Moving forward


Everything in my life has changed. I am officially a single mom. I am now the only adult in the house.  I have chopped off all my hair. My kids are growing more independent. I am graduating from community college.  While I  have had another pseudo-adult in the home, in reality I have been a single mom for at least two years. I have been financially supporting my family with little to no help from the fathers of my children and of course I have always been the one making all the major decisions that occur in my household.

Since October my hair has gone through many changes. It went from long and orange to red to shorter and  red to shorter and now its as short as its been since I have been 16. And I love it. Every second that I save and that my hair is always done. And that I don’t care new hairthat my ex hates it (kinda makes me love it more). To me its a new beginning. A  fresh start. I feel free and young, and amazing. I am starting a new chapter in my life. I am graduating from community college with an associates degree. A feat that I never really thought I would accomplish. I am hopefully continuing on to my 4 year college of choice where I can advance to step 2 of my goals of getting a masters degree.

I have been lucky to find a wonderful program that is helping me to let go and let G-d. Whatever that G-d means to me-because I really am not sure all the time. I know I have a higher power, and that she is looking out for me (yes she). I am learning to admit my powerlessness in life and even though it is a daily struggle, I am starting to realize that the more I attempt to control every aspect of my life and the lives of my kids, the less control I actually have. What a lesson that I am learning and growing with. I have learned to trust a little more, and by doing this I have found a woman that is not only a friend, but is truly a sister to me. She deals with my crazy and lets me know when it needs to be reigned in. She laughs with me, cries with me, and stays with me until I put the kids to bed.

I am doing things that I almost never thought possible to do without a partner. I threw a birthday party for my son today. All by myself. Besides the women who worked at the spot where I had it (they are angels) I figured it out on my own. I had to talk the demons of self doubt out of my head, and am realizing that I am able to do ANYTHING I want to or need to all by myself. Not that I would not accept help, but what a feeling to know that I can accomplish anything on my own.

I am placing my fears to the side. I allow myself to remember them, but do not allow them to debilitate me any longer. So while change can be scary it is also freeing. I am free to start to live again. Start to be the woman that I want my daughter to be like and the woman that I want my boys to look up to. This road ahead of me will be hard. It will have many bumps, but for the first time in a long time, rather than fearing those bumps, I am looking forward to the challenges they bring.

Unplugged but Buzzed In


I cut the cord. No more cable. My reasoning was a mix of financial as well as the thought that my kids brains were turning into a pile of mush inside their heads. I miss my Walking Dead, and mindless MTV shows but I still have my Netflix so we are ok there. I realized a few weeks into this shutdown that I still needed to watch the news, so I bought a HD antenna. I plugged in into the tv in my bedroom and when I scanned my channels, I was given a small gift and a wonderful surprise. Channel 9.3. The Buzzer Channel.

Where have you been all my life?

Where have you been all my life?

24  hours of all the game shows my parents watched when they were younger and that I also watched
when I was  young. There were the classic favorites such as “The Match Game”


We love you Brett!

Which has become a favorite for my oldest son (” But mom, I need to finish watching  to see if they are going to match MY answer). To my favorite old show ( and the favorite of my middle child) “Press Your Luck” 

Oh, Whammy!

We have been known to scream “No Whammy” at the TV often. Then there are the shows we never saw before like “TattleTales”, that show us some of our favorite celebrities with their spouses.


Look, its Betty White!

But you can never forget, “Lets Make A  Deal”

Wayne Brady, you are no Monty Hall

Wayne Brady, you are no Monty Hall

So although I have unplugged, the cable, and limited the amount of internet use in my house, we can still gather on my bed, after bath time for 30 minutes of good old game show fun!

80 Summers


So its been a few weeks since my day in court, and I must say things in my house have calmed down-well as calm as a house with 3 kids, 2 cats, and a dog can be. I am getting all my ducks in a row-my associates degree is within reach, and I am preparing for the next step, my bachelors/masters program. I am so excited to be closing this chapter of my life and moving forward to my next adventure. It is scary, but I truly believe that there is no such thing as standing still in life. I have spent so much time not  trusting my instinct, second guessing myself and truly not making the best decisions for me and the kids, so today I will tell you all about 80 summers.

Not a long time ago, I met someone that gave me a piece of information that I take with me every day. It has forever changed my life, and I am happy to pass this on to you. They said: You have only 80 summers to enjoy for your entire life (give or take). What are you going to do with the summers that you have left?

When I was told that, I was speechless (I know it doesn’t happen often). It seems so finite-80 summers. I look at my life, and realize that I am just about halfway through all the summers that I will ever have. I look back and think that as an adult and as a parent (lets say the last 8 years) I have only enjoyed 1 summer. I have only given my kids 1 fun and amazing summer. I am not only responsible for my 80 summers, but for at least 15-18 of my kids summers. How could I have been so selfish? How could I have not taken every opportunity to create and build memories that will last these children a lifetime? Do I want my kids to look back at their 80 summers and say, all we did was play video games, and go to day care? All we did was stay home and listen to my parents argue?

Absolutely not! I have taken active steps to make sure that for the most part I will be giving my kids, and myself memories that will impact them in a positive and joyful way. I want them (and myself) to be able to go on in life and take the simple lessons that will impact them in more ways than just a good time. I want them to understand that it is ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them and try not to repeat them. I want them to understand that they are not alone in this world, and that their actions can impact others, as well as the world as a whole. I need for them to see positive loving parental figures, even when in the background, there is a loss of love and understanding. It is not for them to know dysfunction (as much as I can prevent it). It is not for them to feel unsafe in their own home. I want and need them to take the lessons that I am teaching them, and pass them onto their own kids in the future-and they will. So it is up to me, and me alone to make sure that those lessons are ones of responsibility, respect, and love.

So now I have a mission bigger than my degree. I have a goal bigger then myself. I am dedicated to not only making the most of my next 40 summers, but to make the most of my kids summers as well.


Devolution Into Violence

Devolution Into Violence

I am happy to be able to share this wonderful post by a very strong woman

Stories that Must Not Die

image October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

It began with a charming man who was outgoing, funny, intelligent, thoughtful. People loved him and wanted to be around him.

It began with lies. A white lie here, another there. He would say, “when I was at university…” even though I had known him since high school and knew that he never went to college. I could have blown his lies, but I didn’t say anything.

It began with lies to me. “I’m off to work…” and when I’d call, they’d say that he was fired a month ago for theft. He’d tell me that he was framed and he found another job. He just forgot to tell me.

It began when his sixteen year old sister took a loaded shotgun to her head. His father cleaning bits of her off the walls. Blood stained flowery wallpaper. He was never sober again.

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The day I was able to exhale


Domestic Violence is tough topic. It’s hard for the victim to admit and accept that it is happening to them. It is hard for family members to understand and know how to help. It is taboo to talk about it in public. There is one place, however, in Monmouth County where from the first phone call to the hotline, where it is ok to admit, talk about, and get help for the epidemic that is sweeping our nation. That place is 180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.

As a victim of severe physical violence, I felt that since my abuser was in jail and soon to be in prison for at least 5 years that I was safe, at least for the time. It was strongly suggested by a DCP&P worker to call 180, and to start the program on my own (or I would be mandated by the court to go). I went thinking I would “do my time” and just leave. What actually happened was amazing. I found myself surrounded by women that were just like me; hurt, scared, and ready to move on with their lives. Over the next two years, I was a regular member of multiple support groups, found the strength to share my story with others, and went back to school to get (eventually) my MSW.

Today, I want to share with you the experience I was able to have, five years after the abuse stopped with the wonderful women who man the court advocacy program. Early in the month of September 2015, I received an email notification that my abuser would be released from State Prison. Suddenly, it was as if he was right there beside me. I became anxious, and scared and aware that he would immediately try and contact me when he got out of prison. We have a child together, and I was sure he would use my sweet child as a vehicle to begin the abuse all over again. I immediately went to the court and filed for a temporary restraining order. To my surprise, as soon as I began to speak about the abuse (the last physical assault was in 2009) I started to shake and cry. Just talking about this man put me right back to where I was five years prior and I was terrified. The parole officer and hearing officer were amazing. They listened to me, took everything I said into consideration, and issued me my temporary restraining order. I was told it may be difficult to serve him while in prison, but to come back on the following Wednesday for the trial for the final order.

I went back on Monday, since I received an email that he would be released earlier than thought to speak to the judge. I spoke with Sally* from the 180 office instead. She calmed me down, spoke with me and told me to come in on Wednesday for the scheduled court date. Wednesday came and I was a mess. I met with Sally* before seeing the judge and was informed that even though he was still in prison he had not been served and I would not have my trial that day. I was so angry and upset. How could this happen? If the state could not serve a man serving a prison sentence, how could they ever find anyone? My trial was rescheduled for two weeks from that day and I was sent on my way. Before I could leave, Sally* took me to the side, and told me to be safe, and if I needed anything to call her (she gave me her card) or the 180 office; she was my calm in the tumultuous storm I was drowning in.

The day of the trial came, and this time I was greeted by Laura*, the other 180 advocate in the court. From the moment that I entered the waiting room, her calm demeanor helped me through one of the hardest and terrifying days of my life. She sat in the courtroom with me. When my abuser walked through the door and stared at me, trying to intimidate me, she helped me move my seat, spoke to the sheriffs officer (to let him know what my abuser was doing), and made me feel safe. What was amazing was I was not the only one there that day. She was able to help me calm down, while still helping the others in the courtroom. During the very long trial, when the judge needed to take a break to look at all the paperwork that was handed in, she helped me to the bathroom so that I could wash my face and take a breath. She told me that I was doing a great job and told me to be strong and brave. Her words and presence were everything I needed right at that moment. She was my ally, my life preserver, my friend. When the trial came to an end, and I was given my final restraining order, she was there to give me a hug, tell me that I was brave, and to give me a tissue so that I could wipe away the tears of relief that were streaming down my face.

That day, five years from the last physical assault, was terrifying. I am not sure if I would have had the strength to endure that day, had it not been for the support of Sally* and Laura*at the courthouse. I cannot imagine having to be alone, to deal with this type of trauma without them. So I take this opportunity to not only thank 180 Turning Lives Around, Inc for helping to save my life and the lives of my children, but to thank Sally* and Laura* for being there, right next to me in court. There are not enough words or even the right words I can use to explain how their mere presence, gave me the strength to speak my truth, and get the protection that I need for my family. For that I will be eternally grateful. You are my angels. I thank you forever for what you have given me. Peace of mind, a restful night, and safety.

*Names have been changed to ensure safety

It’s not just THEIR problem, it’s ALL of OUR problems



Sometimes, you just have to give. When giving charity, please do not forget about 180 Turning Lives Around, Inc. This Monmouth County, NJ based program, has some of the best wrap around services that I know. They saved my life and the life of my best friend. Domestic Violence Awareness Month begins on Thursday.

Taking out the Trash


Literally and figuratively, right now in my life, I am taking out the trash. Rewind to mid afternoon, Saturday. The man and I,  are splitting and it’s not pretty. I need him to go and he is fighting a losing battle to stay. One thing I have learned about myself in this journey of my life that I have been taking is that when I am done with something, I am done. Whether it’s my love of cheese flavored pretzels that has turned to disgust

Oh, I use to love you so much!

Oh, I use to love you so much!

or a relationship that is over, I am done. So back to last week, while he was ranting and raving about something (I really don’t know what because I have stopped listening) I was cleaning my house. My middle child was home and asked me if I needed any help. So I asked him to take out the trash. He is six. I did not expect him to do it. But, as my children often do, he surprised the hell out of me. He took the top off the trash bin, removed, and tied up the bag, went to the side door, and put the trash bag into the garbage pail in the back.  He then went to my backroom where I keep all my hoard extra supplies, took out 5 garbage bags, put 4 in the bottom of the bin, and put the 5th bag around the bin and put the cover on. He calmly went to wash his hands, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and then took his sister outside to play, away from the one siding yelling. My tough, yet sensitive little man. There is much chaos about to erupt in our lives over the next couple of weeks, and I am a little more calm knowing that he is wise beyond his years.

Fast forward to this morning, and he tells me that he is big enough to always take out the trash and he wants it to be his job from now own. No problems with that from this mom, and I decided that I too am old enough to know when it is time to take out the trash. Thanks for the lesson, my dear son.

Here we SNOW again


Being a native NJsian, there are certain things I have learned to deal with. Living close to the ocean-or as us natives call it-The SHORE is amazing. I could never imagine living anywhere that I would have to drive more that 30 minutes to see the ocean.  Many of my early summer memories are of me and my mom getting up super early and going to Long Branch to the beach every single morning. We would get there before anyone else and had our pick of the sand. I collected seashells before anyone else got there and had a clear, unblocked view of the water. I had my first jellyfish sting (sounds bad but I only remember happy times), jumping in the waves, and watching the tractors smooth out the sand.  Of course lately, the Jersey Shore means something else to the rest of the world (funny enough. only 1 person on that silly show was a native), but all in all, the “SHORE” is one of the best things about NJ.

What I despise about NJ is the snow. When I was younger, I loved the snow. Days off from school, sledding in the woods across the street from my house, and of course making snowmen outside. In college, snow meant snowboarding on fresh powder and it was all fun. But now, in my late 30’s snow is the enemy. We had a  good run for a few years. It was super cold, and would snow a little here and there but there were no major storms to speak about. Last year, literally 2 days after I moved into my house we got hit with a major snowstorm. Almost 2 feet and it didn’t stop until the end of February. Shoveling, getting plowed in, shoveling. It did not end. I assumed (and you know what happens when you assume),  that this winter we would be more fortunate. I mean, I can not remember having two winters in a row with major snowstorms since I was a kid.

So far, we were safe. Until this past Saturday we had NO SNOW! I was excited. I was thrilled. Then I watched the news on this past Sunday. 2 feet are on its way. 2 FEET!!! NOOOOOO, I silently yelled to myself, as my kids jumped up and down in glee. School is already closing early today-which means day care is closing early today. Which means I will be leaving work early today. I can pretty much guarantee that there will be no school tomorrow, so unless there is a state of emergency, I will not be going to work tomorrow because I will have no babysitter. Wait, no work tomorrow? That doesn’t seem too bad. Hmmm, I guess, Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow.

snow sucks

It’s been a while


Hello my old and faithful friends. It has been a long time since I have posted on a regular basis but have no fears, I AM BACK!I needed to take a break to let myself breathe, and of course in typical Abby fashion, I overloaded myself last semester and decided that I could take 3 college classes and work, and be a mom, and sleep. So I took the classes, and was a mom, and worked-but I am still catching up on that sleep aspect.

So this time around, I decided to scale back to my regular turtle’s pace of college advancement and am only taking 2 classes this time around. Perhaps by the time my 3 year old graduated high school, I will have my masters degree!!! That being said I decided to tackle my first math class since begging my way, um graduating high school in 1996. Since self punishment was on the menu I decided to take my Quantitative Methods for Social Science class-yeah its a super difficult statistics class. The first day has passed and I can honestly say I have no idea what the teacher said, but being that the book cost $198.00 at the college bookstore I will be getting an “A”. This will be one book I will read.

Life overall is very different since we have all last met. I FINALLY quit that horrendous job with the gremlins. Details to follow in another post. I have a part time job as a waitress at a local diner. Cash money every day, and who wouldn’t like asking countless 85 year old retirees what kind of toast and juice they want, and don’t forget that 20 minute discussion how I look just like their granddaughter, except she has blond hair, and is a little skinnier and of course for a wonderful tip of $1.75  (note –  my hands up waving wildly). BUT, this new job does give me the chance to go to school and do my internship and I will be hopefully entering Rutgers to complete my Bachelors/Masters degree for the Fall 2016 semester. Would have been earlier, but it makes sense for the community college that I go to to only offer the classes that I need to graduate all at the same time, all on the same day.

I say this to myself at least once a day

I say this to myself at least once a day

So I leave this little ramble for you all tonight at 12:33 in the am, when I should be sleeping but really missed all of you-my faithful friends who I am hoping will be pleasantly surprised if and when you see, that I am back.

Featured on the front page


As we all know domestic violence is a subject that is still taboo and that is usually not a news worthy story. I was blessed to be asked to be part of a story in the local newspaper. Below is a story that was featured on the front page of the Asbury Park Press Sunday paper. I have also included the link so you can read the story from the source itself

Domestic violence is not as easy to recognize as a punch in the face — and even then it isn’t always so apparent.
Abby, a 36-year-old woman from Monmouth County, knows this well. The Asbury Park Press is withholding Abby’s full name and certain details of her experience for safety purposes.
Abby said she would get beaten by her boyfriend and father of one of her children once a week. Her boyfriend controlled her money, she said, and he would allow her to see her family on his terms. She had no friends and no cell phone. At a holiday party several years ago, with her infant child in her arms, Abby’s boyfriend beat her in front of a group of friends.
But her “a-ha” moment, when she recognized she was in a dangerous situation and should leave for good — she’d left four times before — came when she was pregnant. She had asked her boyfriend to not drink all the juice in the refrigerator. Her boyfriend in turn yelled at her, then punched her in the side of the head repeatedly, she said. She lost hearing in her left ear for two weeks, she said.
The obvious question is: What took her so long to leave?
Abby said that in her situation, with a family and a life together, the abuse and threats “broke me down so bad emotionally.” She doubted her own ability to leave and survive on her own, and worried that her family would be in danger if she ever did.
This is common, experts say. Domestic violence tends to build up over time, and often isn’t recognized by the victim until it has escalated to the point of physical abuse.
“It puts you on your butt,” Abby said. “What’s normal is not normal.”
Domestic violence comes in many forms: not just physical abuse, but sexual, emotional and financial, said Janet Lee, a counselor at 180 Turning Lives Around in Hazlet.
“It’s not just a push, a shove or a hit,” she said. “What it is, is it’s a pattern of behavior that exists over time where the abuser uses a range of abuse to exert power and control over their partner.”
By New Jersey law there are 14 crimes of domestic violence, according to Legal Services of New Jersey. They range from harassment to stalking, lewdness to homicide. One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“I think that’s pretty well established across the country how prevalent it is,” Lee said. “At this point, we see it as a public health emergency.”