Archive for category husband

Sunday (Not-So) Funday

For the first time in a few years, I have that Sunday night anxiety.  It’s that same awful feeling I used to get on Sunday nights; that feeling of hopelessness, angst and fear, knowing that I was about to return to a job that stressed me out.

Instead of returning to a job that stressed me out, tomorrow, I will be on my own with the two kids for the first time since Josh’s seizures.  For the the past week, I’ve had a knowledgeable medical staff just a call button away,  my parents’ moral and logistical support, and of course, Jeff’s unflappable presence.

Shortly after Josh’s birth in January, I remember thinking, “I’ve GOT this. I can do this, this 2 kid thing.”

I had more confidence in myself than I thought I would, and even started attending press events and writing, just two weeks after his birth. Crazy, dedicated and insane were the words I believe friends called me.  Truthfully? I love being a mother more than anything, but MY happiness lies within pursuing the things that round me out as a whole. Balance, it’s how we do.

But…after Josh’s ordeal? My parenting confidence is completely decimated.  My heart palpitates with worry, I jump every time the baby coughs or sneezes, and worst of all, Jack feeds off of my neurosis and irritability.

Mom, dad and John were supposed to come up to help me this week, but unfortunately, work schedules come first.  As a family, Jeff and I have overcome hardships, and I know we’ll make it through this uncertain transition—one therapy session at a time.

 

 

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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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All aboard!

The other night, I complained to Jeff that my computer was running a little slow.  I mentioned that the thousands of photos that I’ve been taking lately might be the cause and that maybe I’d need an external hardrive to remedy this simple, techy malady.

The next day, my very thoughtful husband spent his lunchbreak persuing, geekily I might add, Costco for said remedy. Jeff found this handy dandy Hitachi hardrive that’s water and shock resistant, because you know, day-to-day with our 2 year old daredevil is as chaotic as a white water rafting excursion, except with lots of milk, cereal and toys to wade through. I bet they weren’t targeting this device for a work at home mom, though? But it’s genius!

After finding this ideal hardrive, Jeff, who normally has an aversion to shopping unless there are food samples involved, took a whirl around the rest of Costco.  He found his way to the toy section, which, as he described, looked as though they just put out their bounty of oversized boxes filled with glorious Christmas toys.  And dudes, it’s Costco, so you know there must have been awesomeness involved.

And when he wasn’t looking, just like true love, Jeff found it.  He found THE most gigantic toy one could buy their toddler. 

Have I ever mentioned that we just so happen to live in a small city apartment? 

The enormous box, the size of a standard door and weight of a walrus, enclosed not just one giant toy, but an oversized table, trundle and 100 pieces.  I personally think they forgot several zeros.  There has to be a million tiny pieces!  But alas, we now own a Kid Kraft Metropolis Table and Train Set.
Metropolis

So, you guessed it, I was reluctant about the size of this toy.  When Jeff first emailed me about it, I assumed he was thinking of Christmas.  I mean, WHERE WOULD WE PUT this metropolis you speak of?

But once I heard and saw Jeff’s excitement; how could I say no?

That night, Jeff stayed up until 2am setting up the metropolis and its table and trundle.  “I want to set it all up so that he wakes up to it.”

It’s oh so awesome.

That next morning, my two guys, with their matching disheveled hair and shirtless chests, hobbled to our living room and played with the intertwined tracks and brand new trains.  Jack and Jeff, on either corner of the table, studied every single acoutrement—all one million of them.  They giggled in unison like little school girls!

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So, I can’t move as freely in our living space anymore, and with all these damn toys cramping my style, I don’t have the Pottery Barn-esque feel either (or anything for that matter!)  But when I saw the pure happiness and sense of contentment from both of their faces, just from this enormous trainset that I didn’t want in the first place, clearly, that other stuff doesn’t matter.

Those early morning smiles and laughs: they are what matter.

That morning, Jeff reminded me of Ricky Schroeder riding on his ride-on train in the opening credits of Silver Spoons.  Jack was definitely Alfonso Robeiro doing his happy dance.  Oh wait, wrong show :)

You’re probably all like, it’s just trainset!  I know, right?  But this, my friends, is so much more…

Jack's train set and table
Above Jack’s crib, I had wall words made to decorate his closet/nursery.  It reads: “From small beginnings come great things.”  It’s so hard to believe that it’s already been two years ago when we welcomed our little buddy and embarked on that small beginning. 
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This giant trainset might take up too much space in our little living room for right now, but according to our mantra, Jeff had the foresight to pick this fun birthday gift because, undoubtedly, we’re just prepping for all that greatness and space that’s sure to follow.

As Jack would say, choo choo all aboard!

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Because of me, we’ll never have nice things

I don’t drive very often anymore, perhaps for good reason.

Somewhere, not too far from here, my husband is sitting in his cube not-so-quietly cursing about my latest debacle.

As I was coming home from ShopRite yesterday afternoon, I was trying to console Jack in the backseat and ended up clipping a curb as I tried to make a right turn. I ended up blowing out the tire and Jeff had to come and change it—in the rain. Ugh. I feel so awful because not only is this an unexpected expense to replace the tire, but it’s now become a huge inconvenience because the tire is a “special order” since it’s a newer car.

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No matter how many times I say ‘sorry,’ I know Jeff is so disappointed/outraged/livid, which makes me so sad.

Nevermind that I would’ve liked to grocery shop sans toddler—just once—or the fact that I could’ve walked to the grocery store today instead of Sunday or that maybe I should’ve begged Jeff to come along to help me with errands since I was exhausted to tackle it on my own, or that I could’ve taken a different route home, no matter how you dice it, it happened and noone was hurt–just the tire of our newish car.

I obviously make mistakes all the time and I have no problem admitting it, but damn, why must these catastrophes happen at times like this?

Taking trains, unexpected expenses, eyesore for a spare tire AND we leave for vacation and Kris’ wedding in a week— all while trying to hatch a plan on what to do about the “Little Old Lady’s House” that we’d like to buy (more to come.) Grrrrr. Why now!?

So, maybe when and if we do move to the suburbs (if Jeff doesn’t divorce between now and then) we can forgo getting a 2nd vehicle and just get me a bike instead? Clearly, I have no business having a mom mobile (or desire for that matter)

No, for real.

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Weekend escape to Governor’s Island

The best kind of weekends are the kinds where plans just sort of fall together, usually with little effort at all.  And if you’re like us, free weekends—or close to it—are even better.

On Saturday, my friend invited us to join her family on Governor’s Island for a relaxing day and picnic.  With no plans set in stone, I agreed.  Why not?  We’re always up for something new.  If it involves exploring the City, I’m always game.  The laundry? Yeah, that stuff can totally wait; there’s still so much to see.

After living in this area for over eight years, Governor’s Island was one of the many NYC spots I’d yet to visit.

The problem with getting to Governor’s Island for us would have been logistics, but thank goodness for the Internets.  On Friday night, I Googled “Ferry from Hoboken to Governor’s Island.”  And just my luck, I came across this.  We packed our lunch, the stroller and headed to the ferry slip to make our way to Governor’s Island.

On the ferry

At just 800 yards away from lower Manhattan, Governor’s Island once served as an Army and Coast Guard Base.  In 1996, the island was mothbolled and went dark.  But like New Yorkers do, City Officials sought to maximize every square inch.

Aerial View of Governors Island

In 2003, the Government sold the 172 acre Island to New York for $1.00.    And they say you can’t buy anything for $1.00 anymore!

Ninety-two acres of the island, which is said to be about 22 city blocks tip to tip, is now devoted to public open spaces—picnics, car-free bike riding, historic tours and just like Saturday, festivals and cultural events.

Hanging at a hammock in the picnic areaadirondack chairs overlooking bridge
picnicviews of Lady Liberty
one of many bikesexploring

We picnicked and hung out with my friend and family for a few hours.  It was so nice to sit in the shade, let the breeze blow and listen to the kids play.  The picnic area was on the southern tip of the island, which overlooked the Statue of Liberty. But when it came time for the kid’s nap, we knew we had to intervene in order to preserve his happy state.  So, we strapped him in the stroller and set out to explore Governor’s Island.

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Asleep within 2 minutes of our stroll, we walked the perimeter of the island and saw tons of people fishing, biking, laying out, picnicking and doing the exact same as us, relaxing with no real agenda.  We found our way back to the middle of the island, where we found the festival.

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Little Matissesculpting

The free ferry that was offered from Hoboken to Governor’s Island was a part of Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance second annual City of Water Day Festival.  As an eco-concious family, the City of Water Day Festival was just our speed.  The festival had various vendors and exhibits set up that celebrated the NY waterfront.  Whether it was sailing or composting, the festival likely had a stand set up discussing it.  There were tons of food vendors that were a mile long.  It turned out several of the food vendors were taking part in the annual Vendy awards.  No wonder people willingly waited in those lines!

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When the kid finally woke up, we checked out the kid’s art tent, which was set up by the Children’s Museum of the Arts.  Jack “sculpted” and played kiddie Matisse, as evidenced by his t-shirt that left a bit more colorful than when we arrived.  We could’ve stayed at the art tent for hours, but alas, there was so much more to see!

IMG_2754old barracks and office buildings

We explored more of the festival and listened to music, but then found ourselves walking around the Island again and checking out all the placards explaining the former uses for the old buildings and even stopping for a moment to enjoy a much newer amenity the NY Water Taxi “beach.“  With such sweeping views of Manhattan, as well as the Hudson River, it was so hard to believe that the Island was left vacant for several years.  Jeff had a great time learning about the old history of the island, some of which dates back to the 1800s.  And I bet if you asked him about what he took in about the island, Jeff could rattle off random trivia, just like he would about anything else that interests him.

Such as this: Using rocks and dirt from the excavations for the Lexington Ave. Subway, the Army Corps of Engineers supervised the deposit of 4,787,000 cubic yards of fill on the south side of Governors Island, adding 103 acres of land by 1912, and bringing the total acreage of the Island to 172.


A picnic with friends, a break from the hustle and bustle, exploring in wide open spaces and a low-key day with the family, Governor’s Island was a perfect excursion for us.  We all got to do something that interested us, but the best part was enjoying another city day without any concept of time.

Lower Manhattan

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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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Ever wonder what I do with all these broken gadgets?

I get resourceful and craft, of course!

As you might already know, Captain Destruction, AKA Jackson, has a penchant for chewing, eating, breaking, shoving edible items in the electronic gadgets in our home. Nothing is sacred anymore.

While working on my cousin, Kris’ wedding invitations (yay!!), I noticed another pair of chewed up ipod headphones in the trash. I remembered seeing a tutorial on how to make a Blackberry-esque photo frame for father’s day—y’know because so many daddies love their crackberries more than their babies ;)

So, that’s when I got all crafty and literally dusted off my crafting supplies. Jack and I played with glue, one of us might have tasted it, along with the foam and this is what we came up with:

Ipod picture frame

The headphones also serve as the hanger. Chewed up headphones have a new purpose: crafty and green.
Now the broken dvd player and all those other fun items? Um, we’ll see what I can come up with!

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Amazing

On Friday night, in a mad dash to prepare for a much-needed outing with friends, my goal was to tackle the bedtime shuffle and then focus on the other stuff, i.e., getting myself dressed, picking up a little, doing some dishes and some cleaning.

As luck would have it, the kid protested bedtime. For 35 minutes.

Of course he did.

And so, I needed help.

“What can I do?” Jeff asked.

Pointing to the parade of plastic cars, random bowls and chewed-up board books I begged, “Can you help me pick up all these toys?”

“Oh, and would you mind cleaning the toilet super-quick, too?”

Clean toilets are a must—even for the babysitter.

After I tidied up the kitchen, it was finally time to dress myself. Only 20 minutes to spare.

On my hands and knees, searching for that brown flip flop that Jack hid, I heard, “Tchhhhhhhhhhh. Tcchhhhhhhhhh. TCCCCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.”

And then I smelled exactly what I heard: Lysol Crisp Linen.

And then I tasted it.

YUCK!

In our tiny closet-sized bathroom, Jeff commandeered a mushroom cloud of Lysol to tackle the task at hand. Because three small sprays just was not enough.
Oh, yes he did.

Ostensibly, I was grateful for his help (I always am!!) As usual, there’s a but…

“BUT, that’s not how I usually do it,” I told him.

I showed him the Seventh Generation bathroom spray right next to the Lysol.

“I just spray things down with this, but no biggie. It’s cool.”

*hack* I gagged and coughed for good measure. My God, it stunk.

“Oh, yeah, I guess I did go a little overboard,” he admitted.

Unable to wait for the cloud to clear, I held my breath and excused myself to use the newly Super-Sanitized toilet.

YUCK. *hack* YUCK

I opened the door, scowled and quietly confessed, “You see, the problem with using that much Lysol is that my ass now smells like Crisp Linen.”

And without hesitation he explains, “If it’s any consolation, I think it’s extremely sexy.

hahaha.

He laughed at me, I laughed at him. We laughed at each other.

We have our moments that stink, but this wasn’t one of them. haha!

This, my friends, is the father of my child. He lifts me up daily, makes sure we’re on the straight and narrow, keeps me sane and yes, he makes me laugh endlessly. Lysol-ass included.

The way our little boy looks at him with such admiration and intrigue, it gets me every time. To hear the two of them laugh and giggle like they’re the best of friends is an instant anti-depressant. Oh, and the family days…I just can’t get enough. Everything in life comes so easily to him, and fatherhood suits him just as well.

There isn’t much more to add to my many diatribes about how wonderful he is, but to sum it up, yeah, he kicks ass.

Undoubtedly.

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Happy Father’s Day, babe. You rock!

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To my incredible dad, thank you for all you do! You continue to inspire me daily.

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Who needs a McMansion when life is just as grand here

In our expansive abode (heh.) there are so many areas that are off limits to the boy:  the bathroom(s), kitchen and our bedroom. Lately, the sneaky guy he’s become, he’s learned to finagle his way in to those off-limit areas.  The minute you open the child safety gate, he’s right behind you shadowing to make it in before that gate closes.  The instant he hears the bedroom doors swing open, oh, he’s chanting, “Go, go, go!”

This boy, I swear.

But truly, the holy grail for him is the bed.  It’s bouncy, it’s big, it’s comfy and yes, it’s off limits.  But he’s persistent and swift. Oh, and he’s cute, too, which is probably why he gets away with playing on the bed.  Actually, when it’s time for me to do my workout on the Wii, I let him “read” or watch tv on the bed.  I can see him from the living room, so that helps with him being out of my way when I do my lunges on my balance board. You gotta love the advantages of living in a small space! ha!

But tonight was such a special night.  Jeff came home early to relieve me while I went to a press event for LeapFrog.  The boy and Jeff had a few hours on their own again, something they can’t seem to get enough of, well, ever. I came home early enough to help make dinner and we actually ate TOGETHER!!!  That’s huge, dudes.  Huge!

After dinner and our usual routine, Jeff headed off to the east wing (aka as the bedroom) to call grandma.  All I heard was, “go, go, go” which meant Jack, of course, had to follow his daddy so he could play on the bed.

I was able to enjoy a few short minutes to catch up on emails and then I heard the pitter patter of his little feet coming my way.

He pushed my laptop down, looked me in the eye, pointed to the east wing, grabbed my finger and led me to where he felt I needed to be: with him and daddy.

He giggled, we laughed and we awww’ed.

For such a little dude, I love that he ‘gets’ the joy of the three of us being together, even if it was something as simple as sitting on our disheveled bed-turned-playground in our tiny apartment.  As if that wasn’t enough, Jeff and I hugged and smooched, but like he does now, my very protective Jack wiggled his way in between our faces to make sure he got my full attention.

No hugs for mommy unless they’re given by Jack.

So mushy, so sweet, but seriously so frickin’ cute.  Contentment at its best.

With all the worries in our world—Jeff’s long work weeks, when/where are we going to move and etc.—forgotten for just those few moments, I asked Jeff, “Do YOU remember what was like life before this kid?”

“I can hardly remember,” he said.

Neither can I.

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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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