Old Kid Revelation: Travel Companions

It's hard not to have a clear head here.

It’s hard not to have a clear head here.

A funny thing happened last week. The Husband and I went on a dreamy vacation to Florida’s Singer Island. We relaxed with my sister and her friend. We had adult conversations. We worked out every morning at our leisure. It was lovely, except for one glaring surprise. I missed my kids. Like, a lot.

Let’s be clear, I always miss my kids a little when I’m away, but if I’m being really honest, I usually cherish time alone in a hotel room somewhere far away. Last year, when The Husband and I took this same trip, for the first time alone in 12 years, I ate up every second of it and did not wish for any of those seconds that our children were sharing it with us. This year? Totally different. I had fun of course, but I spent nearly the whole time thinking how great it would be if my kids were sharing it with me.

So weird for me but a total testament to where we are in our lives. No one needs a diaper changed anymore. No one will melt down during cocktail hour. No one is getting sand in my boobs when they reach for me on the beach. (No kids anyway.) Instead, these small people that share our house aren’t needy anymore, but rather, a lot of fun.JupiterLight

They would have loved the soccer goals set up on the green space right next to the pool. They would have risen early every day to see the schedule of crafts and games for their taking. They would have squealed with delight over not one, but two nights of s’mores around the fire pit. I facetimed them daily and gave them a tour of the grounds every time. We all agreed if they were with us, we would have laughed, and splashed and had a grand old time, because they are fun and funny and pretty great travel companions in the end.

Heck Yeah.

Heck Yeah.

So, in what The Husband has deemed “The Summer of Cristie” because it’s the last one I’ll ever have with only a mildly full plate, I will use my time to incorporate as much travel with these little people as possible. We’re road trippin’ as much as we can in the next few months because we love it and we’re good at it and these days won’t last forever. So, we’re hittin’ the road-mom and kid style.

And I can’t wait.

A Mom’s Legacy

WeddingAisleIt’s been ten years. I don’t know why this year is so tough. All year, too, not just today. It seems like it shouldn’t hurt this much anymore.  Maybe because the world feels out of control. Maybe because my kids are people I wish she knew. Maybe because my own little house is running quite well for the first time, maybe ever, and I just wish she could see it-be proud of me, know that I “did good”.

My mom’s been gone a long time. She’s missed the lives of nearly all of my children. They don’t know her at all, save for the stories I share with them about her. Like, the one about how she moved all the way across the country when she was 18 without knowing a soul. She took one job that lead to even cooler jobs and never really told anyone about them once she got married and became a mom.  Or maybe the one about keeping her dates with other guys after she was engaged because “dad was studying for the bar and never around, so what else would she do with her time?” That’s a good one.


I often share with my girl how I learned my makeup skills from sitting on my mom’s bathroom floor in the mornings watching her apply each new layer as she got ready for her “city job” when I was little.

MomFaith Sometimes I tell the story of her living with me for a week after The Girl was born and opening up to me about motherhood, and being a widow and fighting cancer, and how in that one week I learned more about her, and how to handle life than I had in 29 years as her kid. That’s a good one too.

But perhaps the stories I need to spend more time on are ones she never would have shared herself. Because if she did, that would have meant she was admitting how great she was, and that is not nearly humble enough for her.

My mom’s main story, her legacy even,  is one of an open door. Our house was a refuge for anyone and anything that needed mending. A literal cast of characters filled my childhood home because all were welcome and all wanted to come.

WeddingTableBroken hearts? Check. Injustice? Handled. Fear and self doubt? Visit Toni’s House. It didn’t matter who you were or what you looked like, or where you came from, you were welcome, no, it was bigger than that, you were wanted, in her living room. The only rule was that you made yourself at home because, unless it was Thanksgiving, mom didn’t cook for or serve anyone.

MomKevinDancingWhat she did was listen, without judgement, and often without advice. She just listened to our stories until we worked out what to do on our own. My brother once called her Yoda with a Vodka Tonic. Her wisdom was priceless and only shared sparingly. What she offered most was a safe space, acceptance and an open heart to help anyone bear their burden. No matter how full hers may have been with her own, she always had room to let yours in too.

My mother, by sheer example, taught me to love. The kind of love that matters because it makes the other person love themselves. Not love like you have for your iPhone, but the love talked about in churches and synagogues and mosques and non-religious spiritual houses around the world. The kind of love that is deep and meaningful because you are fellow human beings and deserve it for that reason alone. The world could use a little more of that kind of love today. Maybe that’s why I miss her so.WeddingDanceC

Everyone just wants someone to hear their story. My mom did her best to hear them all.

Today, I want you to hear hers.

To My Adult Children: What I Wish For You

I love the beach because there are not tech-fights there. No screens necessary.

Dear Lovies (Yes, I’ll call you lovies even in your 20s),

It seems like only yesterday we were sitting around our kitchen table talking about your days in school. Those are still some of my favorite memories and they always provided such great opportunities to really talk about things that mattered. We talked about women’s rights when Malala was in the news. We brainstormed ways to be more responsible with water when clean water in Africa was part of your school service learning project. We learned a lot about strength and kindness when there was a hurricane or tornado that tore apart someone’s hometown. You saw my anger and sometimes, I’ll admit, hopelessness when the talks turned to the racial injustices that lead to the murdering of black boys and men. And who can forget the conversations about self-esteem and respect for others that came out of those painful weeks every spring where you were immersed in sex-ed classes at school? Talk about honesty. Whoa.

rp_wedding-004.JPGWe talked so much when you were younger. You asked questions and we did our best to answer.  I’ll admit I tried to eek out every teachable second I could from those conversations. Your dad and I wanted you to learn empathy and a sense of honor. We wanted you to grow up to be people who cared enough about your neighbors that you were willing to work to make the world better, not just for yourselves, but for them as well. We wanted to raise you with global minds and sense of duty to your fellow human.

I will be honest and say I struggled back then with what to do with our world that very often felt like it was coming apart. I worried that you were inheriting a planet where you may not be able to breathe through the environmental toxins or survive the political chaos that comes from citizens who are unhappy with their lot in life. It all seemed so big at the time, insurmountable even, and I worried, that not only was I powerless to change anything, but by teaching you to be responsible citizens of the world,  I was placing on you  too large a burden to bear.

rp_OCMD-132.JPGAlas, here we are 15 years later in our lives and you are all making your own kind of difference. You fight for global equality for women. You maintain the civil liberties of ALL citizens and you treat the planet like you are meant to leave it better than you found it. The results are, that by doing your own small part, you have made an impact on the larger world. Through you, I’ve learned it isn’t insurmountable. Small groups doing big things can indeed turn around what seems permanently damaged. Never underestimate the power of even one concerned global citizen.


Back then I thought my small part would be teaching you. It seems, all those dinner-time talks around the table helped shape you into the activists that you are today and for that I am ever grateful. You three have shown me that no one is too small to make an impact. No idea is unimportant and anyone with the drive can change the world.

Dad and I meant to be teaching you at all those family dinners when you were young. Instead, the teachers were you.




The United Nations Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, BabyCenter and The Huffington Post created the Global Moms Relay with a goal of improving the lives of women and children around the globe. Each time you ‘like’ or share a Global Moms Relay post via the social media icons or comment, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action) up to $300,000, to improve the health and wellbeing of moms and kids worldwide through MAMAShot@LifeUNICEFand Girl Up. You can also use the Donate A Photo* app and Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 when you upload a photo for Girl Up or UNICEF, up to $100,000. You can help make a difference in seconds with the click of your mouse or snap of your smart phone. Visit GlobalMomsRelay.org to learn more.




Losing Weight for Summer? You BET!

I just want to look like this tan, in-shape lady again!

I just want to look like this tan, in-shape lady again!

You know I’m not one to advocate dieting as a way of life. I’m much more likely to champion small, lasting changes over quick weight loss. That said, it’s nearly time to put on bathing suits and that means weight loss time. The winter was particularly hard on the mid-section, with a lack of outdoor exercise and an abundance of donuts.

It’s really just a matter of me getting my butt back into gear both physically and diet wise but that always requires some motivation and the threat of a bathing suit doesn’t seem to be enough.

So, I decided to start a DietBet and ask you all to join me in the next 3-4 weeks of focusing on clean, healthy eating and moving our bodies more. The best part is there is cash involved! Everyone who joins our bet gives $30 and after the final weigh-in, the pot gets split by anyone who meets their goal weight that they set at the beginning. It’s not a winner takes all scenario, but rather and everyone’s a winner deal, which I love. Anyone who does the work gets rewarded. Last time I did this, I lost weight and not only got my initial joining fee back but a little extra on top of it.

Cash People!  Photo Credit SueBarrPhoto

Cash People!
Photo Credit SueBarrPhoto

You also get a fun community with DietBet and since I’m running this one you can be sure to hear from me regularly. Anyone who has done a cleanse with me knows the power of community! So, login here, create and account and join The Summer Reinvention DietBet today.

Can’t wait to see the after bathing suit pictures!