NY Children’s Museum

Olivia in the City Splash section of CMOM
Olivia in the City Splash section of CMOM

After going to an orientation for Ella’s new kindergarten school this week, which she will be starting in the fall, we planned a whole day of fun.  Ella was super excited about seeing her new school.  She had been talking about it everyday for a whole week.  And as it turned out, we had to go into the city anyway after her orientation, so we decided to indulge her a little.

Ella, Olivia and my niece Kaulyn in the City splash section of CMOM
Ella, Olivia and my niece Kaulyn in the City splash section of CMOM

She asked us to take her to her favorite place, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.  But because we had just visited within the past month I was hesitant.  I will always be the mom who looks for fun AND inexpensive things to do,  CMOM is not that place!

Admission is $11 for adults and children over the age 0f 1 year old.  Every time I go there I end up asking the same question, why in the world do I need to pay that much?  We parents aren’t using these exhibits like the children, we’re just there to look after our little ones!

Communicating with the body
Communicating with the body

Luckily, like other moms, I mentally log coupon sites and other discount tips that I hear about in my comings and goings.  One of those valuable resources to always remember is the LIBRARY!!!!


Teaneck Public Library
Teaneck Public Library

Yes, your public library is a great place, loaded with great information and books that cost nothing to take for a test run.  Ours happens to also be super cute and they are always looking for great ways to serve the community.

I recently found out about one of those services.  They allow members in good standing to visit many NYC museums with their families for free!

I am thankful to the mom I met while reading in the children’s section to Ella and Olivia one day, for telling me about this.   I love how we moms often randomly share information that ends up having such an impact on our lives!  Things like this happen all the time.

Hooray, for all the moms I know who make up this super mom community I am so proud to be a part of!


Our Day at the Zoo

We love the Bronx Zoo!

w/ Kaulyn Whitmore
The Ciros Going to the Zoo!

We have been to zoos in Madrid, Buenos Aires, Santiago,Chile, Bogota, Colombia, Mexico City and San Diego.  Of course, I’ve been to Little Rock  Zoo and  we’ve been to our local zoo in Bergen County as well as the Central Park Zoo.  There are probably  even more zoos that I just can’t remember now, but the one zoo that always tops our list is the Bronx Zoo.  I would say it is our favorite in the world.

“The Bronx Zoo is located in the Bronx borough of New York City, within Bronx Park. It is the world’s largest metropolitan zoo, with some 6,000 animals representing about 650 species from around the world.” -Wikipedia.

A Bronx Zoo Zebra
A Bronx Zoo Zebra

Wednesday’s are free admission days, so because we have a membership there, we try to avoid those days.  They are always too crowded with tremendous lines for the 4-d theater, the monorail, the carousel, the seasonal camel rides, the butterfly zone and especially the current featured exhibit, at the moment this is the Dinosaur Safari.  I once waited on that line for a least an hour without the use of my stroller!  Not fun!

So the best times to go are weekdays, when everyone else is at work and school.  Today was one of those days for us.  Ella, our 5 yr. old, woke up this morning with a little stomach bug so we kept her home from school.  As she began to feel better and able to step away from the bathroom for a while, we began to wonder what we might do with the rets of our day.  It only took a minute for the Bronx Zoo to pop into our heads and because my niece happens to be visiting it was an even better idea.

Gorilla mother and baby, Bronx Zoo.
Gorilla mother and baby, Bronx Zoo.

We just love to share our zoo with our visiting family and friends.  It’s a great way to get exercise and enjoy the people you love, while learning about, seeing, and helping to protect some beautiful animals at the same time.  If you’re visiting the area, check it out!  If you’re lucky enough to live here, but hadn’t been in a while, maybe it’s time to go visit again!

Enjoying our Zoo Day!
Enjoying our Zoo Day!

Til Next time…

Important Things All Writers Should Know


Burning the Midnight Oil!
Burning the Midnight Oil!

My 11 week writing class is nearly over.  Last week I had the assignment of being first to read a chapter from my novel.  Leading up to class, of course I revised it and I thought I had incorporated everything I’d learned in class so far.

Did I hit the mark?  Not quite!  But I learned a few important things from that nerve wracking experience;

1.  Don’t pull this Sara Devine move.  It’s the one where I raise my finger and shake it like I’m Bo Jangles, dancing a jig.  Ooh, ooh! Teacher lady! Pick me.  I’m done with my whole novel, I’ll be the first volunteer!  Instead I was the first over zealous guinea pig in the class who should’ve already known that the 2nd and 3rd students are the smart ones who benefit from watching me mess up!

But if being first is unavoidable, try not to worry…

2. Don’t try to escape the critique process.  Lying, saying you really have to use the bathroom at that particular moment is not classy.  Neither is hiding under the table.  Face the critique.  Everyone will go through it.  Choose to be one who learns from it.

A lengthy, in-depth critique doesn’t mean my work is crap, it just means the teacher is good and I have work to do.

Which leads to the next point I’ve learned…

3.  No good writer is an Island.  You NEED that critique.  You NEED fresh eyes to look over your work.  You NEED someone outside of your head, who is willing to dive in and tell you how ridiculous or fabulous it might be.


4. Good writing takes time.   It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write.  Let them think you were born that way.  That quote is from Ernest Hemingway, folks.  If he knew this and worked hard to achieve greatness, then none of us are exempt!  

So having said all that, here I am, or rather here is a picture of my computer, as I burn the midnight oil comparing the old and new versions of my novel.

When you’re a mom writing happens at odd hours.

Happy writing!

What do you think about these tips?  Have you learned something else?  Leave me a comment.


Introverts in Music

With the amazing Raphael Saadiq and Kim Burrell, fighting my shyness for the  sake of the music.
With the amazing Raphael Saadiq and Kim Burrell, fighting my shyness for the sake of the music,  c. 2007.


When you grow up in a big family, you get a humbling sense early on of your worth in life.  You matter, but no more or less than anyone else.  Individual thoughts and feelings don’t always get validation, because there usually isn’t enough adult time and energy to devote to everyone.

I grew up the ninth of ten children.  I have noticed that outstanding behavior usually gets attention, whether it’s praise or scorn.  The quiet, normal, uneventful wallflower children usually get the least attention.  This has carried over into every aspect of life I can think of, from my education to my work as a musician.

I have started reading ‘Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t Stop Talking‘, by Susan Cain, which recognizes the growing popularization of the glorified extrovert.  Our culture can easily make quiet, shy and normal people feel painfully boring and even worse, like failures.

I always felt like that as a child, experiencing only a brief season in my life of pride in this fact, thanks to the mysterious, aloof, artist known as Prince.

I had a neighbor, who unbeknownst to her, made a not so friendly comment that stuck to my sensitive self and hasn’t left me yet.  Upon finding out that I sing, often in huge rooms full of strangers, for a living she remarked that she “didn’t see me as the type of person who could do that, because I don’t walk into the room demanding all the attention.”  Well!  I thought, as I fought back the onset of my rolling eyes and tried to close my gaping mouth, you don’t know very much about artists.  There are many of us, with many different personalities, some extroverted and introverted! We are, after all people too.

Yes, we get up on stage and rock out, or act out!  Yes, we bravely pour our hearts out onto a colorful canvas or a written page! Yes, we often take to social media to promote our work!  But we are still be introverts, who just happen to be passionate and driven about sharing what we’re proud of!

The art comes naturally, everything else is the work we all must do, (unless you are Prince who admittedly does not do any of it)!

Thanks Susan Cain, for a book that gives so much perspective and pride to the introvert.

I’ll be back to share my thoughts as I continue reading the book.  In the meantime, if you have read it or have a thought on the subject-even if you’re an introvert, leave me a comment!

#Bring Back our Girls


Image from Parents.com
Image from Parents.com

This weekend we will celebrate Mother’s Day here in the U.S., but as I read the MSN headlines and look around on Facebook and twitter, it’s impossible as a mom, not to feel sad for all the mothers in Nigeria who have had their girls taken from them recently.

You’ve had to see the campaigns, the hashtag activism, it’s everywhere and it’s heartbreaking!

I had a nightmare once that stuck with me.  I opened my door to our backyard one beautiful and very normal day, to call Ella in from playing.  My focus was so keenly on her to my left,  that I didn’t realize as I called her name that a bulky man was standing to my right talking to her, in our yard!  Before I could say anything to him, the stranger darted off leaving our gate swinging and shouting “I couldn’t get her” to someone in the distance.

It was frightening to think of how close I came to losing my daughter, right from our own backyard, a place I felt was the equivalence of protection.

But I soon shook the fear however, because of a few reasons, that dream was set in my childhood home- I don’t even have a fenced in yard!  And because of that, I tend to never leave the kids out alone.  Also,  it’s unlikely Ella would ever be targeted, like she was in my dream.  I’m fortunate.

But those mothers who are now victims of that terrorist group who took their daughters are actually living their own abduction nightmare.

And although there are some who believe all our sharing, tweeting and blogging about this issue is doing nothing more than making noise, as in this Washington Post article, I want to believe that there is power in our numbers and our voices when lent in unison to an issue.

Maybe I can’t physically go to Nigeria and retrieve those girls.   I wouldn’t know where to begin, but if our noise collects, with our petitions, rallies and protests, becoming loud enough to annoy this terrorist group and others like them, maybe we can show them that we are all collectively motivated to seek justice against them and hopefully, next time our children won’t be so easily taken.

It reminds me of an African Proverb I once heard, once the lion has a historian, then the hunter will no longer be the hero.

Knowledge is power!

Click Change.org for the petition.

Career Day in NYC Public School & Detrimental Advice

Career Day at P.S. 161
Career Day at P.S. 161

Today Michael and I were honored to be invited to participate in P.S. 161’s Career Day.  It brought back old memories from my student teaching days.  And it has me wondering why some of us parents give our children such detrimental advice.

First of all, it was a challenge to accept the invitation, because we have Olivia, our 18 month old with us at home everyday.  Finding care, once in a while as opposed to having a baby sitter on a daily basis can be difficult.  Most of the babysitters we know have sucked their teeth and lost their patience with us for the last time because of our off and on need of their services.  They want more permanent work and we get that.

Sometimes we’d just like to have dinner and see a movie, but finding good babysitting is rarely easy. We ought to know, we found babysitters for our gigs all over the world with Alejandro Sanz, but it took a team and there were always glitches.   In the end, persistence prevails, for great and  small things alike.

We found a babysitter as late as yesterday evening and had a wonderful time at P.S. 161 today, talking about what we do and singing our song Dance.  We visited a special ed. class, a 3rd grade class and 1st grade class. The students were all lovely and bright, with hugs, smiles and lots of questions-many of them, unrelated to music- like are you married and what’s your cultural background, etc. Curious minds.

Afterwards, the adults gathered for lunch in the library, where we shared stories from the day.  I couldn’t help but shake my head when one lady told us about a boy who said he didn’t need to study because he was going to play basketball when he grew up!  I actually had a student at a different school, tell me nearly the same thing years ago.  He only showed up half the time for that after school reading program and one of those times he told me that his dad said he didn’t need any of it (the reading classes)!

Great teachers can do amazing things with young minds, but it amounts to nothing if parents don’t reinforce what’s learned, or at least support those efforts by encouraging the child!  Everybody knows this already, right?

So who are these people?

Music, Motherhood and Snow Dreams!

In Marbella, Span
The Cirinciones
in Marbella, Spain

Music, Motherhood and Snow Dreams!

I am a true music mama! I am among many who bravely take on the challenge of being their best in a competitive, often cut-throat and vain often unappreciative business, which I love. The music business, with it’s delicate mix of romance and sexism, racism and unity, integrity and lies, security and great insecurity can often make a person feel empty and confused. Yet there is nothing I’d rather do. And like most of the people in the business along with me, we could never divorce ourselves from our desire to do what we do. It’s the part of us that remains no matter what else may come and go.

So in trying to live a “normal” life through my music business experience, I have had quite an interesting journey. I have managed to do all sorts of gigs, all over the world. Music has enriched me in every way. It has brought my husband into my life, our two daughters into our lives and it has allowed us to tour as a family all over the world! I couldn’t beat the experiences music has given me, although the challenges of doing it while being a grounded mom are still very real.

One thing that helps me, is to always remember what E. Lynn Harris said in his memoir, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted: A Memoir and here as he spoke to the Ohio State University, about dreams.  Now that I find myself with a little more time at home, while I prepare Ella for school in the Fall, I can put forth the time and effort to realize my own “snow dream”!

Haven’t  you noticed the stillness, the quietness while standing underneath fresh undefiled snow as it fell.  Writing was a dream for him and I can certainly relate.  It has always been a passion and an escape for me, a dream that coexisted easily and naturally with music. Once afraid to admit my desire to write, for fear that someone might defile it, telling me I can’t  or shouldn’t do it, I now stand exposed in a field while my dream falls freshly on me.  I have written my first novel and have now started it’s re-write!

I am enjoying my writing classes and I’m writing all the time.  As I learn, share it with me, right here, with this blog!   Maybe you’ll share things as well, then we can grow together!  Either way, I hope you’re entertained. Thanks for dropping by and come back often!

My Hong Kong Show

Hong Kong Show
Hong Kong Show

Beat up, but happy after returning home from Hong Kong. I had an incredible time, shopping…


HOng Kong 2

And eating delicious food like I was out of my mind…

Hong Kong 3

Hong Kong 4

And making lovely new friends…

Hong Kong 5

Hong Kong 6

And most importantly, getting hot in balmy Hong Kong, singing my songs.
After Josh’s set and after my own…

Hong Kong 7

Still the best part was getting back to my family. And they seemed to enjoy their gifts from China!

China Gifts

Although I was still engorged I acted like I wasn’t, doing my best to ignore it and put on a show! I can’t wait to go back!

Please subscribe and leave me a comment. I look forward to hearing from you.

5 Days to Hong Kong!

All tuckered out!
Ni Hao Everyone!

I am on my way to Hong Kong for a gig with Louie Vega, in promotion our song ‘Fabulous.’ So, among the things on my “to do” list is to wean my 18 month old baby, Olivia. I can practically hear my friends rejoicing now, “Hallelujah, the day has come! No longer will we be subjected the idea of Sara’s loose boob in our midst while we tell our jokes and drink our wine!” Well, ladies I am proud to announce that it is actually happening this week. A few days ago we began nursing only at night time, which means that she can still roll over and pull out her favorite boob to nurse while we both continue sleeping. Yes, we are still co-sleeping. (More about those reasons why later). Anyway, my plan is to reduce the night time feedings to only one night time feeding over the next couple of days. Then, when I leave she will have had two days of only one feeding daily.
I admit this plan is not the best and I certainly should have started the process earlier, but at least I’m doing it now. And I’m actually surprised at how she copes with these changes. She’s a trooper! She cries about it and then allows me to distract her with her favorite outdoor activities! We are both pooped, but as you can see from the photo, Mama’s the only one still standing! The crying fits get shorter and shorter every day. Who would’ve thought my demanding baby would be this easy! Now if only I could get rid of the engorgement phase! Yikes!

How’d you handle yours? Leave me a comment!

Thomas teaches A Dinosaur!

Photo on 2014-04-12 at 18.00
Attention all! Thomas and I are building a site here!

And I feel like a dinosaur! My ears hear new words, from a new era, birthed from Silicon and Carbon Gods! Maybe that’s too dramatic, but the definitions are just that foreign to me now.
He tells me I can do it, then my fingers move ever so slowly to fulfill his commands. “Create a new tab for this page, Sara! Upload a new photo for that, Sara!” “Okay, okay,” I think to myself. But this is not a Bob Fosse choreographed piece! Why am I doing the ‘jazz hands’ dance now? Oh that’s fear,trepidation! My brain and my shaking fingers are thinking in two different rhythms.
A reluctant little dinosaur in a brave new world!
But I will be brave, because there is hope for me. After all, there was a girl who was given 3 dinosaur eggs as a gift, thousands of years after they were laid. They were just for beauty, because dinosaurs no longed lived in her time, of course. But one day those eggs hatched and those dinosaurs seem to be fine in that brand new era! Wait a minute! That story is from ‘Game of Thrones’ isn’t it? And they were Dragon eggs, weren’t they? Ugh!

Oh well, there goes my hope!

Thank you to Thomas Foyer at www.intendedimmigration.com

Music, Motherhood and more…