Archive of ‘Kids’ category

I’M A MOM OF A GROOM!!! WOOT!!

My oldest son moved to California in January, as far away from what he knew, to seek his fortune (I suppose).  As a mom of adult children, I have to say it is so exciting to see them grow on their own, not to mention, do their own laundry. Bill has been a terrific kid with one of the kindest hearts I ever knew.  As a one year old, he called everything he loved “mommy” using different intonations to mean different things, but what it mostly meant was “I love you” bird, cat, dog, uncle, candy, and of course mom.

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He loved to dance and as a former dancer myself, I took him to the studio where I taught dance classes and he took classes, in fact both of my boys did.  He had and still does, a very loving heart. He could sell the Brooklyn Bridge too.  In fact, while driving in the car, when he was only 5, he told his friend “my pop-pop was president of the United States”. (His grandfather was in politics so I guess it messed with his five-year-old perception).  Well he almost convinced me.

He not only had a great imagination and he also keenly needs to know that his ducks are in a row.  While in fifth grade, out of the clear blue sky, he sighed and said, “I so much want to be married”.   He and I called it the picket fence moment.  SO, it was really no surprise to me that once settled in his new state and into a job, Bill was ready to start on the quest of the wife and the picket fence.  Eventually, I got the phone call – “Guess what mom?  I met HER”. (He actually met her while they were both working at Disney World where we live only a mile from and they stayed in touch after she moved back to Reno.)  And so my son introduced us to Juanita…. well via Skype that is.

Over the summer, recently in fact, Bill brought Juanita to the east coast for us to meet her and attend my nephew’s, his “brother” cousin’s wedding.  We had talked to Juanita by this time, many times, so meeting her in person for the first time was like, well, we didn’t skip a beat.  She met our crazy family and didn’t run the other way.  She even listened to my husband, who has a penchant for over explaining, and listened to every word.  She passed the test!

SO, over the next year I will be blogging for sure about some of the preparations and of course our Pegeen.com flower girl dresses and ring bearer suit we will design exclusively for their wedding in Reno/Lake Tahoe.  As a mom-groom I am resigned to deciding on only the rehearsal party, but you can bet it will be over the top because, after all, this guy called everything “mommy” in part because he loved me to the moon and back.

Just a reminder – although we sell exclusively online,  if you are visiting Orlando, Pegeen.com Flower Girl Dress Company is located just 1.25 miles from Disney World.  Call to visit our factory or design studio. 407-928-2377

 

 

 

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This Guy’s Getting Married. Sigh.

Okay, so when Jim and i were first married, we said, just like that commercial, “We’re never having kids”.  Besides, I justified in my mind, I had three of the best ‘kids” who were more than rent-a-kids, they were my best friend’s (my brother) three children.  Two girls and a boy.  Perfect, I thought.  I could rent them when I needed that special moment and donate them back to their parental units when I had enough.  These kids were MY kids, I was pretty sure. We did Halloween trick or treating together for YEARS until they were too cool to go.  Christmas was a blast and in order not to MISS any moments, we occasionally showed up,  without brushing our teeth practically, in PJ’s so as not to miss their giggles.  (One year we ran out of gas and the State Cop was pretty amused when he brought the gas to us).  There were birthday parties and more.  I had a blast with my rent-a-kids and more.  Then, after we had our two kids, all five were fighting and playing along side each other like siblings.  Naturally too, we used my brother’s 3 kids as our models in our photos in Child Magazine and Martha Stewart and more… last year I boo-whoooooed all the way down the aisle with Jessica quite sure that Alan would be the perfect husband for my “first” born.  Now, Thomas is about to do the same with one of the greatest gals Bridget, and from Jersey too!  Perfect.

In just a few weeks, this guy is getting married.  Thomas.  Sigh.  One of the greatest “big brothers” ever known to my two.  I love you.

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Mommy Guilt

My husband and I recently celebrated 30 years together . Funny how I think that time stood still yet time flew by. Sometimes I feel like I am this entity that has messed everything up – like would have, should have and then, I remember, I did everything okay.  What is often said about mommy guilt is true, no matter what you do, you are definitely sure you screwed up your kid’s life.

It used to be that women wanted to have it all – those who influenced my generation were people like Gloria Steinhem, Shirley Chisholm, and to a smaller extent, Oprah Winfrey. But my personal role model was my mother, who made everything fun yet always believed in me and my father who, no matter how busy building his own law and political career, always seemed to stop when we ran into the room.  He also taught me to be a voracious reader from an early age. When kids my age were reading Nancy Drew,  I started on the Presidents and their families (probably because of his involvement in politics) and then moved onto the great industrialists. I read everything about the “big families”, the Vanderbilt’s, Mellon’s, Carnegie, Astor, Duke, Morgan, Rockefeller, Stanford, Flagler, Frick, Hilton and so many more.  I was particularly fascinated about how so many of their wives also became strong arms to their business entities. My dad always got a kick out of me knowing so much about all these families and how these companies grew.  I still remember going into our small-town library with it’s musty smell reading about these great business leaders. Trust me, I was just as interested in reading about Mrs. Astor’s First Four-Hundred as the reasons for the boom of Florida (via Flagler, Plant and Chipley).

Running a company was empowering. Wanting to “be the boss of my booth”, as my then- 6-year-old son whose concept of business was a 15×30 foot booth at the Jacob Javits Center where you were in charge, was what drove me. My father was a strong influence in my life – not for the patience that he showed us when he got home from work but from the deals and the meetings that he would have and how he could remember everyone’s name. It also felt as the time we spent with him as a busy father was very heartfelt.  I wrapped up what he taught me, what my then 60’s values were growing up and translated it into the business I have now.  I used to tell my employees that having the chance to run over to their children’s school play was just as important as getting deliveries out, embracing your kid home from college by taking off an extra day or two was exactly what they needed to have a profound effect on their child’s well-being.  All the while, I don’t know how I “picked” such a great husband but I am so lucky to have chosen the prefect compliment to my strengths and one that had no difficulty taking a back seat to my strong personality while still maintaining his.

My son, the oldest, also pursued a career in entrepreneurship. He went to business school and I will never forget, he asked me once, “Mom, why do you do this day in and day out?” My answer was simple. “I love it Billy, I love being the boss of my booth”. For the most part, it is fun and interesting and empowering. But it takes a special spouse to put up with it. Like my aunt who owned one of the largest dance schools in the east coast, I always wondered, did my Uncle Johnny mind being called Mr. Marcia? Its the same thing for me too. How do couples work together everyday without killing each other? Still show respect at the end of the day, especially when the woman is the boss? How did these things affect my children? I always worried, would they adjust to strong women or hate them?

I suffered from so much mommy guilt as if I didn’t give my two children enough of me and now that I am this “empty nester”, I realize, I gave them so much.  These two great kids also gave me more. Working for myself has been hard at times and infrequently a strain on our marriage.  But the one thing I know, even though I was positive that I destroyed my kids life at times with the long hours and role reversal, I enriched theirs by giving them a strong role model for women.  I am beginning to see that what they learned is, that to be in love, is to find a partner who is just that – a partner.  Someone to share decisions with, even when it is not easy to express the opposite opinion – to work out the kinks in daily life and to change the idea of normal roles for a mom and dad – these were the things that were important for my husband and I to teach our children.  I think this valuable lesson about having the right partner, I learned, made it easier to deal with my tremendous mommy guilt.  Photo c2009

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Family Weddings and Thoughts

My niece was recently married. That’s the Fairytale.  I really admired some of the beautiful touches she chose (most, if not all, she actually made) and couldn’t get over how much she used Pinterest to plan her wedding.  Her dad built the arbor just in time!!

i loved LOVED LOVED their save the date card!

Save the Date card

I brought my camera and admittedly my photos were terrible but the photographer captured my two sons and from this, I can’t help but think of all of the “moments”.  All the times as kids the cousins shared times together.  There wasn’t a Halloween that we didn’t schlep down to western NJ to go through their favorite places until my brother’s kids were just too grownup to go.  These 5 cousins spent so much time together that my oldster’s name for his aunt was mamjoanne which was a mush of mom, aunt, and Joanne.  We’d unwrap Christmas gifts at their house, showing up in PJ’s and shared many birthdays together.  They were so close that I did manage to share my boy’s feelings when their “sis-cuz” walked down the aisle.

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First, the wedding occurred the weekend of Hurricane Joaquin and it was, of all things, a planned outside-tent wedding.  Thankfully the winds subsided as the hurricane skirted the east coast and except for the sides of the tent breathing quite heavily, it was pretty cozy in the tent.  Pegeen Flower Girl Dress Style 414

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infant flower girl dress by Pegeen.com

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The weddings keep coming too! Recently another nephew announced his engagement and this time it’s to be on The Jersey Shore during Labor Day weekend! Woot! I can smell the lobsters and clam bake now!!

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Halloween and Christmas Decorations

Halloween 2014I remember when I was a newly wed, my husband and I went to my parents house to set up their Christmas Tree.  It was just prior Christmas and my husband said that he really thought we should enjoy the holiday more. So from that year on, the day after Halloween is a huge day for us – with the tradition of bringing our decorations out. We start small, first bringing the decorations back to the attic and taking down just one or two of the boxes but the past couple of years, now that I have one so far away in college, we started right then.  So wish me luck as we begin to do it all, including the Christmas tree.  Why not – its always so beautiful with the lights.  I will let you know how it goes tomorrow.  Then it’s off to freezing cookie dough!

Back To School Savings

I found this great website that I use for coupons and such and while doing so, found this nationwide list of back to school, tax free weeks.  My kids are using their own money to do college and date night shopping. Not only do they appreciate the job but they have learned the value of their wages: “Humm… these jeans will cost me 1.25 days of work in the sun and so forth” so they really love to shop C-A-R-E-F-U-L-L-Y with a tight hand on their wallets.  Knowing how hard it is to stand in the Florida Sun at Disney (they love working there for a career starter), they look mostly at the outlet stores & we are so lucky to have here quite a few here in Orlando. They have been looking forward to supplementing their college and career wardrobes, and for being boys, that’s really saying something.  Only thing is, I don’t get to go with them on their buying trips…. baaahhhh.  #mykidsaregrownupnow

Sorry Bill & Ted, its #tbt

School Days Sept 2001 #2

List courtesy of PassionForSavings.com

When Is Tax Free Weekend?

Here’s a list of Participating States & Dates:

Alabama Tax Free Weekend – August 7-9, 2015

Arkansas Tax Free Weekend – August 1-2, 2015

Connecticut Tax Free Weekend – August 16-22, 2015

Florida Tax Free Weekend – August 7 – 16, 2015

Georgia Tax Free Weekend – July 31 – August 2, 2015

Iowa Tax Free Weekend, August 7-8, 2015

Louisiana Tax Free Weekend, August 7-8, 2015

Maryland Tax Free Weekend, August 9-15, 2015

Mississippi Tax Free Weekend, August 7-8, 2015

Missouri Tax Free Weekend, August 7-9, 2015

New Mexico Tax Free Weekend, August 7-9, 2015

North Carolina Tax Free Weekend, 2015 – There is no tax free weekend this year in North Carolina. 2013 was the last year for this state.

Ohio Tax Free Weekend, August 7-9, 2015

Oklahoma Tax Free Weekend, August 7-9, 2015

South Carolina Tax Free Weekend, August 7-9, 2015

Tennessee Tax Free Weekend, August 7-9, 2015

Texas Tax Free Weekend, August 7-9, 2015

Virginia Tax Free Weekend, August 7-9, 2015

 

How I kept my kids happy in the summer….without sacrificing my work schedule

School’s out. Those dreaded words?

How was it possible to run a business, and not go completely insane with children? Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids to death but when they were small, it was difficult to run my company, Pegeen, without going crazy. Somehow, and I am not really sure, it evolved into this wonderful program we called “Mon-Fries” – mostly because my youngest, Ted, loved french fries so much we had to have that spelling. What it involved was theme weeks and planning. And books. Lots and lots of books.

In the beginning of the summer, we would set theme weeks together. There was lots of discussions and ideas – “I want a beach” “Skyscrapers” “Bugs” “Weather” or even something simple like “Fruit”. Once we set our 11 weeks of summer themes I would get black and white marble notebooks that we would draw, scribble and mark up with our ideas. When we would draw in our books to illustrate the ideas we planned, I got an insight into the thinking of my kids minds. We would start our planning sometime in early May since my kids finished school in late June. This helped make those last few weeks of school seem more interesting.

indian summer 1998jpgFINALLY! School was out and for me, it meant being able to have lots of fun with my kids and longer week day hours (8am until midnight instead of 7 or 8). Our “MONS” were filled with trips to the libraries, often different ones, that I would take the kids to or on those rare occasions, I would have their sitters take them. It was easy for both of my kids to get lost in the library so each week there was a theme…. like a week about fish. But these days were filled with “mommy what’s that word? (Jonah)” or “Look at this, look at this” (drawings). Not that I only worked 5 days a week (I worked 7) but starting on Mondays, based on their ages, and through out the summer, it would be a week of One-Fish-Two-Fish or as they were older, making lures, or books on how machines were made and Richard Scarey and yes even Harry Potter themed weeks which we all loved.

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Throughout the week, we would find projects for them to do, or rent a movie based on the theme, read their books and make artwork. Most of these projects they were able to do on their own. I had a sitter who came to my home as we lived over our business, and she would help out as a momma’s helper. I’d feature their best or favorites on the office landing so they could admire them each time they ran in and out (and in and out) of the basement door, until it was the FRIES in Friday…. where the week would top off at their reward trip. So, for fish week, we went to the Camden (NJ) Aquarium, and the beach week we took them to Sandy Point (one year to the nude beach by accident, duh), and for machine week we went to this awesome museum in Bethlehem, PA called the National Museum of Industrial History. Fruit week was always fun and messy, because there is so much you can do with fruit (make jam, freezies, pick berries) but our favorite was “Help Daddy Build a Deck and Install an Above Ground Pool” – which was hard work but we all grew into professionals that week.

Now that the kids are college and beyond, it’s about coordinating the car to get them to work although we live so close to Disney they get to their summer jobs pretty quickly. I miss those summers and live through my friends telling me, “Urgh, Summer vacation started” and I am so envious of the time where we lived for our “Mon-Fries.”

 

Be careful what you say about others, you Troll

I wrote this earlier on our Facebook Page… a day later and I am still seething!!

I got REALLY angry yesterday…..I mean over the top.  Truly.

Apparently, there is, I think it’s called trolling, a tendency for people, very caustic people, who think it amusing to say whatever they feel about someone, and someone who was in this case, a young girl who through no fault of her own was given an affliction by God himself.

We all have been touched by these fabulous kids…me back in 1981 when I began working with special needs kids as a student teacher while working on my Master’s (though I quit teaching).  The kids at this school were physically or emotionally challenged, and it was there I learned about spina bifida, cerebral palsy, autism, and so many more afflictions and how sweet and loving and relentlessly brave these children were.  Each was so very special to me and made such an impact on my life.  As i grew to love them and their parents, I realized that these kids are gifts from God and their parents were, in my opinion, absolute heroes. What I learned the most was not to be afraid of interacting with special needs kids.  

Well, a comment on Pinterest to one of my photos of a sweet little girl made me wild!  HOW DARE SOMEONE CRITICIZE A CHILD! Do you actually think you were funny?  is your poor pathetic life that miserable that in order to feel better about yourself, you need to make a comment on their looks, or size, or handicap.  I watch all kinds of special programming mostly on Discovery because I want to see them succeed in their trials.  Gosh, seeing kids go through hell on a commercial, or live in another country that they somehow catch a break and get special medical attention, or a savant who plays classical piano, or the child in a pew at church who is ……well, the decent people in life know what I am talking about. Instead I want to offer their mom or dad a big hug and to the child who made me think how lucky I am to know them, if just for a moment, I want to say thank you for coming into my world.

Well, this self-absorbed little squat bug in a cow’s feces decided to make a troll-like comment on my Pinterest board and let me tell you, who ever you are: I am going to hunt you down, you moron with your selfie pose and make you wish you never crossed my path, however anonymously, you mean jerk you! Then I will wish you nightmares and night sweats the rest of your moronic life.  Oh and yep – ha ha ha – Pinterest agreed with me and took your lousy self absorbed account down.

Ok. Slightly done ranting here. How could anyone, particularly a woman, make a judgment on a child, a loving child whom is God’s blessed angel on earth?

Disney, be the Happiest Place in the World – return to your policy for families with disabilities

Disney, Common Sense, and Discretion

Disney has asked a District Court in California to throw out a lawsuit by families of some children with developmental disabilities. Apparently these plaintiffs feel that a new policy carried out by Mickey’s people that leaves the children waiting in long lines for which they are ill-suited. I have had firsthand experience at Disney World with an autistic family member and we were treated with dignity and respect under the now defunct disability protocols. It seems Disney had to do away with and then replace them because of abuse and misuse by guests. Stories abound of guests hiring disabled strangers to accompany their families in order to enable them to skip the lines, people feigning disabilities and so forth.
Greedy, lazy people spoiling it for everybody, but most of all for those who really need it. Many autistic kids (and adults) simply cannot wait forty five to sixty minutes or more, often in the hot sun. This is Orlando and Los Angeles, after all. Funny thing about lines, the longest lines are for the most popular (and fun) attractions. While everyone deserves the same access to these attractions, may I suggest that the autistic child and his or her caregiver perhaps deserve a little bit of extra consideration? I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of people waiting in line would gladly give up their spot to a family with an autistic child. The trick is to do it without embarrassing or stigmatizing the family. Any ideas?
I also think the cheaters would be reluctant to con their fellow man in a long queue (most of them anyway). Now I know there are line jumpers out there and I think they are the lowest of the low. Ask my wife and kids, I always embarrass them by pointing out the perpetrators and making a scene. They are much more likely to try that on a Cast Member (that’s what Disney calls their employees) because it’s more impersonal. The cheater rationalizes that the Cast Member is not waiting so has no skin in the game. Therefore no harm, no foul, the people behind him in line are a step removed, no pun intended.
Discretion has been removed from the equation in this matter. I happen to think that left to their own devices, people in line and Disney Cast Members will almost always do the right thing, particularly when it involves compassion and children with special needs. For me, the best thing about going to the parks is seeing the joy on the faces of the little ones and their parents. It brings back the happiest of personal memories for me. It’s a shame that the harsh, intractable rules that needed to be put in place because of a few bad apples will deal another blow to families who already have enough to deal with.

Rather than arguing with the courts to throw out the lawsuit, do your homework Disney and figure out HOW to catch the cheaters. Be the kind, happiest place in the word and get your act together.

My little munchkin, Jessica, is engaged!

From the moment I met her, I loved her.

My niece Jessica wearing Pegeen.com  c1995

When I was a single gal, my closest brother had the most beautiful girl in the world named Jessica.  I had a few other nephews and nieces by then whom I love dearly, but when Jessica was born I got a “daughter” as well.  I was close to my brother Tom – very close, and when his first child was born, it was as if I was a “mom” too.  Tom and Joanne, my sister-in-law, let me into their lives like no one else could.  Thomas followed Jessica and all I could think about was how amazing he was – and mechanical!  When they were sick, I was sad.  When one of their kids got hurt, I was devastated.  These were MY children.  When their 3rd and final child Kate was born prematurely, this tiny little bundle would sleep on my chest and I would just watch her in amazement.  Here below is “my fam”.

Here's my "fam"

Jessica was and still is the apple of my eye.  I love her intelligence, her humor and sweetness.  She, and her two siblings are more than just my children…. she is the honorary Godmother to my oldest son, and really I think of her as a more than daughter, and the same for her siblings. I spoiled her to the point of madness. When she was little, I would give her EVERY dress from our then Pegeen Everyday Collection and we would pick out bows for her hair, making sure she had one for every outfit for Kindergarten. She hugged me and said, “Aunt Marg, you are the best aunt ever. You give me every dress I could ever want!”   My brother’s kids and mine grew up together, in fact we would trek to her town some 50 minutes away every Halloween just so we all could go trick or treating together. It wasn’t until we moved to Florida that my kids remarked that Halloween seemed empty without their “siblings”.

Jessica and her siblings were my models too for Pegeen. Here are a few of my favorites!
Jessica and Janelle modeling their Pegeen flower girl dresses Jessica's getting married!  Jessica and Thomas modeling their Pegeen Children's Bridal Wear

Now, my Jessica is going to be a bride. I am like so in love with her Alan, and now I am not sure who will be sobbing more at her wedding, my brother Tom or me!  As a flower girl dress designer, I KNOW Jessica will have kids in her wedding – “even if I have to rent them Aunt Marg” she once exclaimed!  I know she will because we picked out those styles YEARS ago.  I love you Jess.

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