Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Fish By Any Other Name

Sometimes I'll read an article about Sardines being a superfood and I'll get all inspired to eat "healthy fats" and head out to the organic, gluten free section of the gorcery store.  I get on this righteous high horse where I'll fill my basket with several cans of wild caught sardines, black bean pasta, Mac & ChResse (note the "R" in cheese.. it's basically a dairy free, gluten free, healthy version of mac & cheese which is made with organic rice pasta and a mustard/nutritional yeast that substitutes as the cheese sauce), soy veggie burgers, and the like.  I'll stand in the checkout line feeling "holier than thou", secretly scoffing at the shoppers around me who have Little Debbie snack cakes & Deli meat in their cart.  I imagine I'm on some path of edible, organic enlightenment where I'll eat my way to some sort of health food induced nirvana.  I'll then schlepp my healthy haul home where I proceed to purge all of the junk food occupying my fridge and cabinets into a hefty bag and toss it into the trash where it belongs.  I pause when I get to the Cheese-It's, trying to justify that this yummy cracker snack possesses some sort of nutrional value, then spare them from the purge and hide them behind the organic raw almonds in the snack cabinet (moderation, right?)  I then plot out my super healthy lunch which will consist of Sardines, Kale, organic kidney beans and a homemade olive oil & lemon juice dressing.  As I prepare this lunch, I envision myself writing a "clean eating" blog, relaying my "journey" into the world of health food.

I then sit down to eat, and realize that even the smell of the sardines is nauseating.  I hate sardines. don't...once I start eating them, my body will realize that I need this miraclous superfood for omega 3's or 6's or whatever and my dewy young complexion will be thanking me once I start eating these babies regularly.  I then put a tiny piece of the sardine in my mouth and immediately regret it.  NO...I can't.  I just CAN'T.  What the hell was I thinking?  The mere thought of sardines elicits a physical response where my face contorts like I just watched Miley Cirus twerking in a Catholic Church Christmas service.  I can't even bring myself to eat a leaf of kale that the sardine touched.  Why the hell are sardines a superfood?  Why can't Velveeta be a superfood?  Damn you, 6 cans of sardines I stil have in the shelf!!  I take the remaining sardines on my plate and hustle them down to feed to the cats, then I head to Panera for the U Pick 2 Brocolli Cheddar Soup and Sierra Turkey Sandwich combo.  YUM!  There's a moderate area between the black and white that is"health fanatic" and "processed food junkie".... and that grey area can be found over at Panera :)   On a related side note - if anyone is looking for Sardines (like for fishing bait or something)...give me a call.

Thanks, but no thanks...

In other non-sardine related news, my yoga teacher training is just awesome!  A few weeks ago our training class held a "Community Teach" where we offered 3 classes to the public at a greatly discounted rate and we got to teach the classes :)   We each had a portion of the class we had practiced and taught.  The classes were full and there were real live people who looked to us for yoga direction.  I was the first to teach, and was pretty darn nervous.  I decided if things started to go awry, I'd just embrace it and do something crazy like break into a song & dance routine to the popular 80's song "She's a Maniac".  Go down in yoga teacher training history as "the girl who lost her mind at community teach."  Luckily it didn't come to that, but it's always nice to have a Plan B.

Finally, I hope you're all enjoying your holidays!  This was the first year we didn't host anything holiday related at our house.  We went to Brian's parents for Christmas Eve and my parents for Christmas cooking or cleaning or clean-up afterward.   I have to admit it was a nice change.  The kids have basically been in their PJ's for 3 days playing with all the toys that Santa brought.  By far the messiest toy they got was "Crazy Sand"'s sand that never dries out.  It comes in a host of differet colors and there's A LOT of it.  A lot.  It's pretty much impossible to contain in one room and so it's been tracked from one end of the house to the next....which is all part of the experience.  I'm fairly certain this toy will be "misplaced" by the end of the weekend.  On the other hand, we're all having a blast with the Frozen karyoke machine Lauren got from Santa.  Last night after a few glasses of wine, Brian & I pulled that baby out and belted out tunes to many an 80's classic as the dogs sat on the couch as our "audience" and looked on both puzzled and horrified.

Well I'm off to enjoy the beautiful weather (sunny and 50!)....  I have to admit that I'm actually looking forward to a good snowstorm come January.  Talk to me at the end of January and I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune (into the Frozen Karyoke machine, no less)... As we all know,  January is the month I typically start losing my mind :)

Friday, December 5, 2014

November - The Good, The Bad and The Sad...

Happy Birthday, Lauren! 

Lauren Allison turned 6 while we were on vacation in Florida last week!  We had a blast and celebrated by getting Mani/Pedi's, going to the Aquarium and seeing Winter the Dolphin (who is also a celebrity :), petting the stingrays, going for a walk on the beach, then going bowling & having cake.  It was a unique opportunity to spend her birthday away in Florida and spend a whole day celebrating as a family. It was a great vacation and the infusion of sun & warmth was enough to recharge me for winter (talk to me in January and I'll see where I stand with that..)

Lauren's doing great in school and has even managed to buy lunch and try new things despite her protests.  She is a PICKY eater!!  I mean crazy picky.  It's sort of become a battle of the wills now - with us trying to get her to at least TRY new things and her literally sitting at the table looking at the "offending food" and crying.  I'm obviously a horrible mother...trying to get her to eat a blueberry and a cooked carrot.  But I'm a softie - I totally admit it.  When I give her something for dinner and she won't eat it, I worry she'll go to bed hungry and then make her something else for dinner that I know she'll eat.  Everyone (including her pediatrician) has told me to make one meal and if she doesn't eat it, that's it until morning.  UGHHHHHH!!!   I just can't.   And so one day I realized we were out of her signature peanut butter I usually make her for lunch, so she had to buy the school lunch - GASP!  After a morning full of protests and her telling me that she was "freaking out"...she went off to school and bought lunch.  When I picked her up from school that day, she told me "It was the best lunch ever" and that she tried carrots and grapes and "some yellow vegetable".  WHAT???  Here I sat at the dinner table for HOURS, painstakingly bribing her to eat one bite of a carrot while she wept, and then she goes off to school and eats everything in sight??  Mmmm Hmmm.... Touché, Lauren....Touché...

Shake it off Bunny, I mean Ben...

Ben  & I were driving home from preschool the other day and I was flipping around on the radio and came across Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off".. Of course I kept flipping.  But Ben immediately starting screaming "NOOOOO Mommy!!! I want THAT song!"  What the....???   To avoid a total shitstorm i put it back on, and I look back to see Ben bopping around in the back.  I asked him how he even knew that song to which he replied "I just know, Mommy..  Can you turn it up?"   Umm... Ok.  Sorry to interrupt your "flow", Bunny..

In other Ben news....I missed "brown day" at Ben's preschool...each month they have a color day where they focus on a color and the kids wear the themed color (shirt, pants, and bring a treasure from home) and then the kids graph it all out with help from the teachers.  Anyway, I've never missed a color day for either of the kids, but this....I totally forgot!  I felt horrible. We went in and all the kids were wearing brown and had their brown treasures from home, and my little Ben had his blue shirt on and I serioulsy felt like the worst mom in the world.  I realize I'm totally blowing this out of proportion, but here's how my thought process went..."Brown day!!!  Holy shit!  Poor Ben...he's the only one not wearing brown.  I'm an asshole.  How did I not see this on the preschool calendar on the fridge??  What's wrong with me?  I'm so overwhelmed.  I have too much going on.  I need to simplify my life.  What does that even MEAN??  I need to stop playing games on my phone and get off Facebook.  Yes, that's it...I'm distracted.  Fucking electronics.  Mom's had it so much easier in the 70's.  No email, no social media.  It's ruining our society.  Plus the clothes were so much cooler back then.  I'm such a hippie. I was born in the wrong decade.  I wonder if there are any vintage clothing boutiques around here?  I should look that up when I get in the car.  THE CAR!!  Yes, maybe I can find some brown treasure in the car for Ben - there's gotta be a rogue matchbox car under the seat that has some brown in it..."

And so I scurried out to the car and checked under the seats only to find a half chewed dog bone.  I breifly contemplated the fact it IS light brown.... NO!  No...that's just wrong.  And I drove away from the preschool teary eyed wondering if my child would ever recover from the Brown Day Debacle of '14.  While part of me totally gets that in the scheme of things this is no big deal, the other part of me feels like a big mom failure.  This is obviously Facebook's fault.

Molly The Diva

Molly, my foster dog,  was spayed a few weeks ago.  She's 5 years old and had obviously been bred many many times before landing in a NYC shelter.  So we had her spayed on Wednesday and by Friday started looking around the house and whimpering.  I checked her incision and that looked fine.
She was eating.  But she was clearly upset by something.  Finally, she located the stuffed animal bin in the kid's playroom and took a stuffed animal back to the couch.  Ok.  I figured she was just looking for something to chew on.  Over the course of the next several hours, she'd hoarded 3 more stuffed animals on the couch and was licking and seemingly caring for them.  She wouldnt leave them.  I started to realize that after the spay, her hormones were a bit whacky and probably mimicked that of post pregnancy.  She thought these stuffed animals were her pups!!!  For the love of GOD!  And so all weekend, Molly held court on the couch, caring for her faux litter. I had to bring her food in so she'd eat, and in order to get her to go out to potty, I'd have to take one of the "pups" and coax her outside with it...then stand there snuggling it while she went potty.  Once she was done, she'd hop up and take the "pup" and head in and back to the couch.  As I stood out there in the rain one evening, holding Lauren's Hello Kitty umbrella & snuggling a stuffed cow while Molly went potty...I wondered how I'd arrived at such a moment.

Molly then took a 10 day trip to my mother's house while we were on vacation in Florida.  Grandma of course spoiled her, and bought her coats, and even a Christmas sweater.  Molly went to doggy day camp every day where she played & got lots of love from the staff.  And she is also now on a gourmet diet.  I sent her to my mom's on dry dog food - a quality grain-free food called Taste of The Wild.. not too shabby!  She came back on such meals as "grass fed organic ground beef & rice" as well as various chicken stews, pureed chicken breast and organic dog food cans which my mother had labeled "really likes" or "doesn't care for".  Yep. Now  Molly's looking for home cooked meals and basically refuses to eat her dry food.  Why not?  I have all the time in the world... while I'm at it I might as well start making the cats seafood casseroles.

Jesse James 

Last month we lost our sweet tuxedo kitty, Jesse to cancer.  It was so sudden and totally unexpected. He was only 10 years old.  I've had him since he was 2 weeks.  I rescued his mom and her 4 kittens 10 years ago.  Jesse was so sweet I just couldn't let him go, so I kept him.  He was a happy go lucky, sweet boy who loved to snuggle.  When Lauren came along he took to her immediately.  He'd sit beside her on the floor while she watched Baby Einstein at 3 months old.  He's been attached to her and would sleep with her & Ben and follow them everywhere.  One day about 4 weeks ago, I noticed he didn't come down to eat that day.  He was sitting up on the kids bed.  The next morning we found him hiding in the bathtub and I knew something was wrong.  When I picked him up, his bones were so he had lost muscle mass.  He had been seemingly fine just days before.  I called the vet and took him in immediatley.  As I was sitting with him waiting at the vet's office, I noticed the inside of his ears looked yellow.  As I seperated his fur on his back I realized his skin was yellow all over.  By the time the vet came in, I knew it was serious.  Tests confirmed he had a cancerous mass in his pancreas which had spread to his liver.  There was no saving him.  They could do chemo to lengthen his life maybe by a few months, but he'd have to be fed by a feeding tube.  His quality of life would've been awful.  As I held him, I could see the sparkle of life in his eyes had dimmed.  He was limp and sick and completely opposite from his usual happy, lively dimeanor.  It had just happened so fast .  There was no time to absorb it... he was suffering and we had to do what was right by him, so we opted to put him to sleep.  The vet gave me some time with him to say goodbye, and I swear he looked at me like he knew what I was saying.  I knew it was the right thing to let him go, but my heart was broken.  I prayed that my grandpa (my mother's father) would be there waiting for him on the other side.  My Grandpa was a huge animal lover who saved countless dogs & cats over the years.  He'd take my mother as a little girl and they'd go to the pound and take dogs that were about to be put down, and he'd find them homes.  I hoped he'd be there waiting for Jesse.  The irony was coming home after and feeling such a void in the house with Jesse's absence.  Even with 3 other kitties, an English Mastiff, and my foster pittie, there was still an emptyness in the house without Jesse.  Rest in Peace, Sweet Boy...

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Picture's Worth A Thousand Retakes

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  I love love LOVE Halloween!  The entire month of October, really.  This fall has been absolutely gorgeous and I've been trying to get out and hike as often as possible.  I've been taking some awesome pictures of the fall foliage and hope to actually print them out and put them into a collage or something.  I'm a picture taking maniac and currently have thousands of pictures on my phone.  I need to pare down, as it's hard to keep up with.  I try to get them all onto Snapfish so they're saved somewhere in case my phone takes a swim in a duck pond or what have you, but that doesn't always pan out that way.  My last phone (which was waterlogged at the beach this summer) contains a gazillion pictures that never made it to snapfish.  It makes me wonder if we take too many pictures.  Back in the day when I was growing up, my dad would pull out the old Nikkon Camera and take a few pics of each holiday, birthday, etc.  Back when you had to buy film and load it into the camera.  A roll of 20 would probably last him at least a few holidays. He'd have them printed out and put them into photo albums which are neatly perserved in the basement along with several rotary phones.  When I'm feeling nostalgic I can look through the photo albums.  It wasn't album contains the first 5 years of my life. Some pics are blurry or off center, and that's ok.   Now, I feel like we take so many pictures trying to capture perfection that it kind of gets "watered down"...know what I mean?  I could fill an entire album of Lauren's first Christmas.  And it's hard to go back and look through 200 pictures of one holiday and pare them down to say 10 pics to represent that first Christmas.  I have printed out pics laying around all over the house, not quite sure what to do with them, and thousands on my phone that have yet to even be printed.  It's forever on my "to-do" list to sit down and sift through them, but it's a huge undertaking. I know this is a silly "first world problem" in the scheme of things, but it makes me realize that overall I need to simplify. Take less pictures, be present in the moment and enjoy it versus trying to get the perfect picture of it.

Yes, I take a lot of pictures at cemeteries.  I totally have an obsession with cemeteries....

In other news (and silly first world issues) I find myself totally baffled over this current mystery unravelling here in my very own kitchen.  So - on most ovens - probably all ovens- there's a setting that says "Self Clean".  If I'm understanding this correctly, the oven is suggesting that it will clean itself once that button has been pushed. Right?

So...let's say, for example, that an applie pie exploded in my oven, leaving a sticky, gooey mess behind that now burns off each time I turn my oven letting off enough smoke to set off every fire detector in the house (this is a hypothetical, of course).  So my choices are either 1) Go out to the store, purchase "Easy Off" oven cleaner, latex gloves and a huge sponge.  Come home, spray in on the inside of my oven, wait 3 hours while it "sets", open all the windows to avoid the aersol chemical shitstorm I've just unleashed in my kitchen, then procede to put the entire top half of my body INTO the oven emitting said fumes, and scrub down the mess by hand....undoubtedly needing some type of bucket filled with water in which to rinse out my huge sponge in between wipes.  OR...
B)  Turn on the "Self Clean" option and let the oven clean itself while I go watch my neighbor's yard guy bag leaves in hopes he'll get hot and take his shirt off.

Do you see where I'm going with this?  Well obviously, that I need one of those 80 degree fall days and a good pair of binolculars.  Sure.  But as far as this oven dilemma, why would anyone chose to clean it themselves if this self cleaning option exists??  I mean, it almost seems too easy.  Like a trick.  I admit, I'm kind of nervous to push that button.  Like, what if I hit it, and suddenly a team of oven cleaners screeches down my street and into my driveway, hops out with all their oven cleaning gear and pushes me out of the way as they make a beeline for my kitchen.  Then once the oven cleaning is complete, I get billed for it at the end of the month?  Like an "on demand" movie?  There has to be some catch to this whole thing.  Has anyone every used the self cleaning option?  Have YOU?  What happens?  I'm dying to know.  WHAT THE HELL IS THE CATCH????  

Anyway, while that mystery gets here is all kinds of crazy, so of course it seemed like a great time to bring in a foster dog!  And so a few weeks ago, we welcomed Molly Luna Star, a sweet pup out of the Manhattan Shelter who was on "doggie death row".  In all honestly there was no plan to take any more animals in....but somehow, Molly's story (FKA Estrella) found me and I couldn't get her sweet little face out of my head.  She'd clearly been bred many times, and then dumped in a shelter.  It killed me to think that she may never know the love of a real family and to be treated like a little princess.  She's a black dog...and typically they don't get adopted out of the shelter, so the odds were stacked against her.  So she's here with us, and we're fostering her through Imagine Pet rescue.  I'm honeslty amazed that such an awesome dog was almost put down.  This dog rocks.  She's about 5 yrs old and all she wants is snuggles and to follow her humans around.  That's it.  She's great with the kids and our dog, Brynn.  Please "like" her Facebook page and share it...we're on a quest to find her the perfect forever home..


Have a Happy, Haunted & Safe Halloween!!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dude, Where's My 4 Year Old??

So it's been a whole month since I wrote a blog.  Since then, I've started my 200 hour yoga teacher training - it's 1 full weekend per month (Fri night, all day Sat & Sun) and an additional 1 Saturday per month.  Also, at least 1 yoga class per week is  required.  It's a lot of yoga.  I love yoga, but I have to admit that I've been challenged both physically and mentally as I embark on this journey.  I consider myself in "good shape" and pretty flexible, but after that first weekend of training, every since muscle in my body was sore.  Even my fingers hurt.  I also found myself in a very spiritual place.  Although we all know that yoga is a spiritual practice, I'd never spent so much condensed time thinking, meditating, reflecting and observing myself.  By the end of the weekend, it felt almost strange coming home to life in full swing.  I needed time to decompress.  It was a totally unexpected "side effect" of this training, and one that I honeslty don't know that I would've been ready for had I started this training a few years ago.  Even last year, for that matter.

I suppose things in your life show up exactly when you need them.  Training, lessons, teachings, people, etc.  I'm embarking on a new journey in many aspects of my life, and yoga has really helped guide me.  There are times in our lives when suddenly everything is in upheaval and change is inevitable.  I'm learning to ride the wave and not struggle against it.  I'm learning that change, although hard and typically uncomfortable, is sometimes necessary.  Sometime while riding the wave, we get tossed around and bumped up against things...maybe even get a toe bitten off by a shark (kidding  of course - all of my toes are intact ;)   But I suppose this is an unavoidable aspect of life...getting tossed around and not sure where we'll end up. We all experience that feeling and I guess instead of worrying about where this wave is taking me, I need to relax and enjoy the journey no matter what obstacles come my way.  

Anyway, Benjamin started preschool a few weeks ago and he's basically turned into a teenager overnight.  The first day I picked him up from preschool (which he LOVES), he informed me that I should no longer call him "Bunny" (my cute little nickname I've had for him since he was born..), but instead I was to refer to him as Ben or Benjamin.  WHAT???!!   After a little back and forth, I finally got him to agree that I could call him Bunny as long it was not in front of his new friends at school.  Also, I notice on the playground playing with his little friends after school, they call each other "Dude".  Do you LOVE it??  DUDE!  He's 4.

Meanwhile, I'm happy to report that Lauren has stopped the tears (for the most part) and is now enjoying life as a Kindergartener/Diva.  She still has her moments, but NOTHING like it was and most days she's excited to get to school to see her friends and her "handsome art teacher".  Oh yes, my 5 year old announced at dinner one evening that she was looking at him and then got embarrased when he noticed, but she couldnt help it since he's so handsome.  Ohhhhh for the love of God. We then attended an ice cream social at the school where we ran into her art teacher and she batted her little eyelashes and smiled every time he walked by.  I don't know what's happening to my kids, but I'm feeling like I'm on an episode of Beverly Hills 90210. (The old school one...not the remake.  Naturally.)   Here are a few pics of Brenda & Brandon on a recent hike....

Also prime Apple Picking month is upon us again.  We went last week and faced the same confusion in the apple orchard as last year.  In the end, however, I made a KICK A$$$$  apple pie.  Ok, I look up recipes on google all the time, even though I have like 2,700 on Pinterest.  Needless to say, I've tried a bunch on apple pie recipes, but THIS ONE is seriously the absolute best.  Go make it now.  Here's a picture of my masterpiece...

PS....Don't tell, but this is totally a store bought crust.  Just before I put the pie in the oven, I brush egg whites on top of it to give it that glaze.  I'm not sure if that's even really a "thing", I may have seen that on an episode of Three's Company...but either way, it works!  Happy Baking :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

It's A Jungle Out There (And By "Out There" I mean Kindergarten)

If you don't already have children and are wondering if you're ready....ask yourself these questions:

Do you want to feel guilty 100% of the time?  Do you want to feel like every decision you make has the potential to destroy your child's psychological and moral fabric?  Does the idea of financial and emotional indentured servitude appeal to you?  Does the prospect of being woken up several times a night by miniature humans with irrational fears, wiggly teeth, and fears of their Frozen Poster of Elsa coming to life off the wall sound like fun to you?

If you've answered to answered "YES" to any of these questions, you should A) Have Children Immediately, B) Come over and help parent my children, or C) Join a traveling circus

This week was Lauren's first full week of Kindergarten.  It all started out just great.  She went off the first day... a little nervous about a new school with new teachers and friends, but all in all pretty excited.  As the week wore on, she realized it was a longer day then she was used to at preschool and started to miss everyone at home.  Then it happened....her worst fear realized - her tooth came loose at school - and it sent her into a tailspin.  She decided she hated Kindergarten and would not be returning. When we explained to her that she indeed would have to go back to school the next day, she came down with a stomach ache, fake cough and began hyperventilating.  We figured after a good night sleep, she'd snap out of it and be ok the next day.  After a rough morning, we got her off to school, only to get several calls from the school nurse letting us know that she'd been down in her office crying to come home.  She wasn't sick, the nurse assured me - just missing her mom.  When Lauren realized she wasn't being sent home unless she was actually ill, she told the nurse she was going to throw up.  The nurse thought it would be helpful if Lauren talked to me on the phone.  I assured her I'd be there to pick her up at the end of the day and that we'd get ice cream.  At this point, my heart was breaking to hear my little girl so upset.  I felt awful and wished I could do something to alleviate her little fears.  When I picked her up that day, she broke into sobbing tears and cried on my shoulder all night, begging me not to send her back to school.  We tried all night to soothe her and reassure her.  I started to feel like an awful mom for sending her off to school and causing her all this anxiety, but Brian and I knew we had to stay strong and not let her see us get upset.

The next morning, she adamantly refused to go.  I put her in the car as she sobbed and hyperventilated and drove her to school.  She wouldn't go inside.  She put her backpack down and shook her head.  Finally a teacher had to come out and literally pick her up and bring her in kicking and screaming, as Lauren grasped on to my shirt screaming "Don't make me go, Mommy!!!"   I got back to my car and just lost it.  I sobbed all morning.  What had I done?  I know she has to go to school and that lots of kids have trouble these first few days...missing their parents and feeling homesick. But I just handed over my child to someone who is a stranger to her, and let them take her from me where she feels safe and secure and bring her into a room full of people she doesn't know.  I felt like I had completely betrayed her trust.  I called my mom and she told me how hard it was for her to leave me when I went to kindergarten.  Apparently I cried and refused to go in to school, too.  I wrapped myself around the flagpole and the principal literally had to peel me off of it and drag me into the classroom, while he told my mother to just go and that her staying would only make things worse.  I was the class crier that year.  I cried for my mommy daily...and I was only in half day kindergarten!!!  Anyway, my mom told me how awful she felt, but that I got over it.  By full day 1st grade I was just fine.  No long term damage done to my little psyche.  My mom also told me she had been the class crier when she was little, too.  That she cried for her mom all day.  Apparently we come from a long line of criers.  Now I had a little crier of my own.  It doesn't make it any easier, though - seeing my child so distraught, but at least I felt a little better about sending her to school.

It's just a catch 22.  I mean - what are the options here?  She's 5 years old and it's time for school.  It's not like we're sending her to work 14 hours a day in coal mine or something.  In the big picture here, she's going to kindergarten.  She colors and has music and art and rest time.  REST TIME!  They get to nap with their little blankets after lunch.  Her teacher is beyond sweet.  She's a mom of 2 babies and totally understands.  She's sweet and nurturing and I couldn't ask for a kinder teacher.  The school itself is beautiful.  It's cute and it situated in a nice little residential neighborhood.  It's less than a half mile away, I can be there in like a minute.  So as guilty as I feel when I'm prying her off my leg in the mornings, I have to keep it all in perspective.  Or at least try.  But really...when you're a parent - there's always that question in the back of your mind...AM I DOING THE RIGHT THING??

And inevitably, regardless of what decisions we make as parents and what we do in the best interest of our children - 20 years from now these kids will be sitting on a couch in a therapist office telling them how much we screwed up as parents.  It's the American way.  So if you're a new or soon to be parent, I'd like to take this opportunity to say, WELCOME TO PARENTHOOD!    Grab a glass of wine and get ready to feel guilty! :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gone To The Dogs

Summer is coming to an end, and it's a big ol' circus sideshow over here.  I have a lovable but belligerent 200 pound mastiff who refuses to have her nails trimmed.

When I'm feeling brave, I'll sometimes lock myself in the bathroom with her and back her into a corner in an attempt to clip the talons, but it's a lengthy process with her pulling her paw away the second I get the clipper around her nail.  Usually - if I'm lucky, I'll get 2 or 3 nails partially clipped before all hell breaks loose.  I have to get on top of her -on her back - and when she decides she's had enough, she stands up and bucks me off of her like one of those bull rides you see at a country bar.  I then run the risk of being trampeled so I have to get myself to high ground pretty quickly, so I jump on the side of the bathtub and hang on to the shower curtain rod to steady myself.  By this point Brynn's tail in wagging wildly as she tries to seek shelter in the 6 inch space behind the toilet.  By this time, the commotion has drawn the kids to the bathroom and they pound on the door and try to open it.  I have no choice but to scream the emergency "safe word" to Brian to come and save the day - which is "Tarragon Chicken".

So I finally decided to consult a professional groomer.  I should've known when I called and asked if their doggie salon had experience with "large breed dogs"  and they assured me yes, they've groomed plenty of dogs over 75 pounds, that maybe they werent equipped to handle Brynn.  When I informed them that she was actually close to 200 pounds, there was a pregnant pause followed by what I'm pretty sure was the phone dropping, and then a tentative "can you bring her in tomorrow at noon?" So I made the appointment and the next day collected Brynn and we headed to the groomer.  The owner, who I have to imagine has seen her share of dogs of all shapes and sizes, looked truly shocked when she laid eyes on Brynn.  I assured her that Brynn was friendly and that she'd already eaten lunch, so she needn't worry.  I'm pretty sure she wasn't amused.  Neither was Brynn.  So at 12:01 we left Brynn at the groomer who told me she'd call me in about an hour when Brynn was done.  At 12:03 my phone rang, and it was a shaky voiced groomer who said "this isn't going to work".  Luckily I had just pulled out of the parking lot, so was able to turn around and get back there pronto.  As I pulled in, I played out the scene in my mind of what may have happened in that 120 seconds I was gone.  I envisioned tables overturned, grooming sheers flying through the air, people running in every direction seeking cover as they scream "Run for your liiiiiiiiife!!!"  Like a scene from Godzilla.  I wondered if the salon had insurance.  Luckily it wasn't that bad....just a few people hiding under tables as Brynn snacked on what I believe was a yorkie.  Just kidding.  Brynn stood at the door waiting for me with a look on her face that said "Don't try this again."  The groomer was apologetic, and I think she'd just truly never seen anything like Brynn before and was intimidated by her bigness. My poor sweet and misunderstood.  And powerful and belligerent.  I couldn't love her any more if she was a human child, though.  She's my baby and she's been such a loyal, awesome family pup.  So what if she turned that grooming salon upside down...

Anyway, if you're a dog person who thinks you may be able to tame the beast long enough to clip her nails, please contact me.  If you're name is Cesar Milan, even better.  Whisper to my whatever it is you need to do to get this dog's nails clipped before they get so long that I have to register them as lethal weapons. 

On the topic of the mini zoo - we recently welcomed 2 new beta fish to the family - Dory and Heart.

Last week, Heart (Lauren's fish) went off to the big fishbowl in the sky (insert flushing toilet noise here).  Brian & I had 2 options at that point... 1) Tell Lauren and let the passing of her little fish serve as some sort of life lesson that sometimes we have no control and things like this of life and all that.   Or B) Distract Lauren from the floating fish in the tank while one of us ran down to Pet Supplies and bought a Heart look alike.  Meet Heart 2...

We swapped out Heart 1 for Heart 2 and she was none the wiser :)  Mission Emergency Fish Replacement was a success.  The things we do to save our little ones from any kind of heartache.  

Last but certainly NOT least, I have a HUGE, gigantic, monumental favor to ask of anyone reading this blog.  Ok, so as you know...animals are near and dear to my heart and if I could, I would take in every, dog, squirrel, racoon, etc...that was in need of a loving home.  I'd then be featured on that show "Hoarders" and my home would be condemned, so I realize there are better options to help :)  There are 3 dogs that need our help...I'm asking that you read their story below then click on the link and donate ANY amount of money to help.  No amount is too small.  Thank you in advance to any kind hearted soul out there that takes the time to help these 3....

To make a very long story short... Rufus, Petey and Reese were all pulled in early 2014 by Ruff Start Rescue NY. Since they were pulled they have passed around between boarding, fosters and adopters. Ruff Start stopped supporting them, along with many other dogs, many months ago.

A group of volunteers along with 501c3 Stewie to the Rescue have banded together to place these dogs.

The three left are in training. Rufus and Petey (formerly Ferdinand) are at True Companion in Pennsylvania. Reese has been living with a trainer and will be headed to TC as well in a couple weeks.

Due to the instability these poor boys have suffered - They need the training and we are networking/posting them for appropriate homes. These are all GREAT guys that need experienced owners, and we are working hard to find them just that.

Please help us by supporting their training fund. We will owe more than $1500 in September.  - See more at:

Friday, August 8, 2014

30 Is The New 29

It's August ...which means 2 things.  1) It's time to start back to school shopping for the kids and B) I'm finally turning 30.  After many years of turning 29, I was set to turn 29 again this year, but then the kids learned to count and at one point during one of our Q & A sessions when the kids asked me how old I'll be on on my birthday, they figured out something wasn't adding up.  They called me on it a few weeks ago.  "No Mommy, you're turning 30, silly!  30 comes after 29!"  Oh yes, silly could I have lost track like that??  You got me kids....I'm turning 30.  The big 3-0!!  Can't fool those two, can I?

Turning 30 isn't the only big change happening around here.  The kids will both be starting school - Lauren will be going to Kindergarten and Ben will be going to preschool.  Lauren will be going to FULL DAY Kindergarten and I'm finding it hard to wrap my head around that.  She went to preschool last year - 3 hours a day, 3 days per week (the same program Ben will be doing this year).  It's quite a leap to go from that to full day school 5 days a week.  My little girl is growing up and starting a new chapter in her life.  I mean, she's very excited about it all - we all are.  But to me, who has been home with her since she was a baby -  It feels like she's heading off to fashion design school in New York City and moving into an art loft with a like-minded roommate named Pierre.  Next thing I know, she'll want to do a year abroad in Paris where she'll wear colorful berets and eat croissants and decide to change the spelling of her name to Lauryn.  Damn you, Pierre...damn you!  I knew that kid was a bad influence with his french accent and skinny jeans.  Ok, Ok...I see I've gotten a little carried away. Clearly Mommy needs some extra Xanax.

Anyway, Lauren starts school at the end of August & Ben will be starting the second week of September.  I will also be starting my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training - YAY!!  It's something I've wanted to do a for a while and the timing works out great.  I'm finding that as my children grow and enter new chapters of their lives,  those are the times I tend to reinvent myself.   I almost don't realize it's happening, but that seems to have been a consistent pattern over the years.  Sometimes in small ways, even...but it's definitely been a theme for me.

In other news, in my last blog I told you that my house may be haunted.  Well no more strange occurrences have happened, and remember how I told you I lost my car keys somewhere between my car in the driveway and my house?  Well like a week later my neighbor, Tracy, who lives across the street from me sent me a text asking me if the keys I lost were Nissan keys.  Turns out they were in her front yard.  Obviously....why hadn't I looked there? (I jest).  There's just no reasonable explanation as to how my keys ended up in her front yard.  Let's say I dropped them in my driveway and I didn't realize...they were far too heavy for wind to have blown them over there.  Then I wonder if maybe someone....maybe the mailman or someone walking by, saw them in my driveway.  But why would they take the keys out of my driveway only to throw them across the street into my neighbors front yard?  I don't's strange for sure, but the only logical explanation here is that there's some kind of a portal...from the key holder in my kitchen that leads straight to Tracy's front yard.  Kind of like in the movie "Being John Malkovich" where the portal behind the file cabinet leads into his mind and then after 15 minutes spits the person out onto the side of the New Jersey Turnpike.  So next time I'm missing my Chapstick or something, the first place I'll check is Tracy's front yard.

So that's a relief - no haunting.  Just a portal.

Lastly, I've gone Gluten Free again.  I always just feel better when I'm not eating gluten.  Plus, now there's tons of awesome gluten free products on the market now that they didn't have a few years ago when I first decided to ditch the gluten.  It's really a lot easier now, and I'm noticing a lot more products are actually labeled gluten free so that you don't have to look up the 20 different ingredients a product contains to figure out if any of them is code for GLUTEN.  Here's my latest gluten free find (thanks to a tip from an awesome Naturopath I see) and it totally rocks.  It's called Chebe Pizza Crust Mix and it makes a kick a$$  pizza crust that you'd never know was gluten free.  This entire pizza is gluten free and it was yummy and didn't make me feel like I was missing out on anything.

And on that note, I'm off to search Tracy's front yard for my's been missing for quite some time now.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Colds and Things That Go Bump in the Night

I'm on week 2 of the summer cold from hell.  This cold really knocked me on my butt.  I haven't been sick in a while, but for some reason this one got me.  I blame the kid's summer camp for this.  Lauren was congested for a day or 2, then Ben - then I got steamrolled.  It's like a little slice of January right here in July!  (We all know how much I love January).  I finally gave in and went to the Dr....I had an awful sinus infection (back of hand draped dramatically on forehead) and I got some fun antibiotics. And by "fun" I mean, doubled over with stomach pains because Augmentin really does a number on the tummy.   It's all very dramatic.

I tend to get a little....fussy....when I'm sick.  Normally, I'd have called my mother to whine and complain.  She's a great mom like that - she's like a bowl of chicken soup right over the phone.  She's also a nurse, so she can field questions like "My sinuses really hurt -Do I have flesh eating bacteria of the nose?" or "I think I have brain eating ameoba from swimming in brackish water.."   After gently reminding me we don't actually have brackish water around here and that she's pretty sure it's just a common cold, she then entertains days of phone calls where I just whine.  This time, however, she had gone on a trip to Ireland, so my mommy was out of pocket.  Poor Brian.  He was also sick, I had to take it easy on him.  I briefly contemplated calling my dad, but when it comes to things like this - I don't think he quite gets what I'm looking for.  He likes to solve the problem - not  mull it over 17 different ways and then do it again the next day.  I imagined the conversation would go something like this...

"Hi Dad, I'm sick and I think I'm going to die.."
"Sorry to hear that honey, you should probably get things in order and make a will."
"But Dad, I feel awful and want to complain"
"Honey, you'll feel fine tomorrow.  Take a Tylenol."
"But Dad..."
"Melissa?? KASHHHHHH - I think we have a bad connection...CHHHHHASSSSHHHH...Can't hear you....breaking up..."

I was briefly mad at my father, then realized we didn't actually HAVE that conversation.  Sorry, Dad.

As all you mommy's out there know - when mommy gets sick, we can't take a "sick day".  We still have to care for our babies and make them meals and field 247 questions an hour, just like any other day.  When I get sick, the babies descend upon me to "care for" me.  They take my temperature with thier little plastic thermometer and sit on top on me as I lay lifeless on the couch with a pillow over my head in an effort to make the pounding headache stop.  Inevitably, they get into a fight - Lauren looked at Ben too long or Ben told Lauren her fingers are going to fall off and won't "take it back" and they go back & forth until I yell out from underneath my pillow that my head hurts and mommy needs to get better, so please stop the fighting.  This only serves to spark a barrage of questions from, "Where does a headache come from?  Did I bang my head?  Why do I put my head under a pillow?  Will that make me better?  Should they do that when they're sick?"    If I answer, it only prompts more questions. If I don't, they'll continue to ask the same questions until they have satisfactory answers.  It's so relaxing!  :)

In other news- our house may be haunted.  Not like "chairs piled into a pyramid in the middle of the kitchen" haunted.  More a subtle haunted.  Radios turning on by themselves randomly, doors opening in the middle of the night, Brynn acting REALLY strange, and now my keys are missing.  It all started a few weeks ago when Brian & I decided we'd move our bedroom into Lauren's room since she's been sleeping in Ben's room and basically just uses her room as a dressing room :)    Her room and closet is bigger than ours, so we figured we'd take her room - and move her room into our old room.  So of course we have to repaint the rooms and move dressers, etc - but in the meantime, we've moved our bed into Lauren's old room.  I don't know if we just upset the feng shui in the house or what - but since then all these strange little things have been happeneing.   I was making dinner one night and an old radio we have in the corner of the kitchen came on.  It's been there for years and never done that before, so I thought it was odd but didn't dwell.  A few nights later I was in the kitchen and it happened again.  A few days later I was in the kids playroom and the TV was on - and just shut off by itself.  Ok...I mean, not too big of a deal - but we've lived here for 4 years and never had anything strange happen before.  Then the other night I pulled in the driveway after going out to get dinner.  I got out of the car and came into the house - keys in hand.  We have a key rack we always hang our keys on on the way in.  I do it automatically now.  Keys are always there.  I swore I did that the other night, but in the morning the keys were gone.  Brian & I tore the house apart thinking maybe I set them down somewhere by mistake - but they're nowhere to be found.  I even dumped out the trash and went through it to make sure I didn't accidentally throw them away.  We checked the car, of course to see if I left them in there...they HAVE to be somewhere in the car or in the house.  They are literally nowehere - fallen into a vortex.  Both Brian & I swear I came in and put those keys on the rack like always.  Yesterday as we searched the house, Brynn (my mastiff) wouldn't leave my side.  She was never more than 2 inches away from me.  It was strange.  Finally, last night we were asleep and we hear Brynn barrel assing up the stairs - again something she never does in the middle of the night.  It startled both of us out of a sleep - she was waiting at our door for us to let her in.  She was spooked.  Brian checked the house and found nothing.  The dog then paced around the bedroom and wouldn't settle down.  Finally, Brian decided to go down on the couch to try and salvage a few more hours of sleep before his alarm went off.  While he was down there the hall closet opened by itself.  Middle of the night.  No explanation.  Hmmm.  Maybe we're all just crazy...that's a real possibility, too.  But it is strange.  Do I believe in ghosts?  I don't know - I'll save that one for the next blog.  Meanwhile, we're thinking about moving back into our old room.

Stay healthy and hold onto your keys! :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Now THAT'S Hot....

Did you know that if your grill catches on fire you can use baking soda to put it out?  Yep.  I had the unfortunate experience of looking out the window to see flames shooting out of the grill (note: the chicken that was cooking on it was not edible after that point).  It's a gas grill, which made it a bit nerve racking, so I did what any brave woman with a grill on fire would do.  I remembered an article I read on the uses of baking soda (dousing grease fires being one of them), then I screamed for Brian and armed him with a box of baking soda while the kids & I ran and hid behind the couch and watched from the window.  In the end all was fine - fire was out - nobody exploded.  Turns out you actually have to clean the grease that collects at the bottom of the grill before using it, otherwise it can catch on fire.  Oops.  I didn't know that.  I thought the grill was pretty low maintenance.  But it's not.....aaaaand I set the grill on fire.

On a lighter note...We've been having tons of fun out in the sun now that summer is here! In the last week, we managed to hit the splash pad, our favorite beach, and a friend's pool for a swim.  So we're soaking up all the summer we can while we can. These are the days that make all those awful, cold January days worth it.  The weather has been just perfect and our days filled with summery fun.  This is not to say that each day is filled with rainbows and roses. fact, at the end of each of these lovely outings, there's always some kind of fiasco that reminds me that I have 2 preschoolers with me.  Like for example, when Ben fell in the public toilet as we were leaving the beach...EWWWWWW!!!   He leaned over the toilet to flush it and slipped.  And fell in.  I just....the germ level was off the charts.  It's almost as bad as the time he & Lauren put their tongues on the counter of the pharmacy during flu season. Maybe this is worse...I don't know - I can't think straight with all the Lysol fumes permeating the air.  Anyway, more preschooler drama ensued on Friday when Ben "graduated" from his little sports camp and was being handed his merit award and Lauren decided at that exact moment that she was going to throw up, only to have me rush her to the bathroom where she decided she was fine.  Mmmmm Hmmmm.   I'm pretty sure she gets her dramatic flair from Brian..

In other news, my iPhone of 2 years has finally bought the farm.  It's truly amazing that the phone lasted as long as it did...what with 2 kids playing games on it and many close calls with a body of water.  Honestly, I really wasn't looking forward to getting a new phone.  I get really attached to my electronics (ya I know - I'm a weirdo..)  But think about it...this phone has been with me, by my side, under my pillow at night, for 2 years!  We've laughed together, cried together.  I've received great news and tragic news on that phone.  I've clutched it in my clammy hands while laying on the bathroom floor with the horrid stomach flu while I updated my facebook status to "I think I'm gonna die.."  I've googled everything from "chicken marsala recipes" to "how to remove a crayon from my toddler's nose" to "hot pics of Mark Conseulos".  That phone and I have been on vacation together, and played countless games of Candy Crush together.  Oh and don't even get me started on Siri!

Last week when the phone went completely haywire and refused to do anything but email, I knew it was time for a new one.  So I headed down to AT& T to figure out what to get.  As I sat there waiting for a salesperson to help me, I took a little walk down memory lane in my iPhone & I skipping through a field of flowers saying our goodbyes.  I was feeling pretty bad when suddenly I was approached by this gorgeous man - a cross between Channing Tatum and a young Daniel Craig.  Perfectly chiseled features and eyes that could melt the heart of any woman between the ages of 17 and 92.  Under his shirt, rippling muscles and a body made for running around on a beach with tight swim trunks....saving "drowning" women who threw themselves into the riptide just to be saved by this beautiful Greek God sent from the Heavens for the viewing pleasure of women the world over a very nice salesperson who was extremely helpful in helping me to chose a new phone :)    For some reason, I was feeling much better about my new phone as a I left the store.  On a completely unrelated side note:  If you are a woman and live within 100 miles of Manchester, CT - you should immediately take a hammer to your current cell phone, and then head into the Manchester AT&T for a new one.  You'll thank me later.

As I write this, Lauren & Ben are at their little morning camp session I signed them up for.  I have to say it's pretty strange dropping them both off and actually having a few hours to myself - GASP!  It's been nice getting errands done sans kiddos...and SO much faster, too!  Yesterday I actually came home, put my iPod on with some really cool jazz music, and cleaned the house top to bottom (well, mostly) - and not even ONCE was I interrupted  to break up a fight over who could play with a 25 yr old Strawberry Shortcake phone (that was mine as a kid) that no longer works and that nobody has looked at in 2 years except when 1 of the kids starts to play with it and suddenly it becomes this hot commodity...

The Phone In Question

I actually have an hour to kill before I have to pick up the kids...hmmm...what to do.  You know what?  I think I need another car charger for my new cell phone.  AT&T - here I come :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Tooth Fairy Flies Solo

As many of you know, Brian recently took a new job, as his last job required too much travel and at this new company, he wouldn't have to travel at all.  So he started last month, and was informed last week that he'd need to do some traveling.  Naturally.  Although promised this wouldn't be the just so happens this project he walked into would require someone to be onsite to get it back on track. And here's the's in...Batesville, Indiana. Where??  Batesville.  Population 6,500.  It's claim to fame is that it's home to the "Batesville Casket Company".  Manufacturer of caskets.  There's a Steak N Shake well as a CVS - so you know it's metropolitan.  International jet setters who visit this destination have to actually fly into Cincinnati - the closest airport, rent a car and then drive and hour and a half to Batesville.  Reminiscent of the movie "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles". 

Needless to say, I'm on day 6 of parenting solo and I've gotta tell you...I'm tired and just a wee bit overwhelmed.  It's been 24/7 - I mean, not that it isn't always, but it seems like I can't even manage to get an hour to myself at night to watch some trashy reality tv.  As soon as I get them all settled in for bed, someone needs water, or snuggles, or is afraid of the dark (this is a new thing) even though the hall light is on allll night. Or someone stubbed their toe and needs a Sponge Bob band-aid, or they lay in their beds screaming "potty talk" back and forth to each other. Then they finally get to sleep and someone (usually Ben) wakes up and I can hear the pitter patter of his little feet down the hallway before he comes in and jumps in bed with me and the rest of my night consists of feet and arms flailing about in the bed while I attempt to carve out 2 square feet of space for me to sleep until the dog decides she wants in on the 3am cuddle fest and jumps in and sprawls out on my feet rendering them trapped under the 200 pound mastiff.  Yes, I'm tired.  Mommy needs a break. 

On Friday night, it actually looked like we were on track for an early bedtime.  Baths had been taken, babies were tuckered out from a busy day...and by 7:45 they were on their way to dreamland.  Ahhh, yes...I settled in on the couch with the mastiff and tuned in to some Real Housewives Of Orange County of wine in one hand, Brynn's big head on my shoulder as we watched the drama unfold.  And then it happened.  I heard the pitter patter of little feet heading down the stairs....this time it was Lauren....and she said the words that no mother is ever prepared for - "My tooth is loose!"  And then she burst into hysterical tears and the rest of the night consisted of me consoling her trying to reassure her this was an exciting time, and that the tooth fairy would be coming soon.  As I secretly freaked out - having no idea this was going to happen so soon - I called Brian and Grandma and even Lauren's cousins who are a little older than her to help calm her down and convince her there was nothing to be afraid of. I googled "at what age do teeth start falling out" and was assured we were right on track. So off went The Real Housewives and on went Finding Nemo while we snuggled on the couch until after 11pm until she finally accepted this wasn't the end of the world and fell asleep. 

Saturday night was looking like it may hold some we had spent the day at a graduation party running around and having fun.  The kids were exhausted and Lauren had embraced the loose tooth, so all was good.  I had them in bed early and even managed to take 4 bites of food before all hell broke loose. Lauren's tooth had fallen out,  which started a new wave of tears and just general chaos.  She stood at the top of the stairs - tooth in hand - tears streaming down her little face - as Ben tried to pry to tooth out of her clenched hand to see what it looked like.  Lauren cried because her tooth had fallen out, and Ben cried because his tooth hadn't fallen out and he wanted it to. 

***I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the makers of Mondavi Wines for providing Savignon Blanc - aka - "sanity juice". Keep on doing what you're doing...*** 

And in case you're wondering - the tooth fairy came and left $5 for that tooth (and left Ben $1 for being a supportive brother).  In the morning, Lauren was very excited but also perplexed because she thought the tooth fairy only brought coins.  Lesson learned.  Ben on the other hand, was offended that he only got $1 under his pillow and Lauren got $5.  Me?  I'd just be happy to have a pillow all to myself and  if someone wants to slip a bottle of savignon blanc under it while I sleep, I promise not to be offended :)

Me & my little pillow thieves :)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Meditating in Cemeteries and Other Hazards of Being A Hippie

I'm on a journey and I'm not quite sure where I'm going.  I mean, I suppose we all are all the time...but lately I'm feeling like I'm at one of those life crossroads and I'm kind of in the middle of a road where there's 20 different directions I could go in and I really have no clue which path to even start down.  I'm a little lost and my map isn't making sense (although it could be the smear of peanut butter & jelly covering the North, South, East, West key).  These last few years of my life have been completely defined by my role as a mother.  And I'll always be a full time mommy to my babies, regardless of how old they are, and I'll be there for them whenever they need me no matter what.  But now dynamics are changing and Lauren is getting ready to head of to full day kindergarten and Ben will be starting preschool in the the role isn't so clearly defined anymore, and I'm kind of left wondering what I should be doing.  Although, in the last 8 minutes while I've been writing this blog, I've filled up a plastic shark water gun, put a fake shark tattoo on Ben, Wiped off the fake shark tattoo after a meltdown, and reapplied a new fake shark tattoo once he decided he could handle all the responsibility that comes with sporting "ink".  (If you're wondering what's up with all the shark paraphernalia, you can rest assured this has nothing to do with my obsession with the movie "Sharknado"....but instead these are goodies Lauren got in her goodie bag from an "under the sea" birthday party she went to Saturday..)

Anyway, so here I am, trying to figure it all out.  And for the first time in a while, the focus is on me...which is funny and a bit reminiscent of my life before kids.  Only thing, everything I do and each decision I make, impacts all of us.  If I decide to go back to work - even on a part time basis....tons of questions linger - who will drop off/pick up the kids from school, and take them to Dr's appointments, and what about "sick days" (and they never get sick at the exact same time - as soon as one gets over something, the other comes down with it), and school vacations, and half days, and after school activities?  Having been home with them since they were born, all of these things are totally new for me and honestly I wonder how it would work going from mom being there all the time, to suddenly someone else being there to drive them around and nurture them when their sick.  At this stage of the game, I don't want to consider what that would be like.  It sends a wave of sadness over me to think it wouldn't be me after all this time. 

****DISCLAIMER:  In NO way, shape or form am I making ANY comparison whatsoever to stay-at-home moms versus working moms, or suggesting one is right or wrong or ANYTHING in between. This is simply my personal story and random pontifications on the big questions like - what the heck I should do? what's best for my family? what's it all about?  Who hacked my Netflix account?  Who thought Sharknado was a good idea? Why are we still entertaining all things Kardashian & Seacrest?  And are those people with the phone number 867-5309 still getting calls after all these years?******

Of course, the other side of the coin is that once the kids are both in school - it makes sense for me to find something that both fulfills me while bringing in the extra money, too.  At this stage in my life (29 years old) - I feel it's important to not only get a "job", but find something that also  means something to me that I am passionate about. ( If animal rescue was a "career", all my problems would be solved ;)    So my focus turns to something more spiritual.  Although I've been doing yoga for years, I'm finding it especially important now.  I've also started meditating.  In cemeteries.  Ok, I said it - I meditate in cemeteries.  Truth be told, I've always loved cemeteries.  And between carting the kids around between their activities, when I have a few minutes to myself, it's the one place I can always go and feel at peace and sort of block out the world for a few minutes. I'm new to the whole meditation thing, and although it's the simplest of notions - quieting the mind and focusing on only the breathing - it's proven to be more difficult than I thought.  If I can make it 3 minutes without my mind wandering to what to make for dinner or singing a random song in my head ....then I consider it a success.  Anywho - yoga/meditation - all things spiritual and crunchy - have become more of a focus and a passion for me during this time when there are a million questions to be answered and no manual on what the right answers are.  That's when I realized that the very things that are helping guide me on this journey may be the answer to some of my questions.  I need to be a yoga teacher!  Yes, I shall hug trees and teach yoga...kidding about the hugging of the trees, of course - there are far to many insects on a tree trunk to really get intimate with it.  Teaching yoga will also allow me a more flexible schedule with non traditional hours so that I'll still be able to drive the kids to and from school and apply fake tattoos as needed :) 

I've looked into the200 hour Yoga Teacher Training and it looks like I can start that in September - it's one full weekend a month (Friday night, all day Saturday & all day Sunday) through June, which really works out pretty well considering Ben will only be in preschool 3 days a week - 3 hours per day - so it will be nice to have that one on one time with him while still being able to complete the training.  And there you have it.  I'm not saying this answers all the great questions in the world of me...but it's a good plan, and at least a step in the direction of one of those paths in the crossroads.  I'm hoping there's a wine stand on this path, because I'm already getting thirsty.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Summer Safety - Secondary Drowning

I read an awesome blog called Delighted Momma which shares healthy, PALEO recipes, natural beauty tips, and on occasion, a very personal story.  I just read the following blog post this morning, which left me teary eyed but ultimately more aware.  With summer fast approaching, certain to be filled with beach trips and visits to the pools, this blog is an absolute MUST READ if you have or are responsible for young children....this could save a life...

Friday, May 9, 2014

No Soliciting (Unless You're Selling Wine)

May is here, thus marking the beginning of "door to door soliciting season".  Yes, in this day and age - people still show up at our doors at dinnertime attempting to give us a free estimate on new siding (which we don't have, by the way..), trying to get us to switch cable providers, invite us to various religious events where we should "bring our own snake", sell us a security system, or get us to vote "yes" on question 3.   This annoys me to no end.  I feel like it's completely ridiculous to expect people to open their doors and have these absurd conversations - it's a total infringement on privacy, and really - who the hell are these people?  And so last summer I put up a sign on the front mailbox that read "NO SOLICITING"...and guess what?  People still came to my door!  Yep, I actually had someone say "But I'm not trying to sell anything, I'm only offering a free estimate.."   And of course it totally doesn't apply to the religious crew who is only selling redemption (3 sins forgiven for only $19.95!)  Don't get me wrong - I'm in no way bashing any religious organization - I just don't appreciate the door-to-door-conversion thing. 

So I figured I'd start letting Brynn - my 200 lb.  English Mastiff - answer the door.  She gets really excited when someone comes to the she & I put that to good use.  I open the door, attempting to hold Brynn back, and usually do a dramatic trip where I "lose the grip" on her collar so it looks like I have no control over the beast that lives in my home.  She looks mammoth at the door, and nobody is expecting to see that greet them at the door.  As she snorts and paws uncontrollably at the screen door, I try to get in front of her, only to let her push me back with her family sized head.  Standing behind the Mastiff, I lean over her - being tossed about dramatically, I hold on to the door frame to steady myself, and yell over the snorting, "She hasn't eaten lunch yet....I can't open the door - sorry!"  At which point, the solicitor has no interest whatsoever in giving me a free estimate on anything.  They put their little brochure in my mailbox and scurry off, looking back over their shoulder to make sure the brindle beast hasn't broken out the door to come after them.  (Insert evil laugh here).  The religious folks back off wide-eyed, sometimes clutching their chests in horror when I yell to the dog "Down, Satan, Down!"  Yes, soliciting season is here, and we're looking forward to it :)

In other news, Ben started soccer last week, and his team shirt color is pink.  I must say, this kid can totally pull off the pink.  He owns it.

 We're walking across the soccer practice field looking for his team - there were literally hundreds of people coming and going - and some little boy comes running up to Ben and says "Hey Ben!"  And Ben says "Hey" with a cool head nod and keeps walking.  Brian & I look at each other quizzically as if to say "how does 4 year old Ben know random people??"  So I ask Ben how he knew that little boy and nonchalantly he says..."From the gym".   Oh of course!  I can only assume he means the gym daycare, where I put him the mornings I go.  But of course, this is Ben - for all we know he has his own gym membership and is training for a Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash.  The kid's like Ferris Bueller...he just has that way about him.  He's very charismatic, makes friends quite easily, and is quite the flirt with the women.  Expect to see him on TV singing a top a parade float one day when he skips Kindergarten.

And my sweet baby girl Lauren Allison....I just registered her for Kindergarten for September.  No, no no....I don't even know how that's possible!
Lauren watching Ben's soccer game :)

Soccer Love

People say it goes so fast...and it really does.  Of course, it didn't seem that way when they were both babies.  Lauren was only 15 months when Ben was born, and I remember bringing him home from the hospital and Lauren staring at him like "What IS this??"  I think she thought we got a new cat at first.  She was too young to comprehend the whole sibling thing.

 I remember the day that Brian went back to work and it was just me and the toddling 15 month old and a REALLY hungry Benjamin that needed to eat every 20 minutes.  I literally thought "What the hell have we done???"  I had 2 babies under 2, and started to wonder if anyone had ever successfully made it through those early days while maintaining sanity?  I googled things like "2 under 2 HELP!"  and read forums where other mom's had actually done it and survived....and just as soon as I felt like I had a handle on 2 babies....Ben started in with Colic.  Unless you've had a baby with just can't appreciate the noise that goes along with it.  At about 3 weeks old, he started screaming and crying every day at 3pm.  He'd scream clear through until 8pm, and there was no consoling him.  Brian & I would pass him back and forth and take turns eating and give our ears a break, but there was nothing we could do to calm him down.  The pediatrician told us this was very common, and should subside by the time he was 12 weeks old.  WHAT?????  I was convinced there was no way we'd survive 9 weeks of that.  But somehow, we did.  By 10 weeks he was only screaming for 3 hours a day, and at 11 weeks it just stopped as abruptly as it came on.  But let me tell you, THAT didn't go fast!  No...and when people told me it would, I wanted to cry then shove a pie in their face.  Of course hindsight it did.  And here we are - one going off to Kindergarten and the other running for public office at 4 :)

At the Dr for their check-ups

Lauren loves going to the Dr. 
Enjoy your weekend!  And if you insist on soliciting at my door, please bring wine!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Needed: Shirtless Pool Boy and a Dog Named Lassie

Ben & I just returned from Sports Authority where we went in to buy him a tennis racket and a soccer ball.  Apparently they're closing the Manchester store, and when we walked in all I saw were big bright "Clearance" signs everywhere.  I literally got tingly all over and immediately grabbed a carriage knowing this wasn't going to be a quick trip.  Let's flash scene to an hour at the register with a cart overflowing with such treasures as a dart board (regulation size), free weights, yoga mats, camping chairs...well you get the idea.  The store had been picked over and things were hastily thrown in random aisles, so the prices weren't apparent.  What else was I do to but drag everything to the register and have them scan each item in so I could decide if I wanted it??  Yes, I was THAT person.  One item at a time...having the poor guy at the register scan each item, then take off the ones that weren't on sale. Meanwhile, there was a line of people behind me getting pretty annoyed.  The woman behind me did the "loud sigh". I understood where she was coming from.  I mean, I was starting to annoy myself.  At one point, I contemplated just buying everything in the carriage to speed up the process but I realized I didn't have anywhere to hide all these items from Brian until I could slowly integrate them into the house without him noticing.

In any event, we've been busy!  Both Lauren & Ben are starting tennis, Ben is starting soccer this weekend, and we just got him going in a preschool class at the rec center.  I feel like I'm entering the "Mom Taxi" phase of parenthood and they're only 4 & 5!   I'm kind of looking forward to the summer when they have fewer activities and we have the days wide open to take adventures to the beach again.  Speaking of summer,  I've been interviewing pool boys.  No, we don't have a pool, but the process is still fun.  If you look anything like Daniel Craig and are interested in skimming our turtle baby pool while shirtless, feel free to contact me.  While this isn't a paying position, it's a great resume builder...let's call it an "internship". 

I've also been busy trying to convince Brian that getting another dog is a good idea.  I've "Liked" a rescue on Facebook called "Big Fluffy Dog Rescue" which features...well...big, fluffy dogs.  I love all dogs, but I have a special place in my heart for BIG dogs.  So as you can imagine, every dog they post for adoption....I want.  Brian's stand on the dog situation is "200 pounds of dog is our capcity"....referring to our English Mastiff, Brynn, and the fact that she is all we need right now.   However, I think I've found a loophole.  While we say Brynn is roughly 200 pounds, that's only an estimate.  After a painstaking several hours weighing each quarter of her on the bathroom scale...I've concluded that she actually only weighs 185....

Therefore, this leaves me with 15 pounds to work with.  So a smaller a Yorkie...would keep us well under our 200 pound dog limit..  Right?!   Although I do worry about Brynn accidentally squishing a dog that tiny, so we'll need a bigger dog that's a little sturdier. I was thinking collie...(think Lassie)...however, this presents a problem since they weigh in at about 50-60 pounds.  So clearly we need to get Brynn into shape and trim off a few pounds so we can keep the dog max limit under 200 to afford a Collie. **Maybe get Brynn on Shakeology and get her exercising to "Sweating to the Oldies" with Richard Simmons...

*** DISCLAIMER:   To those readers who took that last statement literally...know I was only joking and would obviously never put a dog on a diet.  Everyone knows that the most effective way to lose weight is to start smoking heavily and drinking lots of coffee.***

Well I hope you all had a Happy Easter! :)  We had our fill of hunting Easter Eggs and sugary treats.  Lauren informed me over the Easter Weekend that she has some doubts about the authenticity of the Easter Bunny and Jesus.  She's 5.   Ugh!  I wasn't expecting these kinds of questions so soon.  Luckily, faith in all of humanity was restored after we saw the "Easter Bunny" waving at cars in front of the local fire station trying to sell Daffodils. Somehow that quelled all of her questions about what Easter is all about.  Next thing you know, she'll be wondering how many years in a row Mommy can turn 29.....