Archive for category husband

Brand new menu and a highchair

Not too long ago, before our lives were spent shuffling from pediatrician visits and frequent playground jaunts, we had a social life–one that revolved around high tier events like $5 burger night, $.25 buffalo wing night and What the Buck.  We slept in on Saturdays and Sundays, sometimes going to bed at the same bewitching hour that Jack begins to crow from his crib.  We’d spend our Sundays recovering from the weekend mischief.  We’d wake up by midday, often finding ourselves at one of our favorite restaurants brunching and watching baseball on tv all day long.  Scheduled just right, Bloody Marys, bellinis, muffins, steak and eggs would serve as breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Life wasn’t nearly as tragically orchestrated as they are now.

Those were the days.

On Friday night, when we walked the 5-block walk back from the hospital, it was about the same time that we’d normally head out to the bars just a few years ago.  As we passed our old watering hole, from across the street, I could see a few familiar friends, still doing the same thing.   It made me miss those carefree days–the days where my responsibilities were as simple as finding exact change for the bus, so that I’d have enough cash for What the Buck.

Surveying everything my child ate and had contact with over a 72-hour period wasn’t even a blip on the radar back then.

crayons and bloody mary

On Mother’s Day, a day that I simply requested as an “easy” day, Jeff and Jack let me sleep in until 9am.  I woke up to Jeff scrubbing the stove, something I’ve neglected in place of fine tuning WordPress themes.  What a wonderful gift it is to have several hours shaved off of my chore list (thanks, babe!)  We made our way to brunch at one of our favorite restaurants, the kind of place where the bartender knew “our usual.”  Except, we haven’t been there since way before I got pregnant.  Our favorite bartender was replaced by a pretty brunette.  The restaurant had new owners; the place even had a whole new menu.  Instead of a pair of barstools, we sat at a table and asked for a highchair.

We got our muffins as we waited for our meals.  I sipped on my bloody mary as we played pick-up-the-crayon and count-the-sugar-packets.

My, have times have changed.

But at one moment, Jack leaned over and hugged me in the way that he does every single day.  It’s as if his hugs say, “Mama, thanks for giving everything up and reshuffling your life to make things better for me.”

Mother's Day at the Gas Light

Memories of debaucherous weekends and the carefree days always puts things into perspective.  I struggle with the fact that I may never have a job in print magazines ever again.  I’m still conflicted about finding my way with this freelance and blogging business.  I’m no longer giving direction; for someone whose career once navigated our course, sitting back and letting go has been hard.  So very hard.

I know how blessed I am, but after a hectic weekend of doctor visits and new found allergies on top of the usual exhaustion, that simple brunch reminded me just how good I have it.  While I might miss those carefree moments from time to time, I’m so grateful for the brand new menu and even more thankful for the high chair and the person who has replaced our barstools.

Motherhood is my brand new menu.  I never saw myself as just a mom.  I’m so glad there’s more to it–the websites, the networking and more.  It’s taking a while to get used to the new options, but the extra side of hugs and spicy Bloody Marys are just as delicious.

And btw, the word “just” should never preface “mom.”  For all of us, there’s always more to it.  I’m just sayin.’

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On the mend

Happy Monday!  If things look a little different today, that’s because they are…

Being in quarantine has its advantages, apparently.  While Jack was on the mend, I started to feel run-down and ill myself.  To fight off everyone’s sicknesses, we took it easy this weekend.  So, I found myself working on this site to spruce it up a bit.  I’ve been neglecting this site with the launch of NKT, and plus, the other theme was getting so cluttered, much like our apartment :)   So, I decided it was time for another overhaul!  I have a few more networking events this week, so I thought I’d look a little more presentable for a change.

Jack’s still under the weather, but definitely much better than he was on Friday.  After my pig flu rant, Jack’s temp spiked up to 103.  With Jeff stuck in traffic, I had an “Oh crap what am I supposed to do now” moment.  I wasn’t sure whether to pack him in the stroller and walk the 5 blocks to the pediatrician or take him to the ER.  I’m pretty sure I was *this* close to asking for advice on Facebook.  103 was friggin’ high!

I ignored both instincts.

Instead, I sat and rocked a sick little boy in the chair.   Thankfully his fever broke through the night.

His nose so raw from wiping, his eyes all teary from misery, my boy was the sickest he’s ever been.  The rest of the weekend involved spending almost all of Saturday afternoon at the dr’s office and then embracing the usual sick kid routine—changing many diapers from an upset belly, shoving Pedialyte down his throat, ignoring/disciplining/dealing with tantrums and hugging.  Lots of hugging.

Sleep is stil a bit off, but the worst was that EARLY morning waking at 3am.  He didn’t go back to bed at all.  Thank goodness Jeff was around to help that morning because that’s when I started to feel sick.  It’s a vicious cycle, I tell ya.

Though the weekend was tough on all of us, there are definitely signs of things looking up.

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WW: Beach boys

Beach Boys

Literally growing up at the beach, I envision the kid sharing the same love both Jeff and I have for the surf and sand. Like some parents drop off their kids at the mall, our parents dropped us off at the beach—all summer long. Oh, the memories.

Even though it isn’t quite the same as back home, LBI is still breathtaking and relaxing, especially without all the tourists. I love the beach in the offseason–the uncrowded beaches, barren boardwalk, undisturbed sand and landscape, gentle waves, cool breezes and the gorgeous weather. Everything always seems so untouched and completely brand new, especially in the early morning daylight, just like in this picture.

Living so far away from family, it’s always nice of Jeff’s uncle and family to include us in special weekends like this. (a big, huge thank you as always, guys!) And though they may not agree right now, the good times our kids have together are absolutely priceless.

For a quick second, I’m rethinking this whole city living thing.  But then again, the beach is always nice to visit.

Ok, second’s over :)

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Next stop, 30 Rock

Exciting news!  Tomorrow, I’ll be at 30 Rock!  The address, not the show.

Why, you ask?  Well, that’s because I was tapped to be a part of the Today’s Moms Book Bash Breakfast and Diaper Drive.  When I say tapped, I mean I signed up and they selected the attendees for the event.  The event is being held by the authors of Today’s Moms.  Mary Ann Zoellner and Alicia Ybarbo, producers at NBC’s TODAY Show, have been promoting their book, Today’s Moms: Essentials for Surviving Baby’s First Year.


This breakfast is another one of the book’s publicity events, but this time, it involves “real” moms and mom bloggers.  I might have survived the first year, but just barely!  I guess I met the requirements!  But still, I’m so excited to be a part of it!  Jeff volunteered to play Mr. Mom for the morning, so the childcare situation is all set!  However, I had the chance to bring a guest, only to realize that I don’t have any mom friends.  Okay, that’s a lie.  I do.  But the people that I wanted to bring have work or live so far away.  I have local mom friends, but not good friends, just acquaintances from playgroup, church and such. (I’m such the antithesis from the groups of moms that hang out and socialize with each other in the  park.)  And my other friends, the DINKs?  Yeah, I highly doubt you guys would even want to go to such an event.  (If my assumption is wrong, let me know if you want to go!)  So besides being friendless, I’m super-excited for tomorrow!

The event will broadcast live on their website.  So, tune in to check us out!  Because it’s a publicity event, they’re encouraging us to blog and tweet. I’ll have my MacBook w/ hot pink case–the one like in Shopaholic, but I got mine as a gift before the movie came out ;)   You can’t miss me!  Cool case, yet still friendless.

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Good fodder

Thank God it’s Friday!  With all that was going on this week, I can hardly believe it’s already Friday.  Last night when I took down the recycling, since paper collection is on Thursday nights, I had to recount all the days in my head just to make sure that I had the correct day.  ha.  I haven’t had a week like this in ages…

We live in area where upon meeting you, people sum you up on where you went to college, what degree you have and yes, what you do for a living.  It’s just a very career-oriented place, with many of us sacrificing space for proximity to our workplace.  But on the other side of the token, I think the general perspective is so different back home.  Some go to college, you get a job, buy a house, have a family and go about your business.  It’s clear cut, making little room for diversion.  It’s honorable but quite different than how I’d also envisioned things for myself.

All I’d ever wanted was to write and be creative, but in a capacity where I had no boundaries in doing so.  I wish I could verbalize the fiery passion that I have for this.  But it’s always been there, and there’s no denying it, which is what landed me here.

Having Jeff along made things even more exciting for the good times and tolerable for those tough times…but things for us have been far from predictable.  We’re in our early 30s now, a time when most of our peers are enjoying their homes, a pair of cars in the driveway and working their way towards the 2.5 kids—or whatever that statistic is nowadays.

For the time being, we’ve shelved hopes for the house in place of pursuing our careers and starting our family.  It’s what some people choose to do.  We have family and friends who don’t “get it” and question our tiny space and how our rent is as costly as mortgages.  That’s fine, but again, I’ll gladly take these life experiences before the house, the 2 cars and whatever else it is that most people think we need to be successful.

Here’s the thing, people.  There’s a method to our madness.  We live within our means–at least we try.  We don’t have to be bailed out of a mortgage that we can’t afford.  And most importantly, we’ve both been given so many awesome opportunities because of this path we’ve chosen. Jeff’s skyrocketing as usual; there’s no surprise there.  And for me, well, I hope to continue to share as things progress. I am behind on posts for Babyrific, but there’s so much I need to share.

This week was the culmination of so much for me.  It’s not just some “little business” that I thought up while I was watching Oprah and snacking on cheese puffs.  For those that don’t “get” why we do the things we do, it’s weeks like this when things come full circle.  I’m doing it, ya’ll.  I’m carpe diem-ing.

The launch of my new site, though still in its early stages, is something that I’d been working toward.  I’m fortunate to be home with my kid, but I maintain the 9-5 workdays (with a little napping siesta every now and then.) But ever since I left my office job 6 months ago, THIS is what I’ve been working toward.  It’s just the beginning, but I finally have that running start.

And as I’ve said to many of you already, I couldn’t have done this without your help.  The encouragement, the belief and the inspiration–all of it has helped me reach beyond my comfort zone.  I am so grateful for the support system that I’m lucky enough to call friends and family.  And a big, big shout out to my kickass husband and all of you that have been boosting me up with the comments and frequent visits to the new site.  Thank you.

I’m not moving mountains here or saving lives, but I’m fulfilling that fiery passion and working it all out.  The small apartment, city street parking, frequent trips to the laundromat with the kid in tow?  Trust me, it’ll be good fodder for that best seller one day.

A girl can dream…

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90 reasons to celebrate

In the hustle and bustle that is life, gatherings with extended family inevitably, diminish as the years go by.  Undeniably, we all promise that we’ll visit, but never get around to it like we had hoped. We can hardly find the time to write a 3 sentence email and hit send, nevermind pick up the phone as often as we should. Text messages have replaced the long lost art of written correspondence as the chosen method of communication. In the age of social networking, not surprisingly, we find out about major milestones through Facebook wall postings. And, as they say, family only gets together for weddings and funerals.

This weekend, that wasn’t the case.

Jeff and Jack with the birthday boy

We had the chance to visit with Jeff’s dad’s side of the family. And this time it was neither a wedding or a funeral. In celebration of Jeff’s great uncle’s 90th birthday, we gladly set aside our social calendar, packed ourselves into the car and headed to Central Pennsylvania–in the middle of a hectic rainstorm with whipping winds, no less. In addition to the main celebration, Jack got to meet his namesake, among others. But for the most part, it was a day for extended family to celebrate, reminisce and catch up with one another on a high note, and for us to stand back and take part of something quite special—something that we can only hope to achieve.

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Opposites and faith

It’s been a week of catch up and clean up around here.  I’ve been busy with my projects, Jeff’s been busy with work and Jack, well, he’s been busy hiding important objects–keys, iPod, magazines, bananas.  Good times.  In between all of that I’ve been copying and pasting some old files which made me all nostalgic.

Since getting married in 2003, I’ve been part of this wonderful online community over at MSN.  It stemmed from a bigger message board and became very much a part of my day.  The girls became such great friends and every now and then we’d even get to see each other.  On that board, I kept a very private blog that only they could read.  And with MSN shutting down that service, it’s the end of an era.  Even though we’re all moving on to another message board, it was fun to look back at the different phases in life that were documented on that blog.  While some of the stuff is best kept private, there are some entries that I thought would be fun to share. (Because nothing says fun like sharing your heart and soul for the whole world to read!) It was like reading my childhood diary, minus all the-I- hate-my-brother.-He-sucks-rambling.

For the record, my brothers don’t suck–well, at least not all the time. :)

Since this blog started out as a way to document my pregnancy and musings as a new mom, I guess you could say that my other blog was my prequel.  For those that may not know, it took about 2 years for us to get pregnant, which was an emotionally trying time. But above all, that adversity tested our marriage and reinforced so much more.


Faith is not belief. Belief is passive. Faith is active.

A lot of people don’t know or realize (or care) that Jeff and I are complete and total opposites.
Take last week’s election for example:  I was vehemently opposed to our Republican candidate for senate, not because he couldn’t represent us well, but because I thought his views on certain things were quite absurd and weak.  I have a hard time voting for someone who can’t make his own mind up, but instead can only offer negative feedback as his prime line of defense on his opponent.  If he can’t stand behind his own conservative stance on things, why should I trust you to make decisions for me?
Albeit fueled by a Tuesday night at the bar, after voting, Jeff and I had an extremely heated debate.  Jeff doesn’t think it’s right for us to play God– no matter if it’s stem cell research or reproductive endocrinology.
Even though we constantly have strong opinions for separate views about everything, it always makes for an intellectual and thought-provoking conversation.  It’s who we are.
On a more direct and personal level, we’ve always wanted something similar– but we’ve always had that strong opposing view on how to attain our goals.  He’s more direct, by the book.  Me, I’m more unconventional and sometimes unrealistic; backed by research, I’m headstrong and usually take a let’s-do-it-my-way attitude.  My passion in certain scenarios inhibits progress, I’ve found.
I hate to make such a severe analogy here, but it’s really the only way to accept the way things are between us.  I’m so far from his conservative views, I couldn’t get any bluer in the face.
Since late 2004, I’ve had a stack of books on my bookshelf– 8 to be exact– on stories of conception, understanding IF and the latest technology when dealing with IF.  My own research and proactiveness in this extremity has proven so futile, I know.
What’s taking so long?  Why has this been so frustrating?
Well, there’s a myriad of conclusions.  But, the simple answer is:  we’re a team and my team partner wants to take a very different and let’s be patient route.
Complex answer:  it’s about faith.  Faith in ourselves, faith in our destiny, faith in us.
I’m guilty of questioning my faith. a lot.  Not my spirituality, but my faith.  And that’s what’s made all of this so hard.
And so, today, I’m we’re at a new crossroads.  For the first time in a while, I feel so empowered.  I can freely say and believe when I say, God only gives us challenges that he knows we’re strong enough to handle.
I’m glad Jeff and I are channeling this questionable energy into something more positives and uplifting.  I truly hope we’ll be able to find a home within the next few months.  I’m even more excited about our next consultation next weekend.  I don’t know what it’ll all mean, but having him there with the facts/possibilities verbally expressed will make a big difference. (I hope.) We have so many exciting possibilities in front of us.
Today, in an email exchange about a consultation with a new specialist next week and excitement about a future home purchase, I told Jeff that our dreams of winning the lottery shall never die.
Jeff says:  Don’t need the lottery. We are going to live the American Dream and own our own business. we will also have 2.3 kids.
tears streaming down my face and laughing hysterically I reply:
WE are.  I know it.  2.3?  We can’t even have one that easily.  where will the 1.3 come from? Malawi?
…Valiant proof of our crossroads and visual proof of our faith and humility.

2 months after this entry, I found out I was pregnant with Jack.

2 years later, I’m screaming things like, DO NOT CLIMB ON TOP OF THE TV!  NORMAL PEOPLE WATCH TV FROM THE FLOOR!!

Oh, and we’re still looking for a new home.

good times!

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Gadget Geek’s ABCs

geek boyNot surprisingly, Jack is a gadget geek, just like mom and dad.  The minute we set down one of our ipods or phones, he snatches it up and tries to “use” it.  With the phone, he’ll hold it up to his neck and jabber away.  With the ipod, he already knows that the earbuds go in his ears.  Every now and then, Jeff will let him “play” along or watch a little video, as if he really knows what he’s doing.  He’s truly a product of his environment, that’s for sure.

Like me with my computer, Jeff has been addicted to his iTouch lately.  He’s got a long list of apps that he plays endlessly, so when I saw this kid-centric app on Geek Dad today, I had to share it:

ABC Animals is a clever application because it can be used by children across a large age range. I’m not sure if the developers at Critical Matter intended this. But, I’ve found it can be used by children as young as 18 months, up to as old as seven – depending on their level of development. And, given the rate at which children grow and develop during the first 7 years of their life this a decent achievement.

With Jack interested in counting and ABCs now, this app is certainly of interest.  While nothing replaces old fashioned learning from books, I have a feeling this will be one of the next downloaded apps.

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Bear cakes, Bakugan and blowing noses

Happy Birthday Jesus

Originally uploaded by jen_rab

Happy Monday, all. Hope everyone enjoyed a relaxing weekend. The three of us had a nice weekend. We had a chance to see many of our friends at the annual regifting party. We unloaded some tacky gifts and came home with a Bakugan Battle Arena and a really awesome Weird NY book. The obscure gift balanced out the pretty cool book! Though cold, it was fun to have some adult interaction conversation and booze. It definitely helped that we only had to trek a block away.
When we weren’t busy regifting, the three of us were taking turns blowing our noses and chugging cold medicine. Well, Jeff was doing the chugging. I was more like, wincing and threatening to barf. (I used to take shots like it was my job, but I hate liquid medicine!) YUCK. On a good note, the Theraflu Daytime Warming Relief works like a charm.  Mama definitely likey.

I’ve got a long to do list this week. So, I’m hoping this cold has a short stay. It’ll be tough chasing after 2 runny noses and still tackle this list! (More on runny noses later, including a giveaway.)

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32 Candles

Happy Birthday!

Originally uploaded by jen_rab

Yesterday, we quietly celebrated Jeff’s birthday. In honor of my beloved’s 32nd birthday, after our power naps, Jack and I went shopping for our feast. I decided to make prime rib with a horseradish and dill sauce (very reminiscent to Outback’s recipe) with some delicious sides. If I say so myself, though late, dinner turned out awesome. As did the cupcakes!

Because he’s not a sweets fan, it’s always hard finding a recipe that appeals to the birthday boy. Finally, after lots of searching, I found an awesome recipe for vanilla cupcakes, which just so happens to be the very funny Amy Sedaris‘ recipe. After even more scouring, I found a recipe for “light” buttercream frosting (as light as a cup of butter and many cups of sugar can be…) that also turned out pretty damn good. After the kid went to bed, the night was capped with the latest episodes of Lost, some Johnny Walker, MIller Lites and a few more cupcakes. We’ll be doing a little more celebrating this weekend, but the simple celebration with just the 3 of us, was just right…

Happy Birthday to a really wonderful husband and father!

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