Marissa Jaret Winokur’s Blog: Why Hurricane Sandy Hit Home for Me 11-28-2012 We’re thrilled to welcome Marissa Jaret Winokur back to our celebrity blogging family! As you may recall, the Tony-winning actress, 39, beat cervical cancer 11 years ago, underwent a hysterectomy and later she and husband Judah Miller welcomed a baby boy with the help of a surrogate. Their son, Zev Isaac, is now 4 and Winokur is back on the small screen, starring on TV Land’s Retired at 35. She can be found on Facebook and on Twitter @MarissaJWinokur. VISITING THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING – COURTESY MARISSA JARET WINOKUR The week after Hurricane Sandy, I sat down to do my monthly blog. There has been a lot of focus on my weightloss, so I knew I needed to address that. I thought, “This blog is going to be easy to write. I’ll talk about how I did it to everyone out there who is struggling with their weight as well.” But then I got distracted by Facebook. Who doesn’t? My God, what did I do before Facebook? I guess I had to call people and see how they’re doing! Now I can just read a post and call when in trouble. I saw a post from my oldest friend Nancy. We were best friends at age 5, living in New York, where she still resides. Her post said, “Nine months pregnant … nine nights without power but my incredible husband is keeping us safe, warm and well-fed. Thank you to all who have been checking in on us. Baby L is a good listener so far, I told him/her to please not make your appearance until the power is back!” OMG!!! Who cares how I lost weight?! Nancy was going to give birth to her first child alone and in the freezing cold dark. How terrifying! My New York family had power only because my brother has a generator (very MacGyver of him!). But the theater my niece Emily worked at this summer is still underwater! How can I even think about a weightloss story? I lived in New York my whole life. Like every New Yorker, I have stories about spending summers on the Jersey shore, riding the roller coaster in Seaside that is now famous for that sickening photo of it being washed out to sea. I have many friends on Facebook who organized cars to drive into the devastation with basic things like blankets and diapers. My heart is broken for my hometown and all the people that Sandy has hit. I can’t imagine Nancy about to give birth! The storm really had me thinking about our home safety. I live in California: earthquake capital! I realized Zev is almost 4 and we really haven’t talked as a family about what to do, where to go and where to meet if there was an earthquake. HAVE YOU?! I mean, REALLY? Your first instinct is, “Yes, I totally know what to do.” But really think about it! DO YOU REALLY? This weekend, we are doing a legit earthquake drill at my house. We picked tables to hide under and meeting places. I am going to put together stuff you need in your garage and get flashlights and candles ready! I mean, I can barely think ahead enough to have the right foods for Zev’s lunches let alone what I need for an earthquake kit!! You can find that info online — I was happy to see many websites dedicated to safety kits and such. WITH MY FAMILY IN BEDFORD – COURTESY MARISSA JARET WINOKUR This September was the first time I took Zev back to the street I grew up on in Bedford, N. Y. It was very emotional. I lived in the same house my whole life on a beautiful dead-end dirt road. I always dreamed I would raise my family in that house — my father designed it and built it. My brother still lives nearby, so visiting is fun and easy. We also took Zev into N.Y.C. We stayed downtown, right where all the flooding was. What would we have done if we were there when Sandy hit? I know there are storms and disasters all the time, but this one really hit home to me. Now that I’m a parent, it all seems so incredibly sad and hard. I can honestly say — not proudly, but honestly — before I had a child I would see things on TV or hear the news, feel sad for the people and move forward with my day. Now I see everything through a mother’s eyes. How would I deal with telling my son we are lucky to be alive, but we lost our home? How would I be able to make him understand we are lucky to have our house, but there will be no lights or electricity or warm food for weeks? I feel so bad for the parents out there. Let’s be honest — being a parent is hard on a normal “everything is okay” day. Now add being a parent when you are made to feel helpless by the storm pounding on your house. At a birthday party this past weekend, the mothers and I were all talking about how we can help, maybe sponsor a school that was hit or do a clothing drive or something. Anything!! Within one day from the party our preschool teamed up with New York’s Jewish Board of Family & Children’s Services‘ relief effort. There were flyers in every kids cubbyhole asking for help. This is just one organization. There are so many ways you can help or work as a community with your friends and other families. I know on Facebook, Jennifer Cody and the Broadway community is spearheading Rizzo Relief by gathering clothes, food, strollers and diapers and driving them in her own car to Staten Island and Queens — where families have been hit the hardest — and handing supplies to families in need. I am in awe of everyone pulling together and really stepping up. I felt so helpless here 3,000 miles away in beautiful sunny weather … But we are not helpless. This is when we can really work together and help out any way we can and teach our children through example. ZEV HAILS A CAB — COURTESY MARISSA JARET WINOKUR Zev is putting a box of his toys together to send to kids himself, and as he said, “Not just the baby toys. I’ll send some good ones too!” Ha. I know for a fact that my weightloss blog would have been funnier. I understand the fluff and — dare I say, “lightness” — in the face of sadness is always welcomed! Trust me, I am a comedian and that’s how I make my living! But right now I’m a mommy first. If this blog makes you put together a box of your old sweaters that you will never wear and send them to a family in need, then my time was better spent making you think than laugh. I promise next month I will tell you how I lost 60 pounds step-by-step and the plan on keeping it off!!! If you don’t have time to research other ways to help, please donate to the Red Cross. – Marissa Jaret Winokur Marissa Jaret Winokur’s Blog: Zev’s Summer Stitches 08-13-2012 We’re thrilled to welcome Marissa Jaret Winokur back to our celebrity blogging family! As you may recall, the Tony-winning actress, 39, beat cervical cancer 11 years ago, underwent a hysterectomy and later welcomed a baby boy with the help of a surrogate. Her son, Zev Isaac, is now 4 and Winokur is back on the small screen, starring on TV Land’s Retired at 35, airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. She can be found on Facebook and on Twitter @MarissaJWinokur. For her second blog back, Winokur writes about her and husband Judah Miller‘s summer of days at the beach, circus — and doctor — with their son. AT SANTA MONICA PIER – COURTESY MARISSA JARET WINOKUR While trying to come up with fun stuff to do this summer with Zev, I thought of my favorite things to do as a kid. I grew up in Bedford, N.Y., and it was close enough to Jones Beach on Long Island that every summer my mother would pack the car for the day and we would drive to the beach! You would think with me living in Los Angeles I would go to the beach all the time, but we don’t. It’s the same as visiting the Statue of Liberty. If you don’t live in N.Y.C., it’s the first stop on your family vacation, but if you live there you only go if you have relatives visiting from out of town! The last time I went to the Santa Monica “Tourist Trap” Pier was when my niece and nephew visited before Zev was born. So I recently packed up the car, determined to do the beach and the pier! And by packing the car, I mean filled it to the brim with food, so we didn’t have to pay $7 for a hot dog — but we always do, don’t we?! We got to the pier and there were so many people you couldn’t actually see the ground! It was early, so we decided to hit the beach first. Of course, we had sand in our underwear and shoes all day, but the beach was amazing! Zev was a typical kid. He ran to the ocean to get water for wet sand and ran into the water, then ran out just in time for the wave to crash! HE’S A GENIUS! BEACH DAY! – COURTESY MARISSA JARET WINOKUR We then took our sandy bodies up to the pier and were totally suckered into buying the wristbands so we could do “ALL RIDES,” but were smart enough to get one adult and one child. Judah got to sit it out — and so did I! Zev decided he was big enough to go on rides by himself. At first, I was delighted. I mean, who wants to go on a ride that looks like it’s 200 years old and should have a weight limit? Wouldn’t that be amazing, by the way? You know how amusement parks have a height requirement you have to measure up to? What if there was a scale? I WOULD NEVER GO TO A PARK AGAIN … I bet the parks would be empty!!! Anyway, at first I was sooooo happy to not go on the rides, but then became heartbroken. Zev was totally growing up. He wanted to be a big boy and he was. Finally, I begged him to let me ride with him and it was amazing! I held his little hand and knew he was still my baby. He then found the only ride that was not covered in the “all rides” wristband — a trampoline that you were hooked up to and could do flips on. He had to do it! He was so good at it and loved it. TRYING THE TRAMPOLINE – COURTESY MARISSA JARET WINOKUR Then he wanted to do the trapeze! Yes, there is a trapeze school on the Santa Monica Pier. Thank God there was an age limit or Zev would have been at the top of the trapeze in 30 seconds. We started talking about the circus and my one-of-a-kind kid said, “I want to be in a circus.” I am like, ‘Wow do kids really say that?’ Mine did! So this led to our next summer activity — going to the circus! Again, this is something I remember doing as a kid but NEVER as an adult. Zev’s babysitter went to pick him up from camp while I packed the car. When she walked back in the house, I heard her say, “Go show Mommy.” Zev came running into my room saying he bit his lip. I looked quickly and said, “Go get an ice pop. We’ve got to get going.” I had four kids and three adults waiting to go to the circus — Zev was fine. As we got in the car, one of his friends said, “Eww gross Zevie!” I gave her the death stare — because NOTHING my son does is gross — and then I saw the gaping wound in Zev’s mouth! He didn’t just bite his lip — he bit part of it off! I felt my face get red and I jumped out of the car trying not to scare Zev or the other kids. I calmly asked my friend to look and she said, “We have to go to the doctor.” Really?! Mouths heal. We have a full minivan of people waiting to go to the circus. Zev said he felt fine and it didn’t hurt. My friend said, “I bet he needs stitches.” So, I decided to take my circus car to the doctor. By this time, Judah had left work and joined me because honestly, I can’t handle my baby getting stitches alone. The doctor confirmed Zev did need stitches, but said we needed a surgeon. Zev, for the first time, got upset. The surgeon took one look at him and said, “You need a plastic surgeon.” At that point, Zev wiped his mouth on his shoulder and we all noticed his red Spiderman shirt was a darker shade of red than it started. The shirt was saturated in blood — but because it was red, no one noticed! Zev finally told me that he fell at camp getting into the sandbox. It didn’t hurt, so he didn’t tell anyone! This was the craziest part to me. If Zev bumps his head on his pillow, he cries for ice and a Band-Aid, but when he’s really hurt, he doesn’t tell a soul!! ZEV’S LIP THE NEXT MORNING – COURTESY MARISSA JARET WINOKUR The plastic surgeon came in and had a very grown-up talk with Zev about the stitches and the shot and what everything meant. Zev listened carefully and calmly, and closed his eyes as directed. I did okay, too — until I saw the shot. My husband took his jacket off and started sweating and I rubbed Zev’s head gently. My little boy was so brave! In the end, Zev got 19 stitches. He cried a little, but when the doctor asked if it hurt he said honestly, “No, I’m just scared.” I couldn’t believe how calm he was. It was the first time I really saw that he was his own little person. He wasn’t a baby. I felt like I was seeing him as a teenager. He asked for me to hold his hand — but then also asked when he could chew gum again! When the stitches were over, Judah and I took him straight for ice cream. If a toy store had been open I would have bought him ANYTHING!!! He handled it all so well. The next morning Zev woke up with a fat lip. It hurt me more than it hurt him. Two days later, we finally made it to the circus! Because he couldn’t have solid foods, Zev was happy eating $12 cotton candy and $10 snow cones. I didn’t bother packing the car that day — I knew it was a waste of time. -- Marissa Jaret Winokur Marissa Jaret Winokur’s Blog: Braving a Family Camping Trip 06-26-2012 We’re thrilled to welcome Marissa Jaret Winokur back to our celebrity blogging family! As you may recall, the Tony-winning actress, 39, beat cervical cancer 11 years ago, underwent a hysterectomy and later welcomed a baby boy with the help of a surrogate. Her son, Zev Isaac, is now 3 and Winokur is back on the small screen, starring on TV Land’s Retired at 35, premiering Tuesday at 10 p.m. She can be found on Facebook and on Twitter @MarissaJWinokur. For her first blog back, Winokur writes about what happened when she and husband Judah Miller took Zev camping … er, glamping! First of all, I am very excited to be blogging for PEOPLE.com again! Last time I did it, my son Zev was 2 years old and now he is about to turn 4 next month. I remember all the wonderful comments and some of the not-so-wonderful ones, too. Both, however, are okay. I believe there are many different ways to raise a child, and I never claim to be the best mom. I’m just doing the best I can. Some days better than others. I wanted to come up with a fun blog to maybe spark some ideas of things to do over summer vacation. Imagine my friends’ surprise when I Tweeted in May saying that I was going camping! I read comments like, “Wait … camping? Seriously? Where is the girl I know and love … she wouldn’t camp.” And “Why aren’t you GLAMPING???” Glamping? GLAMPING! (A combination of “glamorous” and “camping.”) I had never heard of that! My husband grew up going to Skylake Yosemite Camp and they were having a family weekend. I knew we had a “lean-to” or something that wasn’t exactly a tent to stay in. How hard could it be? Zev is almost 4 and he loves being outside. “LET’S HAVE AN ADVENTURE!,” I thought. That’s the phrase I usually regret. It’s like I know it’s gonna suck so I call it an “ADVENTURE” to make it sound less sucky. We pull in at 5 p.m. with the sun still out so we can see where we are setting up camp, but it is uncommonly cold! It was 48 degrees out — and mind you, I live in L.A. and feel cold on a 65-degree day. So we all put on our jackets and start unloading the car to our cabin — our cabin with no real walls, just mesh to keep the bugs out, but not the freezing wind! Now when you go camping, you should always bring a sleeping bag, right? Well, I bought Zev a Buzz Lightyear sleeping bag that’s more for pretend sleepovers at home. For me and Judah, I brought the blankets off our bed and an air mattress! HOLDING THIS CATERPILLAR WAS A BIG DEAL – COURTESY MARISSA JARET WINOKUR At bedtime it was 38 degrees. I was so cold I huddled with my son and husband in the pitch dark and freezing cold. I woke up at 1 a.m. and totally freaked out. You would think I would save my child from the cold as well, but he and my husband had all the blankets and were fast asleep. EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF! I ran to the car and turned both the heat and the seat heaters on! I left the car running for about an hour and a half and then finally turned it off and slept in the front seat! I Tweeted at 2 a.m.: “Camping in yosemite, didn’t bring sleeping bags! I’m in car now with heat and seat heaters. I was the first voted off!” At 5 a.m., my sweet little boy and my husband — whom I hated for taking me camping to die — knocked on the window. They got in the car and we drove until we found a cheap motel. We did return to the campground for the wonderful activities, but at night we told Zev that “EVERYONE was staying in the same motel with us because it’s insane to sleep outside in the cold — only bears can do that — and everyone will return in time for breakfast!” The great thing that happened during this trip was that I met the boy Zev’s teacher talks about. I don’t know about you, but my son’s teachers always say things about him and I’m like, “Sorry, are you sure you’re talking about Zev? Because that doesn’t sound like my boy.” I never really believed or understood what the teachers meant, but during the weekend of “glamping,” I saw what they were talking about. He was game for everything. He wanted to have a true ADVENTURE. The adventure Zev wanted included hiking and kayaking — and most of all, to be left alone with the big kids! It was so amazing. He really jumped into whatever the camp was doing. The boy who hates bugs and was scared of worms even held a caterpillar. He was so loving, he would just grab my face and kiss me because I think he was just so happy! Zev had such a wonderful time that we arranged to go back in August. I am sure it will be 110 degrees in the shade and I’ll sleep in the car using the air-conditioning. Or maybe I’ll reserve a room at the same motel. After all, taking a shower after a long day of tie-dying and horseback riding really does make it more of a fun adventure! Where else can I charge my phone and Tweet from and blow-dry my hair and sleep on a mattress and … OKAY YES, YOU HAD ME AT SHOWER! ARTS AND CRAFTS AT CAMP – COURTESY MARISSA JARET WINOKUR Follow me on Twitter @MarissaJWinokur for late-night tweets!! – Marissa Jaret Winokur

Marissa Jaret Winokur and Zev
Marissa Jaret Winokur and Family
Zev
Juddah and Zev
Marissa Jaret Winokur and Zev
Marissa Jaret Winokur and Zev
Marissa Jaret Winokur and Zev
Marissa Jaret Winokur and Family
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Juddah and Zev
Marissa Jaret Winokur and Family
Zev
Juddah and Zev
Marissa Jaret Winokur and Family