Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Books & Rhymes

On the Night You Were Born
Nancy Tillman

Will he be early, on time, or late?
How close will he come to that due date?
So eager to meet PJ, to see how he looks!
And in anticipation, we shower him with books!
Fourteen in all from birth to birthday,
We’ll start at the beginning,
That very first day!

Margaret Anastas

This Mother’s Day the first of its kind,
Dear Lynsay, you’ll be wiping that little behind.

Karen Katz

June will arrive and with it the sun.
Father’s Day will come with joy and fun!

Don Freeman

The month of July filled with lots of play,
The fireworks in air, and the heat of the day.

Adam Gamble

With August, the beach calls its familiar song,
Sunshine, sand, and sea all day long!

Brad M. Epstein

In September, we hope our Boys play well.
The Phillies in the post season make a good sell!

Joe Trojana

October filled with ghouls and fright,
And hopefully PJ sleeping through the night!

Tomie DePaola

With Thanksgiving Day, a feast to share,
Turkey, veggies, and the cold crisp air.

Clement C. Moore

A very happy first Christmas it will be,
With baby PJ playing under the tree!

Ezra Jack Keats

January brings ice, cold, and snow. 
Eagles games in winter are the way to go!

Laura Numeroff

This Valentine’s Day in the frame you will see,
From the pair of you two, to a family of three! 

Roger Priddy

Shamrocks, gold and leprechauns too,
The fun of St. Patrick’s Day helps bring spring through!

Tomie dePaola

The candy, the eggs, and the sweetness Easter brings,
With the Easter Bunny’s arrival, here comes Spring!

First Birthday
Karen Katz

How did it happen so fast,
You will think?
This past year has flown by,
In what seems like a blink.
Much too fast to believe
That April day will come,
When your sweet little boy
Will like magic turn one!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Life is but a song

Monday, Listicle day! 

Thankfully Stasha at the Northwest Mommy keeps it coming week to week and this week is no exception. 
Bruna of Bees with Honey has selected this week's topic, and I have to say, it's a treat!

“If they were to make a movie of your life what would the soundtrack be like? Share 10 songs that best tell the story of your life. Be sure to include the period or event that each song represents”. I was honestly tempted to make two lists. One completely dedicated to Pearl Jam, and then this list, but I thought that was a little too much. Of course, Pearl Jam is on the list (and the Foo too!). 

My Life in Song

1. Steal Away by: Robbie Dupree
"Why don't we steal away. Why don't we steal away into the night?" I sing.
I'm in my favorite bathing suit, singing along to the radio in our backyard, as I attempt to make a whirlpool. I can't be more then four years old, and the plastic walled pool is the place we spend most of those summer days. As I swim the radio blares it's array of '80's ballads. This was my favorite. 

2. The Right Stuff, New Kids On the Block
The word "tween" has yet to become part of the lexicon, but that's what I was when I discovered pop music. Tiffany & Debbie Gibson were my girls. I had Electric Youth perfume and my mom got me a crimping iron. My adoration for the two changed that summer I first hear NKOTB. I fell head over heels, and as loving parents, they got me my first concert tickets to a NKOTB/Tiffany show. 
For the record: I was a Jonathan fan, mainly because I thought of the five I had the best chance with him. 

3. Only the Good Die Young,  Billy Joel
I am the good girl.
It's like this song was written about me, down to the bright white dress on my Confirmation. 
It took my time in college to break out of that mold and loose a bit of conservative nature.

4. Send me on My Way, Rusted Root
Red cup in hand,
Music blaring, 
Bodies dancing,
Party, party, party.  

5. Going the Distance, Cake
Finishing a swim, getting my degree, getting a job, getting married, getting a Master's.
The balancing act of my life before children was all about each day, going that distance, getting it done. 

6. All I Want is You, U2
The song that should have been our wedding song. 
I guess that's what happens when meet the first semester of freshmen year of college, every good love song is about us. 
And this one: 
Bono belting it out, fabulous lyrics,
 and that violin solo....
Absolute Perfection.

7. Just Breathe, Pearl Jam
"Daddy, pick me up and dance with me." she says. 
He gathers her up in his arms and sways around the living room. Her giggle infectious as they spin.
Maeve, just a newborn, naps peacefully in my arms. Sitting on the bottom stair, I watch, mesmerized. 
"How did we get so lucky?" he asks, pressing Moira's cheek to his own.
"I have no clue" I say. "No clue."

8. My Family, Laurie Berkner Band
What does it say about me to have a kid's singer on my list?
It shows how much things have changed. No longer is my car a car. I rock the minivan. (Jealous?) No longer is the radio mine, Laurie Berkner spins on constant rotation. I'm guessing it's better then Kids Bop.
This song still brings a tear to my eye, especially as my own kids sing along. 
"I'm so glad, You're my family!'
Damn straight, Laurie. 

9. Times Like These, Foo Fighters
I am a child of rock. 
I am trying to raise two little girls who love rock too.
Each day as a parent - an adventure!
time to learn, live, and love.

10. I Will Remember You  Sarah McLachlan
When my life is over, and my loved ones come together to say good bye, this song I hear in the background.
As Sarah's voice echoes my own pleas:
Don't let your life pass you by,
Weep not for the memories.

Guess, what? 
Next week, I have the honor of picking the listicle topic. 

This past Friday, my good friend Marilyn passed away after a very brief illness. 
The travel bug had bit Mar a number of years ago.  Most recently at the end of 2011, she spent some time in Costa Rica. She had honest passion for life: having made it to all seven continents, capturing her travels along the way through her breathtaking photography. 

So this week, in Marilyn's honor- I ask dear listicle readers, to disclose where your heart lies. 

What are your passions? 

For her it was travel, family, photography, the Mets, scubadiving, friends, and a good hard cider. 
As you write,  I do encourage you to have a beer (or some other libation as she would put it) in her honor.

Thank you Stasha for giving me this pleasure, as it came at the most appropriate time. 

Friday, January 27, 2012


She was:
never pink, 
youth XL, 
blue winter cap, 
black sneakers. 

She was:
haircuts at the barber,
a beer at the bar, 
an egg salad sandwich from the Butcher Block,
taco lunch in the cafeteria with her own shells. 

She was:
handball games on the playground, 
"Shutty Uppie",
dancing in gym class,
loving her "turkeys", 
taking up the end of the line, 
being mistaken for one of the kids.  

She was 
on a plane, 
in a boat, 
in her bug, 
around the world, 
under water,
behind the lens. 

She was 
a devoted wife, 
a proud mother, 
a doting grandmother,
a fine travel companion, 
a kick ass class room & lunch room aide, 
one helluva friend. 

She was 

She was one of a kind. 

God bless you Mar as you dive into the that great big ocean in the sky. You'll be missed.  
I think there's no limit at the bar up there, though I do think they do expect you to be on your best behavior which might be hard because we know how much you love a good party!

Linking up with Yeah Write this week.
Feel free to partake in a libation in her honor as you make your vote Thursday.
If anyone asks, tell them it's a drink for a friend.
I know she'd get a kick out of that!


Added to my short list of life accomplishments, Editor's Choice victory on Yeah Write (formerly Love Links).

I'd like to take a minute to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press...
I mean,
Thanks to the Academy.

Okay, really, thanks to Erica of  Free Fringes for the love.
As always, interested in new & exciting reads?
Want to vote for them?
Check it out every Thursday at Yeah Write!
If you're a blogger or wanna be blogger, link up too!

I will be working on the real party post this weekend, as the fabulous Ashley Pierce of her namesake Photography just hooked me up with some kick ass pictures.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Friendly Reminder

The birthday girl post-chocolate covered pretzel sporting her handmade party hat and I AM 2 shirt
More fun to follow later this week, when I explain in further detail the downward spiral I quickly fell as I do every year as I succumb to my own need to outdo myself with party planning.

I plan to send myself this email around the first of December 2012, when those pangs of decorating start to hit for Maeve's third birthday party. 

Dearest Jackie 2013,

Hello love!
Here I am, typing on Wednesday, still in recovery from the overkill that was Maeve's Second Birthday party this past Sunday. As the streamers still hang and the cupcakes are slowly being devoured,  I just wanted to offer you a friendly reminder:

You are not Martha Stewart
even though Pinterest gives you the confidence boost to make you think you are.

It's okay.
Maeve and Moira will not be scarred if you lessen up on the party planning crap.  Your friends and family will still love you even if there is a lack of homemade *gasp* lemon squares and only limited decorations. You can actually enjoy the time before the big day, with cuddles and time playing with the girls.

Enjoy your time, don't fret over it.

Who the hell am I kidding?

Good luck in 2013, biatch!
This party rocked and you know it!
You're going to need a lot of luck to out-do yourself for 2013, so I assume you've been pinning and researching! You get an extra day this year since it's a leap year, so no excuses.

Enjoying the after glow,
Jackie 2012

Just for the record, I do not think myself Martha, Kate Landers or any of those chicks who plan the out of this world birthday parties on Lifetime or Bravo. 
I'm just a stay at home mom with too much time on my hands...at least that's what Bryan tells me. 

Love links is now "Yeah, Write!"

Monday, January 23, 2012

Once in My Life


I am in recovery mode today, as we spent yesterday partying it up for Maevie baby! As the girls play with the plethora of new toys, I have a moment to sit back and write feverishly until one or both start beating the shit out of each other over bongos or a puppy guitar. (Because that's how they roll here. Why hit with your hands, when a drumstick or plastic guitar could cause more damage?)

When I read this week's prompt, I figured many following will go global. Ally from Two normal moms said we should write a list about “10 things you’d like to see happen before you die” and really how can I not want a cure for AIDS, clean water for all, and such? 

 6 Things I'd Like to See Happen Before I Die 

1. Politicians who actually do what they promise.
2. Children not having to go without: food, health care, shelter & love.
3. Clean water and access for those in areas where sources have been depleted. 
4. Cures for AIDS, Cancer, and other lethal diseases, with a reasonably priced tab.
5. True equality for all.
6. The Eagles winning the Super Bowl.

But I'm also going to be a bit selfish. 

I'm turning this one into a bucket list of sorts. 

6 Things I'd like to see, hear, smell, taste, or feel before I die. 

1. Publish Something 

I think this is the wish of many of us bloggers. To create a piece that is worth publication and circulation, and found in a library. I'd love to write either a series of vignettes or dare I say, a young adult novel? I have quite a few ideas running around my head that I feel are "story worthy", if only I could sit down and write. 

2. Compete (and complete) in an ocean swim

Source: pinterest

I have had a crazy fear of swimming in the ocean growing up. Bryan has helped alleviate most of this fear, but deep down I would love to finish an ocean race. 
No, I'm not swimming across the English channel or anything crazy like that. Just a simple open water swim down the shore. 

3. Attend the Summer Olympics

Yes, I'm biased.
I prefer the Summer games:
Swimming, Track, Soccer, Gymnastics, Basketball, Diving.
Watching any of these events in person and attending the medal ceremony after, is but a dream.

4. Dine at the French Laundry
This is the French Laundry, a world renowned restaurant in Yountville Ca. 
Everyday they offer two distinct nine-course (yes 9!) tasting menus using the freshest produce and proteins.
Just might be the closest thing to heaven on earth and I want to eat here, with Bry of course.

5. Sport a Pixie cut

First, I need to lose a little of the face fat, but this cut is something I'd love to be brave enough to sport. The ease in the morning, the air on the back of my neck. Sigh....

6. Witness my Children find their Success
Yes, they're a bit wacky, but I do love 'em!

I'm leaving this one fairly broad, as I don't know what or how success will be determined for them. Could it be following a passion, completing a degree(s), or having a family of their own?

I don't know.

But, I want to be here for it.

I want to be around to see them get their own happily ever after.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Happy Second Birthday to my Maevie Baby! 
My Sunshine

Linking up with :

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hazard Zet Forward

Rolling over, I open one eye.


One minute before my alarm, as usual.

Taking a deep breath, I push the floral comforter off my body and pour myself out of bed. Clicking the alarm off, my roommate sleeps peacefully. Onto the floor I fall, a large yawn overtakes my body, as I quickly pull on my sweats. The big blue parka hangs off my desk chair. Offering warmth, I quickly cuddle inside as I zip it up. I slip on my sneakers, grab my wallet & key and head out the door. Throwing on my hood as I step out the door.

Rounding the corner, I notice fire trucks lining the drive. A usual fixture at school as the freshman dorm is notorious for fire drills at all hours of the day and night. I have little hesitation as I walk in to the pool deck.

The blue parkas file in behind, crossing the pool deck and descending the stairs to the locker room.
Emerging minutes before 6:00, we all dress alike,  bathing suit, cap, and goggles.

I notice a few freshmen missing, and attribute it to faulty alarm clocks. They'll have to make up the yardage later, I think.

Into the water we jump, the first of a double for the day.

It has been about twenty minutes when I notice between breaths, figures walking on deck. The big parka easily recognizable.

My feet touch the ground as the water calms around me.

I can only hear bits of her conversation:

Fire Department...

Leaving the rec center, I set across campus. I pull the blue parka tight against the January morning winds as I exit the side door. The whirling sound hits me first. Looking up, two helicopters circle the area. I walk with a purpose across the sidewalk, as a stream of ambulance and firetrucks line the drive.

I am only thinking that  I need to find my teammates.

I enter the cafeteria to a sea of faces.

Someone has turned the televisions on to the local news stations.

The image shows the devastation a few feet away. Groups are huddle together, as I make my way through.

Then I see what I need,

two big blue parkas.

My girls are fine.

It is through them, I hear the horror of what is happening, as they live a floor below.

We focus our glance to the television as the newscaster reports. At the bottom of the screen a ticker emerges, "fatalities presumed" crawls across the screen.

An audible gasp fills the room as I feel the tears in my eyes.

Things will never be the same.

The ribbon is a symbol that we remember those lost and share a sense of hope with all those who continue to heal. Ribbons are worn each year on campus and around the country by alumni who remember.
We remember January 19, 2000. 

Hazard Zet Forward my friends. 

translated: At whatever risk, yet go forward

Monday, January 16, 2012

I'll Never...

I first need to offer apologies for my recent absence. It's party planning time in our house, as Maeve hits the big 0-2 this Friday. As is my usual self, I am throwing all my time and energy into crafting, baking, shopping, and acting like the wanna be Martha Stewart I always wished I could be. 
I will take a much needed pause, however to partake in my favorite weekly prompt- Monday Listicles hosted by the fabulous Stasha. This week Greta suggested we confess ten things we said we would NEVER do but caught ourselves doing it. I imagine all the parents that read this have a list the size of Texas filling their heads, because there are so many of these.

As I often say, I knew everything about parenthood
then I had children.  

1. Scream the first, middle, & last name of my child through the house
Really, if we think about it, how silly is this one? When the kid's good, it's all lovey dovey nicknames, and pet names, but the minute the kid turns into a holy terror- Formality!!! I always hated my mother yelling Jacqueline Ann, and swore I'd never use that.

2.  Use The Santa Card
Yeah, yeah, yeah. 
It's July, 
the kids are bat shit crazy. 
I swear it's a full moon and they haven't napped. 
What do I utter?
"You know girls, Santa is ALWAYS watching." 
Cha-Ching! Most days it works like magic. 
I never thought I'd try to manipulate my kids with the big guy in red, but when it works, it works!

Only to be topped by my use of the Santa card is Bry, who has made it clear to Mo that all parents are given direct phone lines to Santa to relay information when children are misbehaving so Santa can take back Christmas presents. 
Apparently not only does Mr. Claus accept phone calls, but texts and emails too. 

3. Discuss my children's bodily fluids
I never thought, outside a doctor's office, would I spend any amount of time discussing any substance which exited their body- be it phlegm, vomit, or waste. Now, it's standard in my circle of friends and family. 
Just yesterday, I amazed Bry as he was making dinner recalling the amount of poo Maeve managed to contain in one diaper! 
Epic Proportions, I tell you!! 

4. Discuss my OWN bodily fluids
Change #3  to include my own phlegm, vomit, waste and add my monthly visitor and you got some interesting conversation I never thought I'd be discussing. 

5. Have friends where items #3 & 4 were acceptable as conversation topics. 
Thank you Danielle, Ash, Lynsay,  Jeanna, & all my nesties!

6. Let my kid use a pacifier
There are some moms that absolutely love the act of breastfeeding. 
I was not one of them. 
I had more then ample supply and it was relatively easy for me & them. 
However, I had no inclination to allow my nipples to become their twenty four hour a day vessel sucking. So, in the hospital (GASP!) I introduced the pacifier. 
No nipple confusion.
No supply issues. 
Happy baby, & happy mommy!

7. Use the bathroom with the door open
Standard operating procedure to yell, fix a toy, read book, kiss a boo-boo all while sitting on the pot.  

8. TV 
I had grand illusions when I was pregnant, that I would rarely have the television on. We'd be too busy playing together. Then I had a kid and it was on a bit. Mainly to help keep my from losing my mind. Then with kid 2, TV became my ally, my friend, my babysitter. 
I'll admit, it's on a lot, mainly on Nick Jr. Their vernacular often includes references to Max & Ruby, Kai-Lan, Kiki, Twist, Shout, & Marina. While I'm eating crow on this point, I do know for a fact Fresh Beat Band does give me 22 minutes of uninterrupted peace and quiet, and I'll take it!

9.Miss my career
I had thought when I left teaching that the throws of motherhood would be blissful and any feelings of loss would be swallowed up in my day to day. But I would be lying, if I did not admit there were moments where i missed it.
I loved teaching and hope someday to return back to the classroom if the opportunity (and Gov. Christie) allow me. 

10. Drive a minivan
Don't be jealous! I love my minivan as I wrote In Defense of Our Minivan

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Truth Hurts

We are the cookie bakers of the night. she sang.

Laurie Berkner band DVD, my choice babysitter giving me twenty five minutes of peace and relative quiet every morning. The girls be bop around dancing and singing while I let the hot water overtake me.


Stepping out of the shower, I hear the familiar voices echoing through the second floor, and know I have two songs left until their attention will break. Grabbing the towel, I dry off and wrap my heir atop my head. Putting on my underwear and bra, I apply lotion to my face, SPF 8 infused everyday.

As I begin combing out my hair, Maeve jumps through the open door.

"Hi Mom, Hi Mom, Hi MOM!!" she screams.
Her voice reaching a crescendo, in anticipation of my response.

"Hello baby" I offer, kissing the top of her head.

"Bye mom!" she waves, returning to Laurie.

I continue combing my hair when Mo enters.

"What's up?" I ask, as her eyes focus on my scantily clad body.

Pointing to my abdomen, she laughs, "Ha, you got a chubby belly mommy!"


My three and half year old just called me chubby!

I laugh her off as I shoo her out of the bathroom. Taking in the observation my child disclosed first hand. I look at myself, really look at my nearly naked self and I admit it.

She's right.

I am flabby in the middle.
and parts of the upper and lower too!

While I am quick to blame it on two c-sections in less then two years, the real reason for my "chubby belly" is too much ice cream and not enough vegetables, too much sloth and not enough exercise.

All together, I'd say, it's been nearly four years of too much of the bad stuff and not enough of the good.

And that needs to change.

I'm not really happy with the way my clothes fit me right now and I have no one to blame but myself. While Mo's comment hit a nerve, she is right. I HAVE a chubby belly and now I'm starting to do something about it.

On Sunday we joined the local YMCA and today, I intend to get back on the elliptical, chubby belly and all.

I have motivation now, something that has been missing.

Besides my sister's wedding in August, Mo is offering support. We have developed a game of sorts.

She keeps asking, "Mommy when we go to the Y so you can exercise?"

I ask, "Why do I need to go to the Y, Mo?"

Her response: ""Cause your chubby mommy!"

Yes, Mo, I am, and hopefully over the next few months, I'll be less chubby thanks to your motivation

Linking up this week the fun at Lovelinks &  Things I Can't Say.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Got a Job

It's Monday- Listicle day! This week is quite a different topic if I do say so myself.  Top Ten Strange (odd/unusual/funny/interesting) Jobs you have held in your life courtesy of Varda at the Squashed Bologna

She did give the disclaimer: And if you are young or have had a much less varied life than I have and haven't had 10 jobs yet, then make it 10 interesting things you have done / tasks you have been responsible for as PART of a job. And I am totally willing to define "Job" loosely here... as in parenting is clearly a job, and so is being a student, or volunteer positions including things like PTA President.
Thus leaving me to think back into the far depths of my mind, trying to remember what "jobs" I have held. I decided to tackle this chronologically, and it has been a trip down memory lane indeed.

1. Eraser Smacker
I went to Catholic school from Kindergarten through fourth grade. I actually wrote about my attempt to save time in the morning with my uniform , but in reality I was a good girl, a really good girl in school. Smart and studious, often I finished my seat work prior to most of the others and usually completed it with little error. My desk was typically kept orderly and I never was reprimanded for talking out of turn or for being disrespectful. As a reward, on Friday afternoon, while the rest of the class would clean their desks, I (and a friend) would get to go outside with the collection of dusty erasers and bang them together.
Pure bliss!

Living in suburbia in a development filled with families gave my mother ample opportunity to pimp my sister and I out as daycare providers. Quite a number of my new year's were spent in someone else's homes listening to their children sleep and many weekend evenings were spent cuddled on someone else's couch again waiting. While my babysitting days were limited, my sister continued through college being that "dependable, reliable source".

3. Swim Instructor
Imagine that?
I swam competitively. Spent the majority of my adolescent years in or around a swimming pool, thus the logical step would be to teach swimming. From 13 years when I began volunteering to my early 20's, I spent hours blowing bubbles, coaxing crying children, and freezing after hours in tepid water. From infants to adults, I taught them all and frankly I was darn good at it!

4. Life Guard 
I feel I must start with the position that there is a clear distinction between lifeguard and swim instructor, especially at a suburban YMCA outdoor pool.
Baywatch, it was not.
Besides the lack of hot guys running on the beach and thankfully the inappropriate swim suits, most of the guards were stoned out college kids playing sober every morning while they vacuumed the pool and cleaned out the bathrooms. Sure, they blew their whistles every now and then, but for the most part it was about the social life after hours, of which I was not really interested. '
I did get a pretty kick ass tan though those years.

5. Teacher's Assistant 
My first summer after college, a family friend helped me get a job in the field of education.
Eagerly, I started at a reform school for boys.
Yup, me at the ripe old age of 18 was working as a teacher's assistant in a class of boys committed for a variety of offenses such a repeated truancy, drugs and theft, while a few were placed for lack of foster families.
I was significantly out of my comfort zone.
However, that opportunity of working with a well seasoned nun in that environment led me to learn a lot.

6. Student Senator: College of Education
Bryan was very involved with our college's student government. First as a member of the Student Senate and later he was elected Student Government president. I base much of his victory on my pull with the student athlete population.
I dabbled a bit too in the political arena, mainly due to apathy.
My junior year Bry came to me asking if I would be interested in applying for an open seat on the Senate representing the school of Education. I applied, and was appointed.
What did I do?
Not much, I must admit.
It did look pretty good on my professional resume.

7. Alcoholic Awareness Panel Member
My freshmen year of college, there were some concerns among my swim team with body imagine and eating disorders. In response, we were forced to meet with counseling services individually and as a group to ensure we were all on the straight and narrow. It was during this time I met Shirley, one of the counselors.
My senior year, as part of a grant, she was facilitating a project in which college students would go to high school health classes to discuss the realities of alcohol on a college campus. As a panel member, I would offer my own experience and exchange get paid for it. There weren't many money making opporuntities for myself during college due to my schedule between swim practice, student teaching and classes, so those extra bucks were quite welcome.

8.Kindergarten Teacher
Almost the antithesis of item #5, I spent four years in the Kindergarten classroom. First as a self-contained Kindergarten teacher and then two years of bliss as a Kindergarten teacher.
There truly is nothing like that job, nothing.
Teacher, mama, police officer, artisan, librarian, nurse, singer, dancer, comedian, poet, actress, the list of job descriptors could go on and on.

9. First Grade Teacher
The spring of 2005, the principal of my building confirmed I was moving to first grade. I was terrified.
I am not exaggerating when I say that I had greater trepidation about teaching first grade then my nuptials, which were held in October of that year. The enormity in my eyes laid in my belief that first grade was the core foundation for the rest of ones education. Kindergarten was a relative playground compared to first grade, where expectations were high for formal introduction to:
Mathematical thinking!
My fear easily gave way to adoration of the grade I feel I was born to teach. To this day, the greatest sense of accomplishment I have had outside my own family, has been directly related to my time in the first grade classroom.

10. Mother
What other job could take this cake?
The job I hold now is  filled with diaper blow-outs, sloppy kisses, and random ukulele serenades. I have my fill of goldfish crackers, apple juice and grilled cheese sandwiches. No day is ever the same and I couldn't imagine myself anywhere else right now...

except maybe here
 St. Barths
Someday we will meet again

Join in!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Shop Til You Drop

The car pulls up to the front of the building. With it's high staircase, and grey facade, I can't help but think funeral home; not the first image one wishes to associate with a bridal store.
Remembering what Colleen had instructed, I attempt to push that image out of my mind as we slowly exit the car.

This is her first time.

A Friday night wedding at the end of August, her wedding planning is in its infantile stage. A checklist of "to- do's" still quite long.
Flowers, D.J., Rings, Invitations can all be done at her leisure.

But not this.

The fear and anticipation of the event lies naked on her face.

She is not the girly type.

Rarely wearing make up, cleavage and heels are not part of her vernacular. Instead, she is sensible shoes and button downs. Weekends, rarely dresses to the nines, instead hoodies and jeans.  Her hair, with curls many spend hours recreating, usually pulled securely in a ponytail.

This is not typical Jeanna.

She hates shopping.

We know this.

Prior to picking her up, my mother, sister in law and I had the chance to talk. Anticipating the worst scenarios, laughter filled the confines of the car, at the expense of our bride to be. Her shopping history horrors gave us ammunition for our hesitations. Unfortunately, our expectations are low, very low for success this first trip.

Ascending the steep stairs, she walks first. Opening the large door, the crimson rug overtakes our senses as we enter.

Don't judge the appearance.

Colleen's voice resonant through my head, as my sister introduces herself to the two consultants.

The show room is shaped like the letter L, its perimeter a sea of white and clear plastic. Dresses line the walls, as posters of designers hang above. At the consultants insistence, we search. Holding up dresses a chorus emerges:

Too frilly.
Too shiny.
Not Jeanna.
Too much glitter.
Too lacy.
Too much.
No way!

Managing to find acceptable dresses, the pile grows large. The consultant asks Jeanna to the dressing room.

Jeanna looks to us.

Her eyes widen as her mouth downturns. On her chest, hives have created a red polka dot pattern.

Anxiety rears its ugly head.

"I am so not looking forward to this." she begins.

"You'll be fine," we coax. Our words usher her into the dressing room.

Slowly, with the first dress, a safe, predictable design, her first image as a bride emerges.

"I actually like it!" she says. A smile stretches across her face, as the consultant pulls the dress taught.

In agreement, we nod and offer supportive words, as she looks at her reflection. With each smile, a portion of her hesitation lifts.

Closing the door to try on another, she has changed. It is then, we agree it's a perfectly fine dress.

Fine, not a descriptor one should use for a wedding gown.

As the appointment progresses, the hives and the anxiety become distant memories as we watch, as my sister begins to enjoy herself shopping. Sporting various silhouettes and styles, shapes and fabrics, confidence and laughter overtake the room.

And then, like magic, it happens,


Two dresses that look phenomenal and beautiful. They are very different and will set the stage for the night the moment she hits the aisle. On top of that she actually adores both.

While I would love to disclose the details or even pictures, I will not. Mainly since I prefer to keep all my appendages! I will say, for those that know her in real life, with either design she will leave her audience floored...in a good way because they are so not Jeanna.

While she did not say yes to either dress that appointment, she left with a little spring in her step. The rest of our party was able to breathe a little easier as such low expectations left us all pleasantly surprised.

Today, we try store number two. Moira has asked to come today, and this time, I can safely say, I look forward to dress shopping.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Little Math

Double Ear Infection + Double Pink Eye = One Contagious Maeve

One Contagious Maeve + No School For Moira = Home Confinement

Home Confinement + Waking Hours = Movies + Playdough + Pajamas

Man Cold + Bryan - Sleep = Sick Day
Bryan's Sick Day + Home Confinement + 2 Girls = X
X = undefined

Ice Cream?


Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New Me?

First post of 2012, and how fitting I begin with what has become a great motivator this past year, Monday Listicles! This week, Theresa of Mountain Momma suggested we write of New Year's resolutions we intend to break.
That would be too easy. I could make some grand sweeping promises to myself, like loose a bunch of weight or try to train for a marathon, and with the imminent failure, find myself wallowing in guilt, Ben & Jerry's and cookies.

Instead, I will list my intentions for 2012.

Things I honestly Plan to Do this Year...

1. Continue to write. 
This blog has been made a priority for me, by me. It's my hobby, my enjoyment, and my closest thing to therapy. While I don't yet consider myself a "writer", the title of "blogger" fits me fine. 

2. Get my girls swimming independently. 
I need to enroll them in swim lessons, ASAP! We do a lot where water is involved (beach, Sesame Place, pools) and I can't have a four year old climbing all over me in fear. So this year, no more procrastination of the travel to the closest YMCA (11 miles),
they will learn how to swim!

3. Make more time for Bry & I
My girls are my world and on most days, that's perfectly fine and dandy.
But, there needs to be more time for he & I alone.
Conversation isn't overrated, and that not interrupted with "Mommy, ketchup?" and "Daddy, look at this noodle!" would be fabulous.

4. Learn how to roast a chicken.
I mess it up every.single.time.
How I can make homemade chicken & dumplings, banana bread, piergoies, and quiche, but continue to screw up chicken completely and utter confuses me.
This year, I will master the bird.

5. Do some of those crafts I have pinned on Pinterest.
Here's my Board.
Filled with inspiration, yes?
I have done one, yes 1, project thus far.
I will do more, maybe two?
Dare I say, FOUR projects this year inspired by my Pinterest pins.

6. Decorate our house
We have been in our home for nearly three years and still many of the walls are empty. I confess, we have frames, even some filled with photos and prints, but yet they have made it up on the wall.
I am slightly terrified of our plaster walls and the potential for things tearing/breaking, but sometimes beauty hurts, right?

7. Dress nicer
I feel like I look like slob most days. Thankfully with a shorter hair cut that requires only a little blow dry with a round brush in the morning, I look a little more put together. But, I need to do more for me in the attire department. I'm not saying a whole new wardrobe, but perhaps a little more variety.

8. Use the Playroom
With the addition of the drum kit in our playroom, I think this space will be a more desirable place for the kiddos. In turn, I need to make it more desirable for me. Kids could care less of organization, but for me, it's a necessity. So this year, I'll be making that place a place I want to be in as much as they do.

9. Get my sister hitched, and keep my sanity!
My sister is engaged and planning an August wedding.
I am her matron of honor.
There's about 8 months to go until the big day, and I know there's a infinite number of phone calls, emails and conversations to be hand between now & then related to said wedding.
Give me patience, please!
While we're on the pinterest topic, check out my wedding planning boards for her. Here & Here.

10. Enjoy it!
Somehow my kids are growing way too fast.
I cannot believe we will be celebrating Maeve's second birthday in a few weeks, and Mo is already talking incessantly about her Pirate themed fourth birthday bash for April.
Life is going on, and on, and it's my choice how I respond to it.
Do I sit passively watching it fly by, or do I jump in, and live it up?
I'm trying to do more the latter this year.
Trying to live a more full, happy, and joyful life in 2012.
Time to sweat the small stuff, and let things roll off my back.