Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Little Game

Do you know who this band is? 

As this band has overtaken the preschool set and currently sits #2 on Billboard's Kids Album charts. Their short catchy little ditties have the ability to permeate one's brain and get kids off their feet, hip, hop & popping about. 

The Fresh Beat Band  seems to be everywhere: 
on TV, 
the radio, 
nearly selling out a  national tour.
Try as I might to hate them, 


I like the Fresh Beats! 

There, it's out in the big old blogosphere. 

I Like the Fresh Beat Band,

Actually I should elaborate on that point. 

I LIKE the Fresh Beat Bands Music. 

They seem to be popping out more tunes then Taylor Swift! Is it just me or are those lyricist on to something? With that being said, 
how about a little game of Fresh Beat or Not? 

The rules are simple. 
There are ten sample selections of lyrics. The game is to decpiher whether they are  a Fresh Beat song or that from the Grammy class of 2012. 

Guess whom these lyrics belong. Get out your pens and paper. 

Answers will be revealed at the bottom of the page. 

Let's Play!

Quote 1:
If you're feeling kinda stuck and you just can't shake it.
You need a fresh new plan but you just can't make it.
Well don't give up, nuh, just don't you quit,
C'mon let loose, and do a banana split.

Fresh Beat or Not?

Quote 2:
He got that Super Bass
Boom Badoom Boom
Boom Badoom Boom Bass
Yeah that's that super bass.

Fresh Beat or Not?

Quote 3:
Throw your soul through every open door
Count your blessings to find what you look for
Turn my sorrow into treasured gold

Fresh Beat or Not? 

Quote 4: 
I jump up like the sun 
Cause a new adventure has just begun
I can barely wait to lace up my shoes
Morning's like a smile I can't refuse

Fresh Beat or Not? 

Quote 5: 
Get yourself on the dance floor right now
Get your music on
I know you know how
Let the rhythm take over your two feet.

Fresh Beat or Not? 

Quote 6:
You don't have to feel like a waste of space
You're original cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Fresh Beat or Not?

Quote 7:
Turn up the lights in here, baby.
Extra bright. I want y'all to see this. 
Turn up the lights in here, baby. 

Fresh Beat or Not?

Quote 8:
Your the smile that makes time fly by
You make me laugh
You don't have to try

Fresh Beat or Not?

Quote 9: 
Just shoot for the stars
If it feels right
And aim for my heart
If you feel like

Fresh Beat or Not? 

Quote Ten:
Hey Girls, Shout it out
Put your Hands up
Put your Hands up

Fresh Beat or Not? 

That was 10. 
Are you ready for those results? 

1. Fresh Beat

2. Not 

3. Not

4. Fresh Beat

5. Fresh Beat

6. Not

7. Not

8. Fresh Beat

9. Not

10. Fresh Beat

Nicki Minaj! 
Katy Perry! 
And the Queen of the Grammy 2012 Adele too!
Yup, I went there. 
So how did you do? 

They are a catchy little group, right? I bet you even enjoyed it a bit too. 

Linking up with Yeah Write for my weekly punishment!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Where's the Party?

Growing up, did you like school?

Does the thought of returning to see those folks stir up emotion? 


Rachel at Totally Ovar It asked us Listicle participants to weigh either the pros or cons of attending one's school reunion. 
First hand experience from attending my ten year has led me to realize my list of pros for attending another class reunion has all but disappeared, and this comes from a gal who had a fairly okay time during high school. Attending my reunion did help my sister, whom as former class President, better prepare for her own ten year reunion two years later. She learned what NOT to do from the crappy evening that ensued, and from my own experience I can share the 
Ten Ways to Prevent One's Class Reunion from Turning 
into a Lame Ass party. 

1. Pick a Good Location
Unless it's a prom or a wedding, most people are not up for a random Friday night in a cheesy ballroom.

2. Pick an appropriate sized location.
To piggy back #1, having an over sized, ornate venue only half filled makes for a rather sad and depressing site.

3. Set the site to encourage communication
A wedding reception it is not, so steer clear of large formal tables and chairs. Such an environment prevents easy communication which is the exact opposite motivation for the evening. High small tables, food stations throughout the room, a bar all encourage guests to get up and move.

4. Have decent food
One does not want a sit down four course dinner at a class reunion.  Offer a wide variety of appetizers and snack type food and spread them out throughout the site.

5. Make sure there's a Bar
Sounds rather self explanatory to me.
Nicely staffed and stacked. Liquor makes people talk, share, and laugh freely. It also makes them slur words, get overly touchy, and emotional, so make sure to have good bartenders too.

6. Use Social Media
Attempting to swirl up classmates from the great divide has just gotten easier through Facebook and other social networking sites. Using them to encourage attendance is an easy way to expand the guest list.

7. Bury the Hatchet
(Or at least for the night)
Gossiping and whispering is so, well....high school.
And aren't we so over that?
Suck it up for the evening, paste on a smile and be nice to everyone. Far more easier then being bitchy to some twit who was mean in fifth period Spanish ten years ago.
Kill 'em with kindness.

8. Talk it up
Isn't that why one attends a class reunion?
To have a reunion with members of the class, conversation is a must. Ask lots of questions, people generally love talking about themselves and listen. Surprises may be in store when life successes (and sometimes failures) are revealed throughout the night.

9. Dress Appropriately
Again, it's a reunion, not prom. Skip the formal attire.  Also, since all the guests have graduated the same year, chances are the ages are all rather similar. Skip the junior aisle for something more age appropriate.

10. Have Fun.
Even if the food sucks, the liquor is in short supply, and the venue seems more funeral then party, make it work! Chances are the person you are now, as an adult is far more self assured and interesting than that teen at graduation.

What do you think? Solid rules and did they apply for your reunion or did you not go? Have a story to share or reasons why?
 Feel free to link up!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Traditionally, during the Lent, those forty days and nights leading up to Easter, one gives up something they value. My friend Aly, a soda fanatic, is giving up Mountain Dew and any other carbonated beverage, while my Mom is giving up carbs. I assume my sister Jeanna is giving up cake, cookies, and sweets, as is her usual. Up until early this morning I had intended to give up ice cream, just as I have every year since childhood.

Waking up before the girls this morning, I lay in my bed, eyes closed, letting my mind wander. During those minutes, I went over my plan for the day. First to the library, for our usual story hour, then I will venture to Church alone with the girls for the first time for Ash Wednesday services. I truly hope God has a sense of humor, as I do believe Moira may lose her crap when and if the priest attempts to put ashes on her head.

It was in those minutes I thought about how I spend my day, my usual every day. I will admit I became quite embarrassed as I calculated the amount of time I spent tweeting, blog hopping, Facebooking, pinteresting, and the like.

For all the time I spent on social networking sites, I am losing out on honest, real life socialization.

I am guilty of forgoing playing with my children on occasion for blogging. It abhors me to think of those moments when they ask to play and I respond, "One more minute!" while I'm pinning silly crafts on Pinterest.
Those conversations I could have had with Bry at night are instead missed will I tweet and read updates on facebook.

How much time do I authentically spend in the moment: playing? talking? interacting? really listening?

Not enough.

I can do better.

I will do better.

This year for Lent, I will be giving up my social networking dependence. Starting today, I will eliminate those moments I spend in front of the computer when my children are awake and instead actively become involved. Bye Bye morning twitter and Facebook! No more pinning in between preschool pick up and lunchtime. And maybe, just perhaps all those pins I have on my pin board for Kids will come in handy?

Ben & Jerry's your safe this year, as I'm giving up my bad mommy habits this year for Lent.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Cleaner

What does your mother do for a job? 

My mom had always wanted to be "just a mom" and so upon graduating high school in the business track. She spent a few years as a secretary before marriage. Stay at home motherhood began a little over nine months later with the birth of me, and for the next fifteen or so years, she relished in that role. 

As stay at home motherhood became less of a full time position for her it became necessary for her to get a job. Without a professional degree and only a few years passed as a secretary, she was left to her own devices. After a not so nice few years being bullied at the local eye doctor's office, she decided to make it on her own.  Having a great report with children, she ran a daycare out of our home. After getting her fill of changing other children's crappy diapers, she took a turn into house cleaning full time. She has since become a pet sitter, house sitter, works at the childcare area at the local Y, and most recently procured a job at the local large chain grocery store.

Tired yet? 

One would think that her time as a house cleaner would be the catalyst to keep my own home meticulous. 


I hate cleaning. 

I never find myself motivated to clean. I never have been propelled to leave the couch to sweep the floor. Never has it been deemed a necessity to scrub the oven with a toothbrush or mop the hardwoods with Murphy oil soap & water. 

So in turn this week's topic for listicles chosen by Wendy of ten things you'd rather do then clean the house was simply too obtuse. 

I'd rather do anything then clean. 

I've decided to take this one and turn it about a bit. Consider it an ode to our cleaning lady, Denise. 

10 Things I'd be Willing to Give Up to Keep our Cleaning Lady

1. My gym membership 

2. Buying Organic

3. Bravo TV 
(GASP- no housewives or Top Chef!) 

4. Some of our cable stations
(really do we need nearly 1000 channels?)

5. Take out meals

6. My collection of Flip Flops 

7. Mo's nap
(yes, I went there)

8. Wawa
This probably would  be worse at 10 pm on any given weekday when I'm jonesing for some Ben & Jerry's. 

9. Facebook & Twitter

10. Pedicures

What would you rather be doing then housework? Feel free to join the link up!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Morning Surprise

I shouldn't have shared our secret.

Or that I'm that mom.


It's the one where I shared how we split the "disgusting" in our household:
Jackie = Team Poo, while Bry is Team = Puke. 

I should have known better then to divulge this information to the blogosphere. 

I should have kept my big mouth shut. 


I can feel the sand between my toes, as I head into the crisp, blue sea. The salty air hitting my face, as the sea gulls fly over head. I am someplace exotic, warm, and tropical. All my worries gone, as I wade deeper in the water. 

"Mom! Mommy! Mommy!" the voice sounds far away, perhaps out in the sea. 

"Hmm?" I ask, blocking the rays from my face. "what?"

"Mom! MAMA!" the voice louder, as I turn around and

open my eyes. 

Lying in my bed, cuddled between the sheets, I hear my name again. 

6:12 am. 

Leaving my paradise behind, I stumble across the hallway to Maeve's room. Her sweet voice calling my name again. 

Opening the door, the glow of her nightlight shines on her face. 

"What's going on Shine?" I ask, walking around to the side of the crib, when I see it. 

All of it has been overtaken. 

The sheets, 

the stuffed animals,

the pajamas, 

the crib slats, 

all covered in vomit. 

"Hi mom!" she says, reaching her arms up to me. Her pajamas and sleep sack covered in the same reddish hue. 

F**K ME, as I feel my dinner from the night before churning in my stomach.

Carefully picking her up from the confines of the vomit filled crib, I manage to supress my own vomit, as I disrobe her. Her face, hair, and hands have somehow managed to stay clean.

Yeah, thank you God!

So I slap some new pjs on her with the intention of sweeping her up and plopping her in my bed as Bry takes over. 


Her baby blues look up to me.


Looking to the shelf where they lay, it's empty. 


My eyes scan the contaminated crib. 

Crap again

Among the small piles of regurgitated dinner, I see it. 

Crap to the fourth

"Paci!" she cries, nuzzling her head into my shoulder. She rolls her face towards me and says it again as our eyes meet, "Paci?"

Crapty Crap Crap!

I did not sign up for this. I'm TEAM POO! This is obviously vomit, so what the hell am I doing sticking my hand into a vomit filled crib grabbing a plastic paci that will eventually return to her mouth? 

Somehow, I manage to pick up, with only my fingertips the blue plastic sucker. Dangling it out front, as far from my nasal passages as possible, I head into the bathroom. Thinking the pressure from the spout will be enough to wash off the puke, I hold it under.


It's dried a bit, so I must actually, between gags, use my fingers to scrap off the dried puke, now reconstituted in the water to wet puke.

Yes, dried puke introduced to water now has become wet puke again* and like the go getter parent I am, I'm scrubbing it off into my recently cleaned bathroom sink.

*I just threw up in mouth a bit when I typed that sentence. 

Getting the paci back to acceptable cleanliness, I plop that baby in her mouth, and into our bedroom we roll.

Climbing into the bed, pulling the covers up over the toddler resting on my chest, I nudge sleeping Bry, hard.

"Maeve has puked all over." I say.

Hearing puke must have alerted his senses, because this is most awake I've ever seen him before seven am.

"You need to clean it up, " I mutter, as I close my eyes.

"Got it!" he says, wiping the sleep from his own eyes, as he heads out the door akin to a Zombie.

Not more then a minute later, he's awake, wide awake, as he pushes open the door again to say, "Oh my God Jac, what the f--k did she do? I don't even know where to start?"

"I'd get some paper towels and the spray downstairs." I say, closing my eyes again, readjusting the covers around Maeve and I.

He's Team Puke after all. I have every confidence he can figure out how to clean it up, while Maeve and I finish our nap. 

I do believe this post is "Yeah Write" worthy and so I"m linking up with that fabulous Erica.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


The sound of the snore occasionally makes it way down onto the first floor. The regular cadence indicating you are soundly asleep, something that left me nearly two hours ago. 

It's your thirty-fourth birthday, and as my first gift of the day I am letting you sleep for seven more minutes. 

Thank me later, by running out and getting me a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese, while I navigate an mid morning bath with Moira and Maeve. Not our usual routine, but a birthday party later in the day (not for you) insists on cleanly children. 

Instead of a day filled with birthday revelry, you will be sitting in a big warehouse somewhere in Philadelphia attempting to win a new kitchen table and perhaps a rug for our living room. Your father would probably have laughed and shook his head to see his son at an auction. But alas, that's where you'll be. 

Racing home in early afternoon, you'll meet us and pile into the minivan to head to a Princess extravaganza. Not quite the romantic dinners of yesterday, but you will be with us, your three girls. 

It's your birthday, my love! We're celebrating the way a young family does, with handmade cards, gingerly wrapped presents and lots of laughter. 

While it might not be filled with the debauchery of our younger days, it is exactly the way I always had hoped, and I know you did too, in our home, with our children, and each other. 

Happy Birthday to my favorite! 
It's 9:00 am time to wake up. 

xoxo Jackie

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


In between the giggles of anticipation and the squeals of delight, they paused for a moment. 

It isn't every day, one sees the incomparable Laurie Berkner and her namesake band live in concert!

Linking up with the always fantastic duo of Galit & Alison for their Monthly photo link up:  
Memories Captured. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

That Mom

It's Tuesday a school day for Mo.
But today isn't just any ordinary Tuesday, it's her first Valentine's day in school!

The first time for the tissue box mailbox, 
the first time for Valentine cards, 
Valentine cookies, 
a Valentine party.


It's time for the adorable heart tunic and the red leggings.
It's time for the crafty and utterly cute photo Valentine cards with the lollipop, totally stolen  inspired by the Pinterest project.  

It's time for the bags of Lindor truffles and thank you cards for the teachers. 

It's time for the delicious pink pancakes with heart sprinkles made with love from mama to kids. 

It's time for Mama to come in to class and lead a Valentine theme project.
the valentine hug
by: Moira

It's time for Mama to calm the f--k down, because I'm way more excited for Valentine's day then Moira.

When did I turn into THAT mom?

Or wait,

have I always been THAT mom?

Bry and I hardly ever celebrated Valentine's day before children. Sure, there were a few nice dinners here or there, the occasional card or candy or cupcake, but nothing really over the top.

Now I'm adding pink food dye to pancake batter and trying to one up the other mom's coming up with photo Valentine's cards instead of a box of cards. I'm eagerly signing myself (and my friend Danielle begrudgingly) to plan and lead a craft for Mo's preschool class.

I'm drinking the Valentine's day Kool Aid, this year. Hell, as I'm typing I'm wearing red & white heart socks.

What has become of me?

I've only been a mom for less then four years, but based on the facts, I think it's clear to say, I am THAT mom.

I'm the one that gets overly excited for birthdays and holidays. The mom that starts planning birthday parties months into advance. The one that has a gift closet, and puts way too much time and energy into things.

I'm THAT mom.

I'm the one taking photos of every silly milestone. The mom that has a multitude of pinboards on Pinterest dedicated to celebrations, party planning, & kid crafts. The one whose kids seem to have overtaken my life.

I'm THAT mom.

I'm the one that looks for that smile. The mom that can't wait for the laughter. The one that is fueled by the whispered "Thank you!".

I'm THAT mom, and I guess, for now, I'm okay with that.

Plus, I've got a fourth birthday party to plan for Moira. Those parties don't plan themselves so I don't have time to worry.

Yeah Write #44 is open.
Join in or read and vote!

Monday, February 13, 2012


This week's list, in honor of Valentine's day tomorrow is LOVE!
For a moment, I thought about writing something off task, since we're not much of a Valentine's couple, but I thought I'd lose my listicle privileges, since it is the Madame de Listicles anniversary week, after all.

Like I mentioned, Bry and I aren't really the traditional Valentine's day type couple. No chocolate covered strawberries or long stem red roses here.

When I hear people talk about how much work marriage is, I can't sympathize. Not because our marriage is always perfect, but mainly because for the most part, our marriage is easy. I can say that because when you are married to your best friend it can be.

So today, on the eve of Valentine's my list is dedicated to the ten ways we show love in unconditional ways. Might not work for anyone else, but for us, it's perfection.

1. Sleep
He lets me nap. I let him sleep later in the morning.
Can I say win - win?

2. Division of Labor
We know what we're good at, and so for the most part we stick to that. He's more mathematically inclined, so he does the books. I am organized and anal, so laundry is for me. If something needs to be put together, I'm the one for the task, while if we're planning to entertain, nine out of ten instances it's Bryan in the kitchen cooking.

3. Sixth Sense
Brace yourself, we might have super powers!
I do believe we have ESP, and can read each other's minds.
It sucks for our kids, but for us it's wonderful. Most of the time, I don't even have to make eye contact for him to realize what I need or want, and vice versa.

4. Team Vomit & Team Poo
Yup, I went there.
If a kid is puking, it's all Bry. While I am on dirty diaper duty.
Kind of weighted heavily in his favor, however on those puking days, I am so glad it's him cleaning it up then me!

5. Honesty
Okay, okay, I know honesty is important in every relationship. But this is a different kind of honest. We practice the "it might hurt you first, but you'll thank me later" philosophy. He'll let me know when the outfit I'm choosing makes me look like a cow, and I'll let him know flatly the idea of a tattoo at 33 on his arm is a silly and stupid idea.

6. My sweet tooth
He will drive to Wawa at 9:30 to get me a pint of Ben & Jerry's just because I mention it.
If that isn't love, then what is?

7. Laughter
We share a dry, sarcastic, and ridiculous sense of humor. We love to laugh at, with, and because of each other.

8. Bathroom
He always leaves the toilet seat down.

9. Parenting
He tells the girls repeatedly how lucky they are to have me for a mom.
Do you know how great that feels on a day when nothing seems to go right?

10. Wardrobe
There are guys who prefer their gal all dressed up, hair done, make up on, in their highest heels, and flashiest dress.
That's not Bry. While he doesn't mind me dressed up, he has made it clear he prefers it when I'm in a t-shirt and a pair of soccer shorts. That's when he says I look the most beautiful.

Happy Valentine's Babe! Consider this your gift ;)

Got him first!
October 2005

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Stream of Conscious Sunday: The Death of a Celebrity

Whitney is dead.
Amy is dead.
Michael is dead.

Tony Bennett has come out and said their deaths are the reason why drugs should be legal.

Yes, Tony Bennett is offering political commentary now, less then 24 hours after Whitney's death.

What is this world coming to?

What is this world coming to?

On a message board I frequent a comment was made indicating the hypocrisies of the music industry.
When someone like Kurt Cobain or another artist in a rock or alternative band dies, the overall sentiment seems to be "Well what do we expect? Drugs are part of the scene?"

When a rapper dies, again, the fault lies on the deceased.
What do we expect, he ran with the wrong crowd? He perpetuated the lifestyle. He was a thug.

When a pop star, like Michael Jackson, or Amy Winehouse, or now Whitney Houston, passes away, the world stops. Shows on network television are interrupted, while radio stations play endless tracks and friends, friends of friends, etc... all talk of how impactful their life was on the world.

Really, what's the deal with that?

In the end, the world keeps going with every death and passing. Be it Michael Jackson or Kurt Cobain, tomorrow will still come. While their passing is sad, it's not the end of the world.

Here's how to link-up with Fadra for Stream of Consciousness Sunday:
  • Go to Fadra's site to see what the writing prompt is.
  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Link up your post.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Game On!

These events occur on the morning of Thursday, February 9 2012., on the second floor between the master bedroom, nursery, guest room (Purple room), bathroom and Moira's room. 

Bryan is in the shower, while Moira, Maeve and I have just ascended the staircase. 
School is to begin in less then one hour. 

8:11 am

"Mo," I say, "Pick up your stuff and meet me in your sister's room so we can get you dressed."

"M-kay" she says, and promptly returns to chasing her sister around her bedroom with a plastic banana. 

"MO! You're going to be late for school!"  louder this time. 

"I'm playing with Shiny!" obviously ignoring my plea. 

Mo = 1, Jackie = 0

8:13 am

"NOW!" My voice no longer speaking, takes on a forceful tone, as I pick out Maeve's outfit for the day.  

"Come and get me!" she says between giggles. Running into the guest room. 

"Bye Mom!" Maeve adds, following behind. 

"Let's go Moira!" I say, 

closing my eyes, 

willing her to me. 

"Get your clothes and let's get dressed!"

"God is so big! God is so big! God is so big!" 
she bellows. Her voice filling the entire space.
Somehow Maeve has abandoned her pajama bottoms and now dances in her diaper beside. 

Singing about God!
How the hell am I suppose handle that one?
You're going there kid? 

Mo=2, Jackie = 0

8:16 am

The singing has be replaced with squealing. I spy two bodies on the floor, their hands entangled over a ball,  (a former happy meal toy from McDonalds long ago discarded and now recently discovered under the bed between the dust bunnies). 

"Let it go!" I hear. After unsuccessfully attempting a head butt, she throws a shoulder.

"MMMMOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM" Maeve cries, her hands still grasping the dusty ball. 

"Give your sister the ball, Mo." I say, "You need to get dressed for school."

"I don't love you anymore!"
Her blue eyes wide, facing directly at me. She has released the ball and now stands, solemn looking for the reaction.


"Well, isn't that sad? I still love you."

Haha! Touche, kid you can't beat me!

Mo = 2, Jackie = 1

8:21 am

Clothes = ON both kids!

Go me!

"Where are your socks?' I ask, as I pull the white sock onto Maeve's foot.

"I don't know. You find 'em" she says, running away.

"Moira Ann, find those socks!"
yup, first & middle name...I mean business.

"Nope!" she sing songs,

I take a step towards her. She squeals then runs back into the purple room.

Damn, I should have shut that door!

"Where are those socks? You're going to be late for school!"
I can feel the anger rising, as I hear more giggles.

"Where are the SOCKS?" I plead. She has somehow made it under the plaid quilt on the bed.

"You can't find me!" she laughs.
At three, she's of the mindset that if she can't see me, then I can't see her.

Even if she's blatantly hiding in plain sight*, on a normal non-stressed day, I'd play along, offering something like, "Oh, where is Mo?"
*check out this Louis CK video

But not today.

This morning is different.
It's already 8:22.
Our to do list is still long: Hair, Shoes, Breakfast, Coats, Packing into the car, Getting out of the car, Up the staircase to the great room before finally dropping her off with her class.
I cannot play this game.

Tearing the quilt off her hand, I step over Maeve and attempt to pick her up.

"NO!" She hollers, her legs and arms thrashing about.


8:23 am

The shower turns off and the door opens abruptly. He pokes he head, water still beading on his face.

"Moira Ann."

Caught, she stops dead in her tracks, and slowly turns her head.

I'll call it an assist by Bry.

Mo = 2, Jackie =2

8:28 am

Finishing the ponytail on Maeve, I turn to find Mo has disappeared again.

"Mo, Let's go!" I say rising from the chair, walking towards the door. Into the hallway I look, when out of the corner of my eye I spy the little metal box. Her chubby hands grab the open container from the stool. In what seems like slow motion, I yell, "NOOOOO MAAAAEEEVVVVEE!"




Fall an entire container of elastic hair ties under and around the bed.

"Really kid?" I sigh.

"What happened Mama?" she asks, somehow she has appeared in the bedroom. Her hair, ragged around her face, obviously in need of brushing. "I help you."

"Thanks Mo, and then I can do your hair for school."

" 'kay Mama" she says, with that twinkle in her eye.


The events continue on the first floor, kitchen and living room.

8:34 am

"Pancakes, Waffles, or Cereal?" I ask, as my eyes glance at the clock on the stove. "We've got ten minutes to eat, gals. What will it be?"

"I not hungry." she says, putting her head onto her hands.


"Pancakes, Waffles, or cereal Shiny?" I ask, this time glancing at Maeve who has managed to copy her sister with her own head on her hands. The mention of food perks her up.

"Pancakes and juice box!" she says as Mo barely acknowledges the response.

"Pancakes it is!" I say, reaching for box of frozen mini pancakes in the freezer. Pulling out five, I toss them onto the little blue plate and set them in the microwave.


Her words punctuated with emotion, fill the kitchen.

"Hmph!" as her head returns to her hands.

"Pancakes!" Maeve giggles.

"Shiny, be quiet! I no want to eat pancakes"

beep, beep, beep.
I take the pancakes and toss them with a half a banana each onto plates.

"Breakfast is served!" I say, placing a plastic princess plate in front of each. "Let me get your vitamins."

"I no eat pancakes." she says.

"Fine, fine. Eat your vitamin."

Glancing at the clock, it is now 8:40 am. We need to leave in no more then 10 minutes to make it to line up at school.

"Okay, Mo at 8:44 we're going upstairs to brush your teeth. Either eat now, or that's it". I say. 

I'm over this crap. She wants to starve, fine. She doesn't want to eat the delicious frozen pancakes I've nuked. fine. She wants to pout, fine. In between bites of my own cold cereal, I start to cool down. I'm letting it go, letting all this crap go.

"Alright we have one minute until we're going upstairs to brush our teeth." I say.

"Wait!" Mo exclaims. "These aren't blueberry pancakes?"

"Nope" I mutter.

"I love mini pancakes".

Dude, are you f--king kidding me? These freaking pancakes have been in front of you for nearly ten minutes and you didn't realize there were no blueberries? Why in the f--k on this morning, of all mornings, when I'm ready to throw you out a freaking window would you think I'd chose to be the very first instance where we test out blueberry pancakes? 

Instead I say, " you have exactly one  minute to shove as much of that food into your face because we are going to get to school on time! I'm setting the timer!"

Like the Black Widow at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest on fourth of July, she starts shoving in as many mini pancakes as she can.

Mo = 2, Jackie = 3

8:51 am

"Coats & sneaks please!" I say.

"I need help with my shoes!" Mo sings.

Apparently in one quick moment, she's back to her normal happy self.

"Of course," I say, "let me finish with Maeve."

I attach the Velcro and send Maeve off to her coat.

"I'm sorry Mama for being naughty" Mo says, those eyes staring wide at me.


"It's okay, Lovie" I respond. "Let's get your shoes and coat on and we'll head to school."

Feeling guilty! Way to go Mom!

Moira = 2,  Jackie = 4

8:54 am

In a flip, flop, over the top moment, Maeve has her coat on, and is saying, "Zip me please!".

I turn to her sister.

Six minutes until school. 

"Let's go Mo! Get your coat & hat!"  I say, coming down the stairs, having just completed the fastest teeth brushing ever.

"Mom. We have Chapel?"
"Coat Mo, but yes."
"I love chapel! We gonna sing!"

Five minutes until school.

"Shiny, I love Chapel! I love school!"
"MO! COAT! NOW! Cmon, kid give me a break!"

Finally, she puts the coat on.

"Give your daddy a kiss girls!" I say.

Running in sync, they embrace Bry simultaneously.

"I love you daddy, so much!" Mo says.

Mo = 3, Jackie = 4

8:56 am

Four minutes. 

"Let's get in the car gals" I say, walking out the door, coming to the stairs.

"I got it Mom". Maeve says, tottering step by step. In my impatience, I scoop her up and pounce down the stairs.

"Mama, where's my backpack?" Mo asks.


Mo = 4, Jackie = 4

8:57 am

"Go to the car girls, I'll be right there!"

Back into the front door, I enter grabbing the bag.

"Bye!" I yell out to Bryan, slamming the door behind me.

"Okay girls, into the car!" Pressing the automatic button on my key chain, I hear the familiar click. Without much of a thought, I reach for the handle and pull the door.

It doesn't move.

I click unlock again.

Again, it doesn't open.

Two minutes.

"Stay here." I say.

What the f--k man? Can't I get a freaking break here? Still have to get to school. 

I call out to Bry, "Babe, I need your help for a minute. Can you come outside?"

In his shorts, sweatshirt, & bare feet he comes out on the cold morning.

"What's up?" he asks.

"I can't open the freaking door".

"Hi daddy!" they chime in together.

"Hey girls. Uh, Jac, the door is frozen. Why didn't you start the car? The driver side door can open. Turn on the heat to warm it up. If I try and open the slider, I'm not sure if it'll break."

Hmm? Turn on the car and the heat? Why didn't I think of that? 

With one swift pull, the door opens.

"Get in girls," I pant, "Thanks babe! I love you".

"Having one of those days." he says.

One minute.

Mo = 4, Jackie = 3, Deduction of point for stupidity.

9:01 am

One minute late we arrive to school.
Point for Mo for getting there in one piece, Point for Jackie for not being the last one to arrive.

Final Score: Moira wins, 5-4

Hanging my head in shame, she may have won this morning, but tomorrow's a new day.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Big Ol' Love

This week is special in the land of Listicles.  I had the honor of choosing this week's topic, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Having lost my friend Marilyn unexpectedly, I was overcome with emotion. In between the sadness and grief, I was in awe. My friend lived a very full life filled with passion for life! She in turn inspired my choice of list.

Where does your heart lie, I ask?

Immediately I thought of my heart in terms of a pie graph.
Remember, I was a first grade teacher!

1. Bryan, Moira, & Maeve = 30%
My heart is truly filled with my greatest loves, my husband & children. They make me, me!

2. My Extended Family = 20%
I've got a huge extended family, filled with aunts, uncles, cousins, great aunts & uncles, second, third, and even fourth cousins, aunts once removed, and everything in between. My family is crazy some literally I do believe, but I couldn't imagine anything different. The chaos at holidays, the full church at weddings, and the extended family tree.

3. Friends = 20%
My mother in law says it all at the time.
"I don't have a lot of friends, but I do have a lot of acquantices".
That's me.
I know a lot of people, but my circle of friends is very small. I will admit, when I was younger it bothered me. I wanted a large group and thought something was missing. I learned, however, over time and through life experience, that those people I consider my friends may be a small list, but they truly are like my family.

4. Our House = 10%
I love our house.
The place we searched high and low to find. It may be old, with a never ending to-do list, but it's the place we are meant to be.

5. The Beach = 5%
In her introduction of me last week, Stasha mentioned my love of the Shore, and there is nothing like that smell of the sea. The sand between your toes, as the salty air hits your face.

6. Laughter = 5%

Kind of sums up #5 & #6. 

Source: facebook.com via Mina on Pinterest

7. The Phillies = 5%
I have been raised on a diet of red and white. In our house, the days until pitchers & catchers report is like the countdown to Christmas. (For the record, it's 12 days today!) If you mention names, like Mike, Jimmy, Ryan,  Chase, & Shane to Mo, her usual response will be "Schmidt, Rollins, Howard, Utley, & Victorino".
It's just how we roll, it's part of her education

8. The Union = 3%
Up until last week, this percentage would have been a whole helluva lot higher, and then they had to trade one of our favorite players and the catalyst for the team, Le Toux. Soccer was something I loved playing as a kid, but a sexist coach squashed my dreams of playing growing up. Now, through Bry's love, I too have developed a love for the game and in turn have passed it on to our girls.
I actually take the term "Soccer Mom" as a compliment.

9. Dining Out = 1%
My biggest indulgence isn't shoes or purses. I get anxiety at the thought of buying a piece of clothing or jewelry that isn't on sale. However, take me out to dinner, and I'm in heaven, and apparently I have no qualms of spending money like a Kardashian on Rodeo Drive. 

10. Swimming = 1%
Often I think one dreams of the things they love. Most of my good, happy dreams seem to take place in or around water. Perhaps there's some chlorine level in my blood, as there is no place quite a peaceful or relaxing as a good swim, Even when it's the first time back in over four years!

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Just A Swim

Once upon a time, I thought I was fat.
College Swim Team 1997-98 Season
I walked into the training room and immediately was handed a piece of paper. My eyes glanced quickly and realized it was a spreadsheet. Listed in the first column, all the names of the men and women on my team. Of course, I found my own name and immediately to it's side I noticed 168 lbs.

Glancing over the sheet, it was there in black and white, for all to see.
Instead of concentrating on how I out performed all my female teammates on the bench press, dead lift, and squat (a few guys too), I was focused solely on my weight.
That number being public information pissed me off.

Logically I knew I was not fat, obese, or unhealthy. I was a Division One swimmer, practicing close to 20 hours a week and had a body to match.

However, seeing that number on paper logic was lost to emotion.

While I was one of the strongest women on the team, I also was one of the biggest.

No woman wants to be classified as big, because big is equivalent to fat, and fat does not equal attractive.

Looking back, I am sometimes amazed at my own strength. A teammate's own eating disorder coupled with this incident could have had a very negative affect on my self concept. However, on the contrary, my self concept seemed to improve after these events. I was on the bigger and stronger side, and that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

As time went on I have held fast to my self concept, even as my exercise routine has shrank and my waist band has widened. My time in the pool had a great impact on who I am, but over time my time swimming all but disappeared. I had work, the graduate school, then a wedding, a baby, a house, and another baby. Swimming was a sacrifice I gave as time was precious.

Things have changed.

Last month it became quite clear Moira needs swim lessons. At nearly four, she is prime to learn how to swim. Deciding to join the local YMCA, was a compromise. As membership permits my children to partake in swim lessons, it also gives me, the former swimmer, the opportunity to return to the pool.


After digging my goggles and swim cap out of retirement and purchasing a new suit at Marshall's, I was ready for that first swim.

Walking through the door, the familiar smell of chlorine smacks me in the face. Descending the stairs from the locker room, I assess the pool. Four lanes are available for lap swimmers, and there are bodies in each lane.

My first time back won't be a solo mission.

In one, an older man floats on his back, occasionally kicking his feet at a snail's pace.

Not that lane.

In another, another older man again on his back, slowly kicks and does the elementary backstroke*.
*not an Olympic event

That lane is out too.

A middle aged man stands facing a woman in a speedo.
"You will get this" she says, "before long you will swim!".

Not this one.

One lane left.

She adjusts her goggles, and pushes off into a nice streamline. Her freestyle looks strong.

This is it, my only option.

"Do you mind if I share the line?" I ask.
"Of course, not"  she says, "we'll split the lane".

Before I can nod okay, she's off again. Her stroke is relaxed, her swim comfortable.

Everything I think I won't be in that moment.
It has been over four years since I've swam a lap.
In that time I've popped out two kids, had two c-sections, and steered clear of most exercise and bathing suits.

What the f--k am I doing?

For some reason, I kept the goggles and cap.


Because if you are swimmer, even if you haven't been in the pool for years, there is nothing like a good swim.

The monotony of back and forth, the cadence of stroke, breath, and kick, the chlorine, are like an old, dear friend. Welcoming with open arms.

I'm going to swim.
Into the water I jump, and immediately I'm back to thinking
What the f--k?

My feet find the pool wall and push into a streamline. Without thinking, my body takes over.

It's not easy, as I feel like I'm pushing through molasses, but I do it.

I swim 1700 yards, which is a little over a mile*.
* 1650 yds. = the mile, one of my old races.

This swim was hard, and my body aches. I used to think I was fat, and I realize how damn fit I truly was!
No longer am I a college athlete with time to dedicate to the weight room and daily workouts. Instead, I'm a shadow of the athlete I used to be. Hopefully over time, a resemblance to that girl in the photo will emerge again.

One who knew she wasn't fat but strong.

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Linking up with The Lightning & The Lightning Bug
This week's theme: Kicking Ass (I think the water kicked my ass this week!)

Friday, February 3, 2012

You Are Our Sunshine

Nicknames are a funny thing.
The general public seems to be split into those who prefer and those who don't. 

We fall strongly on the nickname side.

With Moira, I will confess Bry and I intended to call her Mo from the start. An adorable nickname we thought would fit our little lady. 

With the birth of Maeve, we weren't quite sure where the nickname would go. Singing to her as an newborn, I would whisper "Maevie Baby" into her ear. Always smiling and having a rather happy disposition, we took to calling her our Sunshine. Mo, nearly two when her new sister arrived, had some difficulty with Sunshine; from that Shiny and Shine. Before long, Shiny, Shine, & Sunshine became the norm for our Maevie baby. 

When planning her second birthday party, choosing a theme was simple:

Using yellow, pink, & orange  as inspiration, streamers and other decorations overtook the dining room and became the perfect place for our Sunshine party celebration.  In honor of our birthday girl's love of music, Miss Marcia from Kids Music Round came to play and entertain our guests after a lunch of pizza, grapes, hummus, pita, and carrots. Dessert was chocolate covered pretzels, jelly belly jelly beans, lemon bars, and a sunshine cupcake cake. Before they left, goodie bags were dispersed as everyone received their own microphone, sunglasses, lollipop, and sunshine necklace.

Oh Happy Day link

Martha Stewart Link


Ashley Pierce Photography

Overall it was the perfect Sunshiny Celebration for our Shiny Baby Maevie as she turned two!