Friday, December 31, 2010
When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky. Buddha
Friday, December 3, 2010
I recruited both Emma and Sebastian to help me weed through all of the songs, and we chose at least one song from each artist. It wasn't easy, there were so many great choices! We then arranged the songs according to style on 4 separate discs so that the teachers would have an easier time selecting. This process took quite a while. The kids loved hearing all of the songs, and so did I. It was a pretty awesome day.
"Yes, Emma, they did. They gave them to you and all of your friends at school."
I had also received an email from Jon Samson at CoCreative Music donating a few of his songs and offering his engineering services to normalize all of the songs so that they are all heard at a similar volume. I told him there were over 70 songs... did he realize what he was getting into? Nevertheless, he agreed. We are still in the process of doing this and it is a real treat to work with him. Jon told me in an email, "These are also the most terrific kids songs I've heard!"
I totally agree.
I had hoped to present the CD package by Thanksgiving, but due to some time restraints, I have decided to wait until this month. I can't wait until this project, which I fondly call "The Emma Project" can be officially presented to her class. What better time then this holiday season?
Sunday, October 3, 2010
It is not easy for me. It takes a lot of work and a lot of patience with myself to be able to be this open about life, but it is really the only way. And I believe.
I recently saw the interview between Oprah and J.K. Rowling (the creator and author of The Harry Potter Series) and I must say that I was riveted. Joe (J.K) was so articulate and honest about her journey and it was really great for me to hear her story. She struggled first with depression as a single Mom and then struggled with many obstacles to get her first Harry Potter book published with the right people (the ones who believed as she did that her story could change the world). And it worked. She believed. Her persistence and commitment to be herself was so strong that she sold over 400 million books in 200 countries around the world. At the end of her interview, Oprah asked her "what does she know for sure?" Joe thought about it and said she knows that "love is THE most powerful thing of all." And then Oprah asked her "what was her dream of happiness?" She said according to the first Harry Potter, Dumbledore says "The happiest man alive would look in the mirror and see himself exactly as he is." And then she said "So I would have to say that I'm pretty close."
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Motherhood is a funny thing. It's like a runaway train. You can't stop it from going full speed ahead. There is no time to rest.
This past year I found myself totally exhausted. My temper was short and I had raised my voice way too many times to make my point. This is not the Mom that I want to be to my kids. Too often I didn't stop to appreciate what my kids were saying or doing and now I can't get those moments back. Seeing them go off to school this week, I realize that I better take the time to appreciate it, or it will fly away from me faster than I can blink an eye.
I adore my kids. They give me so much joy. There are times when I find myself laughing out loud at something they said or did days ago. They are six years apart and both have amazing qualities (and some not so great, but that's another blog).
I have always wanted to be a Mom, but the truth is that I desperately want to be a Super Mom.
I remember seeing an episode of Oprah where they talked about parenting being the toughest job on the planet. I agree. It's also the most rewarding job. They also were talking about the importance of taking care of yourself so that you can give the best of yourself as a parent. In this, I also agree, but it's easy to forget.
Working Moms don't have it easy. There is so much to juggle and too much work to be done in a short amount of time. However, it CAN be done.
The first step in Super Momdom is to take care of oneself.
For me, it means making the time to meditate and go to Yoga. Getting organized. Being creative. Being smart with my career. Eating better. Sleeping more and laughing. A lot.
So, let's just sit for a minute more, and then get started already! Now, where is that cape?
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I would love to say that it was an easy, breezy time, but honestly it's always a bit of a challenge for us all to get along at every waking moment. It was a lot of WORK. Everyone has so many needs. To eat, to sleep (and get enough of it), to go to the beach, to shower, to have down time, to drink, to entertain, to not entertain, to nap, to eat again, and to just "be." Albert and I also had to rehearse for the 5 performances and music video thrown into the mix.
Fortunately, Liz has a lot of land around her house, and a lot of animals. 1 dog, 1 cat and 4 chickens to be exact. I am not really an "animal lover", but Emma was in heaven as the nature girl that she is, and for the most part, was pretty easy to handle. Sebastian did OK, too, even though he has allergies to the animals, had summer homework to finish, and had to deal with so many parents under one roof telling him what to do and what is "expected" of a 12 year old. Cole is three years old and was a combination of deliciously adorable and, well...not so much.
Anyway, I thought I would share a few moments that really stand out for me on this trip:
1. After a particularly awful show, Sebastian said that he thought the show was "great!"
2. One evening Albert, Liz, Jen and I were outside having some cocktails and Jen told me she thought I was one of the most beautiful women she knows.
3. Emma hypnotizing a real chicken and cradling it like it were her own baby.
4. Emma secretly leaving a post it note on my guitar backstage that said "i love you."
5. Dave throwing Emma up in the sky while in the waves of the ocean and turning around to make sure that I was watching the sheer joy on her face.
6. Albert and his puppet "Raul" as he tried out all sorts of personalities (some not so appropriate for a kids show), and watching Sebastian rolling on the ground cracking up.
7. Sitting in the back of Liz's truck on the way to the beach with music blasting and everyone laughing as Albert broke the beach chair.
8. Cole holding the bottle opener all evening and asking everyone if they were ready for another beer?
9. Waking up in the middle of the night thinking that Cole or Emma was crying out and finding out it was only a chicken squawking outside.
10. Riding with Liz in her truck on the way to a show, laughing, and feeling like she is part of our family.
It was a great trip. Exhausting, but great. Anyway, here is the music video that came out of it. Dave is the master videographer. Enjoy!
Monday, August 9, 2010
Two of my friends, Brady Rymer and Elizabeth Mitchell, were performing at Celebrate Brooklyn. It was the family show that they only have once a summer, on a big, beautiful outdoor stage. I was invited by Liz and her husband Daniel to sing on "Little Bird, Little Bird." This was a great opportunity for me as I have always wanted to sing in that bandshell, and I knew a lot of my friends would be there. I also love the song.
Dave, Emma and I walked over to the park early, and were easily led backstage where we found Liz in her dressing room. It was great to see her again (we performed together back in May for a Haiti Benefit Concert), and she showed us the green room where Emma happily chowed down on all of the cookies and blueberries that she could get into her mouth before they went and took their seats in the audience.
I went looking for Brady and found him in his dressing room, as well as Claudia and Liz, his two beautiful backup singers and musicians. I have known Brady since Sebastian was about 3 years old. It was good to connect and catch up. He has an amazing aura of positive energy, and I love that. Plus, his music is so much fun and I was eager to hear them play.
Soon, it was time to go over our song, which we did quietly in the dressing room, and then it was showtime. As I waited backstage to be called out for my song, I marveled at the way Liz's voice carried throughout the crowd and how calming and beautiful it was. She and Daniel have a wonderful connection (to the band, to the audience, and to eachother). So many people had gathered to hear them. The sky was blue and the sun was just right. The audience was mesmerized. I was mesmerized. I saw Dave and Emma in the crowd, and I was so happy to be doing this. I went out, sang my part (bird call and all) and soon, it was over. It was a beautiful day.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Lately I have felt really out of sorts. I feel tired, I feel restless, and overall, in a bad mood. I know that this hot weather is not helping matters, but just a few days ago, I discovered the problem. I have lost my balance. I have zero balance this summer. Why? I have no child care for my soon to be six year old daughter.
I have tried to embrace the fact that Emma is not in any sort of camp and instead we enrolled her in "mommy camp", where she gets to share in the joys of schlepping around with me to work three mornings a week, along with my guitar, big heavy bag, shakers, and sometimes even a parachute, and we get to save a thousand dollars. Then there are my shows. She is dragged around too early in the morning, usually eating breakfast on the way, only to share me with lots and lots of little kids and their grown ups. Not exactly what she would call the best summer of her life. Or would she?
Emma loves to be with me. She is always concerned about where I am and what I am doing and what I am working on on the computer, and is it her turn to "work" on the computer yet? We are attached at the hip. We do everything together, from grocery shopping to laundry to getting pedicures to dressing her new American Girl Doll, we are a team. This is truly a wonderful time in our lives. I should embrace this time. I should rejoice in the beauty of our girlness. And I do. For the most part.
It's that other part that is driving me crazy. The part that can't breathe and needs to walk at a regular pace for five minutes please. The part of me that needs to go to Yoga once a week and to meditate in the mornings and the part of me that needs so badly to just sit in peace and quiet in the evenings and can't stop looking at the clock until Daddy gets home. Dave tries to help me out, but he is focused on his "backyard project" at the moment, and this is what consumes his after work hours...
Last week, I got a break. Albert offered to take Emma and Sebastian to see a movie. It was heaven. I had 2 hours to myself and I got an amazing amount of work done. Then, two nights later, they went and saw another movie. I went to my usual Wednesday night Yoga class without the usual guilt. It was great. The kids came home happy, and I came home refreshed. Tonight, though, really takes the cake. I actually feel as if I am on vacation. Sebastian has a friend over. They have been happily playing Wii for the past 2+ hours (ok, it IS summer vacation after all), and have "allowed" Emma to watch. I have not heard a peep out of her except for the laughs and cries of approval of great gaming, or the occasional cry for food or drink. It's been lovely. It's been heaven. This is the balance I have been looking for! I feel like myself again. If we could just implement this routine every night for the rest of the summer until school starts again...
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Last Friday, she had a graduation from her white belt to a white and yellow belt. I was so glad that Sebastian was back, and we took both him and Cole with us, and made a huge deal about it. Emma was pretty excited. She could barely sit still in the car. When we got there, she took off her shoes and sat down in front of the class, like the rest of the kids. We sat in the seats. Last year, I don't think she could have done this. Sat by herself, I mean.
When it was her turn, her Sensei called the class to attention and she yelled "Yes Sensei!" There was a little smile on her face, but she was attentive. Cole was at attention, too. He seemed pretty impressed.
They showed us an entire class, and also encouraged the parents to sit right up on the mats with them and to take pictures. I was worried that Emma wouldn't want to do what she was supposed to while we were oogling over her, but she did it all. She stretched, she kicked, she punched, and she sat like a champion the whole time.
I could see the sense of accomplishment on her face, and her excitement when her name was called and she received her new belt. She had to run in front of everyone and accept it and bow. I had tears in my eyes. I looked at Sebastian. I looked at Dave. Our girl is really growing up. We couldn't have been prouder.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The joys of having a blended family that gets along far outweigh the negative, but one of the big challenges for me has always been that Sebastian leads this whole other life. One of which I am not a part of. It was a lot harder at 3 years old to send him to Albert's house three times a week than it is today, but sending him all the way to Peru for three weeks was not really a cakewalk for me. If something would happen, there would be no way for me to get there quickly.
In addition, I will be hearing all of their adventures second hand, and probably with a lot less enthusiasm than at the time he was experiencing them as most likely Sebastian will just want to relax and not "over exert" himself by retelling amazing stories. Oh well.
I will still wait with eager anticipation for them to come home and I truly can't wait to give both Sebastian and Cole huge hugs. Thank God Sebastian still let's me hug and kiss him. For a 12 year old kid, he is pretty amazing in that way. Plus, having Emma to myself these past weeks, while being wonderful, has been quite exhausting! She really misses her brothers and relies on them to keep her entertained. As do we! Hurry home already!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
This weekend was planned way in advance, with Dave and I deciding that we would do this last part of the spring tour ourselves – without the kids. (Sort of funny for someone who does kids shows, but hey... we all need a break from parenthood sometimes).
The week leading up to it was long and we were tired, and even though we were tempted to throw the kids in the car at the last minute, we stuck to our plan and left them with Albert and Jen on Saturday morning. After one small frustrating detour around Brooklyn before getting on the right highway, we actually started to relax into the trip. As per our usual, we starting talking about the kids, but then slowly we started talking about our goals and what we really wanted to do with our lives. We are both trying to pursue careers that we believe in, and it's not always that easy for either of us to keep doing this. The best part is that both of us still truly believe in each other. Our lives are always on "over dive," and so sometimes we forget.
We arrived at our hotel in DC, promptly switched rooms to one with a working AC, and got ready to go out. Our evening was spent window shopping in fancy furniture stores, dining in a lovely Spanish fusion restaurant, and simply enjoying some quality couple time.
Our show the next day was held at the historic Sixth and I Synagogue for a family music series that they’re just beginning to develop. We were greeted by Meredith the curator of the event, who provided us with donuts, bagels and water bottles (such a bonus). Steve arrived a few minutes later, and soon it was time to play. I was opening for Alex and The Kaleidoscope Band, who’s music I was only vaguely familiar with, so I was curious to hear them play live. They were wonderful! Super-great beat and a nice eclectic sound. I had asked them to join us for our last two songs, “Goin on a Road Trip" and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," and it was really fun for me and Steve to rock out with them.
As I was scanning the crowd, I noticed a bunch of familiar faces and an entire row of kids wearing my Suzimusic t-shirts! They were dancing and having a great time. What a wonderful feeling that never, ever gets old to me.
I also saw Dave smiling at me, taking pictures and talking with some people in the audience. I was so happy he was there with me. After the show, I was able to spend time with my little fans giving out stickers and hugs, while Dave packed up my gear for me.
Heading back to Brooklyn after the show, we were anxious to get back to the kids, but also we felt way more connected and ready to keep supporting each other on this journey we are taking. After all, that is what it's all about.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Here is a video of our day last February visiting the butterflies at the American Museum of Natural History (where conveniently, Dave also was doing some work).
You can also view this on and share it on my youtube page
Monday, March 15, 2010
If you would have told me
two years ago that I would be spending every Monday afternoon in a horse stable surrounded by dust and hay and well, horses, I would have told you that you were out of your mind. But, today was Monday, and that is exactly how I spent my afternoon...
"It’s Monday. You know what today is, don't you?" I ask Emma on the way to school. "Horses" she answers, with a little smile.
Emma rides horses not just for the sheer pleasure of it, but because she needs it. Riding
horses provides a very unique form of therapy for her called hippotherapy, and she has been riding for about a year now. To Emma, the idea of therapy is the farthest thing from her mind.
It is not always obvious, but Emma has a mild form of sensory integration disorder (also called sensory processing disorder) and therefore needs other outlets to receive proprioceptive input - feeling her body in space. She also has some low muscle tone in her hands and upper body. Riding horses helps her to keep her body upright, and holding the
reins is good for her hand strength. She is also able to follow directions more easily while in motion. And, it doesn't hurt that she is a fierce animal lover.
It wasn't easy to deal with this news when heard it from Emma's preschool teacher at age 3. When you hear anything about your kid that is out of the ordinary, you start to panic. My husband Dave and I had never even heard of Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), and now they were telling us that she will have to have an evaluation to see if she qualified for Early Intervention including occupational therapy and possibly physical therapy. Early Intervention? Our daughter?
Lying in bed that night, Dave and I went over in our heads how she could have gotten this in the first place? Whose fault was this? Of course I thought it was my fault. I didn't take her to enough art classes as a baby. I didn't eat healthy enough when I was pregnant. But we soon came to realize that it is just part of her and there really isn't one reason that anyone can pin-point as to why. We got every book that we could find having anything to do with sensory integration disorder. We were also told that she may grow out of it. She will always have some low muscle tone, but she will "probably" adjust to a lot of the sensory issues.
And you know what? It's true. Over the last 2 years she has grown up (or more appropriately), grown into herself. She has had OT and PT twice a week for the past year and a half, and we have added swimming and acrobatics in addition to her horseback riding. Almost every day after school, she has "something." We have to allow her to have more time to transition and/or get her energy out as often as possible. Many times after her bath, she just needs to jump on the bed for 10 minutes before she can even think about sitting down for books. I also have to remember to be very patient. It's not always easy...
I'll admit, taking Emma to her lessons is not my favorite thing to do. I don't like the smell of horses, and I am very allergic so the hay makes me sneeze and sometimes I feel as if I can't even breathe. In the winter the stable is so cold that I lose all feeling in my hands and can see my breath when I speak. The smell of horse pee is so strong that my eyes water and there have been times when I feel as if I will pass out. OK, maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but you get the point. But when Emma rides, all of this doesn't really matter.
Because when Emma rides, she is happy. She is calm and centered. She doesn’t feel fidgety or out of bounds. She seems to have this connection to the horses that is pure and real and without fear. We found this amazing organization called Gallop, NYC and they provide this type of therapy for many other NYC families like us. Emma listens and does what she is told from her instructor Ben. She makes sure that we bring carrots or apples to feed the horses and she feels right at home in that stable. She knows the names of most of the horses and has a special horse named "Emma" that she brings an extra carrot for each week.
There was a time when sitting still was out of the question for Emma. Keeping her hands out of her mouth or off of someone else was almost impossible. We dreaded going to restaurants or public places where she was supposed to be quiet and still. In school she was often frustrated with group activities, writing, legos, puzzles and the littlest hand related tasks, and she often had a frown on her face. Now, Emma CAN control her body. She CAN hold the toothbrush to brush her own teeth. She CAN write her letters and numbers and hold a pencil the proper way. She CAN avoid stepping in slushy puddles (although she just chooses not to) :).
Our Emma has a true zest for life! She sings, dances, paints, draws, jumps, smiles, laughs and has the most amazing imagination. We're still learning how to best help her, and it still takes a lot of patience and understanding, but it seems like she is pretty happy with her little self, and that makes us feel like we are doing something right. I guess putting up with a little dust, hay and horse pee once a week is worth it after all...
Dave made a video of Emma riding in her first "horse show" last spring.
* Hippotherapy is a form of physical, occupational and speech therapy in which a therapist uses the characteristic movements of a horse to provide carefully graded sensory input .
*Gallop, NYC http://www.gallopnyc.org/ Donations accepted via their website.
Monday, March 8, 2010
I had to perform 3 times over my birthday weekend to very diverse crowds. The first party was at an organic bakery in Jersey City and it was a tiny little place packed with high energy kids of all ages. I brought Albert with me, and we arrived early, like I like. I was a bit frantic trying to set everything up amongst tons of little kids and a face painter who still had a line of customers, but somehow we pulled it off. When I looked up to start the set, I saw lots of shining faces. Not just on the kids, but on the grown ups. I guess some of them knew who I was, and the others were eager to find out... Ah, the pressure. We started singing and it was so much fun. The kids were dancing from the very beginning, and shakers were flying. There was a lot of laughter and, well, it was also fun playing with Albert. He cracks me up, and he had practiced a lot, so it sounded pretty good. I was proud of him, and so grateful that I wasn't there by myself. We were very well received and got lots of hugs and thank you's at the end, in addition to some free cupcakes. Totally worth it.
At the second party (a bit smaller and more mellow), the Mom of the 4 year old birthday boy told me that he watches my DVD every day and knows all of the words by heart. He soon proved it by standing right next to me the whole time singing his little heart out and playing his brand new ukulele! All of his friends seemed to remember me as well, and were very much into singing and dancing along with us. It was pretty awesome. Then, his Dad and a friend joined in playing some pretty incredible African drums on the last three songs! It was so much fun I almost felt guilty charging them for the party...
The next party was different. Lots of people, lots of balloons, a bit of "typical birthday party chaos" and a little three year old whom I had never met before who also apparently knew most of my songs and had a special request set list. I wasn't sure how this one would go as I had never met the family before, and well, you never know. This little girl sat through the entire 45 minute set with a big smile on her face. Albert was joining me on bass again, and we went for it. There was a range of ages, but those kids lasted the entire time. I was asked to end the party with "Ten Thousand Kisses," and the birthday Mom promptly sat her daughter on her lap and rocked her to the entire song. It's a long song. After the set, she thanked me for coming and said that I really made her little girl's birthday special. Then, the birthday Dad told me that he had to leave the room the first few times he heard Ten Thousand Kisses because he was so emotional, and he told me that he really enjoyed my singing and my songwriting. That was really gratifying for me to hear. I was happy.
I was exhausted.
That night, as tired as I was, Dave took me out for sushi. Albert and Jen took the kids. It was so nice to just relax and have a Sapporo and some good food with my husband. We talked about goals, and we talked about the kids, and we talked about us.
Yesterday, my 39th birthday, was all for "me." I started out the day with a meditation and felt really good about the direction that I am going. I got tons of phone messages, e-cards, and FB posts. Both my parents and my sister and her family sung to me, and they made me choke up. I had quiet time, and I had family time. My perfect balance. My family brought me my favorite chocolate cake and some handmade cards and some cool, new clothes. It couldn't have been any better. And you know what? I felt special.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
We are missing out. We are not there to run over on a moment's notice when one of the kids is sick and we need to take them to the hospital or doctor's. We can't have her kids sleep over and give them a "date night", or have them do that for us. I never imagined that it would be this way. I never for one minute growing up thought that we would not live in the same town, let alone the same state.
Last week a good friend of ours called to say that she was moving to New York City. Her husband is getting transferred and now they and their little one year old are coming to live here for at least 2 years. They will be right in Manhattan, or possibly Jersey City, but either way, it's just a hop, skip and a jump. I can hardly imagine the culture shock for them trying to raise a baby in NY, as it is a combination of extremely rewarding and extremely frustrating. Especially when you are used to a 4,000 sq. feet home, entertainment centers the size of a small movie theater, a backyard, 2 cars, luxury strollers that don't fold into the size of an umbrella, and well, space. But it is really exciting for them, too. They are happy to try something new and to experience life in NY. And I am happy and excited for them.
I just wish it were my sister coming instead.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Last night I was reading 'Little House on the Prairie' to both of them. We were all cuddled up in bed and they had just finished a long fit of the giggles. I was trying to calm them down, but it wasn't easy. I found myself having to remember not to raise my voice and just be patient. After all, it wasn't a school night. And I am trying to be "flexible".
Finally, they stopped and I started reading a chapter called "Indian Jamboree." Laura Ingalls was describing hearing the Indians make funny noises from their throats, so I tried to interject my version of how this would sound. "Hi ya! Hi ya!" I started. Both of the kids stopped and stared at me and then immediately burst out laughing and Emma said "No, that's not in the book, Mama!". Cole just shook his head and kept laughing. I don't know why, but I started laughing myself. I laughed so hard and I couldn't stop. Tears came out of my eyes. All three of us were laughing hysterically, and it felt so good to just laugh with them. (I am laughing now just thinking about it.) I hugged Emma since she was the closest to me, and Cole said "You love Emma, Mama Suzi?" "Yes, Cole. I do. I love Emma, and I love you, too!". He looked at me and blushed.
I love that we have this relationship. Our blended family. Cole is Albert and Jen's little one, but Coley is such a part of my life, and the lives of Sebastian and Emma. We don't use the word "step" when referring to him, because that is not really what he is. He's not a step brother, or step son. There is no step about it. We are just all one big family. Cole is a wonderful two year old and we all share in the joy of raising a toddler, a five year old, and an eleven year old, who all make us laugh.
It is so healing to laugh. I like to laugh every single day, but sometimes I forget how important this is.
I wonder what will be my Indian Jamboree moment today?
Friday, February 26, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I went upstairs to get my cup of coffee and to sit on the couch and "be still" for a minute and was careful to be extra quiet because Sebastian's room is next to the family room. I suddenly remembered that he is not here. He is on vacation with Albert until Thursday. It is amazing, but Sebastian has had two homes since he was three years old and still sometimes I forget. It's not that it makes me sad, because I know that he is happy in both homes, but it's just a weird longing that I still feel when he is gone, and I imagine that I will feel this forever. I am sure having two homes is not easy for him, but it is all that he knows. I feel so badly for him when he forgets things in one home or the other because it seems to cause him a lot of frustration, but that seems to be the worst of it. I hope that when he grows up that he doesn't remember that frustration as much as he remembers that both of his parents (and now his two sets of step-parents) love him so much and wanted to make sure the he could have two happy homes instead of one that had a lot of tension. I hope. Not all families have such good relationships with their "ex's", but we do, and I really appreciate that. I hope that Sebastian appreciates it, too.
"I love you, honey, and I miss you a lot. I can't wait until you get back. Have a nice vacation with Daddy, Jen and Cole, and when you get back, Emma and I will tell you all about the butterflies..."
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Simply email me today.
Stay tuned for more info to come soon...