Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Oh, the Indignity!

There are lots of things about being a parent that require you to give up a little bit of yourself.

  • Modesty and Privacy. More than five (FIVE?!?!)  years ago, I posted about giving these up. That hasn't changed. In fact, I think it is worse. Now my children will knock on the door and then walk right in if I am in the bathroom. And if I am in the shower, they will just pull up a stool and chat with me. 
  • Alone Time. Alone time? What is that?! HA!When I get to go to the grocery store sans children, it is freedom I am not used to. I can't decide if I should pick up a mocha before I go to the store and then have to carry it around or if I should get it after and then have to race home to put away the groceries. (Sad, sad alone decisions, I know).
  • Humility. When you are wiping butts - however adorable they may be - several times a day, there is just no time to be proud. The most recent reminder of this was earlier this week when LP squeezed her nose shut and shouted, "Mom! can you clean out Humphrey's wheel?" Did he poop in it, I asked. "I don't know what it is, it is just icky!". And so there I was, scrubbing nasty, sticky hamster pee out of his silent wheel.
While this list is not all inclusive - I can't even imagine how much more I could write about humility if we got a dog - I did say you just give up a little bit of yourself.

The girls remind me every so often that I "am the boss of the house."

I am hoping they mean that I am not just the boss of the cleaning up and laundry and cooking and grocery shopping and planning and instead I am the boss of the inhabitants of the house as well.  And then I find myself picking hamster poop out of Humphrey's fur and start to wonder...

I just couldn't go all sad again, I couldn't. I hope this and some of the links back to old posts makes you laugh.

Monday, December 17, 2012

When There Are No Answers

In case you didn't guess from the url of this blog, I am a Connecticut mom. And this week at least, we are all Connecticut moms. Moms and dads and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and siblings who love our kids and will give them dozens of extra hugs and kisses over the next few days and weeks.

It doesn't matter how close geographically one lives to Newtown, CT. We all might as well live in Newtown. There is not a single person unaffected by this tragedy. Even those that are blissfully unaware, like AK, who we decided not to tell.

I am not a political person. And, yet, I do think, hope, feel that perhaps some sort of legislation would make something like this less likely to happen. Mental health? Gun control? I don't know the answer, but I sure would like one. Or maybe I would just like to know that there is an answer for how to avoid it, because I do not think we will ever get an answer to 'why?'.

Like everyone else, the Hoos and I struggled to process. We grappled with if and how and how much to tell LP. As a six year old first grader, she felt too young to tell, but too old not to tell.

A few weeks ago she came home from school and told us about the drills her class did in case of a tornado. We giggled along with her as she described how 22 kids and pregnant teacher would cram into the closet-sized bathroom in her class and one kid asked, "What if I have to pee?"

We aren't giggling anymore.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Quicker Picker Upper

Kids are such perfect blanks slates. Well, maybe not completely blank- there is some "nature" in the whole "nature vs. nurture" thing...

Perhaps a better metaphor is that kids are like Bounty? They really do absorb everything.

Yesterday LP told me that a boy kissed her 10 times. On the hand. And that she "sucked them into her heart" and she is in love with him. Now, I am not saying that I ever said these things. As those who know me can attest, I am not exactly a romantic. But did she hear them somewhere? Read them somewhere? Or is this "nature"?

And there there is AK. Sweet little AK who removes her clothes and walks around the house in my high-heeled boots and preens in front of the mirror. Again, I DO NOT DO THIS. And, actually, no one other than AK does (in our house at least). I am going to chalk this one up to the "nature."

AK also asked me the other day to tell her she is pretty. I said, "AK, I tell you that you are smart and beautiful all the time. You are beautiful." And her response? "I know." When I told her the appropriate answer was "thank you." She told me that she had just seen the same exchange on TV and wanted to "try it out." Obviously not nurture. Maybe anti-nurture, since she was watching Disney Channel instead of reading a book with me? Dang you Cece and Rocky!

While these are not necessarily things that will scar them for life (I am not going to put those in writing so my kids can't hold it against me in 15 years), they clearly demonstrate that:

  1. I am in over my head.
  2. There is no way to filter a child's entire life experience.
  3. Even if they don't LISTEN, my kids HEAR everything that is said around them.
Please, tell me I am not alone. What crazy things have your kids said or done recently that scares the bejeezers out of you?

Monday, November 26, 2012

All the Time in the World

It is amazing to me how time flies. While I grin with glee when I talk about how this is my last year of day care, on the inside I am also remembering that it means my baby will soon be five. I remember when AK was Bun - the nameless, sexless baby that I carried in my oddly pointed belly.

If that isn't bad enough - My big girl is losing teeth! I remember when she didn't even have teeth.

As time goes by, I am also coming to terms with what a big job it is to be a mommy. To be a parent.

At times I forget. I see my role in the mundane - slurbing on bellies, washing dirty clothes, collecting toys from scattered places, packing lunches and reminding and nagging.

And at other times, it seems as if being "the mom" is an enormous task.

Teaching them about inner beauty, self-confidence, body image.

Reminding them that they are smart and beautiful and good.

Gloating when they do something nice unprompted.

Hurting when they are hurt by others. 

Cringing when I see them do the same thing.

Realizing that even if I am there to try to "fix" it and educate and remind, it doesn't make it go away. It might help them temper the response next time, but I can't make it go away. And I can't be there all the time.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's Been a Month Since My Last Confession

The post title seemed fitting considering the previous post and the stark reality truth that I am just not so good at this blogging thing anymore.

Consider the facts.

This is a list of how many times I posted to this blog since its inception:
As I haven't gotten any angry emails protesting my lack of posts, I can't imagine too many of you are too upset. 

But anyway...

Somehow it is already Thanksgiving 2012. I am not exactly sure that happened, but between a hurricane followed by a week without school followed by a week-long trip to Denver time apparently passed me by.  In that time:

LP lost TWO TEETH. And had lots of communications with the tooth fairy. In fact, she continues to leave notes under her pillow for the tooth fairy, but since the tooth fairy only comes when you lose a tooth, the questions about how big she is and what her name is remain unanswered.

We had Halloween. We actually had several Halloweens since it was postponed twice in our town. A big highlight was that we were "ghosted."  It means that people know we live in the neighborhood and are making an effort to include us in neighborhood activities. Woo-hoo! Of course, we immediately ghosted two other people (as per the note included in the ghosting package. We also took it upon ourselves to "snowball" our across the street neighbors. Since the instructions were written by LP, we are not sure the neighbors understood and perpetuated the snowballing, but we will just have to try again.

We had a hurricane. We were very fortunate and barely lost power, but we did lose several very large trees in our yard. They didn't hit any people, powerlines or structures (except decimating our dock), but they did create the potential for damming up the creek that runs in the back of our yard. So a lot of money and a totally destroyed yard later, we have doubled the length of our water access! The Hoos has big plans.

We had school conferences. Both girls are doing just great academically and socially. LP has a tendency to talk and AK's form said, "She has great communication skills and is a leader." We figure that is a nice was of saying she talks a lot and is a bit bossy. 

I am struggling to believe that they are both growing so quickly. Can you all even believe that she is almost 4.5? I will have to register her for kindergarten in a few months!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The One Where We Talk About Religion

Yesterday as I buckled the girls into the car after our weekly trip to Target, LP asked, "Mom? Can we talk about Jesus?"

Alrighty then. Not exactly the topic I had planned to discuss."Sure, I don't know too much, but what would you like to talk about?"

"No, I don't mean I want to talk about him now. I just mean in general. Is it okay to talk about Jesus?"

Good grief. Does everyone have this conversation with their children? "Well, if you have questions about him, you can ask someone, but, no, it isn't nice to..."

...Picture the wheels turning in my head: I don't want to say "take the Lord's name in vain", because, being Jewish, we don't believe he is our Lord, and I don't think LP would understand what that means anyway...

" isn't nice to just yell out 'Jesus!'"

There! I think to myself. Conversation shut down.

HAHAHAHA. Gullible Mommy.

LP goes on, "Jesus is G-d's son."

Honestly?!Where is the Hoos when I am dealing with these questions?!?!

"Well, LP, since we are Jewish we don't believe in Jesus. We don't believe G-d has a son like that."

Please, please, please let this conversation be over. I know there are lots of people that cherish these opportunities to talk religion with their children. I am not one of them.

"But, mom? Who is G-d's wife?"

I now mentally smack myself on the forehead.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

To the Fullest

On the day LP was born, we had several visitors rush to the hospital to meet her. One of the first was the Hoos' great aunt, Auntie Anne. At the time she was 91 and her cooing about the "delicious" LP could be heard throughout the maternity ward. I truly believe that a bond was created the instant they laid eyes on each other.

Auntie Anne was a presence. With a cloud of white hair, a thick arch of blue eye shadow, and a hair bow that matched her outfit, purse, and shoes, she was as vibrant in personality as she was in appearance.

While some children might find older people intimidating, LP was enchanted with Auntie Anne. And the feeling was mutual. A sensitive soul, LP has a magic way about of her; she knows how to give love and attention and somehow give everyone just what they need.

LP and Auntie Anne would spend dinners blowing kisses at each other across the table and trying to catch them out of the air, giggling when they would disappear or run out of "ammunition".

When Auntie Anne made a permanent move to Florida last year, LP would send her cards and drawings, like this note she sent Auntie Anne around her 97th birthday:

Too ont ean
I LOVE you
So mutsh
“Im” “srEE “thatukan
Cumtoo rathlos Br
Mitsvu FRum [LP]

Yesterday we said goodbye to Auntie Anne on a beautiful day with bright blue skies and warm sun. We celebrated a woman that had lived life to the fullest and was loved (and loved) by many. When the Hoos told LP that Auntie Anne had died, she asked him if she could "visit her stone." She wants to bring flowers and pull off the petals to decorate it. I can not imagine a more fitting tribute to this special friendship.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Home Movies

While visiting Mystic Seaport, LP and AK spontaneously composed and performed a fabulous ditty.

AK shares some of her "technique".

Jumping rope

Hula Hooping

Friday, September 21, 2012

I Was So Much Older Then, I'm Younger Than That Now.

Earlier this month I entered my late 30s! I love my birthday and I don't mind my age. But I feel like people that were in their "late 30s" twenty years ago were older than I am now. Or more sophisticated. Or something.

When my mom was 35 (a year YOUNGER than I am now), my older brother was bar mitzvahed. And she wore a long suede dress with shoulder pads (it was the 80s). While the style has changed, I don't even think I would know where to BUY this type of formal dress. And I certainly don't think I could pull off wearing one!

I wear jeans. A lot. And t-shirts. From Old Navy. Clearly, I am no fashion plate. And  once my niece asked me to save a hoodie for her "when I was done with it." I remember once, a long time ago, I would outgrow clothes and change out my wardrobe. But now I add to it and get rid of stuff that no longer fits (outgrowing in different directions, sigh...). But "done"? Not so much.

Maybe it is just me and I am an unsophisticated clod? But I don't think so. The picture in this post is from my senior year of high school. It is our class trip to Rocking Horse Ranch, so we aren't dressed up...but have you seen casual high school seniors these days?  Besides the advent of low rise jeans and the extinction of scrunchies, they all look like they are in their early 20s. Easily.

Is it just a function of aging that our parents and our kids both seem "older" than we were at their age? 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ahh, Innocence

When people ask me how old my kids are and I tell them six and four, a common response is, "What a great age!" I kind of figured people said this about any age with the exception of say the years between 11 and 20. But recently I have found myself agreeing with them AND I think I have even been able to put my finger on a few of the things that make it so:
  1. They can communicate. No more guessing about why they are crying or what they want. Of course, now we just have to figure out if they are fake crying or real crying. 
  2. Less stuff to lug around. No diaper bad, no strollers taking up trunk space on vacation. And, while I still have to pack lots of entertaining things - at least coloring books and the like are small.
  3. The snuggling. Sigh...the snuggling. I love snuggling with my babies. I know this won't last forever;  when LP tells me that I am "the snuggliest" and AK wraps her arms around my neck and showers me with kisses, I try to soak it all in (and not think about the 500 other things I need to be doing).
  4. Independent entertainment. LP and AK are finally at the point where I don't constantly worry about them being too quiet when they are alone in a room together. They can both be in the family room, making up their own projects or watching TV and there is only screaming about 10% of the time. Even better, they will wake up on a Sunday morning and just go downstairs together and leave us sleeping. Yesterday I went downstairs and found AK with a bowl of dry frosted mini-wheats and a cup of water, "Look mommy, I got my own cereal! Can you add milk to it?"
  5. The ability to listen. Not that they always do listen - selective hearing is, after all, a common trait of children, but LP and AK still ask permission for most things. They don't sneak candy (we still have a mostly full Halloween basket from last October!) and, while they don't always agree with our limits, they at least accept them. This may mean that they sometiems try to push the limits on what is a healthy snack (usually "something from the fridge" is healthy, "something from the pantry" is not; this mean cheez doodles - not healthy, even if they are cheesy. AK and LP don't really agree). 
  6. Life without guile. Building on number five, it amazes the Hoos and me that it doesn't occur to the girls to not ask permission. I will likely regret typing this. On a Friday night they may yell down, "Can we have a sleepover!?" when they should already be sleeping. If they just crawled into bed together? The Hoos and I would be none-the-wiser until we went to get ready for bed. 
  7. Bathroom stuff. Yay! Love not having to change diapers. They still yell out, "MOOOOOMMM! Will you wipe me!!" but it is better than the alternative. (And yes, we still deal with nightly pull-ups for AK.)
  8. They walk! While there is still the occasional request for "Uppy!" from AK, for the most part the girls walk everywhere. No strollers, no clinging. Sometimes I even get them to carry stuff! This is short-lived and I usually end up carrying the sweatshirt, the stuffed animal, the purse - but still, an improvement.
This is not to say that life with a six and four year old is perfect. They still have their moments of moodiness or crankiness. They can be difficult to communicate with and read and understand. But compared to where we were two years ago and certainly four years ago - I think we are just where we are supposed to be.

What do you think it the "perfect age"? 29? 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Two of Us

Friday marks 10 years of wedded bliss with the Hoos. While it doesn't come even close to my parents' 40 years or my grandparents' 65th, it is kind of a big deal.

I won't talk about how we met or where we met or why his blog name is "Hoos". I am betting that most of that is pretty boring to readers of this blog.

Actually, I am not really sure why you keep coming back and reading me, but it isn't likely because you like to hear me blather about my relationship with my husband. It probably also isn't because you like to see cute pictures of my kids. Most of the time it is because you want to know what Les Zombies Et Les Loup-Garous means. 

How about a brief overview of what "married with children" means to most couples (using me and the Hoos as my reference)?
  • Openly discussing my gray hair; but not my weight.
  • Sharing parenting duties in the way that best suits us.
  • Working together and more importantly sticking together as a team when facing off with our children.
  • Recognizing that neither of us is perfect, but one of us might have more patience than the other at any given point in time. 
  • Accepting that our children are made up of the good and bad of each of us and a stubborn streak or tendency to throw tantrums isn't solely due to the actions of one or the other of us in early childhood. 
  • Excusing a poor choice of words or action, because we know it was unintentional. 
  • Celebrating each others' successes. Being happy when our kids do something is one thing, but being proud of my spouse and having him be proud of me feels just as good if not better. If I can't do small things - like getting the kids out of bed, dressed and fed without him, than I certainly can't accomplish big things - like switching jobs or taking on more responsibility at work.
  • Trying to look forward to each day as an opportunity for a new adventure. 
What does "married with children" mean to you? What have you learned in your marriage that would be a good lesson to me, even 10 years in?

Monday, August 13, 2012


Yesterday morning I vaguely remember hearing the ladies chatting amongst themselves while I stayed snuggled in bed. Around 8:45, there was a distant, loud, persistent call, "MOOOOOMMMM CAN YOU OPEN MY YOGURT!" at which point the Hoos turned to me and said, "Are they downstairs?"

After opening the yogurt for AK, giving LP a waffle and taking a shower, I was back downstairs and being dragged outside. "We want to ride our bikes." Instead of watching TV on a Sunday morning? Whose children are these?
It has pain painfully obvious for approximately a year, that LP had outgrown her bike. Her knees were in her face. It was also apparent that the athletic AK was sort of over the tricycle.See above for proof.

After locating the coupon I had received from Discover for $20 off any $100+ purchase at Sports Authority, the answer was clear.

LP is now the proud owner of a new bike (for $95, we got LP a new helmet and an 18" bike, I think this is a pretty good deal). AK is also telling everyone that she got a new bike and now has two helmets (thank you G-d for a little girl who looks at hand-me-downs in this way!).

AK also spent the better part of an hour riding a little bicycle throughout the aisles of Sports Authority while the Hoos and LP selected her bike and helmet. I got to chase AK. The Hoos told me that this does not count as exercise. Jerk.

Now we just have to teach them how to ride. Well, they know how to ride, but they are both really dependent on the training wheels. While both bikes have training wheels, the new goal is to get them to learn how to balance and see the training wheels as a crutch and not a support mechanism for going around turns. Since I was about 11 when I learned how to ride a bike, this will be testing all of my parenting skills and bicycling knowledge.

In addition to spending Sunday on two wheels, we enjoyed part of Saturday on four legs - at the Easton Farm Tour. Easton is one town over from us and about 11 farms opened their gates to the public. Some of them - like Sherwood Farm - are always open to the public and have great farm stands; others - like Gilberties commercial operation and Buttonwood Farm - are usually private. Either way, we had a great time and delivered on the girls' wish for a pony ride. It was AK's first time and only LP's second. LP told me, "Anytime there is a chance for a pony ride - like a birthday party or something - always bring me. Even if we have other plans. Bring me."

Monday, August 6, 2012

An Interesting Turn of Events

Many of you out there may remember this image of LP. It was captured by my friend, DM, several years ago on a school trip to an animal farm. I am sure there are other similar photos of LP floating around out there due to her well-documented love/hate relationship with animals.

You can now add to that collection, these photos.

Friday morning I got an email from a colleague asking if we could dog sit their incredibly sweet yellow lab. After checking with the Hoos, we decided to give it a go.

Not only did we all survive the weekend, we had a great time and the girls did an AWESOME job. Especially LP, as evidenced by the photos above.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Raining in My Heart

This weekend was a much-anticipated family camping trip. It was AK's first camping trip and only LP's second. The last time LP went camping, she couldn't walk.

We went with both of the Hoos' brothers, one of whom has also never been camping. Fortunately, my other brother- and sister-in law are experienced campers and pack enough food, camping supplies and various, but needed, miscellany for all of us.

The three hour ride to Emerald Lake State Park was full of energy, excitement and talk of smores.  To say the girls were excited would be an understatement. While the Hoos and I were both happy to have the day off of work, we were a bit concerned about the doom and gloom talk of thunderstorms and rain clouds. After weeks on end with little if any rain, this weekend was supposed to make up for it.

We need not have worried about Friday night's weather. Or the sleeping. The girls were in heaven. They loved sleeping in the tent, snuggled all together. They both slept until almost 8 on Saturday morning - getting more shuteye than the rest of us combined! And the girls LOVED being able to run in between camp sites, burrowing into their sleeping bags and playing house with their cousins.

Alas, Saturday afternoon, the clouds rolled in.

Let me just say, packing up in a downpour is not fun. Unless you are under the age of seven and you are dry in the car playing on your parents' iPhones.

What is nice is everyone sleeping until 9, in their own bed the day after returning from an abbreviated camping trip.

Also, it is clear is that we need to plan another camping trip soon.Unplugging, snuggling, and eating smores needs to be done more often.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Everyone is Somebody's Baby

I often find myself  in absolute awe of LP and AK. Sometimes for good things - like LP speed-reading a book or AK swimming the length of the pool; and sometimes for bad things - like LP throwing a mind-blowing tantrum or AK spinning like a top while talking incessantly. 

A lot of times I am just plain amazed that the Hoos and I created these wonderful little people. To me, and probably to most parents, it is like I won the lottery. Totally lucking out with two kids that I think are the bee's knees.

Sometimes it will strike me that my parents looked at me the same way once. And then it totally dumbfounds me to think that maybe, just maybe, they still look at me that way?! Whoa, crazy, right? But since I can't imagine that the feeling of accomplishment I get when I look at LP and AK will ever fade, I guess this must be the case.

For the first time in a long time, I spent some time alone with my mom this past weekend. We went out to dinner. Beyond it being really nice to have a meal without a child in my lap or in my ear or even at the table, and beyond the fact that we ate lots and lots of really good sushi at Kotobuki in Hauppauge, it was nice to be able to share some time alone with my mom. We talk several times a week, but being able to make eye contact takes it to a whole new level. And reminds me that my mom loves me for being me, not for being the mother of (some of) her grandchildren. And I love her for being her too.

And, so that my dad doesn't feel left out, next week I am meeting him at Yankee Stadium to watch some baseball.  Again, without my children, or the Hoos. Just me, dad, the Yankees, and a big order of garlic fries from Gordon Biersch.


Monday, July 23, 2012

The Fear of Random

If I take my family to the beach, we put on sunscreen to avoid sunburn, we make sure a lifeguard is on duty, the Hoos and I suit up and go in the water with the girls to make sure that we are never more than a few steps away. Basically, we do everything we can to control the situation and make it safe.

We teach them to be diligent, to avoid strangers, to buckle up, to walk away from uncomfortable situations, to listen to their teachers and policemen and firemen in case of an emergency. But there are some things we can't and don't teach them. There is a difference between being vigilant and living in fear. While they aren't quite ready to go to the movies or the mall by themselves, that time will come. (Too soon, I am sure.) And while I can prepare them for the experience, I can't control it.

Unfortunately, what the movie theater shooting in Colorado reminds us is that not every situation can be controlled. No matter how hard I try, there are some things that you can't predict; there are some (actually many, many) times when I can not guarantee the girls' safety. Because I can't be there all the time. And even if I am there all the time, I can't always keep them safe.

Is this scary? Absolutely.

Is this reality? Absolutely.

Is there anything I can do about it? Not really.

What I can do is tell them that I love them every day before I leave the house. And I do.

What if anything are you changing about your behavior or your parenting in response to tragedies like the Aurora shooting? 

Friday, July 20, 2012

I See Your Three Things and Once and Raise You One.

There has been a lot of really interesting discussion lately about the life of a working mom. Well, I am a working mom, and it totally pisses me off that somehow being a mom casts a negative shadow on my ability to accomplish my goals at my job.

It sucks that Marissa had to announce to Yahoo shareholders (and the world) that she was pregnant on the day she achieved what must be the pinnacle of her career. In my angry heart I shout, "IT SHOULDN'T MATTER!" and in my pragmatic head I squeak, "But it does." Not to me, but to all of those people out there that think that new moms are too tired, too distracted, too unfocused to do two things at once.

BULLSHIT is what I say to that.

I have actively participate in conference calls, while nursing AND making dinner.

I can carry on a conversation with my husband, driving to a vacation that I planned, while placating my children with bags of snacks, games, and projects that I packed, and responding to a work related email.

I am not alone in my ability to multi-task. My working mom friends and I can have a fabulous game of one-up-manship to see who has done the most things at once.

It seems that being a working mom has made me hyper-efficient.

It may take me longer to accomplish a single task, but only because I stop to finish four other tasks on my way. (e.g., if i am going upstairs to move the wash to the dryer, I stop and pick up the errant stuffed animal that belongs in AK's bedroom; when I get to AK's bedroom, I stop and pick up some dirty laundry that she left on the floor; when I open the dryer to put the wash in it, I notice the dryer is full; I empty the dryer;FINALLY I put the laundry in the dryer.)

The problem, it seems, is that many (note, I do not say all) men DO NOT have the ability to multi-task. They can only handle one challenge at a time. Okay, maybe they can read and eat breakfast. But most likely only because their wife is feeding the kids, packing their lunches and eating a yogurt in the other room.


Being able to juggle multiple tasks is an invaluable skill. A skill requested in just about every job posting I have ever seen. Why is juggling a full home life and a full time job as effectively as possible (admittedly, nobody's perfect)  not acknowledged as the precious asset that it is?

Monday, July 16, 2012

I Need a Vacation from My Vacation

After a month-long hiatus from this blog, here I am! I am freshly returned to CT from our 2012 family vacation to the Cape and ready to rock. Or take a nap. Or get a pedicure. Or get my hair colored. Or just sit on the couch and read a book without one of my children (most likely AK) laying on top of me.

Family vacations are awesome for a lot of reasons; my top 3 are:
  1. All that time alone with your family.
  2. You aren't working.
  3. You may not have to cook at all (like me).
Family vacations are tiring for a lot of reasons; my top 3 are:
  1. All that time alone with your family (I love them, I really do, but 24x7 is a lot of time for a family of four to be together in one room or one car).
  2. You are constantly working at trying to figure out what to do next. Fortunately, pools, beaches and meal planning fill a lot of gaps.
  3. You eat lots of crap and fried stuff.
We had a great time and did a bunch of things we enjoyed from previous trips - like visiting the Heritage Museums and Gardens and kissing the whale at the Optimist Cafe, and walking on the boardwalk at Gray's Beach. We did a bunch of new stuff too - like collecting moon snails and crabs in the tidal flats of Chapin Memorial Beach and mini-golfing.

Now I am back and working on getting motivated. At work, at home, in general...and I decided to procrastinate start with this blog.

Why haven't I been blogging lately? Blame Facebook. It makes it so easy to upload pictures, share a silly story...This blog takes WORK, man. I need a topic, I need time, I need spell check! I have also recently taken up with Twitter. I mostly use it for work, but since I am a working mom, work and life sometimes overlap. And my kids sometimes say funny - or smart - things that actually relate to my work.

So I ask you blog-o-sphere, or regular or random readers - are blogs passe? Should I even bother? Or have you already seen all of my photos on Facebook?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Solstice!

This is the first year since the Hoos graduated law school that "summer" has really had any meaning. I mean, I love summer, and we always tried to take a summer vacation, but once you have a kid in school, "Summer" has a whole new meaning.

Previously the girls were in day care, so there was no difference between the "last day of school" and the "next day of school." This year, there really is a "last day of school" and it is tomorrow. And then on Monday LP starts at camp.

Even AK starts at "camp" for the summer. It is at the same day care facility, but they also have a camp program, so they include the day care kids in the more camp-like activities. She gets to swim everyday, and have water play and have a whole lot more outdoor time.

Unfortunately, other than the change in my pick up routine (yay! I get to leave work consistently at 4pm to pick LP up from the camp bus), there is no difference for me. Although I will - shockingly! - be the mom of a first grader instead of a kindergartner! And September will be the start of my LAST YEAR OF DAY CARE expenses. That is pretty exciting.

Hopefully tomorrow I will remember to take a "last day of kindergarten" picture. Those seem to be all the rage. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Two Way Street

As I type, LP is calling, "I want momma! I want momma!"

What she doesn't seem to understand is just because she wants something? Doesn't mean I want the same thing.

And, actually, whining has an exponentially negative impact on how much I want it.

I love my kids more than anything, I really do. And if you ask the right people, I have an enormous amount of patience for them. However, there are definitely times where I come so very close to yelling out the words in my head.

Can you guess what they might be?

Friday, June 8, 2012

That's a Long Time!

Next week my parents will be married 40 years! Forty years is a long time.

Think of all you can accomplish:
  • Raise two relatively normal, financially independent children
  • Put two kids through college
  • Celebrate hundreds of bat mitzvahs, weddings, and birthday parties
  • Spoil four gorgeous granddaughters
  • Complete an undergraduate degree
  • Receive a master's degree
  • Have two long and highly successful (and positively influential) careers as teachers
  • Retire after more than two (and in one case three) decades in a classroom
  • Zipline through the jungles of Costa Rica
  • Relax on the beaches of Mexico
  • Ride camels in the desert of the Middle East
  • Sail the oceans (in style)
  • Remodel a kitchen (several times)
  • Eat a small aquarium worth of sushi (on second thought, maybe medium-sized aquarium worth)
  • Set a wonderful example (of a marriage, a life, a home, and so much more)
And this is just a small fraction of all of the great things my parents have done after more than four decades together. As the Hoos and I inch closer to our 10th wedding anniversary, I wonder what our future holds and hope that in thirty years LP or AK will share their positive reflections on my parents' 70th wedding anniversary (it is possible - my grandparents are celebrating 65 years of marriage later this year!) and OUR 40th.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! Love you.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How I Met Your Mother

Lately, AK has been asking a lot of questions about how the Hoos and I became "mommy and daddy." Not in the biblical sense, but in the "fairytale romance" sense.

This morning she said, "I know how grandma and grandpa metted" Although, to both the Hoos and I it sounded like "mated"). And she went on to explain that grandpa was a teacher and grandma was in his class. As a student teacher. Although she left the part in bold and italics out.

Since she has a tendency to leave out important details - see above - I decided to document the whole "how we met" thing in case she shares any misinformation. This is long and tedious and likely not interesting for most of you - so feel free to skip to the bottom and watch a YouTube Video of LP instead.

The first time I remember seeing the Hoos was in Buck McMullen's English Lit class at GW my freshman year. He was the boy with the fish hook on his hat that sometimes got held up at the professor's desk after class. To him I was the girl with the blue hair who called out things like, "Buck, this book sucked!" Not surprisingly, we did not get together at that point.

At the beginning of sophomore year - maybe a day after we had all arrived back on campus - they showed a movie on the Quad (maybe The Hunt for Red October?) and a mutual friend came by with the Hoos to catch up.

It was at this point I started seeing a lot of the Hoos around campus. Turns out, we had the same major - environmental studies - and were in a bunch of the same classes. I lived in Crawford Hall (what a yucky dorm), which was next to J Street - the Student Union - and the Hoos passed by with some friends while I was sitting outside and asked if I wanted a Rainbow Chips Deluxe AND if I wanted to study for a statistics exam that was coming up in Professor Lilifors class.

We went on our first date shortly thereafter.

And almost 17 years later, our most recent date was to watch LP's class show off. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

On Four

Four years ago today, our family met its match. Its perfect match - AK.

She fit into our home like a hand in a glove, a pea in our pod, the cheese in our macaroni.

Even if she is a second child, she comes in second to no one. She is her own person. An individual truly like no other. 

A dizzying bundle of energy, she is also world class snuggler.

She often thinks she is six, but still fits into her 3Ts (and insists on wearing her favorite 2T items as well).

A complete contrast to her big sister, they are still the best of friends (until they aren't).

She loves pink and insists on blingy accessories, but has black and blue knees from her rough and tumble activities. 

She is so, so smart. Her mind is a steel trap for songs, memories, numbers and words.

She constantly challenges us - and herself. Why walk on the sidewalk when you can balance precariously on the curb? Why have mommy hold me when I hang from the monkey bars if I can just hang here until I want to fall?

The universe's response to my mother's request that I 'have a daughter just like me,' she has her daddy's green eyes with an impish twinkle.

If these first four years are any indication, the world had better watch out for this one. She brings her own brand of sunshine. And we wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

2012 - 2006 = SIX

Remember LP? Remember when she was a pale, chubby-cheeked, fleshy thighed, white-blond baby?

I do.

And sometimes, when I look at her, I still see that little baby that changed our world.

I remember when the Hoos and I packed for the hospital a few days before my May 25th due date. I remember how he packed a red shirt because he had read that bright colors attract a baby's attention. I remember him sleeping on the couch/bed in my room in Stamford Hospital with her tucked under his arm.

I remember thinking, "What will this wonderful, perfect baby grow into?"

I still don't know what she will ultimately grow up to be (although I have high hopes that she will at least grow to be taller than her mama), I know that she has started to develop all of the base skills and attributes of a truly spectacular person.

She is so genuine and full of love and sensitive to the needs of others - there is something about my LP that makes people love her.

She is, at times, way more mature than I expect a six year old to be. She listens, observes, remembers. At times she also acts like a two year old, but that is less surprising.

She plays by the rules - often insisting that others do the same.

She is a phenomenal big sister. She has loved AK from the moment she arrived and the feeling is mutual. When they play nicely together, there is nothing like it.

Yesterday, they held hands and raced across the lawn to our play set, clutching the tic tac toe board LP had made in a crafts class. When they were done, they decided to avoid the pine needles at the bottom of the slide and climb back down the ladder. AK went first, then stopped on the bottom rung, reaching up. LP handed her the board so her hands could be free for the climb down. It sounds silly written here, but it was a perfect mom moment.

Happy 6th Birthday, LP. You are more than we ever could have hoped for.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I Miss My Babies!

Where has the time gone? It is May 2012. Later this month LP will be SIX! And the first of next month AK with be FOUR! Now is the time to ask - are you for serious?! Because, I agree, this is mind-boggling.

In the past month, the Hoos and I have watched as reading has totally clicked for LP. She went from slowly sounding out words to READING books. We take weekly trips to the library to restock on more easy reader books. The Pebble Dogs series is her current favorite. Easy to read, about a topic she loves, with the occasional "hard" word to keep her challenged.  Yesterday she read the fortune out of a fortune cookie! And asked, "Mom? Why don't some people like reading? I love reading!"

Oh, and she has a wiggly tooth. I remember when she didn't even HAVE teeth!

For her part, AK continues to think that she is also going on 6. Her day care teachers insist she is ready for the Olympics with her amazing swimming (it really is insane to see her swim without a bubble or any support, calm as anything, just gliding through the water). Her writing is also improving - I spell words for her and she creates stories. Sure the words are all jumbled, but she knows what every letter looks like and can recreate it.

We are busy planning a joint* birthday party. And our first at the house. I think we will end up with about 25 kids! Between family and friends and parents that stay to hang out, it is like we are having a bat mitzvah in terms of the number of people. Please start praying now for good weather. If we have to have everyone inside, I am thinking of renting a movie and squishing the kids in to watch when they aren't eating or doing crafts.

If it is outside we are hopefully going to have a bounce house, crafts and some outdoor games (hula hoops, jump ropes, bubbles, Twister, pin the tail on the donkey).

Please share any brilliant ideas you have to keep 25+ kids entertained for 2 hours! Indoor or out!

Also, any ideas on how to slow time would be appreciated.

*Okay, it is isn't exactly joint. We will mostly have LP's friends. There will be "joint" friends there (and bringing presents) for AK, but not her class. I plan on having an in-classroom party for her. I am feeling very guilty about this and hope she doesn't feel overlooked.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fresh Air

For the past week I  have been getting up early to go for a walk around the neighborhood. I have not been feeling too great about my physical fitness, so I figured this was a good way to at least make sure I got some exercise. It makes sense to me that taking a 1.75 mile walk is better than laying in bed for an extra half hour.

This morning, I had the pleasure of company! As I crept down the hallway to change into my walking clothes I heard, "Who's there?" A bright-eyed and bushy-tailed LP smiled and said, "I want to come with you," and she quickly got dressed and grabbed her sneakers.

As we walked she chirped along happily - all be it a bit loudly for 6 am. Occasionally she would come up next to me and wrap my arm around her shoulder so we would bump sides as we walked.

While this was not my longest morning walk, it was my best one.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I posted a version of this to a blog I wrote on occasionally.

And then I deleted it.

I guess my direct tone doesn't fly everywhere.

We all know it is not politically correct to refer to any colleagues as "old." Instead you should say "experienced" or "seasoned." So, if after almost 6 years of motherhood, I am a "seasoned veteran," my level of seasoning would be "crusty."

Why crusty? Because I am smug. I am over-confident. I roll my eyes at new moms and moms-to-be.

I am sorry.

I, too, was once a new mom:
So, I promise to try to minimize the eye-rolling and head-shaking - if you all promise to remember that it does get easier, no one is perfect, and you are doing an awesome job. Oh, and that your kids will love you no matter what.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Parent Teacher Conference

This morning I had LP's parent-teacher conference. I am so proud of her. She is doing so well with her reading and writing. She is really leaps and bounds ahead of where she was even a few months ago (e.g., she uses vowels in words when she writes now).

It is hard for me to believe that in two months LP will be done with kindergarten. It honestly seems like the Hoos and I were visiting day care centers for our "Bump" only last week. And it was yesterday when I attended kindergarten orientation with her, right?

The good news is that as much as things change, a lot stays the same too. For instance, the teacher told me that LP is a very rules oriented kid. Some days she will tattle share information with the teacher more than a half dozen times before morning snack.

This is classic LP.

At day care if her job was "book collector" she would literally rip the books out of other kids' hands when the teacher said it was time to clean up.

Oddly enough, at home she is often less likely to rat her sister out. Sometimes she does just the opposite. If AK does something wrong - often at the detriment of LP - and gets admonished, LP explains away her transgression, "It's okay, AK. You can have it," she soothes, shooting me a look.

Ah, sisters. Ganging up on dear old mom already. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Evolving Kids' Table

Hard to believe it is already April. APRIL!

Once again, my mom and dad and grandmother pulled off a fabulous, food- and family-filled Passover Seder. This year there were only 35 attendees. My mother-in-law hosted us for the second Seder (also wonderful) and there were 21 guests. Pulling off a sit-down dinner like this is a true feat. I am happy to say that it is also one that I have not yet had to attempt.

Like most family events - no matter what your background - both Seders had a "kids' table."

When I was a kid there was a "kids' table" with me and my brother and my seven cousins once we were old enough to be left to our own devices.

Unfortunately for several of my cousins, they are still sitting at the "kids' table". Only now it is called the "young, single" table. Two of my nieces (11 and 13) brought down the average age to 22.

That isn't to say that there weren't a lot of little kids at my parent's house. There were actually 7 kids under the age of 6; and, as much as LP likes to lead the charge and act like the other hen, no one thought she was up to the task of watching her second cousins. 

On the second night, we had a true kids table that included LP and AK. The average age was 9.

I have to say, it is still kind of odd to me that I don't fit it at any kids' table - no matter what the composition! 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Children are the Mother of Invention

Today I got to spend an hour at Wilton High School as part of their "Real World" panel, where adults from the community talked about their jobs and their career paths. While I may be the height of a teenager, it is true (although very odd) for me to say that I have almost 15 years of experience in my field.

I was on the Environment, Architecture, IT and Entrepreneurship panel - how is that for a random assortment? The man sitting next to me, Dave, the "entrepreneur" part of the panel, is an inventor. And, as luck would have it, the DoodleMark, is his tres cool product. Part bookmark, part Magna Doodle, he created it to fill a need he saw when reading with his daughter.  As soon as he started talking about it, it all clicked.

I thought about how lately LP has been a reading machine. For an almost-6-year-old reading can be exhausting work. Which means she stops often. And she is always searching for a bookmark.

She is also learning to write, so she liked to carry around a separate notebook to write down a hint to remind her of where she left off:
If you can read the right page it says, "I left off at the letter I". She was very proud of how small her writing was on the left page, but it makes it hard to read, - this one I will write verbatim, "I LEFt of At tHE LEDr you AND PAJ NUMBr 27."

Can you see how this handy-dandy device can save 1. a lot of paper and 2. a lot of headaches? So, while I may not have imparted that much wisdom to the 125 students that showed up (my key point was, "focus on your strengths" - can you hear their eyes glazing over?), I got to meet a really smart and interesting guy - and potentially avoid future meltdowns.

As I left the choral room where our panel was held, three kids had pinned Dave down, asking for advice on how to make ideas into a reality.  Man, do I wish I had a good idea!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Another Day, Another Party

This weekend we celebrated my eldest nephew's bar mitzvah. Our entire family was looking forward to this for a long time - especially LP and AK.
  1. They love to dress up - and we had a great time picking out their dresses a few weekends ago (H&M has an adorable, wallet-friendly kids line)
  2. They love spending time with their cousins - big and small.
  3. The love hanging with the big kids - and a DJ dance party is the best way to do it (but of course)
  4. They love free stuff - especially when it involves light sticks, sunglasses, fancy hats and pretty much anything shiny.
In addition to the fabulous party, my nephew did an awesome job reading from the Torah - as did his uncles (including the Hoos) and cousins.

The weekend also gave LP the opportunity to explain to her baby sister what a disco ball is.

They also demonstrated for us the difference between synagogue dress up wear (see top picture with aforementioned adorable H&M dresses) and party dress up wear. Note in the second picture we are on our way to the party portion and they each added headgear, bike shorts (LP explained this was in case their dresses "flied up") and socks pulled up to their knees.I am not exactly sure where they learned that some vents require head wear - perhaps from watching the Royal wedding?

It was a late night on Saturday and a long weekend overall. When we got home Saturday night at a quarter to 11, both ladies had fallen asleep in the car. Of course, they both woke up, but just to tell us which pajamas they wanted to wear. Apparently divas never sleep in anything less than their finery. 

Sunday morning AK was not content to let the party mystique disappear and she layered on all of her party wear - including home made arm warmers (fashioned from LP's tattered stockings from the day before), cowboy hat, paw gloves, and various necklaces. 
Obviously the next family party can't come soon enough. The good news is that we don't have to wait too long - the Passover Seders start Friday night and a family bat mitzvah is already on tap for May. I am going to start sleeping extra now.

    Friday, March 30, 2012

    Wile E. Coyote

    Ooh, ooh, ooh! Today my big girl is putting on her dancing shoes! You know Wile E. Coyote? The clever critter that attempts to outsmart the Road Runner? That is LP.

    I am working from home. The girls are at school. Doing work from my kitchen, drinking tea from my own mug, enjoying the quiet and being quite productive.

    The phone rings.

    "Hi, this is the school nurse. There is no emergency." LOVE when they start off this way. This is someone that is clearly experienced in school nursing and parents. "Just want to let you know that LP has been to see my three times today. She says her head hurts. She doesn't say headache, and she doesn't have a fever, and she is eating fine, and playing outside fine and doing her work fine."

    "Thanks for calling. What would you recommend I do?" In writing this sounds insincere, but I was 100% sincere. Really.

    "You don't have to pick her up and I wouldn't even recommend it, I just wanted to see if you thought there was something else?"

    "Well, she has been congested. I wonder if she has sinus pressure? I am working from home today...{I hear the bells going off over the nurses head at this point}, so I guess she could take the bus instead of going to the after school program."

    "Now it makes perfect sense. I tend to see kids a lot when their parents is working from home. They don't tell me the parent is working from home until the second or third visit, but it is common! I bet she will have a big smile on her face when she finds out."

    Oh, little girl, you may think you outsmarted me...but Road Runner has been at this game a lot longer than you!