Credit Where Credit is Due

My mother likes to take credit…for pretty much everything.

I’m not kidding. Whether you scored a great deal on a pair of shoes, or won the Nobel Peace Prize, it’s somehow linked to her.

And she’s serious.

100%.

Not only does she like credit, but she will change the details of stories around to make it so that she is fully responsible for whatever awesomeness you have just achieved. She will also do the reverse and claim she had nothing to do with it if your luck goes south.

Need some examples?

  1. My wedding. The second one to be clear. Because she casually mentioned that we should consider Bourbon Steak in the Turnberry resort in the infancy stages of wedding planning, she loves to point it out every chance she gets that we DID in fact get married there and that the wedding was perfect. Every. Chance. She. Gets. It could be as subtle as someone commenting on a wedding pic and her saying, “Yes the kids got married there. It was my idea.” Or more bravado, like pointing it out while we are on her balcony, you might hear her say something along the lines of, “Ava, see that building over there? That’s where mommy and Jason got married! Isn’t it beautiful? It was all gram’s idea. They wanted to get married in some ugly room at a restaurant in Boca that doesn’t even compare to anything in Aventura. Because Aventura is awesome.”
  2. My house. To be fair, my parents were very involved in the house hunting. It was the first time I was ever purchasing a home and I value their opinion. Plus, Bob is a pro with a contractor background so I needed him to point out any red flags before we pulled the trigger. However, my mom seems to remember it very differently and claims to have actually found the house we currently live in (not the case). And when I point out how that’s not at all what went down, she changes her story a little saying things like…”you were looking at dumps on the other side of town until I convinced you to look in this area.”
  3. My stroller. I have like 32 strollers so I didn’t want another one. My mom was trying to convince me (read: nag me) to get a snap & go while Sienna is still in an infant car seat. I did and it’s definitely a huge help. But, every time I take the thing out of the trunk and my mom is around, she circles it like a shark wearing a shit-eating grin and says, “That’s a nice looking stroller.  I mean really. Who told you to get it?”
  4. Diagnosing any medical condition. Jason calls her Dr. Westfall because she thinks she can diagnose any ailment in anyone. Just tell her your symptoms and she will spit out a disease just like WebMD. If she happens to be right you’ll never hear the end of it and if she’s wrong, she’ll find a way to spin it. Either way, she’s right.
  5. Stellar negotiation skills. She goes on and on about what a good negotiatior she is. Specifically with car leases. Because she has a CRAZY low monthly payment for a luxury car…..because she probably put like $15K down. But that’s neither here nor there. She also uses said negotiation skills at Target where she pretends she’s at a folding table on any corner of NYC haggling over a fake Prada. She gives zero fucks. And 99% of the time they listen to her!

That’s just a small sampling of her credit-mongering, but make so mistake that it’s pretty much part of daily conversation and there is no statute of limitations. She’s still talking about things dating back to when I was 14. And it happens with little things too, like telling me how amazing my hair looks and then swiftly reminding me that she’s the one who always tells me to keep it long. Or complimenting a pair of shoes and reminding me that she was the one who told me to look in Bloomingdale’s to find them. Or commenting on how much better Sienna’s fussiness is ever since I bought new bottles like she told me to. It goes on and on and on.

As much as I tease her and bust her balls, I do have to give credit where credit is due. You see, Arlyne is not just a main character in my blogs. She’s not just accidentally hilarious and totally gangster. She is, undoubtedly, the best fucking mother on the planet. She also happens to be the best mother-in-law and grandmother. And, I fully giver her credit for the following, which is by no means an exhaustive list.

I think one of the most important lessons she’s bestowed on me is to not take shit from anyone and not to let anyone bully you or knock you down. Along this same lines, she is the epitome of a mama bear. She taught me to fiercely protect my young and to destroy anyone who tries to mess with them. This woman will hold a grudge against you for the rest of your life if you even look at either of her children sideways.

She’s also the best cheerleader. She celebrates my successes and kvells, no matter how small. She loves me so hard and I feel it in every fiber of my body. I want my girls to feel that same way about me. She has always gone above and beyond for her kids and spoils the shit out of mine. Ava lives for her and to see the bond they have makes me burst with pride. I know Sienna will feel the same. She’s the fun grandma. The one who teaches you how to make prank phone calls and will use the word “fart” in a game of hangman.

She taught me all the “mensch” things like never showing up to someone’s home for an event/dinner/whatever, without something for them. To always write thank you notes when someone gives a gift. She’s not a regular mom, she’s a cool mom. She’d never be caught dead in a sweater set from Chicco’s or Ann Taylor and rocks a black beater and skinny jeans pretty much every day. She’s probably the reason I don black nail polish and skull & cross bone tanks in the carpool line.

She’s hilarious and doesn’t even understand why we are laughing half the time. The things that come out of her mouth are sometimes hard to mentally prepare for, but also the best. Watching her go through an ugly divorce and surviving breast cancer showed me by example what a fighter looks like. She’ll hug me and let me cry if I’m at a low but in the same breath tell me to get my ass up and remember who I am – the little girl who pushed her way to the front of the group in a dance recital when I was like 4, because I wanted to be front and center.

One of the things I admire most about her is the fact that nobody keeps it realer than her. She tells it like it is and owns who SHE is, no matter what. You can’t rattle her and if she feels under attack she will defend herself, strike back and take you down.

There is nobody on the planet like her and I’m so glad she’s ours. Happy Mother’s Day Mom. We love the shit out of you!

 

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me and mom

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Bedrest and Birthmarks

Pregnancy is no easy feat. Even despite that, I will never take it for granted. My first pregnancy was a walk in the park and as uneventful as they come. This one – 8 years later – is an entirely different ball of wax. There are a ton of details and stories around it that provide enough for a series of blog posts and will likely come later when I have a chance to breathe (in 18 years).

In addition to the raging obligatory nausea that can often accompany the first trimester, I have the unbearable heartburn that makes me feel like my esophagus might just fall out or burst and that at any moment I may even breathe fire like a fucking dragon. I’ve also experienced more “major” stuff this time around.

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First, was my stay in the hospital with kidney stones almost two months ago. Just FYI this was the WORST pain I have ever experienced in my life (and I say that having pushed a baby out of my vagina). And guess what they can do for kidney stones in a preggo…NADA!

Because the options are basically blasting with radiation and surgery, all they could really do for me was offer pain meds to keep me comfortable, IV fluids, and wait for them to pass. Annnnddddd, that’s the first time my baby in utero and I did drugs together – specifically dilaudid and demerol. It was a real rager.

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On the heels of that shitshow, I ended up back in the hospital this past weekend with another issue that now has me on bedrest for the remainder of my pregnancy. At this point I feel like SLS and I should have a wing named after us, or at least be giving tours to expectant parents. On the bright side, my mom was there and that ALWAYS provides the levity I need to help me momentarily forget that I am hooked up to an IV, a fetal monitor and being pricked more times than a porn star on a busy day.

First, when my OBGYN came in the room, my mom thought she was just one of my friends she’d never met because she was sans lab coat and didn’t look all doctory. Instead she came in on call, dressed normally, wearing makeup, with her LV messenger on her hip. They were instant besties and hugging 60 seconds later. Then my high risk doctor happened to be there and my mom could NOT get over his shoes – which were those horrible shoes that look like gloves for your feet that nobody should ever wear, especially if you want to have sex ever again.

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She was like the cat who swallowed the canary, or that SNL Kristen Wiig character who can’t handle surprises, waiting for him to leave so she could discuss.

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But really, the best part of the whole day came when the conversation turned to sex. My husband, best friend/sister-wife and I were talking about sex during pregnancy, to which my mom chimes in…

“Please, NOBODY should be having sex during pregnancy. It’s not good for the baby. The baby doesn’t need to be poked around.”

“Mom, you know that’s not really humanly possible, right?”

“Rachel, it’s not good for the baby. Plus, all that poking?!? How do you think babies get birthmarks?”

Drops mic. Exits stage.

It was at that point that my husband was laughing so hard in the corner he literally couldn’t breath. I was laugh/crying real tears. And my mom was dead serious and not understanding why we found it so funny.

She continued with, “Well, it hasn’t been disproven!”

Sidebar – I feel it’s important for context to also point out that my mother has a master’s degree in education and taught (wait for it…wait for it) health and sex education. Boom!

My husband then pointed to a birthmark I have had on the top of my chest my whole life and said to her, “Sooooo….is that where this came from?” She just looked at it, squinted a little and pretended she’s never seen it, shrugged and changed the subject.

No matter what, this woman can ALWAYS take the tension out of a situation and make you pee from laughing. I almost think there’s a viable business idea somewhere in here where we can rent her out to people in grim or serious situations who need a distraction in the form of a stand-up comedienne who doesn’t even know she’s performing.

Here we come Shark Tank…

The Nightmare Before Christmas & Hanukkah – NEW Parental Advisory Podcast!!

Did you miss us???

Then you’re going to be stoked for the latest episode of the Parental Advisory Podcast with my brothers from another mother – Pete & Mark from Daddy Mind Tricks.

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We’re covering all of the nightmares before Christmas and Hanukkah (or as I call it, Jewish Christmas…because c’mon let’s get real, that’s basically what it is.)

We’re kvetching about all of it – from Thanksgiving to New Year’s to Black Friday and everything in between.

Ch-Ch-Check it out.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN >>> bit.ly/iTunesPAP

 

 

The Keep It Real Moms are the Illest!

Episode two is here and it’s FULL of realness. We’re talking about everything, because we just can’t stay on one topic. We’re like PTA moms with ADHD, but cool.

This installment has unfiltered discussions about everything including “shitty” baby shower games, dating ladies, being a boss ass bitch, using the Mensch on the Bench as an enforcer, tooth fairy goals and the worst jobs we’ve ever had.

We jump around like House of Pain, because that’s just what we do.

So take a listen after you put the kiddies to bed, or even while you are laying with them as they watch another painful episode of Dora or, god forbid, Calliou. Just make sure you wear headphones 😉

You can access it here on Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/user-997167709/kirm2

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Girl’s Weekend 2016

Every year around this time, we take a girl’s trip. But this one isn’t filled with shots, debauchery and hangovers. It’s much more wholesome. It involves my main squad, a couple of mice, dogs, and ducks.

It’s the annual Disney trip with my mom and daughter and it’s ALWAYS filled with blog content – mostly because my mother is there. This was a big one because it’s the last one with just the three of us, before I evict another daughter from my uterus and add her to the wolfpack.

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The trip always starts the same way – with my mother shoving her selfie-sticked iphone in our faces trying to capture our “road trip” song. We film a few different melodies and then never post any of them because she thinks she’s ugly in all of them and stares at her phone with squinty eyes asking, “Is that what I really effing look like?!?”

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Rather than go into a whole narrative of the trip (because that would take DAYS), I’m going to bless you with the highlight reel.

  • Within 5 minutes of entry to the hotel, my mom was already besties with a young, unsuspecting lad at the front desk (Dominic), who had no idea the stuff he’d be comping in 2 days. She already managed to get the $30/day valet fee comped because I’m 7 months pregnant and there was no self-parking (which was true, btdubs).
  • We didn’t wait more than 8 minutes to get keys to our room from Dom, because I’m 7 months pregnant and my mom has “sugar diabetes” (pronounced Wilford Brimley style aka diabeetus).
  • On venturing out to the Boardwalk on night one, a lovely family stopped to offer their photography help when they saw our selfie struggles. When the woman opened her mouth and said “Do y’all need some help?”, my mother, the super sleuth said, “Oh! You’re from Texas?!” (because y’all = Texas). The woman politely responded, complete with the “bless your heart” tone, “Um, no, that would be Mississippi.” Dammit mom, so close!
  • We got ice cream on the way back and after grilling the 16-yr-old serving us about the great no sugar vs. no sugar added debate, my mom got her cone. Only to lose a scoop right there on the counter as she was paying. They felt bad and gave her a redo, however, when my mom was dancing, at the request of my daughter, she did a fancy triple axel move and lost a scoop mid-twirl. I tried not to pee my pants, but it’s hard because I am pregnant. Then her and my daughter did the next logical thing when you drop a scoop – waited patiently for someone to step in it. Oh the life lessons my child gains from these trips.
  • Finally, it was time to retire to our hotel room, but the fun is not over until the fart-noise fiesta. That’s right! It’s become tradition (my daughter’s favorite actually) for her and my mom to make fart noises with their mouths and try to out do each other. I always imagine the people sharing a wall with us, wishing they were overhearing loud hotel sex instead.
  • Because my mom is the poster child for Type A people across the globe, she literally could not take the hotel clock being set to the wrong time and had to right this atrocity before going to sleep. Cut to around 1am when the alarm clock was going off every 20 mins or so (because she’s super tech savvy). And not just going off, but at the loudest volume possible with only static to hear for miles. Every. 20. Minutes. I literally almost ripped it out of the wall, but it was tangled with about 50 other cords behind the nightstand and I had to turn the lights on to figure out how to undo whatever she did.
  • Then it’s on to the character breakfast, where all my kid wants is to see my mom pull Pluto’s tail. This is tricky though because the characters walk around with handlers to thwart these very things, so she has to be sly.
  • We spent the first part of the day at Magic Kingdom where I read on my ipad as they went on rides and were beyond exhausted for part two of the day, at Animal Kingdom. When we got to AK, my mom was not satisfied with our parking spot and made me drive up to the guardhouse to tell the man…yup you guessed it, that I’m 7 months pregnant and she has a broken toe (also true) and can we park any closer? We got waved to the “med lot” which ended up backfiring because it’s too close to the entrance for the tram to pick you up but still a little bit of a walk. Karma, mom. Karma.
  • As soon as we entered the park, my mom marched right over to the first kiosk selling mouse ears and overpriced water to ask if there was any way “someone could drive us to the entrance of the first ride we had a fast pass for because her daughter is 7-months pregnant, she has a broken toe AND sugar diabeetus”. They looked at her with a loss of words expression, “um, no ma’am, we don’t do that”.
  • Back at the hotel, we had already fed my child kid food and went to sit in a steakhouse to have a real meal. My daughter was so fried she fell asleep, in my lap as we were waiting for dessert, so they gave it to us to go and comped it. My mom did the jig – she wasn’t even expecting perks until checkout when she met with Dom again.
  • Repeat paragraph about fart noises.
  • We had our last character breakfast before hitting the road, but not before my mom gave Goofy a piece of her mind for not having a tail she could pull to delight my daughter.

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Look how defeated he looks.

It was a trip filled with laughter that could (and will) make you pee your pants and I love the memories my daughter gains from these girl’s trips. Colored memories, but memories nonetheless.

Next year, we’ll roll four deep and begin to corrupt another precious little girl showing her our version of the happiest place on earth.

 

 

Fright Night – NEW for Lifestyle Magazine

Halloween is coming!

Are you ready for the slew of Elsas that will invade your neighborhood with their ill-fitting wigs and Olaf-shaped candy receptacles (guys, for real, when will the Frozen thing be over?)

Check out my latest article for Lifestyle Magazine Boca/Delray (Page 21) and get the scoop on a few Palm Beach County Halloween Happenings.

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The Motherhood Edition of Jewish Holidays – NEW from Suburban Misfit Mom

As featured on Suburban Misfit Mom

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The Motherhood Edition of Jewish Holidays

By Jen Schwartz (The Medicated Mommy) & Rachel Sobel (Whine & Cheez – its)

Early fall is Jewish holiday season. That means going to temple, eating apples and honey in hopes of a sweet year ahead, family dinners filled with equal parts kvelling & kvetching, and a day of starvation fasting that culminates in the annual carb loading frenzy with bagels, lox, noodle kugel, and cookies. Lots of cookies. You know…a “light” meal.

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And if your child attends a Jewish preschool/day school, you are basically screwed and they may as well close for the month of October with the amount of days you have off.

That’s right folks, we are currently living in the space between the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) where we atone for our sins and hope to make it into the Book of Life for another year.

Lucky for us, Jews get to make New Years’ resolutions twice. You know, if for some reason you bailed on the ones you made in January for the non-secular New Year, here’s a second chance in October. I don’t know about you, but we’re still eating cake, ice cream and half-consumed bags of goldfish and desperately trying to fit into our skinny jeans because even though we get dressed in workout clothes every day, we don’t actually go work out every day. It’s kind of like our uniform for school drop off and the couple hours following. That is until we can pee and shower without a child opening the door a trillion times asking us to change the channel when the remote control is actually in their little sticky hands.

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Thinking about how you want to live in the Jewish New Year is both a blessing and a curse…because as you start to make promises to yourself about the year ahead, you are also going backwards to relive those times this past year you might not be so proud of. And as moms, there are definitely a few that come to mind. So, rather than focus on personal transgressions this year, we are confessing ours sins of motherhood. Let this be our atonement for:

  • Lying to our children (and maybe even setting the clocks forward) to convince them it’s bedtime so you have enough time to shower and settle in before Bachelor in Paradise.
  • Telling them a store is closed (at 3pm on a Thursday) because you just don’t feel like going to buy another pack of shopkins.
  • Having a salad for dinner but then polishing off the abandoned chicken-nuggets your child left on their plate.
  • Forgetting to wash a school uniform and digging a dirty one out of the hamper, spraying it with Febreze and sending them on their way.
  • Being so desperate to finish homework that you may have “led the witness” to arrive at the correct answer.
  • Letting your child watch back-to-back (and by back-to-back we mean 10) episodes of their favorite show just so you could put the finishing touches on your contributed article with the looming deadline.
  • Regifting a target gift card for a birthday party because you spaced and forgot to grab a gift.

In light of these confessions, here are our Jewish New Year’s resolutions– what we hope to do better or more of as moms in the coming year. And if we fail or don’t hit them all, January is right around the corner!

  • Telling the truth, as in when we inform our little ones that ice cream is not a dinner food, we also don’t eat ice cream for dinner or in other words, I will fit into those skinny jeans!
  • Not beating ourselves up when we need just one more hour of sleep so, without making any eye contact, we slip the iPad through the cracked door of our kids’ bedrooms.
  • Losing the guilt when our child watches ten episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in one sitting because binge watching is clearly a skill they will need when they get older.
  • Admitting that our kids are assholes sometimes because when they are lying face down on the floor screaming, kicking their legs, and shouting “NO” on repeat over not being ready to go to sleep or do anything you ask them to do, they are being assholes!
  • Not stressing about our kids still sleeping in pullups at night because let’s be real, who wants to start their morning cleaning up shit, changing sheets, and doing even more laundry?
  • Understanding that it’s okay to ask our husbands to do parent things like watch the kids, help with homework, feed them dinner, and handle bath time because they aren’t simply babysitters, they are dads and it’s their job too!
  • Realizing motherhood is effing hard and it’s okay to serve cereal for dinner (hey, it’s good enough for breakfast), put ourselves first, ask for what we want, leave the kids home with a babysitter, and drink all the wine…because happy mommy equals happy everyone!

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Kvetch Your Heart Out

Every Jewish girl learns the art of “Kvetching” (yiddush for complaining) at a young age. It’s just part of our shtick. And guess what…many Jewish men are far worse than the women. Like MASTER kvetchers.

So it’s only fitting that I have a new project writing for an awesome morning show site called The Morning Kvetch! 

Check out my debut article (rant): Dads Don’t Babysit, So Cut The Shit

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Mother of all Mothers

If you are a regular reader, you know that my mom has a leading role on the blog. She’s like the main character. Whether it’s screenshots of text messages with her, or her ridiculous Facebook posts, or a recap of a typical outing with her, there is NO shortage of material. Most of the time, she doesn’t even think she’s being funny and that’s what makes it hilarious.

You might remember my post about her around Mother’s Day a couple of years ago.

This woman is my rock. We differ in many ways but have striking similarities too. And as I get older, I feel myself turning more into her with each passing day. All of my friends love her and she pretty much puts herself in charge wherever she goes and everybody listens. There might be some eye rolling, but they listen. Mostly because it’s easier. They know she’s not going to give in.

Growing up (and now) she was always super hands-on. She was the quintessential SAHM, but didn’t cook or clean. She ordered in, had a housekeeper, and basically spent all of her energy on us. Schlepping my brother to play basketball in the hood instead of in the confines of a homogeneous all white/jewish boys team. She would saunter in with her long acrylic nails entering 5 minutes before her and give dirty glares to other parents who would yell stuff about my brother. Schlepping me to dance classes and spending ridiculous amounts of money on recital costumes and dance gear. And then years later to cheerleading practice.

She was the mom who would stop at two places for breakfast or lunch because my brother and I wanted different things. If we forgot something at school, she would show up with it…along with a bag from Burger King or McDonalds, which was way better than whatever we brought (we started to “forget” stuff a lot).

She was the mom who would scour stores while we were at school to find the exact shirt or pair of jeans we were pining over.

Our beds were made before the bathroom door closed in the morning.

She served grilled cheese sandwiches (my bad, I guess she did cook) in little baskets with decorative doilies.

If we were sick, there was a tray set up on front of our bed faster than you could blink with tea, toast cut into perfect bite-sized pieces and the remote.

When I lived in Boston, she would bring up a bunch of frozen orders of Chicken and Cheese from Here Comes the Sun, to hold me over until the next time I was down in FL.

And she taught my brother and I the most important life lesson. To ALWAYS have each other’s backs because there is nothing more important than family. And she has always had ours. She still holds grudges to people who wronged either of us, dating back to kindergarten.

As if she wasn’t the most incredible mother, she is also the best and most coolest grandmother on the planet. She does all of the above for my child and more…including teaching her about the lost art of prank phone calls. I’m not joking. She will call (my family only) and pretend to be a Chinese restaurant or pizza delivery. Her and my daughter take turns and she thinks it’s the greatest. She giggles so hard she can barely get the words out and thinks my mother is a creative genius. She also buys her things I would never buy – like fart guns and giant pallets of eye shadow.

This woman would cut her arms off for her children…no really she says that all the time. Like if we ask her to do something she looks at us with that look and then pretends to saw her own arm off with her other hand – insinuating “duh! I would do anything for you”.

If you are on her good side you are golden, and if you’re not, you are effed.

She’s a natural-born fighter who couldn’t even be knocked out with normal doses of anesthesia when she had breast cancer 4 years ago and needed a lumpectomy. The doctor literally came out and said “The amount of drugs I had to give her was ridiculous…she wouldn’t shut up.”

And she taught us to be fighters. Whether it was me pushing my way to the front of the stage at 4 years old because I was behind too many dancers (yup…that happened), or battling bullies and other bullshit in my adult life.

She can’t pronounce any celebrity names correctly, but she can spit lyrics from Tupac and Biggie.

She is simply the best and we are all madly in love with her. Mom, you are the best there is, the OG, my best friend and my ride or die chick. I love you more.

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Happy (early) Mother’s Day

xx

Rachel

 

Chalk it Up to Chalking it Up

I’ve never really met a stage I didn’t like.

(I mean, my friend and I recently murdered Ginuwine’s Pony at her 40th bday bash. Even though it’s sideways, it’s still a gem.)

I had ballet and tap shoes on my feet about 30 seconds after I took my first steps.

I’ve danced in front of big audiences. Cheered in front of big crowds.

I even missed a few days of my senior year of high school for an 18-episode stint on MTVs, The Grind (yes, that one and yes, Eric Nies was even hotter in person)

So suffice it to say, I am not shy. But for some reason, I HATE having my picture taken. I always feel weird “posing” for the camera. My lip starts twitching from fake smiling and I have one eye that sometimes goes rogue in photos – I call it my doll eye.

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It just never feels natural. I mean come on…when are you ever casually walking down a beach with a well-behaved child giggling and skipping together while your makeup is flawless and the wind is blowing your hair into beautiful tousled beach waves.

Spoiler alert – never. Because what really happens is that you go to the beach, your child only wants to make a sandcastle while you try to sit in a way that your post-baby body rolls don’t come pop out somewhere, your expensive blowout from the night before is destroyed and some asshole preteen throws and football to his friend who kicks sand in your kid’s eye and the hysterics start which ruins the day. Am I right?

“Natural” is hard in a photography setting. So when I was talking to photographer, Courtney Ortiz about her new Chalkboard Sessions…I was intrigued.

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She covered the back wall of her Hollywood studio in chalkboard paint with the purpose of having kids come in with moms, dads, sibs, whatever, and just draw. No rules, no formality. Just pick up chalk and go with it.

My daughter loves to draw. She’s constantly doodling or engaging in some sort of art project leaving shreds of paper all over my house like she’s leading me on some cleaning treasure hunt. So I knew it could be right up our alley. When I told her what we were going to do she said, “So I can draw anything?”

“Yup! Anything?”

“No rules?”

“Nope! Whatever you feel like doing, babe”

“Can I draw someone throwing up?”

So, Courtney – maybe there should be some guidelines 😉

We get to the studio. The chalkboard wall is exactly as described and we were pumped. We strategized about what to draw, chose colors, discussed what it should look like, and just started creating. We did not sit in front of the camera and pose for an hour. We didn’t have to tilt our chin at an awkward angle or laugh at something fake funny.

We literally just drew. Every once in a while, Courtney would say, “Hey guys, turn around for a minute…or sit there…or look at me”. Other than that, she just followed our lead. Let us set the tone. She was snapping away from different angles.

And something amazing happened. When I got the pictures back I was immediately struck by the fact that every single smile and laugh was a real one. Not a contrived one. They were authentic, in the moment smiles because we were enjoying THIS moment Courtney facilitated.We weren’t there to”take pictures”. We were there for Courtney to take pictures while WE created our artwork and just spent time together.

That’s when I realized that this woman is a creative genius.

She has created a format where you are so distracted by doing something natural with your kids, that the pictures come out exuding true, organic laughter and levity. It makes so much sense! We were so into what we were making in the moment that we weren’t even paying attention to the camera. We were too busy drawing a princess castle, and deciding where to put the flowers, and what color her hair should be.

Totally in our element while Courtney was simultaneously in hers.That’s a magical equation right there!

Courtney went beyond taking our picture. She captured very REAL and loving moments between us. She captured the silliness and the fun. That’s what makes these so special. And for the record,  there are some AH-MAZING pics of us actually looking at the camera that I will no doubt print and hang on my walls (confession: my house is a shrine to my child), but the ones I loved most were the candid, action ones and I’m sharing a small sampling below that give me the feels.

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And I loved it so much that I’m geeking out over what Courtney is allowing me to do.

Ready? I am giving away (like for FREE, you guys) a Chalkboard Session with Courtney Ortiz at her Downtown Hollywood studio. You will get a studio session with an 8×10 signed original print – that’s a $225 dollar value. FOR FREE.

Here’s what you need to do if you want it. It’s only two steps!

  1. Like the Whine & Cheez(its) page on Facebook (if you don’t already)
  2. Comment on my post for this blog letting me know you’ve liked the page AND tell me what you love most about your mother (or special woman in your life).

Want Extra Entries?!?

Follow Whine & Cheez(its) on Instagram  (using whineandcheezits) and do the same exact thing on the post I have up there about my session…and don’t forget to tag @CourtneyStudios!

Winner will be selected at random on Monday May 2nd!

And if you’d like to have your own “moment”, you can  book your Chalkboard Session with Courtney today! You will not regret it. I mean if you want to do Mother’s Day like a boss…I’m telling you that she will LOVE a session with Courtney.

xx

Rachel