Pumpkin “Picking”

Today we went to Flamingo Road Nursery to get a pumpkin.  After all, it’s three days before Halloween and instead of going to some church parking lot and picking one out, we  wanted to make a fun outing with food and activities, so we made the 40 minute treck to Davie to check it out.

The outing was successful overall (in fact, Max, out of nowhere said “I’m having so much fun today!”, BUT I made three mistakes in the planning of this event:

1) Getting a pumpkin on the last weekend before Halloween at a family-friendly farm is kind of like Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve.  In other words, it was PACKED.  Like – anxiety-inducing crowds.  Lines, lines, lines…for everything from the hay ride to lunch to face painting, etc.  None of us are good at waiting.  I’m the worst.  My 3 year old has more patience than me.  Seriously – the other day we were getting him ice cream and I was losing my mind at the people in front of me taking forever while he calmly waited his turn. Embarrassing.

2) I still have romantic notions of fall in CT, when we’d go to a hundred-acre farm to pick pumpkins, apples, etc. and you’d take a hay ride and feel like you were flying through some kind of beautiful fall wilderness maze.   This, obviously, is not what we encountered.  For the majority of the year, you will NOT hear me complain about living in Florida, but those rare, breathtaking, golden fall New England days are something I’ll always miss.

The “hay ride” here (with a 45-minute line) was a vintage truck that drove on the pavement for six minutes and honked a horn.  Luckily none of us were interested.

3) I wanted to do way more than we were able to (big suprise.  Wait…you don’t know me. I often have visions of accomplishing or doing more than is possible/enjoyable in a given outing.)  This time, I thought we’d get a pumpkin, do face painting, have lunch, shop at the farmers market for local produce (and a Pumpkin Pie, as requested by Max), take cute pix I could post on Instagram just like the 56 other pix of the exact same scene posted by everyone else with kids, and walk around the nursery picking out flowers/plants we like as we have to do some landscaping.

Here is what we did:

Divided and conquered the minute we got there as parking was far from lunch, so I ordered sandwiches (Charlie was so excited that they had a Boar’s Head deli…then they didn’t have Pastrami) while charlie parked w/Benny & Max who was whining and “starving”, ate lunch standing up, tried to figure out the whole “ticket” situation – we didn’t have much cash of course, walked around aimlessly trying to find the pumpkin patch only to realize we were in it (a bunch of pumpkins under a tent. Not much “choosing” about it – you had to elbow people (darn kids) just to get to one), Charlie waited in line while we went to the bathroom (actually Max’s favorite part, “MOM there’s a bathroom in that truck!!!” Yah Max, it’s a port-o-potty, you’re excitement may dwindle when you step inside and lose a year off your little life.  It didn’t. And in all honesty the bathroom was quite clean), bought a cookie for Max because Charlie had barely moved up in line, walked around aimlessly playing the opposite game with Max, paid for pumpkins, went home.

This is to say nothing bad about the nursery itself…I’m sure on roughly 362 days of the year (I’m guessing Xmas tree shopping gets dicey), the place is a lot more manageable. And they handled it well.  It just wasn’t quite the natural, whimsical, Walden-esque experience I had envisioned.

Nevertheless, we had a good time, the boys were happy mostly, we got our pumpkins, and Max got to see a bathroom on a truck.

So maybe the lesson to us all is – lower your expectations, doesn’t take much to please 3 year olds and babies.


Ipad Mini

Today, Apple will be announcing a new Ipad concept – smaller size, less expensive.


While this article mentions all the reasons Apple is creating this – compete with Kindle price-wise and allow people to feel less protective about their big Ipad and venture out of the house with it, they either are missing or aren’t mentioning a major component to a product like this – KIDS!

In fact, the other day – after my son dropped my Ipad and the screen cracked (ugh FINE I dropped it with my clumsy hands, he handles it like a gentle egg) – I asked my husband why Apple hasn’t created a cheap “Ipad like” device for kids.  I say Apple, not someone else, because good or bad people simply feel better/happier/more excited about buying an Apple product.  And their sh** is freaking cool.

As much as parents may or may not want to admit it, if they have an Ipad, their kids use it.  My 3 1/2 year old uses the Ipad for some “good” stuff (Montessori counting/spelling apps, Dora coloring app, and reading a variety of books) and some “bad stuff” (watching shows, somehow logging on to YouTube and finding clips from real Batman movies – including R-rated lego parodies he thinks are Superhero videos…thanks dad).  But for the most part, the Ipad has been an excellent device for us to give him during “Rest time” or when he is sick.  We somehow feel its better than TV, especially when we find him doing reading exercises.  Then again, it opens up a large world of possibly inappropriate findings.

Kids using Ipads is a somewhat controversial topic.  What do you think is appropriate Ipad usage/age for a kid? Should they use it in public? We actually don’t allow that.  Especially not at restaurants – it makes me sad to see families sit down and the kids whip out some kind of game/device to ensure the discussion level is zero.  Then again, I don’t have a 12 yr old.  Maybe that’s the only way you get them to even go to dinner with you…


Me & Gilles Marini

Recently, I interviewed Gilles Marini of DANCING WITH THE STARS for a few publications. He was in Miami to shoot the new Perry Ellis “Axist” campaign.  He was very nice, energetic, smart, and of course – gorgeous. Check out the People Magazine article here:


Gilles lived in Miami when he first moved to the states and just recently got his U.S. Citizenship.  He really was an inspiring person to talk to.  He views his citizenship as such a gift and feels a bit let down by politicians these days who see the whole process as a cat fight, rather than an opportunity to tackle serious issues.  With the vote coming up, I wonder if you all agree that politics has become more of a competition (i.e. campaigning, raising money to campaign, immediately attacking the other side post-vote in order to win your next campaign, etc.), rather than a job you should be honored to have.  I recall a recent State of the Union address where President Obama begged both sides to take a pause and instead of immediately reacting to his speech with attacks, just think about the issues. And yet, immediately after his speech, they interviewed a Republican senator who… attacked what he said, how he said it, etc.  Now, I’m sure that Senator felt he HAD to attack – that’s the current job of being on one side vs. the other – but it was just SO disheartening to see that even when the President begs his Congress and Senate to pause and work together, they just can’t.

Didn’t mean to get so serious, but when I spoke to Gilles and heard how he had studied so hard and felt so honored to be an American, I realized maybe our leaders aren’t taking the honor seriously enough themselves!

On a lighter note, stay tuned for an article in MIAMI Magazine this December where Gilles tells me about living in MIAMI, his shoot with Perry Ellis and being the face of their Axist line!

To Worry or Not to Worry…That is the Question

I would say, unequivocally, that one of the hardest parts about parenting is the worrying.  Now, I’m a worrier by nature (I come from a long line of neurotic Jews), so the feeling is somewhat natural to me, BUT when it was just me, I could talk myself down with thoughts like, “You probably don’t have a brain tumor, but if you still have a pounding headache and blurry vision AFTER the hangover wears off, call the doctor” or “You probably didn’t ruin your life by hitting reply all and ____ (fill in the blank)” or “You’re not going to amount to nothing just because you didn’t write The Devil Wears Prada” or “You don’t have stomach cancer just because you have a stomach ache…the pint of ice cream is probably more likely the cause,” etc.

But, when it comes to kids, these tools we’ve all developed – the ones that we use to tell ourselves we’re being crazy – are completely unreliable because the WHAT IF isn’t about ourselves, it’s about a little person we’re wholly responsible for who can’t fight for themselves. Such as…What if that cough has lasted too long? What if the ‘tummy aches’ are an allergy, not just complaining? What if the speech – which seems less developed than other kids his age – is actually a delay? What if the ear-pulling is an infection, not teething? What if “crying it out” scars them for life? What if sending them to school when they say they don’t want to go every day is doing harm or means the school is somehow not attending to their needs? What if their current refusal to eat vegetables results in anemia or calcium deficiency or stunted growth OR What if forcing the vegetables/refusing junk results in an unhealthy emotional relationship with food, dooming your child to an obsession with candy and/or a future eating disorder? You catch the drift…

The worrying can be endless and I certainly do NOT have the answers, but the doctors below do a great job of breaking down some items we should not worry about….


And I do think the bottom line is that worrying means we love our kids.  And if we love our kids and try as hard as possible not to judge them or ourselves, they’ll probably be f***ed up somehow anyways because every grown person is, but they’ll at least know they have loving parents on their side.  And take it from a worrier with loving parents – that helps a lot!

Construction Paper

So, I’m REALLY Bad at art. Like, so bad that I was the only kid in school who did not think their elephant painting was good.  I knew it sucked. If you think I’m being self-depricating, check out my recent drawing of Spiderman and the Green Goblin below (insisted upon by Max).  My husband asked me why they’re rapping.  I don’t know the answer to that.


My 3 and a half year old, on the other hand, really likes doing art projects.  So I’m trying my best to work with him. I actually love the idea of doing projects, I just suck at the execution. Now, I use the term “project” loosely, as these undertakings often end up with us sitting down, setting up paint, water, paper, and brushes and he:

a) Piles the various colors of paint on top of each other into a brown blob that rips a hole in the paper and leaks onto the table (IKEA table & chairs  – the best $19.99 I’ve EVER spent http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50178411/)

b) Paints his inspiration onto the wall behind him – what we’ve now designated the “art wall” (if we make it sound purposeful and creative, it’s not actually ugly blobs of paint that we’re too lazy to wipe off).

c) Spills the water everywhere so the project amounts to us wiping up dirty paint water and wasting a lot of paper towel

Nonetheless, every time we paint it’s a nice chunk of time doing something quiet, creative and together.  And we always laugh.  (Max told me today I “don’t draw things in the right place”…yah that’s one way of putting it).  So, I’m trying to learn other cool crafts we can do.

My mother in law is something of a master in the craft arena, but I just never think of these ideas naturally.  It’s just not in my DNA.  I have other talents (maybe) but Van Gogh/MarthaStewart I am NOT.

So, I decided to start from the beginning.  I bought a pad of construction paper which, kindly, actually includes instructions on what to do with it – genius.  We also bought glue and kid scissors.  And we did the most basic project – make a chain of “dudes” (that’s what we called them) and color accouterments on them such as eyes, ears, smiles, and of course,  a Batman & Robin.

The result ain’t pretty but It was really fun.  We might almost be ready for step two of crafting – tissue paper? Clay? Rubber cement I can sniff and make booger balls with?

Celebrity Baby Names…

So, Drew Barrymore announced the birth of her baby daughter yesterday (the baby was actually born September 26th, which means they kept it out of the news for almost a week…kinda cool), and she named her Olive.


So we have another “creative” name (well…not totally creative.  In 1999, Drew voiced the title character Olive in the TV Movie “Olive, the Other Reindeer” AND Isla Fisher/Sasha Baron Cohen’s daughter is named Olive).  But still, outside of L.A. you aren’t meeting a lot of “Olives” outside of a Martini glass.  While I do think Olive actually sounds cute, the name still speaks to the celebrity need to stand out.  Every week we hear about the next star who just HAD to use an unconventional name for their baby.   I certainly do NOT think these kids will be taunted (as was the theory when Gwyneth named her daughter Apple), in fact, everyone will probably know exactly who they are in their private L.A./London/NYC school and they’ll grow up surrounded by other food & geography inspired names (Tennessee – Reese Witherspoon’s daughter, Brooklyn Beckham, Egypt – Alicia Key’s son, etc.), joining the other studio head/drummers/Broadway actor’s sons and daughters in a group singalong of “We are special and we know it.”

So, is the contest of “weirdest name wins” an effort to differentiate, or is it a case of celebrities trying to pretend they’re low-key/artsy/cool (if I have to hear one more famous woman claim to be a hippy – as she spends an hour and a half with a hair stylist perfecting her best “I’m low maintenance and just running errands” look or imports a chef from Africa to make juices from a rare weed found only in the Kalahari desert (that, of course, produces weight loss) and tells Vogue all of her friends make fun of her for this “weird, smelly, hippy drink she gets from a shack in Venice Beach”, etc.  I’m gonna puke. I think its a combination of both.  Celebs are constantly walking the line between “I’m just like you – enough that you should relate to me and come see my movies, but I’m also much better than you – I’d never actually talk to you and please covet me and wish you were me and aspire to be.”

The irony of the baby naming bonanza is, in an effort to be so unique, these celebs have turned their kids into total cliches.  You know what would be super edgy and cool and different? Giving your child a simple, traditional name the rest of the world is familiar with (Kudos to Selma Blair for naming her son Arthur and Sandy Bullock with adorable little Louis).  These kids will be in school one day and Pilot Inspektor will go, “John? What does John mean?!? Wow your parents must be really interesting and cool”