Friday, January 29, 2010

So Tired, So-oh-oh-oh Tired

You were supposed to hear Paul Simon singing my title, just in case you didn't get that. Last night was so windy that I truly believed that a tree was going to fall on our house and so I stayed up listening to said wind in a total panic. It wasn't bothering anyone else in my house. Dan was sleeping "soundly" next to me and Charlotte slept "soundly" at my feet. But I tossed and turned waiting for the crash of one of our very tall pine trees. I thought about getting up and watching a movie, but it was also so cold, so there I lay in bed too awake to sleep, too lazy, tired and cold to get up. Then I thought if I am too cold, maybe Natalie is too cold. Maybe I should go check on her, but I was too cold to be a good mother. All of this thinking led me to toss and turn and silently agonize over my brother's upcoming wedding and the fact that Natalie doesn't have any shoes to wear and the bro doesn't have any shoes to wear and now I need to buy them both a pair of shoes that they are likely going to only wear once. Which is money wasted. Then I started to think about Natalie's hair for the wedding and since I have decided that a four and a half year old does not need an $85 updo, I am on my own to make her hair wedding ready and I really need to practice this hair, because as you all know, I don't even shower on a regular basis, so it is pretty clear that I am not styling my hair regularly or my child's for that matter. But I have borrowed curlers and I own a curling iron (circa 1989) and we (Nat and I) really need to just sit down and do this. And while I was in wedding panic mode, I worried about all those things that are out of my control like the fact that the wedding starts at the bro's bedtime and what type of mood is he going to be in and my bother graciously gifted us a hotel room, but we are going to have the kids with us, so that sort of sucks. And my dress is strapless and although this is more information that anyone really needs, should I bother wearing a bra? Should I get some under armor because I have had two kids and the dress would probably look a little bit nicer if I did, but do I was to pay for that too? Because really, when will I wear that again. ER. And while I am worrying about the wedding, what is up with the fact that my face looks like a 12 year old girl in the peak of the pubescent transition? All I eat are freakin vegetables? I thought that was supposed to be healthy and good for you? Only I am doing it and apparently my skin misses meat and fat.

And now I am tired. S0-oh-oh-oh tired.

Monday, January 25, 2010


It turns out that uber healthy eating can be uber expensive. Especially when you have two children who eat pricey berries by the pint. Now, I would never discourage berry eating, but something had to give. So when the Thursday circulars came in the mail, I sat at the kitchen table and tapped into the image of my frugal grandmother and started shopping the best prices for fruits and veggies. There were four stores, but honestly, I knew I wasn't going to travel to all four, I had to pick the best bang for my buck, which ended up being Stop n Shop, mainly because they had blueberries and blackberries on sale.

Now, it is important to know how much I do not enjoy Stop n Shop. I am a Hannaford's girl, all the way, but I took one for the team, tried not to think too much about the fact that I don't know where anything is in this store, I find it terribly frustrating while shopping as I am an admitted creature of habit. (fortunately I only had to really shop perimeter, so it wasn't that difficult) Ok, the real reason that I don't like shopping there is because the people handling my food are not the goofy teenagers and grandmotherly types like they have at Hannys. I will let you decide what types they are, but they are not that. And I have already outed myself as shallow and judgmental, so....whatever. But berries were on sale, and I am a team player. Nat and I managed to get in and out with only a few items that were not on my list, namely Girl Scout Cookies and proceeded to check out.

Being the good helper that she is, Natalie managed to take all the items from the cart, even the gallon of milk, and place them on the belt. They were scanned and the bagger kindly began bagging our items. She filled two of our bags and heaved one back into the cart and then with all the energy and strength that she could muster up and grunting for effect, lifted the next bag into the cart for us. Literally, if there were a way for me to write the sound she made, it would make for such a better picture. Not wanting to pull a muscle myself when I put the bags in the car or for that matter carried them into the house, I looked to see how much was in said bag.

Five grapefruit. Granted they were five giant ruby red grapefruit that are about the size of a small infant's head, but I need to remind you that my four and a half year old put all the food on the belt.

This is why I don't Stop n Shop.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Guilt Free, Not Fat Free

For the first time, in a long time, I had time just to myself. I don't mean any disrespect to my husband or to my friends, but today I had time just for me, which let's be honest moms, doesn't happen all that often. Date nights are great, but just pure, indulgent alone time, amazing.

Probably since my first trimester with Natalie, I cared not what I ate for lunch. I didn't think twice about the fat content in the mayo that was in the tuna that was from a can laden with salt that was on bread that was served with potato chips. I sipped my second cup of coffee with milk, not skim milk, and ate my sandwich with all the potato chips and then I proceeded to eat the little, mini cupcake the cafe provided me. The cupcake that was probably made with shortening and knowingly made with butter and sugar and FOOD COLORING! Oh my goodness, the food coloring tasted so good. Ok, so the cupcake was a let down, but there was no guilt. NO GUILT! WHAT?! For the first time, in a long time, a cupcake tasted so good. Regardless of the 900 calories that I purposely burn at 6:30 in the morning or the intense quasi vegan meal plan I have been following for the past two weeks.

That food colored, shortening, buttered, sugared cupcake tasted so good because I didn't have to share it with any tiny, little grabby kid hands.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mind the Gap

Saturday night, I was invited to head into town and celebrate a birthday. I was torn. It is a long ride, ok, it isn't really that long, but we didn't have a sitter and so I would be going on my own. Six years ago, not going out with Dan wasn't an issue, but there I was, trying to come up with some good reason to convince myself that this night out just wasn't possible. That all I really wanted to do was change into comfy pants and pour a glass of wine and catch up with the DVR.

But in the end, I prepared to go out, which led me into another type of tailspin. Dan and I go out to dinner and it is never and issue what I will wear, but again, there I was in my room with four different shirts, two sweaters, trying to put together "a look" that didn't involve wind pants, Shape-Ups, or clogs. Not an easy feat. I had to try to make something of my already washed hair that had been under a hat all day; I had to put make-up on; I had to wear earrings. The first thing I tried on, was something, six years ago, that would have made sense on me. But I am just not that Kristen anymore. I am simple black turtleneck wearing mom with a carpool and library duty and playdates. I know the people at the dry cleaners and no longer have to give them my name, they know my children and on the rare occasion I go there without them, without fail they comment, "Where are the kids?" I make shopping lists and weekly menus; make sure that everyone has clean underwear, clean teeth, clean sheets. I make beds; I dust; I vacuum. What I don't do is go out and socialize without my husband anymore. So I found some comfort in a black t-shirt under my bright pink sweater, put on some ballet flats, glossed my lips and went out to try to tap into that other version of Kristen.

When I arrived to dinner, as it turned out, it was nice to reconnect with some people-- people who knew me before I was a mom, so the bright pink sweater didn't look all that weird to them. Even though I felt inexplicably awkward. What was more interesting, was as I was battling through all this inner turmoil of how to go back to being some former version of myself, there was a clear divide in the tables. Because there were about fourteen of us, the servers kindly pushed two tables together. One being rectangular and the other round making a very clear divide. The rectangular half was filled with friends of one half of the hosting couple while seated at the round table were friends from the other, friends from my former world, and these two tables that weren't really trying too hard to leave their comfort zone and mingle with the other half.

So while I was feeling slightly out of place with people I know and worked with, the bigger issue at hand was how does a group of adults meld two worlds?

It made my pink sweater dilemma seem slightly less significant.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Sometime last week, perhaps the week before (they all start to meld together after a while) my darling husband, read a book called Food Rules. It is an interesting read that only took up about an hour of my time. The author, whose name I can't remember, researched all the diets, meal plans, and facts on being the healthiest you, and wrote 65 rules that you should follow. *Disclaimer: the book does say that you don't have to follow all 65, but as many as is realistic. Personally, I liked Rule 43 which states, drink a glass of wine with every meal. Helllllooooo breakfast! But basically what it came down to was this, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Dan then decided that he was going to adopt this philosophy. Between telling me about the book and adopting this new food philosophy, he started to read another book. Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Furhman. It's pretty popular, I am sure you've heard about it, Dr. Oz supports it. Now this book also believes that one should, "Eat food, mostly plants." In a week, my husband, with whom I lived and eaten with for the past nine years and been with for twelve decided that he was going to become a vegetarian. This man, who I have known for so many years, who ate nothing but ground beef when we first started dating wanted to become a vegetarian. True to caveman form, at BBQs he and his friends have been known to begin chanting "MEAT!" A man, who more than once, in front of witnesses other than myself, vowed that he would never eat tofu, loathed mushrooms, abhorred cooked tomatoes, went cold turkey(no pun intended) on meat and became a vegetarian.

And so, with every meal this week, we have indulged in a giant salad before we eat anything else. Mmmmmm. I am a fan of salad, but it usually has a tasty dressing on it. Ours has had lemon or some vinegar, which is nice, but leaves your taste buds wanting something. So I went on a mission to find one of about fifteen salad dressings that Dr. Furhman suggests. So the kids and I head to Whole Foods, because if anyone is going to have this dressing, the magical and beautiful Whole Foods will. Only, they didn't have any of them. Not one! So there I am reading the backs of all of these dressings, trying to find something that will work into this extreme, aggressive, intense, vegetarianism that we are embracing. And as I am looking at these miso based dressings that are a mere 14calories per tablespoon, wondering if it tastes good, if it is worth it. Oh I don't know! Out pops a Whole Foods fairy back lit in the glow of the dairy and non-dairy food section. The middle aged kind, with giant designer glasses frames and perfectly manicured nails, hair that is coiffed at 10am because she cares to coif her hair because later she will be lunching with the ladies. You know her-- you've seen her there, too.

"OH! That salad dressing is THE BEST! It is like candy on your salad. You'll want to eat it for dessert!" Truly, this is what she said to me-- all I heard was candy and I was sold. Miso Caeser and Miso Ginger Something it is. I will take them both. She continued to rave, "Oh, you will just love it! Really, it is soooooooooooo good." Done and done. We continued on in the search for frozen artichoke hearts where WF Fairy met us again. I don't know if we happen to bump into each other or if she sought me out, but she was delighted to see me so she could tell me a little more about this FANTASTIC dressing.

By the time I arrived home, all I could think of was seeing if this salad was really worth all the acclaim. And I tell you, my salad has been reborn, add Rule 43, and vegetarianism is looking up.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dogs Tails

See this face? It looks all cute and innocent doesn't it? Oh, look at me in my cute little puppy dog hat, enjoying my first snowstorm....that's what he wants you to think. Don't let those chubby chipmunk cheeks and baby blues decieve you-- it is all part of his plan as he covertly and stealthily makes a faster than light grab for your hot, fresh brewed cup of coffee. The minute you turn your head or blink for that matter, he will reach without fear for the grapefruit knife. This little man laughs in the face of danger, literally, he does something potentially harmful, let's say, like, pulling a plug out of the outlet putting it in his mouth, and waits until you catch up with him so he can smile at you with his two and a half teeth.

For all of Natalie's four year old girl drama, I never really had to worry that she was going to take a header down the stairs...purposely, try to touch the blazing fire, turn the oven burners on, or stick her head in the toilet bowl.

It's just what little boys are made of.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fondos and Fondon'ts, Vol. II

Fondo pay a professional to maintain the brows if you are a man.
Fondon't trim your eyebrows with a razor.
Another delicious fondue meal, with our dear friends Steve and Scott have led to yet another edition of Fondos and Fondon'ts. Honestly, I couldn't wait to see them, mostly because Steve had just had an "eyebrow trimming incident." Why he was trimming his eyebrows in the first place, I will never know. And I expected him to be minus an eyebrow or at the very least sporting some accidental nod to Vanilla Ice, but woe is me, they looked perfectly fine.

Survey says,
Fondo engage our abnormally extroverted table with conversation.
Fondon't give us your entire life story.
After being ushered to our seats we were introduced to our server, who did not give us his name, so I named him for us. He (the waiter) seemed to think that he had served us before, which I assure you, we would all know if Jeff (Steve asked him his name and yes, we asked if it was spelled this way), had served us before. I was hoping we would again have Jen with one n. Mostly because Jeff had a terrible habit of saying "Survey says..." before we ordered everything. It is annoying on the Family Feud, Jeff, when you say it, it isn't much better. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Jeff Facebooks, and his parents got a D+ for his name; it was the 11th most popular the year he was born, but he has cousin named AmyLou, and that is really unique.

I fondon't know much about politics, but I fondo know about the Muppets.
The men at my table turned to politics at some point and Steve asked me something about someone and maybe I should have known, but the truth is, I didn't. I know our President and Vice President, the Gov. of MA, and some former politicians, (the big wigs) but really, I don't know and truthfully, I don't really care. But it was funny to these boys that I didn't know anything and couldn't name anyone, but I tapped into my high school self and came up with Ruttebega. That's right, the vegetable. Which my amazing husband was able to decipher as, Marge Ruekema. I already forget what she was, a Congresswoman, maybe, but I thought it was impressive that I came close with the name. While I didn't know any polticians, I was able to wow the table with my extensive knowledge of the Muppets. Jeff quizzed me on the members of Electric Mayhem (that's the Muppet Band). Jeff named the instrument and I named the muppet who played them. Needless to say, my dinner companions and Jeff the waiter were in impressed.

Oh yes they were.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Much Much

Eighteen years ago, I met a boy with a tie-dyed Grateful Dead shirt, a bandana, and a mullet...oh and a girlfriend and I fell in love. I should probably mention that he was 18 at the time and I was a mere 14. Nonetheless, I developed, I guess, "a school girl's crush."

At 19 I met this boy again, only he wasn't really a boy anymore. He took me on a date where I ate tortellini in vodka sauce and then to play pool, er, billiards. And I fell in love. Truthfully, I fell in love after that first date and knew that this was the boy I was going to marry. And so I did.

Happy Birthday to the boy who makes everything better and has given me everything good.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hidden Treasures

Sometimes I think I am running out of steam with this blog. I mean really, how interesting can my life be, but people keep reading and keep telling me that they like it, so I keep trying to find things to write about. And then tonight, without even asking, my little man did it for me. As anyone can imagine, our house is abound with holiday treasures. Not to mention, the bro's birthday was December 15th so we had, Chanukah, birthday, and Christmas all within two weeks. That is a lot of presents, for which we are greatful that so many people want to shower our children with this. We have puzzles, books, arts and craft, a Busy Ball Popper, which is noisy but oh-so amazingly entertaining for the kids to play with and for me to watch them play with it. But tonight, Natalie retreated to the basement for some quiet LiteBrite time and the bro, well, in true bro fashion made his own fun. As I washed the dishes after dinner, he dug through a bag of recyclables until he found the perfect toy. This photo doesn't do justice how he pulled every thing one by one out of the bag and upon finding he paper roll, he squealed in delight and crawled away. Oh, and he was so proud of his treasure, brandishing his paper towel sword like the true little knight he is.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Resign and Redefine

When I was little, I wanted to be a doctor. I would take my stuffed animals, color on them with red crayon, and turn my family room into an emergency room. Thinking back on that now, if Natalie displayed such behavior, I might see it as a red flag for a deeper issue, but back then I went about my game of pretend. Even when I wasn't so little, I was still convinced that medicine was for me, I took my sciences in high school and was set to go off to school majoring in Biology. However, it was not meant to be, well really, Organic Chemistry was not meant to be, and so I redefined my dreams and went to college as an undeclared Liberal Arts major. So cliche.

At the end of my first year, after only being really excited to go to my 8am Freshman English class, I realized that, perhaps, English was a more realistic path. Of course, when one becomes an English major, the question that follow is, "What are you going to be? A teacher?" I was NOT going to be a teacher. I WOULD NOT be a teacher. I was going to go into magazine publication. And so I gave up my summers at the pool, lounging in the sun, for a stuffy commute into New York City in an effort to beef up my resume and carve out my new path.

Post college, I let my father talk me into taking a job I didn't really want. One, that on the interview, I knew wasn't what I had set out to become. But it was a good salary and quick benefits and so I redefined, again. But sitting in a cubicle was not for me, and so....I went back to school to become...what else, a teacher. I loved it. I was good at it. I didn't have to sit in a cubicle OR give up my summer at the pool, lounging in the sun. Kristen, redefined.

Since then, I have become a wife and a mother and the other night, Dan gave me the green light to resign from my current teaching position and, what else, redefine.