Archive for category happy days

Martha on my mind

At this very moment, I’m sitting on the floor, next to a pile of clothes, all of which I can’t wear tomorrow.  You see, I should be in bed resting up for an (exciting day that will start at 6am no less) but no, this is quite typical for me.

I have closets full of clothes, but nothing to wear.  I know, it’s the same song and dance for so many others, but I literally can’t wear most of these clothes tomorrow.

Why, you ask?  That’s because I’m headed to the Martha Stewart Show tomorrow, the blogger show to be a little more specific. (YAY!)  Why can’t I wear them? Other than my wardrobe being so outdated because I’ve been living in yoga pants for the past year, the show requested that we not wear black, gray or muted colors.

Uh, yeah, that’s my entire wardrobe.  I have every shade of black: pants, shirts, sweaters, socks–everything.  This shouldn’t be so hard, right! Rrrrrrrright.

I’m sure I’ll figure it out…eventually.

TheMarthaStewartShow

Now back to the Martha Show, those that know me well should know that I love being crafty and creative.  I’ve always considered Martha’s recipes, crafts and projects the pinnacle.  At weddings, I used to be able to spot Martha Stewart inspired crafts or decor–I had every issue of Weddings from 2001-2004.  (Yeah, I got married in 2003, I just couldn’t get enough!)

Suffice it to say, I think Martha rocks.

2009 Christmas Card

Today, I have Martha’s Pate Brisee memorized by heart.  If I’ve baked for you, it’s likely you’ve had it and never even knew it, but I bet a Martha fan might.

I’m an obsessive DIYer by choice, and quite honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I see cards, paper goods and now, even websites, and think, “I can do that myself!”

Sometimes I can’t, but I’ll teach myself until I can.  I’m crazy like that.

fresh fruit tarts

So, once the whole Martha Show started making waves about their upcoming Blogger Show, I couldn’t NOT go.  Many of my NYC-area blogging friends are going and it’s sounding like it’ll be a fabulous time.  I’ll be sure to update my FB status and of course Twitter with fun updates!

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that going to see a Martha Show is a dream come true.  Let’s just hope that I find something NOT black to wear.

And at this hour, that I get up on time!!!

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Motherhood 2.0, or as some call it, spending way too much time online

A couple of weeks ago, after one of my really horrible days where Jack and I both melted down simultaneously, I remember spouting off to Jeff, something to the effect of, “After days like this, I don’t think I’d be able to handle another kid.”

Yeah, I REALLY said that.

I had a shitty day. And just like many people do, I said something out of haste. So, what I probably meant to say was, “After days like this, I don’t think I can handle any more kids without my support system.”

Living so far away from family, not having many local friends that have kids yet and not being super-close with many mom friends in our area, my support system is much different than what my mom’s support system was like.

In addition to mom, we grew up with my grandma caring for us on a day-to-day basis, we constantly had aunties around, not to mention, dad ruling the roost. Yeah, we were very lucky.

So, as I navigate my own adventures in motherhood, I always feel nostalgic for my own childhood. The house was always crowded with some sort of chaos; it was constantly filled with food and family life seemed like a well-oiled machine.

On any given day, I consider it a good day if both Jack and myself are out of our pjs by noon, nevermind actually find a consistent and responsible babysitter that can help me out regularly. With Jeff’s long hours and commute times, we kiss him goodbye as we’re waking up and he sometimes gets home just in time for bedtime. (It goes without saying that we appreciate his hard work that allows us to live such a wonderful life.)

It’s a long day to navigate without a co-pilot. And that’s not a complaint whatsoever. We chose this life; I cope by blogging about it :)

Ok. So maybe I don’t have the physical support system that I grew up with, or maybe my girlfriends are still hitting happy hour as I wield strollers and diaper bags. I am, however, so grateful for my online support system. If I didn’t have my blogs as therapy, my message board girls to use as a sounding board or Facebook status to update regularly or Twitter to remind me that I’m not “alone,” I’m so sure I’d have gone off the deep end by now.

I’ve seen many articles on Motherhood 2.0, but it’s this latest one that was posted on MSNBC’s site today that really hit home with me. We’ve been quarantined because of Jack’s fever and ear infections, but this article made me smile and count my blessings that I’m never alone in this.

The subhead, alone, sums up what motherhood is like:

It still takes a village to raise a child — the community has just gone from the neighborhood to the blogosphere.

Hell, in that first sentence, you could easily transpose my last name and number of kids to ring true, too!

Jennifer Morais was a stay-at-home mother of three who was struggling financially but couldn’t afford the cost of child care if she went to work.

What it comes down to is, motherhood/parenthood is best tackled together. Whereas in generations past, large groups of relatives helped care for the kidlets, today, we have online support systems that bind so many of us together.

I love the advice and guidance I’ve received from friends online (and sometimes, friends of friends,) many of whom I can’t visit easily, but I sure as hell can get a chuckle from when their pre-schooler celebrates poop sizes. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

A special congrats to one of my mom blog friends, Kim of Mominthecity, who was mentioned in this article. She is a truly influential individual who has been so gracious to extend invitations and contacts, much like many of my other blogging friends have done, such as Carol of NYCityMama. I hope to do the same as often as possible.

In addition to the many wonderful friends I’ve made through blogging, I’m just as thankful for the girlfriends I’ve made online on my message boards and the close friends I can keep up with thanks to Facebook. I know many of you read my blogs and comment gratuitously (which really, really helps.) And trust me, I love reading about your kids on your Facebook status, too.

For all of you who care to interact whether it’s online or in person, I’m so thankful for you—more than you know!

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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.

****

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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Snow day

Happy Friday, all.  I’m antsy today because they’re calling for a “substantial” amount of snow in our area today/tonight. Like a big kid, I stayed up late because I was so excited.  And like clockwork, I got up early–to the tune of 5am–not by choice!  From what the news was saying, it sounds like we could get a lot of snow or not much at all.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Normally, I’d be moaning about having to commute in it, but I’m actually anxious for the first time in a long time!  If we do, indeed, get snow Jack and I will strap on our snow boots and play with the other kids in the park!  I looove snow days! They’re even talking about a White Christmas in the tri-state area!  It’s definitely starting to look a lot like, well, Christmas!  Can you believe Christmas is less than a week away?  How did that happen?

Those of you that have to travel in this weather, be safe.

snowy street

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Summers Past and Summers to Come

I’m so behind in so many facets in life, it’s not even funny! One thing’s for sure, those back to back vacations were just what the dr. ordered!

Even though it’s Thursday, we just got back from our trip to Va. on Tuesday night. Spending a long weekend in Va. Beach was a great way to kick off the summer. And like always, after a nice visit back home, I always feel nostalgic and sentimental.

Jeff and I both have such fond memories of our childhood in VB. From swimming all day and night to playing out in our yards until the knees in our jeans dissolved. Home is where our hearts are…

As we made our way south down the turnpike, we were greeted with next to no traffic. Perhaps the mounting gas prices were to blame. And to think, NJ, of all places, not too long ago reportedly had the cheapest gas prices. Now we’re hovering right around $3.89/gal. I don’t blame a lot of people for staying local. For once, it was nice to have the road to ourselves!

Cousins!
Our time back home, as always, was fun. We spent time with Jeff’s family BBQing and watching the kids play together. It makes me feel old to see Britney- who was a baby when I moved up north- lugging my kid around. It’s so sweet to see how the bigger kids dote on Jack. I can already envision him running after his big cousins this time next year.

Per usual, we timeshare our visits with our two families and friends. On Sunday, we had a family friend’s baptism to attend and then another BBQ at home. Jack was able to give his uncle Jeff and uncle John drooly open mouth kisses, in between their crazy schedules. However, my favorite part of the weekend was, undoubtedly, sitting in my parents backyard– picnicking with the family, Jack swimming in his kiddie pool, laying on the grass with my boys and watching my parents enjoy being grandparents.

waiting to swimEvil KnievelAs my dad loves to remind me, “you can’t buy a backyard like this anymore.” To me, his statement translates to: the fruit of his labor, in a sense, is symbolized by their home and yard. Many memories were made there. Without a doubt, many more memories are upon the horizon.

I’m incredibly blessed to be able to share such an important part of my youth with my kid, even if it means driving 600+ miles in a weekend to do so!

For all those who wonder how we do that drive so often, that is why.

Since we literally and figuratively grew up at the Beach, it’s so inherent that we immerse our kid there, too. Honestly, it’s no surprise Va. Beach was tapped as one of the best areas to raise kids, according to Best Life.

Swimming time!

Dreams and careers are what landed us in the NYC area. At a time when joblessness is at a high, a flourishing career is what will keep us here. It’s hard being away from family and friends, especially after fun weekends. But, as they say, there are trade-offs for everything in life.

Much to my dismay, Jeff once said to me on the eve of my departure to chase the unknown, “NYC is a great place to visit, but not a place I want to live.”

At this point in our lives, I’m going to put it out there: VB is a place we’ll always visit, but NJ/NYC is our home.
Congrats on your promotion, Jeff!

(I’m so glad you changed your mind.)

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Fancy Footwork

Happy Monday! Today is one of those frigid days where the entire city seems to be walking around in glorified sleeping bags in the subzero windchills. Wherever you are, I hope you don’t have to be outside, but if you have to face the frigid temps, stay warm!

I’m sure many feel the same, but it’s always hard to come back to work after such a nice weekend filled with family fun. So, I couldn’t think of a better way to start my day than watching a video of my pantless and very energetic boy.

Here’s Jack perfecting his latest Riverdance routine. I tell ya, his favorite toy ever are those feet and legs!

[googlevideo=http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6433730896075181431&hl=en]

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Jack’s Baptism

I’m busy playing catch up at work since we were recuperating and preparing to get on the road yesterday.

Jack’s baptism over the weekend was a beautiful celebration surrounded by friends and family; we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day for the boy. Amidst all the preparation, commotion and loving attention, Jack seemed to enjoy the time spent with all of our family and friends (minus a minor meltdown at the church right before the ceremony began.) Everyone, as always, was so wonderful and gracious for Jack’s special day. The baptism, itself, was beautiful.

Jack and Jeff had a very significant father-son moment as Jack was officially baptized. Instead of wailing out of fear, Jack knew he was in good hands while his dad held him tight.

The lunch we hosted afterwards was just as awesome. It’s family/cultural tradition to have a gigantic celebration for baptisms. But because of our distance and small timeframe to plan, we had an intimate lunch with our closest family and friends instead. We hosted it at our friends’ restaurant, which unbeknownst to us, was opened early just for us. It was perfect.

I may moan and groan about our geographical separation from our family and friends in Va. and having to drive such far distances for every holiday or major event, but it’s times like this that remind me exactly why we will always return home to Va. Thank you to all of our family and friends who took the time to share in our celebration.

Can I brag about my awesome family a bit more? I wanted to say a special thank you to Jack’s Godmother, my cousin Kristine, who flew in from California to be a part of the day. Also, another very special thank you to another beautiful cousin, Melissa, who graciously took on the role as photographer during all the festivities.

Here’s a slideshow of the many pix that were taken on Sunday. Also, I’m opening up access to the flickr photos for the day. (I’ll set them for family and friends access only tonight.)

[slideshow id=1657324662875562057&w=426&h=320]

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Jack’s Baptism

I’m busy playing catch up at work since we were recuperating and preparing to get on the road yesterday.

Jack’s baptism over the weekend was a beautiful celebration surrounded by friends and family; we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day for the boy. Amidst all the preparation, commotion and loving attention, Jack seemed to enjoy the time spent with all of our family and friends (minus a minor meltdown at the church right before the ceremony began.) Everyone, as always, was so wonderful and gracious for Jack’s special day. The baptism, itself, was beautiful.

Jack and Jeff had a very significant father-son moment as Jack was officially baptized. Instead of wailing out of fear, Jack knew he was in good hands while his dad held him tight.

The lunch we hosted afterwards was just as awesome. It’s family/cultural tradition to have a gigantic celebration for baptisms. But because of our distance and small timeframe to plan, we had an intimate lunch with our closest family and friends instead. We hosted it at our friends’ restaurant, which unbeknownst to us, was opened early just for us. It was perfect.

I may moan and groan about our geographical separation from our family and friends in Va. and having to drive such far distances for every holiday or major event, but it’s times like this that remind me exactly why we will always return home to Va. Thank you to all of our family and friends who took the time to share in our celebration.

Can I brag about my awesome family a bit more? I wanted to say a special thank you to Jack’s Godmother, my cousin Kristine, who flew in from California to be a part of the day. Also, another very special thank you to another beautiful cousin, Melissa, who graciously took on the role as photographer during all the festivities.

Here’s a slideshow of the many pix that were taken on Sunday. Also, I’m opening up access to the flickr photos for the day. (I’ll set them for family and friends access only tonight.)

[slideshow id=1657324662875562057&w=426&h=320]

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Happy New Year!

For the first time in a long time, I was sad to see another year end. 2007, for us, was a year of Jen, Jeff and Jackunexpected surprises, warm welcomes and a whole new beginning. In essence, it was our year of Jack. This time last year, I was just barely pregnant and had no idea what we had in store. We were welcoming 2007 and hoping, wishing and praying that it would finally be OUR year. I can say wholeheartedly that yes, it was most certainly our year. After so much struggle, we found happiness in so many facets of our lives.

Last night, we were fortunate to have not one babysitter, but TWO since both of my parents are here visiting. As I got dressed to go out with Jeff and a few friends, I watched my parents enjoy their new grandson and remember just how much one little guy changed my entire family’s perspective. In between a nice dinner with friends andJack and dad the intermittent neighborhood boozing, Jeff and I popped back in to our place right before the ball drops– a tradition that my family has done for years when proximity allowed. When we were younger we all tried to make it a point to be together when the ball dropped, no matter what we were doing for the hours before. In a sense, to us, that togethernessMomma and babe signified togetherness for the coming year. And because he can’t stand missing a party, Mr. Jack woke up just minutes before midnight.

So, at midnight, we bid farewell to our best year yet and welcomed another year of surprises! So long 2007, you were so good to us!

Here’s to all of you, we hope your new year is filled with health, happiness, fulfillment and joy!

silly hat
born in 2007I pretty much eat everything

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Give thanks

Other than the fact that it’s a holiday that promotes a lot of non-stop eating, I truly love Thanksgiving!  I love everything about it.  I love crossing the Bay Bridge Tunnel, as it’s the first indication that we’re home.  It’s a reminder where we’ve come from, where we’ve been and where we want Jack to love just as much as us.

With this being the kid’s first trip to Va., so far I’ve noticed that his short existence has changed everything, but most importantly the perspective in my family.  I know my perpsective has changed, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!I have so much to be thankful for this year: happiness, health, a very loving family, a lot of great friends and 2 very special guys that make it all worth it!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Bohnvisit 130

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