One Step Closer to JT

June 4, 2014

Like millions of people around the world, I am a devoted Justin Timberlake fan. I have this fantasy of getting the opportunity to act with him in a future film/TV show in a very funny scene. We’ll become best friends, follow each other on Twitter, hobnob at the Emmy’s. Basically, where Justin is…Brooke will be. (Don’t kill my dream people…indulge me, if you will).

So, a few weeks ago, I read on JT’s FB fan page that he was launching a contest on Instagram to find people to be in his video for the hit song, “Not A Bad Thing.” (AH-mazing song, if you haven’t heard it). The contest — #NotABadLoveStory — asked people to send in their favorite photo/video with a 1-2 sentence caption that summarized how they took a chance on love. JT and his team would review all of the entries and pick people to be in his video. Uh…YEAH!!

Joined Instagram and immediately posted the following photo. For those of you who don’t want to click, it’s this fabulous photo of my husband and I doing what we do best…making each other laugh.


Fast forward to yesterday (June 3)…come in from taking my girls swimming and my text goes off. It’s my friend, Traci, with a four-word text — YOU MADE THE VIDEO! I dropped my phone and shrieked. Tom says, “Oh my God, you booked that national commercial?” I replied, “No, better. We made the Justin Timberlake video.”

Here is the link to JT’s fan video to the song “Not A Bad Thing.” Tom and I appear right at the start of the bridge at the 3:34 minute mark. We scored with a full card all to ourselves, that then fades right into JT. We’re STILL on cloud 9.

So, for all of you laughing at my JT dream at the top of this post, laugh no more. This video is a sign. It’s only a matter of time before I utter the words, “Hi Justin, I’m Brooke. So nice to meet you. Let’s chat!”






Top 5 Things I Survived in 2013

January 19, 2014

We’re three weeks into 2014 and resolutions have already hit the fan here at Camp Baumer. It’s freed up some time for me to ponder all of the things I survived last year. Presenting…my top 5 list:

#5 – The Splash Bash … in Hell

For their 5th and 3rd birthdays, we threw the girls a swim party in June. I solo-hosted 50 adults and kids because hubby was out filming a national commercial that day. That meant I had to grill the hot dogs by myself. All 75 of them. Guess who has never grilled in her life? And the best part…it was 108 degrees. Not hot, but ass hot! But, I rallied (a few burnt weenies and all). No high-maintenance guests because no one ever left the pool for fear of bursting into flames. My kind of party.


The girls, Maw Maw and I staying cool!

#4 – Potty Training

When I potty trained my oldest daughter in 2011, I cried more than she did. THE worst six days of my life. In February 2013, it was time to revisit this pillar of parenthood with our youngest. But, this time, I potty trained with a friend … alcohol. We started at 9 a.m. on a Friday, and I sipped a tangy Bloody Mary as the first puddle hit the floor. Surprisingly, only my daughter was crying this time. Accidents occurred all throughout Day 1, but my bottomless cocktail kept me saner than Prozac. By Sunday night, as I sipped my Grey Goose martini, my daughter had the hang of it. Potty training complete … for the REST of my life. Totally worth the three-day hangover!

#3 – First Day of Kindergarten

To be blunt…I redefined the Oprah “ugly cry.” Some might say, “Well, we’ve all done THAT.” But for me, it was different because I doubted this day would come. Because of Emory’s autism, I thought a special needs class was the best we could ever do. And there we were … mainstream. And she rocked it!!! Never has this mama bear been so proud … despite looking like “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane” both at morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up.


At pick-up … a bit more composed.

#2 – Elf on the Shelf

I hate this little fucker. But, my girls adore him. They call him, “Peter.” And on Nov. 30th, the night before he flew in from the North Pole, my oldest says, “I hope Peter does all NEW tricks this year.” GA-REAT, as I ripped my 2012 list of elf antics to shreds. But, that’s why God invented Pinterest. Despite there being a lot of over-achieving parents out there who go bat-shit crazy with their Elf tricks, there were just enough “20-second-or-less” ideas I was able to steal. And the divas were thrilled all through Dec. 24th, when Mommy kicked Peter’s elf ass back to the North Pole.

And the #1 thing I survived last year … the Halloween Bird Costumes

In May 2013, the girls proclaimed they wanted to be the birds from the movie “Rio.” Cool. I’ll just go online, find the costumes and whip out my credit card. Except, NO ONE ON THE PLANET sells pre-made “Rio” bird costumes. What I did fine online was a bunch of desperate parents all in the same boat. Then, came the lady in the U.K. who took matters into her own hands, made her “Rio” costumes from scratch and then wrote a blog chronicling every step. Armed with thread and needle, this blog became my Bible for six weeks and I produced the most KICK-ASS Halloween costumes ever. My girls are not allowed to be anything else for the next five years!


“Jewel” and “Blue,” along with their handlers.

Here’s to 2014 being just as eventful!

From leg warmers to voiceover … a chance meeting with my teen idol!

January 18, 2013

Nothing beats striking gold and meeting one of your teen idols. It first happened to me in 1997 when I met Rick Springfield backstage at a concert in Las Vegas. Last week, it happened again. A little back story.

During the summer of 1983, my best friend Amy and I were addicted to a new 30-minute aerobics show called the “20-Minute Workout.” Click here to see a past episode. Every day at 11 a.m., we would gather at one of our houses, leotards and leg warmers in tow and jump around our living rooms to our hearts’ delight. We loved it because a) it was so dancey; and b) it was only 20 minutes. 

While we faithfully did the workout every day, our favorite instructor was a gal named Bess. She’s featured in the clip above and always led the Monday episode. We idolized her and especially loved to hear her call out the steps: “Four mo, Three mo, and tew…” She had this amazing buttery voice that made us want to do aerobics for hours. She was our Jane Fonda.

Now, flash 30 years into the future to last week. I attended my regular voiceover workout group…a dozen or so voiceover actors sign-up to attend a bi-monthly class, work in the booth on audio scripts and improve their skills. 

Last week, it was a particularly small class, but as always, filled with immense talent. I had already done my two tours through the booth and was now just listening to my fellow actors do their reads. 

I casually looked over to the area where our leader had his stuff and noticed the stack of checks from those of us who attended that night’s class. One of the checks read “Bess Motta.” Instantly, my radar went off. “Bess Motta? Bess Motta? Why do I know that name?” I scoured my brain, and then, BAM! It hit me. BESS MOTTA WAS ON THE 20-MINUTE WORKOUT!!!

I nearly peed all over myself with excitement, but had to contain myself because the other people were still waiting their turn to go into the booth. I slowly turned around to look at my classmates and “search” for “Bess.” And there she was … same long black curly hair, same buttery voice, but a bit raspier. She had been in class with me for the past year or so, and I never put it together. I only knew her by her first name. But, now…she was Bess MOTTA.

OMG. I didn’t know what to do. I had to say something. My ’80s teen fitness idol was sitting three feet away from me. But, I didn’t want to make a complete jackass out of myself. Finally, there was a change-out in the booth. I took a breath and mustered the following:

“Hey Bess.” She turned. “I have to ask you something that is a little personal. By any chance, did you lead an aerobics show in the ’80s entitled the 20 Minute Work…”

“Yep,” she said, interrupting me and laughing. “That was me.”

And then it began…complete and utter verbal vomit. I just gushed about how Amy and I LIVED for her workouts. How we never missed an episode. How we were in the best shape of our lives thanks to her. How I searched for leotards to match hers. And on, and on and ON!

She took it like a champ and was so gracious. She shared more about the experience working on the show. I was speechless. Thank God, I had already done my two turns in the booth because there was no more concentrating after that. I felt 13 all over again. I pulled out my phone to text Amy. Bess stopped me and said, “Don’t text your BFF. Let’s send her a photo.”


So, we did. And here it is…


I called Amy first thing the next morning and relayed the entire story. I think her jaw is still on the floor. For the next 30 minutes, we had one of the best trips down memory lane. It was joy in its purest form.

I thought I was lucky to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience of meeting a teen idol when I met Rick Springfield 16 years ago. I stayed on a high for days. But, to have this happen again, well, it’s beyond a blessing. I am still filled with immense bliss for memories gone by. The energy is intoxicating. My wish is for everyone to have this sort of experience once in their lives.

For those of you who never experienced the “20 Minute Workout,” you may also remember Bess from the original “Terminator” movie. She played Sarah Connor’s roommate who gets killed by the Terminator. (I can just hear the “Oh yeahhhhhhhs” going on).

The best part about this entire experience…I get to be in class with Bess as long as she and I keep participating in the workout group. A real chance to get to know one of my idols and perhaps develop a friendship. 

If that happens, fabulous. If not, it’s still fabulous. Because I was blessed with having a full-circle moment that I will treasure forever.

Now…where ARE my leg warmers!

Wanna make God laugh? Make a plan!

August 30, 2011

I used to love planning. Outlining all of the tedious details to the very second was my equivalent of crack. And I was damn good at it.

Then, I became a mother. Suddenly, planning lost its pizzazz. Nothing ever seemed to go as I had desired. Was it me? Was it my kid? Was it Nickelodeon?

While this point became apparent to me with the birth of my eldest daughter, Emory, it became crystal clear with my youngest, Lauren.

Last year at this time, I was pregnant with little Miss L. I held a vision that it would be a picture-perfect gestational period just like her older sister. The universe had alternate arrangements.

Plan: Healthy, vibrant pregnancy. Reality: Two hospital stays, a car accident and kidney stones.

Plan: Conceive in January in order to deliver in October, my all-time favorite month. Reality: January conception … check! Delivery? September, six weeks early via emergency C-section.

Plan: Have my fabulous OB/GYN deliver my child. Reality: She was at a wedding … in India!

The day my water broke, it was Rosh Hashanah. Perfect. Only a Roman Catholic would go into labor on a High Holy Day at a Jewish hospital.

Since Lauren’s arrival, so many other things haven’t gone according to my illustrious wishes.

Plan: Leave the hospital with my child. Reality: She landed a two-week reservation in a NICU incubator.

Plan: Nurse for 6 months once she came home. Reality: Lauren wasn’t a boob gal. So dairy cow here pumped out 8 bottles a day for 24 weeks.

Plan: Bunk Lauren in our room and listen to her nightly cooing. Reality: Kicked her out after the first week because of her abhorrent grunting.

And so it went. Her first photo shoot? She scowled. Christmas morning toys? She ate wrapping paper. One simple morning at church for a little Mommy & Me bonding with Jesus? She farted so bad, I had to jump pews because of the smell, only to get into our new spot and have her throw up in my face.


Admittedly, I am recovering control freak. And I agree that planning does have its place. But, I see now how much more productive it is to be in the moment. I’ve learned to have “a rough idea” versus a “set-in-stone/this-is-how-it-will-be-dammit” plan of attack.

Because when you get that invested in an outcome, you’re dangling a big ole carrot in front of the universe. And sometimes, the Universe can be one hungry bunny!

Flippin’ out

August 31, 2010

Excuse my delay in being absent from MommyActs for several months.  I have good reason.  I am knee-deep into my second pregnancy.  Number 2 is due on 10/16/10.  We’re very excited, and to squelch the question before it comes, no, we don’t know the baby’s sex.  We want to be surprised. 

Actually, this pregnancy has been full of surprises from Day 1 – 24/7 nausea during first trimester, a 4-day hospital stay due to a kidney stone, and gestational diabetes (which I got during my first pregnancy, but is a bit harder to manage this go round).

Now, my latest surprise – this baby is feet first breech!  While my OB is confident my little guy/gal will turn in the next two weeks or so, I want to do everything I can to help push things along. 

I’m on a mission to flip.

So, I went online to look up at-home remedies for turning a breech baby.  Found a bazillion ideas.  Reviewed them all and selected a few to try.  Here’s a review of the last few days of my life:

  • Attempted my first headstand in nearly 30 years.  Suffice it to say that this was a bit easier to do when I weighed 85 pounds in fifth grade.  Trying to get into position, I knocked three picture frames off the wall.  Finally landed it, but the blood came barreling into my head so fast, I nearly threw up.  Then, my two-year-old looked at me and said, “Mommy…’mato (short for tomato).”  Lovely.


  • Water immersion is supposedly one of the best things for turning a baby.  It’s been 112 degrees the past few days, so swimming outdoors has not been an option.  So, how about a relaxing bath, right?  My question…why must bathtub manufacturers make the width of standard tubs so damn narrow?  I was practically in the fetal position as I slid into the water.  I leaned back, only to find out that even with a full tub of water, my belly was not even close to being submerged.  So, I turned onto one side.  Picture an obese mermaid with her necked cricked to one side!


  • Decided to make things easier on myself.  Apparently, babies shy away from cold and gravitate toward light and sound.  So, I laid down on the couch with a bag of frozen peas underneath my ta-tas (where the baby’s head is now) and shined a flashlight on my hoo-ha to encourage a natural migration “down below.”  If that image isn’t enough to scare you, couple it with the fact that I was simultaneously salivating while watching “Mr. Shuester” on Glee

Who knows what I’ll try next.  Perhaps a simpler approach – like lying in the yoga “cat position” or simply doing clockwise belly massage.  That would be a smarter thing to do.  But, then again…smarter is overrated.  Much more fun to attempt the crazy!

I’ll keep you posted how it goes. In the mean time, do me a favor and whisper four words as you go to sleep tonight – “Flip, Baby C, flip.”

Lost in Yonkers with unwrapped candy and ringing cell phones

February 13, 2010

There is nothing that I love more than live theatre – whether starring in a production or taking one in.  Unfortunately, due to motherhood, my time is limited to do either.  But, this past week, I got a “Mommy Night Out.”  I actually donned a cute outfit, applied REAL make-up and went to see my friend, Kelly, tear up the stage in a fantastic production of Lost in Yonkers at the Repertory East Playhouse (which by the way, only plays for 2 more weekends, for you LA folk, and is something NOT to miss).

Unfortunately, though, the experience wasn’t everything that it could have been because of fellow theatre patrons, who obviously need to be briefed on some common-sense “do’s and don’ts” when taking in a live show.  As an actor myself, this is something I’m passionate about.  And guess what?  Now you get to be enlightened.

Presenting Brooke’s tips of what to do when watching a play:

  • Turn off your cell phone – I get that we live in the age of “constant communication.”  But, guess what?  The world is going to keep on movin’ and shakin’ while you’re out of pocket for 2-2.5 hours and you really will be able to catch up.  I promise.  So, turn off your cell phone.  You can always check it at intermission.  During my “night out at the theatre,” a woman sitting front row — literally spitting distance to the actors – gets a call in the middle of one of the most intense moments of the show.  If that wasn’t enough, she couldn’t find the damn thing to turn it off.  When she finally did, she then felt the need to exclaim … OUT LOUD … “I can’t believe my phone rang?”  We can’t either, lady!  And, I can’t believe you felt the need to let us know, too!
  • Ta-ta to texting – Similar to #1, must you text during a play?  Or check your e-mail?  Those screens on your smartphones illuminate quite brightly.  And believe it or not, we can hear those buttons clicking away.  So can the actors (I speak from personal experience on that one). You can update your Facebook page or Tweet to the world later.
  • Unwrap your candies before the show – It’s winter, and coughs linger.  That’s cool. But, how about unwrapping all of your lozenges before the show starts?  You may think that you are being very quiet, but you would be amazed at how much a one-inch square piece of paper makes when wrapped around a sticky piece of medicine.  C’mon people.
  • Take a nap earlier in the day – If are prone to falling asleep in dark places, be it a movie theatre or a live playhouse, then take a nap during the day.  The lady directly next to me missed that memo, dozed off, fell to the left with her head hanging in my space and proceeded to snore.  I kid you not.  I did mention I was on the second row, right?  Again, you’re taking away from my theatre-going experience and giving one hell of an insult to the actors.  Simply leave at intermission if you are so bored.  THAT would be more courteous.
  • And finally…SHUT UP!!!! – One of the things that makes live theatre so rewarding for an actor is the energy you get from an audience.  You know when they are with you, and when they are not.  We love laughter.  We love tears.  But, people … we don’t need vocal commentary.  The lady behind me felt the intense need to audibly express how cold she was every time the air conditioner came on.  Then, she did her best to lobby support from her fellow patrons around her … while the show was underway.  She even approached the theatre manager at intermission to rally for her cause (she lost, by the way).  Why she was cold, I have no idea.  Based on the size parka she was wearing, she must have flown in from Iceland for the show.  Do you best people and keep the commentary to yourself.

I know these all sound like common sense.  But, you would be surprised at how often these simple rules are violated.  Live theatre is nothing like going to the movies.  In a movie theatre, Julia Roberts and George Clooney can’t feel when someone is being rude like answering a phone or talking incessantly.  But, in a live production, it’s a whole different ballgame.  You have have real human beings up there, pouring their heart and soul into a performance to try and elicit some sort of emotion from you.  They are giving you a gift.  Granted, sometimes the gift is not that good.  But, it always deserves respect.

Thanks for listening.  Here’s hoping you help all of us actors and support a live theatre production in your town soon…sans cell phone!

All hail the pooper scooper

January 12, 2010

Something happened when I became a mother.  All those things that I could never imagine myself doing, I did.  I have tended to awful bouts of diaper rash.  I’ve suctioned out snot.  And, on the play front, I have sung the same song – no lie – 24 times straight to get my daughter to settle down for a nap.  But, last night, I earned new wings.

7:45 p.m. is Emory’s favorite time of day – bath time.  What’s not to love?  Splashing?  Good!  Toys?  Good.  Bubble bath?  Good!  So, with Em happy as a clam, I stepped into the other room to pick up toys, turn down her bed and pull out clean pajamas.

But, after about 3 minutes, it got really quiet.  Then, a whimper.  Puzzled, I walked back into the bathroom only to see my little nudie cutie standing straight up in the bathtub, which she knows is a “no no.”

“Emory, you sit right back down in that tub,” I commanded.  Normally, that’s all it takes.  But, not this time.  Plus, she had such a weird look on her face.  “Sit down, missy.”  Nothing.  Finally, I walked over to literally bend her little legs and make her sit.  Her beautiful hazel eyes beckoned me to save her from something awful.  But, what?  What could be so bad?

And, then I saw them … four little biscuit turds floating in the water.

Yep, she pooped in the tub.  I remember when my niece did this to my mother a few years back and I just rolled on the floor laughing. Well, yeah … it’s easy to laugh when it’s not happening to you.

Now, my challenge … Emory was clutching me for dear life.  No way on Earth was she going to sit back down in that tub until it was poop-free.  Can you blame her?  Second, with her grabbing on to me, I couldn’t leave to get the kitty litter scooper.  And then it hit me … I am going to have to retrieve these things BY HAND.

I felt my gag reflex coming on … something I picked up from my sister-in-law, Annie.  “C’mon, Brooke.  Cowboy up, babe!”

So, I took a deep breath and plunged my hand into the water.  I grabbed the first poop pebble and tossed it into the toilet.  Ick!  Did the same for #2 and #3.  Ick, ick!  Then, I went back for #4 and it was gone.  It was literally lost in a sea of bubbles.  So, with daughter clutching my left arm, I leaned into the tub and dunked my entire right arm into the tub.  With suds now reaching my armpits, I found the sucker, grabbed it and aimed for the commode.  Finally, with all turds now in the toilet, I flushed and sent them off to meet the Tidy Bowl Man.

Needless to say, bathtime ended promptly.  As I am drying Emory off, Tom traipses upstairs and says, “Need any help?”  Really, Tom?  Really?

But, I didn’t go there.  Instead, I simply said, “Yes, honey … could you take over?”  He took Emory and whisked her away to clean PJs, a delightful story and soothing lullaby.

I, on the other hand, opted for a LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG hand washing, followed by a date with a can of Comet!

Give me my damn wings!

Felt Up in Walmart

December 31, 2009

I’ve been a working actress in LA for 10 years.  And, I have yet to do a love scene on camera.  I’m not opposed to it; the opportunity has just never presented itself.  I used to think that it would be very awkward … doing the scene with so many crew people looking on.  But, thanks to my daughter, that fear has been conquered … Emory felt me up in Walmart.

Yesterday, we ventured out to the mother of all discount stores to do final New Year’s Eve meal shopping (‘cuz the days of going out on NYE are SO over).  All throughout the trip, Emory was being very needy, reaching up for me and whining. I kept pushing her little arms down, giving her kisses and continuing on with my shopping.

Then, I reached the produce department.

It was packed for some odd reason.  Everyone on the hunt for the perfect potato, including me.  All that was left was a huge 10 pound bag of Russets.  So, I squeezed myself in between three people and reached up to grab this massive bag of taters off the shelf.

As I am trying to maneuver this bag above people’s heads, I feel two little hands hit both my breasts.  I look down and Emory is palming my ta-tas.  Better yet, she then started squeezing them … as if she had scored two rolls of Charmin!  I guess she had a flashback to that lovely six-month period from June-December 2008 when I was her dairy cow.  Em, I hate to tell you, sweetheart, but those udders dried up a LONG time ago.

After I recovered from my shock, I burst into hysterical laughter.  Seriously, who gets felt up by their own kid?  In public?  At a Walmart?

I gently released her grip from my mammary glands, gave her a kiss and headed for the check-out lane.  Don’t know if anyone saw it happen, probably so, which makes it that more hilarious.

So, I guess in 2010, I have nothing to fear with a love scene that takes me to second base!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Blue balls, anyone?

November 25, 2009

I’m years away from the sex talk, but here’s a funny precursor.  My daughter loves balls.  Blue balls.  No, she hasn’t been traumatized by seeing my husband in his birthday suit.  I’m talking about a set of good old-fashioned plastic balls.

Two weeks ago, Emory’s Maw Maw bought her an inflatable castle filled with multi-colored plastic balls.  She spends hours in her fortress, tossing balls in and out.  But recently, we picked up on a trend. She only throws the blue balls.  No purple. No yellow.  No pink. Just big fat blue balls.

Blue balls have become her favorite playmate.  When it’s time for lunch, she parades into the kitchen, blue balls in hand.  They sit on her food tray next to her juice and a bowl of mac & cheese.  Time to go to the park?  The blue balls are in tow and join her in the sandbox.  The best – the balls travel to the doctor.  Try explaining that to a pediatrician with a straight face – “Yeah, Doc…she’s obsessed with blue balls.”

Not quite sure what all of this means.  Probably nothing. Then again, one month ago at a restaurant, Emory grabbed our waiter’s crotch.

Hmm…perhaps the sex talk is coming sooner than later!

The Disneyland Debacle

November 5, 2009

Public parking…$14.  Disneyland ticket…$72.  Watching your toddler have an enormous, kicking and screaming meltdown in front of the Magic Kingdom…priceless!

What is it with first-time parents and the need to try all sorts of activities/outings WAY before your little one is ready? I don’t know what I was smoking last week, but I really thought a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth would be so much fun for my 16-month-old daughter, Emory.

Really, Brooke? Really?

And so begins the Disneyland Debacle:

• The 70-minute car ride, where darling daughter was supposed to nap the entire way.  She opted for 18 minutes. She obviously missed the memo.

• The 35-minute wait to get into the parking lot with a very hungry little girl wailing in the backseat.

• Tossing chicken nuggets and broccoli spears into her snack tray while trying to purchase admission tickets.

• Dashing to Fantasyland to find a restaurant and order some milk…only to have it come out frozen.

• Inhaling lunch and scurrying to the nearest bathroom only to be greeted by the oh-so-joyous aroma of an explosive diaper and running out of wipes.

• Finally making it to King Arthur’s Carousel, only to have Emory pitch a fit because the operator wouldn’t let her ride side-saddle.

• Doing laps throughout Fantasyland desperately in search of a ride with a 5-minute or less wait (found two).

• Ditching Fantasyland and wheeling over to ToonTown to meet Minnie Mouse, only to be denied by Nazi Disney employee.

• Purchasing custom mouse ears, only to have Emory rip them off her head and dislodge one ear from the cap.

I could go on, but you catch my drift.  Complete disaster.   So, what DID Emory want to do?  Walk, walk and walk some more!  I turned to my mother, who just shook her head and uttered, “Let it go.”  Defeated, I conceded.  No Dumbo’s Flying Circus.  No Peter Pan.  No Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.   Just 52 laps around a circular fountain at the rear end of the park.  At lap 53, I raised the white flag.  This Disneyland trip was officially over.

So, we screamed because we got put back into a stroller.  We wailed as we power-walked to the main entrance.  We whimpered on the tram ride to the parking garage.  Then, by the magical powers of neck pillow and the soothing sounds of a humming automobile, my little princess drifted off to Neverland during the entire 60-mile trip back home.

Ahhhhh….good times. I can’t WAIT to do Disneyland again with Emory.  I’m thinking a college graduation trip would be perfect!