My Blog Got Hacked!

 

Many of you had been emailing me to ask what was going on with the blog.  The short answer is, it was hacked.  Big time.  The knowledge required to fix it was way beyond my technical scope, so I had to call in help.  I tried fixing it, with help, three different times, only to have it hacked again and again.  Finally, what worked is deleting ALL the comments ever received on this blog.  Heartbreaking, but it had to be done.  You see, spammers were bombarding me with comments and there was simply no way to sift through everything without deleting all of them.  The website seems to be in full working order now, but occasionally, I will stumble across something that isn’t working properly because of these hackers.  Very frustrating.  So, thank you for your continued patience and support.  It feels good to be back.

The TRUTH Behind Our Family Photo Shoot

Photo by Odessa Cozzolino

Photo by Odessa Cozzolino

If you look at the photo smiling out at you from our yearly holiday card, taken on an idyllic Rhode Island beach, you’ll see six happy faces, a proud family clutching each other with love.  Every year I schedule a family photo shoot to get that picture.  Every year we get one.   And I mean JUST ONE.  Out of the hundreds of pictures the photographer snaps, there is usually only one picture where we are all happy, and looking presentable enough to send out to everyone we know.  The rest, the outtakes, tell a different story. They tell the truth behind all those happy smiling family photo cards you get in the mail each year.   If you have a family of your own, with small children, and have been through this process, you know what I’m talking about.  They are much more anarchic than the calm conveyed in the final photo.

It begins at home hours before we leave. I run around and pull together complimentary outfits for us all.  Each year I come up against protests about the outfits from the girls, as though I had asked them to be tarred and feathered.  The boys have usually outgrown what I’ve laid out, since they wear their white button down dress shirts so infrequently, and they can’t stand having to change outfits.   The kids complain and drag their feet, and it takes much shouting and cajoling to get everyone in the car.  By this point I have usually given up on the complimentary outfits, and the neat hair.  Around this time I may even be reduced to shouting something childish like “fine! I don’t care what the rest of you look like in the picture as long as I look good!”  As we drive to the beach, my husband is getting cranky due to all the bickering and back talk.  He questions the need for the professional family photo, and usually chooses this moment to find out what it costs.  Now my husband and I are bickering too.  I try to remind him that the outcome will be worth it.  When we arrive at the beach, I am already apologizing to the photographer for our motley state.   As we begin to try to pose, at least one child is freezing and miserable.  We bribe, threaten, and tickle to get the desired simultaneous smiles from all four kids. This year we added our untrained dog to the pandemonium.  He was kicked out of the family photo after about 5 minutes for stepping on one of the kids and making them cry.

photo by Odessa Cozzolino. the little guy wasn't supposed to be in the background!

photo by Odessa Cozzolino

Once again we ultimately got the photo.   Just one (as close to perfect as we’ll ever get) photo of our precious family, and the dog even made it in without needing to be added in photoshop.  Having that one picture that captures this moment in time is so worth all the trouble we go through to get it.  We cherish the timeline of our growing family that we  now have, and we can laugh when we scan back over the years of our family  pictures, knowing the bedlam that went into capturing them.  In turn, we love getting our friends holiday cards with pictures of their kids each year, seeing how their families have grown as well, and knowing the secret behind those perfect family photos. Chaos!

 

These are outtakes from back when we only had two kids! (and one on the way)

Photobucket

Why You Should Never Let a Friend Stay With You

As many of you know, I’m leaving the beautiful state of Rhode Island.  Actually, I’ve already left.  Maybe it’s for good, maybe not.  I only know that four years ago, I never would have guessed I’d even visit Little Rhody, much less live there.  But, my friend and former News Director in Cleveland asked me to come…and so I did.  As with almost any new project I take on, or job I start, I was looking forward to all the possibilities… the new station, the new people, the rich Providence history, the ocean.  It would be a lie though if I didn’t tell you that it was also with a bit of trepidation. What if I didn’t make new friends?  What if the people were snotty? I have moved SO. MANY. TIMES. Every time I say the same thing to my husband.  I’ll never make friends like my old friends. And I don’t.  I make different friends.

You know how they say your heart just opens up to allow yourself to love ALL your children as much as you loved the first?  THAT’S how I feel about my friends, but I digress.  I lived in Rhode Island for a solid year…a very lonely year before it happened.  My husband worked out of state and I felt isolated.  Admittedly, I worked a tough schedule to go out and socialize (anchoring evenings), and I’m not really a bar girl, but I finally decided to pull on my big girl panties and stop feeling sorry for myself and go out and make some darn friends.  It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen and these women are amazing.

Heart Ball at Newport Mansions

Leaving for the Heart Ball

Newport Mansions

How could you not feel like a princess here?

My last week in Rhode Island has been one of my best yet.  Maybe it had something to do with my last minute invite to the exclusive  Heart Ball set at one of the majestic Newport mansions.  I should note, when I told my pals I couldn’t possibly go because all my formal attire was packed up, they said they’d find something for me to wear.  And they did.

Great gift baskets

Or maybe it was the fabulous luncheon the aMomKnowsBest contributors held for me the day before, where they put together a much appreciated gift basket for my big road trip.  Notice the gas gift card, wine, and scented lotion.  Let’s face it, when you are piling in the car with your husband, dog, and toddler, for a road trip that includes logging thousands of miles– with no real destination in sight–  gas money, wine, and smelling good are all necessities.  Did I mention how I have the best contributors and friends EVER?  While I didn’t get to connect with everyone in my final week in RI, I did get to spend some quality time with a few close friends.

girls having fun

Now, when I say I got to spend quality time with my friends…I really mean quality time. We had to be out of our house last week, so my friend Elizabeth invited us to stay with her family.  For those of you keeping track, that’s four adults, five kids and two dogs in ONE house.

I cannot explain how grateful I am to Elizabeth’s family and how much we enjoyed our time there. She may never invite us back (watch this short clip to see why) but knowing the kind of friend Elizabeth is, I think she will.

 

 

Getting Gorgeous in New York City

New York City

It’s going to be a fun weekend. Today, several of the contributors and I are piling in Carrie’s SUV and heading to New York City where we will meet up with Katrina for a day of fashion, fun & beauty…oh, and pampering!  Two of my friends are putting on a spectacular event in the city called Getting Gorgeous, and it is going to be fabulous!  Audrey McClelland & Vera Sweeney are the masterminds behind the event and, to be honest, I’ve never even met Vera before–but any friend of Audrey’s is a friend of mine.

This will actually be my first “event” as a blogger and I can speak for all of the ladies of  A Mom Knows Best when I say we are thrilled to get a little R&R, meet some other wonderful women and engage with the terrific brands that will be in attendence.  I really have to give Audrey & Vera  a hand for choosing terrific companies to allign themselves with.  We’re talking Degree, Lifetime Moms, Hanes, Sandals Resorts (BTW, who else is DYING for a vacation after our recent snow in New England?) Weight Watchers & Goody Hair…just to name a few!dad NYC

After hanging with the girls all day, my husband and baby will pick me up and we’ll spend the night with our good friends who have a daughter just two weeks younger than Paige.  The babies always have such a great time together and it’s so fun to see them interact!  Sunday I have a business lunch at a great little restaurant I’ve been dying to try, right by the water, before heading back to Rhode Island.  Crossing my fingers that Paige sleeps a little in the car.  She’s typically good for about an hour…that’s it.  Maybe it’s time to invest in one of those portable DVD players…although since she’s never seen a movie it might kind of freak her out.

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