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I don’t want to brag or anything, but I was the nicest kid anyone could ever meet… until (DUH DUH DUH) middle school. In middle school, I think the devil possessed my body (not literally, but my parents may disagree). If there was an argument to be had… oh boy did we have it.
When high school rolled around, I stopped fighting with my parents so much and started focusing on sports and my education, but couldn’t wait to get out of the house! Then it was time to go to college. I chose a University that was two hours away and planned on living on campus, but by the second week of classes I was a full blown commuting student. I missed my parents!
I love my life here in the Hudson Valley, but I’m not going to lie, I had a very difficult time when I first moved here. I would cry at least once a day because I felt guilty for leaving my family and because I just needed a “Morgan Hug” from my parents. Honestly, sometimes I just wanted to hear someone else say “y’all.”
I was making all these major life changes at one time (life-changing weight loss, moving away, renting my first apartment, getting my first real world job) it was difficult. Not a day goes by that I don’t speak to them either by text, phone, email or skype. I’m a true only child! My parents really do mean everything to me and although we talk constantly… nothing can compare to seeing them in person.
So, over the holidays I was lucky enough to be able to travel back to my hometown of Monroe, North Carolina to visit my family. I haven’t seen my family in almost a year, so my mini family vacation was just what the doctor ordered! It’s so funny… no matter how old I get, when I’m with my parents I still feel like a kid. It seems I’ll always be my daddy’s “sweet pea” and my mom’s “Velcro baby.”
I invited my parents and aunt to come back to New York to see my new place. They ended up staying for two weeks. We had a blast! We explored the Hudson Valley and even went to NYC on New Years’ eve… We ended up in White Plains to see their ball drop because all the streets in Manhattan were closed by the time we got there, but we still had fun! Being snowed in a couple days and the close quarters didn’t help with a little bout of cabin fever, but in the end we all enjoyed ourselves.
I can’t wait for them to come back so we can go exploring the Hudson Valley again. Homemade breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday courtesy of my mom doesn’t hurt either!
I guess the purpose of this blog is to let all you parents out there know that even if you’re going through tough times with your teens, tween or even toddlers, it will get better. In my case, mother and father know best. It just takes time for us to all figure that out.
October is, by far, my favorite month of the year… Sweater season gets ushered in by the cooler weather, trees are adorned with colorful leaves, candy apples and cider make their first debut of the year and the Yankees are in the playoffs.
There is no doubting the fact that I’m a sports junkie. After all, my first word was baseball. I’m passionate about several things, but baseball and hockey top the list. Major League Baseball has been running the same postseason commercial for the last million or so years… The theme of the advertisement is “you can’t script October,” meaning that anything can happen in playoff baseball.
From Don Larsen’s perfect game, Reggie Jackson’s three homer game to Aaron Boone’s walk-off homerun against the Red Sox (please don’t remind me of the 2001 playoffs)… it’s true, you can’t predict what’s going to happen in baseball. So last night, my boyfriend, Bill, and I went to Game 4 of the ALDS (That’s the “American League Division Series,” for all you Mets fans that aren’t sure what the playoffs are!).
Last night’s game was speeding right along. Neither the Yankees nor the Orioles were doing much offensively. It was a 1-0 Orioles game going into the bottom of the sixth. Luckily, Robinson Cano was able to get the Yankees’ first RBI of the game to tie it up at 1 going into the seventh. At this point it was 10:30pm. I remember looking around and seeing tired faces of moms, dads and school age children.
Eventually the game went into extra innings… 13 of them to be exact. Not a single person (that I could see) left the game early. It was [almost] reminiscent of the real stadium. Everyone was on their feet each time the Yankees stepped up to the plate. The one thing, besides the game itself, that stuck out to me was this little boy, who was cheering right along with the best of ‘em the entire game. He couldn’t have been more than 7 years old.
The game ended well after midnight, but there the little boy was, sulking in defeat after the game. He and his parents stayed for the entire game! I wondered how tired the little boy would be at school today. If he’s as tired as I am, shame on his parents.
That being said, I can’t say that I blame his parents. When I was in school, my parents allowed me to stay up for sporting events. I never really had a “bedtime,” mainly because I loved to sleep. There were several school days where I was sluggish because I stayed up watching sports the night before, but you know what… I enjoyed myself.
When I was in high school, the Yankees played their first game in Japan. I woke up at some obscure hour in the morning just to watch the game. It was unforgettable, but I thought I was going to die of exhaustion during math class. I always wonder how parents decide when late is too late. If the little boy was at home last night instead of at the game, would his parents have made him go to bed or did they want him to witness legends in the making?
“But mom, it’s only the sixth inning!” What would your response be if your child said this to you on a school night? Personally, I’d let my child stay up to watch the game and bet on him falling asleep on the couch before the final out.
|Opening gates to the Millbrook Tribute Gardens|
Sometimes it’s nice to experience the finer things in life.
Sometimes you just want to take a trip to where the rich and famous live.
Where we live is great.
I love the creeks, the daisies, and the rough country view of the Gunks, but sometimes I crave grey poupon instead of spicy deli mustard. Sometimes instead of rockclimbers, bicyclists, and hippies, I like to see men in plaid cardigans swinging golfclubs, meticulously pruned hedges lining wimbledonesque tennis courts, sprawling mansions with gate and guesthouses, and let’s not forget old women with surgically altered necks and giant sunglasses walking show poodles. When you have a child that screams at you, “I’m a monster!” It’s nice to visit a place where wild things are tamed. You can sit back and relax, observe and reflect a bit, learn maybe.
I grew up on Long Island, where you drive out to the Hamptons to see these sights, but now our replacement “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” destination is Millbrook, a town that has been coined the Hudson Valley’s lowkey version of the Hamptons.
In Millbrook, there are polo fields, country clubs and there is even a Sotheby’s. The men hanging outside the local deli are dressed in very good taste. The entire town is in very good taste, charming, very gentle, genteel, and loaded.
So it makes sense that Millbrook has the most impeccable park I have ever visited. We’re talking sand that literally sparkles below the swingset, two waterfalls cascading into a Koi pond, tall beautiful shading trees honoring fallen soldiers from WWI, and most impressive of all –pristine public bathrooms with teak side tables and artwork on the walls. Millbrook Tribute Gardens is a great park for any family to visit with its beautifully landscaped grounds and upscale playground equipment.
Just make sure you tell your husband not to change your kid’s diaper in plain sight in the parking lot. Mine started doing this when I wasn’t paying attention, and while the man walking by in the purple polo shirt and white shorts didn’t say anything, he must have thought we were unrefined, ill-mannered, let’s shout it out to the rafters “poor” out-of-towners. But who really cares? It’s a public green space. All can go and enjoy no matter your socioeconomic bracket. Is that spicy enough for you, white shorts?
Anyway, I shouldn’t really be angry at white shorts because he is the one paying what must be astronomical taxes for a place like the Millbrook Tribute Gardens. Let’s face it, most playgrounds are pretty boring for adults. Millbrook Tribute Gardens stands out as being a nice destination for the whole family.
When you’re in Millbrook, make sure you check out the Trevor Zoo too. Read my blog about the zoo‘s newish parking lot. What’s with me writing about bathrooms and parking lots…?
Goodnight. I love you “M” & “R”. Big Kiss.
- Hudson Valley Kim
|Waterfalls and koi pond.|
Millrook Tribute Garden honors fallen soldiers. This plaque lists these soldiers’ names and shows where each soldier was honored with a tree in the park’s Court of Honor. Visitors to the park benefit from these trees’ shade and beauty. Take a moment and reflect.
Sand that sparkles
I’d never seen this playground digger before our trip to Millbrook. My husband had them growing up and said that was because he was from Port Washington and I was from Ronkonkoma. Ahh the class wars continue!
|A little sad when you think that all of these trees are symbolic of fallen soldiers….|
|Good inexpensive local deli. Their competition offered a pint of fruit salad for $15. I bought a meal for the family here for the same price.|
Hello readers, as boring as it may be, I’m going to start out by introducing myself to you all…
I’m Brittany and I’m the newest addition to the Hudson Valley Parent family. About 4 months ago, I was hired as the Editorial Assistant. I must say, I really love working here at HVParent. Our entire staff is great and so much fun to be around.
Since I came on board, I’ve worked a lot with our social media sites. If you’re not already our friend on facebook, I hope you’ll take a moment to join us (shameless plug… I know).
Now for some
boring background about me… I’m originally from North Carolina. I moved to New York 6 months ago to be with my boyfriend, Bill. Bill and I met through my baseball-focused, radio show I used to host called “A Show of Their Own.” The show is now archived online, but I’ll spare you the shameless plug.
Prior to HVP, I worked as a high school basketball, softball and volleyball coach… which transitioned me to sports-talk radio and now logically to working for a parenting publication! Working for HV Parent is a combination of everything I love: writing, editing, interviewing, videos, photography, social media, even some graphic design! Not to mention, I get to think up crazy ideas for new things to offer our readers!
Now, I’ll admit, I’ve been putting off blogging for a while. I have several blogs of my own, but couldn’t decided on an angle for this new HVParent blog of mine. BUT I finally figured it out.
Since, I made you read this long blog all about me, I guess it’s time for me to unveil my new blog and what exactly it will be about (drum roll please….)
Gym Class Hero will focus on living a healthy lifestyle. I’ll discuss everything from sports, weight loss, activities for the kids, nutrition… anything. I recently lost 120 pounds… yep 120! I’m still 30 pounds away from my goal weight and cannot wait to share my journey with all of you. I’m a sports nut and have had some great experiences I want to share with
(y’all) you all. My goal for this blog is to have something for everyone… mom, dad, kids, grandparents, etc. I hope you’ll continue reading my musings and comment away!
Thanks for reading,
I must reveal up front that politics is not my game. But I think the horsing around going on in Washington, DC can be unhealthy for all of us.
I ask myself, ‘What do I expect of a politician?’
I feel strongly that one issue candidates are dangerous because they don’t think about each and every one of us when evaluating bills that come before congress.
Politicians who are too far to the right or left of center can’t possibly care for all of us because they are too busy fighting for their tiny fiefdoms to be productive. And they forget about those of us in the middle who are trying to take care of our families.
I watched the debacle in Congress this summer where each member voted based on his or her personal concerns. It was Friday July 20 Congressional representatives broke talks with the president. Again on Saturday, the 21st congress did not move forward.
Who were they kidding? This is a $15 billion debt ceiling we are talking about. How do you solve those issues in 24, 48 or 60 hours? If you and I ran our households like that we too would be in deeper debt than our country is now….and we can’t print money at will like Congress can.
Mudslinging was used to get their messages heard.
Mudslinging does not solve problems. It does not bring people together so they can be productive.
And in the middle of it all, our congressional representatives treat our President as a foe to be burned rather than someone to work with. In our president’s August 20th weekly address Mr Obama states, “The only thing preventing us from passing these bills is the refusal by some in Congress to put country ahead of party.”
Did they forget that President Obama is the leader of our country…our spokesperson to the world? (Doesn’t matter whether you voted for him or not, he still is our voice.)
Our congressional representatives forget that they are there to help every American remain healthy and productive.
We all have different political views but we must remember that we are a nation of 312 million people. Caring for all takes precedence over individual points of view.
On Saturday, we were lucky enough to have one of the leading scholars on adolescent development speak at the 2nd Annual Conference on Adolescence on the campus of Mount Saint Mary College. Dr. William Damon, who is Stanford University professor and researcher, talked about how young people find purpose in their lives.
Damon said that most parents feel that they should help direct their kids to find themselves, but his study shows that kids naturally find things of interest. Our role as parents is to provide the resources for our kids that support their interest rather than foist our own ideas on them.
But how do you do that? Say Mary comes home interested in a presentation at school on animals that are becoming extinct. Ask her who does she think takes care of these animals? Would she be interested in meeting a zoologist or a local vet? Are there clubs in her school that relate to this area of interest she would like to join? Or go to the library so she can take out some books on the subject.
But we have to be careful not to create stressful situations where our kids are so busy doing so many different things that eventually the tasks have no meaning.
Damon also suggests that we should talk about our own experiences. Show our kids that getting to where we are in life does not necessarily happen in a straight line. Share the failures along with the successes.
The issues that Daman brought up hit close to home for me. I left college after 3 years, got married and had kids. I was in my thirties before I went back to school. My kids saw me go to classes, struggle with homework and finally graduate. The world of work was not any easier for me. After college, I had a job for 2 years but was let go. My kids knew that I was going out on interviews to try and find another position. My boys saw that it was not always easy for me to move forward.
The professor also said that we should be careful about what we talk about and how we talk about it. For example, when we get home from work, do we complain about our boss or talk about the rotten day we had? He suggests that rather than talk about the negatives concerning work, talk about something, even if it is a small something, that made a difference for that day. Kids pick up on these cues.
Part III of this presentation on helping kids find purpose in their lives will discuss getting kids involved in the community.
For more information on help kids find purpose in their lives read Dr. William Damon’s book The Path to Purpose
Another place Johnny and I have been to recently is Gloria’s Griddle and Grill on Route 32 in New Windsor. They are actually two restaurants combined now. Napoli’s menu has been incorporated into Gloria’s for a tremendous selection of pretty much anything you can think of to eat. My honey opted for the chicken marsala and I was craving a gyro. We got both. They were fresh, delicious and came to the table promptly. The wait staff was knowledgeable and friendly. The prices are just right. They also offer an open mike on Friday nights at 8pm. Go. Eat. Enjoy. You won’t be sorry.
“Author James DeSalvo has penned an engaging mystery for young adults in his intelligent and humorous new work Connie Cobbler: Toy Detective. The titular sleuth is a private eye and a soft toy doll, who has retreated from the limelight of her successful television acting career after a tragedy on the set. Connie and her amusing cast of characters are reminiscent of Strawberry Shortcake, that 1980s dessert-themed doll and her gaggle of friends. In Connie’s case, she is friends with an assortment of Pastry Pals, including Tiffany Tart, Priscilla Pie, Debbie Danish and Tracy Turnover.”
from the ForeWord Clarion Review
I already love this guy, James DeSalvo. His website is sketchy, his book has little bio information, and he is keeping his private life a mystery. Is this brilliant marketing or just a busy schedule? His blogs run no more than a sentence or two, and chronicles more or less the frustrating steps to self-publish. While we don’t know anything more about this fellow than he lives in Fishkill, I like how he has fashioned this story with character names like Tiffany Tart. Join all of us at the next HV Parent Cover Kids Event and meet this mysterious new book author who writes like this, “Unable to save her friend and spurred on by grief, Connie Cobbler turned away from show business and became a hard boiled, root beer swigging private detective, dedicating her life to protecting the toys of Toy Town.”
I gotta meet this guy. Ttyl, mj
Meet James DeSalvo at our Cover Kid event, Poughkeepsie Mall, Sunday, April 10; and at Middletown’s Galleria on Sunday, May 1 from 11 am – 3 pm.
I just started reading the first Undercover Kids Book, “The Trunk in the Attic.” And immediately, liked the bits of information author, Gloria Smith Zawaski, weaves into her story. It’s about two curious kids staying at their aunt’s farm, and embarking on their first adventure. How did I know these kids were curious if I only just started reading it? By the second paragraph. “Their parents are professors.” I read. “Mom teaches languages and speaks quite a few. Dad is an archaeologist and spends summers in foreign countries…” That alone lets us know right away that this book will be filled with interesting facts and details from other cultures, and these days, that’s a good thing for young readers to understand.
Gloria Smith Zawaski appears at HVP’s Cover Kid event, Sunday, April 10th at Poughkeepsie Mall; and Sunday, May 1st at the Galleria in Middletown, from 11 am – 3 pm. Come on down and say “hello.”
It’s Monday. The hardest day for me to get myself going. But I had one of those weekends that reminds me how fortunate we are to live in one of the best places in the country. I went on a “mom” retreat, something we tend to talk about, but rarely act on. This weekend, two other moms and I finally acted on it, and in a state of ‘glee,’ headed up the Thruway to Woodstock for an overnighter. Now, Woodstock has this ironic place in the world of tourism for probably being famous for ALMOST being the host town for the famous concert, and business owners don’t help with all their concert paraphernalia for sale in their 1960′s-theme shops. But, sorry to spoil the fun, but it was held in Bethel, a few miles to the west. (Thank you, Mr. Yasgur). But, I digress. We did the traditional massages which were heavenly, had a wonderful brunch and then got onto Route 28 West to the largest kaleidoscope in the world. Yes, you read right: the largest kaleidoscope in the world. (http://kaleidostore.com/largest.htm)
Built in 1996, it features such an amazing creative collaboration between a kaleidoscope artist, a pioneer in the ’60s psychedelic movement, and a musical score from a local musician who worked with Bob Dylan. The kaleidoscope is built into the silo of an old barn in the town of Mt. Tremper, and it is a feat of engineering with its three 37 foot high mirrors, weighing 2.5 tons each. We saw the ten-minute psychedelic show literally on our backs, eyes glued to the ceiling, and watched colorful twirls and spins of the patriotic-themed show. But the reason I mention this is the ticket price - $5 per person. Easy on the eyes AND the pocketbook.