Moving on out…

My dear readers, this will be my last post on my much beloved blog, celiac kiddo (sniff!), but you can still find my gluten free recipes, and my musings on writing, kids, and life in general, on my new blog, Writing at the Table. If you’re following this blog, you won’t receive many more alerts, but you can follow me over there, if you’d like.

I hope you know how much I appreciate you reading my words here, and perhaps, over there, but either way, I’ll always be grateful to you for visiting this blog and making me feel like I wasn’t writing into a void. I’ve made such lovely and heartfelt connections and friends during my three+ years here. 

endingsI will miss this space, but part of life is knowing when to move on. When I first began this blog it was on instinct. Bunky was diagnosed with celiac in 2011 and it felt like my life was crumbling (faster than 1970s gluten free bread). It didn’t, of course, and that was in part from the support and comfort I received from you. Living gluten free will always be part of our lives, but it’s no longer my sole focus. Also, my dear girl is growing up (as is my little guy!) and I would like to respect her privacy more and not focus on her life with celiac.

A pic from our holiday photo shoot 2014

A pic from our holiday photo shoot 2014

 

My childhood dream, one that continues to follow and haunt me (in a good way), is to write. That’s what I’ve done here, and will continue to do on my new blog.

Feeding my dream and my family is my new tagline. I’m claiming my title as a writer more firmly now, but I’m still a mom, and my gluten free family needs to be fed. A lot.

Wishing you a happy and peaceful New Year. See you in 2015!

 

5 Ways to Finish (and a Contest Winner!)

*First of all, congratulations to Ruthie, who won the free copy of Dani Shapiro’s Still Writing! Thanks to everyone who signed up for my newsletter. The good news is you’re still eligible for the next three drawings, and there are three more great books to give away… 

If you haven’t signed up yet, go now! I’m choosing winners at random from my email subscription list.

The next book up for grabs is one of my all time favorites, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by the acclaimed and lovely Anne Lamott. First published in 1994, this book is a classic and enduring read. You don’t need to be a writer to be inspired by Lamott’s wise words.

The results of this random drawing will be posted here and on Writing at the Table on Tuesday, December 16th.

birdbybird

And now, onto the post! This one is near and dear to my heart. It’s about FINISHING.

That’s the goal, isn’t it? To finish, to sit back and say: Yes, this is DONE.

I’m not talking about finishing a draft of something (short story, novel, play, painting – you get the idea), although that absolutely IS its own awe-inspiring feat.

I mean finishing to completion, realizing you’ve done all you can to say, a manuscript. You’ve toiled and rewritten, edited and deleted, you’ve pounded your desk in triumph and cried into your coffee.

You’ve cycled through euphoria and depression, you’ve persevered and come out the other side. You’re ready to share your creation with others. Perhaps this means pursuing traditional publishing á la querying agents, or going DIY and self-publishing. But the point is, you’re ready. Your work is ready.

To finish (ha!) the rest of this post, click here

When Being a Mother Isn’t Enough

Today I’m posting over at my new blog, Writing at the Table, about two sensitive topics that are near to my heart – my children, and also, my writing.

The title is Being a Mom is NOT Enough (For Me) and I hope you’ll pop over there and check it out.

Also, don’t forget about my contest to win a free copy of Dani Shapiro’s incredibly inspiring book, Still Writing. All you need to do is subscribe to my email list and voila, you’re in the running not only for this book, but for the next three I’m giving away!

books for contest

Below is the beginning of my post… 

Being a Mom is NOT Enough (For Me)

Writing those words is not easy. Feels a little taboo, like something a mom is never supposed to admit.

Then there’s the whole people pleaser part of me that doesn’t want to make anyone mad. But this idea has been sitting on the back burner of my mind for a while now, simmering like a pot of water. Steam is escaping out the edges and the lid is rattling. Time to look inside.

… head over to Writing at the Table for more … 

Time for a Change!

Oh, it’s been on the horizon for months now, I’ve hinted at it, and now, FINALLY, it’s happening. Please don’t panic, I’m not going anywhere – well, not entirely true, I’m going somewhere, but I do hope you will come with me to… dum da da dum…

My new blog!

Writing at the Table, writer + mother feeding my dream and my family

writing at the table screenshot

For three and a half years now I’ve been blogging here at celiac kiddo. Recipes and rants, I used to say, but it’s been more than that (I hope so anyway!). I wrote from my heart about having a child with celiac, about living a gluten free life in a gluten loving world. Over the years I grew a small but solid band of readers, and I am so grateful to every single one of you.

flickr photo credit, shimelle laine

photo credit: shimelle laine via flickr

I hesitated to make a change for a while because I didn’t want to lose anyone, and let’s face it, change is scary. Well, it is for me.

But I’ve been shifting and drifting on the blog for a while now, as you may have noticed, writing more about my life and less about celiac. I’ll still be posting gluten free recipes because feeding my family (body and soul) is as much a part of my life as writing is.

I am a mother and a writer.

ivyland railroad kids and mom

Part of the reason I’m starting this new blog is to show how the two can be integrated, how for some of us, they have to be.

I hope you will join me in as I turn this corner of my blogging life. But if not, please know that I appreciate the time you spent here! I realize that you can’t please everyone, or write for everyone, so I’m letting go of my fear and leaping into the future.

photo credit: Brian Smithson via flickr

photo credit: Brian Smithson via flickr

I’ll be posting weekly here and on Writing at the Table for the next month or so, to ease the transition, but I would be SUPER psyched if you subscribe to my email list and/or follow me there. 

CONTEST! WIN A FREE BOOK!

As a fun little incentive, I’m having a month-long contest running the first four weeks of December. Each week I’ll randomly select one person who subscribes to my email list to win one of my favorite writing books!

Enter to win, the first drawing will take place and be announced on Tuesday, December 9th!

 

The first is “Still Writing” by Dani Shapiro, an incredibly inspiring and practical book that helped reinvigorate my writing life.

still-writing

If you’ve already read it, you can gift it to a friend! It is the holiday season, after all.

*This contest includes my entire email subscriber list, so if you’ve already signed up you’re eligible!

Thank you dear readers for all your support over the years, and please let me know what you think of my new blog!

(Also, I’d love any advice or tips on transitioning from one blog to another from those who’ve done it before, since this is quite new to me.)

When Life Happens

I haven’t written in days and I’m starting to twitch. We’re moving in T minus two days. And when I say “moving” I mean we’re packing up our Brooklyn apartment, putting most of it in storage and going to stay with my dad in New Jersey, and then, after we trash his house, on to our upstate place. We were supposed to close on our new home at the end of August and move in just in time for school to start… but that’s not happening.

Why? Because life is not some stylized photo shoot. You can’t plan or stage it. You can’t decorate it with pretty props. Life is not a pristine layer cake, like the kind that populate Pinterest and fancy foodie blogs, with frosting smooth as shellac, fondant decorations, the whole thing resting on a porcelain platter atop of a rustic wooden table all beautifully backlit with a vase of flowers and a glass pitcher of milk.

photo credit, Southern Living.com

photo credit, Southern Living.com

Nope. Life is messy, chaotic, ruthless. Life is one of those sloppy homemade cakes. The kind where the layers are uneven, the whole thing leaning precariously to one side, crumbs litter the frosting, a mess of sprinkles dumped on top, a lumpy slice slapped on a plate with a plastic fork. More like this:

Real life looks more like this. Tastes better, too. photo credit, glutenismybitch.com

Real life looks more like this. Tastes better, too.
photo credit, glutenismybitch.com

Life happens and you’re supposed roll with it. Or you don’t. But there is always choice involved in how you deal with your sloppy cake. You decide if you’re going to freak out, blame everyone else, scream your brains out, yell at your kids/spouse, tear out your hair, cry, rage, throw yourself out the window (or just threaten to do so). You decide how to look at the mess. Is it garbage or a hidden Picasso? This has always been my problem. I tend to choose the dark side. I blame, rage, cry, yell, lash out. I let it take over. I let it control me.

I’ve been having some unfortunate bouts of insomnia lately, as our departure approaches. And in those late night eyeball wide moments, I see everything so clearly. I see the right way, the light way. I think, okay, I can do this! I can choose not to dwell and complain, I can choose love over anger, I can choose to see this new twist/roadblock as an adventure as opposed to a disaster.

But then I wake up. And I’m bone tired and my kids are hungry but won’t eat anything, and I’m wiping butts and making smoothies, and before I know it, all those good intentions fly out the window and my impatience and anger rolls in. I lose it and then feel sunk by my failure. By my inability to change.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I am changing, or at least trying. I’m having enlightened moments in the darkest hours of the night, even if they often disintegrate by morning. I see glimpses of difference, other ways of being.

Yesterday in between the usual child tantrums and parental misery, we had a magical moment in the park. I took Little Guy to pee behind a tree (the kid is like a dog, loves peeing outside) and it happened to be a pine tree and it happened to be populated with dozens of fireflies. It was dusk, later than we’re usually out, and we had just been talking about how we hadn’t seen any fireflies this season, and there they were alight all around us, pausing to rest on blades of grass, on the needles of the tree, inches from our faces.

I pointed at them and said, do it again, and they did. Little Guy was entranced. We brought over Bunky and her dad and we all watched with wonder and awe as dozens of people streamed into the park for a concert, oblivious to our little piece of magic. Then my husband looked up and there were two baby raccoons in the tree, lounging on the upper branches, rolling around, but mostly resting and watching us watch them.

Moments earlier we had been sitting on a cement ledge at the entrance of the park across from the apartment I lived in with my husband before we were married.

Living on the edge. Or ledge. Edge of the ledge?

Living on the edge. Or ledge. Edge of the ledge?

We looked at it, trying to remember where our apartment was, in the back or on the side, what we saw when we looked out the window. We told Bunky about how we used to hear the concerts in the park from our living room. We talked about how she would always remember Brooklyn, but Little Guy would not. Just like my husband, who had been three years old when he left Brooklyn.

I looked at my husband over the kids’ heads and we shared a silent bittersweet moment at this realization.

He may not remember this swing, but we will for him.

He won’t remember this swing, but we will for him.

We told Bunky she could tell him stories about Brooklyn. We talked about how wonderful our time had been here, that we had a good run, but we would begin fresh adventures in New Hope. I smiled as I said these things, which are all true, but it’s not my natural tendency to look at change as adventure. I usually look at it with doom, or at the least, trepidation.

But having kids changes things, people. I don’t want my kids to soak up my lifelong tendency for negativity. I’m trying hard to do what my mom used to tell me to do: see the glass half full, make lemonade out of lemons, choose sweet over sour. But it is not easy. My poor mom, I can see how I must have broke her heart with my bouts of gloomy sadness. How I refused to choose joy even when it was laid out in front of me.

I see so much of myself in my daughter and it kills me. I want to save her from myself, from herself, but I can’t. I want her to love herself and love her life and choose love, but I can’t make her do any of those things just as my mother couldn’t make me. Being a mom is brutal that way. You relive the hardest moments of your life through your kids. And the best ones, too. Like these.

Coney Island July 2014

Coney Island July 2014

coney swings

coney kids

On a city bus, Little Guy's favorite.

On a city bus, Little Guy’s favorite.

The frog, July 2014

The frog, Cutie Playground, July 2014

So, life happens. But I’m learning to roll with it. The fireflies will be there no matter where we go. We just have to look.

family portraitGoodbye Brooklyn. We will miss you.

Judy Blume, A Love Letter

I knew I wasn’t the only one! Who loves Judy Blume, I mean. Obvs. Two awesome bloggers, Dana from the Kitchen Witch and Kim from Gane Possible have created this incredible project, aptly titled, The Judy Blume Project, for all of us writers and readers who love JB. They invited any like-minded folks to write about their own personal Blume-esque experience.

blume-button

So, here’s mine…

The Reader by Jean-Honore Fragonard

The Reader by Jean-Honore Fragonard

I have always been a reader, and fortunately, I had the kind of parents who put up with my (obsessive) habit. I read in bed, on couches, at the kitchen table, while walking down the street, leaning against trees, and even in movie theaters and concerts (I never left home without a book in hand). It was like my adolescent security blanket.

I had a t-shirt with this crazy lady on it. Still do, actually.

I had a t-shirt with this crazy lady on it. Still do, actually.

Reading was my comfort, my pleasure, my escape. I could do anything, go anywhere, be anyone.

Not surprisingly, one of my favorite young adult authors was – and still is – Judy Blume. She is a prolific author with a gift for writing in both female and male voices, but for obvious reasons, I gravitated to her books about adolescent girls. I loved their awkwardness, confusion, humor, and social anxiety. It mirrored my own. I read and reread Deenie, Starring Sally J. Friedman As Herself, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Tiger Eyes and others, wishing I could reach into the worn pages and pull out the characters. Blume’s stories nourished me, they were my surrogate friends, and in some ways, they taught me how to be a person.

Blubber, about the bullying of an overweight girl, was tough to get through. I read it with butterflies in my stomach the entire time, and whenever I thought about stopping, I kept on. Writing a book in the voice of a less than sympathetic character, Blume forced the reader to share the perpetrators’ perspective, an uncomfortable place to be. The lessons I learned about the consequences of choosing cruelty over compassion, taking the easier road over the higher one, and the price you pay for both, astounded and confounded my adolescent self. They still do.

Years later, in my early twenties, I had the opportunity to meet my hero, the author whose words shaped me, and helped solidify my desire to become a writer. I lived in Manhattan where celebrity sightings were as common as pigeons, yet I was never more star-struck than that evening.

When I saw her across the room at a National Book Award party in Gracie Mansion, I was terribly nervous. The fear of making a fool of myself was high on my list of anxieties, but so was another concern that I couldn’t put a finger on at the time. Now, I see what was at risk: a deflation of my admiration.

Well, turns out I had no need to worry. Judy was so gracious, smiling kindly as I spilled out my lifelong love for her stories, and together we talked about her books and writing.

Oh, be still my heart. I don’t think I stopped smiling the rest of the night.

I still remember talking to my mother on the phone as I walked home, dazed and gloriously happy in the cool night air, under the blazing city lights.

Thank you Judy Blume for meeting every one of my expectations, and blazing such a kickass trail of stories that helped shape a generation, and beyond.

Did you read Judy as a kid? Tell me your favorites. If not, what were (or are!) some beloved Young Adult novels?