Archive for category fam and friends

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.

 

 

No Comments

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!
iphone_pic

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?

iphone_pic

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!)

iphone_pic

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.

IMG_0208

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 :)

Tags: , , , , , ,

No Comments

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!

Tags: , , , ,

No Comments

Restaurants are no place for your outside voice

It’s Friday already?  Where has the week gone?  All in all, my birthday week, just like the day itself, was quiet (far from peaceful) and super-productive.  Even though it’s mainly the boys and me everyday, I am so glad I was wrong about friends and family “forgetting” me.

My entire family called me on Tuesday.  My brothers, most certainly coerced by my parents, BOTH called me before noon.  Not text, not FB message, but physically called me—like on the phone!

That, my friends, was huge.

Even though I’m sure they were reminded by my parents and by Facebook, I have to say, I was quite touched by that.  My phone’s caller id rarely sees their numbers as “incoming.”  So, a big thank you to the family for helping me divert the whole woe-is-me-everyone-forgot-me drama a la Molly Ringwald.

Birthdays, though not as spectacular anymore, are wonderful reminders of how much you’re truly loved, no matter how busy you’ve been or how far you live.

Thank you for loving me so much, family and friends.

**

The boys and I had dinner at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants—the kind where you bring your own booze and they happily swirl and swish your cheapish wine to make Sangria.  It was just as divine as the guacamole they made at the table.  (My guac is never as good as theirs! I need to get one of their 10-lb. mortar and pestles just to recreate that deliciousness!)

Jack was well behaved, which was a treat in of itself.  He chowed on tortillas and close to a pound of sour cream—no lie.  And that right there, is proof that our child, as of late, is on a strict condiment and fruit binge. Only. Not necessarily together, though he’s known to experiment with apples in ranch.  (barf)

As for us, our dinners were nice, but we were completely annoyed by the very loud outside talker who sat next to us.  Mind you, the local restaurants are quaint and tables literally have 1.5 inches in between them to maximize space.  So basically, we sit ON TOP of each other, like butt-to-butt with the next table.  Well, almost.  So, when this 6-top of babyfaced 20-somethings sat next to us, from my peripheral vision, I could see the horror from Jeff’s face, complete with his signature subtle headshake.

And the girl, (who graduated from Penn and who was apparently in advertising, but was interviewing for a new job and her aunt works at Wegman’s and who hung out at this bar downtown last Friday…) did NOT stop talking.  AT ALL.  She laced her one-sided conversation to the 5 other kids with a lot of Ohmigawds and F-bombs, just loud enough so our sponge of a toddler could pad his vocabulary with obscenities, in between shoveling the sour cream of course.

I looked at Jeff and asked, “Were we ever that annoying?”

He reinforced the unfortunate truth:  “Oh, completely.  Probably even more obnoxious and annoying.”

But, all I could think was, “God, these kids suck for being so damn loud.”

If I had one, I’m sure I’d be screaming for them to get off my lawn, too.

And that is the day I became a grumpy old lady.  And to think, the Sangria took the edge off!?

Tags: , , ,

1 Comment

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!

1 Comment

Taking one for the team

It’s hard to believe that this week is already over!  Well, just about…

Thank God.

Inundated with website stuff and other projects, I’ve been an overwhelmingly busy week.  It’s a good thing, but most of the work and late nights I’ve been pulling are favors.  Such is life.

Poor Jack has been bored since I’ve been way too busy to play/read in the mornings.  But hopefully, this weekend will make up for it.

This afternoon, after a planned trip to the Liberty Science Center, the three of us are yet again trekking down to Va. Beach.  The boys are very excited.  Me, not so much.  Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing our family, but all the timesharing of our visits usually becomes a major debacle.  Between everyone’s work schedules, family plans, weekend obligations, it never fails, there’s always someone we don’t get to see.

Oh, and seeing friends? haha.  Social hour with friends, it seems, is a distant memory.  The emails and phone calls don’t even come anymore…sadly, they know what we’ll be doing all weekend.

While we sit in traffic and dodge craziness, we’ll also be missing out on the amazing fireworks here in the NYC area.  This year, the fireworks return to the Hudson—just footsteps away from our doorstep.  And we’ll be missing out.  Not so surprisingly, Jeff is glad.

I don’t have a say anymore.

And so, I’ll pack our bags again, try to locate all the pieces to my projects that I’m working on, pray that we miss traffic, hope our little passenger doesn’t get carsick and make our way down the turnpike.  Again.

Even as I begrudgingly pack that car with a rowdy toddler ignoring my pleads to SIT STILL, in the end, hearing him laugh with his Lolo and watching him water the plants with Lola makes it worth all the effort and eye rolls.

Because, you see, it’s not about me anymore.

Maybe one long weekend, I’ll stay here by myself to relax.  Nah, that would involve me having fun.

No Comments

Belly ache days

We were finally gifted with a weekend of sun, albeit a few storms here and there…but sun, lots of sun! We spent the weekend doing much of nothing but enjoying family time.

On Saturday, I went into the City to plotwith some lady friends on our quest to conquer the world on a new top secret project.  We gabbed for hours on motherhood, writing, the lack of well-paying writing jobs and boys.  Not BOY-boys, but boys.  Boys, as in, our sons who drive us batty but are too cute to give away.

Commiserating over someone else’s little boy swinging with a curtain a la Tarzan made me laugh so hard that my belly ached.  You mean, I’m not the only one whose kid does that?  (OF COURSE NOT!)

We all need belly aches like that.

The thing is, I’ve come to terms that I have nothing in common with many of the moms in my neighborhood, thus our conversations will probably never go beyond “man, that was some rainstorm last night.” And, I’m ok with that.  Don’t get me wrong, most moms are super nice, but there are always that select few that are not so nice.  When the time comes, I’ll be sad to leave: I love our neighborhood and our community.  Thankfully, I’m starting to get my bearings on the whole mom support system.  But, I look forward to cultivating more friendships with moms like me–whatever that means.

I mean, who wants to be fake friends with a bunch of sanctimonious moms who will stare you AND your kid up and down peeps who clearly don’t want to get to know you?

Not me, that’s for sure.

On the other hand, I’m so grateful for meeting like-minded mamas who remind me that their kids, too, scale furniture and wreak havoc in a similar small space.

*

While I did my city-thing, Jack and Jeff had a special boys’ day.  They got hair cuts at the barber, went for a few strolls, had lunch and caught up with each other.  After not seeing each other all week, I love when the boys come back with all smiles.  All is good in the world when a boy is with his dad.

Sunday was spent doing much of the same.  Family fun, no plans, just us.

Just the way I like it!

And just like that, weekend bliss turned into another chaotic Monday. hehe. Who am I kidding? Every day is a chaotic Monday!

Today was hell.

From the minute we woke up to the minute the boy went to bed, it was nonstop chaos.  From toys being dumped over, thrown at TVs, to newspapers being ripped to shreds, to an accidental shove at the park (and the aforementioned evil eye from a bitchy mom) to meltdowns galore for dinner time—I was overwhelmed.

Jack’s Godmother even called during said meltdowns and I’m sure we scared her by revealing the underbelly of motherhood.  It’s not always so bad, today was crazier than usual. We all have the not-so-perfect days.  If we didn’t have those, then we wouldn’t have the laugh-so-hard-you-get-bellyache days.

We all need the belly ache days!

Though chaotic, just as we do every night, Jack and I hugged and smooched.  And I promised him that tomorrow is another day…perhaps a much sunnier, less chaotic day!

3 Comments

WW: There really are no words

…at least that I’m aware of.  Can anyone else understand?

teehee.

What’s so great is, he’s copying me. haha

AND he totally thinks we understand everything he’s saying.  I’m so enjoying this period of jabbering nonsense.

Tags: , ,

1 Comment

Water sprinkler love

Not too long ago, a family member asked me, “So, how’s it going with the whole space thing?”

As in, are we tripping over each other and pulling our hair out because we have no room to move.

Well, yeah, sometimes, but whatever.  We’re living within our means, remember?

So, per usual, I shrugged my shoulders and this time answered, “Going ok.  How bad can things get when on the weekdays it’s basically just the boy and me and on the weekends, we’re never home.”

Never.

And I love it.

Jeff, however, could do without all the errand-running, festivals and City trips.  He’s such a trooper, though.

With another “free” weekend on our hands, we took advantage of the sunshine and caught up on the family time with, what else?

Summer activities.  Ok, city summer activities, but fun nonetheless.

The weekend went a little like this: brunch at one of our favorite spots overlooking the Hudson, quality time at the playground, a little summer shopping, more park fun…but it wouldn’t be a fun summer weekend without a street festival!

OLG Funfest
street meatbeer!zeppoles

Street meat, games, inflatable slides, and because we live in Sinatra’s hometown, yes, there was plenty of Sinatra, too.  Everything was going well—until Jack set his eyes on the sprinklers.

While in line for the pony ride, it was like a record scratching and then, everything went silent.

errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh———-

He spotted it.

WATER!!!

I tried to ration with our 1.5 year old (that was a joke) that we weren’t prepared for him to run in the sprinklers today.  No towel, no swim trunks, nada.

Oh good God.  Can you say meltdown?  Uncontrollable, hysterical tears—as if I told him there was no more party in the tummy for Yo Gabba Gabba.

So, we stripped him down and let him frolic in the sprinklers alongside of all the other kids.  It wasn’t so bad running through the sprinkler with kids two times his size (in his brand new shorts, no less!) I’m learning to pick my battles, here.

Sprinkler love
After he was done, I must say though, we looked pretty klassy strolling him around in dripping hair, soaking wet shorts and no shirt.

Oh, those kids and their sprinklers and water toys. Especially these urban kids. In retro movies, you see always see a neighborhood turn into complete pandemonium when the fire hydrant gets turned on.  In modern day, most city areas have water features and sprinklers to assuage the city kids in the summertime.  I wish I could replicate the roaring laughter that goes on around these sprinklers.  Oh, the awesomeness.

Jeff and I had the beach and our swimming pools growing up, our city kid has water sprinklers.  I have a feeling there will be a plethora of trips to city parks to frolic all summer long.

Eh, there could be worse things in life than discovering the uncontainable excitement that a water sprinkler brings a kid at summertime.

Tags: , ,

No Comments

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…

1 Comment

Bad Behavior has blocked 127 access attempts in the last 7 days.