MOM & JOEY – THE HARLEM ‘GROUPIE’TROTTERS

My son has been going through a tough time over the last few months – a little bit of typical kid stuff and a little bit of other stuff you hope your child won’t have to typically deal with.  That said, surprising him with a “just because” wrestling figure or slipping a Tropicana orange juice – his favorite – in his lunch box (instead of water) goes a long way when you see the smile on his face or get a extra big “you’re the best mom ever” hug.

It gives me so much comfort that he considers me his best friend and feels he can tell me anything (his words, not mine) … the happy and the sad; the good and the bad; and all his hopes and dreams – no matter how “reach-for-the-stars” they may seem.

As a mother, my hopes and dreams live in the happiness of my children.  Of course, I have other goals and measurements of my personal joy, but there are those moments we make possible for our children that are simply priceless.  This past weekend I was able to give my son, Joey, the opportunity to sit front and center among his heroes – The Harlem Globetrotters.

Allow me to take a few steps back to set the stage.

I never thought Joey would be the “traditional” team sports kid – especially since he would do cartwheels up and down the field when he was briefly on a town soccer team.  And, he lasted one day at flag football.  One. Day.

At the time, team sports just weren’t his forte.  And that was perfectly fine.  (Truth be told, I wasn’t too keen on early morning weekend games anyway!)

Tae Kwon Do has been “his thing” for the last several years.  It’s an individual sport and has been incredible for him in terms of teaching discipline and respect as well as building up his self-confidence.  Joey is well on his way to earning his Black Belt, and I am impressed and proud of his dedication and commitment to the martial art.

Last fall when the flier came home from school, I was surprised when Joey expressed interest in joining a basketball team.  We registered.  He practiced.  He was part of a team.  His coach was determined to make the season fun, teach the boys sportsmanship and teach them the skills that are needed to play.  His coach was the coach you hope your child is lucky enough to have.

Then, it happened.  The it that would become everything.

Since I was a kid, I had always heard about the Harlem Globetrotters – all I knew was that they were a bunch of red, white and blue wearing basketball players who put on a funny game/show.  Fast-forward a whole lot of years and Joey and I were watching the famous basketball players at Nassau Coliseum one Sunday in February 2014.  Since we saw them play, Joey has lived, breathed, and slept everything Globetrotters.

He knows the name of every player and just about everything about every member of the current team roster.  He has the uniform.  He has self-taught himself all most of the tricks (he still has a few feet to grow before he can dunk!).  He wakes up in the morning and is spinning a basketball within minutes.  Same thing in the evening…basketball, basketball, basketball.  He aspires to be a Harlem Globetrotter.

Last weekend, we were lucky enough to sit courtside at a Harlem Globetrotters game which took place at Stony Brook Arena on Long Island.  We arrived an hour early and were able to rub elbows with players and team staff.  Joey was even chosen for an on-court dance contest prior to the beginning of the game.  He rocked the whole place.  The kid has moves!

The game was awesome – truly an entertaining family-friendly experience…one I highly recommend for all families.  From the Harlem Globetrotters website (www.harlemglobetrotters.com): With incredible ball handling wizardry, amazing rim-rattling dunks and trick shots, side-splitting comedy and unequaled on-court fan interaction, this must-see event is guaranteed to entertain the whole family creating memories that will last a lifetime.

 

After the game, the players graciously and happily signed autographs and posed for pictures for young and old fans alike.  The Harlem Globetrotters are true class acts, and I would be proud if Joey were a member of the team one day.

For now, we will continue to attend the games. You may even say we are groupies.  Mom and Joey – the Harlem ‘Groupie’trotters.

The current roster includes: Ant, Big Easy, Buckets, Bull, Cheese, Firefly, Flight Time, Flip, Hacksaw, Hammer, Handles, Hawk, Hi-Lite, Moose, Scooter, Slick, Stretch, The Shot, Sweet J, Thunder, TNT, Too Tall and T-Time.  Players change depending on the game – but they are all fantastic, so you are guaranteed an awesome show.

Now, we just have to come up with the perfect Harlem Globetrotter name for him…any ideas?


EXCUSE ME, CAN I HAVE A DRUM ROLL PLEASE? CLASH OF THE COUPLES COVER MAKES ITS DEBUT!

I am a very, very small fish (think Nemo – “lucky fin” and all) in a very large pond. I am new to the blogging world – less than a year – and I certainly don’t claim to be all that good at it. I have tons to learn and tons of other bloggers to help me learn. I will say this, though: I speak from the heart through my words and ever since I was young, I wanted to be a writer. Now, I feel like I am one. I am living my dream.

The first “official” book with my name as the author was Space Meets Earth, which I wrote in third grade. Check out the cover below.  (P.S. – Do you like my bio?  What part do you like best – my stylin’ hair cut, that rockin’ shirt, or that fact that I included “hook rug” as one of my favorite hobbies?)

 

Now, as an adult, I have a new cover to reveal.  I am going to be part of Clash of the Couples, a new anthology – coming out Nov. 3, 2014 – featuring a collection of essays written by both big and little fish from the blogging pond on the topics of bickering, disagreements and relationship differences of opinion (READS: funny arguments!).  Check out THIS cover (which features much better art work than Space Meets Earth):

So, now you’ve seen the cover. But what’s going to be included in this sure-to-be-a-best-seller (fingers crossed) book? Please, read on.

Coupledom. Fact or fable, Adam and Eve birthed the perpetual relationship drama as seen on TV today. Despite the serpents, this couple HAD IT MADE. Luxury real estate, lush gardens, and privacy out the yin-yang. Life was glorious until the bare-bottomed babe could no longer resist temptation. Despite her better half’s warnings and threats to sleep in a tree, she tasted the forbidden fruit. One bite of that seductive, juicy contraband and the stage was set for eternity— a nibble that has blossomed into an endless supply of tiny tidbits that divide lovers to this day!

Taking a cue from the naked explorers of authentic sin, Clash of the Couples is a new anthology featuring a collection of completely absurd lovers’ squabbles and relationship spats. Think couples fight over kids, sex, and money? Think again! Furniture, the last beer, and where to store the placenta are what genuinely ignite our feuds. And no argument is off limits. This book has it all!

Inside you’ll find a gut-busting compilation of stories such as: “I Can’t Believe You Ate My Sandwich,” “Never Assume Anything,” “Only I Can Talk About Me,” and “You Want Some College Boobs?” from forty-three fearless writers. Prepare to laugh, roll your eyes, and shiver in suspense. While Eve may have had the first bite, we ate the whole tree. And made pies. 

Published by Blue Lobster Book Co., Clash of the Couples launches loudly and obnoxiously on November 3, 2014. You’ll hear us coming, but look for it on Amazon, B&N, Apple, and other places where you typically buy books. For instant updates, follow along on Facebook!

Have I peaked your interest? I promise, it’s going to be a great book. I hope you are even the itsy-bitsy-teenie-weenie-bit excited to read it, because I can’t wait you to get your pretty little hands on it. I bet you won’t be able to put it down. But, if you need to make dinner for the family, bring the kids here, there and everywhere, or run to the wine store before it closes I totally understand – Clash of the Couples will be waiting for you when you get back.

As always, thank you for your support.

Here is the line-up of bloggers being featured in Clash of the Couples (if you get the chance, check them out!):

#ClashoftheCouples


THE BEACH, THE BOARDWALK, AND THE BAD-ASS “MICK JAGGER LIPS” CONCUSSION (Our Summer Vacation 2014)

We are a happily, blended family of seven. Plus, one dog.  So actually, we are eight.

With this eight, there is never a shortage of fun.  Or noise.  There is a lot of fun and a lot of noise.

And while we are, of course, blessed for the love and beautiful – and crazy – connection of our family…we are also blessed to be able to take an annual summer vacation.

When planning our annual vacation, my husband and I put in a lot of time, a lot of research and a lot of effort.

Last summer, we brought our five children to Disney World for a week – and yes, we may have been crazy going to Florida in August but our budget dictated the timeline.  For the kids, this was a dream vacation.  For my husband and I, this was work.  A lot of work.  Don’t get me wrong – I couldn’t wait to see my then-five-year-old son’s face light up when he met Mickey Mouse or when my then-eight-year-old rode a “real” roller coaster for the first time.  And, of course, I was excited to dress the seven of us in matching shirts and capture the perfect Disney-themed family photo that, when I posted on Facebook, everyone would say: “That HAS to be your Christmas card.”

But before all the “Disney magic,” we had to pack, confirm all iPods were charged, make sure everyone had flip-flops to wear to the airport so getting through security was as seamless as possible, assign seating on the plane so our then- 10- and 8-year-olds were as far away from each other as possible to avoid uncontrollable laughter and unwanted noise on the early morning flight, request to pre-board because our daughter has Autism and I have MS, confirm that the flight attendants were aware we have two children with peanut allergies, explain to the kids why their electronic devices had to be turned off during take-off, and then survive the questions – and understandable excitement – of the two-hour and forty-minute flight.  Once we arrived, the rest of that week was a memory-making experience like no other filled with fun and fairy dust.

Disney Vacation 2013

I don’t think we were even off the plane back in New York when the kids started beckoning the question – almost simultaneously – “where are we going next year?”

ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?

SERIOUSLY. ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?

I know they were just excited.  And to be honest, we [Ernie and I] were already asking ourselves the same question.  Over the next five months, we would make plans and change plans countless times.  We were DEFINITELY going here.  And there.  And everywhere else.

We planned on taking a plane.  Or a boat.  Or a train.  But for all of our sanity, not the car.  Seven people.  One car.  HELLS-TO-THE-NO!

Fast-forward tons of plans later, a trip to the doggie hotel for Rosie and our two cars were packed for a week in Ocean City where we would drive off at sunrise to end up in Maryland to watch the sunset.

It had all the makings of a perfect week.  A big group of friends and their families were going at the same time.  The weather forecast was picture-perfect.  Our hotel was beachfront – just steps from the sand.  The famous boardwalk – funnel cakes, the Ferris wheel and fun – were all calling our name.  Oh and two cars.  Let’s not forget about that.

The ride to Ocean City was pretty uneventful.  The traffic gods must have been on our side because we more or less flew from Long Island to Maryland in just about five hours.

The days went something like this: beach, pool, food, drinks, fun.

The nights went something like this: boardwalk, amusement park, food, drinks, fun.

But then there was that one night when something else happened.

And it involved a trip in an ambulance to the emergency room. Twice.

“Mick Jagger Lips” Concussion

This Was Trip #2 To The Emergency Room

Please, allow me to explain – if for nothing else, so that I have this in writing so one day – one day WAY down the road – we can laugh about.

My husband has sleep apnea.  I’m not just talking about snoring.  Don’t get me wrong – he snores like a bear (to be fair, I do too!).  But for him, it is a very serious breathing issue where he often stops breathing during the night, frequently waking up gasping for air. Before we left for vacation, he had a sleep study done and was “thisclose” to getting the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to help him get back on track with sleeping (due to his severe sleep apnea he has not had a true night sleep in weeks).

Unfortunately, “thisclose” wasn’t close enough.  One night, during our vacation in Ocean City, he woke up to use the bathroom.  The room was dark and unfamiliar.  He went head-over-heels, literally, landing in the in-room Jacuzzi slamming his head and blacking out for a minute or so.  He was calling my name, but I was a few rooms away escaping the snoring.  I finally heard him and was his Knight In Shining Sweatpants.

Since I Wasn’t There When It Happened, I *Tried* To Create This Reenactment

Long and longer story short, Ernie got a pretty bad concussion, we stayed an extra two nights – so he could get more oriented – and we wound up taking one car home after all (one of our friends took our other car back to Long Island).  And guess what, seven people in one car – mixed with a lot of bathroom and snack breaks, wasn’t that bad.

Our Big, Happy, Loud, Sleepy Family 2014 (missing Rosie!)

* Sleep apnea can be a severe condition and is often treated with lifestyle changes, breathing devices and, sometimes, surgery.  The goals of treating sleep apnea are to restore regular breathing during sleep as well as relieve systems such as snoring and daytime sleepiness.

If you or a loved one has sleep apnea, please talk with your doctor to discuss which treatment option(s) will work best in your specific situation.