Monday, April 30, 2012

Not to be Modest....

How often do we really take the time to celebrate those things for which we are good? Often, it's lists of things we need to improve or work on, (Hello New Year's Resolutions?).

Mommy Padawan offered this topic for Monday Listicles. She actually suggested two topics: gave us an option of writing a LIST ABOUT THINGS WE ARE GOOD AT or THINGS WE WOULD DO IN 48 HOURS WITH UNLIMITED MONEY AND RESPONSIBILITIES. 

Initially I was drawn to option two, with ideas of dining out, refurbishing our home, and a sit down with Martha Stewart, but I felt option one was the better. 

Not to be modest, but there are a few things I place myself in the exceptional category, and so I offer:

A List of Things For Which I Am Exceptional

1. I plan kick ass parties. 

Just look at the pictures: Sunshine, Pirate, Winter Wonderland, & Wizard of Oz. Our wedding was quite the fete and I'm currently immersed in Bridal Shower prep for my sister.
Speechless, right? 

From what I'm told and the parts I remember, our wedding was pretty fun. 

2. I can parallel park and drive backwards with ease. 

My dad was smart. When it was time for me to learn to drive, he passed the buck onto my mother. She grew up in a row house which was situated on a road classified as an alley. Navigating and parking a car was an adventure, and in turn she became quite the mistress of parallel parking and driving backwards. She passed her knowledge to my siblings as well as me. 
While my dad still struggles with parallel parking, the three of us are pretty damn good at it. 

Thanks Mom! 

3. I make cute kids.

Grant it, Bry had some hand in this one, but I'd like to think, since I birthed them and sustained their life for another 13 months breastfeeding, I can take most of the credit. 

4. I have a pretty accurate internal clock. 

I could, for all intensive purposes, remove the alarm clock from our bedroom because in the event I need to wake at a specific time, I will, within ten minutes prior. 

5. I can swim. 

It will be twenty-seven years in September, the first time I swam competitively. I still get in the water, and do at least 2500 yards twice a week. While it's nothing compared to my prime (see photo below) I still believe I could beat most people in a race. 

6. I can write. 

I know I'm not in the Pulitzer category, but I do realize that when I write here from the heart, I get a great response from those in my life, both in the cyber world and the real one. 

7. I am good with other people's kids. 

This is in reference to my former job as a first grade teacher. 

8. I remember things.

Kids' names, play date locations, who wore what to which event: those bits of information permeate my long term memory. If Bry ever does decide to run for Political Office, I know I'll be an awesome partner, whispering names into his ear. 

9. I can read quickly. 

I don't know if this is a good thing all the time, but being an avid reader, it does come in handy. I learned to read quickly during my short tenure at Catholic School with some individualized film strip quick reading program, and it has only helped me throughout my time in school and beyond. 

10. I am social.  

I rarely get nervous at events where I don't know anyone. I have no problem speaking to new people. Bry just might disagree and say I am too social, in that I have no problem speaking to new people anywhere- restaurants, sporting events, or even the line at the grocery store. 
I'm just nice, and I like to talk. 

What about you? What are your Ten?
Link up!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Little Baby Talk

Who doesn't love babies?

 Alison, author extraordinaire of Mama Wants This  is eagerly expecting the arrival of her "Scrumplet". In anticipation of this little guy's arrival, three of my other favorite bloggers, Ado of The Momalog, Erika M of Yeah Write, and Stasha of The Good Life are hosting a virtual baby shower.

I apologize for my delay, since the date was yesterday, however my time with a certain Miss Maeve at her milk challenge prohibited me from linking up.

For Ado's Game:
Alison, welcome to the parenting world of siblings!

For Erika's Game: 

Alison's due date is May 9. I've always liked 7 so, 
May 7 
While she does strike me as a fit and petite woman, I'm still putting his weight 
7lbs. 11 oz. (3.17514 kg)
and 21 inches seems like the universal baby length (53.34 cm) 

For Stasha's Game: 
If I were to give Alison a gift, of course I'd send her the following, truly something Pinterest worthy and fabulous!

The fact that this gift was actually pinned by me makes it that much more special. 

I'd send matching ones of these for Monkey & his baby brother

And of course, the Scrumplet could benefit from one of these:

And finally, since I do know Alison has a bit of a sweet tooth, I'd be sure she had a dozen of these:

Feel free to join in!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hanging in the Kiddie Section

This week in the land of Listicles, Stasha recommended we steer our lists in a more intellectual pursuit. I guess last week's  lists inspired by celebrity will do that to you.

This week we were asked to use books as our inspiration.

In my past life, as a former Kindergarten and first grade teacher, the majority of my day was spent teaching those little lovely  faces how to read. Phonics, direct instruction, guided reading, literacy centers were all part of my daily lexicon, as I guided those twenty some six and seven year old children into their first glimpse of the written word.

I loved my job!

That look,  the moment when a kid "gets it!" is simply amazing! It truly is one of the best feelings I have felt in my life.

In honor of my former profession, my list of ten this week takes me back to the early elementary classroom. I present: 
my most favorite children's book authors. 

Where to begin? 
Between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Witches,  these alone could have been enough. Yet his library goes on, including  Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda, and Esio Trot. Dahl's books are the most perfect pieces to use as a read aloud. His stories are magical for the young and old alike.

Why Spinelli? 
I think my adoration for Jerry Spinelli came because he's from my hometown. Perhaps it's the fact he dedicated a book to our middle school wrestling team. Check the liner notes to There's a Girl in my Hammerlock. Maybe it was his visit to my English class in eighth grade where he signed my copy of Night of the Whale that sealed the deal? 
But, I know the real, simple reason I adore Jerry Spinelli:
 Maniac Magee. 
What a read! 

3. David Shannon

I do believe if I were to every pen children's books, I would seek out David Shannon to be my mentor. His books are just plain funny, the stuff kids love, and tied up in these silly moments are honest, great themes. 
In our house, No! David!, How I Became a Pirate, and Duck on a Bike find themselves books of choice many a bedtime, and when a teacher, David Goes to School was the book I used to help develop our class rules. 
Finally,  A Bad Case of Stripes just might be
 my most favorite children's book 
Thank you for making it funny Mr. Shannon!

4. Robert Munsch
Did you know there's a book called Moira's Birthday?
I did not until right around my Moira's first birthday, and I felt like it was written for my baby.
Mo with her copy of Moira's Birthday
While this book makes my heart happy, and Munsch has a large list of books to his credit,  
mothers and fathers everywhere loves Robert Munsch simply because of these lines:

I'll love forever, 
I'll like you for always.
As long as your living, 
My baby you'll be. 
-Love You Forever

Thank you Mr. Munsch
for giving us a story that brings a tear to the eye with

5. Mo Willems
Yes, he has a pigeon on his head. 

If you are a Willems fan then you know why. 

His Pigeon series are a favorite among the emergent reading set because, well, talking pigeons doing things like driving buses and eating hot dogs is just plain silly!
In our house, we prefer the Knuffle Bunny series. His bibliography is quite expansive and touches on a variety of topics from extinction to "Time to Pee"

6. Eric Carle
Between his captivating illustrations and beautiful storytelling, Eric Carle may be one of America's best children's authors. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, his most popular book has been embraced by party planners and Pottery Barn alike, for it's fabulous theme. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst MA, displays his as well as other illustrators pieces, and works to promote the art of picture books. I personally love The Little Seed and Papa Please get the Moon for Me. 

7. Peter Sis
Peter Sis just recently came into our lives during a recent trip to the library. We discovered his series centered around a city girl named Madlenka. The city blocks are her playground and her love of soccer captivated my own soccer girl, Moira. Needless to say, this book has been checked out on numerous occasions. 
Sis embraces multiculturalism and diversity in his works, which I find is often missing in mainstream works for children, and for that we will continue to read. 

8. Sandra Boynton
Is there a baby shower in your future? 
If so, may I suggest a basket of books from Boynton? 
Her books primarily come in the board book form, making them the perfect introduction to reading for the drooling set. With titles like Snuggle Puppy, Going to Bed, Doggies, and our personal favorite, 
Moo Baa La La La, her books are short, sweet, and perfect to share while cuddling. 

9. Jan Brett
This is Mo & I with our buddy Jan Brett at book signing at our local grocery store
Jan Brett illustrations are amazing! 
Watching her draw in person is utterly fascinating, and the stories aren't too shabby either. The Mitten is my favorite of her pieces, as all the animals climb into that one stretched out white mitten. 

10. Dr. Seuss
A list of children's book authors without Seuss would be anything but complete. 
The godfather of children's literature, Seuss's prolific career gave us, the reader so many interesting pieces to read. His emergent reading pieces like Hop on Pop offered many children their first successes in reading aloud. While books like  The Grinch who Stole ChristmasThe Sneetches, Horton Hears a Who, Green Eggs and Ham, and the Lorax gave us entertaining pieces we could read again and again. 
Finally, there's The Cat in the Hat, a book, an image, a story embraced by all. 

Which author am I missing? 
Is there a book that still speaks to you even as an adult? 
Linking up with Stasha and her Monday Listicles. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Big Ol' Scoop

In my blog hopping, I came across Christina  of Finally Mom and her recent entry of Lovie in The Paper Mama's photo challenge.

What can I say, Christina? You inspired me. I perused my recent photos and found this one, which I do believe is the perfect submission for this week.

This week's topic: Multicolored

Nothing like some rainbow sprinkles to jazz up the first ice cream of the season!

The Paper Mama Photo Challenge

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Love can be shitty

To Mom Mom and any other person who will be offended by vulgarity. I apologize in advance. I fully intend to offer a rosary up as penance for this piece, though I do think God has a sense of humor.

"Whatever you had planned, can be put off! I'm going to take care of dinner tonight!" he starts. "I've got to be in Philly today, at the Convention center which means I'll be right next to the the Market*. How about I pick up some sausage & fish for dinner? I'll throw it on the grill. We can have a nice meal. What do you think?"

"Yippee! Sounds like a plan!" I eagerly respond. "Throw those chicken thighs back in the freezer."

Coming home from the park, just after six, he is in his glory in the kitchen preparing dinner.

"I got this fish, something called butterfish. It's like a white tuna. Supposedly it cooks well" he says as he holds up the sturdy piece of white fish. "I was considering doing a full fish."

I crinkle my nose in response.

"Glad I steered clear of the whole fish then. I got some green onions and asparagus too. I picked up a kielbasa for the girls. Should be a good dinner." he finishes, heading to the door. "I've got the grill warmed up. I'll be back in a few."

Dinner is fabulous.

The fish has a light buttery flavor which is further complimented by the garlic, onions, olive oil and lemon juice he uses as a marinade. The grilled asparagus and green onions have similar seasonings, creating quite a delicious meal.

And really, a meal cooked for you always does seem to taste that much better.

I quickly devour the fish.

"It's so light, yet has a steak like bite" I say. "Good pick, Babe."

"Thanks" he continues. "They had sword(fish), tuna, and some other stuff, but this looked pretty fresh. Plus, we like to try new things."

In between my own bites, I notice he has consumed little of his own.

"What's up?" I ask. "Aren't you feeling it?"

"Ah, it's okay." he says. "You know how it is. Most of the time when I cook something I end up not eating too much of it. It's just how it is. I cooked this because I know you love it."

I smile. "Thanks babe!" I offer.

"You know," he says, "the last time I think I really actually ate a lot of what I cooked was when I made that paella. Remember that? Ah, that was a good meal!"

"Yeah." I nod. "You did house that!"

I look down, and notice my plate is empty, save for a few pieces of scaly fish skin.

"Well, for me. You can totally pick up this butter fish again. Good pick!"

Having suffered a migraine earlier in the day, I head to bed earlier than usual.

I am surprised when I find Bry standing next to the bed, waking me up.

Glancing to the clock, it's just after midnight.

"Seriously?" I ask. "What's up? Is everything okay?"

"No." he says, in a serious tone. "You need to hear this."

I am awake now, anxiously awaiting his comment.

"What?" I ask. "What's up?"

"You're going to hate me. Remember that fish you just ate?" he starts, panic in his voice.

"Yeah, what about it?"

"You know how we've never heard about it before?"


His voice is calm as he responds, "So I googled it and well, it can cause anal leakage."

"What the fuck are you talking about?" I ask, my voice now just under shouting.

"Apparently, it's some sort of fish, called escolar but people also call it white tuna or butterfish. It has some thing in it similar to that shit that used to be chips. You know, that olestra crap?" he rambles.

"Wait a second, that olestra crap made people shit themselves, right? That stuff was horrible!" I say.

"Well, this fish has something similar in it and it causes people to basically have liquid poo." he says.

"Why do they sell this? Who would eat it then? Why didn't we know?" I ask, wondering what sane person would consume such a food.

"Can you believe people consider it a delicacy?" he continues, "Some people eat it as sushi. But the magic number is 6 ounces. From what I read, if you eat under 6 ounces you'll be fine."

I take a breath and then ask, "How much would say was my piece?"

"7 ounces." he can't help but laugh as he responds.

"Fuck me. How long will this shit last?" I say.

He looks to me and says, "Well that's the main reason I woke you up. I didn't want you freaking out, thinking you were just farting in the middle of the night, and then it ends up you shit yourself, not just poo, but orange-yellowish oil that you can't control. There seems to be a consensus between 30 minutes and 36 hours for you to process this."

I am in disbelief this time. "It might take a day and a half for me to shit this shit out?"

"Well" he finishes, "I just wanted you to know. You know, so you don't freak out. You know, just in case you shit yourself."

"I guess I should say thanks?" I ask. "Really, I mean thanks for the heads up, but don't get that fish ever again."

He inches closer, kissing me on my forehead. "Good night babe. I love you so much and I'm so sorry about this fish shit. Sleep tight."

"Yeah, thanks" I say, as I turn over adjusting the pillow under my head.

Thankfully, the cast iron stomach I have inherited from my father keeps the escolar from doing it's damage. However, the simple threat of its power keeps me from sleeping soundly that night, for fear of my own ass leaking orange-yellow excrement.

Needless to say, the next time Bry heads to the Market, butterfish will not be on the shopping list.

After that, holy emotional post Batman! that was my submission last week, I've decided to link this stellar piece with Yeah Write! I really can't wait to read this comments. Please feel free to submit ideas for alternative titles, because, well, anal leakage brings out the best in everyone!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


When we picked up the car from the Kia dealership, I marveled at the silver body. I eagerly adjusted the driver's seat to the right specifications for my frame and with a subtle tilt of the mirror, I comfortably pulled out from the dealership.

As the proud owners of our first minivan, away I drove, down the highway, heading home.

It was on that very first ride that I soon noticed another Kia Sedona minivan driving slowly in the right lane just in front of me. Never had I noticed cars of this make and model before, but that day, there is was, immediately to my right.

From that first trip since, it seems there has been an influx of Kia Sedonas on the road.

With each trip behind the wheel, be it a quick jaunt to the grocery store just around the block or a long ride down to the shore, I see Kia Sedona. It seriously seems that once we had purchased this car, their presence has multiplied in the great Philadelphia region.

Of course, intellectually I realize that this phenomenon has nothing to do with a surge in Kia ownership but rather prior to our purchase I was simply ignorant. I failed to notice the amount and frequency of these minivans out and about, since they had yet to permeate my brain as a loyal Kia owner.

Simple logic?

Until this purchase was personal, I never had a reason to take notice of others in the same situation.

Unfortunately this logic has found it's way into my life in another manner.

Since my miscarriage in December, it seems that with each turn of my head, I'm bombarded with pregnancy.

Never had I noticed the amount of pregnant bumps until I was longing for one of my own.

I see them everywhere.

Sights of bellies at the park, walking down the street, or at the grocery store. Facebook, Twitter, and blogs seem to suddenly have higher references to pending delivery dates. Even celebrities have gotten more fertile. (hello, Snooki? Tori Spelling is pregnant again in what seems like a minute after delivering kid 3)

Either people have started having a lot more sex or it's just me.

It's just me.

I know this.

Rationally, I do.

But it doesn't make my heart ache less.

That pregnancy I lost was a pregnancy we wanted. The idea of a third child was something we had embraced and looked to eagerly.  It was desired, wished, and already imagined, and then it ended.

Dealing with loss is not fun.

The physical pain has longed since ended for me, and emotionally I am fine,

most of the time.

It's on the rare occasions I see a mother hand in hand with her two little kids like me, yet  pregnant again that jealousy invades.

It's in the stray comments that previously would have been overlooked, which suddenly carry more weight.

It's there when Moira goes into explicit detail describing the new baby brother she so desires, that my heart sinks.

It comes to the surface when a mother from preschool initiates a conversation about future children, that I think it may never happen again.

The emotions from this loss still haunt me. Less than before, but still they creep in.

I want to have another baby.

And just like those Kia Sedonas on the road, I do believe that for as long as I have baby on this brain, I will continue to see those pregnant bellies out and about.

Because it's Tuesday, and I can't quit 'em
I'm linking up:

And because this post is rather sappy and the stuff I believe Shell thought of when creating PYHO...

Growing Up

Sometime between the lost sleep, and tears, 
between the tickles and giggles, 
a toddler slowly disappeared. 
In her place an articulate and independent creature, 
filled with opinions, values, and voice emerged. 
Strong and stubborn, 
she knows what she wants. 

Running too fast, 
she falls unexpectedly to the ground. 
I suffocate the hush as I wait. 
Determined and driven, 
she picks herself up, 
dusting off her knees, 
holding back the tears.
Her eyes meet mine, 
as she forces a smile across her face. 
"I'm a big kid now, Mom" she says, 
reassuring both of us that she is okay. 

And when I see her run and play, 
now at four years old, 
I see that bigger kid
and I'm okay too. 

Is there a photo that inspired a story or post? 
Join in! 
Linking up with the fantastic Galit and Alison with their monthly meme: 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Who's up for a play date?

Stasha, Stasha, Stasha! How did you know I needed some light and fluffy inspiration for this week's listicles?

This week's topic: A list inspired by what she classifies as "Trashy Magazines".

Growing up, while others watched the evening news after dinner, we gathered around the TV for our nightly viewing of Entertainment Tonight. No Time or the New Yorker in our mailbox, in it's place People, Entertainment Weekly, and for some time, Soap Opera Digest. Raised on a diet of pop culture, my general knowledge of celebrity is quite ridiculous, and I blame it all on my mother.

In attempt to refrain from seeming like a nut, and to keep my mommy rep in check, I've decided to broach this topic in the following way.

Six Celebrities I would happily invite over for a Play date

1. Reese Witherspoon

I once read she would have gone to medical school had she not followed the acting dream, and honestly she seems like she's somewhat competent. We'd lounge in the backyard, drinking fruity drinks with umbrellas, a la Legally Blond while her older children would play problem free with my own. 

2. Jennifer Garner

Doesn't she just scream "CLASS MOM" material?
 I mean besides the whole dramatic history of kicking ass as Sydney Bristow in Alias and Elektra in Daredevil and the movie of the same name. (I forgive you Jen, for Elektra), she seems so down to earth. Dare I say, real?   Her children are close in age to my own, so they'd keep each other engage, while we'd talk about her travel, work out schedule and marriage to Ben.

3. Tori Spelling

She loves to craft.
 I love to party plan filled with crafty madness. 
She's got a house full of kids. 
I have two crazy munchkins. 
Sounds like a match made in heaven to me.

4. Amy Adams

She has a little girl a few months younger than Maeve, so up in our playroom, the kids could find refuge, while I could scope out where Amy and her stylist found that fabulous wardrobe I so drool after from The Muppets. Not only is her wardrobe lovely, but the movie's pretty good too. 

5. Alyson Hannigan 

While I wasn't a Buffy fan, I am a hardcore How I Met Your Mother one. Her portrayal of Lily is fantastic. She seems like a fun chick, who'd be interesting to chat in between rescuing our kids' as they climb, run, and slide at the playground. 

6. Maya Rudolph

I know it's normally Tina Fey that gets all the love, but my money's on Maya. She seems like she'd be just the mom I'd want to share a bottle of wine while our kiddos play at our feet. I foresee us spontaneously breaking out in comedic song or brainstorming ideas for skits on SNL. 
A girl can dream. 

Four Celebrities I would hesitate to invite over for a Play date

1. Alicia Silverstone

Frankly, I'd be afraid she'd try to mama bird feed my kids. 
While I sometimes have issues with Maeve swallowing her food before she chews enough, the thought of chewing it for her has never once entered my mind. Never. 

2. Snooki

Not a mama yet, but based off of past wardrobe decisions, I have a fear that Mo & Maeve might look like a combination of mini beauty pageant contestants and waitresses from Hooters. 
Not good. 
Not good at all. 

3. Angelina Jolie

My kids are awesome.
They're really cute and well behaved.
They take good photos.
I could totally see her trying to adopt them. 
Hands off, Angie!

4. Any woman from the Real Housewives series

The fact they are willing to tape their everyday life, including their children, leaves a rather bad taste in my mouth. I wouldn't want my children's lives to be on that side of the screen, for the general public viewing pleasure, for mass consumption. 

Where does your mind go with celebrity as your inspiration? 
Write it down and join in with Stasha & her Listicles!