Carpool Lane

Carpool Lane - Meet Joline for a "CuppaJo" as she juggles two kids in school, homework, extracurricular activities and trying to find some "me" time.

 

 

rss20

Vacationing Without the Children (2)

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 0

atlantis4Sorry for the boring title.

I am currently in the process of completing a 7-page document for my parents who will be watching the kids  while my husband and I jet to Atlantis for our FIRST EVER vacation without the children. 

Yes. Our first.

We've both taken trips individually, but never together. Just the two of us. At least, not since my 11-year old was born. ELEVEN YEARS AGO! (Goes without explaining, I know, but really, this event warrants the use of repetition and ALL CAPS!)

I realized in May of last year that I had the opportunity to earn a vacation to Atlantis through my company. And since 2011 also marked our 20th wedding anniversary, I decided that I would work my little tail-feather to clinch that trip! Just. For. Us. Happy Anniversary, George!

And now, here I sit. Writing a post about vacationing without the children - offering you a boring title, because I'm overwhelmed with so many details. 

See, I've never planned for a trip where both of us would be away. ('Cause remember . . . WE'VE NEVER TAKEN ONE!) I thought it would be easy. 

I never realized I'd have to "pack" for them to stay behind. 

My brain is fried from "packing".

Which takes us back to that 7-page document, containing emergency numbers, daily activities, instructions for the dog, etc. There were also two Wills to be written (I know, I know, we hadn't gotten around to doing this over - ahem - the last 11 years), checks for school lunches to be written, medical release and change of permission forms for school pick-up to be signed. The car still needs a few minor repairs, the front storm door is broken (this is important when you have a dog that will bolt), and our shower isn't working well. Online shopping has become a MUST and I have definitely gotten my money's worth out of Amazon Prime. Yes, I bought toilet paper and various other household items all from the seat on which I now write this post. And yes, some guy in a warehouse is shaking his head going, "Really. This chick purchased ONE hairspray?" Free shipping, baby.

There were rides to be arranged and meals to plan.

There is still laundry to do. Oh! The laundry.

My goal? To have all of these details finished several days before we leave so we can enjoy just hanging with my children, who will also be experiencing something new - having Mom AND Dad gone at the same time for 5 days.

THE CHILDREN! ACK! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

In all the planning, I've not really given any thought to how they will do. I know they will be fine - but I still have a son who gets lost on his way back from the bathroom in the middle of the night, and thus, lands in our bed.

I have a daughter who is concerned that my parents won't pray our scripture blessing over her before bed. (Yes, I printed it out.)

I can hear pings of anxiety in the questions of, "Who will walk with me to the bus-stop?", "How will I get to art class?" and "Will Me-ma and Pe-pa take us to Cafe Kolache?"

But mainly, they are a bit "put-off" for not receiving an invitation on our adventure. Not this time, kiddos.

I'm sure all will go smoo-Oh!, I just thought of something else for my list . . .

Gotta go.


 

pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa JoWorkingmother.com, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

We've Broken the "No TV During the Week" Rule For . . .

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 1

bookbycoverTHE VOICE.

Yes. Yes, we have.

The singers. The blind audition. Cee Lo. Petting his cat.

We're all over it.

I hate reality television. And specifically reality talent shows. As a private coach for young actors a few years back, I actually had a student who made it through several cuts of the American Idol experience, only to be told by the producers (the step BEFORE getting in front of the celebrity judges - took 4 auditions to get there) that he was not "marketable". I also don't dig the whole viewer voting thing. I think Dancing With the Stars is like that also. The way I see it, these kind of shows are popularity contests, cloaked as talent competitions.

So, I question them.

On the last season of The Voice, I learned that the finalists were all working musicians, with managers, and touring schedules - so, not necessarily amateurs. They already had budding careers. But, at least they were talented - and chosen for their actual voices. And not their choice of haircut. Or cool shoes.

That being said, we love The Voice.

I'm usually the Queen of I Hate Cliches, but for The Voice, I relinquish that throne, for the show is a GREAT lesson in, "Don't judge a book by its cover."

With their backs turned, the coaches choose the singers for their teams depending solely on sound, rather than gender, appearance, wardrobe, or even the ability to move naturally while performing. 

I love this.

And interestingly enough, my kids do also. I can honestly say that while watching the program, my children haven't made comments about a performer's looks, but have had PLENTY to say about what they hear during the auditions. We've been confused about a few picks, to be sure, but make no mistake, the coach turns around because they HEAR something intriguing, rather than basing potentional on a first glance.

The Voice has reminded me of the importance of teaching my children that outer appearance is no indication of a person's talent and brilliance which may just need the opportunity to be heard. 

As silly as it may sound, The Voice is a great tool to teach this point. If you can work around the frequent bleeped-out profanity, and the commercials for smutty shows in between segments, I say, push your button, turn your chair around and give it a try.

Anyone else out there watch The Voice? What are your thoughts?

 


pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa Jo, Workingmother.com, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coachand sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

We've Broken the "No TV During the Week" Rule For . . . (2)

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 0

bookbycoverTHE VOICE.

Yes. Yes, we have.

The singers. The blind audition. Cee Lo. Petting his cat.

We're all over it.

I hate reality television. And specifically reality talent shows. As a private coach for young actors a few years back, I actually had a student who made it through several cuts of the American Idol experience, only to be told by the producers (the step BEFORE getting in front of the celebrity judges - took 4 auditions to get there) that he was not "marketable". I also don't dig the whole viewer voting thing. I think Dancing With the Stars is like that also. The way I see it, these kind of shows are popularity contests, cloaked as talent competitions.

So, I question them.

On the last season of The Voice, I learned that the finalists were all working musicians, with managers, and touring schedules - so, not necessarily amateurs. They already had budding careers. But, at least they were talented - and chosen for their actual voices. And not their choice of haircut. Or cool shoes.

That being said, we love The Voice.

I'm usually the Queen of I Hate Cliches, but for The Voice, I relinquish that throne, for the show is a GREAT lesson in, "Don't judge a book by its cover."

With their backs turned, the coaches choose the singers for their teams depending solely on sound, rather than gender, appearance, wardrobe, or even the ability to move naturally while performing. 

I love this.

And interestingly enough, my kids do also. I can honestly say that while watching the program, my children haven't made comments about a performer's looks, but have had PLENTY to say about what they hear during the auditions. We've been confused about a few picks, to be sure, but make no mistake, the coach turns around because they HEAR something intriguing, rather than basing potentional on a first glance.

The Voice has reminded me of the importance of teaching my children that outer appearance is no indication of a person's talent and brilliance which may just need the opportunity to be heard. 

As silly as it may sound, The Voice is a great tool to teach this point. If you can work around the frequent bleeped-out profanity, and the commercials for smutty shows in between segments, I say, push your button, turn your chair around and give it a try.

Anyone else out there watch The Voice? What are your thoughts?

 


pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa Jo, Workingmother.com, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Honest Abe? No, That's My Daughter

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 0

ipodUsually, when my 11 year old daughter hands me her iPod, it's because she wants to download a new game or a song. As she doesn't have her own password, all downloads have to get past me. It's always a bit of a standoff. Cue Music.

So, on Monday, when she handed me her iPod after school - as in, actually walked up to my office to lay it on my desk - I figured the customary hand-written "Wish List" with games and songs, which would normally accompany such a gesture, was simply delayed. 

I was wrong.

"Harper, I'm not adding anything right now. Give me a list and I'll review it."

"No, Mom. I'm giving it to you. I have to give it up for 24 hours."

Red flag.

"What happened?"

Hesitation.

"I forgot I had a test today."

Cue inner monologue, "GEEZE! THE SCHOOL DOESN'T PASS OUT THOSE FANCY PLANNERS FOR NOTHING!"

Relax. Must rephrase before I verbally vomit on my daughter.

"You didn't write it down?"

"I forgot."

This has been a bit of a hic-cup lately. Not writing things down. This, from the kid whose mother writes out a to-do list everyday and keeps a color-coded Google calendar. Religiously.

"OK, well, thank you for being honest and giving up your iPod. It's mine for 24 hours." Pause. "So, how'd you do on the test?"

Longer pause. Followed by a smirk.

"I aced it."

But, of course.

"Really?!"

"Yes. But I can't have the iPod back, right?"

I didn't have to answer. But in case YOU are wondering, and perhaps have been known to falter on follow-through, NO, she did NOT get her iPod back.

Combine this scenario with a recent discussion on the subject of friendship, during which my 11 year old uttered some profound thoughts and discoveries, and you've got a Mom who is seeing her daughter in an entirely new, GASP, mature light. 

I know we all fear the "he/she is growing up so fast" part when it comes to our children, but let me assure you that THIS development in the "he/she is growing up so fast" part, is very cool.


pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa Jo, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coachand sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.

Honest Abe? No, That's My Daughter (2)

Written by Joline Atkins. Posted in Carpool Lane

User Rating:  / 0

ipodUsually, when my 11 year old daughter hands me her iPod, it's because she wants to download a new game or a song. As she doesn't have her own password, all downloads have to get past me. It's always a bit of a standoff. Cue Music.

So, on Monday, when she handed me her iPod after school - as in, actually walked up to my office to lay it on my desk - I figured the customary hand-written "Wish List" with games and songs, which would normally accompany such a gesture, was simply delayed. 

I was wrong.

"Harper, I'm not adding anything right now. Give me a list and I'll review it."

"No, Mom. I'm giving it to you. I have to give it up for 24 hours."

Red flag.

"What happened?"

Hesitation.

"I forgot I had a test today."

Cue inner monologue, "GEEZE! THE SCHOOL DOESN'T PASS OUT THOSE FANCY PLANNERS FOR NOTHING!"

Relax. Must rephrase before I verbally vomit on my daughter.

"You didn't write it down?"

"I forgot."

This has been a bit of a hic-cup lately. Not writing things down. This, from the kid whose mother writes out a to-do list everyday and keeps a color-coded Google calendar. Religiously.

"OK, well, thank you for being honest and giving up your iPod. It's mine for 24 hours." Pause. "So, how'd you do on the test?"

Longer pause. Followed by a smirk.

"I aced it."

But, of course.

"Really?!"

"Yes. But I can't have the iPod back, right?"

I didn't have to answer. But in case YOU are wondering, and perhaps have been known to falter on follow-through, NO, she did NOT get her iPod back.

Combine this scenario with a recent discussion on the subject of friendship, during which my 11 year old uttered some profound thoughts and discoveries, and you've got a Mom who is seeing her daughter in an entirely new, GASP, mature light. 

I know we all fear the "he/she is growing up so fast" part when it comes to our children, but let me assure you that THIS development in the "he/she is growing up so fast" part, is very cool.


pittsburgh_momJoline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be founding writing at The Cuppa Jo, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.