Archive for category Next Kid Thing

Dodging playgroups and hugging my calling card

I had somewhat of an epiphany yesterday…after watching the latest episode of Desperate Housewives.

Yeah, I really just said that.

I’ve always said that I don’t refer to myself as a “housewife” or as they say, SAHM.  We don’t go to playgroups or hangout at Starbucks or Panera like some of my mom friends in town are known to do.  Not that anything’s wrong with that—aside from the work that is being a mother, I consider myself a mom who works at home.

jack and his computerAnd I do…every day while trying to raise a toddler practically by myself during the week, while spearheading a website, making industry connections, attending meetings with toy executives, wiping a resistant booty, while fielding emails and ignoring laundry.

I work.  Just like so many other mamas, my daily struggle is trying to find that balance.  Yup, I’m still going at it.  Boohoo, right?

Nah…but as of late, I feel so completely overwhelmed by this existentialist crisis I have going on.

WHAT am I doing and where am I going with all of this?  Was dropping out of the conventional “rat race” worth it?  If I’m home most of the time caring for my own kid, then why do assholes look at me as if I’m the pariah?   If I went back to work in an office to work for the man again, just to feel worthless and constricted creatively, who wins then?  The kid who goes to daycare from 7am to 7pm everyday?

I’m over a year into this now, but as I get deeper into this path I’m on, I hear/feel/see more flack than you’d ever believe.

Is it really 2010?

This mommy wars stuff is bullshit.  And it’s hitting me hard.

I’ll save the rest of my dialogue for another day, the one where I’ve created this website that fuels my passion and creative desires.  The one where companies fill my mailbox with their new products, just to have a chance to be mentioned on my little site.  I’m only a year in, and I’ve barely scraped the surface.  Again, I’m not moving mountains here, I’m just doing what I’ve always wanted to do…

It’s exciting to experience the progress of this new direction and watch my vision grow.

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The holidays in rewind

**hello**  (((((((echo)))))

I know, it’s been way too long since I’ve updated over here.  Once again, I’ve been neglectful.  Alas, it’s a new year, which basically means I’m going to reshift my priorities again and TRY AGAIN to do what’s important to me, too.
All this mothering and pleasing other people crap is weighing me down, and quite honestly, has me in a funk.  Then again, so is the whole getting dark at 4pm stuff…

My new favorite ornament

So, yes, since I left you, we were gearing up for the holidays.  Oh, I had so many stories I wanted to share…if there was only more time in the day and less tantrums to extinguish—mine, not the kid’s!

I know all of you have had your decorations and trees put away for weeks, so bear with me on sharing a few of these stories so late. It’s almost Easter and all…and I’m just now getting around to talking about Christmas. haha. Story of my life.

Christmas, my most favorite time of year, flashed before our eyes and was done just like *that.*  But what a magical Christmas it was.

At this stage in the game, actually, within the past 2 months Jack has become so imaginative and verbal.  And when I say verbal, it’s beyond the one word sentences and repitition.  He caught on to all the holiday buzz words, like Sansa (Santa), Chrimmas (Christmas) and anything resembling a Christmas Tree was, of course, a Sansa Tree.  He’d see a wreath and say, “oooh a Sansa Tree!”  And in NYC, every where we went, there was some kind of Sansa Tree or Sansa himself.  It was glorious!

This year’s trip to Macy’s was amazing.  As usual, we went the first thing in the morning in mid-December and braved the crowds.  Thankfully, we were in and out of there in less than an hour!  We enjoyed Santaland and the trains and the beautiful decorations while we waited in line.
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Seriously, the line moved so fast and efficiently this year, we almost didn’t have time to stop and gawk at the billion different things to see in Santaland.  Jack adored the massive train displays as much as Sansa himself.  Seeing Santa at the Macy’s in Herald Square is one of my most favorite family Christmas traditions, and I’m so glad we’re able to “give” Jack such fun experiences.

The rest of the days and short weeks leading up to the holidays were spent working on NKT and attending various events.  By the end, I was so braindead and Jack, poor Jack, he was bored and ready to play as always!

The day before we left for Va. for the holidays, I insisted on taking Jack to see the tree in Rockefeller Center.  Because it’s easier to go during the day rather than at night, we didn’t get the full effect, but we did enjoy the massive tree and breathtaking sights around us.  The celebration on TV for the treelighting really doesn’t do it enough justice.  Christmas in the City is pretty awesome and Rockefeller Center is the epicenter of it all.

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And then the next day, we packed our bags into the car, amidst the snow piles and headed south…

I’ll have to do a photo essay thing on Christmas with the folks, so more on that crazy fun later.

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I think I tweeted something about having so many emotions about this past trip home for Christmas, which is probably an understatement.  With our families so firmly planted in Va., I realized that if Jack is ever going to have strong relationships with them, then it’s mostly on us.

It’s our choice to live here to expand our horizons, but unfortunately, the visits will be scarce.  What will that mean?  It could mean, not as many trips to Va so we can maybe focus on OUR family for a change?  The same amount of visits so we can continue spending money that we could be saving for a house, so we can move out before we kill each other in this tiny space?  Or how about just wallow in guilt because we can’t make everyone happy, including Jack?

We’ve stopped asking people to visit because well, everyone has work, life and everything else going on.  Besides, I hear it’s expensive to visit NYC and small spaces are undesirable ;)
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I couldn’t get out of Va. fast enough after I finished college, so it’s kind of ironic that our kid constantly asks to go to Yoyo’s house.  and Papa’s house.  and to see Uncle John.  All the live-long day this kid rips my heart out with this cadence of asking to go to Va.

My life’s conflict is like a shapeshifter—like, now it’s in a stranglehold by a toddler who knows just what he wants.

And right now, it’s 350 miles away at Yoyo’s house.

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Calm before the storm and on the move

This morning, most of our friends and family back home are cleaning up after the big November Nor’easter. Even though we’re 350 miles away, we’re cleaning up after our own storm. I know, it’s not the same, but it’s been a crazy week for everyone!
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Our weather report is saying that we’re going to get hit with the Nor’easter this weekend, and if Accuweather is correct, I’ve only got a few minutes to write this post so I can hopefully beat the storm and go walk to do a couple of loads of laundry and grab some essentials at the grocery store.

So, yes, things have been insane around here. I’ve been attending event after event, and by the time I get home, I’m so exhausted from all the stimulation that I hardly have enough energy to do the dishes or cook dinner. Everyone does this sort of balance and yes, things could be worse…But damn, I’m tired.

In order for me to be able to attend these events in the city, we hired a regular babysitter whom Jack LOVES. She’s really great with him, he gets along great with her and the other little girl she watches BUT the main caveat is that she lives up in Jersey City. So, I do that walk up there by foot, even though on paper it’s 8 blocks away. It takes about half an hour each way, but on foot, with a stroller IN THE COLD RAIN, it sucks. So when I’m feeling baller, we take the $10 cab. Great childcare, even though it’s a trek, is worth it. Right?

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But aside from that whole babysitter situation, we’ve got the house hunting stuff going on. This journey is much more personal since it’s the biggest financial investment we’ve made to date. There’s so much to say about the house stuff…but I always feel that I need to tread lightly on this topic.

Let’s make this clear: I love city living. LOVE. I love being able to walk everywhere, even when I run out of babywipes at 10pm at night. I love having so much to do on any given day. I love being just minutes away and having four different public transportation options of heading into the City.

Yeah, I complain about the lack of amenities, but really, the tradeoffs make up for it tenfold. I’ll say it again, but I know many people who don’t “get” city living gasp at how we live in such a small space. EVERYONE does it here. Some people have less space, some people have more, but we’re all playing Jenga with our cars, kids’ toys, furniture and laundry baskets.

That said, when I’m told to “hang in there,” I’m like, for what? I love it here. I don’t want to leave!

I’ve GLADLY given up certain conveniences for proximity to everything. However, my personal sacrifice is much different than my husband’s. My laundry adventures aren’t as dire as the 1.5 hr parking chore that Jeff often endures every night. Yes, parking.

Sadly, we don’t have the extra $400-600/month to spare for a parking spot, so Jeff must circle around our neighborhood hundreds of times before he can find an on-street spot. And ultimately, Jeff’s parking debacle turns into a parenting debacle. All that effort spent on parking has interfered with Jeff & Jack time AND on our nighttime routine. And that, my friends, suuuucks.

So, as much as I don’t want to move, it’s clearly for the greater good. And that’s not say I wouldn’t love having a dishwasher, washing machine and dryer. Just right now, I love havinghouse in cedar lake all the other stuff more.  (But I’ll still complain about having to trek all that way to wash laundry!)

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I’m so sure my tune will change in time. And no, we will not be getting a damn minivan when we move to the suburbs.

And that’s where I am right now…but the actual house hunt is exciting. Last week, we checked out 9 houses in the neighborhood we ideally would like to move. On a whim, we checked out one house in a totally different neighborhood, and guess what, we liked that one the best. I won’t say we loved it, but there’s potential to love it even more. We’re at a crossroads about this house, but more than likely, we may be making an offer…

Jeff’s worked so hard on making this happen!  A huge thank you to him on that and to my parents for all of their support and encouragement.

But hello, that particular neighborhood is much more remote than we realized. There was real deer in a yard close to the house we liked. Deer!!

As we drove around that neighborhood, Jack saw this man mowing his lawn. I never realized this, but Jack has never seen someone in person mowing their lawn. I guess we’re not in VA enough in the summer to see people doing yard work, so it was hilarious for him to yell excitedly about a man mowing his lawn.

So, yes, as much as I love the city and living so close to it, I want my child to know the joy of his father yelling at him to mow the lawn on a Saturday morning. I want him to have his own space to expand his own horizons. I want him to know how wonderful it is to grow up in a great community, just like we did. But lucky Jack, he’ll (hopefully) live less than an hour away from NYC.

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And after he mows the lawn, he’ll have his momma yelling at him to get dressed so we can take the train and go to Museum Mile and enjoy adventures in the City again.

Poor kid :)

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Momma, mama, moooommmm, MAMA

Has anyone seen that commercial with baby Stewie from the Family Guy where he’s reptitvely saying, “Momma, mama, moooommmm, MAMA?!!!!!?”

Well, we decided that Baby Stewie is channeling a whole lot of Jack in that commercial. And Lois is so me.

It cracks me up that Jack can barely string together sentences yet, but he’s got that repetitive kid chant-thing down.

And when he’s not driving me crazy with chanting mama or another word over and over and over and OVER, Jack is otherwise as cute as ever. His verbal skills and vocabulary continue to flourish, which is a constant reminder that I really do need to stop dropping the Fbombs.

Old habits die hard.

A few of the cutest things he says though are “Patsy” which means pizza, the way he answers “yeah” to every question you ask and especially the way he says “thankyouyourwelcome” after you give him something. haha.

Thankyouyourwelcome is THE greatest. He understands that ‘thank you’ and ‘your welcome’ go hand in hand, but he gets confused because I say them to him all the time. Though he gets “it,” I guess I never really clarified when he’s supposed to say what and when. He’s cute nonetheless.

He’s become so much more adept with our electronics. He can swipe the ipod with ease and point and touch his little games when we let him play for a few minutes at a time. When did he become such a geek like us!?

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As usual, I’ve been neglecting Babyrific. Truth is, life has been chaotic to say the least. Every week, I’ve had at least 2-3 blogger events in the City. Sometimes, I’m invited to more, but I tend to decline the events that don’t fit the scope of Nextkidthing.com or this blog. It’s been exciting to gain more and more momentum, but sadly, I’ve also become so overwhelmed at times. But regardless of how overwhelmed I get, I count my blessings for being able to fulfill my creative desires and spend as much time with Jack as possible.

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Because I go into the city quite a bit again, often times, I’ll need a babysitter. We found a lovely college student to watch Jack for a few hours at a time at our house, but her availability doesn’t always work with the times I need. Jack loves her and has even mentioned his older cousin Ashley whenever he sees this babysitter. The babysitter is right about Ashley’s age, and I think it’s so cute how much he loves his older cousin that he sees similarities between the two.

On the days where I need help in the mornings, I had to find somebody more consistent. Through one of our community message boards, I found a really nice woman who does childcare out of her home. In Hoboken, babysitters and au pairs are more commonplace than in home daycares, so I found this lady up in JC Heights, which is the town right up the hill from us. The location, though close, isn’t the most convenient since I have to walk 8-10 blocks to get there. But after Jack’s first day there today, I’m crossing my fingers and saying that it’s worth it.
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We’re still super tired from an emotional weekend of traveling and saying good bye to one of our best friend’s father. Since we all went to school together and grew up together, our longtime friends ARE a part of our family. A kind and funny man that Jeff idolized for his wry sense of humor, Mr. Bill Stead helped raise 3 wonderful daughters, and one whom Jeff and I would walk to the end of the Earth for.

The weekend made me think in depth about our friends and family and feel thankful for so much– even those things that we can’t change or control.

Even the non-stop barrage of Momma, mama, moooommmmm, Mama.

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Weathering through the working woes

From beginning to end, this week marked one of the most tumultuous, yet fulfilling weeks I’ve ever had.

Our guy turned 2 on Sunday.  We traveled way more than we could physically handle for the sake of others.  We welcomed another month of crazy, busy activities and events.  I attended a lovely event, but my experience was clouded by Jack’s awful, AWFUL  separation anxiety issues.  I checked out some of the hottest, coolest toys EVER and connected with so many interesting people (more on this to come and lots more info. can be read on NKT!) But best of all, my guys got to bond one on one for a change.

By the middle of the week, I was so blinded by exhaustion and frustration. After the event where Jack bawled uncontrollably for practically 2 hours in a swanky restaurant that I’d been dying to try and finally had the chance, much thanks to the luncheon I was invited to, I felt so defeated.  Instead of mingling with people, all of whom were just as passionate or interested in this brand of products, my job as a mom came first.

Jack, for some reason, can’t shake this separation anxiety spell.  He cries his little eyes out, his nose runs, his little round face gets all red and he hyperventilates…until I come back.  I know it’s a temporary phase, but it certainly doesn’t make the present any less painful.

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As a family who tries to juggle life without any family nearby, surviving on one predictable salary while I build the foundation for another, when I’m invited to a media or blogger event, I have no choice but to be selective.  It’s always an honor to be invited to events, though we can’t always swallow the expense of babysitters, plus the cabs and trains.  (Let’s put it this way, most nannies and babysitters make just as much as I did when I was still working as an editor; hence one of the reasons why I went freelance.)  So this particular event, because it was a brand that our family loves, was one event that I couldn’t wait to attend.  The fact that they offered childcare was an added perk.  Awesome right?

Yeah, not so much when your kid insists on being attached to your leg, for fear of being abandoned.

Is this separation anxiety my fault for choosing to work from home?  Are we to blame for visiting Va. more often than our bodies and emotions can handle (and saying goodbye way too enough, thus disrupting his normal routines?)

I choose to believe that it’s just another phase that we’ll weather through…

Whatever the reason might be, Jack’s crying and outbursts made another little boy cry, too.  Frickin’ fabulous, I thought.  Jack’s just barely on the cusp of understanding cause and effect, but he most certainly did not grasp why mommy wanted to leave him in a strange room filled with little kids with 2 unfamiliar adults.

Jack cried loud enough for a room full of executives, members of the press and bloggers, like me to hear.  I can’t say I was embarrassed—he’s my kid for crying out loud.  I will say that I was annoyed at the people who rolled their eyes or mouthed snarky comments about the crying kid.  MY kid.  It was then that I second-guessed myself for even attending, what I thought was, an event celebrating one of the best companies that embrace greener lifestyles and raising organic kids.

It was almost surreal that my mostly organically and green-grown child was like a misfit because he couldn’t stand being away from me.

At one point, understandably, I was asked to go tend to him because he was So LOUD.  Perhaps, they couldn’t hear the taping of speeches or hear the slideshow in the midst of his terror-filled cries?

And so, I spent most of my afternoon in the childcare room feeling isolated, bitter and left out.

As a friend later told me, I was being harder on myself and more critical of the situation than others were.  eh…maybe.  But from the glares that I felt that I was getting, it definitely felt much different.

My kid was crying a lot.  I should have left altogether.  Problem was, the base of our stroller was on the OTHER side of the room, like the side I couldn’t access because there was a podium and audience separating us.  So, I spent most of the event in the childcare room, missing a majority of what I trekked there for in the first place.

Lesson learned.

My feelings, experiences and thoughts in NO WAY reflect the company or publicists.  I’m quite appreciative for the aforementioned, but honestly, hurt by a few of my peers who made me feel uncomfortable for being a mother that day.  My friends who kept me company that afternoon?  Yeah, they rocked…especially when I couldn’t get our giant stroller in and out of yet another logistically impossible and stroller-unfriendly establishment.

In the end, I’m just another mom trying to make it work.  I got the information we needed, enjoyed bites of a lovely lunch and made it home unscathed.  This wasn’t the first stroller-schlepping and tear-filled outing.  My guess is that it won’t be the last.  It’s all in a day’s work of this blogging/writing/reporting mama.

Next time, I’ll rethink my choices. (Do I decline the childcare and get my own sitter?  Do I figure out a way to break this separation anxiety spell?) But today, even after all the tears and stroller-schleeping,  I’m glad I know how to handle (or NOT to handle) the next chaotic situation.  Seriously, the thought of multiple children in this city-living, event-attending realm gives me night tremors.  But that’s a whole different post.

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Adventures in babysitting, or the lack thereof

Many years ago, when I pulled the shock and awe moment of telling my parents that I’d be moving to NYC to pursue a career in magazine journalism, they, of course, yelled at me.

Ok, maybe yell is a bit exaggerating.

They full-on freaked out.

“What if you can’t find a job!”  “It’s NYC!” “Where will you live” “WHAT IF YOU CAN’T FIND A JOB.”

In tears, I assured them I would.

And, I did.

I landed an internship at a well known men’s magazine at the time.

Ok, so it was unpaid, but it was a job.

From there, I went on to work at my last position…well, we all know how that ended up.  But, I loved what I did.

Correction, I love what I do.

If I didn’t, we wouldn’t have stayed; we surely would’ve moved back to our hometown, where life is more predictable, mortgages are half of what we pay for rent and more importantly, reliable (sometimes FREE) babysitters flow like water.

And, it’s days like today that make me wonder WHAT THE hell was I thinking?

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On Sunday night, I had butterflies because of all the exciting events and gigs that are starting to fill my icalendar:  luncheons, social media events, holiday showcases, meetings with PR friends, writing gigs.  A year ago, on Sunday nights, in anticipation of returning back to work, I’d get stomach cramps, insomnia and anxiety-induced headaches.

Ah, the Sunday shitstorm, I so don’t miss that!

But now, things are starting to come full-circle; or, at least I thought so.

In line with these new opportunities and gigs, we hired a new part-time babysitter—a sweet lady with college-aged children.  We lined her up to start today, to cover for me while I attended a media luncheon with a major children’s shoe company.  Kids were welcome to the event, but because Jack is in that temper tantrum/into everything stage AKA psychotic 2 year old phase, a sitter would be the only way to go.

I did the dishes, cleared the toys—-hell, I even organized my piles of papers and mountain of product samples that arrive in my mailbox daily.  That, in itself, was a feat.

Though I had a late start in getting dressed, I was done flat-ironing my hair by the time 10:58 a.am. rolled around.  With the lunch at noon, I asked her to arrive at 11 a.m. so I’d have plenty of time to show her around before jetting off into the City.

11:05, still no sitter.

11:13, still no sitter.

11:22, NO DAMN SITTER.

I checked my email—nada.

I checked my voicemail and that’s where things got crazy.

I tried to check voicemails and got some effed up message.  Of course, my phone was not working.  Why would it?

I sent a frantic email to Jeff telling him about the situation, who then, called my phone with no problem.  WTF? His phone worked, but not mine.  But even more interesting, I could receive incoming calls, but could not make any outgoing calls.

WHY me?

At 11:30, still no word from the sitter, but the phone situation figured itself out.

At this point, all I could think about was the childcare battles I had while I was still working at my old office—all the tears, the inappropriate comments, the stress.

It actually broke my heart that the childcare problem reared its head once again.  Jack is such a wonderful boy, and all I want to do is continue the momentum I have going with this new career path, WHY IN THE HELL is it so hard to secure reliable, affordable childcare? Isn’t that why I left my office job in the first place?

By 11:38 a.m., attending the luncheon was a lost cause.  With such a heavy heart, Jack and I grabbed a few books and did what we always do:  we sat and hugged and read.

And then, the doorbell rings.  and rings, and rings, and rings.

It was the babysitter.

Of course it was…

Even before she could make it up the stairs, she was yelling, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”  And then she went on to tell me her story about how she was interviewing for another job a few towns away.  The bus to the lightrail to a cab—her commuting stars just didn’t align.  Like many of us in the area, she’s dependent on public transportation.  And of course, she didn’t have my number on hand.  So compile all the other ridiculous details above, this is exactly the kind of nonsense that can only happen to me.

I sent the sitter home since there was no way I could show up an hour late.  I emailed and left a voicemail for my PR contact, but I still felt so awful.  All I wanted to do was attend this lunch, and then childcare chaos happens.  Why does it have to be so damn complicated?

[As a sidenote, Jeff usually covers for me when I attend most media events.  But because this one was sort of last minute and in the middle of the day, I foolishly thought I could easily get a babysitter.]

I ranted about the whole scenario via my Facebook status, but still, I felt so disappointed.  I’ve had all day and night to think about this and I’ve come to terms that I can’t be upset.

Public transportation is a wonderful thing, though when you missed one connection, you’re screwed.  I know this all too well.  The sitter, who lost her job as a programmer 2 months ago, really is a nice person.  Not to mention, Jack immediately warmed up to her.  Even people he knows get a 5 minute Jack warm up buffer!  How could I be mad when, of all people, I know to expect the unexpected.

Like my cousin wisely said to me when I called her to whine about my day, all of this happened because, for some reason, I wasn’t meant to attend that event.

It’s not the end of the world if I miss an event due to things out of my control.  If I learned anything today, I’ve learned to forgive and forget. I’ll likely email the sitter later today to see if we can have a do-over.  I’m a big believer in second chances.

And oh yes, the scrubbing of the stovetop in preparation for a babysitter?  Yeah, I learned that the stuff I normally put off, it can always wait until tomorrow. Aim low, it’ll leave less room for disappointment.

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Happy birthday to me

It’s shortly after midnight on July 14, and it’s my 33rd birthday.  Happy, sad, elated, conflicted—I’m really not sure how I feel about being in my *gulp* mid-30s.  Actually, to be completely honest, other than feeling like a Mack truck has run me over a 1,000 times by the time 5:00 p.m. hits every day, I don’t feel a day over 23.

Ok, that’s a lie.  I just don’t feel that old.

Well, besides all this gray hair!

I’m not sure that we’ll celebrate this year, like with a cake or whatever.  Other than that sweet Facebook birthday reminder, I’ll be surprised my friends will even remember it’s my birthday anyway.  I’ve been so far off the radar, what with the nose wiping and website creating—who could blame them for not remembering!?

Just like I’ve concurred with a few other friends that are moms, birthdays just seem like any other day anyway.  I’ll still have to do those damn dishes, cook dinner, change diapers and chase a toddler all day, which isn’t all so bad.  It’s the grind.

The celebrations aren’t necessary anymore, really.  No more Friday night What the Buck at our local watering hole.  No evites to lure friends to town for all-night parties.  I have my guys, our family, our health, and as a plus, the websites and writing opportunities are flourishing, and I get to do what I love every single day.

I’m so grateful for this new path in life, but the eye is still on the prize.

I’ll be heading out to Chicago next week to attend Blogher.  (For those that don’t know, it’s an annual conference for women who blog.)  It’ll be my first trip away from both Jeff AND Jack.  It’ll be like a rolling cocktail hour with lots of swag and networking.  There will be conference-y stuff, too.  But parties galore.  Two days off from this whole mom gig!!
Lucky me, I was able to secure a sponsor to defray the cost of the trip.  And as my birthday present, my very gracious parents helped out with the airfare.  Of course there’s the awesome Jeff who pushes me everday and is helping me make ______all______ of this happen.  All of it.

So that trip there?  Yeah, that’s all I could ever want right now, other than the wonderful blessings that I already have.

What more is there to celebrate?

By default, I have an instant plus one, so I can go out and treat myself to one of our favorite brunch spots.  Or maybe have a few cupcakes for breakfast.  Or maybe take the day to unplug and be “just a mom.”

Happy hour, however, would hit the spot, too :)

Nah, that’d be too much effort.

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Edited to add:  I woke up this morning to the smell of breakfast cooking, changed and fed kid and a clean kitchen!  If you could believe it, we sat down TOGETHER for breakfast!  What a great way to start the day!

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Balancing act

Ever have a really awesome day where everything was perfectly synced from beginning to end? The kind of days that constitute LOVEperma-grins and endless laughter?

Yeah, that was my Wednesday.

They do exist, yes. But lately, they’ve been rare.

But Wednesday? Awesome.

Everyone slept, no one puked on anyone, no broken electronics, no drama. NONE.

On Wednesday for lunch, I attended a media event for Philips that I’ll talk more about on NKT next week. It was one of those events where you go to learn more about new products, and it’s done with such precision and flair. The event was held at a gorgeous hotel, tucked away in Midtown Manhattan. The suite was the size of a home—way bigger than our tiny apartment. It was a lovely event that, again, reminds me how much I miss some aspects of my old job, but truly makes me appreciate the new opportunities even more.

Jack and Jeff have lunch at Helmer'sJeff covered for me again so that I could attend the event. He went to work super early and then came home so I could leave. While I was in the City, he ran errands and even took Jack out to lunch at Helmer’s. It was a boy’s day out—something that both of them craved since they rarely see each other during the week. He was well behaved and ate his entire lunch. Oh, and so did Jack :)

Once I returned, the boys met me at the train station and we headed home. We caught up with one another’s busy afternoons and back to “normal” we went. Jeff drove back to work, as I headed upstairs toting my work bag, while wrangling the toddler with the other arm.

Besides Jeff volunteering to dissect his workday in lieu of hiring a babysitter, Wednesday was a perfect balance for me. I got to work a few hours at home, head into the City to take care of business and Jeff had a chance to take care of stuff and spend a weekday afternoon with Jack.

But best of all, I got home just in time for him to lay his head on my lap, pat my leg and whisper, “Mamama,” before falling asleep.

That balance that I go on and on about?

It’ll find its way.  It has to.

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Precursor to summer and sweet treats

City festivals, long neighborhood strolls and carefree days are just a few of the many highlights of the weekend and hopefully a precursor of what’s to come this summer.

TimeOut New York Kids Fest
On Saturday, we spent the afternoon in the City at the Time Out New York Kids Fest which took place at Madison Square Park, just a block away from my old office.  It was whole city block of kids upon kids, music, sweet treats and strollers galore– Maclaren actually had a stroller parking lot, there were so many stroller!  It was such a wonderful venue for the family-friendly event, but of course, I’m totally biased in saying that considering that same park served as my refuge for so many lunch hours.

Stroller Parking
Besides the awesome music, Jack loved interacting with all the kids; it was pure heaven.  If he wasn’t stomping on the latest outdoor art installation, Flooded Chamber Maid, or perfecting his escape artist techniques, he was snatching toys out of unsuspecting kids’ hands.

Jack checking out the art installation

Ok, maybe not snatching, but when a boy next to him at the sand box was in the process of setting down a toy truck, Jack took it upon himself to call it his own.  He’s a feisty toddler that knows what he wants and like most toddlers this age, he has no boundaries.  And yes, that feisy-ness often elicits a lot of “I’m so sorry” to other moms.  But this time, before I could mouth “I’m so…” the mother of the other boy preempted my apology and quickly wagged her finger in Jack’s face, said “no-no” and snatched the toy truck back.

Oh no, lady.  Are you for real? haha.

I’m all about correcting my own kid to teach him right from wrong, but if anybody needed to learn a little playground etiquette, it was her.

sandboxlots of construction workers

After I mumbled a few choice words, I was over it and so, we danced some more.
And boy, did we dance.

Appleseeds, the very cool NYC indoor playground facility, provided the music group that Jack loved so much, in addition to the sandboxes, toys, art area, and “construction area.”  I personally oggled over Skip Hop’s booth, which displayed so many new fun things, namely the Wishbone bike and Zoo Packs.  If you’ve been to our home, you’d know I can’t get enough of Skip Hop baby and kid gear–you’d think the products were for me.  (Don’t be surprised if you see a Skip Hop post over on NKT soon!)

Build it, break it, fix it
Skip Hop stroller/luggage tagSkip Hop

Speaking of oggling, we found more goodies under the Treats Truck tent, where they were giving away free treats.  Delicious and free!

We waited a few minutes in line to get our goodies; I chose chocolate chip cookies (yum). And when it was Jeff’s turn to choose, he said, “nope, I’m good.” Uh, no you’re not ;) He ended up getting a Rice Krispies treat.

And when I say he, I mean me.

Ok and Jack too.

EATThe Treats Truck

After our delicious free treats, we had lunch down the block at BRGR, which, by the way, I highly recommend.  All natural burgers from grass-fed beef and sweet potato fries.  It was like the weekend of delicious food.

After a day of kiddie fun and delicious treats, it was time to head back home.  We were all pooped from our day in the city, but it was time well spent.  The real sweet summer treats will always involve no major plans, no real stressors and the freedom to do whatever, whenever.  I love summer, but truly, I live for the weekend when it’s just the three of us.

Sweet treat, indeed.

love that water fountain

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Too much for whom?

It’s been quite a busy week for us, and I can hardly believe it’s already Thursday AND Memorial Day Weekend is already here. Seriously, how did that happen?

I have plenty to share, but I have so much information to sift through before I do so. As many of you already know, we spent the day at PBS/WNET Channel thirteen yesterday; what a fun and informative day! I got to hang out with more NYC and NJ mom bloggers, many of whom I’ve been reading for years. But, the best part of the day was that I got to be a part of something so near and dear to us: learning even more about an educational tv show that promotes literacy.

station identification

I used to think I was one of those parents that would outlaw “too much tv.”

Eh. Who was I kidding?

As much as I watch tv AND love to read and essentially be a geek, how could I be such a hypocrite? I’m immersed in every aspect of media because it’s the fiber of my being. Internet, magazines, tv, radio, books—all of it!

What I took away from the event was that like other moms, I’m not going to apologize anymore for allowing my kid to watch tv. Instead, I’ll continue to watch educational shows ALONG with him in moderation, in addition to cultural outings and activities, outdoor play and all that fun stuff. Life is too short to make limitations.

Media, in general, has come a long way since we were kids, there’s no doubt about that. What was pretty awesome was getting to understand the brains behind our favorite educational shows, because those same brains are other parents who grew up on shows of the 70s and 80s, just like you and me.

Parenting is tough enough without all that “research” reminding me that everything I’m doing is wrong. So, excuse me while we go watch another show before we go play outside.

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