Remembering…..

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:23+00:00 September 11th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, children, family, friends, friendship, Liberty, Life, loss, marriage, mind/body, motherhood, nyc, parenthood, parenting|

This is a hard day. A traumatic day. A painful day. A somber day. It is also a good day. A special day. A birth day. A memorable day.

I watch the news feed on my Facebook. I see “always remember” and “never forget” over and over and over again. I see names of people I never knew etched on a wall. I see names of people I used to know but now only linked through the virtual wonder of the internet. I see people posting baby pics celebrating birthdays of their children born on this fateful date. I remember.

Just days before the terrorist attack in New York City on 9/11/2001, I was visiting the city for my college roommate’s wedding and we went up to the observation deck of the Empire State building and marveled at the height of the towers. It was windy but clear, and we were all glad to be together celebrating our friends and our friendship. That’s what I try to remember on this day. My oldest, and at that point only son, pushing a bubble-blowing lawn mower down the aisle and rocking a tuxedo at the wedding the next day, I remember that.

Tuxedo, Tyke, Tower, Totem

Tuxedo, Tyke, Tower, Totem

This photo, along with others from that day, hangs on my wall. I also remember being back in Florida on 9/11 and the phone ringing off the hook and just staring at the TV all day in tears, not comprehending what had happened. That’s a harder memory to recall. My son, now one of three, stands at almost 6’1, the other two inching up behind him. They are my towers now and living our lives every day is done in honor of all those that perished on that fateful day, and for those who have died since, as a result of their efforts to help on that day. We remember not because we want to, but because we have to. My two older ones are old enough that they go out and about New York City on their own. I struggled letting them do that today, but we have to live and they don’t need to be crippled by fear of the unknown, but I will not rest until they are safely at home with me. My heart goes out to those who will truly never rest again.

I remember.

I remember.

Stay well.

Baby expert and Totem lover? YES!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:42+00:00 April 8th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, bears, love, marriage, mental health, mind/body, parenthood, parenting, relationships, stress, stress relief, totems|

It’s the best feeling when you’re validated or at least when your company mission is validated, especially on a national scale. Maybe I’m reaching here, but it was actually a friend who brought the article to my attention, so she made the connection first! Totem Tamers mission is to help people who struggle with anxiety, stress, anger, or any overwhelming emotion that may get in the way of every day functioning. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal focused on baby sleep expert, Marc Weissbluth, and his connection to a carving that healed him. “Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child”, was definitely a book I used with my last baby, and it was a miracle worker! Dr. Weissbluth’s basic premise of “sleep begets sleep” saved my sanity while caring for a newborn with two toddlers in the mix! Anyway, the WSJ article is all about how Dr. Weissbluth discovered the healing impact of a Native American carving of a Bear! He’s quoted “it just felt right in my hand.” That’s what Totem Tamers is all about! If I am out at a fair or expo, I always encourage people to pick up a Totem so they can see how it feels. They all feel differently, but inevitably one will feel “right”! Sometimes people just know and connect to a Totem without having to pick it up, because they have an affinity for one of the creatures we carry! If you don’t have an opportunity to hold a Totem, I can tell you that they are surprisingly heavy and beautifully designed. Here’s a closeup of Bear!

 

Bear!

It was great to read how Dr. Weissbluth looked to his carved Bear for healing properties, which is exactly what we want you to do with your Totem of choice! Do you need something to help keep you grounded? Help keep you calm? Then you need a Totem! Visit our store at www.totemtamers.com/shop and get yours today!

Stay well.

Beautiful noise!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:58+00:00 August 30th, 2015|brotherhood, brothers, childhood, children, divorce, Life, marriage, parenting, siblings, single parents|

Divorce has its goods and bads, positives and negatives, and hopefully it can at least be an easy transition for everyone involved. One of the positive aspects of divorce for me, is that I get built in “break time”, when I can tend to my own needs first, as opposed to the needs of my children. I can’t say enough how blessed I am (and how blessed my kids are), to be in the post-divorce situation that I am in. I get a couple breaks a week, every other weekend, and a few full weeks out of the year. My kids benefit just as much from the breaks as I do, and spending that kind of quality time with their Dad is brilliant and so meaningful. Sure, I always have these elaborate ideas of what I will do with my break time, especially when the kids are gone for a week, for example. I fantasize about flying to some far-off island, cleaning out my closets, cleaning out their closets, getting rid of the toys they say they want to keep but haven’t played with in years but can’t bear to let go of, yeah, those kinds of plans. Sometimes I manage to pull some of it off, and other times, it’s just awesome being home without much of anything going on. This past week, my kids were gone, and I definitely took advantage. I took naps, had massages, walked around nekkid, sang out loud (well, louder than I usually do), ate what I wanted when I wanted, had friends over without complaint. I got to lounge by the pool without having to worry about anyone drowning!  (That’s huge!) It might not have been as productive as I would have liked, but the chilling out was lovely and much needed. And it was quiet. So quiet, that every time the AC kicked in, I jumped a little. So quiet that when the ding from the elevator down the hall sounded, I wondered who might be coming. So quiet that I realized as much as I was enjoying my downtime, I missed my boys. Sure I have my pup, and he’s great company when he’s not begging for food or begging to be pet, but I realized he missed the kids, too. That was painfully obvious yesterday when I mentioned their names, my dog started wagging his tail and headed straight for the door. Here he is patiently waiting the boys’ arrival.

Zeke, lying in wait!

Zeke, lying in wait!

The boys finally arrived, all three a bit taller, and a bit tanner, and as miraculous as ever. Yes, miraculous, because they’re mine, and my heart explodes every time I see them after they’ve been away (well, every time, really.) Within minutes, the dog was barking, my middle and my youngest were quibbling, my oldest was playing the guitar. There were shoes and flip flops strewn across the floor, computers zinging to life, and televisions offering discounts if you ordered now. It was loud, it was chaos, and it was the most beautiful noise I had heard all week.

Stay well.

My boys are like Totems to me, because I am certainly calmer when they are around, but it always helps to have an actual Totem as a reminder to keep calm. If you need a Totem, head over to our store, and get one today!

Sometimes parents suck!

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:59+00:00 August 5th, 2015|camp, childhood, children, divorce, Life, marriage, parenting, soccer|

I know I’m going to get a lot of pushback on this one, but I can’t seem to stop myself from needing to vent this out!! I will qualify all by saying that I am very blessed to be in the situation that I am with my life and my kids. I have the wonderful ability to be there for them (even when they may not want me to), but the best part of it, is that I WANT to be there! You know why? I like my kids! Sure, I love a break, and my time alone and all that, but really, my kids are pretty cool and I like hanging out with them. Also, there is some tremendous satisfaction watching them grow and interact with others and being there when they screw up and make bad choices. My childhood was anything but easy, but compared to some horrors I’ve heard of, it was pretty mild. I love knowing that my kids experience will be different, and better, for sure. This takes us to this morning where I will gladly set the scene for you and give you a better idea of what my kids childhood looks like. Two out of three kids are home doing a soccer day camp (the oldest is still at sleep away.) Last night, the two youngest were at their Dad’s house, as per our family schedule. This morning, their Dad brings them to my place to get their soccer gear, and me. I pile in to the car right along with them to drop them off at camp. Most of this is just ease because my ex can stay in the car while I walk the boys into the park, and the rest of it is because my kids are just damned lucky that my ex and I have a great co-parenting relationship/friendship. I also needed to sign my little one up for the afternoon soccer tournament, which is a blast to watch because the kids and the coaches get so into it, and any team sport always offers some sort of learning opportunity. Again, I am blessed that I am able to be there in the afternoon to watch the tournament, but again, I wouldn’t want to miss it! There I am filling out the form and paying the fee when I hear a mother next to me ask in an exasperated tone “Do I have to be at the tournament, or can I just come when it’s over?” I couldn’t help myself when I turned to get a look at this woman, who clearly sounded like she was looking for any excuse to not have to show up until the last possible moment, and I said “It’s so fun to watch!” Needless to say, I don’t think I’ve ever seen “bitchy” come across in a look as well as I did in that moment. And there you have my ire! Now of course, it’s entirely possible that she has an ailing parent at home and she never gets any rest and she hasn’t had a shower in days (her hair was indicative, and yes I’m being really catty now), and maybe, just maybe she was hoping to use that extra time to feed the homeless or go downtown and give out clean needles to substance users. Maybe, just maybe, she needed to get her ailing cat to the vet for chemo treatments, or cook a big batch of stew to feed her elderly neighbor. Or maybe, just maybe, she’s a narcissist and has no idea what the face of her child looks like when he/she scores a goal and realizes there’s no one there to witness except a bunch of strangers.

These kids deserve medals even when some of their parents don't!

These kids deserve medals even when some of their parents don’t!

Thank you as always for letting me release some steam, as I try hard to withhold judgement most of the time, or at least most of the time I do it rather quietly. There is no big lesson here folks, just try to love your kids as much as you can because at some point, you won’t get to squeeze and smush them and give them high-fives and kiss their boo-boos and watch their games, because they’ll be all grown up!

Stay well.

I could have used a Totem with me this morning to calm me down, thankfully I was able to take some deep breaths and repeat the rhyme that Totem Tamers offers as a guide to remaining calm. Do you need a reminder? Order a Totem today by clicking on any of the Totems on the page, and keep calm with you always.

Growing up without a "Daddy".

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:05+00:00 June 21st, 2015|anxiety, anxiety disorder, childhood, children, co-parenting, divorce, family, marriage, motherhood, parenthood, parenting, Uncategorized|

Sure, I had a dad, the man who fathered me, but he wasn’t around all that much, and when he was, he still wasn’t all that present. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the time I had with him, even though a lot of it was strained, and I can definitely attribute my sense of humor and timing to my father, but he was never a “Daddy” to me. It’s Father’s Day today, and I’m seeing all these sweet posts with kids and dads, grown up kids and dads, messages of dads long gone, and the best are the ones who are celebrating their first Father’s day. I guess this post is for them, because now as an adult, I realize how not having a “daddy” when I was a kid, definitely shaped how I move through the world. What does being a “daddy” mean exactly? To me, it’s when I see a little girl walking, her tiny hand enclosed by Daddy’s big protective hand. It’s those moments I see a son being taught how to throw a curveball just right. It’s the squealing laughter of a toddler being tossed in the air, and always being caught, just to shout “Again, again!” My kids have a Dad, who thankfully has been a “Daddy”, too! From diaper changes, to duo-couch-napping, to being tossed in the air (mostly to scare me, I’m sure), to learning their first guitar chords. I’m blessed to have been able to experience that through their eyes, at least.

A Daddy and his first born, and some Totems!

A Daddy and his first born, and some Totems!

I just went back and read what I had written last year on Father’s Day, so I guess I’m at least consistent with my feelings. Even though I didn’t grow up with a “Daddy”, I did have plenty of father figures around, and I will always be grateful to those who have influenced me. Those of you who still have young kids, please, for their sake, and yours, be a “Daddy”, as well as a Dad, a Father, a Pops, and a Papa, because it’s never too late. Happy Father’s Day!

Stay well.

Maybe you want to get a Totem for your Dad as a symbol of his calming presence in your life? Just click on any of the Totems on the page and get one today!

Finding peace with Option B, or even Option C,D,E, and so on…..

By | 2018-04-07T23:20:42+00:00 June 4th, 2015|anxiety, death, family, Life, marriage, mental health|

By now you have likely read the essay by Sheryl Sandberg, and you have taken in her words and her grief and yes, even her hope. If you don’t know the story, Sheryl’s husband, Dave Goldberg, died in a tragic accident a month ago, and the only reason you might know the story, is that this couple was very well known in the tech world and beyond. Sheryl is a bigwig at Facebook, and her husband was a biggie at Yahoo and then Survey Monkey. They were as you might call them, a power couple. That’s why we know them, that’s why Sheryl has been so incredibly courageous in sharing her grief with us, because we feel like we know them. Sure, she could have crawled away into the “void” she mentions in her essay, and grieved privately, but instead she is making her pain public with the goal of helping others. She’s helping others by being candid about her experience and about the experience of others around her, what helps when someone is grieving and what doesn’t, for example. Sheryl, also finds the strength to choose to live and stay present with her pain, rather than embrace that void filled with emptiness. She is choosing, as her friend who counseled and inspired her suggested, to find peace with Option B. Option B is the one where she lives without her husband, without the storybook marriage we have all read about it, without the father to her children, and her partner, but still with life, and the ability to do the best damn job of life she can. Not only for herself, but for her children. Option B is a gift, and a lot of us have had our shares of Options, or being forced to change our direction from what we thought something might be, to what is now something else entirely. It makes me think about my Option B, and then I realize, I’m kind of up to Option F or so at this point. I am grateful for having Options. I am grateful for the realization that if my “plan” doesn’t go as follows, I will just make another plan. It sounds simple, and in a way, it really is, but simple doesn’t mean easy. We either choose to remain with an Option that is no longer viable, available, or even possible, or we move on to the next Option which is filled with possibility, and potential. My Dad wasn’t around growing up, and died when I was young, next Option. We moved and then moved again, next Options. My brother died and now I have no sibling, and my kids do not have their Uncle, next option. I got divorced, next Option. See where I’m going with this? I’m MacGyvering the heck out of my life and wouldn’t have it any other way. There are Options, and Sheryl Sandberg, in her moving and eloquent piece, is moving to her Option B, and I’ve no doubt she will “kick the s*%t out of it!”

Leaning in for love.

Leaning in for love.

Stay well.

Totem Tamers helps give you the option of calm in the face of potentially overwhelming situations. Get a Totem today by clicking on any of the Totems on the side of the page.

"I don't do calm!"

By | 2018-04-07T23:20:42+00:00 June 1st, 2015|anxiety, childhood, Life, marriage, parenting, stress|

That was one of the remarks I received this weekend while displaying Totem Tamers at an outdoor street fair. Seriously!!! This young-ish gentleman was sort of wandering around the fair and came over to get a closer look at the Totems. (They are eye-catching if you haven’t seen one up close!)

Shark will give you an idea!

Shark will give you an idea!

Well, when someone approaches my table, it gives me the opportunity to engage them in conversation, which as most of you know is one of my favorite pastimes. This guy wasn’t having it. He’s looking at the Totems and I encourage him to pick one up. “They’re heavier than they look,” I say. He says no. I explain that the Totems are a tool to help keep you calm whenever you’re in a potentially stressful situation. He looked up at me and said “I don’t do calm. Ask my wife.” I didn’t really want to touch that one, and at that moment it was clear that he didn’t “do calm.” All I could do was let him know that Totem Tamers come with simple techniques that might help, and maybe this could be a gift for his wife. I’m sure you can imagine how that went?! I saw the whole family a short while later, the husband barely managing to hold on to a squirming child, while walking at a good clip ahead of his wife. The wife, pushing the stroller, struggling to keep up. Both had harried looks on their faces, and the scene made me sad to consider how that child will turn out.

Who wouldn't want to come talk to me?!

Who wouldn’t want to come talk to me?!

The good news is that more often than not, people who came to the table had really wonderful things to say. From the Special Education teacher who worked for years with preschoolers on the autism spectrum, who was so excited that she took cards to share Totem Tamers with her colleagues. To the mother of a sweet little girl who has taken to picking at her skin as a coping mechanism for her anxiety, who was thrilled to have another option that might help her daughter without harming her. And those were just two of the many people I spoke with that day, so there’s hope, that for every one person that doesn’t “do calm”, there will be a handful of others that can’t wait to be calm.

Stay well.

If you can’t wait to be calm, get a Totem!! Just click on any of the Totems on the side of the page and be on your way to finding calm in what can sometimes be a very stressful world.

The ball is in your court…a public service announcement from Totem Tamers!

By | 2018-04-07T23:20:45+00:00 May 15th, 2015|anxiety, co-parenting, divorce, Life, marriage, parenting, stress|

***Warning*** The following blog post will contain information that may make you cringe, shudder, raise your eyebrows, and definitely look some stuff up!

I say it all the time, and I can’t say it enough, but I am grateful for the co-parenting relationship my ex-husband and I have worked very hard at maintaining. It becomes all the more apparent and precious when one of our kids is hurt and we need to work together. So I will start off by saying “Thank you” to my kids’ Dad, for being able to remain calm and supportive, even when I’m freaked out and telling you what to do! 🙂 No, that’s not the PSA, but it could be, co-parenting is a choice not an option!

On to the more weighty issue at hand, my son’s huevos, nads, brass ones, bawls. Yup, he knows I’m writing about him/them, and as long as I didn’t use visuals, he was ok with it. We spent several hours in the ER last night, because my son was complaining of pain in the nether region. Thankfully, and unfortunately, we had been here before, because although it had been years, he had experienced this pain before. There’s nothing like having your then 10-year-old, walk into your room and saying “Mom, my balls hurt.” I hadn’t seen “the boys” in quite a while, and my son wasn’t thrilled when I said “Drop ’em!” Fast forward 5 years, and now my 15 year old, 5’11, size 14 shoe wearing kid says “My balls hurt”, and there’s only one thing you can say. “Get in the car.” That’s because 5 years ago we learned that there is a mere 6 hour window to save a testicle if it’s twisted. Yes, 6 hours ONLY! So we don’t mess around when there is even a hint of pain. I’m a mom of 3 boys, and I had never heard this before and I was shocked, but glad for the information. This time, as well as last time, my son didn’t have torsion of a testicle thankfully, but what he did have was a case of epididimytis, again. The only thing to do is go to the hospital to get a sonogram to make sure there is proper blood flow to the testicles and if the answer is yes, then it’s just rest and anti-inflammatory meds for pain and swelling. This is your PSA, if your son ever complains that his testicles hurt, run, don’t walk, to the nearest ER for a sonogram. My son’s all good now, a little tender, but back at school with a hospital bracelet to get him out of homework and get sympathy from his pals. Deep breath. It seems a little extreme to go running to the hospital every time, but I was validated by the ER doc who said to me with a knowing smile, “You don’t have a choice.”

Having a "ball"!

Having a “ball”!

It’s a good thing my son and I have great senses of humor, so we deflected our anxiety by making each other crack up, and the hospital staff,too! During the sonogram, which was performed by a very macho and stocky radiologist, and witnessed by an also macho “chaperone”, my son and I were cracking jokes. We were having a “ball”, for example, then my son quipped that something had gone over his head, corrected himself and said “well, actually under my head.” Everyone laughed, and it made the whole experience tolerable. While we waited for the results, we giggled some more, and then my boy leaned his head on my shoulder for a dose of reality and motherly comfort. Through all of the anxiety and the joke-telling, the inappropriate comments and stories about his childhood, the moment he rested his head on my shoulder, he was my baby once again, and I was reminded of how blessed I am to be his mother. Hopefully, you will never need this information, but it’s important to have it, just in case!

Stay well.

Always good to have the principles of Totem Tamers at hand, even if you don’t have a Totem. Deep breathing and visualization is key in times that are overwhelming, learn them when you get your Totem Tamers Set, by clicking on any of the Totems on the left!