What I’ll tell my children about Orlando

This morning I dropped my kids off at school for the first time since this weekends terrifying massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. As I was dealing with some mom stuff at the front desk, the fourth grade teacher came in and started asking how on earth she’s supposed to discuss this with her class. What the hell is she supposed to say to our kids about the fact that they live in a country that refuses to protect them? A country that has such broken gun policies that the day after San Bernadino our leaders voted not to restrict gun sales to suspected terrorists who are already on our no-fly list. As a nation, how can we be so resolute, so motivated by money, so straggled by the financial influence of the NRA on our government, that despite horror after horror, in elementary schools and office buildings, movie theatres and college campuses, nothing has changed? How do we explain that to our children? 

I stood with my jaw open, unsure what to say. Because it’s horrible. It’s inexcusable. It’s mind-blowing and emotionally numbing and it’s scary. Scary as hell. And there simply is no acceptable explanation.  

I walked back to my car feeling like I’d had the wind knocked out of me. 

As I drove home, an answer started to form inside me. 

I’ve seen a lot of posts about believing in the power of love. Truthfully, they usually sound like pathetically feel-good platitudes that minimize the realities of this broken and terrifyingly complex situation. Touting “Love and prayers” are lovely but they’re not solutions. 

But when I think of what I would tell a room of fourth graders looking to understand this non-understandable act, my mind does go to love. 

Because while the lack of common sense gun laws are certainly a tremendous part of the problem, it was HATE that pulled the trigger. 

As I pulled into my driveway I opened my phone and started typing a letter to that teacher. 

I’d like to share with you what I wrote, should it help you find meaning in this senseless act of hatred, or help you help your children find the light to create a brighter tomorrow. 

As I drove home the truth is I do have some idea what I would tell my kids if I was a teacher, and what I’ll likely tell my own kids, in an age-appropriate way this evening after they’ve heard about this event at school. 

For her biography book report, my 2nd grader chose to read a book about Malala, the teenage Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban a few years ago for speaking up about girls’ right to go to school and receive an education. She loved the book and we were both changed in many ways by the message and story. There is a way to talk about this with kids. There are important lessons to walk away with. 

Because the truth is, this isn’t about guns, this is about hate. 

Hate caused this- yes- guns are a huge part of the issue but hate pulled the trigger. And as clichéd as it is, the answer is Love. In my kids old school last year they talked a lot about the beautiful Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam– Repairing the World. There will always be hate in the world but it is our job- as moral people, human beings-  to balance the hate- to create the love that holds the world together. Every single person has the power to spread love. To demonstrate understanding, to look outside themselves and offer beauty and hope, kindness and understanding. 
It starts at home- in your family, your classmates, your community. Appreciating people for their uniqueness and beauty even if it’s different than yours. 

It starts by knowing that every voice has power. Every individual – even a child- has the capacity to make change and spread light throughout their world, on a micro scale and the waves travel and grow. Our actions matter. The way we treat people matters. 

Teach our children that their voice, their words, their behaviors have power and consequence well beyond their understanding, so they should use their words wisely. Teach them to use their voice, their actions, to stand up for those who have no voice. Defend those who can’t defend themselves. To lift up those who are down. Each of us must do our part to combat the hatred that creates events like this. People like this, who have so much hate in their heart they can no longer see any light- People are not born that way, darkness makes them into that kind of monster. 

We need to be the light. 

– So, that’s my two cents. I’m glad I was there at that moment to hear that question asked, so it would spark me into thinking of a response. I hope each of you find the right words, for yourself, your children.  I don’t envy teachers that responsibility yesterday, today, – hopefully not also in the many tomorrows to come. But I do believe we can impact our children in a way that will leave an everlasting positive impression in the wake of such horror. ❤️

Meaningful wall art project

This past February was the 25th anniversary of the FIT Toy Design BFA program of which I am an alumni. The two years I spent in that program were easily two of the most profound years of my life with regards to self-discovery and learning to understand and apply my creativity. I was sad I couldn’t go to the reunion, now that I live across the country, but, those are the trade offs. 

Anyhow, the invitation, in typical Toy Design fashion, was fun and creative. It was a box of cards with inspiring quotes on the back about play and the magic of childhood. The back of the cards contained a “puzzle” that assembled into the actual invitation: 

Brilliant, right? 

You know I have a thing for inspiring quotes and so I decided they needed to be hung on the wall. 

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t in love with the card color choices, and wasn’t really sure how to find inspiration to fall in love with them so I sorta just taped them up there and framed them with some washi style tape. 

But they were hidden in the back of the house, by the laundry room… Waiting for inspiration to find me. 

And then it did. 

I started with a $20 IKEA frame and some very old tissue paper I found at the bottom of my craft closet. 

And so it began…


…and continued…  
…and continued…    
…and continued… 


…and continued… 
…until finally…




(It’s opposite a glass door, the glare is harsh in the pic but more natural in person.)


And it’s got a place of prominence in my kitchen above my art cart:

…as it should. 

[Muchness Makeover!] Safety first!!

Molly’s refused to ride her bike forever because she is embarrassed by her “babyish” Pinkalicious helmet. 

I have refused to buy her a new helmet because it’s a practically new helmet and… spray paint. 

Now that I’ve forgotten/procrastinated doing this for months and months, Molly finally lost hope in it happening all together. Which means the time had come to finally do it. 

Because I’ll be damned if she hasn’t  waited so long for something that she doesn’t really learn to appreciate it. (Did that sentence structure make sense? I can’t tell, but you get my point.) 

Behold, the offending, embarrassing, babyish before: 

There were little rhinestones glued in swirls on the sides. I forgot to photograph it before popping them off. 

Prepped and ready:

Covering up the offending pinkaliciousness:

Riding round town with all the confidence in the world! 

I was thinking of glueing more rhinestones, maybe turquoise colored, onto the swirls, but she doesn’t seem to care and if I offered to do than she’d hold me to it, and then it wouldn’t get done till her 14th birthday. 

Ya know, so she really appreciates it. ?

I started… 

It’s an idea I envisioned in high school. High school! It’s sat with me for over 25 years. 

It’s meant to be large, but I didn’t have a large canvas- I didn’t even have a clean canvas. I just found one of the kids’ reject canvases and started creating the lines. 

A few days later…  

Funny story: I decided, on a whim, to go into my front yard to paint this on Saturday morning.  I have a nice, sunny, large backyard but the front was calling to me. We live on a dead end that’s at the corner of a dead end, so basically, not a lot of foot traffic. The kids joined with a friend:   

20 minutes after I started a couple walked by on a morning walk. I said good morning and looked back down. Then I heard “oh my god, Tova?” And I looked up and saw one of my oldest friends in the world walking by my house. We met at 14 and she was a really important person in my life in high school. We were especially close through college in NY and for a few years after, before losing touch. She doesn’t live in San Diego. She just happened to be staying in my neighborhood and just walking by on my dead end street. How crazy bananas is that??? 

I decided it was fate that I was painting in the front of the house on that very day. The next day  I basically got to the point where I thought it was finished-y. 

   I liked the painting, but didn’t love it. But then, it’s my first painting. A little practice and some better paints wouldn’t hurt. 

I hung it on the wall of our family gallery but it felt really flat. Especially next to the kids glitter art. In my mind this painting is strategically sprinkled with Swarovski crystals, but in my mind it’s also 3 feet tall. 

So I pulled out the glitter.  

 Oh, dear glitter.  How I’ve missed you so. I promised Elie no glitter in the house after we moved. Our NJ house basically had it embedded into the floors. 

Seems, I lied. 

I took the glitter in the back room and got busy. 

It’s not a great pic, and while I love the sparkle, because of the small size of the canvas, the glitter covered a lot of the color nuances that I liked. 

And I still don’t love the painting. It’s called Lifeline and it’s the beginning of a series I plan to create that uses color to represent the people, experiences and influences that spiral through our lives. Creating it was kinda like writing in a diary and I found myself uncovering feelings about things and people in my life that I didn’t really know existed in me… things I never would have discovered with words. 

I think a little door may be opening…. 


Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. 

Someone tagged me in a link to this article from the Sunday Times. 

(Oh, I’m back on FB for about 20 minutes a day. Thinking even that may be too much.)

The article is about how to raise kids while maintaining their creativity. It says that, for many, in an attempt to get kids to excel, it is way too easy to thwart their inherent creativity. When you thwart their inherent creativity you end up with a knowledgeable kid who only knows how to learn the rules and subsequently follow the rules. But he’ll never question the rules. And he’ll certainly never rewrite them. Because he’s  only ever been taught to trust in other people’s ideas, not to value, or even recognize, his own. 

The article reminded me of a quote I heard in a Ted Talk the other day (because, you know, no FB) which I’d written down a painters-taped to my computer monitor: 

Such a powerful idea. So between that talk, the quote, and the article, it got me to thinking about this subject, somehow, while in the shower. Where all the brainstorms hit.  

Well, that and the fact that Molly had graffitied the shower wall with bath crayons sometime this afternoon. (I use them to write notes to myself about what I need to get done. Sometimes I also write little love notes to Elie. Go get some bath crayons and try it. Trust me, it’s good for a relationship.) 

Anyhoooo, this is Molly’s art. 

It started me thinking about art, which led me to start thinking about the “No Rules Painting” days we used to have back in NJ. 

Which led me to start thinking about the fact that I’ve been talking for a long time about how I want to start doing art again. Talking about it. I say I want to do it but instead I spend 2 hours online looking for a shed where I’ll be able to store my supplies, and a tent of some sort that’ll offer me some shade. Anything, it seems, besides just picking myself up and doing it. Then, of course, the idea itself starts to be a question in your mind… “If I’m not doing it, maybe it’s cuz I don’t want to?” 

But I DO want to.  

And then it hit me. 

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. 

I never studied art for art sake. I’ve only ever studied art for industry. In fact, the only art I’ve ever really done is for industry- product design mostly. Straight up art- for the sole purpose of making something that can stir something emotional in another human being is not something I’ve ever done.  

But I know I can. I’ve done it with words, why couldn’t I do it with art? 

Actually, I did do it a bit in high school and early college, but I was so inundated with the idea that I had to use my talent to create something marketable and business-appropriate that the idea of art for arts sake seemed foolhardy. To say the least. 

So I thought about the canvas I bought over a year ago. A gigantic 3 foot canvas. That’s right. I blogged it. All optimistic about what I’d do to it. 

And I started- oh, how I started. 

And then I did one thing I didn’t love and never touched it again. 

It’s sitting on a shelf in my home, taunting me. 

See that? The glitter swirl at the top? Just stopped. And I’m always embarrassed when people ask about it- and they do. They compliment it all the time and u just wanna sorta hide. 

It’s ironic that it sits above those “No Rules” Masterpieces. 

They look awesome. 

Im beyond proud to show off my kids work. 

Meanwhile I’m worries people won’t take my glitter art “seriously.” That art made of glitter is a “mistake” to those in the know. 

So worried I don’t do it. 

When did I become that lame? 


Don’t be like me. 

Make mistakes. Who the hell cares. 

I’m brilliant. Whatever I do will be revolutionary and profound, right? 

Great. Thanks for the encouragement. I’m ready now. 

Haul out the vacuum because I’m bringing the glitter to town! Just u wait n see. 

This is how I fight the darkness

My little one had show and tell today. She decided to bring her doll, Sunshine.

Shortly after we lost the twins we had a visitor who brought Molly a new baby doll. Our visitor arrived with my niece who was about 8 at the time. She’d bought my niece the same doll. One wore pink, the other purple.

My niece left her doll here when she went home, leaving us with two identical baby dolls, where there should’ve been identical babies. Pretty tragic, right?

Anyway, I went on in the depths of my early grief to watch while almost two year old Molly played with the two of them. She’d pretend feed them, put their little pacis in their mouths and arrange the two of them on the steps just so, and then shimmy her little diapered tushy into place between them.

I received a new DSLR camera as a birthday gift from my husband that year- a consolation prize of some sort. He knew I’d wanted one so I could learn to take pictures of the twins when they arrived. I could practically see the pictures in my mind- clear, beautiful shots of their matching faces with Molly, just perfectly out of focus in the background. But I knew with two babies on the way, I wasn’t gonna be able to get that expensive camera.

So when he bought it for me, it was both kind and thoughtful, and also painful and annoying.

But there I was, taking pictures of Molly playing with her twin dolls and imagining, for just that moment, they were real.

I never showed those I pictures to a single soul. Surely they’d think I’d lost it. So here you go:

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 5.14.19 PM

Time went on.

Molly -on the surface- forgot about the sisters she’d been expecting that never arrived.

Instead, she embraced her little sister that did arrive and grew to be the most overprotective and loving older sister imaginable.

But the time came when I knew I needed to tell Molly- to remind her, actually.  I knew she carried it inside her. I knew, with the work I do it was only a matter of time till she found out on her own.

So I told her. She was 4.  I wrote about it on this blog. She took it well at the beginning but four months later a close friends 2 year old suddenly died.

And that triggered her. She understood in a way that hit too close to home. The tantrums, the anger, confusion, sadness. It brought me to my knees. I brought her to therapy, it helped.

A few weeks in Molly asked if she could bring the dolls with her.  The dolls. The dolls.

I said yes, of course.

That is the week she named them, Sunshine and Daisy.

And so it was.

Molly was always partial to Daisy. Always.

And my little one was drawn to Sunshine, even before Molly told her about their sisters.

That’s right. Molly told her. They talk about it among themselves sometimes. While they color together or in bed at night. In fact, my little one has almost never spoken to me about Sunshine and Daisy, she’ll only speak to Molly.

So, back to show and tell.

She brought Sunshine.

In preparing for the big day the teacher sent home some questions about the item the child planned to bring. This is what my daughter filled out:

In case you can’t read it the sentence prompts “This is why I love it” and she wrote “because it reminds me of my sister that died.”

Now, I am not going to lie… I did not want her to bring this into school. I asked her a few times if she was sure that she didn’t want to bring another doll. She was adamant. And I certainly didn’t want her to feel ashamed or embarrassed about bringing it in so I said fine.

This morning I walked her into the building and saw her teacher.

Perhaps I should give her a heads up, I thought.

So I told her about the doll and what my daughter wrote about it. She looked a bit horrified. Then I told her it was accurate. I briefly explained our loss, how Molly named the dolls in therapy and that that’s what it was.

The teacher then informed me that someone very close to her had lost twins 15 years ago. “She hasn’t been the same since.” She said.

She explained how she seemed to sort of get trapped in the darkness and never quite made it back.  I told her I’ve known women like that.  I told her I was afraid at one point I’d be like that. I could, from the depths of my grief, feel how easy it could be to slip and fall permanently into the dark. The habits of grief, the perspectives of grief. The colors of the darkness.

I told her I haven’t been the same since either.

I pointed to my pink hair and said “This is how I fight the darkness.” (It was morning drop off- I was barely wearing more than pajamas, let alone any full-on Muchness.)

And I realized, even to this day, even when I so rarely blog, when the talk about grief exhausts me, even when I’ve come to peace with my loss and love my life, I still need to- want to- fight the darkness. It’s everywhere.

I told her I HAD to move- in retrospect I see it now. I could not grow into this me while living in the space of that me. I need to chase the light. I need to share it, and I need to always fight the darkness. We all do in our ways.

Show and tell went ok, I think. I only heard from my daughter who said she shared about her sisters that died but it made her sad and she didn’t want to talk about it.

I’ll email the teacher for an adult perspective on how it went.

For now I feel grateful. Just grateful. For a school that doesn’t freak out about this stuff. For daughters that can share with their hearts open. For a teacher who I could open up to and responded in kindness. For a new niece, born healthy and beautiful just yesterday. For a whole lot of other little things and big things.

Musings on day 5 of my detox. 

Today I woke up and it was 83 minutes before I realized I hadn’t even thought about Facebook since I woke up. 

This is huge progress. 

God, I feel like a huge loser. 

But anyway. 

Ive realized that working from home is lonely and FB is my connection to the outside world. I miss communicating with friends. 

We have cousins staying with us for the coming week so I suspect they’ll fill that gap for the next few days since I don’t plan to get back on yet. 

I forced Elie to let me read just the comments on the post I wrote letting my friends know I was going on a detox. I also read the comments on a post he wrote saying I was getting twitchy in my withdrawal. I read the comments over his shoulder on his phone through his account. After reading, I picked myself up off the couch and declared I’d had my fill. It’s true. 

My thoughts have, for the most part, stopped coming through as status updates. But I still have stuff I see that I wanna share. My employee bought me some essential oils for focus, funny and thoughtful- I saw a big rig truck with shiny badass spikes on the wheels. I shipped out some muchness cards in a pretty rainbow assortment of bags. I didn’t even bother to take a pic knowing I couldn’t share it. That’s kinda disappointing because I know sharing those moments helps me remember and appreciate them. 

Maybe Instagram? 

Only problem with that is I use ig for earseeds and if I keep having to log in and out to switch between accounts, it’s annoying and erases my hashtag memory. 

So, it’s Friday. 

Gonna stay off FB this weekend. Gonna think about if this blog is a better medium in general for sharing my thoughts. I miss blogging, but… Eh. Not sure… 

Some other things I’ve done since getting off FB:

  • Cleaned my whole house
  • Sent an email that could lead to reviving an old idea that I totally believe has legs
  • Went to the beach
  • Refolded all my linen
  • Watched a bunch of episodes of The Man In The High Tower on Amazon prime
  • Colored. Oh- I should work on my coloring book. (I’m creating one. Being off FB will help me get to the next level with that!) 

Other stuff too… Wondering what today will bring! 

Have a productive weekend!!

Xox, Tova

I think in Facebook status updates and that’s pathetic. 

It was getting ridiculous. And a little bit scary. Every spare moment I encountered, I’d reach for the phone. What? This graphic file I’ve worked on for the last 8 whole minutes might take 17 seconds to save? Well, I’ll just pop open Facebook while I wait. Every thought I had was thought in “fb voice” inside my head. It needed to stop. 

Now, I’m not addicted, that’s what I told myself, despite hearing myself say out loud, with my over-the-top, everything-is-a-drama voice “oooh my gawwwwd! I’m such an effing addict!” …. That’s the “joke” I’d say every time I found myself down the Facebook rabbit hole, and getting caught there. 

Every time I reached for the phone while still in bed before even saying good morning to my hubs (who was on his checking for overnight earseeds orders). I’d think, in typical addict style “I can stop anytime I want to.” 

But I couldn’t. 

I’m not gonna lie either. Feeling like a Facebook addict feels a lot like feeling like a total loser. 

There’s actually a lot about Facebook that can make you feel like a total loser. Besides the obvious ones, like the overwhelming comparisonitis, the FOMO, (fear of missing out) or the feeling you have when you find yourself arguing with a stranger about something so stupid – or even not stupid – but afterwards you realize “I may be part of the problem.” 

But then it’s the other things. 

When dinner is served uncomfortably close to bedtime because you were wrapped up in some  Facebook conversation. When you get into an argument with your husband because, though you swear left and right he didn’t say something he swears he said, you know he probably did and you just tuned him out. When your kid is calling “mommy, mommy….” And you don’t hear and then roar “one minute!!” …Just like in all those articles that tell parents to get off Facebook and pay attention to their kids. (Though, to be fair, who would ever read those articles if they didn’t stumble upon them via Facebook, right?) 

When I finally had the idea to make Elie change my password and log me out I knew it was not going to be easy. 

But I didn’t expect it to be so hard. 

Within minutes I started to get itchy phone fingers. I was like “oh! Let me just go check….” -oh, wait. I can’t. 

About an hour in is when I started to hear my thoughts form, not as simple thoughts, but as cleverly worded FB status updates sharing my thoughts. Holy crap.  I think in Facebook language. Are we as a collective society teaching our children to think in status update language? Has this already been discovered? Maybe I should post it as a question in a status update? Wait. Damnit.  Should I go google this question? What if the answer comes up as a Facebook page? I won’t be able to see it because I can’t get back in to Facebook until Elie signs me in. Can I actually survive this detox?  And as an aside, I can’t be the only one feeling this way. How will our children cope? Is society doomed? 

(Side note, I’m writing in this blog, that has remained stagnant for many months. My FB status update voice in my brain NEEDED to get out. Hmmmm. In some ways I’d rather just post to my blog but then I feel like perhaps I’m guilty  just filling the world with more noise and lord knows that last thing the world needs is more noise. Something to more deeply ponder on another day.) 

So, today is day two of no Facebook. 

I’ve gotten more work done in two days than in the last two weeks. 

I’ve also organized my freezer, I wish I had a “before” pic but now that my phone isn’t strapped to my hand I didn’t have it on hand to take a “before.” 


Those labeled bins are all new! 

I did laundry and actually folded it. 

I went for a walk. An actual walk. I listened to TED talks while I walked. 

Then I made dinner:

And they were ready on time. 

—-dammit! I burned the brocolli  while writing this blog post!!! 

Ugh. Can’t win. 

Wave of light… My contribution

I don’t remember ever lighting a candle for them on October 15, pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day. I light these two tea lights on Fridays, when I light for the sabbath and we say their names. In truth, I don’t feel so connected to October 15 for whatever reason… But then, “days” like mothers or Father’s Day, even birthdays, aren’t something I am used to making a big deal about. But the wave of light passing through my FB feed inspired me. This is my community. This is something I’m a part of. This is something that’s a part of me. 

I light these candles not to remember. I don’t need candles to remember. I light them to thank my girls for all the beauty, blessings, strength, light and sparkle they taught me to see in my world. And I light them to thank all of the beautiful baby loss mammas who’ve traveled this journey with me. Whether in supporting me in my darkest moments or allowing me to attempt to support them in theirs.  ???

I like to think I know how to make an entrance… 

After three months in our new home I finally decided to hang my entryway mirror. I was afraid it was too heavy and I didn’t know how to properly mount it. After growing increasingly annoyed at myself I decided to just grab a giant nail and pray for a stud. When he didn’t show up, I knocked on the wall till I saw a hole from something the previous tenant had hung. ? Then I got to work. 

I have big plans for that black and boring shelf…. But alas, it will wait for another day and another post. So, what do u think? 

Both of these are gifts from amazing women I’m lucky to know. 

I made that bowl at a pottery class I took earlier this year. It was in that class that I first declared in small talk to strangers that our fantasy of moving cross-country was starting to look more like a definite plan. Sometimes hearing yourself declare something can be a powerful tool for change. Sometimes. Other times it just leaves you feeling like an asshole for not following through. ?

An assortment of framed cards from my deck of Muchness Moments cards. I have a feeling people are gonna collect around that area reading before they leave my house… Which just gave me the idea to drop an assortment of cards in that bowl and invite them to take one on their way out! Oh, I love that idea! 

Kaboom. And done. 

Whatdya think? ?