Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
You can also find Monica's writing here:
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I quit my job at FOX today. The one that pays me really good money and gives us health insurance. But see, it pays great but keeps me away from my babies for ten hours a day, fifty hours a week and I see Serge for five minutes in the afternoon when we hand off kids.

You only get the one shot at being a mom. Screw that up and then what? Live with regret forever? Fuck that.

I have signed a contract to write for Babble. It's not what I made at FOX but it's enough to get us moved to Pennsylvania this summer. Serge has a couple irons in the fire there that hopefully work out and I'll continue to supplement our income by writing from home, thanks to y'all. For reading and clicking and commenting. I can't thank you enough for giving a shit. I read each and every comment from this post and it just thrills me beyond words that so many of you from all over the world keep reading and caring about my family.

We've been talking about this move to Pennsylvania and I've been trying to figure out how to make a career out of freelance writing for years - and now we're doing it. For those of you who don't know, that's where Serge's family lives. After we moved from Brooklyn so did Serge's brother Dave. He now lives in Central Pennsylvania near Serge's mom and step-dad. That's where we're headed. So put on yer overalls, pull up a log and have a seat, we're moving to Amish country this summer!

As Uncle Dave said in a highly persuasive email today, "We have Shrimp feeds, pig stomach dinners and a weekly hay sale. I have a bar in my house! We have the Mill Hall Rotary! Money wheel, funnel cake, grange fair, shoo fly, fried ham!!! Bingo (and Dollar Bingo), sweet corn!, whoopee pies, oil fracking, dollar movies, wild deer, junk cars, money pitch, ham pot pie, Middlesworth potato chips (the weekender), humming birds, hoop houses, wild squirrels, maple syrup, lamp oil, Bush Light, burn barrels, cheap pumpkins, a haunted grist mill, rhubarb, pickled watermelon rind, town-wide yard sales, ice cream (no frozen yogurt though:() Sam's Club diet white birch beer, shelled corn, ear corn, bird seed, regular Bush Beer, burdock and sweet potato vine, wild ticks!, Puff's discount Tobacco, Curt's "smokin' Ribs, The Jaycee's, SV historical society, local watershed meetings, fresh cider, wild fish and sandy field pears. And not a lot of natural disasters!"

Funnel cake, shoo fly pie and hay sales? And New York City only a four hour drive away? What more does a body want from life? From New York City buildings to the Utah suburbs to the Pennsylvania countryside - I hope you stay with us for the journey because it's going to be crazy, scary and stick around.

Our future neighborhood:

Reader Comments (94)


April 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteremily

Kick ass. You fucking GO. You've been typing your fingers to the bone for years. I am glad it is working out. I am glad it is giving you what you want. You are brave, both of you, for everything. See you back on the right coast.

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCaryn

Oooh, what an adventure! I wish your family the best and look forward to reading about your journey. <3

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNicole R

wonderful congratulations to you and your family, I'm sure it will be a wonderful transition!

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKulia


April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAsh

WOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!! I am so effing happy for you guys! We only get these years with our kids once, and I'll tell ya, the countryside is a beautiful place to do it. And that is some sweet ass country side you got there. Is it weird to feel proud of two people you've never met? It feels strange ( and stranger still to type it), but I am. My hat is off to you both!!!

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwhimmm

Good luck, Bielankos!

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKate

So happy you get to stay home with your babies! Best wishes! We'll practically be neighbors I live in Ohio.

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkacy

WOW!! Congratulations, Monica! I am so happy for all four of you!

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterleyla

You deserve to be paid for your writing. It's really REALLY good and honest. I'm so incredibly happy that ya'll are making a move and are bravely embarking on this new, wonderful chapter for your family. I love when good things happen to good people.

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaty E.

That's so exciting! Good luck with the transition and congrats on the Babble job!

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternovemberjuliet

I've been clicking all day waiting for your big news...amazing! So glad you're getting paid for write for a living. I will be clicking over to every babble link for sure. Hell, whatever you want me to click on, i will click on - just say the word. so so happy for you that you're making things work. (ps - did you quit via twitter?!!)

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchristine from canada

Boo ya! Go you! So excited for you and all that's ahead!
Why not write a book while you're at it? I'll buy your book AND I'll even still click over to Babble just to make you rich!
Go you!!!

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMickey

Woohoo!! I was hoping this was the news you'd be announcing! How lucky that you get to quit your job and move to the country! What a dream... seriously!! I couldn't be more happy for you guys. Sounds like this will definitely work much better for your fam. :)

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenny B

Weird how I knew you were leaving! Good gut intuition, I tell ya! Very happy for you; although I'm a little sad - being a recovered mormon and native Utahan like you, it feels like a best friend is moving away. But I will still faithfully read and click and all that other stuff to ensure your success!

Yay for you and your cute family! :)

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJust Jill

Hey! Keep blogging and writing at Babble, coz I click always! Continue what you're doing coz you're a pro - with love all the way from Blighty! x

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

Oh, and get Serge to post again, I love reading your posts in tandem. X

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

Well shut my pie hole! You guys! I am thrilled you made this courageous and intelligent and perfectly perfect decision. Relieved actually. Wowee. :) This is beautiful. Congratulations!

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergina

Congrats on both the new job and the big move! I'm excited to see how these journeys go for you guys. Thanks for showing us bits of your lives. Oh, and I'll keep clicking on over to Babble, especially now. :)

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

I am a newish reader. I found you a few months ago when I put in a google search about Mormon to awesome or something like that. I was hooked and have happily read along since. I think you are great. I'm here to stay no matter where here happens to be.

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Good for you! Hold on to your hats!

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteph

I am so happy for you! Times of change are always hard- in a good and bad way... but I know it will be okay!

April 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCasey in Boise

I'm sure you will have some great posts from Pennsylvania. It isn't quite Utah. I have lived in NYC as well as PA and Salt Lake, to name a few, and I know you will love it. I can't wait to see it through your eyes.

You have to have the hot bacon dressing with the pig stomach and spinach.

Write the baby stuff on Babble, and the more colorfully descriptive posts here. I hope Serge finds good work there.

Congrats, Monica. I hope it is everything you are hoping.

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSouthernMan

Fantastic News!!!!!
Wishing U the BEST!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentershuga

FoR rEaL gIrL? Sounds like a winner! Congrats & let the whopee pie good times begin!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterniobe19

Congrats! What part of Central PA, may I ask? We're in Berks County, where things are not particularly rural, but nevertheless still too rural for my taste. :)

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Gentle Mom

Congrats Hun. I wanted to comment on your recent blog - where you asked who was reading - but I was at my Mum's in Ireland and her internet connection is useless... it wouldn't let me comment!! Anyway - thrilled for you all - so pleased your plans are all taking shape. As someone else said - good things happen to good people. Hurrah to you for making your dream come true. x

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercrummymummy

Yippee-ki-yay! So excited for you and your gorgeous family! You are an inspiration to say the least!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMs. Alex

Congratulations! The best decision you guys ever made. Security is just an illusion so I think it's awesome that you guys have the balls to follow your desires!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNiedlchen

How exciting for your family!! It will be nice for the brothers to be together again :). Congrats on your new gig. I will continue to click for you.

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle

ha, I knew it:) really you're doing this, I'm so exciting with you. best wishes!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteranajo

Congrats, so happy for you. I bit the bullet in a similar move 2 months ago - I've never looked back. The things I worried about before making the swich have turned in to absolutely nothing. The joy at my new life is even better than I thought. BIG SMILES. So pleased that you too will have this freedom! Enjoy!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdawn

Awesome!! Glad everyone is happy with this huge transition. I found out I was pregnant with my son in August of 05 and quit my job (my GOOD job) in January of 06. My husband worked as a manager at Wendy's... So at least you guys have it all figured out! Good luck and I am UBER excited to read about the moving experience (that is gonna suck, you know that right?) But once you get there and settled it will all be worth it. Congrats!!!!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterApril

wa-hoo! you won't regret one single minute watching those babies grow up. way to take a bold step plus being by lots of family is HUGE for the kids. rock on

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCMW

Wow! That's awesome! Can't wait to follow you guys on the adventure. Good for you!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Congratulations on the job, which sounds wonderful, and the move. Much good luck to you all. We're on the Main Line of Philadelphia, not all that far away. Why did I think you were moving to Conshohocken or nearby?

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarole

I CANNOT believe he left Yuengling off the list!!! Just look for it when you get there. Promise.

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

You are going to LOVE it!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMrsK

Congratulations! I look forward to reading about your road trip: 2 adults, 2 kids, 2 dogs--should be fun! :)

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjeneria

Hearty congrats. I have a great big old feeling that you won't regret these decisions and you certainly won't EVER regret being home with your babies/kids/teens. As you are finding out, it really goes by fast and you do not get a do over with kids. Looking forward to reading about your PA adventures. Glad you were able to get something going with Babble. I have older kids so I'm not much interested in the writings over there but I'll definitely keep an eye out here. Best of luck to you all. Happy trails...

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeekyToe

YAY! I'm so excited for yall! I can't wait to read about your new experiences out in the boonies! BTW, that neighborhood looks just like mine way out here in the middle of Cow Pasture Land, Alabama!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdawnmarc

Very exciting news, enjoy your new adventures! I think you're amazing for following your dreams.
Look forward to reading about your new life. Good luck!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStarla

fucking YES!!!!! oh honey, I could not... NOT be happier for you guys. I swear to you this will be the best decision you ever make... we did the same thing for our kids when they were tiny (moved everyone to Napa, CA so they could grow up with grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles everywhere) and it has been WONDERFUL to have everyone so close. Seriously got a tear for you and your beloved that you'll be near family and out of that lonely lonely sounding place... woohoo!!! could I click anywhere on Babble to tell them how stoked I am that you've signed the contract?

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura B

These are the best news!! I wish you guys all the best!
I'll be clicking wherever you're writing.

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia

Congratulations! This is great news! I'm with you completely on not wanting regrets, and regretting time lost with our children would be a big fat one. No regrets y'all!!! Good for you!!!


April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEllen

Just tickled.

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkatherine

Hey Monica- I have been reading your blog for awhile, not sure how long. This post literally made me smile ear to ear- and I don't even know you. It's so satisfying to read about how you and Serge are making your lives work for you and your beautiful kids. I can't wait to read all about it! Congratulations on giving your Fox job up- that must have been tough, yet easy in so many ways. Complicated for sure. Way to go Girl!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAli


This is truly awesome news! I am so happy for you and your family. I am sure that this is one decision that you will never regret and I am sure the kids will love having their mommy home with them. Can't wait to read all about the move and if there is anything you need please feel free to ask.

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShelly

Good luck! That's so exciting!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeanMarie

catfish, corn pie and moon peaches!
I'm still cracking up at the list of amenities...

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergina

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