Friday, July 31, 2009

Worth It

I spent all day yesterday in a conference room. Literally from 7:50 until 4:45 with only bathroom breaks.

As I rushed out at 4:45 to liberate my lovely ladies from day care, I thought about my crazy day and I was already exhausted knowing that in some respects the craziness was only beginning.

Fortunately, I had book club last night.

Our reservations were for 7, although LP kicked me out of the house at 6:20 when the Hoos got home, "Okay, mommy, you can leave now," so I even got to run a few errands before meeting up for club.

As the Hoos just asked me, "Did you guys even have a book to discuss last night?" Because it isn't really about the book. It is about me getting together with four good friends to discuss life - the fun parts, the reality, the depressing, the mundane and a little bit of out-of-left-field talk.

We had such a great time and talk about such a wide variety of topics, that it is hard for me to remember that we only met three or so years ago and really only started connecting a little over two years ago, finding commonality in complaining about our day care center.

Now we still complain about day care, but most of us wouldn't seriously consider leaving because of our friendships and the friendships our kids have formed. And, despite the fact that one family has left the day care, we still maintain our relationship, making it clear that when our kids start attending different elementary schools, or if we move away from Norwalk, we may just have started something that will last. And, I have a feeling that our group will likely grow over time.

Even if it does mean I don't get home until after 11 on a school night.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Best Friends

In the past few weeks, LP has become obsessed with the concept of "best friends."

I actually think this might be an improvement over her previous idea that everyone could only have one friend. If I would say, "Daisy is your friend, and MK, and Bhuvie..." She would stop me and say, "No, Bhuvie is Chlo-Chlo's friend." She would go on to explain, "Delia is my friend," as if no other friends were needed.

More recently on any given day she will announce, "Mommy you are my best friend and AK is Daddy's best friend." Before I can feel too good, she will turn around and say, "AK is my best friend, Daddy is your best friend." And, yes, sometimes the Hoos is LP's best friend too.

I like it best when AK is LP's "best." AK is finally big enough that she can kind of, sort of stand up to LP and I am not completely frightened anytime LP gets into her space. To hear the two of them laughing together is like no other feeling in the world. No one can elicit the quantity or volume of giggles from them that they bring out in each other.

I don't have a sister, but I completely understand what people say about sisters having a special relationship. I am noting this now, beause I am sure in 10 years or so things might not be going so well, but moments like these will be good reminders of what was and what is to come for their long-term relationship.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Food for Thought

Like many of my friends, I struggle on a daily basis to get my kids to eat. As a friend recently posted on Facebook, "Why do I feel like Monty Hall at dinner time?" I try to limit the choices and always have favorites on hand, and still I end up with wasted food and a feeling of frustration. I know that in the end, my girls are healthy and growing and getting the nutrition they need; but that isn't the case across the country.

Many parents don't have the ability to give their kids options or dinner at all. Times are tough and more and more people are finding it difficult to put food on the table. This exacerbates my guilt about wasting uneaten - untouched! - food, but feeling guilty isn't enough.

ShopRite, my parents' favorite grocery store, has a program called Partners in Caring dedicated to helping get food on the table for those in need. As part of this program, they have put out a call to bloggers to spread the word about hunger. In addition to highlighting participating bloggers on boxes of Honey Nut (or HoneyBunny as LP calls them) Cheerios, General Mills and ShopRite will donate one box of cereal to a food bank in ShopRite’s trading area for the first 30 people who comment on my post.

I have never had 30 comments, but now would be a great time to beat my record! I highly encourage any of my lurkers and all of my regular readers to leave a note about what they do or plan on doing to help get food to the more than 35 million Americans that live in households considered “food insecure,” including 12.4 million children.

I participate in nearly every food drive I encounter, from the girls' day care center, to my office, to my in-laws' synagogue. This year, for the first time, I dedicated some of my weekly shopping budget to exclusively buying food for donation. With grocery stores constantly having 10 for $10 sales, I don't have to set aside a lot of money to have a big impact. I have also blogged before about my frequent donation to the Norwalk Emergency Shelter, which provides assistance and a soup kitchen for those in need locally.

What are you doing?

Can't Stop the Mouth

  • "Mommy, AK doesn't drink out of your boobies anymore. Who drinks out of your boobies now? How do you get the milk into your boobies? Can I see?"
  • "Mommy cows have udders, not boobies!"
  • In response to Daddy asking how she got so beautiful, "From Grandma!" I guess my coaching to respond that it was from Mommy hasn't worked yet.
  • "How come it makes your head hurt when I scream?"
  • "Where are the staples so I can hang my project on the wall?"
  • "Elephants eat pea-NUTS! It sounds like penis, but it isn't."

Lord help me.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Not Exactly the Neighborhood Watch

On most weeknights the Hoos calls me from his cell phone as he is leaving the office to let me know he is on his way. This gives me the go ahead to start dinner and gives me a good idea of when he will be home since his commute requires that he go against traffic and he rarely hits any.

The other night I hadn't gotten the heads up yet when LP called out, "Daddy's home!" I thought this was weird, and confirmed it when her statement was followed by, "He got a new car! It's brown. Wait, Daddy!! He's passing the driveway!"

As the random car drove down the block she conceded, "It wasn't him."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Downhill From There

Tonight while talking to some friends (who happen to be moms of LP's friends) on the playground, we determined that all three of us were without husbands for the evening. We decided to try to make life easier and all go to the grill at Stew's for dinner. The kids were psyched, we were happy to have grownups to talk to for another hour, and we had a nice time. The girls even ate most of their dinner in anticipation of the ice cream that would follow.

After doing some shopping, LP wasn't happy about getting in to the car. She was less thrilled to get out of the car when we got home. Shocking since she screamed bloody murder and fought me like a rabid raccoon when I tried to buckle her in at Stew's.

We eventually got in the house and I put the groceries away. AK was getting tired so I immediately started the bath and got her into it. About 5 minutes later LP decided to join us in the bathroom to go potty. AK happily played in the water while LP finished her business. As I wiped LP (sorry, TMI), I kept my eyes on AK and she was sitting and smiling and splashing. As LP lifted her leg to climb in to the tub, she started freaking out.


Sure enough, there was poop in the tub.


I then had to remove AK, empty and clean out the tub and resume the bedtime routine.

It's always something. Good news is that the cleaning lady comes tomorrow. Better news is, this is the first time this has happened. The best news would be a promise from someone that this will never happen again.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'd Rather Be Driving

In the past month we have taken two road trips as a family, in addition to various other small excursions. One thing is clear, being in the front passenger seat sucks. It might be worse to wedge myself in between the car seats in the back, but that isn't safe or really feasible; and, yes, the roof rack or trunk would be an improvement.


As the responsible adult not driving in the car you become the entertainer, the snack hander-outer, the plastic woman required to fetch things discarded and than desired in the most difficult to reach location from your perch. You are also asked to navigate, mediate, make assessments on when potty or lunch breaks are needed and give up your leg room for the aforementioned snacks, toys, drinks, and anything else that may be needed by other passengers at any point in time.

As with many families, whenever we are together in the car, the Hoos does the driving. I don't know why moms often give up the driver's seat (could be because it is easier than being critiqued?), but I need to rethink our approach. It would be nice to say, "Mommy is paying attention to the road, ask Daddy," but then I might have to field additional questions (e.g., where are the extra pacifiers? what snacks should I give them? why are you letting them drink milk in the car?) ...

The Long and Winding Road

I live in a very walkable neighborhood. There aren't sidewalks, but it is very residential and walker-friendly. On a typical walk we see people walking dogs, kids riding bikes, lazy cats lounging on lawns, and the occasional bunny or deer.

When I was pregnant with LP, the Hoos and I would go on walks almost every night. It was good exercise and there were good opportunities to shorten the route as I got further along and had to admit that I could no longer handle the two-mile loop of "The Long Walk". I also took on the Long Walk almost daily with LP when I was on maternity leave with her in an effort to get out of the house without taking her anywhere enclosed and lose some baby weight.

During maternity leave with AK, my Long Walks became less frequent. Not because I couldn't physically handle them, but more as a matter of timing. I liked to pick LP up from day care around 3 and I didn't really like having AK out in the sun between 10 and 2. And once I picked up LP it was impossible to go for a walk. I did put AK in the Bjorn and push LP in the stroller a few times and walk Around the Block, and while it was exhausting, I don't think it really qualified as exercise.

More recently I tried to put AK in the backpack (she has long since outgrow the Bjorn) and push LP on her tricycle or in a stroller. It was impossible to go any further than Around the Block since AK was and continues to be a world-class hair puller. OUCH! In the last couple of months LP has become more adept at riding her tricycle, so we have also been able to circle the Block verrrry slowly with LP providing her own gas.

Yesterday, for the first time, I took both LP and AK on the Short Walk* alone (that is, without the Hoos pushing a second stroller), thanks to our friends lending us their Sit and Stand (thanks M Family!). I was able to enjoy the 85 degree heat and the steep incline at the end of the walk while pushing 55 pounds of kids in a 35 pound stroller.

After going up the steep incline with LP blowing bubbles in my face from the comfortable backward facing jumpseat, I received a request to keep going. Just one more reason my kids will be the death of me. Or maybe this is their passive aggressive way of recommending I work on reducing my tush jiggle.

Despite my grousing here, we will definitely make use of the Sit and Stand this summer. It was nice to be outside with the girls, in the beautiful weather, without chasing them in opposite directions or worrying about the time. And, natch, my tush could stand to be smaller.

* The Short Walk is shorter than the two mile Long Walk, but longer than Around the Block.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

On the Boardwalk


Me and my girls on the Gray's Beach Boardwalk, Yarmouthport, MA.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Picked Me a Good One

The thing about being a parent is that once you become one, there is no going back. There are times when being a mom is the best thing in the world (e.g., when your little munchkins decide that the best way to pass 10 minutes is by kissing and cuddling with you). There are also minutes (e.g., a tantrum), hours (e.g., enduring the screaming while you are waiting for nap time to kick in), even entire days (no description needed) that I would prefer not to be the parent.

Fortunately, more times than not, there is no place and no one else I would rather be. As I type this I am sitting on the deck of the house we are renting in Cape Cod as the Hoos is teaching LP how to swim. She is wearing a life vest and learning how to float on her back and kick. She actually just said to the Hoos, "Thank you for showing me how to do that!"

The week has been full of fun and new developments (AK is a full time walker now!). We are having a wonderful time doing some new things (Coonamesset Farm for pick your own black raspberries, visiting animals and relaxing on the back deck; Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich), some old things (beach; lots of lake; walking in Chatham; the Gray's Beach boardwalk), and had a great time all the while.

Earlier today I asked LP to describe some of her favorite parts of vacation and she immediately responded, "Fishing in the yellow boat with my daddy." Doesn't get better than that.
And, in the two minutes since initially posting this, LP and the Hoos have caught little tiny baby bass and a poliwog. And LP has eagerly held out her hands to hold both!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lessons Learned

The last few days have had some eye-opening moments:
  1. Don't be the last person to enter the room at a dinner party. Last night I went to a celebratory dinner for work. As I finished a conversation with a colleague at the cocktail hour, everyone was been shepherded in to the dining room. By the time I went to grab a seat, my options were limited and I ended up sitting at the "head" table. The one with all of the important people. And I was actually seated in between the two most important people - the leaders of the company acquiring my firm. They were lovely, but it was bizarre. I was the most junior person in the room. And while I can hold my own, I am not the sort of person that would purposely choose this seat for political reasons. Hopefully I won't see a pink slip today based on my performance
  2. The period from day care to bed is very busy. This was actually a lesson for the Hoos. Since I had the aforementioned event for work, he was on his own with the girls last night - day care pick up, after-school playground, dinner, baths and bed. When I called around 10:15 to let him know I was on my way home, one of the first things he said was, "I appreciate you. I haven't stopped all night. I am now cleaning up. I have no idea how you are done with all this, plus making us dinner by 9." Ah, that felt good.
  3. Free samples can often exceed expectations. Since I got home late, I needed an extra kick this morning, so I stopped by McDonald's for a sweet tea. As I pulled around to the drive through I noticed signs that said "Free Sample of McMocha 7am-10am". I was expecting a shot glass sized sample. This was so much better! My free mini-iced mocha was adorable and complete with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Highly recommended.
  4. Bathing suit shopping sucks less when you actually find a suit that fits. Yay! I got a new bathing suit for vacation next week. And, amazingly, I don't look lumpy, bumpy, old, or chubby. Not that it matters, since once I am on the beach with my kids I am focused more on them than what I look like, but it will still be nice to at least feel comfortable and somewhat attractive. There still won't be pictures.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Round and Round

How is it exactly that Mother Nature times things so that the only time there is a torrential downpour is when I have to be outside? As in getting from my office to the car, from my car to day care, from day care (with both girls!) to the car, from the car to the pediatrician's office.

Yes, if you read that closely, last night included a visit to the pediatrician. As I suspected AK's double ear infection did not clear up. We are trying a different antibiotic and hoping for the best. Poor little munchkin.

LP, on the other hand, LOVED the pediatrician's office. At one point I was trying to distract AK while we waited for the PA and took her out of the exam room to look out the windows at the sun (which came out shortly after we got into the building, natch). LP followed behind and insisted on closing the door to our room, "to keep people out." Of course, this meant that she didn't know which room was ours, so when she got bored with roaming the halls she attempted to get back into our room. Opening the wrong door.

She quickly closed it and I chastised her, "LP, you can't just go opening random doors."

"Mommy, how do you know that is Random's room? Who is Random?"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Anywhere But Here

As featured in my previous post, we had a great weekend.
  • Friday in the yard was a worthwhile endeavor;
  • Saturday with friends was a great way to pass the day;
  • Sunday at the Yankee game with my dad was great (highly recommend taking MetroNorth to and from the game if you are from Westchester or Fairfield);
  • Monday afternoon at the beach with the girls was a bit hectic, but nevertheless a good time.
  • Monday night because the girls took baths as soon as we returned from the beach, we still had plenty of time for a family walk after dinner! Great way to wrap up the "weekend"

Today I am back in the office. And crazy busy.

My company is in the process of being acquired by another firm. My future is up in the air, but, because I work in communications, my job is to placate the masses of technical staff and reassure them that things will work out and answers will be forthcoming. Very frustrating for people to think that you have answers and are holding back, when, really, no one has answers and, in reality, as corporate staff, my job and the job of my co-workers are the ones most likely to be viewed as redundant.

I will have conversations with lots of interesting people, but doubtful that any will top this one with LP from the other night.

"Mommy, do deers drink milk? From their mommy's bellies when they are babies? Like when I went to the fish store [pet store] with daddy and the mommy titmouse [gerbil] was feeding the baby titmouses? And cleaning their tushies? Not like you clean my tushie! You don't lick my butt! You don't lick AK's butt! You don't lick Daddy's butt! You don't like your own butt!"

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Yay! Summer finally seems to be here! My two little munchkins are thriving in the sunshine, and we are having lots of fun playing around town. Today included berry picking, rocket shooting and some outside eating with friends. Tomorrow the Hoos and the girls will make due with out me as I make my first trip to the new Yankee Stadium with my dad.

Here are some recent photos of our doings - just try to keep up with us!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Who Are You?

I had an enlightening discussion on the playground today with several other moms. We were talking about what we preferred to be called by our children's friends. This stemmed from LP calling another mom by her first name.

Several of the other moms stated their preference for being Mrs. So-and-so. It makes sense, since growing up my friend's parents were Mrs. Baker, Mr. Van and so on. In fact, I still do call them by these more formal names when I run into them. It just never occurred to me that I could or should command respect.

I am certainly on board with respecting other people's wishes when it comes to how they want to be known on the playground. I will admit it is endearing when she calls one dad, "Jer," his nickname, and when she goes into long explanations about which parent belongs to which kid and how she is married to this dad or that dad. That being said, I certainly plan on directing LP to call other parents Mr. or Mrs. Whatever until instructed otherwise. Just be a little patient with me while I get used to it.

And, please, feel free to call me Amy.

A Mile a Minute

Fortunately, the blog title DOES NOT have to do with how fast AK is walking - yet. But last night she was pulling herself into a standing position from the middle of the floor, taking a few steps, falling down and pulling herself back up again. It is only a matter of time before crawling becomes totally passé.

In addition to the walking, yesterday AK learned how to turn on the faucets in the bath tub. Which is a fun challenge when you are bathing two adorable little girls at once. I am like a defensive lineman, trying to keep two slippery little girls from injuring each other, getting burned, and drenching my entire bathroom (AK's new bath time fun includes scooping water up in her hands and tossing it out of the tub - her hands are small, but she is fast!).

At the playground AK has also started climbing the stairs by herself, crawling over to the slide, righting herself and attempting to go down feet first without assistance. I am constantly climbing up and down the steps, riding the slide and moving as fast as I can to make sure she doesn't jump out of an opening, fall down an opening, bang the back of her head on the slide, whack her face into the railing, get stepped on by any of the other rugrats enjoying the playground, or get smothered by LP who tries to catch her at the bottom of the slide.

Who needs to go to the gym?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

These Feet Were Made for Walking

My little AK is on the move!

My back is sore from holding her little hands the entire weekend so she could take in the world from an upright position. She only opted to crawl if she really wanted to get somewhere fast. In addition to exploring with Mommy hovering above holding her hands, we spent a lot of time having her walk between us as we stood a few feet a part - taking maybe four or five steps at a time before lunging at whoever she was walking toward.

Then, last night as we stood in the kitchen, I decided to take it a bit further. I would set her up facing me and then as she walked I would move backward. She practically walked across the entire kitchen! She then walked about 12-15 steps on her own between us before becoming unsure of herself and dropping back into a crawl position.

She was so proud of herself, laughing and clapping. LP was also really impressed, hugging her little sister and saying, "I can't believe she is doing so great!"

Of course every time we tried to videotape she would fall down, but she is really getting it! And she wore herself out - getting cranky a half hour earlier than usual and insisting on bath and bed before 8pm. Not that I am complaining, because she wore me out too!