Thursday, December 31, 2009

This year is going out with a bump!

My dear friend Ash came over the day after Christmas with her hubby & son. Mo & A had a wonderful time playing and running around, and of course being entertained by my dad, who is the biggest kid of them all!
Ash asked me early on in this pregnancy if she could take some bump shots. I balked at first. There was no way anyone was going to see my swollen, stretched out belly in person, let alone memorialized on film forever. She then explained that she would not do any naked stomach shots, and so I said sure.
After seeing this fabulous shot on Courtney's blog of her toddler daughter kissing her belly, I begged Ash to recreate this shot.
Without further adieu, the few shots I have had taken of my belly this second time around. I didn't realize we'd be shooting in the dining room, or I would have put Mo in a different color shirt.

So now, you've seen my belly. What do you think? Is it a boy or a girl?
My kid did manage to pick up the shirt and Ash did get one naked shot of the belly.
I have the pic tagged "Stretchmarks" on my computer.

Being the last post of 2009, I wish you a very happy, healthy, and fun-filled 2010! I'm pretty excited to see what this new year has in store for all of us!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Recap

Have you ever been inspired to do something and plan for it for a few weeks or maybe a month or two, only to have the day come and you think, what the hell was I thinking?

That pretty much was Christmas this year.
A few months ago, Bry and I were watching a PBS special on holiday traditions associated with Eastern Europe. Many of the traditions I saw were foreign to me since my great-grandparents had immigrated to the United States many years ago. There were, however, some foods I had vivid memories of my grandparents cooking for both Christmas and Easter. As I watched, I became entranced in the stories of making pierogies and stuffed cabbage, of creating baskets on Easter to have blessed, of pickling eggs, and creating haluski with the leftovers. As I sat there watching, I relayed these memories to Bry and told him how much the food had been such an intergal part of our holiday festivities.
It was then, I got the brainstorm to start our own Christmas traditon. Inspired of course by my grandparents and Slovak and Polish heritage, Christmas day would now be a buffet of these foods from growing up: pierogies, stuffed cabbage, ham, & kielbsa. Bry offered to go to the Polish Market and pick up the hams, kielbsa, and sauerkraut, while I decided I would make my grandfather's pierogie recipe and stuffed cabbage. I asked my mom to help me with the pierogies, as they require quite a bit of elbow grease and did some online research for stuffed cabbage.
The months, then weeks, then days to Christmas quickly went by until it was the weekend before the big day.
My mom had agreed to babysit Mo so Bry and I could go to a holiday party, and then the next day, Sunday, we would together make piergoies. I would then make the filled cabbages on Monday or Tuesday, leaving Wednesday and Thursday for last minute baking, and gift wrapping.
Oh, how my plans were wrong!
Besides the fact that Mother Nature dropped two feet of snow on us on Saturday into Sunday, I was left to make the piergoies by myself. I did them in parts, making the mashed potatoes on Sunday, doing half a batch of rolling and cutting and boiling on Monday, and finishing them on Wednesday. On Tuesday I made some more cookies as I realized both Bry and my own cookie habit had put a large dent in our supply.
As for the stuffed cabbage, I purchased all the meat and ingredients on my weekly grocery shopping trip on Monday. Not wanting the ground meat to spoil, I put it in the freezer with the intention of taking it out the night before I intended to use it.
Again, intentions were good, however reality was different. Having made the last of the piergoies on Wednesday night, I forgot to take out the meat, until close to noon on Christmas Eve!
It ended up being a blessing in disguise as my sister came to our place around nine on Christmas Eve. No better time then the present to figure out exactly how to steam the cabbage leaves, make the right meat/rice ratio (don't get me started on rice! I hate my f--king stovetop!) and actual assembly. But about an hour and half later, we did it! We make two dozen filled cabbages that actually resembled the filled cabbages of my youth.
Christmas day and the twenty-sixth were are whirlwind. We had family and friends coming in and out all day, and I received quite a number of compliments on the stuffed cabbage. My future sister-in-law asked if she could be part of the pierogie party next year, and I defintely plan on making it a group effort. Bry took reigns of actual prep work during the two days and couldn't get the pierogies fried up quick enough! I'm guessing they were a hit!
Not too shabby for a 35 week pregnant lady who is carrying all in the front!
While I don't have any pictures of the feast, I promise next year I'll take some. I do have to include some from the past few days.

Christmas Eve,

Christmas Morning

Christmas Day

December 26

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Idea vs. Reality

Let's go into Old City, Philly on the 23rd to get some last minute Christmas shopping done at Scarlett Alley and some other cutesy boutique stores, visit Shane Candies for some delicious homemade chocolates and candies for Christmas day, and then head to Rittenhouse Square to see the Christmas tree and get some cheeses at Di Bruno Brothers. We'll then find a place to have lunch and enjoy the holiday hustle and bustle together as Bry enjoys his first day off!
The weather did not get above freezing leaving the slush and leftover snow to freeze throughout the streets and sidewalks of Old City. We find an open parking spot, YES! We realize that Shane's is small, so forgo the stroller and make it inside. Mo goes gaga over all the delicious treats, however some wackadoo comes in, on her cell phone the entire time she parades around, almost knocking Mo over, oblivious to the fact, as she butts in front of Bry to order her candy. This leads me to pick Mo up while Bry takes care of the order. GOD! My kid is getting heavy and I guess it doesn't help that I'm almost 35 weeks pregnant too!
We drop the candy off, pick up the diaper bag & throw the kid in the stroller as we head off to do a little shopping...or so we plan. Besides darting the ice patches, and attempting to push through the frozen slush of the street corners, we have failed to realize that her stroller will not fit in most of the little stores we had wanted to visit. After making it to Scarlett Alley, Bry looks around inside, while I attempt to entertain the kid as she remains strapped in. He then pops out, suggests I look around. I go in, find a few things I'd buy for her "big girl room" which was so not the point of the trip, and head out. She has started freaking out a bit. Bry asks "What were we thinking, coming to Old City with a toddler in a stroller 4 days after one of the largest storms in history has hit Philly?" I respond, "I guess we weren't really thinking!"
We decide to walk back to the car when the stroller gets stuck at an intersection crosswalk. Too much ice & frozen slush, leading me to almost pick the entire thing up with kid in tow again visibly hugely pregnant! Bry is on the verge of loosing it, as he scoops out Mo, has me fold ths stroller to carry it across the street while I dutifully follow carrying the diaper bag! Mo is happy for a few seconds until we unfold the stroller and attempt to put her back in! "NO NO NO!" she screams as she cries.
WTF were we thinking...or not thinking?
I should also mention that this entire scene is unfolding around 12:30, right around Mo's nap time!
We finally make it back to the car, scrap the remaining plans and head back to the safety of strip malls and department stores found in and around the great state of New Jersey! Mo falls asleep as I drive us back. Bry wipes a bit of sweat of his brow and says "Seriously, what were we thinking?"
We end making it to our local diner, where we have lunch and continue to try to figure out what made us think our plans made sense.
I guess we seriously weren't thinking it completely through. A kid does change everything!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snowed In!

Well, the weather outside was frightful the past two days. We were hit with the mother of all December snowstorms all day Saturday leaving us with just over two FEET of snow to shovel out of on Sunday. When I write "leaving us" I really mean Bry, he had the sole responsibility of shoveling us out.
Me being 34.5 weeks pregnant, there was no way I could help shovel or salt or anything. There was so much freaking snow and poor Bry was left to do it all. Hell, I had a difficult enough time attempting to squeeze into a pair of my old swim team deck pants, since they're waterproof to substitute as snow pants so that I could take Mo out to experience the snow first hand. I must have been quite the sight waddling down those front steps in my coat only buttoned the top half and my belly hanging out. The things you do for your kid, right?
She did love every minute of it! Bry took her out for about twenty-five minutes on Saturday afternoon just before sundown. It was still snowing and very windy and when she came in she was smiling but looked like this:

Do you see those rosy cheeks?
Yesterday, it was my turn to man the kid. She had a ball again.

That's me in the background, and the closest anyone will get in seeing my fabulous attire!
Between her snow boots which are a size and a half bigger then her shoes, and the two feet of snow, Mo spent a lot of her time asking for help getting up.

I seriously felt like she could have been a stand-in for Randy- little brother of Ralphie from A Christmas Story.
She did have fun playing catch with her daddy in the snow.

Finally, she just kept running away from me, leaving me to chase after her as she went towards the street, our neighbor's snow plower, and after the shovel, so I tossed her in the snow.
She probably would have sat there all day.

Finally, a picture of the house all decorated and covered in the white stuff.

In the past, I have hated the snow, but since have Mo, I really have found it enjoyable. I guess, also not having to shovel made it that much sweeter too!

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I was very brave yesterday.
I had my 20 1/2 month old daughter in the kitchen with me and together we baked!
Where did I get such a crazy ass idea? Well, my friend Michelle recently sent me pictures of her daughter G who is two months older then Mo. In these pictures, they were mixing, rolling, cutting, and decorating sugar cookies, and G seemed to love every minute of it. What can I say? I was inspired or the holidays finally got to me.
I pulled out the Betty Crocker packet of sugar cookie mix yesterday and decided it was time for Mo to have her first foray in the kitchen. I strapped her into her high chair and pulled her up to the counter and immediately she was interested. Mixing the extra flour with the dry ingredients.

As you can see, she did NOT like the mixer one bit, and actually preferred to try and clean up the flour and mix off the counter.

Next step, roll out the dough.

She loved the cookie cutters, especially whacking them with her palm! She also kept trying to steal little pieces of dough to eat, which is one of the reasons I prohibit Bry from being in the kitchen when I bake. He would eat all my dough!

Add the sprinkles and colored sugar, and get ready to bake!

She thoroughly enjoyed eating her cookie today after lunch! Yes, I made her wait until today.

Mo has defintely been in the Christmas spirit since she watched Santa in his sleigh during the Thanksgiving Day parade. She loves anything related to him! I'm talking his hat, or "Ho, Ho, Ho" and I think I may have one of only a few toddlers in the greater 50 states that did not cry when she sat on Santa's lap. Last night we happened to be eating at our favorite Pop Shop not remembering that Santa was going to be there. Throughout the entire dinner she kept turning her head to wave hi and smile. Then, we walked her over and she loved him!
She also is currently addicted to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the movie, thank you Gram & Pop!
Her fascination with Santa is a little unnerving and to be honest, I'm a little worried how she will handle January once all the hoopla is over. I guess Baby 2 will be a good distraction. For now though, I understand why they sing it's the most wonderful time of the year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Mo got her first taste of being bullied today at our final music class of the year. Some three year old pushed her and another little girl out of the way as they were cleaning up their shaky eggs. Mo immediately locked her eyes onto me and began to cry! After consoling her I realized the little punk was never reprimanded by his mother and more so, continued to push and shove other kids throughout the remainder of the music class. Since it was the last class, they had the parachute out, and so the kids were sitting inside as the parents dragged it around in circled. I watched Satan boy like a hawk as he shoved my kid again, and then a few others, Mo looked at me, reached up her arms and gave me the lip!
Yes, the I'm so sad, or scared, or upset bottom lip that usually quivers right before she starts to cry.
Mo usually takes a few minutes to warm up to the music, but today it was almost 40 minutes (of a 50 minute class) until she wasn't just sucking her thumb staring or clinging to me. It sucked!
I came home and told Bry all about it. He asked me if I taught her to hit back.
Excuse me? Hit back?
He then spent ten minutes teaching her to punch and push. He even went so far as saying, that he'd rather her be the bully then get bullied!
Seriously Bry, WTF?
Mo is coming from big genes. We are in no way tiny people. Just today someone asked me how old she is and when I said 20 months, the response was "wow! She's really tall!" There is no way my kid will be the runt of the class. Most likely she will tower over her classmates and do I want her to be the one harassing them? Hell no! I figure she'll be labeled "the tall girl" and that is enough. We don't need her to be "the tall mean girl who hits". Remember, I know Kindergarten. I taught it for four years and those labels go out quickly!
For now, I'm going to reinforce that when we are hit or shoved or slugged, we tell the person that it's not nice and then tell the teacher.
We'll leave the title of bully to someone else, thank you very much!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Yesterday the weather channel dot com documented 1.10in. of precipitation in my town, and 1.54 in of precipitation on December 8. That my friend, is a whole lot of water in one time period.
Up until yesterday, I never really gave much thought to checking the basement during or more importantly after heavy rainstorm. I learned a valuable lesson yesterday.
Around quarter of six last night I headed down to the basement to switch on our holiday lights. I was greeted with over an inch of water pooled at the very bottom of the stairs. After yelping (yes, yelping!) I ran back upstairs, put Yo Gabba Gabba on the t.v. to babysit I mean entertain Mo, and then went back down to assess the situation. While the rain had stopped about 8 hours earlier, I'm assuming that sometime in that time frame the water found a way into our basement, and by the time I had found the flooding, it had stopped seeping in and found the lowest part to pool.
To be honest, I thought for a split second that I could handle the clean-up, but then I reassessed the situation. Could I, at 33 weeks pregnant and with a 20 month in tow, get to Home Depot, purchase a wet-dry vacuum, and then find a way to feed her dinner, do her bedtime routine, suck up all the water, check again for the leaky spot, and not bother Bry at work since he's swamped?? Silly that I even thought about it, I called Bry who was home within 45 minutes.
4 hours, one Sicilian pizza, and $125 later, the mess was cleaned up.
Now I know, if the forecast says heavy rain, check the basement early and often!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Decorations up, Christmas cards ordered!

We did it! We decorated!

After scouring Home Depot, Lowes, Target, Michael's, A.C. Moore, and the horrible horrendous Christmas Tree Shop, we have put together enough decorations to make our home acceptable and fit in on the street. While everything is not exactly the way we want it to be, it's a start. Hell, we've only been living here since August, so can one really expect anything more?
It's hard helping to decorate when you are carrying a 30lb. bowling ball 24-7 immediately in the front of your lower stomach. We were going to wrap the pillars with red ribbon but since I'm so prego, I couldn't really help get my hands around the right way to hold the ribbon. So, we're saving it for next year!

I leiu of the topiaries, we decided to purchase another small tree and place it immediately in the center of our front porch. Since our front door is off-set, when you look up the path, you normally just see empty wall. Now you see this cute tree with white lights.
On our door we have our first ever live wreath!!
When I used to teach, one of the high school sports teams would do a wreath sale every year as a fundraiser. They would put up the different ribbon choices and a picture of the completed wreath in each of the elementary schools and many of my teaching peers would purchase one for their front door. I longed for the year we would have our own front door for a live wreath. I know it sounds kind of silly, but it's just one of those things I've always wanted for Christmas and this year, I've got it!

As for our holiday card, last year it was so easy! Even though she knew how to crawl and cruise, for the most part she was compliant with the photos. We had quite a few cute ones.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:
What a difference a year makes!
How the f--k do you get a toddler to stay still long enough for a picture?
The cookies did not really work too well.

Nor did trying some other props.

I thought a picture of her in her Christmas pajamas would be adorable, but apparently no one told Mo that!

Finally, the next day, my mom gave me the great idea to try and re-create these pictures from the summer with our new house.

No luck with that either.

In the end, the best picture of course was not staged at all and really sums up my kid.