Archive for category Jeff-isms

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!

IMG_0486

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. 
stroller 013
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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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.

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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!

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National Mom’s Nite Out in NYC

Even though I’m still fairly new at this game, I’m still a big believer that all moms—newbies and the vets alike—need to get out regularly. Go out on the town, go get a manicure, go out and shop—whatever—as long as its what you enjoy on your own time!

National Mom's Nite Out: the Ultimate Celebration of MotherhoodJust in time for Mother’s Day, forward-thinking moms, Maria Bailey and Katja Presnal, orchestrated the first annual National Mom’s Nite Out. Moms from all over convened via Twitter, blogs, live video and in person to celebrate this crazy, fun roller coaster we call motherhood. I actually had the chance to take part in the NYC event held at the Garden Terrace at the Wyndham. With over 70 moms from all over the Tri-State area, it was such a great turnout.

Almost reluctant to break out of my regular routine, I was hesitant on going to the Mom’s Nite Out Event. I’m so glad I reconsidered. I had the chance to meet and hangout with many ladies I tweet with, not to mention chat with some of the most influential NYC-area bloggers. We all hungout and enjoyed many giveaways Katja and Maria had for us. I’m always so humbled and inspired when I get to hang out with so many brilliant and entrepreneurial moms.

Mom's Night Out

The night, of course, wasn’t complete without a generous amount of swag. When I say swag, I mean SWAG! I haven’t even made my way to the bottom of that bag yet! A huge shout out to the awesome sponsors that made our NYC such a blast: Jose Cuervo (our longtime friend), Honest Teas (one of our faves), Little Debbie, Propel and more!

Sipping on some Mamaritas with Cuervo, chowing on Magnolia’s cupcakes and enjoying a night in the City with other like-minded moms, I have to say, I totally enjoyed the first National Mom’s Nite Out in NYC.  I could do this monthly.  Ah, who am I kidding? I could use a weekly mom’s night out.
Magnolia's goodies

**

But, you know me by now, a good time can never be had without some sort of crazy debacle. My Mom’s Nite Out literally became a mom’s night out when I was locked out of our apartment last night!

Oh yeah.

Locked out, as in, Jeff’s phone was turned off, no hidden spare key and it was way past all of our neighbors’ bedtime. After 2 hours of trying to break in and texting and calling Jeff, I gave up and hung out in our hall and took refuge in my beach chair that just so happened to be left downstairs from our trip to the beach a few weekends ago. I was only “let in” when the kid started crying at 4am and Jeff finally woke up to care for him. As soon as I heard his footsteps, I got up and knocked.
Locked out

No words, just hugged my crying baby and tried to crash with what was left of the night. Mom’s Nite Out on my end was a double entendre.  Glamorous?  Not at all.   More like, absolutely ridiculous.

Why, oh why do these Ugly Betty-esque scenarios always happen to me? If they didn’t, I guess life would be all perfect and adventure-less.  Eh, no thanks.

Mental note: stop procrastinating and search the toybox for the house key that Jack “misplaced.”

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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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Sunkissed faces

It’s been a busy couple of days around here.  From the Today’s Moms event to a quick visit with family at the beach, we’re full of stories with pictures to boot!  Jack and I have slightly sunkissed faces and Jeff, well, he’s burnt as usual…quite ironic for somene who works very closely with health and beauty products including a plethora of SUNBLOCK!!

But, we’re out of milk and Jack is getting restless since it’s so sunny and gorgeous outside.  So, we’re off to the park and grocery store!  Weekend updates to come.

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Different shades of an intoxicatingly green Saturday

On Saturday, we woke up to a roar of hearty voices out on the streets. It was barely 7am and a sea of green was already flooding the neighborhood. This past weekend was our town’s annual St. Patty’s Day parade, but for many, parade day translates into a huge drunkfest. With drinking into oblivion as the main objective, scores of out of towners come into our small mile-square city by trains, buses and if they’re crazy, cars.

In a different lifetime, the first Saturday of March was always reserved for morning till night bouts of debauchery, corned beef and cabbage, green wardrobe explosions, messy parties in way-too-small spaces and of course, good times with good friends. We’ve been known to start drinking mimosas, kegs and eggs at 9am with the nuttiest of them all. Unlike the many amateurs that ruin it for those that actually live here, we love to party, yet our translation of partying doesn’t equal fall-down-drunkenness and public acts of ridiculousness. I like to pretend I’ve become wise in my old age, or at least smarter in THAT sense. We’re seasoned pros, afterall; just a few short years ago, we were childless and hangovers didn’t equate into a next day death sentence.

Jen and Jeff St. Patty's Day 2006But alas, we set out to enjoy parade day with a whole new perspective.  Because our friends are all busy with their own lives and no one really expressed interest in this year’s St. Patty’s Day festivities, I wrote it off and marked it as a family fun day. So, for the first time, we actually attended the parade—yup, the actual parade for which all the drunken activities originally stemmed. Our first parade was so much fun. We walked over with our neighbors and enjoyed the new sights and sounds of St. Patty’s Day festivities. I never really realized how many organizations and bands participated! The bagpipes, horns and glockenspiels certainly completed this whole new perspective. It was a good time, and one that Jack thoroughly enjoyed.

My favorite band in the whole parade!Hoboken fire truck
crowds at the paradeattempt at self portrait

Even though we only walked a 6 block distance to the parade, walking amidst all the partyers, felt like we were on a different planet. A sober, less tragic one. A planet where I looked in the mirror before leaving the house. A planet where I could still walk in a straight line at 1pm. One where I could see in single, unblurred vision. It felt like we were being Punk’d, where Ashton Kutcher could’ve come around the corner to surprise us— it was THAT weird to be some of the only sober folks in a sea of lunacy.   Jack had a nice glimpse of what the circus is like!

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Further proof that we need more hobbies

In the rare singular hour I have with my husband on any given weekday night (before he dozes off in the chair like he did tonight), we often have deep, prolific conversations pondering the most important things in life, including but not limiting: whose turn it is to take out the recycling, which grocery store has the cheapest Miller Lite and which piece of furniture Jack destroyed/rubbed food all over/jumped off today.

Last night, in between said conversations, we had a chance to catch up on the excellent Tuesday night tv programming.  After watching Monday night’s DVR’ed Chelsea Lately, According to Jim was our top only choice.  (Who knew this show was STILL on TV?!?!)

We stared and watched the characters go through the redundant motions of seasons past. Jim yells at hot wife.  Hot wife yells at Jim.  Dorky brother annoys Jim.  Kids wreak havoc, etc.

And then Jeff piped up with a very Andy Rooney observation:  “Have you ever noticed that many sitcoms have those swinging doors that lead from their living room to kitchen?”
And he started listing:
The Cosby Show
King of Queens
Full House
Family Matters
Who’s the Boss
Three’s Company
Everybody Loves Raymond
According to Jim!

And then I tried to list:
Mad About You


um…

I’m not very skilled in remembering household details of sitcoms, apparently.

But for real?  Do real families have these obligatory swinging doors that separate the kitchen and living room?  Now that I’m thinking about it, I kinda sorta want one.  (In addition to the giant kitchen and all that other stuff that I whine about not having.)

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Lessons in Multiraciality

Last night, while reading the touch and feel book, “Who Do You Love?”, Jeff and Jack came across a page with two different colored bears.

“Look, Jack! Those bears are like mommy and daddy.  One bear is brown and one is white, just like us.”

I couldn’t help but giggle over the cuteness.  Jack, with his innocent little face, was laughing along with me, but he had no idea why. But, something tells me lessons later in life won’t be as short and simple.

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Storytime with Mr. Roboto

Who knew Styx wrote childrens’ books?

(watch at the 30 second mark)

Another reason why I married Mr. Right– his ability to  seamlessly interchange the lyrics to an awfully awesome 80s song into an otherwise lame counting book.  (with dance moves, too! haha!)

Jack says Domo Arigato daddio.

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48 Hours in Chi-Town

All the hype about Chicago? Yeah, so worth it.

Let me just preface this recap by telling you what my agoraphobic-non-city-loving husband told me: “I almost like Chicago more than NYC.”

Can you imagine? Almost!??

At first, I felt like saying, how dare you question your loyalty to NYC.

But you know what? As much as NYC has become a part of our family, I’m so glad to have finally visited Chi-Town. I almost get what he was saying…

Oh Chicago. How much do we love thee? Let me count the ways!
Chicago
Quite honestly, we were only in Chicago for 2 days, but we totally fell in love. And one of those days shouldn’t really count. On the first day, after a fun dinner, as we were out gallivanting at the Navy Pier, we got stuck outside during a torrential downpour. It turns out, while we were seeking higher ground and getting drenched, Jeff, his dad, brother and nephew were at Wrigley Field.

Apparently, tornado sirens sounded, the stadium had to be evacuated and well, the rest is history. As Jeff reminded me the other night, “You know I’m going to tell my Wrigley story until the day I die.”Chicago Children's Museum

He’s so not kidding, folks.

Before the tornado craziness, we had a chance to check out the Chicago Children’s Museum. That was fun! It wasn’t as Chicago-centric as I had hoped, but it was still a fun place to visit. One of the best aspects about the CCM was the Target Free First Monday. (And they say nothing in life is free.) I loved the Treehouse Trails– a nature-inspired exhibit. Jack in the Waterways exhibitBut of course, Jack loved the WaterWays water exhibit–a little too much. Jack loved the exhibit almost as much as Barack!

On the next day, after the storm passed, we set out to see the city. We walked down Magnificent Mile a bit and then met up with my dear friend from high school, Kathleen. Oh Kathleen. Kathleen took us to a very cool historic Chicago eatery, Berghoff–an old cafe that was in the basement level of a fancier sit down restaurant. Meeting up with Kathleen and introducing my family to her was serendipitous in ways…well, not for me, but for Jeff. As we were catching up with each other’s lives, Jeff was beside himself after one sip of his beer. “THIS IS IT!”

What was it? Jeff “found” the beer that he loved from his grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary–12 years ago. I suppose it was happenstance that my dear high school friend took us to a cool Chicago joint, that so happened to be the namesake restaurant for this long lost beer. Good friend, good eats, good beer=good stuff.

Kathleen took us around that area a bit more, and we had a chance to see Millennium Park up close and personal. As far as city parks go, Millennium Park is amazing. I’m a big fan of Central Park, but this 24.5-acre park rocks in its own way. Its website touts the park as “an award-winning center for art, music, architecture and landscape design.” That’s an understatement, btw.

The Pavilion, called the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, was one of the most incredible outdoor concert venues I’ve ever seen. It has web of outdoor speakers, and the outer “shell” itself, was a piece of art.speakers at Millenium ParkPavilion in Chicago Chicago Symphony

As if all that wasn’t cool enough, we had a chance to sit in on the Chicago Symphony Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra’s practice session, along with throngs of other tourists, of course. As always, Jack did his little jig to the music. Our visit to the Pavilion at Millennium Park provided a fun (free) dose of cultural activity. If it wasn’t so painfully hot, I’m sure we would’ve stayed even longer!

After listening to a bit of the symphony, Kathleen led us to Cloud Gate, otherwise known as “The Bean.” The Bean is described as

Anish Kapoor’s first public outdoor work installed in the United States. The 110-ton elliptical sculpture is forged of a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates, which reflect the city’s famous skyline and the clouds above.

The Bean
It was perhaps one of the coolest outdoor sculptures I’d ever seen. In a way it reminded me of the Elsa Peretti Tiffany Bean, but on a much grander scale. Besides the humidity that day, it was also one of the most perfect days to view it. It was sunny, bright and the sky was filled with clouds. The reflection on the Bean lived up to its official name, and every inch reflected something spectacular. The Bean- reflectionAnyone that appreciates the beauty of a skyline would appreciate an installation like this! We walked beneath the sculpture, to check out the curvature of the Bean. The concave shape of the underside created some unreal reflections. I was able to walk backwards in my paparazzi-like way and catch a glimpse of Jeff’s head. It’s dizzying but very cool. Because Jack loves “the baby in the mirror,” this art installation naturally, was a huge hit!

Jeff under the Bean
The baby in the Bean
As we made our way out of the park, Kathleen was telling us all about this really cool wade pool– something we know all about. The Crown Fountain, as its officially called, was a juxtaposition of wet, frolicking children in a reflection pool.

Crown Fountain, ChicagoCrown Fountain, Chicago

The backdrop on either end were fountains that project various faces on these huge LED screens. It was an interactive fountain in the true sense of the word and as the website describes, they were also a reference to the traditional use of gargoyles in fountains, where faces of mythological beings were sculpted with open mouths to allow water, a symbol of life, to flow out.

After a beautiful afternoon with Kathleen, it was Jack’s naptime so we bid adieu to my good friend. We retreated back to the hotel for a bit, in time to get ready to meet up even more loved ones!

Jack, Uncle Cesar and ChristineWe had the chance to meet up with my uncle (my dad’s cousin) and his daughter, Christine. This is the first time I’d met my second cousin and the first time either of them met Jack. We learned that Christine is quite the budding DJ and has mixed at various big venues, including one in Manila. We had dinner at Pizano’s and enjoyed the deliciousness of real Chicago Deep Dish pizza. Nothing goes together better than good food and family! Speaking of family, I keep nudging my bro, John, and telling him he’d love Chicago. Who knows? Maybe he’ll go and love it, just like I imagine he would!

Due to the insane weather upon our arrival, sadly, I missed out on seeing a few friends. But luckily, I DID get to see one of my BFFs from jr. high (!). Oh, Vicky B. Liz, Vicky, me and JackHow I missed you, my dear friend. After several plan changes, Vicky agreed to meet me and the boys at the airport on our way out of town. What a reunion that was! Vicky and I have been friends since I think we were 12 or 13. With the advent of the internet and social media, we’ve been able to keep in touch.

And like I’ve said before, good friends, no matter how long you’re apart, always pick up where you left off.

With that, I’ve decided that Chicago is now our good friend. We’re hoping to go back again soon, and this time, to experience even more (minus the tornado sirens)…and pick up right where we left off.

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