Thursday, October 13, 2011

Our Story

When Dan I and first met he was 18 and I just a mere 14-- I was immediately taken with this older boy with a mullet, bandana, tye dyed t-shirt, and 18 year old girl back pack. Does that paint a picture? Because if I close my eyes I can see myself with my right elbow on the counter of the Chazotte's counter, the very small portion between the stove and the opening to the dining room where the phone with the answering machine was docked, and he licked my face. Yes, he licked my face. And at that exact moment, I fell in love with him. The truth is, I didn't really know that I had fallen in love with him until we had reconnected at the same exact spot five years later. Chemistry is chemistry-- I can't argue that. I can recall perfectly, that same spot where he and I stood--he had picked Erin and Peter up from a backpacking trip and Julie and I were there, in the crossroads headed to the movies. I, so vividly recall asking him half joking, half serious) if he wanted to go see "One Fine Day" with us. And I believe he (half joking, half serious) said yes.

I mentioned that chemistry is chemistry, but meant to be perhaps goes one step further. We met, yet again at the hand of Julie and Peter at a bar ( which sounds so cliche), but the truth is, that I think it was five year prior that we had made that connection. I don't know how many people believe in soul mates, but I have no other choice. We (Dan and I , in case you didn't get that) were brought together until we were ready to be together.

Tonight, as we "celebrated" out 9th wedding anniversary together watching "Grey's Anatomy" I couldn't help but look at the tiny pink flip flops in the middle of the carpet. A tangible symbol of the life we have created together, and I could imagine a better man with whom I could have created this life.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Happy 38th

I probably could have skated right through this October 2nd. I woke up refreshed and ready for the hot yoga class at 8am, we called my cousin, Jennifer and sang her a beautiful happy birthday message, we ate eggs prepared by Dan, headed off to the school "Oaktober Fest", to the first Daisy meeting of the year, and I faked some interest in football. But my brother, oh my brother, he went and posted some pix of my father. And while my brother sounds like my mother, he looks like my father and, for me, that is the rub.

My father would have been 38 today (again).

Friday, September 23, 2011


A friend of mine from high school writes a great blog about the joy of raising her twins and recently included a weekly post of "Mamas and their babies". I liked it SO much, that I asked her if I could steal it and tweak it for my own. How wonderful to have something definite to blog about each week, and even better it is about moms and their kids, and I spend a lot of time with those types of peeps. If ever there was a "snapshot" of my world it would be all the great mom friends I have. Much like the alleged snowflake, I find that no two mothers are a like. We all parent differently, have different strengths and weaknesses, but all the one's who I hang with and know are pretty impressive. So I thought I would start with myself and outline my momminess, as if this blog all about me and my kids weren't enough...

Q: How old were you when you became a mother?
A: 27

Q: How old are your children?
A: Six and almost three

Q: What is your favorite part of being a mom?
A: The best part of being a mom is having two little people who are learning to be whole people, loving and accepting everyone around them, and watching them grow to love things that I love.

Q:What is your least favorite part of being a mom?
A: The constant worrying and wondering and unknown of it all. And bath time.

Q: Stay at home or working out of home?
A: I'm a professional mom and that works for me and my family. I would consider part time work, but I don't think that I will ever return to something full time.

Q: What was the hardest part of becoming a mom?
A: I wasn't ready emotionally or mentally to be pregnant the first time around. It wasn't the plan I had set out for myself, so losing that time was hard for me to wrap my head around for nine months. But that all changed the minute Natalie was born.

Q: How did you chose your kids names?
A: Natalie was really supposed to be Naomi. That was the name Dan and I both liked from start to end, but Dan had liked Natalie. I fought him on it declaring that people would call her "Fatalie" or "Fat Nat", occupational hazard of a middle school teacher. But about two weeks before she was born, I just felt that her name should be Natalie. Her middle name is Gabrielle, like me. I wanted us to always have something in common. Joey is named after my dad and his middle name is Daniel because I thought Dan should have a piece of him attached to Joey.

Q: What is the best parenting advice you can give?
A: Find one and only one book you like, that suits your frame of mind. If you read too many, you will go nuts with all the different, contradicting ideas. But at the end, you know in your gut and will feel the "mommy alarm" going off. Trust yourself.

Q: Who are your mom role models?
A: June Cleaver, Lorelei Gilmore, and my friend, Elana. She makes raising three kids look pretty seamless. I am sure it isn't, but she makes it look that way.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Boy Friends

In July, my dear, sweet Steven got married. It was an important wedding for me, made even more important when Steve and Scott asked me if I would do a reading, making me a part of their celebration. After the rehearsal dinner, on the ride home, I went on and on and on about how I really felt that we (Dan and I) were part of something. As a friend, as an educator, and as a mother trying to raise two children to be open minded and accepting of everyone-- this wedding meant something to me. He mocked me for my sentimentality, which doesn't happen often (being sentimental that is), but when all was said and done and the wedding was over, Dan felt the same way.

If I tell you that Steve was a fresh faced twenty-three year old when I met him, whatever you imagine, it was fresher than that. He has an energy and charisma about him can sometimes seem like he has ADHD and is on speed, and I mean that in a positive way. His spirit is highly contagious and to know him is to love him...and I do. So when he asked little, 'ole me to be a part of the most important day of his life, I was beside my self with emotion and gratitude. For real, I sent him a thank you card.

But my friendship with Steve is a threesome that includes neither my husband nor his. The trifecta or the "A Team" as our friend Tracy so "kindly" dubbed us includes the dear, sweet Jason. For an high energy as Steve is, Jason is as equally introspective. These two boys are truly foils of each other and somehow I was lucky enough to get brought along for the ride. Before Steve's wedding, it had been over a year that Jason and I had seen each other, and as I told him at the wedding, I knew I missed seeing him and talking with him, but until I did for TWO nights in a row I didn't realize just how much I really missed him. Jason has always likened his friendship to being in the mafia and once your in, your in for life and that is true.

Our times together are sporadic, but we certainly make them count; memories that make us laugh until we cry when we are lucky enough to all three of us be together. So here we were, brought together again for this wedding. This very important wedding that was about love, and life, and the journey that we all choose to take together. Dan will mock me for this sentimentality, but that is how I feel about these boys.

Jason's mom took this picture and then she looked at the three of us and smiled and said, "You three are going to be friends for life." And I'd like to believe that.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Off She Goes

It was a very long summer. I mean, really looooong. We end school early and start late, so we have a full three month of summer vacay. We were doing really well until the the second and third weeks of August, when we just ran out of things to do and I ran out of steam to make things fun. Those weeks, I couldn't wait for school to start. FULL DAYS! Full days where Natalie would be off learning and being with kids and not wondering, like me, what on earth are we going to do today. I love the school year and it's busy routine. LOVE IT!

Today is Natalie's first day of school-- 8:30-3:30 full day. Backpack, lunch box, pink yoga mat (a first grade essential), and she was ready to go. Up before seven, she was dressed and ready for her special first day of school breakfast. She told me she had butterflies in her stomach as we approached our beloved Oak Meadow, but when we pulled up at the drop off, out she went. That was it. All I had time to do was yell, "I love you!" and then she was gone to school.

I am both excited and a little sad...but I think I will be more excited than sad as the week goes on. ;)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Jersey Shore and So Much More

Last week we went on our second annual Jersey Shore vacation. Irene be damned, we headed down on Monday to Lavalette to a house that was in no way, shape, or form impacted by the hurricane. With us, we brought perfect beach weather. It was cloudless and sunny and breezy and perfect. Did I say that already? The house is also pretty great. It sits right on the bay, which is perfect for our little ones and only two blocks down from the ocean. The house comes equipped with bikes for all sizes, tandem and trailer - We parked the car on Monday night when we arrived and didn't get back in until Saturday when we left (almost, we did have to drive to beautiful, scenic Seaside for the boardwalk). When we weren't biking, we could use kayaks for one and two. Natalie and I went out on the bay for what felt like hours, just paddling along through the little marina by the house, watching while others were tubing, jet skiing, and paddle boarding. It was great fun.

But you don't really want to hear about how very perfect it all was. No, no you don't. What you want to hear about is the house. I could move into this house. I wish I owned this house, because the owners rent the main house and there is an apartment upstairs that they occupy when they come down. So no matter what, whomever that have in the house, they still get to go to the shore whenever they want and use their bikes and kayaks, too. Last year and this, we passed them at the doorstep, although their entrance in separate from ours. I am not sure when exactly they arrived, but I know it was some time on Friday. While they have a separate entrance and all, the room in which Natalie sleeps shares a wall with it. I happened to be in the second bed in her room that last night, and I could hear them unpacking and flip flopping around. Whatever. Until, at 3am, I heard a creaking and banging that startled me out of sleep. I am a very light sleeper to begin with, but this was loud, and at first I thought someone was in the room with Natalie and me. Creaking, banging, and heavy breathing....they were having S-E-X! There was no way for me not to hear them, so I laid, wide eyed in my bed hoping and praying that it would stop. For the love of ears and mind, I hoped it would stop. This is something that I only thought happened in movies. Dan scoffed at me, "It's like sleeping in a motel." To which I responded, "I have never slept in that kind of motel."

The next morning we saw them on the doorstep. Ugh.

Did I mention how perfect the weather was?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Oh, Hello!

I'm not going to make any excuses-- I just needed a break. But I can't begin to tell you how many things have gone on this summer that I thought to myself, should blog about this, but just couldn't bring the energy to the keyboard. There was a a super important wedding we attended that was about so much more than two people getting married, there was a poop in the pool incident that I needed the summer to come to terms with, an amazing trip to the Cape with new friends that I hope, hope, hope will be life long friends, teeth lost, two-wheelers mastered, first grade, monogrammed backpacks and lunch boxes, and most recently a 23 mile bike ride that will have to be rehashed. I hope to get to all of these topics and whatever should pop up in the fabulous life I lead. So thanks for letting me take a summer break, I promise to try not to disappoint.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I'm surprised by Natalie's birthday every year. Obviously I know that it is coming, but each July I am taken aback by the fact that she is another year older. Here we are at six. Dan and I found ourselves recounting the events of that day, as we remember them to have happened.

7-8am - Dan awakes with a headache, and I get him some advil.
7-8am - I tell Dan that I 'think' my water just broke. (As it turned out it had, but three an half years later, after having the bro bro, I know what "my water just broke" means.)
8-9am - We call the hospital to tell them what I think just happened. The nurse asks if I am having contractions, "Um...I think so" (I really wasn't sure, but I guess I was) We are instructed to come to the hospital.
8-9am - Dan asks me if he has time to take a shower. He does. I call Eric to cancel our lunch plans (apparently he never got that message because he showed up at our house three hours later, so I am told.)
9-10 - Drive to hospital
10-11 - Sit and wait in pre delivery room to see if I am, in fact, in labor.
11-2 - Fuzzy memories of pitocin, labor and delivery nurse telling me my baby is crazy (Natalie was a serious kicker - still is!) Contractions start to move farther apart, pitocin dosage uped.
2-4pm- Now I know if I am having contractions.
5pm - In tub, telling Dan that I don't think I can do this.
5:52pm - Healthy, hairy little girl is born unto us

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


These are my current summer obsessions:

1. Heroes - I don't know how Dan and I never watched this show when it was on. Genius. I think Tim Kring and JJ Abrams should get together and make a series.

2. Veronica Mars - I am not sure how I didn't watch this either. I think Kristen Bell might be the coolest girl ever. Somehow she can be gorgeous and play angst-ridden teen. Claire Danes and My So Called Life? I was loving it until Netflix inexplicably made it unavailable on my instant queue (pronounced qwayway in our house in honor of my lovable but moronic bother - yes, bother)

3. Evening out my tan lines. My workout is taking a hit as I sit in my front yard in a "tube top" not mid-drift baring trying to even out my tank top tan lines so that I can wear a strapless dress to my dear Steven's wedding next week. I am too old to be sporting white tan lines. Alright, I was never that girl. All class, all the way. But seriously, I have been out there, with my book while the bro naps trying to even it all out. I am BROWN.

4. Adele. I don't really think I need to say anymore, but between the lines "Sometimes it lasts in love and sometimes it hurts instead" and "Regrets and mistakes, they're memories made" simultaneously makes me feel like a broken hearted teen, thankful that I am not that teen anymore, and smile, bittersweetly, at the thought of that broken hearted teen.

5. And as of today, my "wick away" running gear. I am sure that this will totally make running in 90 degree weather so much more bearable ;). But I am excited and can't wait to sport it nonetheless.

Hope you find your happy this summer!

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I often bask in my good fortune. I have an amazing husband, truly, 93% of the time amazing. Two great kids, 85% of the time. As I write this, Natalie is having a total meltdown in her room. But over all, I think those are some above average marks for my little family-- and I am a tough grader. But today I was lucky enough to have lunch with my dear friend Jess, of whom I am in awe. She is absolutely fabulous and simultaneously modest and above all just plain lovely and a genuine light. Tomorrow I have the privilege, although I had to act like a desperate girlfriend to get it, of lunching with my confidant, Steve, for whom I have the utmost respect and some of the deepest love. And both of them, are willing to lunch with me and the tiny little terror, my constant companion, the bro.

I am so very, very blessed in this life.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Decluttering is a Writer's Muse

Yesterday I started to blog about all the stuff that has accumulated in our house mainly due to the two small children, and the one larger man-child that likes to also collect "toys." And by "toys" I mean eight pairs of hiking boots, snow shoes, three tents, two sleeping bags, three hiking if your mind went somewhere else, gross, this is a family blog. Anywho, I am not a fan of "stuff" and it is taking over! I read a blog recently that talked about a 365 declutter, where one throws away one thing every day for a year. I love this idea! We have so many stuffed animals and books and plastic toys that are everywhere. Making it feel as though it is absolutely necessary to clean house. This happens to me around the holidays when I know things are coming in and in three weeks will be Natalie's 6th birthday, so out with the old, because it is inevitable that there will be new. And we are always thankful for everyone's thoughtfulness, please don't misinterpret.

Birthdays and holidays happen and they should be celebrated with giving and receiving, especially if you are going to be six. And I am guilty of giving and cluttering up other people's houses. So this morning, belatedly, I asked by BF what she would like for her son's 2nd birthday, she asked us for some art or a letter that she would put into a scrapbook. I totally get it. We just don't need more stuff, unless it is in the form of groceries or a Trader Joe's gift card to buy groceries. But this request of her, everyone wins. It became an arts and craft project for me and the kids at the end of this rainy week and a thoughtful, heartfelt gift for little Z. Truth be told, the art work was no going to be that great. Well, not the bro's anyway. So we decided that we would write a story book for our friend, Z. It was a total collaboration. The bro came up with the title and from there I prompted Natalie to get a storyline going. Even the bro added his thoughts, and I worked it in there. It was so much fun to make, and if I do say so, not a bad little tale. Complete with original mixed media illustration, in which again, the three of us took part.

Perhaps a customized tale will come to your for your next birthday written and illustrated by Kristen, Natalie, and Joseph Rabinowitz.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Tonight was a beautiful night for me-- it marked then end of another dance year. I don't mind that Natalie takes dance class; I love watching her bring it home and do her interpretive ballet around the house and, truthfully, she has decent rhythm. What she doesn't have is discipline. I have been watching her dance class "perfect" their "Under the Sea" dance rountine for close to three months. Invited into the studio for the last five minutes of every class to watch the cutest group of six year olds try to follow their teacher and not be distracted by their beautiful faces in the wall of mirrors before them, I have watched, my child specifially, spend the last three months doing the first two moves and then totally stare at herself in the mirrors for the rest of the song. I asked Natalie about this. To which is simply responded, " I just get bored (read: distracted) and so I stop dancing."

Thursday was her dress rehearsal and it was abnormally painful for me to watch. I kid you not, I will forever be proud of Natalie's many impressive qualities, but that dress rehearsal was not one of them. It was simply awful. I know I am her mother, but she was terrible. Her months and months of staring in the mirror paid off in that she had NO IDEA what was going on. She couldn't see the teacher, at the foot of the stage, making hand movements in an effort to direct the girls, so instead she looked at the girl to her left who also knew not what was going on. I tried to prepare Dan for just how painful it would be to watch her. He was prematurely upset for her, that she would be that kid up on stage doing nothing. Although, when a group of little girls get up on stage dressed in cute little tutus, it really doesn't matter what they do.

But wouldn't you know my daughter, the hustler, got up on that stage an actually performed. She almost knew all the steps and I was, for sure, one proud mama yet again!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Getting It Together

I know I have to get my act together. Normally, it is the sunny weather that keeps me from writing. However, recently we (I) have started the heart aching process of preparing myself for the end of yet another school year. This school year, in particular, was becoming a bitter pill for me to swallow. Not only did it mark the end of our yearly routine, but I was also struggling with the fact that it would be the end of our time at our beloved Oak Meadow Montessori. I don't know that there are really words that I can come up with that would ever express how truly great this school is.

About a month ago, at a teacher luncheon, my friend Amy and I were charged with watching the middle schoolers while those teachers enjoyed a catered lunch. Middle School is my area: they are sassy and fresh on the cusp of learning how to be a young adult. As the teacher prepared to leave for her lunch, she interrupted two middle school boys, "Excuse me, Blah Blah," she says, to which Blah Blah replies, "No, of course." I don't know that it translates well in writing, but Amy and I looked at each other, and hoped that our little six year olds would one day be as mature and respectful. Blah Blah then headed off to play some symphony on the piano. The moral of this segue is that this is the type of child this school breeds. They are not only taught great lessons academically, but at the very young age of three, they are taught to listen, respect, and be kind.

My heart was heavy at the thought of sending my child into the public school system. I am not ashamed to say that.

Endings are hard for me, I cried when Beverly Hills 90210 ended; I cried when Friends ended. I do not like change-- deep down I am 100% Type A control freak. I mask it under the guise that we are simply a well routined family, but the truth is I need things to go a certain way and I plan, plan, plan so that I don't have to deal with the unexpected very often. Dan and I wavered and talked in circles from October to June. What is best for Natalie? What is best for our family? As it turns out, there is some truth to a happy mom = a happy home. Because we were gifted with another year at this school and so I didn't have to say good-bye. I didn't have to say good- bye to her teachers, to my friends, or to this school community in which I am very much a part. And today I was able to watch my baby girl "move up" from Kindergarten and just be a proud mama, not a sad mama.

Congratulation to my Natalie Gabrielle!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Detox 101

I like to detox. I do, it is just a fact. It is hard, and mostly crazy, but in the end it feels really great, and so I like to do it. I did "The Master Cleanse" at the end of last summer. I totally needed to be cleansed after last summer, and it worked, but man, that one was hard. In the winter, I tried one from Blessed Herb. That one was nice because it was only five days and the solution to drink was ginger flavored and the makers suggested mixing it with some organic apple juice. Dan was traveling at the time, so the kids ate pasta, couscous, and cheese for a week and I drank weird, gritty, ginger-apple juice concoction. I didn't find that quite as satisfying at the first one, but let's face it, I was less dirty.

Today is Day 1 of the Metagenics Ten Day Detox. I am mostly doing this one because I suggest to people, via my super fancy job as a nutritional coach, that they should do it. Then they ask me how it is and what it tastes like, and I can't give them an honest answer. I figured, if this summer is anything like last, I thought I would get ahead of the game and do a little work research.

What people need to know about detoxing - the highlights
  • No sugar - if you are a junkie (and you know who you are) this is hard and you will withdrawal. I, however, could really care less about sugar, so that is no biggie for me.
  • No caffeine - for the love of all that is good and pure, this is the most awful part of detoxing. I don't care about having to drink my meals for five days, eat only leafy greens, or concoct some weird apple-ginger sand like substance. I need to find a detox where all I do is drink coffee, with caffeine.
  • Don't start on a Tuesday. Tuesdays are the Devil's day and Tuesday+Detox-caffeine= HORROR (just ask my kids - they will most likely have emotional scarring from today...sorry kids! Mommy love you, really I do!)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Maple Syrup

I know it has been a month - over a month. And I want you all to know that I have lots of drafts. Drafts about a book challenge I sign on for, for which I need to read fifty books by Decemeber - I've read eleven. I think it is pretty safe to say that I am going to fail that challenge. I have a draft about a fun and funny dinner out with my Helgadus, and our discussion about how the same name can be a stripper, porn star, or debutante depending on the spelling. I have a draft about our recent trip to Disney, which was great fun, FYI, but I wanted to upload a picture to go with it and the battery of my camera died, and I can't find the charger to charge the battery - so what is a girl to do, but not post it, of course.

So what have I been doing for this past month and a half if I'm not blogging? I have been looking for my Season 1 of Glee. Yes, that's right, I bought it. It makes me happy when they sing and dance, and I like to watch it while I am working out on the elliptical - because my beloved treadmill still doesn't work. Boo! But yes, in the winter months, Dan was traveling quite a bit and I purchased Glee for myself, because he was gone and watching it wasn't going to give me nightmares. But I have misplaced it. I know that I misplaced it because my tiny, little mischief maker liked to take all the discs out of the case, so I put it somewhere he wouldn't be able to reach, and now I can't find it.

I have looked everywhere-- the bookshelves, all five cases...the craft closet, the pantry shelves, the fridge and freezer in basement. I have looked under the furniture, under the cushion, under the bro's workbench. I have looked in the game closet, in my closet, on my desk, on Dan's desk and in the filing cabinet. And then I looked in all of those places at least twenty more times.

It reminds me of the time I lost the maple syrup, only to find that it had fallen behind the tea, which no one drinks. So I looked in there, just to be such luck.

Friday, May 6, 2011


This is the time of year that I get all sentimental and remember my dad. I have this old, green Ben and Jerry's t-shirt. A shirt that I have had since my freshman year in college. It has holes all around the collar and normally would be something I could easily purge. But this shirt I bought with my parents, both of them, my freshman year in college.

My father is a presence and a noted absence in our house. Natalie has memories of him, but I am sure over time her brief three years with him will just be hazy, and to the bro he is just a picture and name that I saddled him with. But obviously I have many memories of my father, some that I go back to time and time again when I think about him. Some funny, some annoying, and some that I hear come out in my own parenting. The bro is a pretty early riser, as am I, but on those rare occasions that I am up before I think about all the very early morning Saturday breakfasts my father and I had at the Bar-B-Cue House where he would always order eggs, and I would order blueberry blintzes with sour cream or we went to Denny's where he would always order eggs and I would order a fruit cup and hash browns. The way I remember it, we did this every Saturday on my early childhood because we were the only two up at 6:30am. When the bro wakes, I wonder if he and I will do this as Dan and Natalie sleep in.

Sometimes, it is the memory of my wedding and how he wouldn't' leave me alone. I mean he was seriously annoying. Which, now, I of course look back on with fondness. I remember, as well all line up and the procession started, I began to hyperventilate, and my dad, not a funny man, told me he wished he knew a joke in order to make me laugh...I think the thought of him being funny made me laugh.

But this shirt, I stick my face in it, and I cry-- because my father bought this ratty, old shirt for me, and I miss him every single day, and I feel like throwing out this shirt is like throwing away a small piece of him that I am able to actually hold on to forever.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Sunday I ran my second official 5K. It was a really nice one, too. The weather was perfect, the race started at 10, and it was 10 minutes from my house. The course was a path that we drive regularly, so it was kind of nice to run something I was very familiar with. It had some decent inclines too, which I always remind myself, as I run, that what goes up must come down.

My friend, Elana, an avid runner, sets her sights on someone to pass in order to push herself. I thought I would try that, too. Granted I set my sights on a thirteen year old kid and a woman with a stroller, but I passed them. Go me! I passed a third person, but I am pretty sure that shew as slowing down due to a cramp. I knew that I was running at a pretty good pace (for me) and I probably would have finished in less time if it weren't for the fact that due to birthing two children, (TMI warning, continue reading at your own risk) when I push myself running about 5.5 or 6 mph, basically, it looks as though I have peed myself. I blame the bro for this, as he sat very, very low throughout the entire pregnancy. There were times I thought I would sneeze and he would pop right out. **Don't be mad at me if you kept reading-- I warned you!

Anyway, due to this incontinence, I became quite self conscious and rigged my jacket to act as a running skirt. Had I not worried about this or not had this issue, I feel I could have run it in 30 minutes flat. Oh well. This is a personal best for me, and I was more than pleased to run a ten minute mile because for that, it can only go down from here.

But most importantly, there at the finish line was my little family, with Natalie jumping up and down cheering me on and that was worth an extra 57 seconds on my time.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Blog Block

I have blog block. I thought if I just start writing, something would come out and be interesting and inspiring and witty. I literally have spent hours thinking about things to write. Sidebar: "literally" so I am told is the intelligent person's "like." Fun tidbit I thought I would share. But for real. I have like, literally spent hours thinking. Last night, after being awoken at 2am, I tossed and turned and thought about topics.

There is fodder. I have two tiny people who keep be both entertained and frustrated simultaneously. The bro bro has gone from being a force of nature to a garden gnome. The little boy causes mischief and then laughs at it. Not to mention, he can now get himself out of his crib and his room, so one never really knows when he will show up right behind you. "Mommy, look what I do. I get out." This new ability is a little unnerving. As he likes to take out step stools and try to make his own food, "I got it. I can doooooo it!" He has also taken a habit of climbing onto the chair in his room, to the space heater (which is not on), to the changing table, which will inevitably lead him to falling off the changing table. Also, just to keep it all interesting, he is the perfect height to hit the counter edges and he runs....everywhere, usually looking behind himself to see if anyone is taking the bait and chasing him.

I believe these are called the "terrible twos." We just had never experienced them with Natalie. Sassy threes, and fours, and fives, but never terrible twos.

Block blogged. Ahhhhh. I feel better now.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

33 Interesting-ish Facts about Me

  1. I bite my nails
  2. I spend a lot of time worrying about things that are out of my control even though I know I shouldn't and then rationalize that I shouldn't worry about them - it is a work in progress
  3. I am madly in love with my husband and have been since I met him at 14, however, there are pieces of my heart that belong to the other boys who helped me get to him
  4. I like to believe that I am fiercely loyal to my friends. I would throw punches in an alley if I needed to
  5. The two nicest things Dan says to me are that I am a wonderful mother and my father would be proud of me
  6. I have never read a book by Jane Austen
  7. I birthed both of my children without drugs to prove to myself that I am strong and to spite all the people who said I couldn't do it
  8. I am spiteful, and I don't really like that about myself
  9. My favorite meal is wine and cheese
  10. There is a moment of every day when I think about my father, and I usually cry a little
  11. I make multiple to do lists and post them around the house so I don't forget our schedule
  12. I would really love to have at least one more child
  13. I do "girl" pushups out of laziness
  14. I regularly try on all the pants in my closet to see how they fit
  15. I love shoes
  16. My world revolves around my children
  17. I have friends from my childhood, high school, college, professional world, mommy world, and I love, love, love them all, and mean no offense to any of them, but I am most proud of the friendship I have fostered with Alissa
  18. I read every night
  19. This is not the life I imagined for myself, but I wouldn't change this path
  20. I have no special skills or talents. My friend, Suzy, told me I am funny and that that is a talent, but I don't think it is. However, Suzy is very funny, so I took it as a compliment.
  21. I am not very good at taking compliments
  22. I get super excited over very mundane things, ie, new underwear, tall booths in a restaurant....
  23. I am somewhat obsessed with exercise and being healthy, but equally obsessed with wine and cheese and they tend to cancel each other out
  24. I clean up well (I mean in appearance and not around me...I am not so good at that and so I pay someone to do it for me.)
  25. To date, my biggest regret in life is that I didn't tell my father that Dan and I planned to name the bro bro after him.
  26. Not only do the other Kristen Dattoli and I share the same name and live in the same state, we share the same birthday, which I think it both awesome and totally freaky.
  27. When Dan and I first lived together and before then actually, nothing I prepared to eat was actually edible....nothing
  28. Ever since I was younger and thought that children might be a possibility in my future, my daughter was going to be named Madison Sage. I'm glad I didn't name my daughter that.
  29. I struggle with my weight every day but try very, very hard to make exercising and good eating habits to be about overall health so that my children adopt that and don't ever feel badly about themselves, because they are perfect :)
  30. When I am 90, I know, for sure, that I will have the face of my paternal grandmother
  31. My best friend from high school, is still very much my best friend
  32. Sometimes I feel like all I ever do is dishes and laundry
  33. Generally, I am not a fan of being surprised, but every once and a while I don't think I would mind it so much

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Drama Queen Cries Wolf

So, I don't know how many of you who read my blog have a five year old at home, well, I know some of you do, but what I mean is the people who read my blog, but don't let me know that they read my blog via, say, comments or "following." Anyway, so for those of you who do, this may sound familiar both because you are living with it or I have already shared the story with you, and for those of you who don't...well, here is what you're missing.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think that this drama thing is genetic. And I'm not going to say which side she gets it from, but both sides have it and it skipped a generation. That generation being me and Dan, of course. The true beauty of Natalie's performances is that there is equal amounts of drama to express that she doesn't like dinner, has a paper cut, has fallen down the stairs, or I have asked her one too many times to just brush her teeth already. All instances involve amazing face contortions, body flailing and throwing, and eventually tears. And by tears, I mean full on water works.

Months ago, at her last dental cleaning, the hygienist checked her teeth and shared with us that the bottom two were loose. Hygienist must have some spidey senses, because I wiggled them too, and there really wasn't any wiggling. Natalie, however, has been talking about her loose teeth for months. MONTHS! She can't bite and apple because her teeth are loose; she can't eat whatever I made for dinner because her teeth are loose; she can't go to bed on time because her teeth are loose. It didn't help that just about everyone we know has already lost at least one tooth. I wasn't really sure how much more of the loose tooth business I could handle.

On Monday, sitting at the Starbucks counter, I had to listen to her go on, and on, and on, and on, and on about the loose teeth. Finally, I was like, "Come here and let me see."

And wouldn't you know, that tiny little baby tooth is loose.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pity Party

This past week was one of those weeks when I felt like I just couldn't catch a break. To the point that when people asked how I was, I couldn't even muster up a believable fake smile and say that everything was good. No, I answered them with a "okay" in such a tone that made people follow up with "What's wrong?" And I told them. And in the process of telling no less than three people of my woes, I stopped myself everytime within the conversation and apologized for whining and complaining because the truth is, I really don't have anything to complain about.

I have a good life. I have a nice home. I have amazing friends from just about every walk of life I've led. I have beautiful, healthy children (aside from nickels and croup and meltdowns), and a husband, who was told at our wedding, "The key to a happy marriage, is a happy wife," and he has followed that advice for the past eight and a half years. In my heart and my head, I know that I was just feeling sorry for myself for no good reason.

So, thank you to the friends, who didn't know they were invited to my pity party, and caught me at those moments when I just couldn't pretend that I was feeling 100% and who, after I apologized for whining to them, assured me that is was okay and I am entitled to do so every so often. And thank you to those friends, who I know, if I had encountered you, you too would have let me whine and vent.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Adventures in Motherhood

It is Thursday now and I wanted to go back to Monday, but truth is, I don't really remember Monday at this point. Mainly becuase on Tuesday, the bro decided that putting coins in his mouth would be fun. I blame his father for this. The fun thing that Dan does with the kids right now is magic tricks. Mainly pulling things out from their ears, but the bro is clever and if it can go in the ear, why not the mouth? I am not mad at their father because of this; I just blame him.

I didn't actually see the bro swallow a coin, I simply responded to Natalie screaming, "No, Joey, No!" And found her with her hand in his mouth. I applaud her amazing role as big sister. She truly was trying to help in such a way, that I myself have tried to help sending a penny down the bro's digestive track. So, I can't blame I blame their father. I assured her that she was doing the right thing...Dan, well, I told him he could no longer do magic.

So for two days I have changed poopy diapers and with a wipe covered finger pressed through them looking for a possible nickel. Again, I am not even sure that he swallowed a nickel, but there I was, sifting through poop, and I am not five cents richer.

Today, when the bro woke from his nap, barking like a harbor seal, I took him to the doctor. Our regular pediatrician doesn't work in the office on Thursdays, so I had to tell a new doctor about my son possibly swallowing a coin. I did not think that this was related to the barking cough, but though, since I had to pay to see her, I might as well tell her everything that is going on. Good thing, too, because as it turns out a nickel lodged in my son's chest could also present as croupe. Fab! This led us to the nearest hospital so my two year old child could have a chest x-ray. (which he rocked, the radiologist was very impressed with how still he could be, a fact that I will continue to remind myself about so that I don't get caught up on the fact that my two year old was exposed to radiation).

The good news?
1. It is just the croupe and a mild case at that. Although, after being exposed to the radiation he had to take prescribed steroids, but again, I will remind myself of what a trooper he has been.
2. Neither one of them complained about being bored, hungry, or tired and by neither I mean Natalie (for which she was rewarded and then melted down the minute we came home)

Did I mention that Dan is in Tennessee while all of this was going on, and we are getting, like, seven inches of snow that will delay his flight home.

I need a raise.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Really Good Day

Homemade challah made into French toast - which I didn't have to make
Two cups of coffee
Fresh air, sunlight, and a backyard fire
Two children napping in the early afternoon
Bringing to life someone else's vision of dinner
Buttescotch pudding
Storytime with Daddy
Snuggly, cuddly time with Thing Number 2
Sweet goodnight kisses from Thing Number 1
Two children tucked soundly in bed

Friday, March 25, 2011

Old Soul

I often feel that Natalie is growing up too quickly, as I imagine most mothers feel about their children. But for as left brained as I am, Natalie seems to be equally right brained, and that makes her seem much older than her mere five and a half years. I thought, as her all her friends are losing teeth, that that would be the milestone that I would have to deal with this year - a milestone which I am not ready for both because it makes me sad and loose teeth are one of those random things, like feet and wet graham crackers, that totally gross me out. Woe, if loose teeth were the least of my issues with this little, old five and a half year old.

Last week, as we were coloring, a past time I truly enjoy, Natalie felt it was time we talked about God. The fact of the matter is that there really isn't a whole lot of God in our house...well, that is subjective. I am sure that there are plenty of people in our lives (like my Grandmother, who has already bequeathed to me a church missel, which prompted me to ask if she thought I didn't have enough God in my life) who will tell us that God is everywhere in our house and perhaps that is true, but Dan and I are not ones for talking about God on a regular basis or the wonders of Him/Her/It. Just to clear that up. But here my five and a half year old was very curious to know what I thought. If I thought he was perfect. Or if I thought He/She/It could color perfectly. They were such big questions from such a small person. Yet questions, knowing my daughter, I should have been better prepared to answer. I am not going to really get into what my answers were, but the gist of it was that she will learn many things and when she really is older, she will have to make her own decisions. I need to remind you she is five and a half, but she liked that answer.

If the coloring chat about God wasn't enough of an adult conversation for her, the following day, being in Boston, she inquired about the Holocaust monument. Why is was there? What it was for? Dan and I did our best to explain without causing trauma or nightmares, again, she is only five and a half, but she is so probing and analytical that she asked the really tough questions - again I will let you infer because the Holocaust is a really depressing topic for people of any age.

Oh, how I longed for one of her little baby teeth to fall out at that moment. Perhaps, if I had more God in my house that tiny prayer would have been answered.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Little Leprechaun

Sometimes, when I start to post about how wonderful I think my children are and how much I love being a full time mommy, I stop and think this is going to bite me is the bum very soon. Just yesterday I swooned about my children and the gods punished me for being a boastful mommy.

My little man is going though a little terror phase. Before this, he was just a force of nature destroying everything in his path, but now it is calculated. I can see the glint of mischeif in his blue eyes and a devilish grin appears once he has concocted the plan he will carry out. It might be that he is curious of the physics of certain objects around the house, so in the name of science he throws them down the stairs and then laughs in delight of the crash, bang, boom and brokeness of it. The same can be applied to parmesean cheese shakers and food that he has decided tastes "yucky." Or perhaps it is finding the perfect instrument with which he can cane his sister. Today it was a rod to hold up a play tent and when I took that away, he found a sports flag and started whacking her with the stick end.

This morning I found him standing in his crib, in the buff, surrounded by the poop that was in the diaper he had already taken off for me. Yes, he stood there, in his own sh**, smiling and saying, "Stinky poopy, Mommy. PU!"

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Dan has begun traveling for work, which leaves me "on" with our children all day, every day, until he returns. Last week, I was gone for three days. The first day was particularly difficult for me. I didn't know if Natalie had gotten to school, if Joey had taken a proper nap, if Natalie had made it to dance, if she was properly dressed for dance, or if they were going to have a nutritious dinner. It was beyond stressful; a level which I had never experienced. But now Dan is off, and it is just me. I need to entertain them, feed them, bath them, get them in bed, take out the dog, and feed her too, and the garbage (sort of - I don't really do garbage ). And I will be honest, when Dan is travelling, it is basics in this house--eggs, fruit, eggs, hummus, ya know, the basic foods that everyone keeps in the house.

Tonight we went out for dinner. Natalie's choice. Her first choice was quite crowded since it was a "holiday" (sorry Irish people). And we ended up at Bertuccis. And while they ate their ravioli's on the same side of the booth, because Joey needed to sit next to "Tata." And then they smiled through their Hoodsie cups, I couldn't help but smile, too. That I have this amazing opportunity to do this with them because they are, for sure, the best job I have ever had.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Everybody Poops

Full disclosure - you read the title, so if you choose to continue reading, no comments about me being gross et al at the end of this post. Just sayin' you can get out of it now.

Everyone has a poop story. I have a friend, who on a trip around the globe, while trying to help her five year old daughter in the airplane bathroom, dropped her glasses in airplane toilet poop. I laughed so hard, I am pretty sure I cried. To hear her tell it was certainly funnier than my brief recap.

My bother is so proud of his bowel movements, that he will take picture of them. I kid you not. In fact, this post just might springboard a picture of his upcoming poop in my inbox, and if the former statement wouldn't, that latter one will. I promise not to share that with you because it is just gross.

I spent last Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Boston for a seminar on modified Mediterranean diet and the medical supplement food created by MetaGenics that support said diet to lose body fat and maintain lean muscle mass. This is what I do now, I put people on this plan and help them become healthier thems. There were a lot of great things about this seminar, one of which, I thought, was they had all the medical food there, so I was able to try all the flavors of shakes and bars. Generally, they were all decent - the pineapple one was pretty gross, but overall they were tolerable. But you know what happens when one follows a Mediterranean diet which is heavy on the veggies, fruit and legume and tries all different kinds of medical foods? Please refer to the title of this post if you are slow on that thought process.

Being out of my house for 10 hours a day meant that I had no choice but to use the facilities there. I was at the Park Plaza Hotel; it's a classy joint. Everything is the bathroom is automated, the hand soap dispenses automatically, the water pours automatically, the paper towels roll out automatically, and the toilets flush automatically. In fact, the toilet flushing is so sensitive, that they flush when you open the door, when you stand up, when you automatically turn on the water to wash your hands, and when you open the door to leave the bathroom. Sanitary, sure, environmentally responsible, ah, not so much.

But it is a fact of life, that everybody poops. There is a book about it. And if you aren't pooping, I would encourage you to see a doctor...soon. And so I did, poop that is. And wouldn't you know that these ultra sensitive, environmentally unsound toilets didn't flush. Worst. Nightmare. I am dancing around this little stall trying to make this thing flush. I am pushing on the piping in the hopes there is some special flushing reset button. Nothin'. So I wait. I wait until I am as sure as I can be that there are no other women in this bathroom, because I would really hate to be remembered as the girl who left on in the pot. What a terrible, terrible reputation. It is even worse than being the girl who asks a question and every time at the end of said question says "In other words" and then repeats the original question more concisely. Why not just ask in the other words way to begin with? It would be worse than being that girl.

I made my escape quietly and slyfully and thought I am going to blog about this and call it "Everybody Poops"

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Family Portrait

It isn't easy getting all four of us in a picture. Most of our family portraits are of Dan and the kids, since I am usually taking the picture. It is kind of sad when I think about it. At the holidays, when we are dressed nicely, I always think that it will be nice to have a portrait, but the truth is, that they never really come out great. As it turns out, nice clothes does not guarantee a nice picture, go figure.

Yesterday, when Dan decided we should go on a little impromptu snow hike to see some raging water falls, he was taking pictures to track the mini hike on his trail blog. Lightbulb, let's take a picture of the four of us. And wouldn't you know, it is one of the best family pictures (not that there are many to compete with) that we have.

It is the pictures like this that make me realize how truly perfect my little family is, even if Natalie tells me everyday that my job is to make sure that no one has any fun, and Joey has discovered that the walls make an excellent canvas for markers. Simply perfect.

Friday, February 25, 2011


My friend, Linda is embarking on a new career path or a similar career path as her own boss, either way, she is starting a business and in the start up process I am able to help her by being a guinea pig. I was nervous at first, as her new business involves coming to my house, going through my clothes, discarding articles on sight because they are old, worn, dated, etc., followed by me trying things on that she can't really determine the fate of as they hang on the hanger, and finally concludes with a shopping trip.

I was ok with the going through the closet part. In fact, I told her that I don't really wear much from the closet because my closet is downstairs and full of mostly work clothes that I don't have much of a need for these days. This did not deter her; she went through it all, we packed most of the old stuff in a bag and managed to make a small pile that was worthy of consignment. Not so bad.

Phase two was all about me trying things on. Ugh. The truth is, that I don't try my clothes in the closet on very often for fear that they no longer fit. While most of them are from after I had Natalie and before I had Joey, there are a few pieces that I am hanging onto from before I had either child and let me assure you, I am not that body anymore. But we forged ahead, and she was first surprised by "how small" I actually am, which took my by surprise, because I don't feel that way. I feel that I used to be "so small" but have had two children by then and now am larger. So even though I was afraid to try on all of these clothes because I don't see myself for who I am, but rather who I no longer am, it turns out they did fit and a good handful of them were too big.

She reassured me that I exercise, regularly, and that I should show that off. Yes, I am usually in work out clothes, but not to look like I am working out, but because I do work out. And when she left, she thanked me for letting her go through my closet, and I thanked her for all the nice things she said to me while I tried my clothes on to which she responded something like, isn't it nice how other people don't see our flaws the way we do.

Everyone should have their closets's refreshing.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It Takes a Village

Dan had to travel again for work. And while we have had full days of business, I really miss him. I do believe that I miss him extra this time due to the wave of the stomach bug that is weaving its way around us. And we all know how I just can not even handle the thought of the bug attacking us. Very early this morning, I lay in bed convinced that it was the moment that I would be taken victim. I got out of bed and cleaned all the dishes I had left in the sink, not so much as a distraction, but I was planning a phone chain in my head of who I could call to mind my children and I didn't want anyone to see the dirty dishes. Mind you, this probably should have been my first inkling that it was sheer anxiety making me feel ill and not a virus. But I did the dishes and the I proceeded to clean the bathroom so that if I did get sick, it was clean. As I play it all out now, I realize how insane this all sounds. But at 1am, knowing that I am all alone with my kids, and the people in our lives are dropping like flies, it made perfect sense.

It is not often that I run "home." But if Natalie didn't have dance class late this afternoon, I would have packed the kids up and headed to New Jersey in the hopes that the gaggle of family we have there would come to my aide and take care of me and if not, at the very least, entertain my children for a little while so I could take a little nap....or a valium.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I'm not one for full on, external expressions of love. I mean I have no problem with saying "I love you," holding hands, hugging, or a peck on the face, but to grandstand my emotions...not so much my thing. In fact, to know me is to know that if you do grandstand, I will be the first to tell you how cheesey you are. I should have less friends than I do.

In college, while taking a mandated English course, my professor had us read some timeless love poem, Shakespeare's Sonnet 16 or Elizabeth Barrett of those and then asked us how we thought it rated on the "cheeseometer." No joke, a professor asked us that question in class followed by the comment, "Is it oozing with Velveeta?" I've been racking my brain trying to remember the little man's name. I even busted out old papers from his class looking for a clue, but all I have left of him is his cheeseometer and ridiculous reference to a disturbing excuse for cheese, which I have used as a scale for the past twelve years or so.

So here we are on Valentine's Day, which I always downplay and bah, mainly so I won't be disappointed, and my valentine is on the other side of the country. How is that for karma? But I thought I would take this semi public opportunity to grandstand and bust the needle off of my personal cheeseometer because if there is anything in this world that could make me resort to cheesiness it is my love for Dan. But as I started to think about what I could say that would really express the level of velveeta-ness I would need to, I couldn't find the words and really didn't want to share them with anyone but Dan. So play in your head the lyrics to every cheesey love song you can think of and I mean really cheesey and all the sweet tender ones, too, and add in there the largest box of Russell Stover chocolates you have ever seen surrounded by all the red roses in the world and the last scenes of all the greatest romance movies that have ever existed and the cheesey ones, too, and then multiply that by a lifetime to the infinity power and then you might have a tiny little inkling to how much I love him.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bringing Back the Fun

Today is the day I find out if I win the Toy Story 3 on Ice, and I feel only slightly lame about how nervous and excited I am about the possibility. I don't really win a lot of things.

Last year, at Natalie's school, I won a basket full of early American toys from the Louisa May Alcott House. I was pretty pumped about that, too. Especially, since it came with the movie version of Little Women - there you have it folks, a movie that is a gazillion times better than the book. Sorry Mrs. Alcott, but Little Women is a little boring. snoooooooooze. But put Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, Susan Sarandon, Gabriel Byrne, and Christian Bale in a film together? Um, did you read that, Christian Bale, and he isn't all emaciated (or emancipated as my brother likes to say) nor is he chopping up socialites, so if you like him like that, you love him in Little bad I can't go see that on ice.

Admittedly, I don't think that I am going to win, mainly because of the level of excitement I am attempting to internalize. If you think it is coming through this post, well, multiply that by a really big number. If I do win, maybe Natalie will stop telling me that I am "always ruining all the fun."

So, fingers crossed that I can somehow redeem myself in my daughters eyes by winning.

Friday, February 4, 2011


This morning, at the ripe hour of 6, Dan's alarm went off. Normally this would not bother me as I wake up at this time to get a quick workout in before the kids wake up, but last night I had decided that I would not wake up at 6am and exercise. I had decided that I would exercise later in the day. In hindsight, I should have done it then, because it is later in the day now and I assure you, I have no intentions of running the way I had planned. So instead of running, I checked Facebook, because isn't that what all sane people do in the early morning hours? What I found was a contest, posted by my friend and former colleague, to win four tickets to Toy Story 3 on Ice.
You can click on that to check it out. But if I find out that you won via my blog, I'll be super bummed.

Truth be told, as of 6am I had not seen Toy Story 3. I sent a quick text to Holly, because I knew that she had taken her kids and I thought maybe she could give me some Holly's Notes. And yes, I texted her at 6:30 because we are those kind of friends. She had nothing to give me, so instead of cheating, I had to watch the third one myself. And when I say myself, I mean all by myself. Natalie loved 1 & 2, but just wasn't in to watching 3. When I told her about the contest, she was super into it, so when I inquired as to why she wouldn't watch the movie with me, but wanted me to win the contest, she simply said, "Because it will be on ice, Mommy. And that's cool."

So here I am, on a Friday night, my kids are both asleep, and I am watching Toy Story 3 so that I can win a contest because that would be "cool."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Price of Perfection

Just last week I had a "mom's day out." What this entails is meeting up with a group of moms including Izzy and Holly, and we go out without our children and our husbands and basically do something that Izzy has planned for us. She's our Mom Coordinator. This last trip involved a manicure, with a fabulous new nail polish that is dry right away and is still perfect a week later, shopping, and dinner. I'm really not a shopper and on top of not being a shopper, we were headed to the Christmas Tree Shops which I find totally overwhelming and sometimes disturbing. But wouldn't you know that I was the one who spent the most amount of money there. I truly had no intention of buying anything but I wandered aimlessly around the store, I stumbled upon the frame section and found a bunch of dark cherry frames, in all different sizes, with matte board already in them. Now, this past summer I had professional pictures taken of the kids and had yet to do something with them. So I picked up three 11x14 frames, four 8x10, four 5x7 and three 4x6. Because although I didn't intend to buy anything nor did I need anything. I have been wanting a montage of picture going up the staircase. My aunt and uncle have this as well as just about every perfect tv family. This is another one of those things, as a little girl, I knew my house would one day have.

So remember a long, long time ago when I started this little blog and told you all about my commitment issues? I'll give you a minute to hop over to that post and refresh....

I filled all those frames and laid them out the way I would place them on the wall. And in a moment of what I thought was complete genius, I took the paper that comes inside the frame, you know, the one with the beautiful, posed people, and taped them to the wall in my pre-determined arrangement. I stood back and stared at my template with pride. Then I made Dan admire it with me, and I am sure not to be a buzzkill, he said, "You know the frames are going to take up more space than those pictures...just sayin'." I hadn't really thought of that in my moment of genius. So I held some of the frames up to make sure they would all fit, and they totally did, until they didn't, and I had about 18 holes that needed to be spackled and repainted.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fitting In

Don't think I have forgotten about the blog; I have about four half written entries. I start to write them with passion and vigor and then I lose my train of thought and the entry no longer makes sense. So I walk away for it for a while and become distracted in other half finished projects. ;)

Natalie was invited to a birthday party, well, she has been invited to many birthday parties, so many in fact that I have just begun storing gifts in my closet because it is just silly to be going to the store every other day for another gift. I have to give her credit though, she has become very efficient at gift shopping. But recently she was invited to a party that requested that the gift not be a gift but a gift card. Many of you may already know about this birthday party as I have vented, for lacked of a better word, about the details of the gift giving request. I was really tormented by this whole idea of a gift card. First because the birthday girl was turning four, and I just can't imagine any four year old requesting a gift card. Secondly, I took issue with the gift cards that we suggested as a gift...American Girl Store, Build-A-Bear, or my very favorite, a VISA gift card. I reiterate, she was turning four..a VISA gift card, really?

I need to explain this, Natalie doesn't just get invited to a party here and there, next week or the week after she has one week. So I have to sort of, kind of prioritize our gift spending budget. We have best friends who are like family, we have best friends who are part of our every day life, we have good friends that we have known for a while now, and we have friends we are just getting to know. For this particular party, it was for a little girl we just met at the start of this school year. And while she may become someone who is a part of our greater future, the truth is, right now, I don't really know her. Do I need to say more? She is on the less expensive end of my gift budget spectrum. That doesn't mean that she wouldn't get a great, fun gift it just means that it costs less money. American Girl, Build-A-Bear and VISA, well, they don't cost less money. Therefore, I let Natalie pick a gift and then spent the last week in knots over my decision.

Like I said, I don't know this little girl very well, nor do I know her parents. I did that which I always do in times of uncertainty and asked other people if they were going to be giving gift cards, and they were. So I hemmed and hawed, and Dan gave me a hard time about it and told me to stick to my gut feeling that a gift card was an inappropriate gift for a four year old. But I couldn't let it go. Because my insecurities got the best of me, and I just wanted to fit it and not make anyone mad at me. So this morning, the day of the party, I took Natalie to the mall, and we purchased a gift card.

And wouldn't you know, when we arrived at the party, there were people there who brought a proper present. Another item for Dan to add to his "I Told You So" List.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Loosely Adapted

Have you ever read a book and the whole time thought to yourself, this would make a great movie. I do it all the time...well all the time is an overstatement, but often the books that I find worth finishing, I think this. When I am done reading, I will think of who would be perfect to play each part. Most of the books I read eventually turn into movies, so it is always interested to see how I do. I remember reading The Time Traveler's Wife and having a really tough time casting it in my head, but ultimately, although they glossed over the complexity of the book, the casting was good. I wish I could say the same about My Sister's Keeper, but poor casting is the least of that movie's issues.

So I recently finished reading The Romantics, which is the first book in a while that I didn't want to put down. The story telling, the depth of insight into each character, the ability to connect to a place and time and feeling sucked me right in. I knew that this book had already been turned into a movie, one which although "star-studded", went straight to DVD. I knew that this movie herald such esteemed actors as Katie Holmes, Josh Duhamal, Adam Brody, Anna Paquin (who, once upon a time was a serious actress and while I'm on the subject Katie Holmes has some great flicks to her credit not to mention a stellar run on the beloved Dawson's Creek and yes, I am serious, so don't hate on the creek.) As I read, I was intrigued to see how these characters fit into this book and as I did my extensive research on IMDB, I found the casting off, with the exception of Josh Duhamal and they cut out, like, two major characters from the book! I know that Hollywood likes to take a little poetic justice and cut out seemingly insignificant details, but in hindsight they must look back and think, hmmm, that may have been important. I will watch this movie, just so I can complain about how this book was butchered...a past time that started in high school.

In high school, I had to read The Scarlet Letter. As I am sure many of you did. I loved, loved, loved this book. It was a literary soap opera and since then, when under pressure, I have always turned to this book for a writing topic. (ie Mass English Teaching Subject Test). But truly, I thought the book was genius and weren't we so excited, when shortly after reading the book, it was made into a "major motion picture" starring none other than Demi Moore as Hester Prynne. I don't remember the acting of whomever played the tortured Dimmesdale nor do I remember the villainous Chillingworth, which is sad because they were played by Gary Oldman and Robert Duvall. (I had to look that up).

This is what I did take away from this movie:

1. The director/producer/screenwriter took bits and pieces of The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible and melded them together as one god-awful "loosely adapted" presentation of an incredible piece of literature. *Sidenote, both of these stand quite well on their own accord, there was no reason to take Tituba out of The Crucible and send her over to The Scarlet Letter.

2. This was truly my first and ultimately that which I return to to say with complete certainty that the book is always better than the movie. Yes, I am sure there are expectations, but I can't think of one off the top of my head, so I am going to continue with this theory.

3. I don't remember Hester Prynne bathing herself in a seductive... corn? wheat? barley? bath while Tituba watched.

4. Nathaniel Hawthorne rolled over in his grave the day this movie debuted

It makes me wonder why I bother casting good books in my head and furthermore why I torture myself by watching someone else's casting and very loose adaptation.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Health Nut

Natalie is learning about the body and nutrition in school. I'm all for nutrition and health, but I am finding it interesting, frustrating, and entertaining how a five-year-old processes this information.

I make 90% of our meals. I am not perfect, we do eat out and order happens. But most of the time, I am meal mapping, cooking, and Dan will tell you always substituting something in a recipe. If it calls for sour cream, chances are mine is made with nonfat plain yogurt. If it is a baked good with butter or oil, chances are mine is made with applesauce, that Dan and I made and he canned to boot! If we need sugar, which I do have, but often opt for honey (bought locally), pure maple syrup or agave nectar. We never have white rice...on the rare occasions that rice hits the table it is brown. All of our bread is multigrain and homemade. That's right folks...I haven't bought a loaf of bread in over a year! My man makes us a loaf whenever I request one. Our pasta is Barilla Plus, and I buy dry beans and hydrate them. In fact, the only staples we have in this house at all times are milk (mainly for the Bro), eggs (bought from the farm of boy in Nat's class), and butter. Everything else is on a week to week, meal mapped basis. I go out of my way to find ways to make things we love healthier for us.

So Saturday, after we went to Chuck E. Cheese as a super special surprise for Natalie, and she ate Chuck E. Cheese pizza, which I assure you was most definitely not healthy and then begged and pleaded for the pink cotton candy, which I also allowed her to have, she tried to tell me that the dinner that I was going to prepare was unhealthy.

Did you read the intro paragraph to this post?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Protect Mode

Dan has arrived home after a long, lonely week without him. Granted, normally he is at work all day, so that wasn't so different, but the evening hours were missing something. And now that he is home, I feel that for the first time all week I can actually relax and let my guard down. Dan informed me that I was in "protect mode." I didn't know that this existed separate from just plainly being a mother. Now, as much as I want to spend time with him, all I really want is to close my eyes and have a good night's sleep (without Natalie in my bed kicking me - as though it weren't enough that she kicked me for six months from the inside - oh and she was a KICKER!) and let someone else worry for the night.

All this time I thought being a dad was the best gig ever, come home, be fun, throw the kids around and they go to bed an hour later...but it is kind of exhausting.

And for my mom friends who have husbands who travel regularly, relocated, work the evening shift, are schooling...kudos to you ladies. I don't know how you do it, but you all do it well!

On that note, I hope your husbands, wives, partners, lovers, whathaveyous, are with you tonight and your evening is a little longer (in a good way) and definitely less lonely!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What's the Point?

In late fall, Dan and I went out to dinner with our friends Brendan and Kim. Towards the end of our evening, talk of my blog came up, about which Brendan asked me, "What's the point? What are you trying to achieve?" It started as a place for me to use a skill or talent, I guess. I mean, I have always been able to write, so maybe all these years I thought I was talentless, I just didn't realize that not everyone could do this. A place where I could vent for lack of a better word. A place that belonged to just me and what I think.

And then people I know started approaching me about this blog. "I read your blog and..." "What I love about your blog is...." My friend Jess, yes you Jess Rowse Moran, always refers to my blog when we chat, and I love it. We don't get to sit down with each other for long amounts of time and have conversations over coffee, but she reads my blog and we find commonalities.
And there are people who read this blog and blog themselves might I add (check out the other Kristen Dattoli) who are so fabulously different from me.

So maybe the point is that it is nice to have a perspective for people to read and cling to and let out a deep sigh of relief that someone else feels the same way and maybe the point is to read this and let out a deep sigh of relief that my life is not your life.

Maybe the point is that it is here to be whatever you need it to be, just as it is for me. But a book contract and an adapted screenplay would be a good point, too. ;)