Glad I Saw It: S’mores

s'mores

Gently toasted or burnt and crispy? Which one are you?

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Seagull Picnic: yeah write gargleblaster

seagull picnic

Seagulls fight over forgotten fruit and crustless triangles. Unable to raise his eyes, knowing that the lack of joy in hers would harden concrete over her words, he studies a footprint in the wet sand and wishes he’d never answered her song.

 

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Lazy Mom’s Guide to Overcoming (your own) Anti-Social Behavior

ritas_150On the last day of school, my son was so excited for summer that he practically bounced over to me as he left his teacher’s hug. “What kind of fun will we be having, Mama? Who will be there?”

I didn’t know. I hadn’t planned anything.

His excited and happy eyes waited expectantly, and my mind flipped frantically through the rolodex of ideas fueled by Pinterest and “Last Day of School!” blog posts and my own goals as a Mom. Continue reading

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Glad I Saw It: Make Music Day

photo copyIt was a great day of free music that gave musicians a chance to be heard, music lovers a chance to hear tunes they might not usually hear, and towns and cities a chance to promote community.

Featured here is The Abandon Ship Band performing various tunes of Rock & Roll.

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First Comes Talk, Then Comes Action…

Gun Sense Voter

This weekend was an active one for gun violence prevention in the Tri-State Area. (In NJ, the tri-state area means NJ, NY, PA.) In Newark, there was an Anti-Violence Rally that shut down an intersection. In NYC, Moms Demand Action held a rally for gun sense over Brooklyn Bridge and at City Hall Park. And in Philadelphia, Million Hoodies held a power summit to move gun violence prevention forward. Lots of people are talking.

Lots of people are also writing. The Times of Trenton printed a letter in support of the Ten Round Ammunition limit recently. The Star Ledger printed this letter asking ALL of NJ’s Congressmen to support expanded background checks on firearms. And the Montclair Times printed this letter supporting the GunSenseVoter.org campaign. And there are more. Many more.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the constant bombardment of violent and unbelievable news stories, know that you CAN act. You can CALL your elected representatives. You can TALK with your neighbors and friends. You can WRITE to your local newspapers. You can COMMIT to voting only for candidates that support common sense gun reform. You must ASK about firearms and whether they are properly secured before leaving your children at a home.

Don’t let the news cycle of horrific and preventable tragedies dishearten you. Staying mute and still is not required. Feeling helpless is not a given. Be bold.

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Father to Son: “The only way you can truly be strong”

storycorps_logoFathers show strength in so many ways. Sometimes it’s a literal strength, like carrying a stumbling drunk daughter into the house. Other times it’s by holding in emotion to help family and friends bear their own pain more easily. And sometimes the greatest strength is shown in exposing what others might call weakness.

This StoryCorps submission shows that last example of fatherly strength with intense clarity. Please give it a listen today.

Thompson Williams’ son, Kiamichi-tet, sat down with his dad to learn more about his grandfather.

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Glad I Saw It: Sprinkler-Sized Yard

sprinkler Our backyard is roughly twice the size of what it would have been in Brooklyn. Which means it’s about three times the size of a four-door sedan.  And while it would be nice to have grounds resembling Pemberley, we can barely keep up with the weeds as it is. Besides, it’s just the right size for a sprinkler break on a hot day.

Plus, the entire yard gets watered as the kids play.

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Domestic Violence and Guns Don’t Mix: #Savethe9

Domestic-Violence-9Women-1_Meme-noURLLast October, Moms Demand Action focused on the nine American women shot and killed by their husbands and intimate partners every single week. Every single week. That number doesn’t include threats, injuries, intimidation — horrific enough on its own — made even more terrifying and immediate when a firearm is involved.

The victims are mothers, sisters, daughters, friends—each an irreplaceable loss to their families and our society. This past week, combined with the school shooting in Seattle and the story of a five-year-old Jersey City boy shot in the abdomen, came this story from Connecticut.

The bodies of a husband and wife were found in a Bristol home Wednesday morning, and it was three small children who made the discovery. (WFSB)

A fund has been set up for Kyla Ryng’s three children, all under four years old. Kyla was shot in the head and killed by her husband, who then shot and killed himself. This all happened in their Bristol, CT home while the children were playing in the next room. Kyla had filed for divorce just a week before her death, and it is reported that the marriage included abuse and intimidation. Her husband was a member of the Connecticut Army National Guard, and he owned a gun.

If you are moved to help the three children who are currently staying with family members, there is a GoFundMe site set up here that makes it easy: Kyla’s Kids.

If you want to avoid the fees at GoFundMe, you can also donate directly. Checks may be sent directly to Remembering Kyla, Farmington Savings Bank, 475 Broad St. Bristol, CT 06010.

If you want to help in your own community (yes, yours!), organizations like SOFIA in Essex County, the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women, and more are always looking for resources and support. A quick google search with your state and/or county will lead the way.

 

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Maya Would Have Forgiven Me

NeverDefeatedI didn’t know any better. Before I ever read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, I taught a chapter called “Momma, The Dentist, and Me.” I was teaching kids who were about as far from avid readers as is possible. Some had diagnosed learning disabilities, others had missed so many classes in elementary school that when they were shuffled along into the next grade (out of pity? apathy? kindness?) the new educators had to re-realize they couldn’t read. Others were lazy. And a few made sure to exhibit obnoxious behavior bordering on abusive so they would be removed from the oppressive classroom environment often enough to allow deep breaths of freedom. But they all loved being read to, so that’s what I did. Continue reading

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Ten Round Magazine Limit: Nothing New; Still Effective

imagesLast week, the New Jersey Assembly passed a bill lowering its current 15 round magazine limit to 10 rounds. New Jersey is one of only eight states that has ANY limit to how many rounds a magazine can hold. Part of the reason is that the expired National Assault Weapons Ban included a magazine limit of ten rounds, so states didn’t feel pressure to enact their own.

Now that the New Jersey legislation has passed both the NJ Assembly and the NJ Senate, the bill moves on to Governor Christie’s desk and he will decide whether to sign it into law, veto it outright, or conditionally veto with suggested changes. Continue reading

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