Friday, March 30, 2012

Almost time to Parrrrrty!

Did someone ask for a Pirate Party?

The only evidence thus far is as follows:  

1. A woman is running around the house maniacally decorating 

2. The same woman is covered in flour as she attempts to do her all of own baking

3. Two children are scurrying around aimlessly, almost unsupervised, including one incident with the bathroom sink. 

 4. Amazon left an abnormally large box on the front steps yesterday after same crazy woman discovered it would be more economical to purchase a bounce house than rent one

5. Upon arrival home each night, the man continues to shake his head in disbelief of what said woman has thus far accomplished. 

6. This is what happens when the woman dedicates an entire Pinterest board for Pirate Party Planning:


Shiver me timbers, T-Minus two days until our Pirate Parrrrrty! 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pride

Alison of Mama Wants This and Ado of the Momalog are celebrating their first anniversary of their blogs. In the celebratory mood, they are imploring us, their lovely readers to contribute our own very best or most favorite post to their Blog Bash Link Up.

As I scoured the four hundred and seventy three posts I have written thus far over the past four years, I would be lying if I didn't say I was proud of myself. My writing has evolved, as has this blog itself. At first it was place just for snapshots and quick paragraphs describing my child(ren). A virtual baby book of sorts, one might say.

As time as gone by, I realize that this blog has become my refuge. My place to vent, to remember, to pour out my heart, make a list or two, share a fear, and ocassionally tell a good story.

The piece I have chosen was in response to a RememberRed post from the group Write on Edge way back in the summer of 2011.

The inspirations was as follows:
  For this week's RemembeRED prompt, we're borrowing a prompt from Writing the Memoir by Judith Barrington. In her chapter "The Truth: What, Why, and How," she asks her readers to: "Tell the story (without any trivialization or modesty) of something in your life that you are proud of."

This post is my story, and without further adieu,
Pride


I have a love hate relationship with my body.

This is a feeling which I believe many women share. Often, I find myself criticizing the size of my thighs, or the current state of my breasts, as I look in the mirror. My clothes become camouflage for the pouch of a belly that lies underneath. In my thirty two years of life, my body has remained solid and strong. I truly love me, but think I could love me a little more if there was a little less of me! It is almost comical to think that my battle scarred belly can be a place where I hold tremendous pride. However, underneath the stretch marks lies my story.

I was a newlywed, living my happily ever after when I became sick. Luckily a doctor fresh out of residency saw me on that fateful day I walked into the clinic. A more seasoned doctor likely would have taken my list of symptoms and simply diagnosed it a muscle spasm and sent me home with painkillers.

In this scenario, I most likely would have died from misdiagnosis.

Instead, this new doctor sent me to the emergency room as a precaution, and some six hours later, I was admitted and hooked up to an IV receiving blood thinners to prevent the clot that had formed in my lungs from passing into my heart.

She saved my life that day.

After a week in the hospital, vials upon vials of blood, and visits from countless specialists, I was released home, on blood thinners, with the instructions to take it easy. Later visits to hematologists, cardiologists, and primary care doctors, agreed that it was a pulmonary embolism caused most likely from birth control medication. It was unknown what my future would hold, and how this could potentially affect pregnancy in the future.

I was terrified and cursed my body.

I was young, healthy, and newly married. I believed that I should not have had to deal with this.

Over time, my body got stronger, the pain dissipated, and went back to my everyday routine. Almost 10 months after that fateful day, Bryan and I met with a maternal fetal medicine specialist to discuss pregnancy, more importantly pregnancy for me. We met for twenty minutes, explaining my history and left the office with the green light to stop medication and try to have a baby.

I trusted that my body was strong and could handle it.

And it was that easy, as I became pregnant almost immediately.

From the moment I heard the heartbeat at seven weeks, I had a responsibility to keep this life inside of me safe and to keep my body healthy.

Fear slowly crept into my head.
Would I miscarry?
Would I have another clot?
Would something worse happen?

I was back on blood thinners, this time intravenous ones. Every night, I would take the needle out of the package and into my belly I would push. For thirty-two weeks, I did this as my belly became larger and the bruises became more pronounced.

With each week of my pregnancy, I began to trust my body.

It was strong.
It would keep my baby healthy.
It would keep me healthy.

I found pride in each shot, as it was another day I got to be pregnant, another day I was alive.

Moira was born, perfect. Weeks later, I looked at my deflated belly, stretched and sagging in the mirror. While it wasn't classically beautiful, I looked past the checkerboard and saw a place of power. My body had survived a blood clot and then sustained a life for nearly 39 weeks.

How can I not be proud of all that it accomplished in a short amount of time?

Now when I look in the mirror, I push those negative thoughts aways as I remind myself of how miraculous and amazing my body is, stretchmarks and all.

  Blog Bash

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Too Late

"So Aunt Lyns, when Patrick gonna get cut out of you?"

We froze mid step, processing the comment.

When my nearly four year old uttered this phrase to our expectant friend about a week ago, I guess this should have been that teachable moment.

You know, the one where I give her the truth about reproduction and childbirth.

Not.

Instead, I looked to my friend Lynsay wide eyed in a state of fear and confusion. She returned my glance with her own blank stare.

"Um, we'll see Mo" she uttered, her eyes fixed on me, looking for direction.

"Yeah Mo," I started, "It's still only March. Patrick won't be here until after your birthday. Sometime in April, he'll be born."

"So that's when they'll cut you, right?" she asked.

"Yeah" nodding along, "yeah, that's right. Um...who wants lunch?" I pleaded, changing the subject.

There was no way I was talking reproduction with my nearly four year old in the breezeway in our local downtown.

Later I rehashed the conversation with Bry. Between dramatic eye rolls and excessive head shaking, he stuttered, "Should we prepare ourselves, you know, in case she asks more?" Visibly shaken and in a state of disbelief, as he continued, "I mean, seriously? How many kids her age ask about stuff like this?"

"No way." I said. "I am NOT having the birds and the bees conversation with her. She's too young. I don't need to be THAT mom. Plus, she saw my c-section scar this morning when I was getting dressed, that might have been on her mind. That's it. She won't ask."

"You sure?" he asked, "You're the teacher". His deference apparent in his voice.

"No way would she ask" I countered."No way, I sincerely doubt she will ask anything more."

Damn you kid!

Descending the stairs Saturday night, the hurried cadence of his footsteps let me know something was wrong.

"We've got a huge problem, " Bry started, "you might want to turn off the TV for this one. It's all your fault." His brow furrowed, as he melted into the couch. "You said we'd be okay."

In those few seconds, my mind wandered frantically, fear over what it could be.

"What is it?" I asked, switching off the television. Turning towards him, I noticed the look of disgust on his face.

"You said we'd have time. Just a few days ago, you said not too worry." his voice a little louder than a whisper, as he shook his head side to side.

"Well what is it? Is it Mo? Maeve? Is everything okay?" I pleaded, attempting to suppress the panic in my voice.

"No. She asked" as he gulped air, "where babies come from?"

"Excuse me?" I said, "She asked what?"

"She wanted to know how PJ got in Aunt Lynsay's belly."

"So what did you say?" my own eyes widening in anticipate of his response. "What did you say?"

"Well, I had no clue. I mean, you told me, 'Don't worry Bry. She won't ask' " he said, using his best fake Jackie voice, " 'There's no way she'd ask'. Well, guess what Jac, She DID! And I was stuck, like a bumbling idiot, just stuck!"

"What did you say?" I asked, my stomach sinking.

"I told her mommies have eggs and daddies have seeds."

"Seeds?" I questioned, suppressing my laughter, "Seriously, you went with seeds?"

"I was not prepared for this Jac," his eyes focused and serious, "I thought it was better than SPERM!"

"True," I conceded, "so what else did you say."

"I told her daddies and mommies kiss. Then the daddies give the mommies their seed for their eggs. But then she got all confused, and I got flustered. I shouldn't have mentioned kissing. Seriously Jac, we should have talked about this. You should have been the one talking."

"Why didn't you ask her what she thinks?" I said. "Remember, we said that before, ask them what they think first! Always ask them what they think!"

"I was shocked, I mean, seriously, you told me not to worry about this" he strained, the stress of the event written across his face. "I stopped with the kissing, because she seemed confused, and then I figured, she'd be thinking a baby would end up in her belly if she kissed Maeve or me. God knows we don't need to stress her out anymore."

"True, so go on."

"So I went back and explained that kissing does not bring a baby. I told her the daddy gives the mommy his seed and then baby grows. Then she said something ridiculous."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"She asked where mommies and daddies do this. I was honest and told her in the house. She then asked if she could watch."

I couldn't hold it in anymore, as the laughter filled the living room.

"Laugh" he smirked, "you weren't the one dealing with this."

"So what did you say? I mean she asked to watch her parents have sex!" I laughed.

"I told her it was private, and then she asked where she would be when it happens. I told her in her room. She then asked if it could happen when she had a sleepover with Grammie and Popsie, and I said sure, it could. She then asked if it could happen when she's with Grammie with the Bracelets. Again, I said sure. Then she asked where she could sleep at my mom's and I realized the conversation had shifted. I told her we'd let her sleep in Casey's room, with Maeve in the pack and play. She then said that was a good idea. I asked if she had any other questions, praying she was done, when she said no, kissed me on the cheek and told me she was ready to go to sleep. I don't believe it Jac. I can't believe this." he finished.

"So, in a nutshell our kid now thinks Dads have seeds, Mommies have eggs, and she can't watch daddy put the seed in mommy, but she'll be most likely in the house when it happens, right?" I asked. "Did I miss anything?"

"No, Jac. That's about it." he said, shaking his head in disbelief. "I do have one thing to add here. I will not be putting the girls to bed the next few nights. I can't handle anything more."

"What more could she ask, babe?" I asked. "I think you covered it all".

"Just in case," he said, "you've got bedtime the next three nights. I need a beer."

And that my friends, is how Mo learned about reproduction a week before her fourth birthday.

Linking up with the wonderful, the phenomenal, the fantastic Yeah Write community. These bloggers seriously write some of the best stuff on the blogosphere, leaving me in their dust. Show them some love, leave some comments, and on Thursday vote for the best. Feel free to take pity on me, and throw me some love too.




Monday, March 26, 2012

Easy

This week's listicle topic was chosen by Terri Sodona of the blog of the same name. This week she insisted we list 10 things that make life easier. While technology does plays a big hand in this, people have a great significance in my life too.

10 Things that make my Life Easier

1. Bryan doing bedtime
Every other night, when Bryan puts the girls to bed, I am given close to one hour of peace and quiet. I have control of the remote, can sit alone on the chair with my feet up and just veg. 

2. My Mom
She lives an hour away, works three different jobs, but still will basically drop anything to watch the girls. She spoils them rotten, bathes them getting herself drenched in the process, and plays the perfect Wicked Witch to their respective Dorothys. I love my Mommy!

3. Babysitting at the YMCA
I never would have gotten my fat ass back into the water if not for the lovely ladies at my local YMCA's childcare area. Besides the fact it's included in membership, my girls always happily head in to play, and the various ladies seem downright happy to see them. 

4. Mo's Preschool Teachers
I was frantic that first day in September when I left Mo at preschool for the very first time. 
Would she have good teachers?
Would she enjoy herself?
Would they 'get' her?
Her teachers are wonderful, loving, and exactly what I would have hand chosen. She looks forward to school every day and they seem to 'get' her. More importantly, she is learning and happy about it!

5. Dining Out
I do cook...
sometimes. 
Those nights I don't feel like it, places like the British Chip Shop, the Pop Shop, our favorite Vietnamese place, Panera, Baja Fresh, and our local pizza places are Godsend. 

6. Nice Weather
Last week was a tease. 
75* weather in March? Seriously? 
It was heavenly spending the time outside tossing some wiffle balls, blowing bubbles, drawing with chalk, and just playing that I almost forgot it was still March. 
Now, with the return of fifty something days, I remember how easy those warm weather days can be. 

7. Lollipops
Bribery, anyone? 
I'm not above it. A lollipop will more or less get my kids to do anything,
and if that doesn't make life easier than nothing will. 

8. DVR
Bed knobs & Broomsticks
Fresh Beat Band's Wizard of Song
Project Runway
The Mentalist
We all win with the DVR.

9. Santa Claus
Yes it's March and the big guy doesn't come for another 9 months, however just the reminder of him makes naughty behavior seem to lessen... a bit at least. 

10. Nap time/Rest time
I recently wrote of Mo's refusal to nap. Those days she gives in to sleep are my saving grace. Those two plus hours give me sanity, time to refuel and recharge, and time to pee with the door shut. 





Friday, March 23, 2012

Overthinker

Parent Fail: Your kid is old enough to clearly articulate her need for her pacifier.

Yup, that's where Maeve has been the past few months.

"Mommy, paci please?" she pleads in a clear voice the moment we walk into her room for nap time.

"Puppy and paci!" she squeals. Pajama clad and teeth freshly brushed, she's ready for bed, only missing her two most favorite things: her stuffed puppy and her pacifier.

And so the routine continued well past the time I intended.
 It was only suppose to be there until she was one.
No, I meant eighteen months.
Well, really, I meant until she was two. Two is a good age, right?

She was two January 20, and she still had that darn pacifier. Better than the thumb.


I made that mistake with Mo early on. I missed the pacifier window and she found her thumb!

For three years that thumb 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, easy access to sucking. Whenever she needed it, be it moments of exhaustion or fear or boredom, the thumb was there.

I begged, pleaded, swatted, and promised rewards, but that kid was stubborn. She continued to suck. 

It took an intervention from our pediatric dentist to stop her. This woman has a way with words, scared straight for the thumb sucking crowd. 

Cold turkey she abandoned the thumb at 3 years 5 months for fear of those yucky germs making it into her mouth by way of her thumb. She was scared, frozen with fear, that germs would make her sick, and that fear helped her stop. 

Maeve would not be a three year old with a pacifier, I promised myself. 

So at our first appointment with the pediatric dentist at two years old, I asked her to try her best. 

The doc let me down. 

"Well, usually I don't recommend taking the pacifier away until around two and a half" she started. "We've seen our fair share of kids who have the pacifier taken away too early and then they find their thumb, which as you know is much more difficult to stop." 

Not what I wanted to hear. 

Where's the "Maeve there's germs!" lecture?

Did I really think that that same bit would work with a twenty four month old?

No, 
well maybe a little,
I guess I hoped it worked. 

The dentist did all the hard work with Mo, and I was kind of hoping she'd do it again with Maeve. Scare her straight, and then I could go on my merry way! 

Instead we were left to our devices. I should admit, Maeve was not a hard core paci kid. No public sucking here, except for the rare instance we were out significantly past bedtime. She could car nap without it successfully but never went without during crib naps or bedtime.

I have a confession. I was chickenshit to take away the pacifier because I dreaded the thought of how this could affect MY SLEEP. Sure, my kid might have some separation anxiety with the loss of the paci, but I was terrified of night upon night of wailing and tears over the loss of her paci.

Sad.
Pathetic even,
but mama needs her sleep.
Really this is not an understatement, ask any member of my family and they will let you know what a biatch I can be when I am sleep deprived. 


After the reprieve from the dentist, I decided to wait.

For a month I waited, and then the light bulb went off in my head.

What if I persuaded Maeve to give her pacifier to a baby? Lucky for us, our good friends were expecting their first child the middle of April and they knew he was a boy.

Slowly, during diaper changes and before bed and nap time I brought up the idea of giving her paci to baby PJ.

At first her response was a clear and distinct, "NOPE" as she shoved that paci into her mouth. Then slowly, her response would shift. On some occasions, it was "Nope" while other days it would be "Yup, give paci to Pa'rick".

I thought we had a few more weeks to prep Maeve for it, but alas, we were wrong.

Lynsay gave birth four weeks early late Wednesday evening to a healthy, happy, and perfect little boy. Patrick Joseph  or PJ was here.

Taking it upon himself last night, Bry asked Maeve the familiar question, "Are you going to give baby PJ your paci?"
"Yup!" she said.
"Well, he's here now, so I'll take them" he continued, three pacifiers in his hand. Time for bed.

With a slight whimper, she snuggled with her puppy and stuffed pig and that was that.

The end of the pacifiers in one night.

No kicking.
No screaming.
No crying.
All sleeping.

Pacifier and Thumb sucking free!
Sometimes it's best not to worry about things, as they have a way of working out in the end. If only everything was this easy with parenting.

Linking up with the fabulous Alison & Galit for their Monthly Meme:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Socially Acceptable Norms

When you're a kid, life is good.
Truly, you get a pass from society on things like life goals, motivation, and conversation.

This week in response to her four year son's whimpers that being a kid was tough, Stasha inspired us to write of the reasons why being a kid rocks. Having two under four, (only more 13 more days until the big Pirate fete for Mo!) I decided that these chickies get away with a lot just by being cute, and so I present:

Things you can get away with when you're 
under four and cute.

1. Rain boots go with everything 




2. Lollipops = Motivation




3. Bath time is a social event




4. Places like the zoo, Sesame Place, and the boardwalk are you playground. 




5. Adults do silly things, 
like sing about pigs on their heads, to entertain you. 

Laurie Berkner Band


6. There's always a place to nap.




7. Grandparents spoil you and think you can do no wrong. 





8. Silliness is expected!




9. No one gives you a hard time about that cupcake. 





10. Play time is all the time!


Linking up with Stasha and her Monday Listicles. 


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Big Jump!



Mo has had this fear of jumping in. Two weeks ago I wrote about her hesitation, here as we showed up a week early for the new session of swimming. Apparently, her mantra worked, as tonight she jumped....twice!


video

Take note as she swam back to the wall, that lower lip extended out quivering. As she reached her destination she burst into tears. Not injured in anyway, I think she was emotionally overwhelmed by her accomplishment.
Way to go Mo!

About Last Night...

I am a food whore.

I will not pay full price for an article of clothes.
I don't go gaga over shoes.
I still sport my diaper bag in place of a purse.
Feel free to call me cheap when I shop.

However, tell me we have reservations and I swoon.
I read reviews for restaurants and my mouth starts to drool.
A good two top, a bottle or two of wine, and a tasting menu are perfection in my book.

Luckily, Bry shares in my bliss.
I guess it comes in handy that we're both fat and love food!
(no dietary restrictions here!)
When my mom offered to babysit earlier in the week, he couldn't get onto Open Table fast enough.

We live close to Philadelphia, whose dining scene is so much more than cheese steaks and hoagies. There are some truly phenomenal dining establishments. Iron Chef, Jose' Garces has six places, Iron Chef Morimoto has his sushi place, and then there's Stephen Starr. His places run the gauntlet from steakhouse, to Cuban, American and everything in between.

Finally, there's Marc Vetri.

He has four restaurants in the city, is working to update the city's Public school lunch program and with his own foundation, helps inner city youth understand the importance of healthy eating and healthy living.

An awesome guy outside of the kitchen, yes.

However it's the stuff he does inside which has made his eponymous place one of the most highly sought after places for a table. With a wait list of at least three months for Friday and Saturday nights, Vetri recently abandoned a la carte dining for tasting menu only. In a nutshell, his kitchen decides what each diner eats for each of the five savory, and one sweet course.

My bucket list is primarily filled with travel and dining. Screw skydiving or running a marathon. Mama wants foie gras! Vetri sits with the French Laundry, Per Se, Frontera Grill and a Joel Robuchon restaurant as my must eats.

Somehow the stars aligned this past week, when Bry discovered on Open Table one 8:45 reservation for two on Friday night.

The same Friday night my mother had offered to sleepover and babysit.

I swear it's that horseshoe shoved up his ass.

Fast forward to Friday night. After a train ride, and an early arrival, we finally are seated at our table. It's a little after nine, as I casually unfold the white napkin onto my lap. As I glance to the table in front, I spy a familiar face.

Holy shit, Bobby Freaking Flay is sitting at the table in front of us!

Seated two seats away, Michael Freaking Symon.

Who are we getting reservations at a place on a night where Bobby Flay & Michael Symon are enjoying the same menu?

Lucky mo-fos, that's for damn sure!

The highlight however, was not these chefs presence. Instead the meal itself was the stuff dreams are made.

Feel free to skim to the end if food doesn't do it for you.
Otherwise, hold on tight! Here are the highlights for me. Each course was served with a half glass of wine. As is customary at Vetri, each guest is given a different plate for each course. To ensure we got to try it all,  Bry and I switched plates half way through each. This was a bit contentious with a few, as we didn't want to give them up.

Upon arrival we were given a glass of Proseco  and crudite like no other, iced and served with the most divine balsamic dipping sauce. I had to hold off Bry from  dipping in his fingers.
The highlights included the following:

Diver scallops, with shaved black truffle 
The bowl was served with the lightest potatoes and I felt it melted in the mouth.

Sweet onion crepe with white truffle
This was hands down the best thing I've ever eaten. No exaggeration, this dish had no flaws. The onions had been slowly cooked for eight hours, leaving Bry and I wondering how he did it?

Spinach gnocchi with brown butter 
A plate Bry had difficulty sharing, as the gnocchi were heavenly little pillows that dissolved in your mouth. The brown butter tasted equally divine as I used a stray piece of crust from the bread basket.

Chestnut fettuccine with boar and cocoa 
The subtle note of chocolate made the earthy flavor of the chestnut and boar sing.

Bistecca alla fiorentina 
As lover of all things steak, I was quite happy we each were given our own plate of this, thus I could eat it all.

Chocolate Polenta Souffle
Heavenly, decadent, warm and served with some sort of ice cream.

Passion fruit curd doughnuts with coconut spuma 
The sweetness of the passion fruit paired with the fried doughnuts was only made more delicious with the soft coconut flavor in the spuma.

We have dined at some fabulous places in our lives. Locations overlooking the water, places with tradition and vast menus,  decadent meals used to celebrate births, graduations, and birthdays, and drunken glutenous affairs with good friends and conversation that have lasted for hours.

While those meals all have been memorable, this was special.  It truly seemed as if the stars aligned as my mom offering to babysit, Bryan procuring a last minute seat, and our small run in with celebrity. A night spent eating some of the best food in the world with my best friend truly takes the cake as the best meal ever.

Be jealous reader, even if you aren't a food whore like me.


Linking up the crew at Yeah Write.
 Perhaps I can sway some votes this week from the foodie crowd? Feel free to click and read some of the other talented participants. Finally vote on Thursday for your favorites!



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dirty

Three overripe bananas sit in the fruit bowl. It has been three days since I said I'd make banana bread. The guilt of waste overcomes me, as I take out my cooking Bible, and throw together the batter. Placing the pan in the oven, just as nap time ends. I set the timer for 55 minutes and wait.

The rain subsides early in the morning, as the sun pushes its way through. Hours of sunshine dry the earth, leaving isolated puddles throughout the drive. Unusual warm weather for the middle of March, this early spring has seemed to reawaken our neighborhood. The bell from the ice cream man has rung it's familiar tune, as the shouts and laughter of the children next door seeps through our open windows.

Abandoning heavy coats and hats, for wellies and sweatshirts, they cannot exit the front door fast enough. The porch has been transformed overnight, as Bry brought up the wagon filled with t-ball set, jump ropes, and chalk, a basketball hoop, and their scooters. 

Spring has sprung, and eagerly my children have answered that call!

Alternating between chalk and the t-ball set, the two amuse themselves for nearly a half hour. Occasionally I am asked to pitch a few balls, but for the most part I can just relax and watch. Checking the clock for end time, I have five minutes to spare.

"Let's go girls," I say, "Mama has to check on the banana bread".

"Okay" they respond in unison.

"As long as we can come back out!" negotiates Mo.

"Of course, just stay right here on the porch," I command. "I'll be right back."

Opening the front door, the buzz of the oven greets me.

Perfect timing.

Removing the bread from the oven, I grab a butter knife from the drying rack. Sticking it to the dough, I pull it out to find wet batter. Setting the timer for 7 minutes, I toss the dirty knife into the sink and head back outside.

Back to the grass we go, as balls are continued to be hit. As a stray wiffleball heads down the drive, Mo spies the large puddle.

A long ago discarded pile of dirt, meant to fill in the back garden, has taken permanent residence on our drive. The puddle sits immediately to the right of the dirt. Instead of being clear, murky water lies still.

"Mom!" Mo yells, "I got on my boots. Can I jump in the puddle?"

Fidgeting with some stray mulch, I casually respond, "Sure, just be careful. We've got to go back inside in five minutes."

"I go jump!" Maeve now at my side, galloping up and down begs.

"Of course, babe! Have fun and be careful!"

" 'kay mom!" her voice trailing her body.

It only took a minute.

Maybe less.

The familiar cry fills the air.

"MOOOOOOOOMMMMM!" Mo shouts, "It's Shiny!"

Racing over those few footsteps to the side of the house, not knowing what to expect.

Maeve meets me there, at the top of the walk.

Her cry is loud, and filled with fear.

I hold back to the laughter as I spy her.

Covered from head to toe in wet, moist dirt.

Chocolate milk consistency and colored mud, runs down from her head, covering her eye, cheek, and chin. Her once pink hoodie now saturated and multi=colored, drips down onto her equally wet and dirty pants.

"Mommy! I wet! Hold you, hold you" she repeats open arms wide.

I hear the beep through the window.

Freaking banana bread is done now too.

"Mom, don't touch her! Her gross!" Mo adds to the commentary. "Maeve you gross!"

"No Mo-Mo!" Maeve cries.

While I agree with Mo's assessment, being the adult in this situation I can't agree. Instead I beg my dirty kid to walk to the porch. There's no way I'm picking her sopping, dirty body up right now.

"Stand here baby, " I begin, "Mama get you a towel!"

Entering the house, I pause.

Do I get the camera? 
God, she looks hysterical! 
The dirt, 
her face, 
her poor body, 
I need a picture of this!


It takes every fiber in my body NOT to pick up the camera and snap away.

Ever the good mom, I head upstairs, and pick up an old purple towel. Peeling the layers of soiled clothes and boots off, I strip her to her diaper.

"I dirty mommy" she says. "I bath".

"Yup" I say, as I hear that annoying beep from the oven yet again. "Sit here girls," gesturing to the bottom step,  "while I take out the banana bread."

"So mom," Mo begins. "When we go back outside?"

"What?" I yell, through the door frame.

"When we go back outside? Shiny take a bath then we go back outside, right?" she continues.

"Um, Shiny will get a bath. No more outside" I say, as I reappear in their presence. Sweeping up a dingy diapered Maeve, I start up the stairs.

"NO!" Mo screams at the top of her lungs. "We will go back outside! I not done playing!"

You have got to be kidding me?

"I dirty mom" Maeve repeats as she places her hand on my cheek. Looking at me, she insists "I bath".

"NO! We will go back outside NOW! I NOT DONE PLAYING!!!" screaming at the top of her lungs now, her body shaking with anger. The tears fall from her face, as she goes on. "I GO OUTSIDE NOW!"

Inhale
Exhale


"Shine, you need to walk up the steps right now. Mama needs to take care of Mo!" I interject between the primal screams of my eldest.

"No! No! No!" she maintains.

"Okay, mommy" Maeve responds, "Mo-Mo naughty!"

"I NOT NAUGHTY!!" she howls, from the step just below me. "I. NOT. NAUGHHHHTTTTTYYYY!"

Inhale 
Exhale

Reaching down, I grab a stray foot and arm. Lugging her up the stairs, she continues her chorus of  "I Not Naughty!" .

"Mo-Mo naughty!" she taunts, her nearly naked body runs away as I make it to the landing.

Opening Mo's bedroom door I toss her in, screaming "I'll come back and get you when you've calmed down. You need a time out and need to be out of my sight right now!"

Inhale 
Exhale


I fill the tub, and Maeve eagerly enters. Having the space alone is a novelty, as usually she must fight for access to the spigot. Mo's rants slowly fade away and within minutes the only sound is the water flowing. Turning it off, I head to Mo's room slowly. A body part has hit the door with a thud, as I reach for the knob.  Who knows what is going on in there now?

Inhale 
Exhale

I enter the room to discover my nearly four year old, stripped completely naked.

Between fits of laughter I ask, "What are you doing? Why are you naked?"

"Um," she starts, "I didn't want Shiny to take a bath all by herself."

"Get in the tub!" I command, as her naked body streaks across the hall into the bathroom.

All clean now and ready to jam!







Monday, March 12, 2012

Just Play

In honor of International Women Week and the fact that March is Women's History month, the Land of Listicles is dedicated to this topic. Our lovely leader, Stasha has given us carte blanche to go forth with this topic in any way we see fit.

This topic rings especially poignant as it is the fortieth anniversary of Title IX  later this year. Not only did Title IX give me, a female athlete a chance to play, but it also made huge strides in gender equity in athletics, schooling, and the workforce. My girls will never know a world where they couldn't play. Here's a great list of the impact of Title IX.

In that regard, my list is dedicated to women in sports.

10 Reasons Why Girls Need to Play

1. To learn the dynamics of being part of a team.

2. To find perseverance when things are tough.

3. To establish a routine 

4. To dedicate time and energy through practice.

5. To develop positive self esteem and body image.

6. To realize one's strength.

7. To challenge gender roles and stereotypes

8. To inspire future leaders. 

9.  To learn to lose gracefully.

10. To relishing that sweet taste of victory. 



Interested in more information about girls in athletics? 

Check out these sites:






Sunday, March 11, 2012

Gifts

They say everyone has a gift.

That special something that makes them stand out from a crowd.
For myself, I assume my writing and patience (with other people's children). While Bryan has near photographic memory and excellent navigational skills.

My best friend Ashley is a fantastic photographer, however her other skill only comes to play on special occasions. I assume there are others who have this gift. I do believe they are a limited breed. Some try to replicate this unsuccessfully or with limited success. My sister, for example, tries but has yet to duplicate.

What is this gift, you ask?

Why, dear Ashley has the super human ability to choose the most original and fascinating presents!

While this does not seem too big of deal at first, take a moment to think back to the last function you attended.

Were there any gifts received that stood out for originality or function?

Did the recipient seem to favor one gift over all the rest?

Chances are, if Ashley is at a function, it will be her gift that takes the cake!

For example, this past Christmas, Mo and Maeve received personalized pillowcases.
Not just their names, THEIR FACES on the pillows!
Mo with Mo

For our wedding, Ashley found a print of our reception site and had it framed. Not soon after Moira's birth, a framed sketch of a newborn Mo arrived courtesy of Ashley.

To say, I enjoy being the recipient of these gifts is an understatement. 

The gift that seemed to get the biggest reaction was at my baby shower. 

The collective swoon of the room was audible from the outside as I unwrapped her gifts. 12 items from bibs to Easter basket, frames to sleepers, for the 12 months of the year.

Perfection!
Bry, my enormous belly & boobs, and me opening presents.

It has been four years since that shower, and I will admit, that gift made quite the impression on me. I kept that idea deep in the recesses of my brain, hoping to copy it for someone myself.

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, so Ash remember that!

Our good friends Lynsay & Steve are expecting their first baby, a little boy, the end of April. 
They are a fun couple, as evident by the photos below. 


As I searched her registry, Ashley's gift to me slowly crept its way into my conscious.


Do it Jackie! Just do it!

My brain seemed to say.


She'll appreciate that you liked her idea. 


Lynsay will love it! 


The other guests will love it too!


You'll be that one that gives the gift that people talk about. 


Yes, that was part of the motivation for this gift.
Other guests will talk about it, perhaps even copy it themselves.

Remember how I'm a bit of party planning nut?
Apparently something rubbed off onto me as with this shower I went a bit overboard! My enthusiasm for party planning was somehow transferred into this gift. 

In the end, fourteen books and various gifts were collected as I started at birth and ended with first birthday.

The Books for the Year

April: Birth
May: Mother's Day
June: Father's Day
July:  Fourth of July
August: Beach
September: Phillies


October: Halloween
November: Thanksgiving
December: Christmas

January: Eagles/Snow
February: Valentine's Day
March: St. Patrick's Day


April: Easter
First Birthday

To package it all, I purchased a tub at Five Below. Wrapping each gift, and adding a numbered card to the front, I ensured she unwrapped them in the correct order. 

I could have left well enough alone. It was adorable. The colors coordinated with the baby's nursery. 

But no, 

I had to keep going. 

I had to write something.

Okay, I had to write fourteen somethings. 

For each gift I wrote a little rhyme, and at the shower made her read each aloud. 

Yes,
I'm that crazy, neurotic person, spending way too much time and putting forth way too much energy towards a baby shower gift. 

And as a result the gift was appreciated. 

Who am I kidding? 

It was a huge hit and most definitely "The Gift" of the shower. 
Sorry ladies, I did love those Polo onesies Sarah and the monkey hamper was adorable!

As Lynsay was unwrapping, I fielded a few questions.

"Is that from pinterest?"

Nope.

"Did you find it on a blog"

No.

"What a fabulous idea!"

Thanks (under my breath Ashley!).

"You should totally pin it!" 

Plan to!

"I think you should blog about it!"

If only you saw me in my dining room taking pictures a few hours ago as I wrapped this sucker, you'd have realized that a blog post was under way.  

"I totally am going to steal this idea!"

Feel free, I already did! 
For a list of the books and rhymes click HERE!

And if a function comes up and you find yourself unsure what to give. Drop me and email and I'll ask Ash. I bet she has a great idea!!



Ash & Jac
March 2008


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Timing is everything

"I promise I will jump in Mama!" Mo's voice repeats the phrase again.

It has been her personal mantra this past week since her last swim class. Willing herself to do it. Attempting to gather her courage and make that leap off the side into the waiting arms of her swim instructor.

She's not usually like this.

In the nearly four years of her life, physical activities have been quite easy for her. Walking before nine months, (I do not exaggerate)jumping with two feet off the ground before her second birthday, and at soccer clinic this past fall, being mistaken for a five year old as she threw shoulders and dribbled the ball like the best of them.

She's good at physical things.

Swimming is different.

She has to work at it, and I don't think she likes that.
Bryan's DNA taking over there. 

With her first session of swim lessons behind her, confidence in the water has slowly been gained. No longer does that half frozen smile seem pasted on her face, as her visibly tense shoulders and arms cling to Miss Theresa for dear life. Instead, she kicks with strong legs, paddles her arms left and right, and amazingly at the last lesson this session even put her entire face in the water, on multiple occasions.

Maeve is a different story.

This kid loves the water, almost to a fault.

On one of the first classes I made the mistake of trying to slide in down the ladder while she sat on the wall waiting. In the time it took me to descend those three stairs, she had stood up and jumped in. Luckily, my cat like reflexes were able to pull her up before any permanent drowning occurred.

Imagine the lifeguard having to intervene during a parent child swim class?
Only me. Only me.

As the ten weeks came to an end, our Monday night ritual had been too much for me, alone. Undressing, suiting up three bodies, in the water it was Maeve and I together, while Mo swam with her teacher. Bathroom breaks in a sopping wet bathing suit, returning back to the water trying to keep everyone alert and paying attention to their respective teachers, then showering, dressing after.

It wiped me out!

So, as enrollment became open for the new session, it was decided that we would switch to what we would hope would be the leisurely pace of a Sunday early evening class. Since it's Sunday, Bryan would be home!

I was swept away thinking of how fabulous it will be to have an extra set of hands to help, that extra body in the water with Maeve so I could actually watch Mo, that I overlooked a major issue.

We piled into the minivan, all six of us. Bags packed with bathing suits, swim diapers, and towels as Grammie & Popsie eagerly awaited seeing their grand babies swim.

Sitting in the back row, I began talking, "Remember Mo, this is a new session, so Miss Theresa might not be your teacher."

"It's okay Mama!" she said, "I still gonna jump, right Popsie?"
"Oh Mo," he began, "you're so brave! I know you can do it!"
"Jac, we're making good time!" Bry started. "You know next week we don't have to leave so early."
"It's okay!" I said. "Better to be early then late."
"Grammie, I'm gonna jump!" her mantra continues. "Will you be proud?"
"Oh Mo!" she gushes, "Of course! You're the best kid in the whole wide world! Popsie and I can't wait to see you swim!"

Pulling into the parking lot, the clock grants us a seventeen minute reprieve. Plenty of time to undress, suit up, hit the bathroom before swim lessons.

Bryan disappears into the men's locker room as my mom follows the girls and I into the ladies room. Having that extra set of hands is a dream, as we quickly and without fight get everyone ready for swim lessons.

Onto deck with march, our six pack, ready for the day.

Ten minutes to spare. Apparently this new day and time will be grand!

"I'm gonna jump, Daddy!" Mo says, looking up to him as she grabs his hand. "You gonna watch me do it?"
"I'll be right in the water next to you dude," he says. "I'll see it! I promise!"

Eight minutes until time, as the class before begins their final jumps.

As a toweled child walks by with their parent, I notice a piece of paper in their hand.

Could it be? I think.
No. It's not a certificate.
Not a completion certificate.

It's the first day of class, so why would they have these papers?

Five minutes until class time.

Miss Becky, Maeve's instructor from last session walks by, a smile on her face as Maeve waves frantically.

"Hi Maeve!" she says.

"Hi!" Maeve nervously mutters then smashes her face into my thigh.

"Sorry we had to switch classes, " I begin. "It just will be easier on Sundays since my husband is here".

Her smile wanes.

"You know the new session starts tomorrow right?" she asks. "Today is the last day of this session."

"You got to be kidding me!" Bry says, between eye rolls.

"Seriously?" I ask.

"YEAAAAHHHH!!" Mo cannot contain her glee, as she looks to Popsie, "I don't got to jump in today, Pops!"

Her excitement is plastered all over her face.

"That sucks!" I say.

Becky offers a "Sorry" while walking away.

"Well, I guess no swimming today." I say. "I guess we'll be back next week!"

"No pool?" Maeve asks. Her eyes begin to tear.

"Sorry, Shine. Mama and Daddy messed up!"

"No kick, no pool? Swim!" she says again, this time between tears.

My heart breaks as Bry says, "Daddy got it all screwed up! How about we go to the noodle store?"

"NO, POOOOOOLLLL!" she is heartbroken, as she throws her swim suited body on the wet pool deck.

Meanwhile, Mo has already gotten my mom to bring her back into the locker room.

"Grammy, next week I'm gonna jump in!"

Sure, Mo.

Next week.


Linking up with the fabulous Yeah Write Challenge!
Be sure to vote on Thursday!

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Duel

The fan above the stove turns its familiar tune, as I slowly and methodically cut onion. The chicken is frying away. The knife easily slices, as the pieces take over the cutting board, while my sister continues to write feverishly. Her hands stops abruptly.

"Jac, I think I heard something" she says.
"Of course you did" I casually mutter continuing to chop. "It's probably Mo."
"Should you get her?" she asks, abandoning her list, showing concern. 
"Why?" I say. "She'll be down in 10 anyway". 

I dump the onions in the pan as the sound of the sizzle temporarily hushes the footsteps on the floor above. 

She is awake. 
It's 2:30 pm and she's not napping.
Hell, she never fell asleep. 
She's almost four years old, and she's done with napping. 

F--k me.

Believe me I haven't given up this easily. There's been kicking, screaming and crying.
Moira has even done the same.

I've been stern mommy.
Lecturing in my most serious tone with smug face,
"Moira Ann, (of course using her first AND middle name adds to seriousness) you need to nap. When you don't I'm  you're tired, I'm you're cranky, and I'm you're miserable! You need sleep to grow!"

Nothing.

I've been bargaining mommy.
In my most pleading and sincere voice, with a fake smile pasted across my face, "Okay Mo, if you take your nap, mommy will give you your sticker! Remember," adding some more fake enthusiasm here "only a few more stickers and you get your surprise! So take a good nap!"

She didn't buy that either.

I've tried peer pressure
"You know Mo, Alixandra still naps for Miss Danielle".
Nope.

I've tried bribery.
"Listen kid," I plead, "take a nap and you can watch whatever you want...or I'll let you help me bake cookie... or even" gulping as I mutter it, "we can play play dough! Whatever you want, just sleep!"

After responding with the same, "Okay, mommy" sometime later those footsteps are back, cringing as I hear that door open. "Mommy, I AWAAAAKKKKKEEE!"

Of course you are.

My DVR is full. I have some blogs and books I'd like to read, I'd like to pee with the door shut, and frankly, I could use a nap, but not today. Not anymore.

Nap time is over.

Nap time is over and I didn't even get any say in it.

This kid is growing up and with the abandonment of nap time I realize how much less baby and more kid she has become. This has happened way too fast for my own liking.

Kids have this way of growing up, in what seems like overnight. One moment they go from these needy, helpless little creatures to the next as fiercely independent, self assured and AWAKE people.

So as I ready myself for this hurdle of losing nap time, I beg my baby girl to slow down a bit. I continue to encourage her return to her room for daily rest time. Because on occasion, the footsteps are missing as she gives in to that nap. Still not completely a big kid, I'll be holding on to that for a little bit longer. I'll savor those quiet moments cramming in some of my own shows on my DVR in between.