are you drinking too much coffee?

morning+without+coffee(image source)

In honor of National Coffee Day, I was just wondering if you are drinking too much coffee…Because, you know, I don’t have this addiction myself – oh no no no – but I thought I’d try to help you in case your consumption is getting out of hand. Since the first step is of course realizing you have a problem, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:

Are your hands so jittery they flap faster than hummingbird wings? In fact, when hummingbirds pass you on the street, do they temporarily stop flapping in order to point, laugh, and capture a video they can post on vine?

Can people hear your heart beating from miles away? Do your neighbors regularly call the cops complaining about your “crappy techno music?” But you don’t like crappy techno music and never have?

Did you get a second sink installed in your kitchen that spouts only coffee?

During the rare nights that you fall asleep, do you have dreams about rivers of coffee, walking toward them, kneeling down, and slurping from cupped hands? Do you have similar dreams about caffeinated waterfalls and geysers?

Have your friends attempted an intervention? Did they hold a mirror up to your face so you could see how yellow your teeth have become?

When your friends invite you out for drinks, do you order coffee? Or do you order coffee and a drink? Or worse, do you order a coffee with a drink poured into it?

When you have trouble falling asleep, do you get up and drink a cup of coffee hoping it will give you that extra boost of energy you need to close your eyelids?

Are you planning a trip to Columbia?

Does your child know and accept that Mommy’s ever-present “water” is brown with a slightly pungent aroma?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you are definitely drinking too much coffee. Get some help, already! And by that, I mean, get some more coffee.

*Note that I used a lot of creativity and no personal experience to create this highly-scientific self assessment.

** In honor of National Coffee Day, why don’t you support your local INDEPENDENT coffee house?


the home tome’s list of banned baby books

READ Broweseabout Books bumper sticker In honor of banned books week, I decided to ban some baby books.

From our collection.

At least for the time being.

Please know that I very much believe in the freedom to read. If the bumper sticker on my car (pictured above) doesn’t prove this, then I don’t know what does. Though I don’t dare do the actual math, we may have spent billions of dollars on baby books and board books since our son was born 20 months ago: I am not ashamed to admit this. While we have cut costs in other areas, the writer in me is compelled to support authors, book stores, and the book industry. The handful of books we haven’t purchased? This is only because they are out of print. We got these from the library and have already read them at least 44 times each.

There could be a *few* exaggerations in the previous paragraph…the point is that there is a lot of reading going on here and a whole lot of love for books, so I don’t feel bad banning just a few titles. And by banning, I mean tucking them away in our guest room (a.k.a. hoarding room) for later reconsideration. Here’s what’s in there now:

The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle

The Grouchy Ladybug 2

Chill out, little dude. Take your aggression down about fifteen notches and stop picking fights. Maybe consider some deep breathing or meditation exercises and then try to have a calm conversation based on mutual respect. While the artwork in this book is beautiful, the testosterone is not. Of course, in the end, this feisty bug gets exactly what he deserves, i.e. swatted across the land by a huge whale, but last I checked, two wrongs do not make a right.

Instead, we are big big fans of Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See?, and corresponding Panda Bear… and Polar Bear…

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess

Green Eggs and Ham

Basically, the whole reason I birthed a child was so that I could read this book to him. I mean, green eggs! Green ham! And in all kinds of crazy locations! I can’t think of anything more silly or delightful. That is, until I read it as a mother of a toddler who is trying to teach her child the beauty of eating a variety of foods THAT ARE GREEN and make doing so seem like the ultimate eating party. Of course, the main character does eventually eat and enjoy the green eggs and ham but only after several pages of demonstrating how fun it is to reject them.

Instead: Dr. Suess’ Book of ABC, Oh the Thinks You Can Think, etc. etc.

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

The Runaway Bunny(image source)

If I have any say in this, and I’d like to think I do, my son will never ever see this book again. Once was enough. Because I know the power of books. And I know the power of suggestion. I don’t want my sweet, sweaty, cuddly little ball of love to get any ideas.

Instead: Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon, again and again and again for eternity…


How about you? Have you banned any books at your house?

(By the way, that bumper sticker at the top of this post is from the greatest independent bookstore in the universe where I worked for one blissful summer in 1994: Browseabout Books. Visit them in Rehoboth Beach, DE and tell Steve and Barbara I sent you.)



Edward Scissorhands please cut my toddler’s hair

Edward-Scissorhands-08-4image source

Dear Edward (can I call you Ed?),

Let me start off by saying that I’m a huge fan of your work: I have long admired your Robert Smith-like coif, your creative topiaries, and the clever way you can spear a single pea with your fingerblade.

I am writing because my son is in desperate need of a a haircut. In case you are not familiar with the concept, he is what you would call a “toddler,” so when the scissors or buzzers come within 40 feet, he instinctively begins to impersonate a highly-caffeinated worm. He wiggles to an extent that makes a haircut simultaneously impossible and terrifying.

My husband and I have cut his hair 2.5 times. We have avoided those kiddie hair cutting salons because we suspect the wiggling could escalate in an unfamiliar setting. Besides, we once heard that those places occasionally provide the friendly service of passing along head lice and we only needed to hear that once.

For our first attempt, our son was 10 months old. He seemed calmly curious about the process. He sat relatively still and appeared somewhat relaxed, as if the clippers were giving his head a much-needed massage, as if this was relieving all that built-up tension from crawling around and gnawing on rubber teething toys. I saved the clippings for the purpose of posterity, which is something that sentimental women like me tend to do.

first haircut

The second time, at 18 months, he was FAR more aware of his surroundings and the weirdness of the situation: he kept turning his head to examine that intriguing buzzing noise. Once the clippers actually made contact with his head, he jerked around as if getting tickled. Since we are not barbers or hairdressers by trade, nor do we have hands made of scissors, you can imagine that we were more than a little challenged by this task.

The end result was slightly more extreme than intended. It was one part skate board punk rock and one part Professor Fink from the Simpsons (except of course much much cuter):

professor frinkimage source

Note from the following photo that the line around his head was jagged as a jigsaw. He looked more like he’d been attacked by the clippers than trimmed by them. Note also that photo is blurry and not head-on because he was once again busy impersonating a worm, in this case playing an epic game of peek-a-boo with the help of a curtain:

toddler haircut 2

The .5th time was last weekend, at 20 months. We methodically set up a cartoon featuring a group of anthropomorphic trains and handed him a snack with a sugar content much higher than usual. Unfortunately, once clippers were in hand, we realized they might not be fully charged. We decided to abandon the mission in case they pooped out half way through (as if that result would be any worse than if we could finish the haircut). Instead, I did a quick snip-snip with the baby fingernail scissors so he could actually see through his eyeballs and hear through his ears. While I did so, he swatted me away as if I was a pesky fly. Therefore, the rest of his hair remains long, hangs straight down all around his head and appears to be getting longer by the minute. He’s beginning to look as if he’s been the recipient of the dreaded “bowl cut.”

The point is that we are wondering if you have time in your busy schedule to take on this project? We predict that, with your proven dexterity and scissoring savvy plus the relatively small circumference of his head, it will take you about 7 seconds or less. And that kind of turnaround is exactly what we are on the market for. We think we can distract him for almost that long but we of course cannot guarantee it.

What’s in it for you? Perhaps whole plate full of peas? A gift certificate to a local tanning salon? A knife sharpener? Your choice – and of course, you are welcome to try something creative with his hair if you are looking to expand your portfolio.

Please get back to us at your earliest convenience as we are anxious to make stylistic changes immediately. We look forward to partnering with you on this.


The Home Tome

exclamations in celebration of my 200th post!



(Apologies in advance to exclamation point haters – I know you’re out there! Please make an exception just this once, for I can find no other punctuation to adequately express my excited state!)

Zoiks! 200 posts: That’s a lot of navel gazing, over-sharing, and doling out of pretend advice. Some contend that “everything’s already been written” and I agree with this to an extent – especially when you consider cave drawings,  ancient scrolls, essays, books, newspapers, on up to present day blogs and tweets, etc. Sure, it all may have been said, but I still enjoy trying to put my own spin on it and reading the attempts of others as well.

Hooray! In the last three-ish years, I sometimes posted twice a week or more… and sometimes once a month or less. Basically, I have been inconsistently consistent or consistently inconsistent, whichever way you look at it. In that time, a lot of Life has happened, much of it wonderful, some of it sad, and a lot of it documented here. One of the weirdest and coolest things about having a blog (and being a writer in general) is constantly wondering – how would I write about this situation?

Basically, I think with my fingertips. Perhaps a lot of writers do. I process events – big and small – by writing about them. Even though writing, like any creative pursuit, can be occasionally frustrating, I feel lucky that I have this outlet. Fun things have happened since I started the home tome: I have been “Freshly Pressed” by WordPress three times, (to see those fascinating posts, click here, here, here); I wrote and published a humor book about the hazards of homeownership, and I have had several articles published around interwebs.

Thank You! Merci! Grazie! Danke! This makes it sound as if I have a multi-lingual, international, jetsetting following, which may or may not be the case. I do know I have many loyal readers near and far. THANK YOU for taking the time to check in and contributing to this dialogue. I have certainly appreciated your comments, many of which have given me a good chuckle. It is my goal to try to see the lighter side of this often difficult/ sometimes mundane/ and slightly terrifying journey – this venue has helped me to remember to laugh. And laughter is best shared. Having written in many different formats and types of venues, I have to say that blogging is EXTREMELY gratifying – the immediacy of the audience, and the opportunity to connect with readers and other writers so directly is straight-up amazing.

I’d also like to thank my husband Rob for not only being a sounding board but also a source of creative and humorous inspiration. I really appreciate his acceptance and encouragement to spill the so-called beans on our home life.

Finally, I’d like like to thank the mushrooms, yes the mushrooms. Since my first post, they have been standing tall on my header above. They have unexpectedly popped up on our lawn and elsewhere in my path. They keep reminding me that magic is always just around the corner.

Here we go! Though this started as a home and lifestyle blog (i.e. my “housey” blog), it has gradually become more mommy-centric. I am letting my circumstances lead me and trying to be open to changes (isn’t this the definition of parenthood?) For example, I made some design modifications i.e. a new spiffy “theme”- do you approve?

In other news, I just started TWEETING, despite five years of resistance. I am surprised to say that I am having fun with it. If you’d like to follow me, you can do so here, or click over in the new twitter part of my sidebar —–>. (Instagram, etc etc, etc may be next, but one social media step at a time…)

Seriously, thanks. Exclamation Point.

mommy wash dishes: greetings from the kitchen sink

dishes in sink 2Sippy cups. Milk bottles. Tiny spoons. Funky bowls and plates meant to make mealtime more fun. Last night’s nasty pan still reeking of salmon. Ad infinitum. Motherhood has changed many things in my life for the better but I can’t say I’m a fan of all this new sink time. And something weird has started happening now that my 20 month-old has started talking:

Whenever I try to walk away from the kitchen sink, he pushes me back toward it and says, “Mommy wash.” This gesture is gentle but firm, and I’m usually compelled to double-back, turn on the faucet again, and dig into the mountain of dishes, etc located there. Sometimes, while toddling around behind me – with a toy car or alphabet magnet in hand – he repeats over and over again, Mommy wash. Mommy wash. Scrubbing diligently, I think about the many possible layers of meaning behind these two simple words.

It’s an encouragement: Mommy wash. As in, keep going, I know you can do it. Remember when I couldn’t get the crocodile piece lined up exactly in the animal puzzle and you told me to keep trying? Same thing. You got this.

It’s an identifier: Mommy wash. As in, this is what you do. This is who you are. Own it.

It’s a comfort: Mommy wash. As in, this is where I am most accustomed to seeing you stand, moving your arms vigorously with suds flying all around, and I feel uncomfortable when you leave this position.

It’s an admonishment: Mommy wash. As in, you probably should have cleaned those up last night, or throughout the day yesterday before they piled up. This is the result of serious slacking, so deal with it.

It’s a preference: Mommy wash. As in, Daddy and I are going to play. First, he is going throw the red airplane and we are going to clap with delight. Then I am going to throw the red airplane and we are going to clap with delight. Next, we’re going to spin the top and possibly read some books or just see where the next hour takes us. Daddy and I will spend that special time together, and you, you will wash.

It’s a brilliant manipulation, my son is a genius: Mommy wash. As in: Daddy, you see how well she rocks these dishes? I don’t know if you’ve ever tried this? She must be the only person in the universe who knows how to do it…

I kid you not, last night when my son said, “Mommy, wash,” my husband chimed in defensively with these exact words,  “I can wash dishes, too, you know.”

(Yes, he really can do dishes, too, and does an admirable job, but in more isolated bursts, and usually early in the morning before our son is awake and therefore without an audience.)

The point is that, yes, Mommy does wash, and wash, and wash (and she works on a many other projects in a myriad of locations) but now she is ready to play.

clean sink

How about you? Do you ever feel like dish soap has become your…main squeeze?

happy five to my hilarious hubs

gg shower cake 008Getting all the details sorted out for our wedding five short years ago…

Before I met my husband, Rob, I didn’t believe in miracles.

Now I do.

In honor of our 5th anniversary today, I wrote up a whole mushy post about what a miracle it is that we finally found each other, the miracle that is our life together, and the miracle of building a family…but I think I’ll just print that out and give it to him as a gift since I don’t have anything else yet. Don’t worry – I’ll roll it up like an ancient scroll and tie it with a fancy bow. It’ll be nice. I swear. He’ll like it.

So instead of posting that, I’d like to highlight how much he makes me laugh. Because this is how we have spent the majority of the last 5 (total of 6) years together: laughing. Maybe these tidbits won’t translate or maybe they will, but for those of you who don’t know him, he comes off as a kind, intelligent, mild-mannered, well-behaved guy. A pillar of normality. And he is these things but he’s also an A-1 Goofball. He thinks I’m funny, but really I’m just trying to impress him and keep up…For example:

Cheesy overhead music will cause him to briefly bust out enthusiastic way-too-funky dance moves in any store, crowded or not: at the A&P by our house, Staples, Home Depot etc. In response, people giggle, or ignore the performance and walk around him to reach the grapefruits, or they look at me like, “huh?”

If we wants to make sure you order him the right kind of croissant at the coffee shop after you hop out of the car, he will yell shamelessly and emphatically across several lanes of traffic with a slightly nasal voice, “ALMOND! ALMOND!” so that it sounds more like, All-min! All-min!

If you’re down in the dumps and talking to him on the phone, he’ll try to cheer you up/distract you by asking, “What outfit are you wearing?” as if you are a six year-old fashionista with a new party dress. He’ll listen as if he’s fascinated then ask even more details about the color of your shirt or the pattern of your socks until yes, you forget why you were in a bad mood. After all, you are wearing another pretty good outfit…

He can sing the following songs on demand and with abandon: Elvis’s “Let me be Your Teddy Bear” (complete with full, uncanny impersonation); any song from the hit Broadway sensation Orphan Annie (courtesy of his sister Marcy), any song from Fiddler on the Roof, and…also, wait for it…the musical 1776.

He’ll walk across a busy NYC intersection kicking up his knees and his elbows wildly as if he’s the Grand Marshal of the Silly Parade. The more I cover my eyes and the more I try to hide, the higher his long limbs fly.

Finally, he’ll put just about anything on his head. Like this:

gg shower cake 017

And this:


We can’t forget about this newborn hat:


Happy Anniversary to my favorite goof! Thank you for cracking me up and making this life and this marriage more fun than I could have possibly imagined. Oh, and thanks for letting me post these anecdotes with the accompanying pics. Heart Heart Heart.

good bye-bye summer

cape cod sweatshirt

Wait, summer! Summer! Come back!

Instead of lamenting all the things we didn’t do this summer (for example, we didn’t picnic, we didn’t barbeque even once though the grill’s replacement parts arrived long ago, we didn’t shed those extremely stubborn 7.2 lbs despite the semi-consistent-mid-day-melt-your-skin-sun-runs in the park <note overly-inclusive use of the word we here and elsewhere>, we didn’t make our favorite watermelon salad with mint and red onions, we didn’t clean out the guest room a.k.a. hoarding room and in fact added to the chaos, we didn’t bust out the brand new yet unused ice cream maker as we’ve been vowing to do for the last 5 summers, we didn’t plant any flowers or herbs in our side garden which is really just an attractive way to provide a buffet for local critters, we didn’t re-furbish our laundry room with kelly green walls and a checkered floor according to fantasies developed with the help of many pinterest boards, and we never set up a sprinkler in the lawn so that we could skip through it with glee) – nope, we didn’t do any of these things, but as summer comes to a close, I’m trying to focus instead on some of the great things we did do…

We went to the wonderful and very-manageable Bergen County Zoo at Van Saun Park in Paramus, NJ where we got a lesson in good posture from the prairie dogs:

prairie dogs bergen county zoo 2

We spent the weekend in NYC where we saw good friends, ate bagels, and gazed up at TALLLL buildings:

tall buildings

We discovered a full roll of paper towels in the back seat of the car then pretended that we didn’t:

paper towels

We learned the fine art of smooshing sunglasses onto our face:


We took approximately 450,000 turns on swings located in Rockland County and beyond. Code words: higher higher!


We hosted many excellent chalk installations on our driveway, thanks to our creative babysitters, Emily and Jamie. One of latest included, HOP-CHALK, as coined by Ian:

hopscotch on driveway

Lastly, we went to the pool a lot. A lot. Did I ever mention that our local pool has a blue mushroom?

mushroom congers lake pool

In the words of Ian, “Good bye-bye mushroom pool.”

Come to think of it, all this is just the tip of the iceberg – we have had a wonderful time with friends and family, including a whole host of other adventures (Cape Cod, Wisconsin, Delaware and beyond). Hope everyone has had a fantastic summer and that you are savoring these last few moments. Cheers!

star sunglasses

And those things we missed this summer? I guess we can get to them next year. After all, the future is bright…