Wednesday, December 30, 2009


As a new year approaches, there are resolutions to be made. I actually make resolutions every morning, evening, and at the start of each new week. Which some people might read as, I am not very good at the follow through. Yes and no. I do have amazing will power and determination-- I just get distracted sometimes. But lately I have been thinking about all the things I have been putting off and should just resolve to do, perhaps once completed I might even have something to blog about - fancy that.

Just last night, as I was finishing my current, thinkless novel, wondering what will I read next? I realized that I have a bookshelf of books, and while I have read most of them, there are a quite a few titles that I have not. Wuthering Heights, for real people? I was an English major, how did I manage to get through my BritLit class without reading that? And furthermore, I was an English teacher - oh the hypocrisy! Little Women, Canterbury Tales, Lord of the Flies...I am hanging my head in shame right now. I have some contemporary stuff on that same shelf as well like, Five People You Meet in Heaven, which is actually not on the same shelf, because my shelf is arranged mostly by genre by time period...maybe that is another thing to work on this coming year...

The Bro's scrapbook. The kid is a year old already and there is a not a page to show for it. Natalie's book spans four years already, which is also on my list. There are three pages left in that one, that have been earmarked for specific events and it just needs to be done. Definitely worthy of at least one future blog entry.

There are little things, like keeping my office desk clean, which will probably prove to be the hardest of them all, painting the office wall (which I think I will tackle this week, maybe even starting tonight), the continuation of wearing "fun socks" and less black on behalf of my little family.

Good luck to all of you on whatever you work towards in 2010, thanks for reading most of 2009 with me, and I will see you on the other side...

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

It Isn't ALWAYS About Me

As a teacher, the holidays would come and many students would shower my desk with gift cards, homemade goodies, and the like and there would always be one family/student, who in lieu of a gift, would make a donation to a charitable organization and truthfully, I always made sure in in my thank you card, to let them know that this was truly the best gift to give. In the past, I have always made a donation at the holidays, usually to a children's organization, in my grandmothers names. They are old, that is just the truth, and they really don't need or want for anything. I have contributed to The Home for Little Wanderers, St. Jude, Make a get the idea. And I think it is important that even if you have a little extra to give, that you do.

I am lucky enough to have close friends and even not so close friends who are charitable with not only their money, but with their time as well. Supporting the arts, animals, people, schools, you name it. In fact, my friend Tracy has spent the month posting a different organization that can benefit from donations. I am including some links of organization that she has been sharing:

There are more, but I didn't want to completely overwhelm you. She did the work for me, and now I have done the work for you-- you just have to click and donate.

On a more personal note, and old friend of mine and his wife are headed to Costa Rica for the month of January. There they will be working in an orphanage for teenage boys who have been removed from their homes. They too are looking for anyone who is able to, to donate to their selfless cause. So please, if you have the means, consider donating. If not to one of these links, to something that is near and dear to your heart. Rick Deutsch's Costa Rica Blog. You can make a donation via the blog.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Oh Chanukah, Oh Hannukah

With all the fanfare that surrounds Christmas, although we celebrate the eight nights of Chanukah in the house, it sometimes seems to be a week of presents that brings Natalie closer to Christmas. So for the last night of Chanukah, we invited Natalie's besties over, with their parents and had our very first, "Last Night of Chanukah Latke Party." Of course Natalie did not eat any latkes; she has trouble wrapping her head around the fact that a latke and a french fry really aren't that different, but she had no problem eating the jelly and chocolate munchkins. But, I think, she felt pretty cool that she could light the menorah by herself and sing the prayer, and shared that with her BFs.

Mental note for next year, no matter how cool the Razor scooter that has been on the "I want" list for six months is, it is not nearly as cool as the Hello Kitty activity book and gel pens that your best friends got from "Hannukah Harry".

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Week in Numbers

1 - Number of workouts I was able to fit into a small window of free time
2 - Number of full fledged meltdowns, which included tears, high pitched screams, and undecipherable words, that Natalie had over seemingly insignificant things
3 - Number of times Joey tried to climb into the bathtub
4 - Number of nights Dan was forced to eat the same thing for dinner because I didn't make anything.
5 - Number of times Natalie fell off the kitchen chair after repeatedly being told to sit on her bum.
6- Number of guests hosted for "Last Night of Hanukah Latkes"
7 - Number of times Joey tried to eat a handful of dog food
8 - Number of times I tried to get Joey to say, "Mama" to which he smiled a gummy smile and responded, "Dada dada dada dada dada"
9 - Number of times I drove to Littleton this week
10 - Number of small toys (lite brite bulbs, Polly Pockets accessories, etc.) that needed to be extracted from Joey's mouth.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Yes, Natalie, there is a Santa Claus

The other day as I was finishing up wrapping Natalie's last gifts for Hanukah, I wondered if she would realize that "Santa Claus" used the same wrapping paper. I literally sat there for five minutes, concocting a story in my head of what I could tell her to make it all ok should she, and she probably will, make that realization. Suddenly, I had Santa Claus and Hanukah Harry together at a holiday party where the Christmas elves and the Hanukah fairies do all the wrapping together while Jolly Old St. Nick and his Jewish counterpart enjoy some ice cold egg nog and nibble on some chocolate gelt. I kid you not, this was the scenario that played out in my head.

Four years ago, when Natalie was just a mere five and a half months, I decided that I wasn't going to perpetuate this Santa Claus fabrication. That there was no reason for me to flat out lie to her about a fat man in a red suit who supposedly comes down the chimney with gifts. I mean really...we celebrate Christmas at my mother's house and she doesn't even have a chimney. WELL, both my father and my grandmother, the two of them "Oh yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" practically in unison. My father even printed it out so I could read it. As though a piece of paper from the Internet was going to change my mind. I wasn't going to tell her that Santa wasn't real, because I am sure that a long, long time ago in a tiny little European village there was a man who perhaps dressed in red and went about giving gifts to good little boys and girls. I just wasn't going to really say anything. I am not denying that this idea of Santa didn't stem from truth, but the North Pole? Elves? Flying reindeer? How long am I supposed to continue to deceive her? Eventually she is going to find out or figure it out and it will be all my fault that I lied to her. This is what I originally in the early months of motherhood, wanted to avoid.

My good friend, Lisa, seems to think this makes me a scrooge and that it is a good lesson in dealing with disappointment. But this is a disappointment in my child's life that I could have controlled and not caused. And I do believe in the magic of the Christmas season. Even with all the people who are stressed and cranky, they are still going about trying to make tiny miracles happen for little people. Let me tell you, there is nothing that compares to the truest, most genuine joy that comes from a little girl who just received the gift that "I've always wanted!" I love that there is a time when people who don't always think to give back, give back; that we find ways to dig a little deeper.

But now I am knee deep in it. So deep that not only do I talk about Santa, but I continue to let her believe that Hanukah Harry lives up the street from us in a tiny little brick cottage style house. And I can't tell her the truth about Santa because what if she tells some other kid and breaks their heart, and yet another disappointment that I have caused.

Next year, all the presents are going in gift bags.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

525,600 Minutes

A year ago, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning-- nine months pregnant and unable to sleep, I headed down to our TV room, scanned the DVR and thought now is as good a time as any to watch It's a Wonderful Life. A movie I had sworn off watching when I was in 8th grade. Shortly after settling onto the couch, which is not an easy thing to do in the last stages of pregnancy, I heard the pitter patter of tiny girl feet coming down the stairs. At 3am I was not about to argue that she shouldn't be up and so she nestled in, as well as she could, next to me on the couch and the movie played on. Not even through the credits, I pushed (truly) Natalie off the couch and (as I remember it) calmly said, "It's time." I always thought pregnancy in television and movies was a little outlandish with women standing in a puddle of water, but apparently it can happen that way.

We changed into some clothing, called my mother-in-law to meet us at the hospital, and ventured into the quiet of the dark morning towards the hospital. Dan's only rule was that I was to make it to the hospital-- there would be no delivery in the car. He dropped me off at the check in, where I provided my information and from there I walked to another room to make sure that I was actually in labor...let me tell you, I was actually in labor. Twenty minutes later, I walked to the actual labor and delivery room and wouldn't you know that the same nurse who was with me for the start of my delivery with Natalie was with me again! My doctor was paged to come to the hospital as things were moving rather swiftly. But there was no time! I told the nurses it was time, and they scrambled to get the on call doctor there in time for the very quick delivery of my baby boy.

Happy First Birthday, Joey!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Day

This morning is gray and beautiful and still and quiet. That is except for the Bro who feels the need to yell everything to make sure he is heard. But even Natalie, who usually sings at the top of her lungs in the morning, knew that this morning was for climbing in under the warmth of the down comforter an holding onto to that sleepy feeling a little longer than normal.

I know we just had snow, but there is something about a real "snow day" that brings me joy. that fact that for the first time this season we are forced not to go anywhere. The kids and I will stay in our pajamas for the better part of the day and bake until I have run out of butter, which might give us one batch of cookies, since I am usually borrowing a stick of butter from my neighbor, but today is too snowy to venture across the street. Later we will bundle up and brave the weather for some snowy play and warm back up with hot chocolate with marshmallows and candy canes.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

You Don't Say

It must be rough to be a four-year-old with an English teacher mom always correcting everything that is said. Although, it is always a proud moment when Natalie stops and self corrects using the appropriate, "Daddy and I watched Sprout today." And she does emphasize that she is saying "I" rather than "me". But there are some words that she says that I just don't want to correct and sad was the day when she came home from school and told me about the "animals" rather than the aminals that for four years she spoke incorrectly, and I secretly cherished.

Other words that I correct but am never disappointed she refuses to say correctly are:

"sawn" as in: "I've sawn that house before. Gabriella's mommy showed me."
"amn't" as in: Mommy: "Natalie, you're being a freshy." Natalie: "NO I AMN'T!"
"telled" as in: "Aurora telled me all about Air Bud today.
"gooder" as in: "Sorry Mommy, but Daddy is just gooder at building that you."
"recatanlge" as in: "I know it isn't a circle; it's a rec-a-tangle"
"Disaney" as in: "Remember when we went to China in Dis-a-ney? I love Dis-a-ney"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda

Right now I should be:


Right now I am:

harvesting fake watermelons
eating a salad
drinking more caffeine
stressing about what I should be doing

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I am thankful for this,



and even this

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I love the holiday season. I don't know if I really made that clear two posts ago. I love Christmas carols; I love egg nog; I love seeing people's houses decorated with lights, tastefully or otherwise; I love picking out wrapping paper and wrapping gifts for everyone's kids; I love candy canes; I love creating our holiday cards, I love that I make Grandpa Sam's latkes better than Dan does...

On Sunday, Natalie and I were in the car and "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" came on the radio. And from the back seat she says to me, "Mommy, this is the happiest time of the year." "Why do you say that, Nat?" "Because the song says..." at which point she begins to sing along.

This made me smile through the irony, that although it is the happiest time of the year, no one would let me merge into holiday traffic.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's a Small World Afterall

Sometimes I find life to be a big game of 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. Honestly, if I tried hard enough, I bet I could connect everyone I know to him. Between meeting new people who know old people I know, or even the, "You're from Jersey? Where in Jersey? I'm from Jersey too!" It is a small, small world.

When I first moved to the Boston area, a fresh college graduate with a "great" job, I did my banking with a small, local bank...Watertown Savings. Basking in the glow of my first real pay check I headed to that small bank to make my first big deposit. I stepped up to the teller, and handed her the first of the small fortune I was bound to amass. She took it and looked at the name, then looked at me, then looked at the check, and then look at me, tilted her head to the side, furrowed her brow, and looked harder at me.

"Is there a problem?" I asked.
"You're Kristen Dattoli?" she replied.
"Are you sure?"
"Ah, yeah, I'm sure. Why?"

As it turned out, there was another Kristen Dattoli who grew up in the area with whom this teller went to school. Clearly, I was not the Kristen Dattoli that she was familiar with. However, Kristen Dattoli I was and so she deposited my money for me.

Fast forward nine years and I open my Facebook account to find that I have a new friend request. Really? It is sort of exciting to see who has sought me out. It was, Kristen Dattoli. Bizarre. But even weirder is the fact that this Kristen Dattoli who requested my cyber friendship not only shares the same name as me, but the same birthday. That's right, she was born April 14, three years earlier than me, but seriously, the same name and the same birthday? Before accepting this "friendship" I asked if is she thought it was possible that we have the same name and birthday...she too "appeared" to be shocked by this. This extra commonality that we shared led her to ask all sorts of questions to see what else we have in common. She revealed to me that she grew up in the Boston area, etc. Upon reading this, I shared my banking story with her and inquired if she was that Kristen Dattoli. And as fate would have it....she is! Nine years I have known about this other Kristen Dattoli who I now know shares a birthday with me and honestly if and when I ever care about my hair enough to take a shower and get a proper hair style, she and I don't look too far off from each other.

There's so much that we share, that it's time we're aware, it's a small world after all.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

'Tis the Season

Lite FM has begun their 24 hours of Christmas carols and I am SO excited. I love that I am guaranteed to hear The Carpenters at least once every time I get into my car. I know that the holidays have become a total commercial thing, but I love the feeling I have during the holiday season, that build up of good tidings and cheer. These songs signify cold weather that requires colorful scarves and hats. It means sitting in front of the fireplace with some kicked up egg nog. It means watching Elf, The Muppet's Christmas Carol, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation too many times. It means that soon my house will be full of friends who I see too little of during the year, but manage to save a place in their calendars every December for my holiday party.

Especially, this time of year means Steve's red holiday wear, which we all look forward to seeing year after year.

Year one, Steve actually wore a light blue sweater, year two is the red and white striped shirt. It was consecutive years three and four when he wore the identical red sweater with white collared shirt that earned him his reputation. Year five he showed up in the maroon shirt "claiming" that moths had eaten his red sweater. There was backlash and I believe he bought a red sweater for last year's party. But I was much too pregnant to care about taking photos.

**After reading this post, Steve was kind enough to send me a picture of the new red sweater. Expect to see pictures of it again after this year's holiday party.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thine Eyes Have Seen

I am always looking to find something that sparks an inner dialogue which I can, in turn, share with you. Lately, I have literally been looking at things, people mostly. My cousin, Alyssa (shout out) will tell you that I'm judging, but she is 21 and thinks it's ok to drink pink wine, so you can be the judge of her opinion.

So what I saw was this, a young woman, younger than me that is, with a fabulous shade of purple for her hair, but that is not what I found most striking. It was the amazingly accurate tattoo of Freddy Kreuger's face that was taking up the greater part of her right calf. I am not against tattooing, and I have worked for and with people who are tattooed from head to toe, but I feel as though (really hope is a better word) that one day this young, purple haired woman, wakes up to regret this decision and can purchase some Wrecking Ball to remove this disturbing tattoo from her body.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Five's a Charm

This past weekend I was involved in the planning of my fifth, and hopefully final, wedding shower. I do have a few near and dear to me who are still unwed, and if they choose to make that commitment and want me to be a part of it, I would of course say yes, but let it be known, I will put on my best wedding smile, but only because I know it is the path to an open bar somewhere.

My big bro is getting married this February, I have been given the distinction of being the Matron of Honor for the third time, and mother of the flower girl for the second. (I am happy to continue offering up Natalie for weddings, as she really is exceptional at her flower girling duties.) Having this title means that you need to be super involved in dress choices, and flower choices, and hair choices, and shoe choices, and you get where I am going with this. This is from the girl who admitted just last week I don't even care if I shower anymore. Nonetheless, my brother is getting married and there are rites of passage that all brides must suffer...bridal shower being one of them.

The shower was in NJ, so planning/coordinating from MA wasn't the easiest thing I have done, but having birthed two children without drugs, it probably wasn't the hardest either. Mi prima favorita and I (and Natalie) are the bride's wedding party, so it was up to the two of us to make this happen. Location - free of charge...Thanks WCL Fire Dept! Food - free of charge... Thanks family members. But not everything is free...there was a peacock chair. A few things you need to know, Maria (the bride to be) not particularly outgoing so sitting in an over sized white wicker chair in front of 35ish people you don't really know, probably isn't her idea of a good time. Unless she were watching Twilight or some movie with Shia LeBeof from that chair, with those people. But Jennifer (prima favorita) ordered the peacock chair becuase that is what you do.

Ah the peacock chair. On Friday, Jennifer and I were ready to leave our children with my mother and pick it up. "Oh!" she (my mother) says, "I thought I was picking that up." Jennifer and I look at each other, shrug our shoulders and say, "Ok." That was our first mistake. Saturday, 12:15 my mother arrives to the shower (which is set to begin at 12:30) without a peacock chair in her possession. I will let you imagine how my Type A, controlling demeanor felt about this. Jennifer and I get into the car and head to Taylor Rental to pick up the chair that we knew we should have picked up the day before. As we enter the rental store, ripe with the smell of gasoline, we approach rental store worker with our receipt to obtain one peacock chair. "I hope we have one." If he was trying to be funny, this was not the time. I was set to unleash my inner Jersey girl, complete with accent, but alas he returned with the chair. Down girl.

Jennifer and I head back to the shower (it is now 12:26) hoping to get the chair into the firehouse before Maria can see what we plan to make her sit in. We park the car, get the chair out and start walking to the door, when who pulls into the parking lot...the bride to be. Here we are holding this awful chair from the 80's (the only thing of the decade that has yet to come back into style), and we freeze like deer caught in headlights. She's seen the chair! With that, we begin to run, chair in tow to pretend as though this scene outside has never happened.

Natalie and her prima favorita, Catherine

Thursday, November 5, 2009


A few weeks ago, Dan commented on a pair of socks I was wearing. They were these camel and turquoise striped socks that were way in the back of my sock drawer and the only reason I was wearing them, was because all of my other socks were buried deep in the hampers, which were overflowing with dirty laundry. His comment was something to imply that I used to wear fun and unexpected socks like this all the time. To which I responded, "I used to wear pink, too." But now I wear cheap black t-shirts from Target because by the end of the day I will be inevitably covered in food, or tears, or snot, and I won't have to care about my $7 shirt.

This sent my mind into a tailspin of things I used to do, those which were priorities in my average day, say like, showering. Yeah, I used to do that least once a day if not twice. But today, like many days, showering took a backseat to coloring.

And I do love coloring.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Trick or Treat


and elephants,

and candy. Oh my!

Monday, October 26, 2009


I am losing sleep and watching more strands of dark brown hair turn gray over whether or not I should return to a full time, salaried position. Technically, I am still on maternity leave because in the wake of the "economic climate" it is cheaper to pay substitute teachers than those with degrees and licences and certifications. But I willingly left my classroom with all of my well developed binders of units and lesson plans for the opportunity to stay home with my kids. And the joy of motherhood much outweighs the stress and frustration caused by a four-year-old girl.

Earlier this month, while at a tea with other mothers of Natalie's classmates one woman commented on how if she had a daughter she wouldn't pay for her to go to school...what was the point? She (the hypothetical daughter) would waste(I am not sure if this was the actual word she used, but it was certainly the point she was getting at) it all once she (hypothetical daughter) had children. Hmmm.

First, I was glad that she didn't have a daughter. How terrible to deny a child you don't have the privilege of an education. Perhaps that is the educator in me, or the fact that I have a daughter who may or may not want to have children and may or may not want to have a career too, is it my right to tell her it has to be either or, that she can't have both? Or maybe it is because I have a higher education and I feel that I have to choose between a career and family, because honestly it is hard to do it both. IF I go back to work, do we, GASP, send Natalie to public school, which would only be a half day next year so she would still need some sort of day care as well as the bro would have to be in full time day care AND we would HAVE to have a cleaning person come to our house. Do I stay home and we send Natalie to GASP public school, which I really think at least next year would be a step back in her education. Or do I go back to work and we hire another woman to play me while I am at work so that I can pay her to take my child to school and dote on my son AND clean my house in the hours that I am gone? And for what? So I can try and force middle schoolers to love literature and try with all my might to convince them that grammar is better than the reputation that precedes it? Instead of playing on the swing set in the late afternoon and going to story time I can be planning and grading poorly written papers because I haven't convinced middle schoolers to love literature and that grammar is better than the reputation that precedes it? Am I wasting my education because I want to raise my children?

Can you see it? Do you see the new gray hair that has emerged just from writing this post?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Loose Ends

I. A Face for the Name
1. Meet Alissa
i. she married my male best friend from college
a. yes, boy friends do eventually ( in 99% of my cases meet girlfriends who you either befriend or lose them both, I decided to fight for the friendship (literally, in a girl passive-aggressive way) and ended up with a new girlfriend - totally worth it)
ii. she loves coffee as much as me
iii. she drinks RED wine
iv. she reads the same books as me
v. she can drink a bottle of Bailey's on her own (no joke, I have seen it done and remind her of it regularly, truthfully, this is probably the reason I love her most)
vi. she birthed ( (ha ha Stevie G.) Joey's BFF a week before he was born)
vii. there is potential that she may one day live near the Hudson, MA area
viii. Alissa is the one who is not Holly, Izzy or me.

II. Halloween Decorations
1. Natalie did these all by herself
i. I began to tell her how she should assemble them, but bit my tongue and walked away as to not afflict her with my anal-retentive disorder

III. Paper Cranes
1. I stopped folding them when people stopped RSVPing
2. I am all done with wedding showers and have moved on to the baby shower and birthday party phase of my life.
i. these days, even a baby shower is a stretch

IV. Haircuts
1. I only posted Joey because I feel like I always blog about the Nattie G. and honestly her hair is still long and gorgeous, but my little man looks like a little man.

V. I feel as though a huge blog weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I may proceed with the scheduled programming.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


1. I am a mere twenty-two and my boyfriend of two years, he four years my senior, is holding a NASCAR canvas bad in front of me. "Open it." he says, "Your graduation gift is inside." I was expecting some sort of leather tote to take with me on my first job. Instead, I found a diamond set in platinum. Normally, I would make fun of girls like me.

2. The Pearl River Hilton. It is part castle and part what I imagine a chalet tucked on a mountain would look like. I knew at seventeen this would be the location of my wedding. A regal structure with a backyard landscaped out of a Monet painting - footbridge and all.

3. My mother, mother-in-law to be, and I have journeyed into Brooklyn. Kleinfeld's, the mecca of wedding dress houses was still located there. They have since moved up to the streets of Manhattan and gotten themselves their own reality show. There is a sea of satin, tulle, and organza. Ballroom, a line, sheath, strapless, sweetheart, halter, cap sleeves, white, pearl, natural, antique, Amsale, Ann Barge, Badgley Mischka, some serious haute couture that is awkward to look at. Below us seamstresses working like in the basement like wedding elves to make each dress perfect.

4. I have clippings and catalogs color coded. Pictures and collages I have been creating for months from the pages torn from InStyle and Martha Stewart. Ideas that "Frank the Florist" wishes were his, which he later tries to charge me $10,000 for. Hmmmm, these were my ideas, Frank. No thank you.

5. Three links to my childhood, four college roommates, my sisters- old and new dressed in wine.

6. "Are you ready?" my father asks. I 'm hyperventilating which makes it difficult to answer. I see the priest from the church of my childhood and my husband-to-be's rabbi. The rabbi asks me to repeat after Hebrew. No one told me there would be Hebrew. It was beautiful, but all I can remember is being concerned my nose was running and I would have streaks of mascara running down my perfectly made up face.

7. "Here, to introduced to you, for the very first time, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Rabinowitz!" cue applause, enter happy couple double doors left, cue band..."I got the world on a string...."

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Fall makes me want to cook:

Sunday: Barbecue Turkey Sandwiches with Celery Salad

Monday: Halibut with Lentils and Mustard Sauce

Tuesday: Roasted Chicken with Apples and Leeks

Wednesday: Pork Chops with Balsamic Onions

Thursday: Poached Scallops with Leeks and Carrots

If you should show up for dinner any of these nights, please be sure to bring a bottle of wine.

Friday, October 9, 2009

They Like Me, They Really Like Me

Today, when I dropped Natalie off at school, supermom and class mother extraordinaire, Elana asked if I had time for her to "pick my brain." Honestly, for the life of me I couldn't imagine what in my brain was worth anything to her, but she stopped me and Suzy to enlist us in a "Top 10" project because she thinks we are funny.

WHA? I told Elana that I needed to call my mother and tell her this, because my family thinks that I am seriously uptight. To which she laughed. Only I think she laughed because she thought I was kidding....but I wasn't. I believe the other truth that I have told Elana that has sent her into this delusional tailspin of misinterpreted humor is:

One day she asked if I had my hair cut, which in itself if funny because who has time for a haircut when there is Facebook farming and blogging to do? I assured her that I had not gotten a haircut, I was just clean. Again, I think she thought this was a joke, but I have recently found maximum personal hygiene is so not a priority in my life. I brush my teeth and change my undies and am pretty much on my way. I did not overshare that last bit. That's just for you all. ;)

So now I am under all this pressure to be funny for a pre-school top ten list of why you should come to the Scholastic Book Fair. Yes, you read that right. I am making a funny list about a book fair. Further, Suzy (other funny mom and professional writer) thinks we should meet for coffee and brainstorm together. It is wonderful to be accepted, but at what cost? I am going to have to chew some gum, drink large amounts of caffeine, and unclog some pores over this list.

On a totally unrelated note - the followers are coming in droves! Yay for Emily. If you haven't checked out her own blog, you must. And while you are checking her out, link to the Smitten Kitchen, too if only just to look at beautiful food you aren't going to make yourself. (That one is really for you, Steve)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Not What I Intended

So I was totally going to post about my wildly eccentric European neighbor, who I have a new found love for and in tomorrow's post you will find out why. How is that for a cliff hanger? But when I signed on to fill you in on her amazing Austrian whimsy (how I wish I could spend a day with her) I found that I had a new friend following my blog, which made me more excited than Eurpoean neighbor's Halloween decorated orange VW bug. DAMN! I gave it away. But bienvenidos a Jen Reed! Jen and I were mates in many a Spanish class at UNH and partied hard to Ricky Martin in Grana, which is Spanish for Granada. Que fantastico!

JFK Airport circa 1998

I believe this is taken at the end of the first semester abroad en frente de estatua de Reina Isabel y Cristobol Colon. If not, it is Plaza Real.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Guilty Conscience

I have something I have to get off my chest. I have been detoxing from processed foods and refined sugars three weeks tomorrow. In that time have I been perfect? No, but I have stayed pretty damn close...until today. Today we went to the "Welcome Back Fall Festival" at Natalie's school, which boasted a donut eating contest, a popcorn machine, and a bake off...need I say more?

How does one pass up a bake off? I donated another two dollars of my husband's money to the school to make a *small plate that held:
a piece of fudge
a bite size piece of a chocolate covered chocolate baked good
a quarter of a carrot cake sandwich (which I voted for, FYI - YUM!)
a waste of space toffee covered saltine - LAME
some sort of almond square similar to a magic bar but not nearly as delicious
chocolate torte
a whipped cream meringue thing

*I would just like to note these were all pieces, literally a bite and I shared the majority of them with Dan. He does not do chocolate covered chocolate baked goods.

I feel very guilty about this because hours after we returned home, I had decided since I already ate all that toxic sugar, I shamefully had a triangle of scallion pancake and three pieces of General Gao Chicken from the *Chinese food that we ordered last night.

*I had steamed chicken with vegetables.

Since I have already fallen so far off the wagon, I have given into the notion that I will consume both pizza and drink beer this evening while watching football with my husband.

Thanks for listening. I feel better and will begin detoxing yet again tomorrow.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Today we celebrate a new member entering into the the Thirty Club. Mi prima favorita, Jennifer is celebrating this monumental birthday. She just had a baby, like two weeks ago, so unfortunately I don't think that she will be celebrating the way I did mine - although- looking back I was preggers with the bro bro and had a big ole boat of raw fish and many, many rounds of saki maybe she will. Either way, Happy BDay, Jenny-Poo.

Natalie's primo favorito, baby Brett!

Today would also have been my father's 38th birthday for like the fifteenth or sixteenth year. So cocktail hour will begin promptly at five in my house, and martinis will be served. Come one, come all!

Monday, September 28, 2009


I feel like I have so much to blog about that I don't know where to start, so I have just shut down. But I want to post something so that the eight of you who actually read my blog, and the two of you who actually comment, (thanks Karyn and Alissa), will continue to come back and read my blog. So with that in mind here is a preview of blog topics to come:

1. Paper cranes that are being dutifully folded for a bridal shower for which I am in charge. Bleh. I am SURE there will be more to talk about than just the cranes, but that will be the start.

2. Natalie's desire to decorate the house Clark Griswald style for Halloween. I nipped that one in the bud as I am really a less is more kind of gal. But she is persistent and I am thinking we may be crafting some of them ourselves (always interesting), so Halloween/Fall decoration blog to come.

3. I owe my good friend, Alissa her own blog entry, which I actually have like three drafts of. And then she was here on Friday with the bro's BFF and I was reminded yet again why it is that I want to blog about her.

4. I have a new baby cousin, Brett who needs to be introduced via blog because there is a super cute photo of Natalie holding her little cousin.

Stay tuned...please.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

An Hour Late and a Day Ahead

On Monday, I sleepily rolled over to see that 1. there was a tiny version of myself laying next to me and 2. it was 8:50. 8:50! This is unheard of. The last time I slept that late was very early in the bro's life when I woke up, along with Natalie, at 6am to feed him and I made Dan get up and take care of the big sis so I could go back to sleep. I slept until 9am that day, and obviously will never forget that joy. We definitely needed the sleep after a weekend of traveling to New Jersey and Manhattan and to New Jersey and back to Massachusetts, but man did it throw our entire morning off! We rushed through breakfast to be able to go to the dry cleaner and the grocery store before we had to eat lunch and then take Natalie to school. I had no idea how essential that morning hour was to our lives.

Today I woke up and for the better part of the morning believed it to be Thursday rather than Wednesday. It was until we were racing against the clock - again - this time because I thought I had library duty at Nat's school which required packing a lunch for me, packing a little extra something for the bro, making sure I have a book to read since there would be a collective hour and a half of me waiting, that I was informed today was only Wednesday. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and thanked Izzy for giving me a day of my life back. However, I should have known today was Wednesday for the following reasons:

1. Yesterday we went to story time with Karen, which is our equivalent to Sunday Mass for religious churchgoers. Yes, my daughter and I worship the written word.

2. We watched our friends across the street leave for work/Nana's house and if it were Thursday, Natalie's BFF would have already been at school.

3. Dan did not put the garbage bins out for collection. (Which I actually spent much of my morning silently cursing for missing the garbage day again, because it's not like the man works 80 hours a week or anything...)

I must blame my current scatterbrainedness on the minimal amount of caffeine that I am currently allowed to consume. Clearly, I had no idea how essential that was to my entire functioning.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pride & Joy

I used to work with a woman who is the mother of two girls and she would always refer to them as her, her pride and joy, and then continue to explain to me how one was her pride and one was her joy. Of course in listening to her, I understood what she was saying, but I didn't really get it. But now that I have two of my own, I TOTALLY get it.

I have this little man who is happy 98% percent of the time. No joke, he cries only when he is tired. (Having said that publicly he is guarenteed to cry all day tomorrow for no reason whatsoever.) And he is super chill. Saturday, we spent the afternoon in Manhattan, and he was content to sit in the high chair and eat borscht and spanikopita. And when he isn't trying ethnic delights, he wakes up with a smile and his happy to watch his kooky sister dance around the house all day. Joy.

And Thing 1, well, she is certainly my pride. We spent this past summer learning a new "SAT" word each week. Now that she is back at school, we do more playing at home and less hardcore learning. But this past weekend, as I was reading her Little Red Riding Hood, there was a phrase of words which all began with "w". I asked her, "Natalie, what is it called with you have a few words in a row that all begin with the same letter?" She ummed for a little, and with a big smile on her face, "Aziliation!" It was good enough for me. And when she isn't being a four year old English prodigy, she is just being a good, nice, fair kid. Pride.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's All Greek to Me Revisted

Ha ha on me. Just so I don't seem like a complete idiot who pays attention to nothing. For those of you interest Fage Greek style yogurt has the phonetic pronunciation right on the packaging. Perhaps this detox is harder than I thought and it is taking its toll on my powers of observation.

Fa-yeh... in case you were wondering.


It's All Greek to Me

This past weekend my neighbor hooked me up to some machine that sends an electrical current from my right arm down through my right foot. The purpose being to test my basal metabolic rate (Dan for some reason loathes when I say this), toxicity, intra and extro cellular something or get the idea. I was just glad to have it printed on paper that I am actually not morbidly obese. I breathed a sigh of relief when she told me that I would have to weigh 232 at least before I would be considered obese. I have a ways to go, not that that is my goal. Quite the opposite. She works for a chiropractor who offers classes and consultations on how to detox you body. So since Monday I have eaten no processed sugars or preservatives. Other than the fact that I can only have one cup of coffee in the morning, which she begrudgingly allowed, it really isn't that difficult to follow.

I need to consume one serving of dairy a day and the plan suggests Greek style plain yogurt. So I packed the kids up and we headed to to grocery store to stock up on beans, veggies, and Greek style yogurt. Now I have used Greek style yogurt in recipes, but I have never actually sat down and eaten 6 oz of it. So there I am, standing in front of the case of yogurts and there are four choices: Stoneyfield Farms Oikos, which the fact that the name sounds similar to "oink" would normally turn me off, but I put it in the cart anyway, Brown Cow's aptly named Greek Yogurt, straight and to the point, I like it, in the cart, Chobani, who by far has the prettiest packaging, in the cart, and Fage, which I don't think anyone who is not Greek actually knows how to pronounce. Is it fah-hey or fahsh, I don't the cart.

I am like America's Test Kitchen now and doing the taste testing for anyone who thinks they may be interested in consuming Greek style yogurt.

The first one I tried was the Stoneyfield Farms, the container was quickly recycled which is why it is not in the photo. But it was find. Heavier than a Dannon plain yogurt and tart, if I were allowed any sugar a little honey would go a long way.

I wanted to save the Chobani for last since I had decided it would taste the best because of the packaging. NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER! Bleh! I shouldn't say bleh, if you are looking for a sour cream alternative, this is your plain yogurt. Literally, I ate 6oz of pseudo sour cream. It was gross!

After my Chobani experience, I decided to just use the Brown Cow as sour cream and paired it with half a sweet potato (my category 2 vegetable) Much like the Stoneyfield Farms, it was very much a more American yogurt consistency, BUT I think that Greek style yogurt as sour cream is a much better way to consume it.

So that leaves on the unpronounceable Fage. Again, I had a mouthful of sour cream, which when you know you are consuming sour cream is much better that eating yogurt only to find that it tastes like sour cream. However, with that said, I had gained wisdom from the Chobani debacle, so I didn't make the same mistake twice and I mixed it will berries.

There you have it my eight faithful readers. Spare your taste buds and buy some Yoplait Whips.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nostalgia and Natalie's First Day of School

I know that it is January 1st that is supposed to bring the new year, but for me I have always measured this year and last in terms of a school year. So when the mornings started below 65 degrees and the evening darkness started creeping up on us around 7:15, I felt the pang in my heart of school years past. I remember the anticipation of being able to wear those special, brand new clothes that were purchased just for that year, which really weren't going to be weather appropriate until maybe mid-October, but I would try them all on the week before school started anyway.

There is something about the smell of early September that takes me right to the start of every school year, and I breath deeply and remember them each like a little movie in my mind. This time of year makes me miss high school soccer nights at La Trenta Field, college hikes to drunken frat parties, and they were hikes out of the woods into the civilization of campus and beyond...and they were certainly drunken in an effort to convince our bodies they were warm. It reminds me of my first year teaching, the best year teaching, that which I miss the most.

For the time being, it would seem that my school days are done, sort of. This week marked a new school year milestone and my baby girl began her first week at Oak Meadow Montessori School. And it was when I watched my all too well adjusted four year old trot off with a boy, a boy! Wearing a Pats jersey, no less, that I was actually saddened that our loooooonnnnnngggg summer days together would be ending. But on the flip side, it is a whole new wardrobe to look forward to.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Keep Your Friends Close

At our impromptu Chinese/apple picking bbq on Monday, over pureed peas and carrots, Izzy and I were talking, well I was talking and Izzy was listening, about the dinner Dan and I had the previous night.

Sunday evening was a great first, of I hope more to come, dinners with our neighbors from across the street. We had, what I thought, was great conversation over candlelight and wine, but I drank a lot of wine, so my memory of the whole night could be fuzzy. Anyway, my new friend and neighbor was sharing with me her spiritual beliefs, which I always find interesting, because I don't really know what mine are. I like to be in the know. I like to understand that which is unfamiliar to me and as I was sharing with Iz about our dinner, she interjected to say, "I just see you there Kristen, sitting at the table, swirling your glass of wine in one hand, saying with true sincerity, 'Tell me more about this spiritual path you are on." (That is totally not a quote, but a definite paraphrase.) I had to laugh, because Izzy hit the nail on the head. That was EXACTLY what happened.

I think my new friend and neighbor may have thought I was patronizing her, I am not sure, as I mention, there was a lot of wine involved. But when I recapped to Iz, and she could perfectly vision the night, I felt very lucky to have this new friend across the street to share her life and this old friend with whom I have already shared so much life.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Sometimes the best plans are the plans that aren't planned at all. I feel like there is a lot of pressure to have plans for holidays such as New Year's Eve, Memorial Day, Fourth of July... Somehow, I have been brainwashed to believe that I am supposed to be at or hosting a fabulous gathering that people will talk about for months, and if I am neither invited nor have enough invitees, I am a loser. I expressed this to Dan who quickly responded, "You aren't a loser, you're a parent." Hmmmm. I am pretty sure at some point these two words will be synonymous to if not both, at least one of my children.

As of last Thursday, we had no plans, which quickly turned into not enough time to do everything. We went to a country fair on Saturday, and by country, I mean cattle and chicken contests, with ribbons, and bake-offs and the like. It was Charlotte's Web in real life. Sunday brought a family hike at our local drumlin, Mount Pizka. (I don't actually know if that is how you spell it, but I do know that a drumlin is some sort of glacial formation. I know this because Dan told me.) Our hike was followed by an outdoor dining and drinking in the backyard with our neighbors.

Sunday brought a last minute get together with the girls, the kids, AND the husbands. There are never husbands. But they trekked to good ole Hudson from the far regions of Rhode Island and New Hampshire and we ordered Chinese food. This may have been one of the best BBQs ever. There was no cooking, no cleaning, no responsibilities for anyone to bring anything. It was, in short, fabulous. And it gets better! After we had Chinese food, we headed up the road, about five miles, and did some early apple picking, cider drinking, donut eating, and goat petting. No losers here.