Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Doctor G

"Are you sure we can park here?" I turn to Bry adjusting my dress in the car as we park. "The parking around here has so many rules." I add.
"Yes, we can. Don't worry, we have plenty of time" he responds.
I can already feel the butterflies in my stomach as the motor stops purring and he removes the keys from the ignition. He throws the keys into my lap.
"Put them in your purse, would ya?" he says as it slams the car door.
I climb out of the car onto the sidewalk and notice the throngs of people on the street. There is no need to ask for directions now as it appears many are on the same pilgrimage as us. It is hard not to mistake who is heading to graduation today. Families walk, pride across their face as they pass the regular workday commuters. It is hard not to scream from the rooftops of this accomplishment.
Thirteen years of primary schooling, then four years of undergraduate work, one year of post-baccalaureate, then four years of medical school and now here we are waiting for the stroll across the stage and the piece of paper. This final act changing the Miss to Doctor.
We reach the front of the Center, our destination and scan the crowd for familiar faces.
"Jac" I hear the disembodied familiar voice yell. "We're over here."
"I see your dad" Bry says, "follow me".
It is in these situations I am thankful for a husband the size of a NFL player. As he walks, the crowd seems to part and I easily walk behind as we meet my parents.
"Can you believe this crowd?" my mom says. "It's going to be hard to find seats."
"I'm not worried" I say, "We've got dad on our side!"
Everyone laughs and nods in agreement. Pleasantries are exchanged as we all nervously wait.
The doors finally open and the throng of people gravitate to the doors and stairways up to the balcony.
"Keep your dad in sight" my mom yells to me.
While my dad pushes through, the rest of us stick together and make it to the balcony together. As we enter the door, my father's voice echos.
"Over here! I've got enough seats for us all" he screams across the collection of rows.
We sit and it is the first time I see the program. My fingers trace the embossed logo. XXX University College of Medicine Commencement the program reads.
As I open it, tears fill my eyes a little bit. I search the list of names, my finger following along and then I see it, listed under those who secured the requirements for medical doctorate.
My little sister is a doctor.
The rest of the graduation is a blur. I'm thankful for the mints I have in my purse during the various speeches and honorary doctorates, and debate playing hangman with Bry at one part. After nearly two hours, there is a glimmer of hope to the ceremony as the announcement rings that hooding will begin.
I look to my mom and dad for a moment. My mom is dabbing her eyes with a tissue, the tears well up easily today. My dad is in a precarious position over the side of the balcony attempting to find the perfect place to shot a photo.
We find her in the sea of black robes, her curly hair tamed under the black cap. Her smile meets mine and we wave to each other.
"Jeanna Ane XXXX" they say as she walks across the stage and the green hood is placed over her shoulders.

It's that time of year...graduation.

For this week's prompt we are asking you to remember a graduation. It doesn't have to be yours and it doesn't have to be high school.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Oh Poo!

Disclaimer: This post is related to potty training. No further information needed. Read at your own risk!

"Mama, I need you to come her RIGHT NOW" she yelled from the bathroom.
I looked over to Bry.
"It sounds like you need to go in there ASAP!" He said. "She is in the bathroom all by herself".
I clicked out of the blog I was reading, and set the computer into sleep mode. Closing the laptop, she starting yelling again. Not a minute had gone by.
"Mom, I need you!" she cried.
This could not be good.
Moira has been in underwear since April 4. Yes, I remember the date, mainly because for the four months leading up to her third birthday every day she would promise that once she turned three she would give up diapers "Forever and ever!". She followed through on that promise all be it four days late, and we have gone diaper free during waking hours since.
About a week into potty training she discovered the word "privacy" and since has begged for it when in the bathroom.
"Maevie, I need privacy when I go potty" she would sternly tell her little sister.
"Daddy, I have to go poop. I go alone since I need privacy." she told my husband as she would gesture an open palm in his direction.
Her need for privacy would end the minute her business was completed and she needed to be wiped, but we found a level of success in this arrangement. Thus, a routine emerged and so we thought nothing out of the ordinary when she ran into the bathroom that evening.
As I walked to the bathroom, I saw her through the slightly open door. She looked panicked.
I opened the door.
"Mama, I had a little accident" she murmured.
Oh. My. God!
Walking in the stench hit me like a ton of bricks.
She looks up to me and whispers, "I had a little accident".
Sure enough, she did.
There are fingerprints made from poo, on our bright white door frame.
The white toilet seat also suffers from a similar fate.
Her purple fairy underwear has no chance of salvation, and on her legs streaks.
In the moment, I don't even know where to begin, so I let out a laugh, not because I find it comical, more so because I don't know what else to do.
"Bry! It's bad!" I scream. "You don't want to come in here".
We had made an arrangement prior to the birth of our first child that Bry was in charge of all vomit while I am Team Poo. Strangely he gags while changing poop diapers while I can't seem to stomach vomit. On this day, I tried to keep him away.
"What happened?" he asks taking a few steps towards the bathroom door.
"You do not want to come in here!" I instruct as I look down at Mo. "Keep Maeve away. I have to take Mo up to the shower."
He fails to listen and approaches the bathroom door.
"OH MY GOD!" he yells. "Jac, what the f--k did she do? Mo is that your poop on the wall?".
Mo looks up and giggles.
Not the right response in this situation kid.
"You seriously aren't laughing Moira Ann, are you?" he yells. "This is not funny. Big girls do not poop in their panties. This is very naughty! Are you a baby? Do we need to put you back in diapers?"
In Mo's world being a big girl is important. Being reprimanded and told that your actions are equal to that of a baby are appalling and so it became obvious at that moment to her that she did something severely wrong. Her head goes down and the smile disappears from her face.
"If you have accident, you tell mommy or daddy, you don't try to fix it yourself!" I try to calmly respond. "We don't wipe poop on the wall or the toilet, and we don't try to clean up our mess alone!".
Disgusted, Bry walks out and grabs Maeve, attempting to keep her from her soiled sister.
I carry Mo, strategically placing my hands on cleaner areas of her body up the stairs.
"Where we going Mama?" She asks. "I need new panties".
"Your going right in the shower Mo. You are very dirty!" I tell her as I enter the bathroom.
As I survey the scene, I decide placing her in the tub is the best spot. Slowly I strip the soiled clothes of my kid and place the dirty (such a kind word choice) into a dirty diaper bag along with an obscene amount of wipes which I used to remove any remnants from her body.
"We going for ice cream now?" she asks standing in the bathtub naked.
A question only a three year could ask.

No, we didn't go for ice cream as a family.
I cleaned Mo, and then cleaned up the mess in the bathroom. I'm figuring once the kids get older there will be messes caused by vomit that Bry will be responsible for cleaning, so I held up my end of the agreement. Bedtime was early last night in response to this poo incident. I wasn't taking any chances in the forty-five minutes between this incident and bedtime, so Mo went into a diaper.

I did however make a run to Cold Stone Creamery once the kids were in bed. After the crap (both literal and figurative) I had gone through I deserved ice cream.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hot Hot Heat

Today is Friday, May 27 the unofficial start of the summer, however someone forgot to tell Mother Nature that summer isn't quite here yet.
We're hot!
Or, in the words of one of my former Kindergarteners "We're sweaty hot!".
We might just be one of the only houses around the greater Philadelphia area withOUT air conditioning of any sorts. We are unsure if our old window frames could adequately balance window units, and we're already saving our pennies for central air for next summer. Until then, we'll just grin and bare it under our ceiling fans.
Last summer I treked to my parents house for a multitude of sleepovers during the string of heat waves. Not that I don't love my parents, but I was sincerely hoping that this summer we could keep the trips to day trips instead. If this weekend is any indication then I think mom and dad should clean out the two spare rooms and get ready for us!
I am attempting to be proactive with this heat. My plan to keep cool the next few days includes the following:
Yesterday we tried out our water table for the first time.
45 minutes of bliss for us all!

I think the sprinkler is definitely calling!

Growing up, a friend's mom used to make pops like this and they were delicious! Guess who got the recipe recently? Thank you facebook!

I think we may have to spring for one of these. There's no way I'm taking two kids under 3 to the community pool alone. Our backyard will have to be our refuge this summer.

Finally, one (or two or three)of these are calling my name. If I can't make to the islands for the holiday, at least I can bring a little island to me!

Enjoy the holiday!

Monday, May 23, 2011


"Staci's it!" they yell.
Quickly, I push my legs against the wall and glide away from the small crowd of kids. In my summer uniform: speedo swimsuit, hair in ponytail, I try to adjust my goggles underwater.
Not a good idea.
I come to the surface in the middle of the pool, random bodies swim around me.
I spy her to my left looking for prey.
"Crap" I think, "she just might catch me", as I dart behind an elderly lady in a flowered swim cap.
My heart starts beating faster.
I peek around the lady and watch as she dives to her right, going away from me.
I'm safe.
My goggles are securely covering my eyes now, as I weave through the crowd of bodies bobbing along.
I am desperate.
I have to find a ladder.
As I dive under the water again, pushing from the cement bottom, I kick my feet with all my might. I rise a few yards away from where I started.
I spy my sister in the shallow water. She's clinging to the ladder, yelling for me to swim over.
"You can make it!" she pleads, "Staci's on the other side of the pool!".
I analyze my path. A few waders and moms with infants stand in my way of safety.
I can do this, I think and decide to swim over. Just as I go to push off, another kid grabs the ladder.
The base is full.
Staying still too long is not wise. I swim around for a moment. I'm in the center of the pool again. The water is just deep enough that I have to tread. My legs move around in circles as I skim the water for options.
I turn my head to the deeper end, 20 yards away. There stands an empty ladder.
Can I make it?
"Where's Staci?" I whisper.
The pool is my battleground.
Instead of bombs being launched, I deal with cannonballs. Causalities are few, however injuries aplenty from the jab of a rogue elbow or a foot kicking as they swim away.
It's a dangerous endeavor, swimming from my location to deeper water, but what other option do I have?
"Where's Staci?" I whisper again to myself.
I feel my heart beating quickly again, as I see her. She's immediately to my right glancing around the pool looking for us.
Our eyes meet for a second.
I have no choice now.
I must make it to that ladder.
Breath is not an option, as I kick my feet and move my arms under the water with all my might.
Can I get there before she does?
She is fast so it will be close.
I kick and kick. The silver ladder is in my grasp.
I reach out my hand.
I'm so close that I can almost feel the metal.
One more hard kick and stroke, I can get there.
I feel the pull on my ankle.
She got me.
"Jackie's it!" she yells.

This week, we want you to recall the games you played when you were young.
Did you love Monopoly, Yahtzee, or Uno? Or did you prefer backgammon, Trouble, or Scrabble?
Write a piece that explores one of your memories.
Let's have a 600 word limit.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Have you ever gone through a day thinking it was one day when SMACK you realize that it's actually a day later?
That was today for me.
We had a crazy, busy weekend and for a while earlier this afternoon I was thinking it was Saturday.
Out of nowhere it hit me that it was really Sunday, which meant it was back to our weekday routine tomorrow.
We had a fabulous weekend with lots of happy and good times to celebrate.
First, there was shopping for me & my sis at the Boden Warehouse Sale, while my mom watched the girls. I scored a dress, suit jacket, skirt, & two shoes, plus wellies for Maeve for $150! I have been following Momma Go Round for wardrobe inspiration. I really think she'd be proud!
Then, after a spin through Chick Fil A drive-thru for lunch, we headed back to my hometown for our annual town wide parade. Mo kept saying that she didn't want to go, but had a fabulous time marching and jumping up and down to the bands. It was great to hang out with some friends and family.
Back to my house with my mom in tow. She offered to babysit the girls so Bry and I could go to the Philadelphia Union alone!
Do you know how lovely it is to watch a MLS game without a kid on your lap? Beer, crab fries with cheese, and actually getting to watch a game were heavenly!
Today we woke up and headed back to celebrate Ash's little boy's 4th birthday party twice, first with his friends and then the family. In between the two fetes, we swung by my parents house to welcome home my brother's best friend who has just returned from 9 months in the open sea!
Welcome home Mikey!
We're now home, naps were non-existent this weekend, so imagine bedtime tonight.
While I'm exhausted, I'm so grateful for so many reasons to celebrate.
However, I still can't believe it's Sunday night already!

Friday, May 20, 2011


Right now it's raining and overcast.
For the fifth day in a row, it's miserable out. We haven't been able to go to the park or for a walk or just run around the yard.
Mama's a little miserable here, the girls are making me on edge and I need a little bit of calm.
I started daydreaming, back to a time and place before babies and minivans and responsibilities.

My mind is on the beach overlooking the open waves.

In my mind, I would be sitting in my chair, drink in hand enjoying silence.

In my mind, I'm waking up (late) for a lovely breakfast on the patio overlooking our private pool.

In my mind, I'm tan, twenty pounds lighter, and enjoying a leisurely late dinner with my husband.
Crap, that's a kid crying, back to reality
je t'aime St. Barth's. See you again in my dreams.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


As I walk into the garden the large melon had taken a prominent position amongst the leaves and vines. One could not miss the fruit, as it had grown to nearly epic proportions, at least in our garden it seemed epic. Compared to the tiny tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants, this one large watermelon seemed gigantic.
My siblings could not wait to cut into the red, ripe flesh and sink their teeth into it. I, on the other hand, had no such desire.
Watermelon disgusts me.
Seriously, I am not kidding.
I despise watermelon in any or all forms.
The flavor would gag me if I were to unknowingly consume a lollipop or bubble gum sweetened by it. A Popsicle would be tossed into the garbage if the flavor was that of my most hated fruit. Fruit salad would be ceremoniously picked through with a fork or fingers if necessary, segregating the moist pink melon from its' more delicious counterparts.
"It just isn't right", my husband moans. "I just don't know how you can't like watermelon. I think it's unAmerican."
Consider me a traitor then because my taste buds have made it clear, watermelon is the enemy.
Watching someone devour a slice in the summer as liquid runs down their chin makes me roll my eyes in disgust. Cantaloupe or honeydew does not give me the ill feelings. I haven't met a berry I don't like. I even tolerate grapefruit in small portions, but watermelon, no can do.
As a little girl, I was taught not to spit.
"It's not lady like to spit", I remember my mom saying.
Having been scolded for spitting saliva or water at my sister I knew the rule, but with watermelon it was different.
Spitting is a requirement.
"Spit the seeds onto the edge of your plate", my mom would say.
"See how far you can spit them in the air" my sister would laugh as my parents would encourage.
This was one I could not get behind, and outright refused to comply until recently.
I push my two girls in the shopping cart as we navigate through the fruit section of the grocery store.
"What's this, mommy?" my three year old asks, gesturing her body towards the fruit.
"It's watermelon" I say.
"It's filled with seeds and mommy doesn't like it all". wrinkling my nose to mimic my disgust.
"Daddy likes watermelon" she pines, "and so do I. Can we get some mama?"
I give in and dump the fruit into the cart.
The fruit that I despise in all forms but will carve for my three favorite people to consume.
"Tell daddy that mommy likes pineapple, fresh pineapple the next time you come here with him" I tell her, knowing full well he does not like them and will enjoy carving that beast for me!

Mama’s Losin’ It This post was prepared in response to Mama Kat's prompt "Describe a food you abhor".

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


This week's prompt was based on a picture of a burning cigarette in an ashtray.
We want to know what memories this sparked (ha! pun! yes!) in you. Your work must be first-person - and it must be about YOU. No fiction. That's what memoir is, folks!

A small pebble somehow got stuck between my sandal and my foot. In an effort to casually walk and still remove it, I shake my leg.
They begin to laugh and ask what I'm doing.
As I disclose my discomfort they break into a chorus of laughter.
I can't help but join in as the jeep drives by yet again playing "Lowrider" on its system. The bass is blasting, as is the norm in during the summer of 1996.
With each step, we walk more in unison, as we chat aimlessly about high school.
It is over now, our high school careers. Graduation was a few days before and by the end of the summer we will all part, starting new. Our small town life a memory.
In the moment, we are walking with a purpose. We all freshly showered, having washed the sand and sunscreen from our earlier beach day and in its place robed ourselves in tiny summer fare.
I wear a striped shirt that grazes my navel with my favorite pair of off white jean shorts.
Looking back now, I would kill for that stomach, but then, in the company of smaller and thinner girls, I wear that shirt with a layer of consciousness.
I look at my friends, equally tanned and blissful.
I interlock my arms with one as we turn down the street coming up to the gas station.
She runs ahead of us, taking her wallet out of her small purse. She turns around as she holds up her license.
The date matches the day on the calendar, except eighteen years later. She wanders into the mini mart attached to the gas station. We look in through the window.
I watch as her mouth begins to move.
"Marlboro Lights" she mouths, as the graying man reaches above his head for the cigarettes. He places the package of cigarettes on the counter.
She hands him the I.D. as a smile graces her face.
He mouths the price as he rings up her purchase.
She counts out the money, hands him it and spins around. The years as a ballerina are evident as she pirouettes out the store.
We meet her at the door way.
"Are you happy now?" I ask my tone obviously filled with condemnation.
"Yes" she squeals, as she jumps into another friends' arms.
"Happy Birthday to me!" She says.
Yes, happy birthday to you, I think as we walk back to the motel.

I still find this trip for cigarettes to be amusing fifteen years later, mainly because none of us smoked!

Monday, May 16, 2011

I should have knew it was coming.

We have had four really great days of family time, as Bry took off last week. We went to the zoo, the children's museum, did a little shopping and visited my mother in law for her birthday.
All that good stuff made me forget how crappy some moments can be.
Yesterday was one of those days.
First a weather forecast with rain...through Friday.
Then, as we attempted to shop for a new baby gate for the playroom, I started to get the beginning of a migraine. (Got to love the little flashes of light that enter your vision as ocular migraines begin!)
Lunch then naps for all of us, as Bry accidentally fell asleep on the couch instead of catching up on some work.
Dinner for the girls- apparently noodles are no longer appealing to either girl!
Bath time at least wasn't a production, but bedtime, UGH!
Mo went down without a hitch, but as I was attempting to make raviolis for myself I hear Maeve crying.
As I bring her down stairs, I have no choice but to put her on the floor for a minute in the kitchen in her sleepsack while I drain the pasta.
Thirty minutes later, I'm back upstairs, for the third time with my nearly 16 month old in our bed.
I should have hit the hay when she did at nearly 9, but no, I decided to stay up with Bry and finish the little bit of ice cream that I had left in the freezer.
When I finally went up at 10, I'm not sure if it was the ice cream or the ravioli, but something just sat like a rock in my stomach.
I tossed and turned, occasionally checking the time: 10:45, 11:10, 11:25, 11:40. I was just starting to dream when I hear crying...again.
Maeve is up and after Bry tried unsuccessfully to calm her, back into my bed she comes.
Twenty minutes later, she's back out and back in her bed. I however am now wide awake, and my stomach still sporting a huge knot.
On and off I wake and toss and turn.
2:05- Hi Bry, welcome to bed!
Finally out....ahhh!
Is that really crying? WTF? An hour and half earlier then usual Maeve is up for the day.
It's 8:15, and I just heard Bry's alarm go off.
He did come down here twenty minutes ago to drop off Mo, trying to tell me he had a crappy night since he didn't go to be until 2.
Really man? Do you want to take part in this pissing contest right now?
I'm tired.
I have the migraine hangover headache and it's crazy humid with rain right now.
On top of all that, I have to go grocery shopping this afternoon.
Is it naptime yet?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Keeping it old school, mama style!

I have a confession.
We do not have monitors in our house!
No video monitor, no sound monitor, or the Angelcare mattress monitor to ensure your kid is breathing or lying in their crib have ever graced our nursery. We've never had any, never registered for one, and never felt the need to purchase one even when we moved into our home. I've seen them listed in the mama to be books and read reviews on the merits of the video vs. the sound. It was something we initially figured we would pick up later, when we needed it. "Later" came and went I suppose, as Moira is over three and still no monitor.
I will say our girls survived (so far) and have pretty kick ass sleeping habits to boot!
I never really realized it was something odd until quite recently, when responding to a post about whether one needs a monitor on my favorite message board, I discovered of the 40 plus responses, I was the only one who did not have a recommendation, and was the only one who admitted to not using one.
Upon further introspection, I realized there are quite a few things that we, as parents seem to do that goes against popular opinion as what is a necessity today.
I have discussed my recent conversion to minivan lover but our new living room on wheels is missing one of the things I have heard many parents claim as a necessity.
My minivan does not have a DVD player!
I don't think Mo even knows that it is possible to watch a video in the car, and the plan is to keep it that way! To be completely forthcoming, I don't think my kids or Bry and I are missing anything. We listen to the radio, cds from music class or sometimes, it's just silence and I often see them staring out the window alone with their thoughts. Maybe if we were doing a long distance trip I'd be singing a different tune, but a trip under three hours does not warrant it, at least in my book.
On the side of technology in the car, we don't have a navigation system either. We do have a rather awesome and well loved bound book of maps of the different states of the United States. It has come in handy as we've navigated to the Outer Banks pre-children taking some scenic routes and sits ready for action in the pocket behind the drivers seat. I've also been groomed by Bry to research my destination ahead of time which has helped my navigation skills immensely.
Finally, perhaps due to my years as an early elementary teacher, I have a passion for children's book and emergent literacy. We have a rather expansive collection of books: board, picture, early readers, etc.. that have taken over many of the nooks of our house and car. Is it because of this I have never exposed my girls to interacting with the computer or digital reader or ipad?
I rarely use my cell phone and often get chastised by Bry for not having it close enough to hear when I'm out. I just starting texting last year after my parents harassed me. It's never been a big thing for me. I wouldn't know what to do with an iphone or ipad. As I hear of people asking for apps for their children, I am at a loss. I wouldn't know where to be begin, and I consider that a good thing!
I know that technology is a very useful tool in education and expect once the girls begin school daily computer usage will be the norm. Until then, however, I will continue to push books, paper, pencils, and their imaginary play.
Parenthood is an interesting adventure, with no directions or right path to follow. For us, I feel we're navigating it pretty well so far, even if some of our choices are a bit old school in thought and practice.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


This week's RemembeRED memoir prompt asked us to write a memory of sand.
The trolley pulled up the edge of the beach. It wasn't one of the access points we had scoured a few weekends before, but the gray clouds hovering overhead gave us little option to be picky.
"We'll probably only be a few minutes" He said, as we filed out of the big red car.
Carefully, I watched as all my favorite people in my life took the steps down to the beach. My parents walked out first, my dad helping my mom down the stairs. My little cousins Cassie and Mark followed my parents. They were in first grade and needed that parental guidance my parents could give. My little brother, Joey who really wasn't that little any more walked out next. He was in college now, pursuing a degree in elementary education, just like me. Then my next door neighbor Tara. She was a few years younger, and growing up was like the littlest sister in our neighborhood, tagging along as we played. Next came my cousin, Cindy. She was the athlete I had always longed to be, there was no debating that. Bill walked out next. One of Bry and my closest friends and his roommate for four years of college. We considered him a real brother, as is Steve who had to duck as he descended the stairs. When Bry and he stood next me, it made me feel small, a feat in itself. Ashley was next. Who would have thought that the dark haired girl who sat two seats ahead of me in homeroom freshmen year of high school would end up being one of my dearest friends? Casey was next. Bry's little brother and now a friend. It took a while to get to that point, but alas, growing up had finally brought them to that relationship. Finally, my little sister Jeanna. No one else could be the one standing next to me but her.
"Do you need anything?" she asked.
I replied, "Nope!"
She flip flopped down the stairs, her curly hair piled up beautifully on the top of her head.
"You really do look beautiful" he said, as I stood up taking off my blue flowered heels. They had been an impulsive purchase online, but fit the day perfectly."I love that you look like you today!"
It was true, my hair wasn't styled that different from how I normally wear it. My make up was light and my jewelery sparse. I had gone to the tanning salon a few times, but for the most part my tan was a remnant from a few summer day trips to the beach.
I grabbed my terracotta flip flops, the same color as the girls dresses, and put them on my toes.
"I'm ready!" I said "Let's go!"
I slowly gathered my skirt into my hands as not to trip, he held the roses as we walked down the aisle of the car. He walked first down the staircase, and offered his hand, new ring on his third finger to me. I couldn't help but smile. The camera flash went off as I stepped off the trolley into the sand. My new husband held my hand as we walked along the sand. The rain drops starting falling lightly as he held the umbrella over my head.

Monday, May 9, 2011

An Ode to my Bag

Christmas of 2007, I received my very first present as a mom to be. While he purchased me a necklace and a spa package, he also got me a Vera Bradley diaper bag and matching wallet that looked similar to this:

It was green, navy, and light blue with a little bit of white in the flowery diamond pattern. It also matched our infant car seat and stroller beautifully, which of course made me love it more!
From my very first outing with Mo as a newborn to the pediatrician's office, that bag has been by my side. Often slung over my shoulder as I balanced a crying baby in the car seat, the bag was always with me. It's been to the beach a few times, drinks have been spilled inside, and there was the one time sunscreen exploded. I then discovered how well Vera Bradley bags hold up in the washing machine.
It was retired for about three months, but then resurfaced when Maeve joined our family. It held two sizes of diapers, two different sets of back up clothes, epi-pens, snacks, and in each side pocket, sippy cups.
To say that this bag has been useful is an understatement. It has been loved, well loved.
Unfortunately, three years of nearly continuous use have caused quite the bit of wear and tear. The straps are starting to fray, as are the corners. I realized a few weeks ago that it may be about time to start looking for a new bag. I even suggested a new bag as an option for a gift for Mother's Day. Bry balked at the idea saying that I should get a bag that I want.
And today, I happened upon one.
I was visiting Buy Buy Baby to purchase some more "big girl panties" for Mo, and I decided to stroll past their selection of diaper bags. There she was, hanging on the display with a red price tag. Discounted $20 and in my favorite colors green w/orange trim- the Skip Hop Dash Deluxe!

It was a sign, or at least a good sale, and so I picked it up. I can't help but feel a little nostalgia about the Vera bag but I think I did it proud and used it well.
Farewell Friend!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Things to remember next year on Mother's day

1. Make an actual plan for the day. Texting and cell phone conversations 24 hours ahead of time =/= enough time to make adequate plans.
2. In the same vein, make dining reservations ahead of time. Why I thought walking into a restaurant with a party of 8 without reservations was a good idea is beyond me?
3. Grocery shop ahead of time. Keeping things in the fridge, just in case, is always a good idea.
4. In the event your mom and sister and other family members decide to walk in the Susan Komen Breast Cancer walk on Mother's Day morning, don't expect them to arrive anytime earlier then noon. 10:30 am? Yeah, right! What says mother's day better then traffic? Just ask my dad.
5. Send Mother's day cards preferably the Wednesday before. In doing this, it prevents great grandmothers confusing cards as being theirs. My poor grandmom thought the card my girls made for my mom was hers because my mom accidentally left it a bag she shared with her. My mom then didn't have the heart to tell her it wasn't hers. Meanwhile, she'll receive the exact same card except with the name "Mommom" on teh front tomorrow via US postal service.
6. Grilling on the patio is an acceptable way to celebrate, even if it's hot dogs.
7. Just because it's Mother's day, don't expect your children to act any differently or nap well.
8. However, do expect your husband to let you sleep in! (Thanks Bry!)
9. You will cry, probably more then once. This year it was a "Happy Mother's Day" as soon as I made it down the stairs, and reading the message inside a card from Bry.

That's all I got! I was trying for ten things, but I'm done, finished, stick a fork in me! Maybe it's all the time prepping for Mother's day with homemade gifts and cards, or perhaps it's the residual effects of Fresh Beat from yesterday. All I do know, is it's Mother's day night and Bry and I are waiting for dinner to be delivered.
Aha! I got it,
10. There's no right or wrong dinner on Mother's Day, (Chinese anyone?) The only wrong in my book is me cooking!

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms, grandmas, step moms, godmoms, & moms to be!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Whose Mother's Day Gift?

Kiki, Twist, Marina, & Shout!
No, these aren't name suggestions for a new pet or nicknames for the girls. If you have a child under six, most likely you know that I'm talking about the Fresh Beat Band a cast of characters from a show on Nickelodeon.
Mo and Maeve are both infatuated with this show. It has been my savior many times, allowing me to shower and make dinner uninterrupted. They will stand, mesmerized for the 22 minutes of singing and dancing. At first glance, it's a super corny show with characters who look more like they should be teaching music school then playing kids who attend it. However, give it time, because this show does grow on you. Besides quite a number of catchy little tunes which I can guarantee you will find yourself humming at all hours of the day, the four characters usually solve some sort of problem using teamwork and friendship. It's definitely the type of show I want Mo & Maeve to watch.
Recently, I posted about our trip to Sesame Place for Member preview night. My good friend Danielle was the one who suggested passes for our respective families. At first, I was debating whether it was worth it. The debate was over the minute it was brought to my attention that Fresh Beat Band were playing shows.
We were in!
At first, they announced the days for the show on the website with a note that in the future they would open for ticket reservations. There were no sales as admission was all that was necessary for entry into the show. I stalked the site. Day after day, I checked twice, or sometimes three times a day to ensure I didn't miss the ticket announcement. Knowing how much the girls loved this show, there was no way we would miss it. My message board was all a buzz with various speculations over when and what time the ticket reservations would be available.
I was returning home from music class one day when there was a message from Bry on the machine to call him. He nonchalantly asks if I made reservations yet for the show. Of course, I had checked the day before and there was nothing. He then casually mentions that he secured four tickets to the 6 pm show on Saturday.
We've got them!
I jump onto my message board to discover that the tickets had already sold out. Many of my online friends had missed out.
Can you believe his luck?
In telling Mo, she is ecstatic and cannot wait to meet these "friends". Over the course of the weeks leading up to the show, I was bombarded with a myriad of questions. My responses went something like this:
"No, you probably won't be able to ride in their car."
"No, Kiki won't let you play her guitar."
"No, Shout won't be able to go on a ride with you."
"I don't think they'll be able to come over to play in the playroom."
"I really hope they say 'Hello Moira!'"
Today was the big day!
We pile into the car and head back, not 8 days later to Sesame Place. Mo has been literally jumping around the house since she bounced out of bed a little after 7.
We have our reservation confirmation printed out as we head into the park. Bry and I agree that we'll swing by the theater and then maybe ride a few rides before we stand in line. As we roll up with the stroller we notice that the line has already started. We get our bracelets and decide to wait the hour and forty-five minutes. Looking at our position in line, we'll have awesome seats. After bribing with lollipops, animal crackers, yogurt bites, shoulder rides, and a little walking around the floor we get...


Now this is not the type of concert I ever imagined myself getting excited over securing front row. Having the opportunity to watch my girls enthralled for the half hour show was amazing and made a fabulous Mother's day gift for me, and it was a sweet gift for them too!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I have a love hate relationship with my body. This is a feeling which I believe many women share. Often, I find myself criticizing the size of my thighs, or the current state of my breasts, as I look in the mirror. My clothes become camouflage for the pouch of a belly that lies underneath. In my thirty two years of life, my body has remained solid and strong. I truly love me, but think I could love me a little more if there was a little less of me!

It is almost comical to think that my battle scarred belly can be a place where I hold tremendous pride. However, underneath the stretch marks lies my story.

I was a newlywed, living my happily ever after when I became sick. Luckily a doctor fresh out of residency saw me on that fateful day I walked into the clinic. A more seasoned doctor likely would have taken my list of symptoms and simply diagnosed it a muscle spasm and sent me home with painkillers.

God knows what my fate would have been.

Instead, this doctor sent me to the emergency room as a precaution, and some six hours later, I was admitted and hooked up to an IV receiving blood thinners to prevent the clot that had formed in my lungs from passing into my heart. A scenario in which the clot could have killed me.

After a week in the hospital, vials upon vials of blood, and visits from countless specialists, I was released home, on blood thinners, with the instructions to take it easy. Later visits to hematologists, cardiologists, and primary care doctors, agreed that it was a pulmonary embolism caused most likely from birth control medication. It was unknown what my future would hold, and how this could potentially affect pregnancy in the future.

I was terrified and cursed my body.

I was young, healthy, and newly married. I believed that I should not have had to deal with this.

Almost 10 months after that fateful day, Bryan and I met with a maternal fetal medicine specialist to discuss pregnancy, more importantly pregnancy for me. Knowing my history, we met for twenty minutes and left the office with the green light to stop medication and try to have a baby.

I trusted that my body was strong and could handle it.

It was that easy, as I became pregnant almost immediately. From the moment I heard the heartbeat at seven weeks, I had a responsibility, and fear slowly crept into my head.

Would I miscarry?
Would I have another clot?
Would something worse happen?

I was back on blood thinners, this time intravenous one. Every night, I would take the needle out of the package and into my belly I would push. For thirty-two weeks, I did this as my belly became larger and the bruises became more pronounced.

With each week of my pregnancy, I began to trust my body.

It was strong.
It would keep my baby healthy.
It would keep me healthy.

I took pride in each shot, as it was another day I got to be pregnant, another day I was alive.

Moira was born perfect.

Weeks later, I looked at my deflated belly, stretched and sagging in the mirror. While it wasn't classically beautiful, I looked past the checkerboard and saw a place of power. My body had survived a blood clot and then sustained a life for nearly 39 weeks.

How can I not be proud of all that it accomplished in a short amount of time?

Now when I look in the mirror, I push those negative thoughts away as I remind myself of how truly miraculous and amazing my body is, stretchmarks and all.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Less then a mouthful

of teeth, that is! One and a half, that's all Maeve's got at 15 months old!

It doesn't stop her from gnawing on pizza or steak or soft pretzels. At this rate, we're hoping for a full set by Kindergarten. We had her 15 month appointment last Monday at the pediatrician and like the past appointments at 6, 9, and 12 months, I asked again about teeth, or rather the lack of teeth. I found that the average age for a first tooth is 6 months with some kids teething as early as 3, while 18 months appears to be the latest that falls in the "normal range". Great, she's normal, even with only 1 and a half!
Bry and I blame pretty much any crying spell, midnight waking, or change in disposition to teething, and honestly, have been doing this since about 6 months old, when she was a drooling machine. I must admit, they can't all be related to this, especially since that first tooth didn't sprout until 3 months ago, but what else could it be?
Teething is hell, and the thought that she still has a mouthful left to sprout is making me a little a nervous. I imagine there will quite a number of sleepless nights ahead, and a few doses of Tylenol to take the edge off. Maybe they will all come up at the same time to limit the pain? A mom can dream, can't she?
Until then, every night after pajamas are on, I brush that one tooth and it's half sprouted neighbor for my little toothless wonder!