Wednesday, April 29, 2009

this little piggy went to market

As Alan well knows by now, I've given in to SWINE FLU fever. No, I don't have SWINE FLU fever, but I'm totally, completely, 100% freaked out about it. Those of you who know me well know I am a bit of a hypochrondriac. I do everything I can to keep it under control (for example, I have banned myself from WebMD). And, to give myself some credit, I laughed when I first heard of SWINE FLU (really, doesn't it seem like we should all caps that bitch?). Because seriously, what a silly sounding disease! And I pretty much ignored it through the weekend. Until it started creeping across the US. Until there were some suspected cases here in CT. Until I found out a 23-month-old died from it. And then I lost it. Because, you know Jane goes to daycare. She's a magnet for all infectious diseases, major and otherwise.

I emailed Alan first thing this morning to talk me off the ledge. He's a scientist, you see, and I trusted him. And he did a fairly good job. And then I came home and against Alan's orders I went online. And saw that we are about one sneeze away from full pandemic status.

SO. I've decided, instead of crying about SWINE FLU here (and seriously, guys, today I literally cried about SWINE FLU - a couple of times) (aren't you glad I trust you all enough to really let my freak flag fly?) I would share a very cute story that happened this morning.

I was leaving for daycare and work with Jane this morning, and when we were walking out, I told her to say "bye bye" to the dogs. So, as usual, she bid them a very hearty farewell - and then PROCEEDED TO GIVE BOTH OF THEM A KISS. I mean, SERIOUSLY. Cuteness defined. Of course Junior apparently likes to play hard to get, because he kept turning his head away. But I made sure to hold him in place so she could give him a smooch.

I loved it because I didn't tell her to give them kisses. I've never told her to do that. She just decided to do it on her own. Which is why, despite the tantrums, the boundary-testing, and the everlasting drama, I will take toddler-dom over newborn-dom any day of the week.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

weekend. recap.

I am sitting outside right now. OUTSIDE at 7:30 p.m. SEVEN THIRTY PEE EMM. I am wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I am not cold. It is not raining, or snowing, and it doesn't seem like it's going to do either for a long time. I will probably sit out here for another half hour before it's dark out.

It is amazing what a difference the weather makes. This goes double with a toddler. Just having the option to go outside and look for rocks in the driveway, or blow bubbles, or run circles around a (parked) car - oh, it is glorious. All without jackets and sweaters and layers. Jane and I rocked our shorts and t-shirts all weekend. Do you have any idea how much easier it is to stuff a kid in a carseat minus the winter coat?

Our weekend was pretty good. Yesterday we bummed around West Hartford Center, got some new shoes for Jane, and had an impromptu cookout last night. Today Greg was doing boat stuff and Jane and I went to a baptism, and then she took a 2.5 hour nap.

Glorious, I tell you.

So, as you can see - the itinerary wasn't any more exciting than any other weekend. But with the temps in the 80s, I would say it was the best weekend so far this year.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Lisa recently asked me to chat about what I’ve been reading. So I thought I’d let all y’all know about a very quick, entertaining and insightful book I just plowed through last week – it’s called Rattled!, and it was written by Christine Coppa who writes the Storked! blog over at (I have a link to it over on there side there too).

I started reading Storked! at some point after Jane was born, so completely obsessed with parenting blogs was I. Chrissy’s son, JD, was born about a month after Jane, but her experience of having a child was much different from mine – while I was married and actively trying to become pregnant, Chrissy – who was living the young and fabulous life all Sex and the City-style in NYC (jealous!), found herself “storked” just a few months into a relationship. Her boyfriend (she calls him “A” in the book, and as far as I’m concerned, A = “Ass”) had ditched out of the scene completely by the time JD was born in August 2007, so Chrissy found herself in a position she never expected or planned for - a 26-year-old single mom living back home in New Jersey.

This was all information I knew from reading her blog, but the book goes into so much more detail. And while it’s a quick read and earned a lot of head-nodding from me (some pregnancy/parenthood experiences are oh-so-universal), it truly made me think about some things.

In her blog and in her book, Chrissy talks about being judged as a single parent - and, well, here’s the thing. I never judged single parents in a negative way, but I certainly never gave them the credit they deserved until I had my own child. I will hang my head in shame when I say I may have had a “what’s the big deal?” mindset when I was younger.

Oh, how I know what the big deal is now. When Greg is away and I’m on my own, or when Jane and I are sick at the same time, or when I want to – God forbid – do something for myself, I will often say, out loud, “I don’t know how single parents do it.” I still don’t. They don’t deserve negative judgment – rather, they deserve gold medals for doing the hardest job in the world solo. And when someone like Chrissy is a single parent unexpectedly – and does it with grace and humor to boot, while maintaining a writing career – they deserve a gold medal sprinkled with diamonds. With a cherry on top.

Something else I loved about the book was the relationship that Chrissy had with her grandmother, who passed away about a year ago. They were so very close and it made me wish I had known my grandmothers - and how much I hope that Jane has a strong bond with hers as she gets older (now she pretty much associates my mom with ice cream. Which is pretty awesome, obviously). It seems like such a special relationship to have, and one I’ll never experience.

I loved this book – I think partially because I’ve been reading Storked! for so long I feel like I “know” Chrissy, and it was so exciting to see her book come to fruition - but I know anyone who has been on a particular path, and been diverted so much that you start asking yourself “how the hell did I end up HERE?” – will love it too.

Monday, April 20, 2009

the smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the crowd

Here is the general stream of consciousness of a theater person when they are doing a show. “Why am I doing this? This is taking up way too much time. I have a job/school/life. I never see my friends/family/dog/child anymore. I haven’t eaten a decent meal in weeks. I’m not sleeping. This show is eating me alive. This director/actor/crew member is nuts/ psycho/insane. This show is gonna suck/rule. I hate this. I’m never doing a show again. That was so much fun. I can’t wait for the next one!”

Or something like that.

And with that I say – here we go again. If you are a reader of this blog from the beginning, you know that I used to do at least four or five local theater productions a year – whether as a performer, director, producer, crew member, whatever – I did it all, and all after working my regular full-time job at a performing arts center. After I had Jane, it was too hard to commit to three nights a week of rehearsal, and I’ve only done one show since she’s been born (although she did appear in-utero in Love Letters, starring myself and Alan).

Lately, have been dying to do a show again. It's always nice to take a break, especially when you're bouncing from one show to the next with no time in between, but after a few months, that little nagging "Igottadoashow" bug starts eating at your brain again. For me, it has to be totally worth it to cash in a couple of months of several nights a week out of the house. And here it is - this summer, I will be directing the musical Children of Eden for the summer group I have worked with for the past several years. I get to work with my core posse of theater peeps that I've been doing shows with for almost 20 years, which is awesome. The show goes up in July; auditions are next month.

So bring on the tears! Bring on the drama! Bring on the mom-guilt for not being around (albeit when she’s sleeping) three nights a week! I’m super-duper psyched.

Friday, April 17, 2009

weekend. update.

It's Friday, all y'all! And I am here to announce some things that are making me happy:

*It's, like, 70 degrees out or something. Suck on that, winter!

*We have friends coming up from New Jersey this weekend who we haven't seen in a long time.

*And my mom is coming to babysit tonight. Which means I get to go out.

*With other adult-like people.

*And have a cocktail.

*Or two.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

if you're happy and you know it clap your hands

So, dear internets, I'm in a funk. So much sad stuff has been happening simultaneously on several blogs that I read, and my heart has been cracking into a million pieces for people all over the country. In addition, I'm in a funk for other, more personal reasons (nothing major, no worries). So, in conclusion, I've been crying a lot (sorry, Shane).

Anywho, because of this, I want to know what's making YOU happy. What's putting a smile on your face? Please tell me all about it. Especially if you think it will put a smile on MY face. Because really, isn't it all about me?

Monday, April 13, 2009

bonus Easter pic

Jane wasn't so much about sitting and posing pretty for pictures this Easter. She was WAY TOO BUSY playing with her cousins and generally being the life of the party. But I wanted to post a pic that showed her whole super-cute outfit. I rely on her to represent the cuteness in this family, because Greg and I sure aren't bringin' it.
She had way more fun than this picture would lead to believe, by the way. She just doesn't smile for pictures anymore! It drives me nuts!

what a difference a year makes

Easter 2008 and Easter 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009


When I got pregnant, I became hooked on parenting blogs (I loathe to use the words "mommy blogs" or daddy blogs") like nobody's business. You just feel better knowing that whatever chaos you're enduring, someone else, and, mostly likely, many, many other people, have gone through it too. You get advice, you get comfort, and you get laughs. Oh man, do you get laughs.

But you can also hear some of the most heartbreaking news. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the sadness I felt at baby Emily Mandell's passing from cancer; this week, I read the unexpected and tragic news of young Maddie Spohr's passing. Maddie's mom, Heather, wrote about her daughter Maddie over at The Spohrs are Multiplying - and the story of Maddie is heroic. She was born 11 weeks early, and survived to become the most beautiful little girl, with the most stunning eyes you'll ever see. She was just three months younger than Jane.

As a parent, when you read stories like this, you just want to shut your eyes and tune it out. You don't want your mind to go to that most unbearable place. It hurts too much. But it is one of life's most painful realities. I have had two close friends go through the loss of a child - and the pain is truly unimaginable.

Heather has asked everyone who is attending Maddie's services on Tuesday in Los Angeles to wear purple (the color of the March of Dimes). If you think of it, throw on a splash of purple on Tuesday. If if you can, send a few dollars to the March of Dimes in honor of Maddie Spohr. It's a worthy cause. Most importantly, hug your loved ones a little tighter.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

why I owe Whole Foods $37

Today was a busy day of chores, getting ready to host Easter (yet again) tomorrow. Have I mentioned how I really don't like hosting Easter? Bah humbug. Anyway, we had to stop at Whole Foods for a couple of things, and we wreaked havoc on that joint like nobody's business. First, when I was pawing through the pies, I managed to flip a lemon cream pie, rendering it useless (unless someone really is in the mood for a mushy-topped pie). Then, as we were in line, Jane popped the flower off the lily plant I got my mom for Easter, so I ran back to the display and switched it out. Then, when I came back, I saw that Greg had dropped our fruit salad all over the floor, so I had to grab another one. So:

Lemon creme pie: $10
Lily: $10
Fruit salad: $17
Being humiliated beyond all reason before 9 a.m.: priceless

Guess we should stick with Stop & Shop. We clearly can't handle the fancy-pantsiness of Whole Foods.

Friday, April 10, 2009

you asked!

So, I am excited to answer the couple of questions from the last post! Because, as you know, I love to ramble on about my life.

Laurie over at Days with Dylan asked why it was I thought Jane might have Down syndrome when I was pregnant with her. Laurie, the reason I thought that was because when I had my triple screen (which is a blood test where they screen your baby's risk for chromosomal issues, for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about) it came with with a 1/77 chance that the baby had Down syndrome. That blood test is notoriously wrong, with a lot of false "positives" (this is really the wrong terminology, since it's not really giving you a "positive" result, it's only giving you a risk factor), but still, that was a high risk for someone my age (at 33, which is how old I was way back two years ago, the risk factor is, on average, 1/4oo or something like that). So they scheduled a level 2 ultrasound, which is a more detailed ultrasound than you would typically get, so they could get a better look at the baby's major organs. The ultrasound was scheduled for three weeks after I got the results of the blood test, so during that time (one of the most stressful periods of my life), I did a TON of research on what Down syndrome actually was (I knew, but didn't really KNOW, what it was), what the life of someone with Ds was like in this day and age, what kind of early intervention was recommended and available, etc, etc, etc. See, everyone told me "It will be OK, she will be fine" but here's the thing: I wanted to be prepared. I wanted to know what our lives would be like, and more importantly, what her life would be like if she did have Down syndrome. When I had the ultrasound, everything looked great, but the genetic counselor really recommended that I get an amnio and another ultrasound at 24 weeks to get a better look at her heart. But at that point, I was exhausted. We were going ahead with the pregnancy no matter what, and I was sick of tests. As it turned out, she didn't have Down syndrome, but it was during that last half of my pregnancy that I got hooked on some wonderfully-written blogs by moms who have children with Down syndrome, which at some point led me to yours, Laurie!

Lisa wants to know what I'm reading these days. It's true, Lisa, I plow through books like nobody's business. It's the result of having been an English major in college - you just learn how to read really, really fast. I just finished the book The Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer. It's about a group of stay-at-home mothers in New York City who are feeling itchy (for lack of a better word) about where their lives are going. It goes into the politics and drama between stay-at-home moms and working moms (all a very real, and very silly, phenomenon) and the friendships that develop between women who are threaded together by mere fact that they have children the same age. It was really good, although kind of depressing in its honesty.

I am now reading The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs, a book I've been avoiding in the bookstore for a couple of years now. It scared me off with the whole idea of a plot centered around knitting (you know how non-crafty I am) but it finally lured me in, and I'm glad it did. It has very little to do with knitting and more to do about a multi-generational group of friends who gather on Friday nights at a knit shop in New York City. Their lives are diverse and very different from each other's, but their lives link up at their weekly knitting social hour type thingy. (I think it's very good that I don't write the copy for book jackets.) Anyway, I like it so far, but rumor has it there is a very sad part, and I AM NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT.

Have a great weekend! Hope the Easter Bunny visits your house (he better visit mine as I'm counting down the hours of Lent - I need chocolate, stat.)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Happy Blogiversary to me
Happy Blogiversary to me
Happy THIRD Blogiversary to meeeeee
Happy Blogiversary to me!

So, over the past three years, I have unloaded the most mundane, ridiculous, exciting, boring, sad, happy, monumental moments of my life on to the internets. My blogiversary was actually on April 4 - on that day, in 'ought-six, I was lamenting the humliation of taking the now infamous Jimmy to dog training class. I also wrote this: "Can't wait to see what I'll be like with kids."

To Amanda of 2006 I say - girl, you have no idea.

In honor of this landmark, please let me know in comments if there is any iota of my life that you are just dying to know, and I'll be sure to touch on it in the future.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

my weekend, because I know you're interested

I have a ton of chores to do this weekend. My mom's birthday is Monday (with a little family party tomorrow) and Greg's birthday is Tuesday (I think it's cosmically unfair that two of the top three people in my life have birthdays right next to each other - not good for my wallet!) and I've only bought a couple of little presents for each of them so far - have to go out and finish up my present shopping this morning. I also have to take a much-needed trip to Target (this one will definitely be at least $150 - I can tell already - I need diapers, so there is $40 right off the bat - well, I don't need diapers, but you know what I mean). Then I have to go grocery shopping to get the goods for what I'm bringing to tomorrow's party (green salad and macaroni salad) plus food for, you know, us. So that's today. Plus Greg is doing a major project on our back deck and is going to be completely preoccupied with it until it's done. Why, right now he's drilling in screws and it's 6:40 a.m.! Oh, how our neighbors love us! Except the opposite of love.

It's so nice that it's starting to get light at 6 a.m. I get up at 5, and it's nice to start seeing daylight fairly soon after I get up. Makes me feel so much more human if I'm not stumbling around in the dark all the time. (I mean that literally. I am always stumbling around in the dark figuratively, of course.)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

the R-word

So, if you spend any time with me, you know how much I hate the word "retard" or "retarded." I really don't like calling people out on stuff (unless I know you really really well) but this is something that pops out of my mouth if I hear someone using those words - I'll just say something like "please don't use that word" or "I hate that word." And I do. I always have. It feels lazy, and insulting, and really, if you want to insult someone, can't you come up with a more creative way than using hate language? My feelings on this doubled, of course, when I found out that Jane might have Down syndrome. And, as you know, I read several awesome blogs by moms who have children with Down syndrome. This entry by Lisa at Finnian's Journey about the R-word is excellent - much better than mine, that's for sure - and when you scroll down and see a pic of her super-duper-cute boy Finnian, maybe you can think of him next time you decide to use that word. It hurts, people. It hurts people.

Off my soapbox now. But yesterday was a "Spread the Word to End the Word" day, and although I missed it, I wanted to touch on the subject.