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20 Reasons to Toast Mother’s Day 2017

JaM Cellars Chardonnay Mother's Day 2017 | Umami Girl

Happy Friday, friends. This Mother’s Day weekend, in the best of all possible worlds and also the actual world, the four of us and my mom are sardine-ing into the car on our way up to Massachusetts to celebrate the fact that my little sister Allison is about to become the mama of a baby girl. I could end this post right here and feel pretty good about it. But it’s got me in the mood to wax lyrical about Mother’s Day for a sec. So.

JaM Cellars Butter Chardonnay

First things first. I want to thank JaM Cellars for sponsoring this post, which was fun to write. JaM Cellars, run by second-generation Napa winemaking couple John (the J) and Michele (the M), makes three easy-to-love, everyday California wines. In true California tradition, the wines are rich, bold and luscious. They sent me two bottles of JaM Cellars Butter Chardonnay, which truly is like buttah in the best sense of the term. It’s juicy and lush and brimming with stone fruit notes, baked lemon and a long, vanilla finish, and has been voted the best Chardonnay under $20. Find it at a store near you and follow JaM Cellars on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

And now, 20 reasons I’m toasting Mother’s Day this year.

20. Our piano. Okay you guys, I’m starting big. Sorry. My dad and grandpa both passed away a few years ago. (I’m averaging seven years and “sometimes feels like yesterday” to “a few.”) Although neither of them had much musical talent, both were generous music lovers and avid supporters of Allison’s and my efforts. Dads, am I right? Also, though, moms. Namely MY mom, who gave beautiful pianos to both me and Allison this year in honor of Dad and Grandpa and our grandmothers. Now every time I, or one of our two daughters, plays the piano, the whole extended family is in our music room with us. I’m not always big on the afterlife, but boy. This I will take.

JaM Cellars Chardonnay Mother's Day 2017 | Umami Girl

19. The VIP Lunch tradition at our elementary school. One of my favorite events.

18. College. Our brainiac tween daughter is all of 12, and we’re already having to tamp down excited conversations about college. What the heck, even? But I’ll take it.

17. Momming the $#!+ out of everyone. I turned 40 this year and am taking it as license to lovingly scatter the wildflower seeds of my motherly wisdom on every roadside I pass. Just try to stop me.

16. The working moms conversation. Earlier this year I was proud to contribute to the important conversation about working motherhood in our country.

15. This. (From here.)

The Teen Engine that Could Not Even

14. Gymnastics. All of a sudden the 8 year old can do two back walkovers in a row and is working on her front tuck. I love it so much when my kids can do things I can’t.

13. Sharing clothes. The tween and I share clothes now. Not shoes, though, because she can’t fit into mine anymore. And I’m not even freaking out about it…mostly.

12. Blue hair don’t care. How cool are these girls?

Blue Hair Don't Care | Umami Girl

11. Locks of Love. And while we’re talking hair, this before and after makes me proud.

Locks of Love Before and After | Umami Girl

10. This conversation from last night. I’ll let it serve as an example of the joy we get from how freakin’ funny — like legit funny — the girls are becoming as they grow up.

The tween: OMG. You don’t often smell decent cologne in a middle school. But I did today.
Me: (tentatively) An…appropriate amount?
The tween: Yes!
(Lights fade on stunned silence.)

9. The Father-Daughter Dance. Another favorite in our town. Look at those faces, will ya?

Father Daughter Dance | Umami Girl

8. Mom Friends. When the kids were tiny and the world was utter chaos, mom friends were a daily lifeline in an immediate, intimate way. Now that everyone’s a little older, we don’t always see each other quite so regularly. But I’ve spent the year riveted and adoring of what my beautiful mom friends have been doing with their extra time and space. Reimagining the postal system as a bank. Conjuring massive sculpture installations from thin air. Making spaces for women to pursue financial independence. And so much more. Rock on, ladies.

7. The way women came together this year. I won’t get political. But damn, it’s been great to see and feel and be part of an upswell of strong women working together to be loud and clear.

JaM Cellars Chardonnay Mother's Day 2017 | Umami Girl

6. Ellis Island. That morning a few weeks ago when the clock still started with a 6 and I was all ready to help take 115 third graders to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty for the day. And that afternoon, when somehow everyone had survived.

5. Kid wisdom. When one of the kids musters every bit of her 8 or 12 years of hard-earned wisdom and says something more insightful than I ever could. Most recently, the tween: “I love PEZ so much. I just wish it dispensed something different.” Me too, man. Me too.

4. The right man for the job…is a tween girl. The moment I realized that asking the tween to pound the bejeezus out of a bunch of chicken breasts with a rolling pin was a great way to do more than just speed up the Easter dinner prep. (And other such parenting revelations.)

3. Tire swing investment strategy. That time I went out to grab a little clip of two of my favorite people playing on the tire swing and discovered they were also discussing investment strategy.

2. This other conversation from last night. Speaking of one of my favorite people, here’s a surprising tip on how to turn on a 40-year-old mom. Apparently all you have to do is pull into the driveway after dinner and say gently to the children in the back seat, “Girls, I just want to encourage you to be a little extra careful walking and biking at this time of year, especially on the side streets. Did you see the way that car pulled around the corner too fast? College kids are starting to come home from school for the summer. So just pay a little extra attention.” Mmm-kay just gonna leave that right there.

1. Humility, Tween Parenting Edition. This has been a big one, as I probably don’t have to tell you. It’s been good for me if sometimes challenging, and at its best, it’s funny as hell, too. Like that time when the tween came home and said, “You look very artsy today,” and I realized she meant I looked like I was wearing a smock.

Smock | Umami Girl


JaM Cellars Chardonnay Mother's Day 2017 | Umami Girl

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and mother figures making 2017 a better place. Let’s raise a glass.

Talk to you soon.


Carolyn xx

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.

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