Thursday, June 30, 2011


"Can we please look at toys now, Mama?" Mo pleads.
"Of course," I reply, "after we get the few things we need".
Target, my place of respite.
There is a certain cadence to my walk, as I push the cart. Maeve strapped into the front basket, while Mo walks along side, as we peruse the aisles. Since everything one could need is located under this one roof, I often spend time browsing. I find it difficult to shop with a purpose here. I cannot recall a quick trip. My cart usually contains more then the list I prepare, and my girls enjoy it too.
Around me, I see a young couple, a large blue diaper bag hangs over his shoulder, while she pushes the cart. An infant car seat sits delicately in the interior basket, as they shuffle through the newborn essentials. My mind flashes back to my own trips with a newborn. My own diaper bag overfilled, a newborn Moira soundly sleeping as I ventured to the outside world.
The memory is jolted as Mo points out, "Toys!".
In the fashion we have adopted as our routine, we walk the aisles. Beginning with sporting equipment, Mo pleads for shinguards for soccer. A promise of purchasing them in the fall, keeps her moving. Maeve's head swings back and forth. Occasionally, she gestures to toys or an audible "ooh" falls from her lips.
"Make a left" I say.
She follows as we continue surveying the collection of toys amongst the next eight aisles. We dance with Olivia, press the button on the Handy Manny toolkit, say hello to Jessie and Woody, and debate potential purchases for a number of birthday parties we have later this summer.
A conversation I have had recently with Bry comes to mind as we finish our walk through the toys. Apparently repeated viewings of Toy Story 1,2, & 3 at bedtime, has left Bry wanting to expand our collection of Pixar films. Mo begrudgingly follows Maeve and I to the videos, however her disposition turns as she sees the familiar faces. She points out characters from the Backyardigans, Toy Story, and even the Simpsons. I see the big bulls eye indicating a price drop for The Incredibles, however the stand is empty. As we round the corner, I find a copy! My happiness is short lived as Mo looks to me.
"I gotta go potty, Mama!" she says.
Immediately I recall a recent trip and quickly we race to the bathroom.
Crisis averted.
I steer the cart into the check out lane.
"Can I get a treat?" Mo pleads, her blue eyes looking up to me.
Unfortunately for her, they don't work, as I respond, "You can get a lollipop in the car".
At the mention of lollipop, Maeve begins clapping her hands in the front of the cart and smiles.
Our items on the belt are ringed up by the cashier. I take my credit card out of my wallet and swipe it through the machine. The girls exchange pleasantries with her the cashier as she hands them stickers.
As I fumble to return my card to the wallet, she comes over to me.
"I just wanted to say you are great with your girls" she begins.
I look up to find a woman, a few years older then me.
She continues, "I saw you earlier and you were so patient with your girls. My kids just graduated. It goes by so fast."
I blink, unsure what to say next.
"I just wanted to tell you to enjoy it" she ends, walking out the door into the summer sun.
I whisper "thank you" as I smile and push the cart, Maeve giggling in the front basket as Mo holds onto the side.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Vamos a Espana

"Jac, do you hear that?" Ashley yelled over to me.
"huhh?" I mumbled, the covers wrapped around my neck.
"Jackie, Ashley, are you guys awake?" her voice muffled through the door as her hands continued to pound.
"Oh my God!" I yelled. "I can't believe we overslept on our first day in Spain!"
This set the tone for the trip:  hurried and frantic, attempting to get as much as we could in during the four days, three nights we spent in the Costa Del Sol, Spain.
When I think back, I still cannot believe fourteen families agreed to send their wide eyed high school juniors and seniors half way around the world with one chaperone. Dr. U, our eternally upbeat and hyper Spanish teacher had discovered this extended weekend away and opened it to those in Spanish three and four. Lucky for us, we had a chaperone with a doctorate in Spanish. It appears the three or four years of high school Spanish did little to prepare us for the actual conversational skills needed, as I found myself asking often "Habla ingles?".
Our iteneria swelled with train rides, strolls brisk walks through Valencia, dinners out, sightseeing, and shopping. We went to Plaza de Toros de Mijas, and watched a bullfight. Looking back, the actions of a bullfight had dance like qualities, and I remember being equally appalled and intrigued as I watched.
We were given two hours of free time the last day and our group remained intact as we headed to the beach.
The tiny smooth pebbles shifted underneath my feet as I walked to the water. I was a competitive swimmer, so I usually preferred the chlorinated water of a swimming pool to that of the ocean, but today was different. It was the Mediterranean Sea, and the panic of never knowing if I would ever be in the position to see it again made any hesitations about wading escape my mind. The voices around me debated the merits the air temperature compared to the water, but it fell on deaf ears. I would make it into the Sea. My feet met the freezing water as a rush of adrenaline filled my body. I could have stopped, but I was determined and into the water I walked further.
"Take my picture Ash. I can't believe I'm in the Mediterranean Sea." I hollered, holding back any shivers. That photo remains in my scrapbook.
That last night, after we had dinner and returned to our room for the night, Ashley and I debated sneaking out with some others to the beach. Apparently someone had procured pear brandy, and the plan was to share the one bottle on the beach. As usual, we were over cautious and remained in our room, frightened of the consequences our one chaperone had threatened. It was in that evening that we made our promise.
"We have to come back here someday" I said, "just you and me".
"When we're older, like in twenty years" she laughed.
Twenty years seemed so distance, so far into the future, especially at 17.

We have five years Ashley, so start practicing your Spanish!

School trips. We all go on them. What trip do you remember the most? Where did you go? Who was with you? How did you get there? Have you ever been back?
Write a memoir post about a memorable school trip. Word limit is 600.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dear Jackie, (circa 1995)

Dearest Jackie,

  As you read this, you are probably wondering how a letter from "future you" arrived in your hands?  Please consider it divine intervention.
After that, most likely you are looking to the clock, wondering why on a Saturday evening a version of you is sitting home on the computer instead of being out with friends? I imagine that you imagined  future you would be dining out with your husband while a babysitter sat home with your blissfully sleeping children.
Sorry, that is not happening, however  while the happily ever after you imagined does occur, there are a few regrets and words of advice  future you has for current you (errr me?).
I know that you value advice that isn't wishy washy or sugar coated, so let me keep it direct and to the point and of course in list form.
I know how much you, me, we appreciate lists.

1. Don't expect too much from your group of friends, except Ashley.
    You know deep down that most of the people in your circle of friends aren't really that similar to you, or similar to each other for that matter. They are a hodge podge of people who somehow found connections for the moment.  While they serve as companions now, in the future Ashley will be the only one that is standing by you...always. Treasure her and keep that friendship a priority.

2. Relax a a lot!
 There's no reason to be so uptight all the time. Chill out! The habit of always running from one thing to the other leads itself to disaster and exhaustion. You will find this out next year.  Quit always trying to do everything and give yourself a break. Enjoy some time just relaxing at home with mom and dad, maybe even Jeanna and Joey. I give you permission to skip things like work or practice every once and a while too.

3. Write more!
     Writing is one activity you do enjoy but never truly dedicate any time or effort. I know you enjoy writing center in school, so do it a little more. Get a journal and write things down, be it stories, personal reflections or things that make you laugh. (Your friends do and say some crazy things.)

4. Have confidence in yourself!
     First and foremost, you are NOT fat! Get over that. Wear a bikini at the beach, without worry and without covering yourself up. Remember you are a good two to three inches taller then most of your girlfriends and you are an athlete. Of course you're body type is different, but it's good different!
   Dress in clothes you like. Walk tall and carry yourself with confidence. You are strong, smart, and beautiful. Don't let your inner self tell you differently, or anyone else for that matter. 

5. Expand your social circle.
    Make new friends. Give people a chance. The pecking order of high school is not indicative of outside society. Social circles can be fluid, and you should circle amongst many.

6. Don't take yourself so seriously all the time!
   Don't follow all the rules all the time! (Sorry mom & dad!) You have a tendency to over think things. Live in the moment and sometimes do something you're "not suppose".  For example next year, when you go to Spain- sneak out. Honestly, what do you think Dr. U will do to you half a world away if you're caught?

7. Don't fear rejection.
   Think of it as a learning experience and I know how much you value learning. Put yourself out there, in terms of dating, social experiences, and trying new things. Speak your mind yet follow your heart.

To ease those fears:
You will get into college.
You will get a job.
You will find a guy who turns out to be "the one".
You will get your happily ever after and all that goes with that.

Enjoy the ride!
p.s. For future reference when friends suggest driving "not too far " a week after getting your license, a trip which involves taking the expressway to Manayunk is not a good idea!

    Write a letter to yourself at age sixteen. What might you tell your sixteen year-old self? W0ould you warn yourself not to make a certain mistake? Would you ask yourself to treasure being young? Would you tell yourself how much you've changed? You can write the letter from your present self, or from someone else entirely. Feel free to take this in an unexpected direction. Good luck!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Stickers, Promises, and new Panties

If you are a parent, I can assume there was a time you uttered this phrase:
"I cannot wait for xxx to be potty trained! I am so sick of diapers!"
Before Mo had been potty trained, both Bry and I would say this often, many times a week. We were done with it all!
Then, she was potty training and it seemed we were wiping just as many butts as we were previously, but instead of lying on a padded table, now she was standing in front of a toilet.
Diapers were easier, however not really appropriate for a three year old.
We are at a standstill currently. Someone is having a poo problem. A problem that involves giggles as I attempt to chase her around the dining room to change her panties. Phrases like "I had a little accident", "Do you got new panties Mama", and "It's just a juicy fart" fall out of her mouth quicker then I can respond. She's not saddened or upset when it happens, which only aggravates me more.
I want her to be embarrassed or upset, but nope!
Poo is a problem!
Besides a sticker chart where she can earn a surprise, Bryan turned to desperate measures. In a night where we had two accidents, then a little incident in the bathtub, I had hit my wall. I was done, cooked, fried!
In a fit of desperation, Bry promised a trip to Disney world in the event she could refrain from an accident.
While this worked for 48 hours, she then preceded to poo in her pants. Bry then told a trip to Disney was lost. She cried, she pleaded, then promised, "I no poo in my panties no more!"
Disney was lost.
However, apparently this fell on deaf ears. Every time she does use the bathroom appropriately I hear from her of her future trip to Disney. "I see Mickey and Minnie, mama." or "Is Tiana there?".
Thanks Bry! I really enjoy crushing the dreams of a three year old!
I guess I'll just have to keep up the stickers and trips to the dollar spot at Target as rewards.
God help me!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


The girls are having their first sleepover at my parents tonight. I know, it's taken long enough and I am over the moon about it!
It's funny when you think about it, motherhood.
There are mamas like me that start out more overprotective. I think being a full time stay at home mama, I had and continue to have difficulty relinquishing control. I am in charge here and handing the reins even for a few hours feels off.
But I'm working on this.
I am realizing now, as I become more comfortable and as my girls become older, I need ME time!
It's not bad to confess that I need time away from diapers and sippy cups. I can have a meal without cutting meat into teeny tiny little pieces and hopefully I can sit and eat. Yes, just sit not get up and down and up down and up and down.
I can have some good quality alone time with Bry.
I can sleep uninterrupted and hopefully late(r).
I can relax a bit and rediscover Jackie.
Spending quality alone time with Grammy & Popsie will be good for the girls. They will be spoiled silly and what else can one expect from grandparents?
I guess it's really a win-win situation.
Bry and I are headed to Baltimore to see U2 with great friends and for the next 30+ hours the only person I have to worry about is me!
Watch out Bono! Mama's cutting loose!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In Charge

I used my hip to push the door ajar, while I balanced the bags in my hands. Almost walking into the large knee high table, I laid my bags down. I switched on the overhead lights, and suddenly the room came alive. The calendar on the wall read September, with the little numbered squares velcroed below, waiting for little hands.

Adjusting the waistband of my skirt nervously, I waltzed around the classroom. Looking at all I had accomplished in those few weeks. Yellow paper now covered old and tattered cork board. Signs and charts indicating days of the week, months of the year, colors and shapes danced happily on the walls. I looked up over the windows and laughed. I thought back to the adventure it had been placing twelve cardboard bears dressed in monthly appropriate attire above the ten foot high windows. A task MacGyver would have appreciated helped to make the room kid friendly.

My hands were sweating and I could feel my breakfast churning in my stomach.
I looked to the clock.
I still had thirty minutes until their arrival.
I walked to the makeshift library I had assembled. As I ran my finger over the familiar texts, I couldn't help but smile. My dad had suggested bringing the Cookie Monster and Big Bird chairs from my childhood. They sat empty now, waiting for eager emerging readers. The reading area was ready.
I looked to the space beside it. Dress up clothes, baby dolls, play kitchen, table, and chairs combined with a stack of menus I had accumulated from various restaurants indicated the pretend area. I imagined little bodies moving amongst the toys, their play actually serving as a part of their education.
From there I nervously rearranged a few wooden blocks in the block area. Soon, they would create high towers and ceremoniously knock them down, blocks crashing into the ground as shrieks of laughter would follow. Now, before they arrived, the blocks stood quiet, anticipating the months of stacking and crashing.
This room already felt like a second home, a place I was meant to be.
The blue carpet swirled around my feet, almost mimicking waves of the sea. Sitting, kneeling, jumping, dancing, hopping, skipping, the kids eventually would do this and more here. They would laugh and sing all under my tutelage. They would grow up before my eyes.
I looked up again at the clock.
It was time and I was ready.
"Welcome to Kindergarten".

This week we asked you to write a prompt inspired by this sentence:
The first time I ________-ed after _________-ing.
We have no idea where this took you. We're excited to find out!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Stalk: verb (used with object)
to pursue (game, a person, etc.) stealthily.
to proceed through (an area) in search of prey or quarry: to stalk the woods for game.
to proceed or spread through in a steady or sinister manner: Disease stalked the land.

I have a confession.
Once a week I become a woman possessed.
Behind the wheel of my minivan my eyes become transfixed on the goal. My ears fail to hear the cries and screams of my daughters, while I stalk my prey. I scour the crowd, my car creeping along. I need to find one.
I cannot complete my task successfully without it.
It is both a blessing and curse.
What is this fabled thing I write of?

Behold, the shopping car cart.

I know I am not alone in my grocery store madness but this little car cart is magical! With it, I can successfully manage my two little rugrats for our entire week's worth of shopping trip without killing one or both or all of us.
What is this magic I speak of?
Well, this cart along with some careful planning and a little food bribery permits me to spend about an hour leisurely strolling through Wegmans.
Yes, I wrote "about an hour leisurely strolling" and I'm not lying when I write this. Mo sits up front, steering the mega long car, while Maeve sits up in the seat section near me, usually tearing my list into little pieces.
Between pretzel rolls or croissants in the bakery, then a well timed trip for cheese and lunch meat snacks at the deli, the girls have enough of a food stash to make it through the meat aisle, produce section, dairy case, and frozen food section. Occasionally, I will hear pleas from Mo for more roll, but usually she and Maeve are content waving hi and smiling at strangers, while I debate purchasing one or two pints of Ben & Jerrys, or inspecting avocados, apples, pears and bananas for brown spots.
The cart is lovely for this reason, but a pain for another.
It is huge!
Ridiculously large to the point that there are many apologies throughout the trip given by me to unsuspecting shoppers who are nearly sideswiped or completely knocked down by this huge beast. I figure driving a hummer on a one lane back road would serve as an equal analogy to navigating my beloved car cart. I did have one run in with a display of soy sauce when attempting to do an equivalent of a three point turn. As a few glass bottles crashed to the ground, Mo turned around and looked to me and said, "Mama, that's not a good idea!"
She was right and I will admit, I have steered clear of the ethnic food section since that little incident a month and a half ago.
I guess my writing about our time in the car cart is truly just a blissful stage. I know soon there will come a time where I will be bombarded with pleas for me to purchase crap like cartoon inspired cereal and kiddie microwave dinners. For now, I can prevent this by promising Dum Dum lollipops out of the bulk bins near the cereal aisle for good behavior.
I would be lying if I said that every shopping trip is saved by the car cart, but it definitely has made shopping significantly easier for me. There have been quite a few trips where my searching was unsuccessful and in turn, our usually compliant and blissful shopping experience was far less compliant and bliss filled. On those occasions, I am green with envy as I see other moms or dads pushing their car carts, child(ren) steering up front.
(I won't get started on how pissed I get when I see a car cart being misused. Yes, this ruffled my feathers when the kid is walking NEXT to the car cart or sitting in the upper basket while the front car portion remains empty. I think to myself "Hey dumb ass do you realize you are pushing a huge cart with a car in the front that other people, like me for example, could really use?")
I know I am not alone with my mutual love and hate for this cart. There have been many shared nods and knowing smiles as I pass other parents attempting to steer their car carts through the obstacle course known as a grocery store. I have had moms in the check out reminisce about their shared disdain for pushing their now older children, but acknowledgment that the beast was beneficial in keep their kids corralled.
Myy stalker behavior appears to be not only unique to me. Many a morning, as we walk to the car, our cart filled with our bags, I see them. They too drive with a purpose. Their eyes perusing the lots. They too are stalkers looking for the elusive car cart and I've got what they need.

For the record, I do pay .10 for two pops and it's definitely worth it, unlike some of the older gentlemen I have seen sticking their hands into the nut bins and walking away as they eat. YUCK!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mama Memory

When I was pregnant with Mo I was still teaching and my class threw me a baby shower. Here's my favorite bump pic. Nothing sums up my life then that this shot.

By Christmas 2009, Mo was about 20 months and I was hugely pregnant with Maeve. At the time we had not found the gender, yet everyone, EVERYONE believed I was carrying a boy. From my relatives, to old ladies at the grocery store to the little Vietnamese man who did my pedicure a week before delivery, I heard the continued chorus that it was a boy, defintely a boy.
Not quite a month later, "It's a girl!" was screamed in the OR as Maeve Kathleen made her debut two days before her scheduled arrival date.

Want to link up? Join Shell

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Inspired by Goodnight Moon's: What's your song?

Usually I concede to the cries when we're in the car and play the CD from music class, however on occasion I put my foot down. I listen to the radio. Alternative/rock or something in that vein floods our speakers and suddenly I'm in a happy place. I love that Mo is starting to learn MY songs and sing along. Usually it is a cute thing hearing her little voice repeating lyrics, but sometimes I have to catch myself. I love Mumford & Sons and Mo loves Little Lion Man. The problem is simple, however, my 3 yr old dropping the f-bomb repeatedly even for the sake of the arts really isn't appropriate. Thus, I've taken to editing the line "f--ked it up this time" to "mess it up this time".
Hopefully the call to family services can be held off for now.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Nearly wordless Wednesday.

Is there anything more deliciously adorable then these two?

Rough day, so I need a reason to smile!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sleep Tight

"You are strong, you are smart, and you are beautiful." I say.
I brush her bangs away from her forehead as I lean in to give her a kiss.
"Another one Mama!" she begs, and I lean in and kiss both her cheeks. Her giggles are contagious. "Sing my good nap song please!"

Good Nap Moira, Good Nap Mo, Good Nap Mo-Mo, It's time to go to sleep!

I sing, my voice a little louder then a whisper.
Somehow this song evolved, with the kisses and hugs, she became ready for her nap. It wasn't always this fluid, this routine.
When she was first born, a small little helpless being crying out in the middle of the night, I would pull her into my chest. Her cheek pressed against my own. I sought to console her, to ease her cries. My mind would wander, victim of a sleepless fog. All to often the first phrase that would come into my mind, I would speak.
Many nights it was "Sleep, please, sleep!". Over and over the words would fall from my lips, almost that of a prayer or chant. Begging my newborn to sleep, so in turn I could.
As sleep became more consistent, my whispers changed. Good night softly into her ear, I would repeat as my body rocked side to side. Her breathing would begin to slow, her cries lessen, as her body relaxed off to sleep.
In those quiet moments, I would whisper into her newborn ear my wishes for her.
I would tell her that she was strong, and smart, and beautiful. She was promised that she could do anything she wanted with our unconditional support. My list would always conclude the same way. With a kiss on her cheek and the same closing admission, "I am so lucky to be your mommy." I confessed and into her crib she would sleep.
Gradually, verses were added to our song reminding her,

I love you Moira, I love you Mo, I love you Mo-Mo, It's time to go to sleep.

This song, a constant as things around us changed. Crib exchanged for bed, a little sister introduced, panties in place of diapers, as my baby became a little girl.

Close your eyes Moira, Close your eyes Mo, Close your eyes Mo-MO, It's time to go to sleep.

Cries at bedtime were replaced with pleas for more hugs, more kisses. Repeated readings of Snow White and Where the Wild Things Are are negotiated as Jessie lies under her arm.
"Kisses mama and finish my song, please!" she asks as her thumb returns to her mouth, an indicator that sleep is imminent.

Good Nap Moira, Good Nap Mo, Good Nap Mo-Mo, It's time to go to sleep.

I get up from the edge of her bed, and walk to the door. I look over. She has turned over to her side, the covers under her arms as her eyes fight sleep.
"I am so lucky to be your mommy!" I say, as I pull the door closed.


Some of us show it easily, hugging relatives each time we meet. Wrapping our arms around friends.
Some of us are more reserved, rarely touching other people.
And then a few of us hang out somewhere in the middle. Hugging our children, but limiting our affection to handshakes with others.
This week we would like you to write about how the show of affection has played a part in your memory.
Choose a time when either the abundance or lack of affection (either by you or someone else) stands out, and show us. Bring us to that time. Help us feel what you felt.
Then come back and link up your post on Tuesday, June 14.
Let's keep it to 600 words this time (or fewer, of course).

Little Thieves

The tractor and wagon pull up to the gate and the farmer descends down to meet us. We usher the kids onto the wagon, empty cartons waiting to be filled.
"Please keep seated during the ride out to the field", the farmer instructs as he walks back to the tractor.
Mo and A start clapping their hands in anticipation. Maeve and M join in. Their toddler version of clapping more robotic then their older siblings, yet it is obvious they too are excited. With a stutter, the wagon jerks as the tractor begins it's tow towards the fields.
"I no like cherries, Miss Danielle" Mo informs my friend.
"She has been really picky with fruit lately" I continue. "I'm lucky if she eats anything more then bananas, pears, and grapes."
"My kids will eat anything" Danielle relays as we pull up to the field of cherry trees.
The farmer returns, instructing us on the variety of cherries available, as we slowly start down the stairs towards the field of cherry trees.
"I no pick cherries, Mama" Mo says.
"Let's just try!" I add, attemtping to expand her fruit palate.
The farmer then adds, "Please limit your tasting to one type of each cherry. These fruits have pesticides on them, so more then one isn't recommended".
Danielle and I nod in acknowledgement as the farmer returns to the tractor and pulls away.
"I'll be back in twenty-five minutes or so to pick you up and take you to the blueberry patch" he informs us as he pulls away.
I look around. An extended family heads towards the left side of the cherry trees grandmother, children, and parents while Danielle and I with our four children head towards the trees on the right.
"Do you think it's okay to eat one?" I ask as I pull a dark red cherry down from a branch.
"Yeah, just eat one." Danielle agrees. "But not this kind" she adds, as she spits a cooking cherry onto the ground.
"I want to try one" A asks.
Danielle gives one to her, and then Mo decides to try.
"I no like the seeds Mama" she says, "Can you get rid of the seeds for me?"
I bit another cherry in half, and give the seedless piece to Mo.
"That's yummy! I like it" she adds.
I feel a tugging on my leg and look down to find Maeve.
"Ahh!" she squeals, gesturing to the cherry.
I repeat the motion for Maeve and into her mouth goes the piece of cherry.
"Mmmmmm" she says as she points to more cherries.
I look over to Danielle and find her doing the same action for her son and daughter.
"Let's pick some off the trees! I want cherries!" Mo yells. "I like them!"
I pull the large branch down, presenting various bunches of ripe cherries to the girls. A and Mo reach their hands and pull the red fruit down. Equally adding cherries into their baskets and mouths. The bright red juice staining their little fingers and as the same red juice runs down their chins as they attempt to spit out the seeds.
As we continue down the row, I notice A's hand is picking less off the trees. I watch as she picks the cherry from her basket and plops the ripe fruit into her mouth.
"Do you really think the pesticide will be an issue if they eat more then one piece?" Danielle asks.
I respond, "I sure hope not. Our kids have devoured a lot more then one each!"
About fifteen minutes have passed, as we head back to the water station and picnic tables. I survey our basket and notice that it seems significantly lighter and less full then I remembered a few minutes earlier. I then look to Mo. Cherry juice has stained her fingertips, while red juice drips down her chin.
"I just want one more!" she says, and Maeve reaches for another cherry from the basket. A and M are doing the same thing.
That is where the cherries went.
"Get out the wipes!" I yell, as I hear the wagon in the distance. Danielle and I take turns wiping the evidence away from our little fruit thieves.
The farmer returns, and opens the wagon for us. As we climb on, I glance over to the family who joined us picking at this spot. Multiple baskets are filled to capacity with both black and golden cherries. Their final haul is impressive and costly. Meanwhile, our own anemic baskets carry twenty cherries and twelve cherries respectively, hardly a dent into our pocketbooks. The damage definitely would have been far greater if each piece our foursome had consumed on field would have been added to our total.
We head to the blueberry fields and then the strawberry patch. In an ideal world, Danielle and I would have reprimanded our children for consuming all the cherries, and in reaction, every blueberry their little fingers would have picked would make it into the basket.
Alas, reality wrote a different story.
The blueberry fields and then the strawberry patch both provide a smorgasbord of fruit for our children.
The wagon slowly rolls back into the waiting area, as the farmer brings the tractor to a halt.
"Be sure to head into the greenhouse to pay for your fruit", the farmer instructs, as he points to the large structure.
I assess our final haul, and to classify it measly, is an understatement.
"I've got five bucks and some spare change in the car" Danielle says, as she balances M on her hip while helping A down the stairs of the wagon.
"Uh, I don't think that's going to be a problem" I say. Maeve on my hip. Her little fingers attempting to steal another stray blueberry. "No more!" I inform her as I move her fingers away.
"We going to pay now, Mama?" Mo asks, as we enter the greenhouse. "I wanna eat a snack!" she says.
"Yeah, a snack!" A adds.
"Seriously?" Danielle and I say simultaneously.
"You all just ate a ridiculous amount of blueberries, cherries, and strawberries" she adds.
I look over to Maeve. Down the middle of her blue shirt, a faint red stain is evident. Strawberry juice has done this deed.
Ahead of me, a different family places their haul onto the scale.
"That will be $20.18" the cashier informs as the lady hands over the exact change. The family walks away, their baskets overflowing with produce.
Slowly, I place our sparse baskets onto the scale. My eyes roll to the side, not wanting to make eye contact.
Looking at our slim baskets, it is obvious that more was consumed then purchased, however without a glare or comment, the cashier says, "$4.30".
Danielle throws three dollars into my hands, as I fumble in my own wallet for money.
"I got this" she says.
"No" I reply. "My baskets are more filled then yours".
As we walk back to the car she says, "Think about all the fruit my kids ate in the field. Really, this is a deal!"
She is right.
It is a deal, plus from this trip I discovered Mo and Maeve will eat cherries, strawberries, and blueberries! Sweet!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


We have been in our home for just about two years now. While we have accomplished (and by "we" I really mean Bryan) quite a bit in terms of yard work and design, I still feel like there is so much left to do. Our walls still stand mainly vacant. I have yet to find the right pieces for our bedroom and dining room. I find myself at a stand still. I have been perusing design blogs and while I have linked quite a few in my Places I Go section,
I have a confession:

Don't get me wrong, our home is fabulous! Both Bry and I fell in love with the character of the place. Details like six inch moldings along the floor and windows filled with old, sometimes hazy glass drew us in. Hardwood floors running throughout made with wood that we have since learned is no longer available, anywhere sold us, as did a redesigned and updated kitchen.
I just feel like I am letting it down. There is so much I dream of doing, I wish I could do, but I just don't quite know where to begin!
This house has potential, and I hope to do it justice.
Until then I click and dream,
I dream that Sarah Richardson will choose our house for a makeover. I am an HGTVaholic and Sarah's Summer House was one of my guilty pleasures. Mo and I shared a few minutes this morning watching the final episode of the season.
What will I DVR on Saturday night now?
I am awe of the things The Speckled Dog can do with a little paint. I wish I had the creativity and talent to create the pieces she does. FABULOUS!
I let my mind wander when I check out The Sweetest Occasion. I think about the parties I would love to plan in our someday finished yard or in our fantastically phenomenal dining room.
Finally places like etsy and pinterest only add to my indecision with what to do next.
Too many choices, I say!
For now, I think I will stick to something small and focus on finishing Mo's room.
After much debate, I found something for some white matted frames that have sat empty for a few months. Recently, I discovered Cinnamon Ink and fell in love with Kate's designs. Add some Wizard of Oz movie art, a few photos and frames, and a couple of other loved pieces and hopefully one completed little girl's room will make!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer Camp

"Get ready for the blistering heat!" the meteorologist informed. Her hand motioned to the chart listing the pending days heatwave.
"That's our cue!" I said as Bry nodded in agreement.
Time to pack up the girls, toss in shorts, and shirts and swimsuits and make the drive to summer camp.
No we aren't heading to the wilderness or some sleep away camp. In our world summer camp = Grammy & Popsie's house!
Owning an older home with no air conditioning, means that days when the term "heatwave" are tossed around, we need to find refuge. My parents air conditioned townhouse is the perfect cure.
Here I sit in the cool basement on my parents antique computer while the girls nap.
Camp is great for all of us.
Grammy & Popsie spoil Mo & Maeve to no end with endless tickles, juice boxes, and trips upstairs to jump on their bed! For me, it's a break of the everyday monotony of our routine and a time to share a little more of the daily grind with another adult or two. There's also field trips to spray grounds, and great grandmothers' houses, and the occasional sporting event like my cousin's baseball game.
Eventually we will be able to afford adding air conditioning to our home, but until then we will enjoy our time at Camp.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


"Four times ten is forty, Four times eleven is forty-four, Four times twelve is forty-seven?" my voice gradually decreasing in volume as I got to the dreaded twelves.
"Jacqueline Ann! Have you been studying your times tables?" my dad asked.
I knew I was in trouble when my first AND middle name was used.
It was second grade and Mrs. Di Bonaventure had made it explicitly clear that we were to know our times table. By know, she meant memorize. By memorize she meant that those times tables were to be part of us, inside, outside, upside down part of us. Me & multiplication should have been best friends forever, however I had some problem getting some of the facts into my long term memory.
It was Catholic school which meant a lot of the nifty things happening in education had failed to penetrate the walls of St. Ann's school. In my classroom, there was memorization, drill books, reading groups, seat work, and exams. Handmade flash cards from index cards was the most progressive thing I can remember doing. Of course, they were only in pencil or crayon, because pens and markers were not permitted until fourth grade.
With my large pile of flash cards in hand, I practiced those tables. My little fingers flipped those cards until they became dog eared and worn. I carried them every where I went and had every adult and older kid I knew quiz me.
I lived multiplication!
Okay, so maybe I exaggerated a bit here. I did not study nearly as much as I should, but in my defense, I was only seven! There were so many things more interesting then flash cards. There was music, and Nickelodeon, and playing outside with my sister and neighbors. Flash cards were a waste and I quietly resigned myself to a lifetime of never learning the twelves times tables (and some of the eight and nine too).
My dad, however had other plans.
He walked past carrying the tape recorder and a blank tape with a smug grin on his face.
"Hi dad". I said. "What are you doing?"
"Don't worry about that!" he said, as he walked away. "I'll have a surprise for you soon enough."
"Jacqueline Ann" he called, "I have something for you."
I ran into the living room expected a beautifully wrapped present. Seeing my dad sitting on the couch with his hand on the large sound system had me perplexed.
"Where is it daddy?" I asked.
"Sit down" he motioned to the couch as I sat next to him, my face still carrying a perplexing look.
"You always are able to learn those songs on the radio so quick, Jackie. I mean, it's like you hear it once and then you know it." he began. "Well, I figured that maybe if you heard your times tables on the radio like your music you'd be able to learn those too!". The look of pride gleamed on his face.
I was not buying it.
He pressed play and his voice began bellowing throughout our living room.
"One times one equals dramatic pause one, one times two equals dramatic pause two,..." and so it went.
Thinking back now I can remember the cadence of his voice. It wasn't my dad simply reciting the multiplication tables, it was reminiscent of spoken word poetry.It was something I know Mrs. Di Bonaventure would have frowned upon, but my dad knew me and in turn, knew how to help me. I listened to that tape a handful of times, and it did help me learn most of my times tables.
As an adult now, I will admit there are moments where I become stuck on a few of the twelves. I confess the voice that usually penetrates my brain as I think, isn't my own. It's my dad's! I hear him, in that syncopated rhythm reciting "nine times twelve is dramatic pause one hundred and eight, ten times twelve is dramatic pause one hundred twenty".
Now, twenty years later, I still remember.
Thanks dad!

RemembeRed: This week's memoir prompt asked you to dig deep to find what, from your childhood, you still know from heart.

I still remember all those rhymes you did while slapping hands with a friend, like Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack all dressed in black black black.

What do YOU remember?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mama Pains

"Children will destroy your body!" my friend Debby informed me when I was about eight months pregnant with Moira.
As we ate our lunch in the teacher's room she continued explaining how with each of her three pregnancies, a different part of her body was permanently scarred. She wasn't just talking about stretch marks or saggy skin on her abdomen. Instead she explained of frequent visits with the periodontist. Her teeth fell victim to her twin girls, (or was it her son?) Then she had ankle issues which she attributed to her youngest daughter. There was some other injury or ailment that occurred post-childbirth that I cannot remember three years later, however Debby was adamant that her children were the culprit. With each pregnancy, a different body part was injured.
I remember praying "Dear God, please don't let anything like this happen to me, especially with my teeth!" (I have reoccurring nightmares about my teeth falling out!)
Pregnancy one came and went. No real issues so to speak,
I started to notice that my eyes were getting a little worse. Maybe it's just age or too much time watching television. Either way, I have been dragging my feet about heading to the eye doctor. My formerly fabulous eye sight is starting to go on me. Before Mo, I could read signs fairly far away. Now I'm noticing I need to get a little bit closer. I do believe I may finally need to get glasses for things far away.
Kid two put a little more damage on my body. I noticed about six months post partum that when I climbed up and down the stairs my knees hurt. Of course, I was carrying a few more lbs. then I ever had so I just attributed the pain to my slight weight gain. Within a few months that pain disappeared and I thought little of it.
About two months ago, I noticed my fingers were swelling. My rings would feel tight, tighter then the ever did when I was largely pregnant. My watch, which previously was loose enough to hang, now left it's imprint on my wrist. Waking up in the morning, I would often find my fingers numb. Taking a moment to touch each finger to my thumb seemed to help loosen them. I tried to snap at music class and when that movement hurt I realized I needed to do something. Looking back now I realize each week, the pain remained.
My ankles and feet are feeling the pain too. Now they have been swollen too. Shoes that were loose at one point, now seemed a little tighter. If I attempt to curl my toes, the joints ached.
I don't know what's wrong with me. I do not eat a lot of salt, haven't had soda (except for a few gulps) for close to six months, and I wasn't even this swollen at 38 week pregnant. I am hopeful that a trip to the doctor can help me out tomorrow.
Damn you Debby! You were right!
Kids do destroy your body, as I'm blaming this on Maeve!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cheap Father's Day cards!

Father's day is fast approaching and it's hard to try and come up with something personal.
I discovered this on Shutterfly, five free personalized cards! You can make five personalized cards for five different people! While you pay for shipping, it's still cheaper then Hallmark!
Here's the code: DADCARD
It expires on June 9
(Dad, if you're reading this before Father's day, this isn't really your card, or is it?)
Classic Band Navy Father's Day 5x7 folded card
Shutterfly custom cards for Valentines Day, Easter & Mother's Day.
View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fantastically Fabulous Friday

Four Children + Sesame Place + Gorgeous Weather / Two Mamas = Fantastically Fabulous Friday

A few weeks ago we were in tears, now Roller Coaster anyone?

Only a few tears close to nap time.

What a great day!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Two years

There are moments where she pops into my head unexpectedly, in the shower, changing a diaper, or just as I'm unwinding in bed before I fall asleep. My mind thinks back to my friend Kathie. I think about how unfair it is that she's gone, that her girls lost their mother, and her husband lost his wife. I see my girls playing with their Grammy and stop for a moment to consider that her granddaughter will never really remember her, and my heart aches.
I miss my friend.
Cancer robbed her of life, and now I only hold memories of her.
Rest in peace Kathie, and prayers to her family and friends.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I put my money on the counter of the snack bar and the cherry Italian ice is placed my way. I rip off the paper lid as fast as I can. I'm ready!
My sister and I had developed a strategy to consume these ices. With the small wood paddle, we would scrap the ice back and forth onto either sides. Ceremoniously we would lick off the ice, and continue, until the ice melted a bit. Then it was time to do the "flip". Perhaps it was only something the two of us enjoyed, but the bottom of the ice cup had a delicacy of sorts. The sugared icy bottom seemed to have intensified flavor and was delicious. This bottom was the main reason for my purchase. Yum!
Recently my three year old discovered Italian ice. The wooden mini-spoon is no longer available so a regular table spoon would suffice. While it didn't quite work the exact same way as before, I still was able to get it melted to the point of flip. However disappointment ensued, no frozen icy flavorful bottom!
While I was sad, I started thinking back to my favorite frozen treats of my youth.
The only thing better growing up then ice at the snack bar of the pool were the homemade frozen ice pops my friend Peter's mom would make. Most homemade ice pops would lose flavor two minutes into sucking, but not Mrs. S's.
They were unbelievable!
I compare them to the everlasting gobstopper of frozen treats. Not only did they never lose out of flavor, they were delicious. Finally these pops had the layer of goo that my favorite Italian ice had, but thicker and even more flavorful.
As with life, our time with the S family grew less as we switched schools and they moved, however those pops remained ingrained in my head. A food memory of my youth that I treasured and wished to recreate.
Imagine my surprise late last summer when I received an email from my mom with the heading "Recipe" and the message "I think you'll enjoy this". Attached was a forward from Mrs. S sharing her recipe.
After reviewing the ingredients it is quite obvious why these Popsicles are awesome.
Three words: Jello, Kool Aid, & Sugar!

Mrs. S's Everlasting Popsicles
1 small box of jello
1 package of koolaid
1 cup sugar
Mix above with 1 cup hot water and dissolve

Then add 1 cup cold water.

Pour into 3 or 5 oz Dixie cups.
Freeze for about 1 hour and then insert Popsicle sticks
Freeze another 2 hours

They are still as delicious as I remember.
Happy Summer!

This post was inspired by summertime, childhood, and Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop: Comfort food at its finest. Share a family favorite recipe you loved as a child.

Life is Just a....

Even if it's

(85* in the house!)