Hudson Valley Parent

HVP December 2016

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Page 8 of 43 n Hudson Valley Parent 9 For the group's first meeting, she brought a draft of something she created Christmas Eve when her children - who had transitioned from the big farmhouse they had lived in before with both parents to an apart- ment with just mom - asked her how Santa could visit them when they didn't have a chimney anymore. In response, she created a story about a magical drawing of a chimney that children could hang anywhere so that Santa could visit them. When DerOhannesian read her early draft at that first meeting, the response was so positive that she never went back to the group. Instead she focused on creating the book Santa's Magical Chimney, which comes with its own chim- ney poster and is available now in independent book stores throughout the Hudson Valley (and online at "All of this comes out of my experience as a single parent," she says. "Everything I do is channeled through my own personal life lessons. My mission is to make a difference and provide some inspira- I am a Hudson Valley Parent Christine DerOhannesian: Soaring above it all By BRIAN PJ CRONIN U nless you're a trucker, Chris- tine DerOhannesian has worked in more states than you. After graduating from high school in Pine Bush, she began a career in retail at Woodbury Commons. That brought her to the corporate side of retail, and a life on the road. "I went to 43 states and lived in every major city," she says. "Yet I al- ways said that I had a city mind but a Hudson Valley heart." She returned to the Valley in her 30's to settle down, leave the workforce, and start a family. But just as her teens and 20's were marked by the occasional disaster - a severe car accident right before graduation, a stolen moving van outside Boston - DerOhannesian found herself divorced in her 30s with two children: Marcello, now 12, and Rosalia, now 10. Just as she had in the past, she sought to flip this new negative experience into a positive and to turn what people perceived has her weaknesses into strengths. Humble beginnings First came BumbleFly, a commu- nity cafe and meeting spot, named after the way people viewed her. "People always put labels on me and said I was free-spirited because I'm spontaneous and outgoing, but I'm also very diligent," she says. BumbleFly, a combination of a whimsical butterfly and a hard-work- ing bumblebee, was created to re- flect that duality. Then, in response to those who said she was "too wordy," next came a writer's group. tion for children to understand that things are ok, but also for parents to be motivated. No matter what age we're at, we all want that confirma- tion that this is ok." On the horizon DerOhannesian is currently work- ing on two follow up projects that also reflect her family's experiences. One of them, Home Is Where The Heart Is is a story for children who live in split families and will come with a backpack with plastic pockets for pictures on it. "The book instructs kids to put pictures of people that they love inside the pockets so when they're traveling...back and forth to other houses, [it] reminds them that home is where the heart is," she says. Positive spin Thanks to the way their mom emphasizes a positive outlook, her children have learned to adapt to the changes life throws at them. That also includes setting an example for her children by including them in everything, including the business, as BumbleFly has transitioned a PR firm that DerOhannesian uses to host business meetups and expos. "My father always said 'Success is not found in clothes or personal belongings, but how your children speak of you to your friends,'" she says. "So for my children to tell me that they're proud of me is, for me, the biggest accomplishment. It tells me that they recognize what life is really all about." Brian PJ Cronin is a freelance writer whose work appears through- out the Hudson Valley. "My mission is to make a difference and provide some inspiration for children to understand that things are ok, but also for parents to be motivated."

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