Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sometimes it's not so easy

Don’t try to steer the river. 
~Deepak Chopra

Racing through the gate, they run in different directions. Climbing, sliding, playing, their laughter echos through the mid day air.

Spying the swings, she stops mid step, her focus on the girls already seated. Pumping their legs, high, higher, higher they swing.

Back and forth.
Back and forth.
Back and forth.

She looks to me and I offer a reassuring smile.

"Why don't you try Mo?" I ask. "You can do it. Just try."

"Oh No Mommy. I can't do it." she insists, walking over to me. "You know. I can't do it. I just don't know how to do it. It's too hard."

The frustration is clear.

She wants to be like the big girls. I watch, intently from my post at the picnic table, offering bits and pieces of advice.

"Lean back a bit".

"In then out".


Her body is rigid. Her legs too tense as her face wrings with concentration. Her arms hold onto the metal chain for dear life.

"I just can't do it!" she sobs. "Please. Please help me mommy."

Against my better judgement,  I rise and head over to the swing beside her.

"Watch mommy, babe" I offer. "I pump by legs in and lean forward a bit. Then lean back and my legs go out straight, do you see?"

Her focus is intense, as she studies me.

Back and forth.
Back and forth.
Back and forth.

"Okay, mommy. I think I got it." she replies.

Again, the rigid, tense body fails her and upon leaning back, she looses her balance and collapses onto the wood chips.


Gathering her up in my arms, I whisper in her ear, "It's okay. I think we're done for the day. Let's go home."

"No! No!" she sobs, "I want to pump my legs. I want to swing like a big kid. I can do it."

The tears stream down her red cheeks.

Her insistence is to be admired, but the heat coupled with our time at the park leads me to continue walking.

"We'll come back again." I promise, "I know you will learn how to swing. I just know it in my heart."

It takes a few more tries, a few more failures, but alas, she figures it out.

She masters it on her own, as it should be.

Sometimes the hardest part of parenthood is learning when to sit back. Learning when to be an observer and learning when to let the river flow on it's own.

Little White Whale

Monday, July 23, 2012

Birthday Party Perfect

It's Monday!

Time for the Listicle train to leave the station.  Since it's Robbie’s turn to choose the topic, she took inspiration from her daughter's ninth birthday and hence: Birthdays became our inspiration. 

I have disclosed time and time again, that I am a bit insane with regards to birthdays. Take note that I do have a label dedicated to party perfect. 

I will confess that my party planning neurosis for Maeve and Moira's birthdays in January and April respectively has already started to take form. Check out my pinterest boards here and here. 

And, yes, I have let my mind wander a bit to brainstorm potential first birthday party ideas for a child born around Christmas. (Yes, this child has not left utero, and I am already considering first birthday options.)

I am crazy about these party plans, so crazy that I figure this list should be dedicated to my ten most crazy birthday related memories in photo form- in no particular order.

1. Moira's Fourth Birthday Pirate Parrrrrty!

The purchase of a moon bounce, pirate hats and spy glasses, and random costumed Pirates circulating, made for quite the memorable fourth birthday extravaganza. 

2. Maeve's Sunshiny Second Birthday

Yellow, pink, and orange took over the first floor, as we celebrated our "little Sunshine" with a Sunshiny Second birthday party. Between the sunshine cake and our always bright and shiny Miss Marcia playing along, the party was quite the happy day!

3. Jeanna's Surprise 30th Birthday

Planning a surprise party is quite the feat, especially when the guest list includes more people you don't know than you do! Luckily, with the inception of evite, I was able to keep the guest list under control and in turn pulled out a memorable surprise birthday for my little sis!

4. Moira's First Birthday

I kept it calm that first birthday. Being that we had very few friends with kids, we decided to keep it relatively low key. Instead of the heavy themes and over the top decorations I later would adopt as norm, her first birthday instead centered on fabulous food, oh...and the birthday girl!

5. Maeve's Winter "One"derland

Not as crazy as her second birthday, I embraced the cold of January as we celebrated Maeve's first birthday with a Winter "one"derland. An adorable snowman smash cake combined with pin the carrot on the snowman were the highlights of this icy fete. So out of character, Maeve wanted nothing to do with her cake. 

6. Bryan's 30th Birthday
Atlantic City, NJ
Best friends who live three hours away from each getting together for the weekend as they each celebrate their 30th birthdays. 
Drunken debauchery,
High rolls at the craps tables,
VIP club access, 
and oh yeah, 
I'm 32 weeks pregnant with Moira.
Imagine that picture, because there are none taken to memorialize that night. 
A very pregnant Jackie weaving her way through the drunken bodies at the dance floor of a club trying to make it to the bathroom. Exactly how I never thought I'd be celebrating Bry turning 30. 
The end of freedom, he likes to say, because less than seven weeks later, Moira arrived. 
 At least I got a fabulous prenatal massage and dinner at Sea Blue out of it. 
Ask Bry what he remembers....

7. Moira's Second Birthday Musical Jamboree

Our favorite music teacher Miss Marcia took center stage as we hosted Mo's Second birthday with a fabulous musical jamboree in our living room. Maracas, shakers, and ribbon wands galore, as the kiddos sang, danced, and got their groove on. Of course, no birthday would be complete without cupcakes. And instead of baking, we had the fabulous Trendy Sweets bake for us. 

 8. Jackie's Surprise 30th Birthday

I'm guessing Bryan felt the need to make up for the craziness that was his 30th, by helping me celebrate with a party he planned at my speed. A tasting menu with 10 of our closest friends at our favorite local restaurant. Pitchers of sangria and some of the best food we've had greeted us as we shared in the celebration outside. That is until the rain started, and poured down! The party wasn't over however, complimentary t-shirts helped to dry us off. 
What a fun surprise and how nice to have not had to plan or clean up!
I don't have photos from that evening either. 

9. Moira's Over the Rainbow Third Birthday

It all started with her first viewing of Wizard of Oz. She was hooked. Everything became Dorothy and the flying monkeys. With that, a perfect party theme emerged. We played pin the heart on the tin man, used our courage to cover our eyes, and used our brain to create rainbow cereal necklaces. I do believe Dorothy had quite the happy birthday that year, plus the costume did double work coming back out for Halloween. 

10. The Tale of The Tastykake 

Read about it here.
No birthday in our house is complete without a breakfast serenade of "happy birthday" while blowing out the  candle on their favorite Tastykake. 
Maeve wanted nothing to do with hers. 
Moira couldn't get enough!

What comes to mind when you hear "birthdays"? Join in the fun!

Monday, July 16, 2012

A little bit of thanks goes a long way

Back at the helm, Stasha decided today's Listicle topic would be a list of 10 Thanks.

Oh they places this could go! Instead, I decided to look at one day, yesterday and think of those little thanks that made it that much better.

Ten Words of Thanks for Sunday, July 15, 2012

1. Thank you Maeve and Moira.
Sleeping until 7:40 and 7:45 respectively helped to start our Sunday morning off to a wonderful day. Any morning that begins after seven, is divine.

2. Thank you Nick Junior, Disney Junior, and Sprout stations.
Your presence and stellar children's programming makes me feel less guilty as my two love bugs sit, with milk cups in hand, in their early morning television stupors as they consume episodes of Sesame Street, Fresh Beat Band, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates while I catch up on my Sunday networking.

3. Thank you Red House Bagels.
It took a while, I do believe almost two years and eight months for your arriva, but hey, who's counting? With welcome arms we greeted you.  Finally a bagel shop that yields that right amount of chew to crust. Your everything bagels have the right combination of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onions, salt, and garlic to go swimmingly with the lovely organic butter from Wegmans. The only improvement is when Bry times his arrival to their recent exit from the oven. Warmed bagels where the butter belts instantaneously, breakfast perfection!

4. Thank you Bank of America.
Unlike some banks that have taken to being open on Sunday, your bank remains closed on this day, thus permitting cars like ours to take refuge in your parking lot during the local Fine Arts and Crafts Festival. Free parking only a block from the action, not too bad!

5. Thank you inventors of Italian Ice.
Who thought that 92* with 90 % humidity would have been so well, humid and hot? The sweat managed to pearl over Maeve's top lip within five minutes of walking. Thankfully the homemade Italian ice from Casa Bella Trattoria was divine, and saved both Mo and Maeve from sweating away.

6. Thank you Sila Air Conditioning.
It has only been four months since these magicians did their thing on own home, but our place has never been the same. This year instead of fleeing to my parents home with each day over 90*, we are able to remain indoors; cold, crisp air blowing out of the vents. Returning home from the festival yesterday empty handed, tired, and sweaty, walking through that front door never felt better.

7. Thank you Bryan.
Not only did you send me downstairs and put the girls down for their naps independently, but then you encouraged me to climb into the comfort of our own bed and take a nap on my own. I do believe you slightly were motivated to push me upstairs so you could watch another episode of some new show solo, but I'm willing to overlook that as the nap was divine.

8. Thank you You Tube.
From your depths we have created our own dance parties nightly. Exposing our girls to the likes of:
Of Monsters and Men


The Black Keys

And because no dance party is complete without the Go-Go's.
My girls need some good girl rocking role models. (Of course, minus all the sex and drugs and all that...)

9. Thank you Disney.
I know most bedtime rituals involve a story before slumber, but in our house, we have nightly cuddles in our bed while we watch fifteen minutes or so of a movie. I thank you Disney (and Pixar too) for bringing me back to my old childhood as I watch with the same wide eyes as Ursula sucks Ariel's voice into that shell around her neck and dance in place as Sebastian the crab sings his ode to Kissing the Girl.

10. Thank you Five Guys Burgers.
Every Sunday night we're home it's the same conversation, "what's for dinner?" One would think by now I'd have this down, but nope. I don't cook on weekends, enough said.
So thank you, Five Guys burgers for your fabulously fantastic Little* Cheeseburger (*that means one burger)   with everything (lettuce, tomato, fried onions & mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, mayo, & pickles) and your tasty fries. Sunday dinner my way, indeed!

 Anyone stick out yesterday worth thanking? Take a minutes and link up since it is Monday after all!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hugs in the Sun

To some, the in-law relationship is strained. 

I have heard horror stories. I have seen the movies. I have read the vents, the blog posts, the facebook statuses and the like. 

Somehow, some way, I lucked out. 

Not only did I get a mother in law whom I enjoy and appreciate, whom gets along with my own parents, but the best part is my children got a grandmother whom loves, dotes, spoils and adores them unconditionally. 

How lucky are we? 

Plus, it doesn't hurt our relationship that she lives at the beach and welcomes us with open arms. 

Today is Good. 

Today is Fun. 

Tomorrow is another one.
-Dr. Seuss

Little White Whale

Monday, July 9, 2012

Things to Miss and Those Not Worth It

Monday and I'm back on the listicle crazy train. 

This listicle was suggested by Deborah and inspired by Nora Ephron’s list THINGS SHE WILL MISS AND WHAT SHE WON’T. Thank you Mannahatta Mamma for a great idea.

Things I Won't Miss

  • alarm clocks
  • folding laundry
  • library due dates
  • Fox News
  • watermelon
  • sunburn
  • Spanx
  • gyno appointments
  • the current state of pop music
  • the Kardashians
  • cleaning 
  • credit card balances
  • bathing suit shopping
  • migraines
  • phone calls, emails, and texts
  • sleep deprivation 
  • stupid people
  • stupid people who are parents
  • stupid people who are parents whose children interact with my children
  • wait time
  • body image 
  • potty training
  • infomericals

Things I Will Miss

  • smiles
  • morning cuddles
  • Pearl Jam
  • swims in the ocean
  • Thanksgiving dinner
  • "Mommy, I love you."
  • dinner out here, or here or here or even here
  • pedicures
  • the smell of lilacs in the spring
  • everything bagels with cream cheese
  • a good haircut
  • Mo's confidence
  • Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream 
  • birthday party planning
  • the black lines on the bottom of a swimming pool
  • December 23
  • good pizza
  • the city of Philadelphia 
  • Maeve's budding musical aptitude
  • cool nights on the front porch with a beer, good conversation,  and Bry
  • laughter
  • avocados
  • Halloween costumes
  • Doop!
  • Wawa

What would you miss when your gone? What would you be glad to forget? Link up: 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Listicle: 10 Questions

Our Grand Dame de Listicles, Stasha, made it quite easy this week. In lieu of traditional topic, we're playing Ten Questions.

After a fantastic beach day yesterday, that included four hours on the sand of which three and half were spent in the ocean, and a back road trip home through areas without power to avoid the Sunday heading home traffic, our whole house slept in past eight. 
It was divine!

I'm a little late to start, but I present,

10 Questions for you:

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 23, and find line 4. What is it?

...summer to keep from burning up. They called him Crazy Joe because he...

2. How many times a day do you say hi?
Too many to count!
I consider myself a nice person, and usually if I make eye contact with someone out and about, I'll say hello. If I had to put a number on it, I'd say between eight and eighty. 
3. Have you ever worn a uniform?
As an adult, no.
As a child, yes. Catholic school grades 1-4, and my Girl Scout uniform from grades 1-7. 

God, I loved that Brownie beanie!
4. What do you think about the most?
Honestly, something related to FOOD! I am embarrassed to admit this. Usually it's what I'm going to eat, cook, or serve my children. 
5. How many keys are on your key ring?
Seven keys, four discount club cards, three membership cards to the YMCA (Mo, Maeve, & myself) and one bottle opener I received the first month of college.  
6. What was the last thing you bought?
Surprise! On a trip to Wawa on our way home from the beach yesterday, Bryan filled up the car with gas and I popped into the store for drinks. For him, a traditional Arizona iced tea, while for myself I picked up one of the new Lightly Sweetened Cherry Pomegranate Snapple tea. Yum! 

7. Are you growing anything these days?
Funny you should ask....check here! 
It's kind of something big.

8. What is under your bed?

Dust bunnies and few stray toys.

9. What is most important in life?

10. What is the strangest word you used this week?

echocardiogram - not a strange word, unless you're a four year old