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Showing posts from 2009

Get on with the Show!

I loved being pregnant with Caroline-well after the first 12 weeks of vomiting every morning, Noon and night like clock work. I ate whatever I wanted because I was "eating for two"- yeah, yeah, I know you're not really supposed to do that but I didn't care. My normally mousy and thin hair was thick and lustrous and my pale skin was vibrant. I had a great infectious laugh and my jiggling belly usually made me erupt into more laughs. I stopped monitoring my exercise and striving for the next mile during a run and instead let myself sleep in instead of getting up at 6 am to head to the gym before work.

I got a new wardrobe. Whether wearing hand-me-downs or items from a first-time trip to Motherhood Maternity, I had no choice but to showcase all new duds. As my belly grew, so did my closet.

I like to be the center of attention and pregnancy put my right in the spotlight. All women gravitate to pregnant ladies, whether they know you or not. There were always tons of q…

What Goes Around Comes Around

How can the person who brings you the most joy also be the person who can drive you to the brink of insanity?

Sometimes when I am with Caroline she brings me total peace. Like a zen moment, I can actually feel my breathing slow, my heart calm and my mind clearing. When she puts her arms around me and I feel her chest rising and falling in sync with mine, I am taken to a new level of consciousness. I am so happy it makes me want to cry and often the moment brings real tears to my eyes.

Tears also come to my eyes on many other occasions with Caroline. As quickly as she can calm me, she can agitate me. It's like she has a good girl/bad girl switch that turns on and off as quick as the "That Was Easy Button". I know her behavior is a stage because the terrible twos actually happen during the third year but it doesn't make it any easier for me to accept or to deal with.

A bad attitude for Caroline starts at sun up and ends at sun down. It's as though she has decided…

The Rock and the Teddy Bear

Anybody who knows Andy is aware that he has as much sympathy as a rock. If ever I am feeling fat or bad at my job or have a spat with a friend, Andy is the last shoulder to cry on. His typical response is something like, "You feel fat. Go to the gym." or "If you think you're not good at your job then maybe you're not." or "Well, maybe the two of you aren't really good friends after all." So much for tact.

And forget about being sick. When I have a head splitting migraine and need nothing more than a dark, silent room, Andy informs that that I'm faking it and leaves the bedroom door open so that Caroline or a cat can come in and jump on the bed. I have to say, once when I had a sore throat, he tried to make me tea. He ripped open the tea bag and presented me with a hot steaming cup of water full of swimming tea leaf flakes. At least it was an attempt to make me feel better.

Luckily for me, the human rock can procreate and helped me make…

Growing up Rosey

Sometimes, if someone were to ask me my age, I may quickly respond with a number between 18 and 22. And then I remember I'm now 31 and between me and my teenage years is a decade of the good, the bad and every growing pain in between.

My family loves to reminisce and like many, sees the past through rose colored glasses. We can all talk for hours about remember when. Most of us, who are lucky, may see the majority of their childhood this way. When life gets complicated or hard I wish that I could go back to being a kid. But I've forgotten just how hard being a kid was. One thing these days I don't worry about is who I am and what I stand for. I'm comfortable in my skin. I don't need to look like anybody else, do what anybody else likes or say what anybody else wants me to say. I have much to worry about these days but none of these are concerns on my list.

It's taken me a long time to feel secure with who I am. Life comes at me so fast I often forget that it took…

Kids Say the Darnedest Things

I like to read those "Kids Say the Darnedest Things" at the very end of mom's magazines. They are hokey as hell, but, honestly, are pretty funny. Little minds are working so fast to understand the world around them and they haven't realized yet what is ok to say and what thoughts to keep to themselves. This can make for some really interesting and highly entertaining conversations.

Speaking of conversations, I can't believe that Caroline and I are able to now have them. When she was a baby I would talk to her and of course, receive no response other than a smile or a squeal. After a year we moved on to one word conversations.

"You hungry?"

"Mana (aka banana)"

I've been amazed at how quickly the one word conversations became two words and now have turned into complete sentences, punctuated with humor and emotion. Sometimes I know exactly where the words and humor come from, and I'm scared at how well she is listening. At other times I …

The Biggest Fear

Are you afraid of anything? As you may have guessed, I am afraid of many things. I hate snakes. I am afraid of small spaces and being trapped and unable to move my legs. I am afraid of driving in the snow. I hate the dark and looking out of my windows at night. But more than any of these, I'm afraid of dying and leaving Caroline without a mom. There are so many things that I want to tell her and I'm worried that something will happen to me and I won't be there to impart my wisdom. A few lessons on my list include:
Be kind to others. Treat them as you wish to be treated.Eat a good mix of veggies and fruits along with junk food. Don't drink soda. Drink water. Brush your teeth and please, please floss!Wear clean underwear.Make your bed. It will make you ready to start your day.Stand up straight. (Yes, do as I SAY, not as I DO.)You can have just as much fun sober as you can drunk. But if you do get drunk, have a friend close by to hold your hair back and to turn you…

The Gift

My step was light as I rounded the corner to our frequent after-work restaurant. My two favorite people were meeting me for dinner and I expected them to be waiting for me when I arrived. As I pushed the door open, a string of bells tinked against the glass announcing my entrance. As did the little girl who ran past every table with arms wide open, gleefully crying, "Mommy!"

Distance makes the heart grow fonder and our daily, evening reunions bring much joy to me. After a day apart I love to see her round face and bright eyes. I love to feel her soft, chubby hands in mine and to hear the sound of her little voice recounting her day, "I eat hot dog. I ride bike. I sing Old MacDonald." As we ease into our version of a conversation, I'm amazed that only three years ago today I saw that face, felt those hands and heard that sweet voice for the first time.

The night of her birth my mom says I looked like a deer in headlights. I remember looking at Caroline curled up …

Parental True Colors

Sometimes we can hide our personalities. Even our own friends, family and spouse don't get to see our true colors. That is until we have children. Having a kid is like posting your personal values and beliefs on a sandwich board and walking around the streets of New York wearing it on your chest.

I lived with Andy for five years before having Caroline and was only slightly annoyed with some of his habits and decisions. I'm not sure it is was lack of sleep and stress, but boy, when Caroline was crying in the middle of the night or up for the day at the crack of dawn, nothing irritated me more than the fact that Andy was a night owl and slept like a rock through all of the crying, feedings and changings. We have a laundry list of topics we argue about related to Caroline including bed time and setting healthy boundaries. But I have to say that diet is the biggest battle between us.

Just this week we drove past the grocery store on the way home from work. Caroline, who frequently s…

To Serve and Protect

As a mom it is my duty to serve and protect- my child, that is. Even before she was born I was planning for every possible disaster and threat that could hurt Caroline. I bought all of the safety gadgets like plug covers, locks for the cabinets. I padded the stone hearth, made a fortress out of plastic bins and baby gates, in order to block the cat door and stair well. I always have wipes handy for washing dirty little hands that touch dirty little things. I put the frying pan on the back burner, I test the water before putting her in the bathtub. I make sure she has enough layers on to prevent frostbite but not too many so that she doesn't over heat. When I don't anticipate disaster or I just plain slip up, I reprimand myself, call myself a bad mom and mentally note to never let something so stupid happen again.

Normally, I pride myself on being the perfect, protective mother hen but I do have my off days. I went to make some toast, this summer, and after about 1 minute…

Labor. Kids. Parenting. Hike!

Not everyone should have kids. Not everyone is kid friendly. I get that and respect that. We all know the planet has enough people. There is no need for us all to be reproducing to populate the earth. My brother is a perfect example. For years, he and his wife have been fairly outspoken in regard to their lack of interest in having children. They hope to retire early, and now enjoy the ability to vacation several times a year and seem to have very full lives with their cat and two (super high maintenance) dogs. They like spending time with kids but like them more when they go home with someone else. And I'm not going to argue with him. I've never tried to convince him to have kids and respect their decision.

They aren't shy about expressing their anti-baby opinion but it must be that they are surrounded by so many expectant parents and new parents that they are beginning to question their decision- at least a little. Recently, my brother pressed me about why I decided to…

She's Younger than You

About a year ago, when Andy and I returned home from work one day, we heard a message on the answering machine. It was some insurance woman or someone like that, leaving an uninteresting message for Andy. I paid little attention to the voice until Andy simply stated, "You know, she's younger than you."

That stopped me in my tracks. "What do you mean, she's younger than me? What's that supposed to mean?" I asked.

"I dunno. It doesn't matter." Andy back-tracked. "She's younger than you."

A stupid statement that cost Andy the rest of the night. I could not forget those words he said nor could I stop trying to decode their meaning. I bombarded him with questions. Who was the woman on the phone? How did Andy know her? What did she look like? Was she younger than me? Why did any of this matter to Andy?

My husband usually knows better than to provoke the jealous green monster that lives within me and hides in my insecurity. It…

My Candy Land vacations

We all know that Andy is a busy bee with all of his committee meetings and other very important things to do. I, too, am very involved and oh so busy. As a matter of fact, I am the chair of two committees: My Personal Social Events Committee and the Caroline Social Events Committee. Being the chair of both of these committees is downright exhausting and a big responsibility. To save time I often try to combine efforts and plan activities that the members of both committees will be happy attending.

As you might have guessed, Andy isn't really a supporter of my committee involvement as it is not nearly as noble as say the fire department or Chamber of Commerce. In his mind, working a pancake breakfast is much more important than planning and implementing a Sunday outing for Caroline and company. He often wonders why I am so exhausted after these social events and references them as my "Candy Land vacation." While his resume demonstrates a variety of sound skills, the poor g…

I Am Writing This Blog

The other night I was watching the news, listening to music, checking email, cooking dinner and reading a magazine (oh, and watching Caroline) when I came across a great piece by A.J. Jacobs in Real Simple. The article, an excerpt from his book The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment, talks about Jacobs' quest to unitask as part of what he calls Project Focus. Jacobs details with hilarity his 30 days of multitasking detox which includes tying himself to his chair with an extension cord, squirming through a meditation session and saying out loud everything he is doing at a given moment. The piece ends with Jacobs dedicating ten minutes to placing nickels in a piggy bank with his son. While almost impossible, the author manages to simplify each individual moment of his day and understand the value of focus.

When was the last time you did just one thing at any given moment? I think about how often I respond with"multitasking" when Caroline asks me what I'm doing…

Once Upon A Potty

Let's be honest, I'm not modest. As a kid I spent hours naked, running around my yard, changing in the back yard after swimming or in between outf changes at slumber parties. During my college years I was the first to jump in the lake for the late night skinny dip and a friend from my alma mater once told Andy she was pretty sure she'd seen me naked more than he has.

Growing up we had a small house and pretty much everyone had the same attitude as me, minus my poor dad. My mom, brother and me all left the doors open while bathing and using the toilet. Mom's bathtime was the best time for Mad Libs and confession-like life discussions, with she, the captive audience, behind the curtain and me pouring my heart out while sitting on the floor of the bathroom, occasionally sticking my head behind the curtain to make sure she was listening or to make fun of her mom body. The 1-1 time often ended with my brother running in with a cold cup of water to throw over the shower c…

Goshen Girl

I'm an East Coast girl. Let me be more specific. I'm a New England girl, a Mass girl, a Pioneer Valley girl and above all, a Goshen girl. It's a small place and I recognized it at any early age, allowing the travel bug and dreams of a bigger and better life to take me out of state and out of the country. It was then, during these trips, that I realized you can take the girl out of Goshen but you can't take Goshen out of the girl.

I tried to live in Southern California after graduating from college. Who wouldn't love it there? Beautiful beaches and beautiful people combined with sunny skies and warm air. I loved the feeling of exhilaration the first time I drove down the Pacific Coast Highway and the luxury of wearing a thin leather jacket on a mild December night. My life there didn't last too long, family illness, a failed relationship and the hope of graduate studies pulled me back. And, I missed the rock walls designating land boundaries and the boulde…

What are you doing right now?

Today is the day! Today I challenge you, yes, you to unplug your life! Do you even remember how we lived our lives before technology? How did we communicate with colleagues, friends, parents, relatives and people whom we spoke with very little at some point in our lives and thought we would never, ever talk to again? How did we entertain ourselves, learn about the world around us or get from one destination to another? How did we learn to cook or buy goods? How did we survive when we didn't know what everyone we'd ever met and known did every minute of every day?

Frankly, it's a mystery to me and to almost everybody else. We must have tech-nesia because it seems we are totally unable to complete anything in our life without the aid of a tech-tool. The old-timers used to say that TV would be the end of civilization and was certainly to blame for ADHD. Compared to ipods and Blackberrys, facebook and Twitter, TV is equivalent to sitting around knitting in candlelight. A Gamebo…

I No Go Home

Caroline loves to be outside. She particularly likes to leave our house and venture into town and the surrounding area. Whether it be the "fishie's swimming pool"/lake, the local playground Kid City or to Carl the neighbor's for a visit with the "kitchens" aka chickens, Caroline is in her element in the great outdoors. We can travel five hours by plane or car to an interesting or exotic locale where, if she has something to push, Caroline pays no attention to the surroundings touted by the Chamber of Commerce.

She'll ram into walls, corners and people's heels as she steers her stroller, shopping cart or bike. She can do this for hours. She can also slide, swing, throw rocks or dirt for extremely lengthy amounts of time. Occasionally she pauses to notice the wind by noting, "It's cold.It's winding," Or to ask me while pointing up, "I go high? I go to the sky?"

I've learned to live on Caroline-time and while at firs…

Size 2

There's a picture of me and Andy on our refrigerator. We are in graduate school, visiting a museum, of course. I have a short pixie hair cut and am sporting a turtle neck and size 2 jeans. Andy looks tired and rugged. He has a beard and is wearing worn out jeans and tennis shoes. We have our arms wrapped around one another. We are so young and so in love.

Beside this photo is one of me and Andy at a wedding in Puerto Rico. A tiny baby Caroline is cradled protectively in my arms. She is just four weeks old. My hair is long and my skin is red from a sunburn. My face, arms, belly and breasts are big and round. Andy has on a button-up short sleeved shirt and his face is a red as mine. His grins widely at the camera as his arm drapes over my shoulder. We are young and in love with this baby, this moment.

Many other happy memories adorn the refrigerator and I look at every one each time I open the door: my mom, dad and me when I'm 4 or 5. Me in high school with dyed-blonde s…

My Tug 'O War with Time

Have you ever done something wrong and in the same second you realized your mistake you tried to will time backwards to undo it all?

For me, this issue usually arises in relation to my mouth. My brain and mouth are often so in sync that the thoughts I have somehow race from my mind and out the hatch. If my fingers are in cahoots with the mind/mouth pair, the blunders present themselves in the form of emails and electronic posts like status updates or eek, even my precious blog.

Yes, you can technically rescind an email, but we all know that it happens so fast that it only takes one person to open the message for the words to be in permanent cyber-space. When I send an inappropriate email or do something stupid otherwise, I have the same reaction, I start to sweat, first. My heart races and I feel the water pouring off of my forehead. Second, I try, as fast as I can, to grab time and pull it backwards, to pull myself and life itself back a mouse click, a minute, an hour, a day, or …

Driving Miss Moe

I am interested in running for political office for one reason: mandatory annual driver's testing for those 65 and older. I know, I know, for any of you looking off into the horizon of your golden years you are automatically thinking I'm a young twerp who has it coming to her. I've had this idea for quite some time and I'll tell you why.

Back at home, an elderly man drove into the front of the same grocery store-TWICE.Every time someone cuts me off while merging on the highway I see a little gray-haired- head peeking over the steering wheel.Those same gray heads drive 20 in a 40 and 30 in a 60.Many a garage door, rock and bumper has been damaged due to an AARP member confusing D with R.My mom, who is approaching gray-haired -lady status, was down-right angry with me for mentioning my concern with our senior drivers. Fearing her own freedom will one day be taken away from her, she staunchly supports the elderly's ability to drive themselves here, there, everywhere …

What is Wrong With Me?

I'm dying. We all are. Yes, we are living, breathing beings yet from the time of our birth into this world we are aging and moving decades, years, months, weeks, days and minutes toward our last day on earth.

Several years ago I started to have small panic attacks about dying. It happens at the most random moments, but most often while driving. I think it's because my mind wanders when I'm alone in the car and somehow settles on the fact that some day I'm not going to be doing this anymore. This life. I start to hyperventilate and sweat until I calm myself down by thinking about the fact that I didn't care what happened before June 26, 1978 and I'm not going to care about what happens after I die. I won't even know that I'm supposed to care, right? I hope my spirit carries on in some way but I figure it's most likely to be in the thoughts of others rather than some translucent version of myself that contacts my loved ones via Jennifer Love He…

Little Miss MisBehavin'

We had to have a talk on the way home tonight. I was tired and really wasn't prepared but sometimes it just has to be done when it has to be done. I was firm but not mean. I was honest but understanding. I talked a lot. She said nothing. In fact, she sat in her seat like a statue, staring out of the window. She was even borderline rude. It was like she didn't even hear what I was saying when she spoke right over me to declare, "Moo cow?!"

I'm exhausted every day when I make the return trip from work and it takes all of my energy to pick Caroline up from day care and get us home. I hardly know any of the parents there because we all come and go like zombies. Picking our kid up is a check box on the day's to-do list. At some point between cleaning dishes and washing out sippy cups, I read the daily activity sheet that the daycare provider completes to inform parents of the ins and outs of the little things we all miss while we are at work. It is then tha…

It's Hard to Be Married to a Celebrity Look-Alike

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It started with my Mom. Many years ago, when Andy and I were dating, my mom mentioned that Andy looked like somebody famous. We were talking on the phone when she brought it up.

"You know, Andy looks like a celebrity. " she said.
"Mmm," I agreed, "I know. He looks like Winnie the Pooh. Can't you just see him with his pot of honey?"

My mom was disturbed. "I hope he doesn't walk around without pants on." She went on to tell me that Andy bears a striking resemblance to Ben Affleck. Well, then, how's about them apples?

"Well, I suppose he looks more like Ben Affleck than I do." I wasn't going to trust my mom's judgement about guys. When I was a high school sophomore she told me I should date my only classmate with chest hair. The conversation moved on to other topics but I tucked the comment away in my mind and was pleased that my mom gave Andy a compliment because it meant that she approved of our relationship.

A few mont…

Holidays! Who Needs Them?

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Everybody loves holidays. Time off from work, eating good food, hanging with family and maybe getting some presents. What's not to love? From Christmas to Easter, and from Mother's Day to New Year's Eve, there's a special holiday and wonderful holiday-related memory for every one. Well, every one but me.

I'm starting to hate holidays. Really, I am. It's my fault, too and that makes it worse. Since Caroline's birth, I look at holidays as mini-vacations. A typical day for us is chaotic and there is barely a moment to breathe. But, a holiday is a day to step out of the rat race and relax! A holiday is a day to get baby support from family members who are more than happy to take on some of the mundane parenting duties. Not to mention, a holiday is a day to get and give gifts!
I get excited anywhere from a month to a week in advance of each holiday, depending on how hyped up the day is in my mind.

That's when it starts to fall apart. It takes me so long to pac…

Moe: This One's For You!

I could write a tribute to my mom every day, but since this Sunday is the the yearly designated block on the calendar for Mom, I'll go ahead and dedicate this week's blog to mine, who we like to call Moe, or as Andy says "Marine".

I've met a lot of women in my life whom I don't like at all. I'm lucky though, to have been in the company of so many whom I like very much and love a great deal. I have some really fantastic friends and colleagues who have helped shape and influence me throughout the years but no woman has had made a greater impact on me than Moe.

Being a mom has, of course, made me better understand Moe and respect the decisions she has made. I'm lucky to say that it wasn't just parenthood that opened my eyes to my mom's sacrifices, her strength and grace. I've known ever since I was a little girl that I had a special mom and lived under the guidance of the type of mom not everyone gets to have. Sure, there were bumps alon…

Anybody Wanna Buy a Collection?

Andy decided we need need an addition on our house to fit all of his junk. The beloved September 11th collection that I banished to the garage is becoming warped and needs to come back to a temperature controlled environment. I am a trained museum professional and this issue has me torn up inside. I understand the historical value of Andy's collection of random crap related to the September 11th attacks and know that it needs to be preserved in order for the story to be told to future generations. We recount history through material culture. I get it. I spent 50 grand to get a Masters in this exact topic. But, why couldn't Andy collect something nice or pretty? I like depression glass, cook books and Fiesta Ware. All are attractive and can actually drive the decorative scheme of a room.
What can you do with a red, white and blue, size 12 tennis sneaker or a 4-foot replica of an 18-wheeler displaying the names of the 9/11 victims? How about toilet paper with a photo of Bin…

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

Dedicated to my friend Bill. Procrastination led me to my addiction and I've been hooked ever since that day. Three o'clock in the afternoon on a typical work day is a giant hump for me. A few years ago I was looking for something to prevent me from wasting the almost-but-not-quite -5pm count down with web surfing or cat napping. Naturally my search for amusement brought me to the staff break room which sometimes offered up some form of half eaten, (you know there is always that person who can't eat the whole cookie or donut and has to cut it in half) stale sugar treat. While the snacks were sporadic, the coffee was always consistent. My former colleagues are die-hard coffee drinkers and the pot was usually full and hot from 8 in the morning until just about 4:30 in the afternoon. On that fateful aforementioned afternoon, I looked at the pot and thought, "Why not? When in Rome, do as the Romans." I filled the cup with black as night java, added 2 heaps of s…

The Incredible Mom

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When my brother Jared was a kid he had a stretch Hulk doll. You could pull on any part of his body, head, neck, arms, legs, torso. You could twist him into knots and throw him against the wall and he'd bounce off before thudding to the ground. Jared tested the Hulk's limits on a frequent basis, and abused the doll for his personal amusement. One day the Hulk had been stretched an inch too long and he ripped in half. Even the special elastic action of the incredible Hulk could not withstand the constant stretching and repeated abuse of an active child. Lately I've been feeling a lot like the little guy. While I don't turn green and grow tremendously large muscles when I'm mad, I do feel like I'm being pulled in just about every direction possible and I'm worried that my fate is going to be similar: ripped in half and left in the trash as nothing more than a fallen hero.For much of my life I've been able to choose where to focus my energy. Most of t…

Settling for Motherhood

I'm not embarrassed to admit that I don't make a lot of money. My salary has actually decreased since I graduated with my M.A. No worries, though. I spent most of my twenties feeling bad about, complaining about it, and feeling like the man had done me wrong. Now that I'm in my wiser thirties I have stopped the bitching and moaning and have accepted my salary and place on the professional totem pole.
Recently, my equally wise colleague said her teenage son told her she has settled. Her position as a part-time career advisor and full-time wife, mom and carpool lady just doesn't cut it in the eyes of her aspiring musician/comedian son. Ten years ago, I would have supported the kid by guffawing at any woman who chose wifely duties over a competitive career and all the fame and fortune that accompanies a high profile position. I've wanted to be a number of things when I grew up: lawyer, interior designer, flight attendant, Peace Corp volunteer, historian, museum di…

Everybody's Doing It But Me

Everybody's having a baby but me. Ok, so that's an exaggeration. Some women are pregnant and I'm not even trying. It just seems like everywhere I look I see big, happy, baby bellies and when I look down all I see is a little, white, hairy pouch that never gets flatter no matter how many situps I do. Whether it be my friends, family, colleagues, stars on TV or strangers in the park, women are planning for the arrival of their second child and here I am planning for the arrival of my first fake tooth.
When we had Caroline, we never talked about having number two because we were so focused on number one. It seemed an unstated agreement between the two of us that we would make her a little brother or sister, we just didn't know about the timing. Last summer, I decided the timing was right and I was ready. Just as the "trying" was about to commence, all the business with my tooth started and our baby making was delayed. I am a control freak and do not like t…