My thoughts on planning the big stuff… what is your planning style?

Originally posted on One Train, Thirty Days, Countless Adventures:

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You Know It’s Serious When the Colored Pencils Come Out.

No, that is not my children’s homework paper, that’s me, planning our 30 day cross-country train trip.   Time for all the suggestions, pieces and parts to come together in a way that makes sense for me, and that my friends means a large piece of paper and colored pencils.

Snarky comments from my family aside, they know when the big paper and the color coding hits the kitchen table, we are all in.  No longer a pipe dream, a simple idea, a mere suggestion, these accoutrements mean it’s happening.

Despite the on-line planning software from Amtrak, the guidebooks, the terrific suggestions and itineraries, the excel spreadsheets and lists,  nothing comes together in my mind like hand writing or drawing the complete picture.   And so, here I am with my thirty neatly drawn boxes representing the 30 days of our trip.  The…

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Instantly Outnumbered

copies from old computer backed up oct 08 085As my book nears its completion (yup almost there, really, I’m pretty sure). I thought I would add some excerpts to spark your interest or perhaps amuse you.

“Instantly Outnumbered”

(excerpt from Barbies in the Horse Bin, Living Better with Organized Children)


I knew that I was having twins by my 12th week of pregnancy. I did not know that I had two babies to care for until they were wheeled into the recovery room, side by side, in one bassinet. They were just lying there, two hats, two blankets, two babies.

My memory of this moment is one of the most vivid of my life. I took a deep breath and apparently said aloud, “there are two of them”.  At this point the nurse looked at me with sheer amazement and asked, “Didn’t you know you were having twins?” As I recovered from the initial shock of seeing two babies, together, I replied, “Yes, yes I knew I was having twins, I just didn’t KNOW I was having twins.”

And so it begins, my new normal, instantly outnumbered by babies, forever changed and yet forever blessed. While I had always considered myself to be a relatively organized person, this new normal would challenge everything I thought I knew about being organized. I was instantly out-numbered, counting the two year old sister, there were three babies, all in diapers!

When people saw us coming, triple carriage and all, the most frequent comment I received was “Oh, God bless you.”  My response was always the same, “He already has.”  The twins will be 14 next week and together we have learned to live better everyday.    My mantra when they were young was: “You will never miss out on anything just because you are twins, we will make it happen.”  So far so good since we became instantly outnumbered!

Series of Letters. Letter 11.

lblivingbetter:

If my blog post is featured on a blog in Ireland ~ does that now make me an international writer? :) Such a nice treat for a blizzard day here in New England. This letter to a Coach remains one of my favorite pieces over a decade later. Thank you to My thoughts on a page for posting!

Originally posted on My thoughts on a page.:

Todays letter is one which I am sure many of us would agree with.
It’s writer blogs at Lb Living better.

Dear Coach… Sincerely, Every Parent

Dear Coach,521974_517023424987067_745421541_n
Here is my child, a player for your team. This is difficult for me because I am entrusting you with a child I love more than life itself. It seems silly that a volunteer with 8 games and 6 practices can shape my child’s life, but it’s true. So coach, there are a few things I wanted you to know and that I hoped you would share with my child.

Teach my child to win gracefully, but more importantly teach my child to lose with even greater dignity.

Know that my child takes what you say to heart so please choose your words carefully and tread lightly.

School is hard for my child and life hasn’t been so easy lately. This sport…

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Dear Mom at the Bus Stop – Please Put Down Your Phone!

august 08 - boys bday 09 new camera 017This post has been building for months… perhaps longer.

I see you Mom almost every day. You are at the bus stop with your daughter, she looks to be about five or six. She is cute as a button. We must be on the same schedule because I see the two of you nearly every day, waiting for the school bus as I drive by.

What I also see is your phone, it’s at your ear, every day. I don’t mean once in a while, I do mean every day. I have watched since September and it is now February (however creepy that may sound) but day after day of seeing the same thing, you do begin to notice in more and more detail.

I have noticed your child trying to get your attention, sometimes it has been by pulling your pant leg and you dismiss her by pushing off her hand.

She has held up papers to which you have nodded, but you didn’t actually see them.

That leaf pile she made on the sidewalk, she was calling your name to watch her jump. She jumped, you didn’t see her, she kicked the leaves away.

I wonder who could be so much more important on your phone, I wonder who could not wait just a few minutes while you see your daughter off to school.

I have seen you go through the motions,  you hug your daughter before she climbs the bus steps, but you did not put down your phone.

Today, was the clincher, your daughter looked sad. She did not try to get your attention, she kept her head down and kicked at the ice with her boot. You were talking on your phone.

You will not see this precious little being for another eight hours, might you give her your full and undivided attention for the short few minutes before she leaves your side for the day?  It’s just the two of you, one on one for a few moments of another busy day, in our busy lives.

So very soon, dear Mom, your baby girl will be leaving your side for good. Don’t miss these small yet very significant moments to let her know that she is the most important person that you will see all day.

Today, I write to you, from your child. It would seem that she has given up, she is resigned to the fact that you would rather be talking to someone else than to her. I know that cannot be true.

Dear mom at the bus stop ~ please put down your phone.

Where Charades and Google Translate Collide!

It’s been less than 24 hours since the arrival of our 13-year-old Chinese Exchange student, Mark.  Armed with Google 20140205_155558 (2)Translate on the kindle fire, the laptop and phones, we attempt to communicate with our non-English speaking guest.

My children gravitate to the technology of google translate and I am enjoying listening to the translators lovely automated voice send Chinese sounding sentences into my home. It is my contention though that despite our best efforts with google translate, I find good old fashion hand signals, charades, and show and tell work just as well. Even when I do my best charades, my son responds with “Stop Mom, your confusing him…”

Google translate isn’t perfect either and it  has left us all scratching our heads at times because some things just do not translate well from English to Chinese or vice versa.

This morning’s point and nod session support my contention that simple human interaction is sometimes faster and more accurate. As my son typed furiously into his laptop to find out what Mark wanted for breakfast, I opened the refrigerator and pointed.
The charades pointing went something like this:untitled (23)
Cantaloupe ~ “Yes”
Pineapple ~ “No”
Milk ~ “No”
Orange Juice ~”Yes”
English Muffin ~ “Yes”
Eggs ~ “Yes”
Shredded Cheese in bag ~ “quizzical glance, no response”.

A moment later our google translator announced something out of the laptop that should have  meant “What do you want for breakfast?”  I turned to my son and said, “Why don’t you make Mark an egg and cheese sandwich on an English muffin with a side of cantaloupe.” My son looked at me in astonishment, he obviously missed the point and nod session in front of the refrigerator.  And, whatever google translate had just said left Mark looking at my son and shrugging his incomprehension.

It’s not to say that we wouldn’t be lost without google translate. With on-line translation help we found out about Mark’s family; his Dad is an engineer, his brother is nine years old and his mother “manages fruit”, the last one needs some work, I think.

The rules to Chinese checkers though can be taught by Mark with simple board moves followed by “No” and “Yes”.  A little pointing, and hopping over one more peg that makes sense, by Mark, showed us all the finer points of the game.

Tonight we will attempt the grocery store and I am definitely using the point and nod technique, but later I hope my children will show Mark google earth and we will be able to see where he lives, right down to the street he calls home.

It is fascinating to watch our cultures, our languages, our generations, but most importantly, our ability to communicate collide with the help of modern technology and good old fashion charades.

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Top 5 Favorite Budweiser Super Bowl Commercials

Since my Patriots are not superbowling this year, the next best thing is the commercials! Here are my top 5 favorites from Budweiser (not an endorsement of the beer or a sponsored post, they just make a great commercial).

Because every soldier deserves this welcome!

Because puppies and horses make me happy!

Because our pets do love us for life!

Because donkeys are cool too!

Because we should never forget!

Leave a link to your favorite super bowl commercial past or present!