Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The After

It's October 31, Halloween.
The costumes are ready.
The candy has barely been touched.

However this year, our neighborhood will remain quiet.

Halloween has been postponed until Monday, November 5.

I live in New Jersey.

Add this to the list of things Hurricane Sandy has stolen.

Poverty Beach, Cape May NJ
Courtesy of Exit Zero

We are a state that has it all: gorgeous shoreline, cute suburbs, access to major cities, farms filled with fresh produce,  and one of the most diverse populations.

While many across the U.S. may joke of us, I honestly believe it's out of ignorance.

My New Jersey is a great state.
It boasts colorful scenery.
It's people are smart, dynamic, and strong.
We work hard.
We play hard.
We care.

Our beaches are beloved.

Treasures, I dare say, that many outsiders flock during the summer months. Sand and surf, warm sun on one's shoulders.  There is a place for everyone along our shoreline- couples, families, singles, gay, straight, old, young.

We have a beach for you.

At least, we did before Sandy.

In my little suburban town, we have been very lucky. A good hour from the shoreline, we weren't hit nearly as bad as anticipated. Our street went unscathed. With the exception of a few flickers, power never was lost. No trees or branches down. There were no major catastrophes. My friend eight blocks away still waits for the two trees and wires which have taken residence in the middle of her street to be removed so her power can be restored, but she is seems to be the exception.

School is back in session.
Mail has been delivered.
I just watched as public works tossed large sticks, branches, and other debris from our neighbor's yard into their truck for removal.
Life is attempting to go back to normal,
but how can we?

Not when we can't help but survey the damage that has occurred to these places we love.

Entire communities have been destroyed.

Boardwalks completely swept away.
Sand and water overtaking house after house.
Flooding forcing evacuation.

The storm is over, but it's aftermath is here.

It's real.

South Inlet section of Atlantic City, NJ
Edward Lea, Press of Atlantic City
Halloween is postponed for us this year as many in my State wait.

The Pier at Seaside Heights NJ
Fox 5
Not for trick or treaters or candy, but for the return of power. They wait for permission to return to their houses to survey their homes. They wait for insurance company calls, and promises of money to rebuild.
They wait for the hum of the refrigerator, the flicker of lights, the buzz of the television.

They wait for life to go on as usual, but have no time line as to how this can or will happen.

This Halloween will be like no other, as we in New Jersey recover from hurricane Sandy.

Wondering what you can do to help? 

Donate money here

Do you need assistance? 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


It's bedtime yesterday evening. As I follow Moira into her bedroom, thoughts of Halloween enter my mind. With our first costume necessary event this Friday, I mentally prepare my "to do list" in those few footsteps from her door to her bed. As she cuddles underneath her blanket pulling her stuffed Build a Bear closer, my mind wanders to Maeve's costume.

Recently obsessed with all things purple, twirly, and girlie, it really should have been no surprise that she would want to dress as Rapunzel. After scouring the web for the best deal, I remembered Target. Not the Halloween section, but rather the Princess aisle. Unlike the $39.99 version of Rapunzel with extra puffy sleeves and wig, I scored the $20 dress made for dressing up. It's a little less fussy than it's more expensive counterpart, but for a two and half year old, it's practically perfect.

A little over six months ago, on her own intitative, Maeve asked for big girl panties and started with little fanfare or effort peeing on the toilet. It was quite a different experience than her older sister who's rebellion toward all things toileting took us to the week after her third birthday when the threat of "no preschool or soccer" finally motivating Moira to give up diapers permanently. Maeve starting using the potty and waking dry from naps and bedtime in what seemed like overnight.

However, things aren't that simple.

We are in poo hell here.

Pear juice.
Fiber gummy bites.
Purchases of children laxatives.

All in an effort to get her to go.

Screw the panties. We just want her to go, as we encountered a nearly five day span where she held it. That was not fun for any of us.

What to do? What to do?

Like any good parent out there,
we tried praise.
We tried stickers,
and little toys.

Mo has done her own version of a song and dance in a failed attempt to encourage her little sister.
"Don't you want to be a big kid like me?" she asks.

Maeve deadpans, "Nope. I little kid."

I'll admit it, we're at the bribery stage now.
What can we do to get this kid to use the toilet?

A-ha! Halloween!
With the purchase of the Rapunzel costume: Motivation!

Bry and I thought we had this parenting problem tackled. We'll get the dress. Tell her she can't wear it and go trick or treating unless she starts going on the potty and all our problems solved.

In theory, this is a great plan.

Reality, I'm dealing with a two and half year old.
All bets are off.

Holding that lovely purple dress, dancing it in front of Maeve's face, I begin, "If you want to be Rapunzel for Halloween you need to poop on the potty. Okay babes?"

"Nope. I no like Rapunzel. I be bad guy now and I poop in my diapy".

"You don't want to be Rapunzel? You don't want to wear this beautiful dress? This purple twirly dress that is so lovely?" I plead.

"No. I no poop in potty. I little kid." she insists.

Obviously, not the result I intend.

Alas, the dress disappears for a bit, out of sight in the purple room- a.k.a. our guest/dumping room.

This happened at the beginning of the month, and so over the past few weeks, I have on occasion, taken the dress out, paraded it in front of Maeve only to encounter the same response.

"I no poop on the potty. I no be Rapunzel. I little."

This takes us to last night, in Moira's room.

We are currently clearing out that Purple room to transform it into Maeve's big girl room. There have been various bags of trash, clothes, and miscellaneous items hidden in white garbage bags. Taken to the curb, consignment and family members.

For a brief moment last night, the thought I mistakenly placed that Rapunzel costume in a rogue bag entered my mind.

"Mo, I need to go check something out" I said, leaving her in her bed as I checked the nearly empty purple room for the Rapunzel dress. Opening the closet, I find the various toys I have hidden, a few extra blankets, and the blow up mattress, but no dress.

Returning to Mo's room, I open her closet, hoping the dress is hanging.

It is not.

"Whatcha looking for Mama?" she asks.

"I can't find Maevie's Rapunzel costume." I mutter between sorting through various clothing. "I haven't seen it anywhere."

"I know where it is." she says calmly.

"Uh? What did you say?"

Climbing out of her bed, she takes the few steps across her room to the dresser. A small space remains between the wall and the side of the dresser, where some stray frames needing to be hung reside. Reaching over the framed pieces, she pulls out the purple, twirly dress.

"Here it is." she says. "I hid it from Maevie. She not want to poop on the potty, so she not get Rapunzel dress."

Looks like someone has taken on the role of mother in this moment.

Thanking her for looking out for her little sister, I remind her that it's my job as mommy to take things away from Maeve when needed. I explain that while I'll need some help with this new baby, I'm still the one in the charge.

I think she gets it.
I hope she gets it.

Giving her a huge hug, her big blue eyes look up to me and she says, "You know Mama, I poop on the potty, 'cause I a big kid. I get to be Jessie for Halloween and you don't have to take away my costume, right? Because I listen and do what's right? Right?"

"I know, Mo." I respond. "I know you're my big kid". I give her one more big hug, and stick her favorite teddy bear under her arm. "I know."

The dress has been found. Halloween is just over a week away and our path to pooping on the potty has not changed. I guess Maeve's stubborn nature is stronger than my resolve, as I can't help but let her dress as her beloved Rapunzel for Halloween.

But at least, I know that if I need an enforcer, there's always Moira!

Monday, October 15, 2012

What's changed?

I look at pictures from when I was younger, and think, "damn, why did I waste time thinking I was fat?"

Honestly though, it's crazy looking back at old photos and generally reminiscing about life before adulthood, and by "Adulthood" I mean the time before mortgages, children, & droopy boobs. Stasha over at the Good Life's weekly meme Monday Listicles gives us an opportunity to brainstorm and list. This week it was Christine, over at Random Reflectionz asked us to list up Ten Ways you are either the same or different than your younger self.

Inspired by this list, I have decided to branch off a bit, and offer the following.

Ten Words Whose Definitions Have Changed Over the Years

1. Friday Night

Evening begins around ten p.m. and includes multiple alcoholic drinks, suggestive dancing, and a wardrobe that accentuates curves and boobs.

Pizza or take out, pajamas, and passing out into a bowl of ice cream while sprawled on the sofa while watching Fringe. After maintaining one is not exhausted, one succumbs to the comfort bed before eleven o'clock news theme has finished.

2. Sleeping Late

Making it to McDonald's in time for breakfast is a victory. More likely than not, brunch at the local bagel shop before noon is the norm.

7:30 am M-F
And because it's the weekend, 7 am.

3. Hair

Stylish cut and highlights to add depth and dimension to one's hair. Daily blow out and style, a must.

Cut to slim the face, and color to hide the grays. Blow out when necessary, to the point the kids ask, "Whatcha do to your hair mama?"

4. Dining Out

8:30 reservation, party of two, cocktails, appetizers, entrees, desserts with after dinner drinks. A hefty price tag and a three hour meal.

If we're lucky, 6:30 party of four, bread and crackers to hold over the two while their chicken fingers and grilled cheese is being prepared, while Mom & Dad play rocks, paper, scissors to decide who gets to drink!
That of course, is the scenario if we're not eating at a diner or Panera.

5. Halloween

A time to be a slutty school girl a la Britney Spears, sexy nurse, or sport some other inappropriately short and almost indecent costume, while attending a Halloween party with others in inappropriately nearly indecent costumes, engaging in keg stands, jello shots, and beer pong.

Staring in disbelief as one's four year old points to inappropriately, nearly indecent Halloween costume in catalog and maintains that that is the costume of her choice this year. Celebrating the change to Jessie from Toy Story, while putting off the anxiety that will come with Halloween costume shopping with a tween.

6. Working Out

Arriving at the gym after work, to attend various classes with favorite teacher at whichever time listed on the schedule.

Does running up the stairs count?
Because attempting to make it to a class at the gym that doesn't interfere with school pick up/drop off, meal time or nap time, is next to impossible.

7. Birthdays

A time to drink and party and eat some cake!

Screw the party, give me the cake!

8. Fertility

Two Words: The Pill


9. Minivan

I'll never.

Insert Hallelujah chorus here: 

How does one with children live without it?

10. My Body

I need to loose a few pounds.
I think I'm attractive some days.
Thank God, my boobs are looking good.

I need to loose a lot of weight after this next kid pops out.
It's amazing what a shower, a little make up, and a blow out can do for one's appearance.
God, my boobs are enormous right now!

What's changed or stayed the same for you over the years?
Link up!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pay it Forward

This weekend should have been lovely, as we celebrated seven years of wedded bliss yesterday. Unfortunately, our purse strings have been tightened yet again, as some unexpected purchases have come our way. Three flat tires- of which two needed to be replaced, one clogged toilet, and a broken cable box all within in the past forty-eight hours, what else, I ask, can or will go wrong?

Oh yeah, from November 7 on, I will be spending an hour or so a week hanging out in the maternal fetal medicine specialist for non-stress tests.

Don't get stressed out over it, right?

I know you're jealous.

Stasha has asked us to list Ten Compliments today. It's hard my friends, when I feel like there's so much crap going on, but I am an optimist.

My glass is perpetually half full, so I will find ten.

I will.
I will.

1. AAA- you are a lifesaver! I am so thankful for your quick response, and you are worth every penny. That mechanic you sent over was a master of changing tires in no time flat. Amen!

2. The Electric Company - So while you have introduced Mo & Maeve to the fine art of rap, you also have taught them some very great lessons in emergent literacy and reading.

3. Local Diner- I must thank you for the fabulously delicious bacon, Swiss, & tomato omelette your kitchen perfected this morning. It's nearly five o'clock, and I am still satisfied. Yum!

4. My Mom - Your knack for scouring the racks at consignment stores is second to none. Thank you for finding those faux Uggs for Maeve and the new sneakers for Mo. Two less items on my fall to buy list.

5. Moira - Thank you for deciding to nap today. Mama needed the time alone. Yes, it was to watch the trainwreck that is Breaking Amish,  but it was nice to watch a show during daylight hours without a kid over my shoulder. Plus, I know the rest was much needed.

6. My Maternal Fetal Medicine Doctor -While you did give me some news I'd rather not have heard regarding the non-stress test, I must commend you on your standard of care. I honestly trust this office- the doctors, the nurses, and the staff more so than any other I have ever met with in the course of my life. Plus today, with open arms you welcomed my two little loves into the ultrasound room as they gazed at their future brother or sister.

7. Tastykake - One word: Kandykakes! How practically perfect those delicious treats are.

8. Maeve- Thank you for your eternally sunshiny personality. Picking you up after each nap, with a smile on your face reminds me how silly in the scope of the world are these "problems".

9. Stasha & her Listicle Crew- Without this motivation, I would have been wallowing in my problems today. Taking this moment to look on the sunnier side has made me that much more thankful.

10. Bryan - I must offer my thanks for unclogging said toilet, for sitting at the tire place for close to five hours waiting for both cars to be fixed, and finally for offering to put the girls the bed. Thank you for taking care of us, and happy seven (or sixteen)!

Who or what deserves your thanks or compliments today?