Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sunshine and Roses

This weekend, some of my college girls are coming into town for our annual, uh... meet up? get together? drunken fest of YouTube worthy footage that reminds us of the good times? Yep. That's the one. I am ridiculously excited. A weekend without the baby (who has been SUCH a sweet little man lately, by the way, it almost makes me sad to leave him - almost). And although a weekend without the baby would be equally good spent with the hubs (better in some ways, perhaps!), pretending I don't have a care in the world - and then flashing my ring to some guy who's giving me the eye - sounds like a pretty damn good way to spend a few days. Never mind work at the shop is INSANE this week and we have a piece of equipment down. Grrr.

Anywho... Our organizer this year sent out the "let's get our shit together email" at the beginning of the week, aptly titled, "Booze and What Not." Some of us responded with the usual - "Booze. Yes. What Not? Bring it on. Pole dancing, anyone?" and such. One reply-all came from our friend who had a baby three months ago. She said she was, "...totally going to flake like I said I never would." Honestly? I took a big, deep breath for her knowing exactly where she was coming from (and at the same time, I kind of thought, "Thank God! If she had been so organized to be able to make this trip [at least a 4 hour drive for her] after only 3 months as a new mom, I would have felt like such a loser!" - remember me? Paralyzed to leave the house to even go to the grocery store for, oh, I don't know - 3 months after having a baby?). For the record, she is rockin' it. Back to work, pumping, feeding... My kid is almost a year and a half old, and I am only now able to make it out of the house on time with no help from Mike - if I start 2 hours before we have to leave, mind you, but I can do it now.

So, I got to thinking about those days - and these days. Those days when I would think, "You know, if I just kept driving, maybe I could leave it all behind." But I never had enough cash. Let alone enough in savings, to disappear, and above all, just thinking about leaving it all behind made no sense. I'd have to make it work. Shuffle priorities. Change plans at a moment's notice. Go. With. The. Flow. And sometimes, the flow meant changing plans, or canceling plans and staying home (grudgingly, tearfully and foot stompingly. What? That's totally a word). And then these days. Where sometimes I'm awakened by Joey saying, "MA MA!" instead of incessant yelling. Or the rare, glorious, days that I wake on my own. After 8am. And my boys are both still sleeping. And you know what? As hard as it can get sometimes - especially with Mike's work schedule - I appreciate it. From Joey - A new word. A new sign. A funny face or non-stop laughter. From Mike - A touch. A moment alone - together. A kiss. A hug. A night where we don't care how late we stay up. A night where the TV goes off early...

It wasn't all easy. There's work still to do. Are there things I would change over the last year and a half? I won't lie. Absolutely. Have I learned a lot about myself? About my marriage and my husband? Absolutely. Would I change that? Absolutely not.

Hang in there girl. It's all worth it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why I love Mike

Holy hell, it's been forever since I posted. I swear to you, I have 2 or 3 posts saved as drafts... obviously never got finished. Anyway, let's start back slow.

So about six weeks ago, I started taking an exercise class. And I'm not talking about just any exercise class. My brother calls it "stripper-cise." I call it the most fun I've ever had getting sweaty and sore. OK, I guess I can think of some other fun ways to get sweaty, but I digress. Anywho, This class isn't your run-of-the-mill, let's all train to be strippers class. It's an intense, sexy floor workout (I mean intense - the ab sequence alone is killer), followed by instruction on the pole. Can you say FUN? It's women only, and it's all about becoming comfortable in your own body - feeling sexy, even.

I'm just about to complete level one, and will be continuing on to level two. In level two, you are invited to wear 6" stilettos. (They are optional. Booty shorts, on the other hand, are not, but that's a different post altogether.)

Okay, back to the point. Of course, I opted to go with the shoes. What? They're hot! I ordered 2 pairs in a size 7 & 8. They day of delivery, I checked the tracking number, and saw that they were out for delivery. Hooray! Three of my favorite words: Out for delivery. Unfortunately, I had to head to work before UPS arrived, but while sitting at my desk, I received the following text from Mike:

"Your shoes are here. Box was open so driver wanted me to check delivery. He was looking @ me like some cross dressing perv. Haha."

How many guys do you know that would finish that text with, "Haha." Love.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

OK, I'm doing it.

Endorsing a product, that is.

A while back, I posted about the things I needed most (or wished I'd had) when I brought Joey home. I haven't had an "OH CRAP, I HOPE THEY CAN SHIP THAT OVERNIGHT" moment in quite a while, but when Mike insisted we wean Joey off the bottle - and Joey promptly decided he wouldn't drink cow's milk out of anything but - I was desperate to find a solution. I posted on Facebook asking fellow moms what they did to get their little ones to give up the bottle and latch onto the cup. I was determined not to give up - I know, I know, we don't really need to drink cow's milk, but it is a good source of nutrition and, if nothing else, a quick, healthy snack in a pinch (read: do not leave me comments about how cow's milk is bad for you/there are healthier alternatives/it was unnecessary to wean my 13 month old off the bottle so soon/yadda yadda yadda).

Anyway, I got recommendations ranging from Ovaltine (tried it, didn't work) to just give him milk, and nothing else, and eventually he'll have to drink it. Well, I didn't feel like going through 3 days of hell and dehydrating my sick toddler in the process, so I went for the middle ground. A good friend of mine recommended the Born Free Trainer Cup. We had tried cups with all sorts of spouts, straws... and so had she. She said this was the only thing that worked. I'd try anything, so I ordered it immediately (there is no store within 100 miles of us that carries them! Why, why, why?) When the cup arrived yesterday, I was optimistic. Joey wasn't in the best mood, but I put a little milk in it, warmed it up, and tried sitting with him and giving him his new "ba ba." He wasn't buying it. In fact, he was downright pissed. He'd take a few sucks, then push it away and cry. Oh. No. FAILURE! But I wouldn't give up.

I waited a little while, gave him a snack, and then we sat on the floor and played. I put the cup near him so he could try it if he wanted to. A little while later, I saw him reaching for it. I didn't want to make a peep! He took a couple sucks, looked at it, and then started chugging! I was amazed, and hoped it wasn't a fluke. Nope! No fluke. Since yesterday, he's been drinking out of the new cup with no complaints.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Guess We're There

I'm going to be 30 29 again this year. I wouldn't say I'm freaking out about it, but I just keep going, "Really? Really? We're here already?" I guess I still feel like I'm 25 (although I definitely don't look like I did when I was 25 - you know, 25 pounds lighter, great tan, hair always styled, make-up fresh, well rested - er, didn't need as much rest). I'm wondering where the time went. Friends have gotten married, some are having kids (some have more than one), and, yes, some are having plastic surgery.


Yes, really.

I guess we are there.

Over the last four or five years, it wouldn't be a stretch to say my life has changed dramatically. I started dating the man that would eventually be my husband, got "let go" from the first real job I ever had (I was about to quit anyway - I know everyone that gets fired says that, but in this case, I swear to baby Jesus it's true), I landed my dream job cooking at The Black Cat Bistro (and didn't care one bit that I was working nights, weekends and, if it hadn't been for Mike, wouldn't have been able to pay my bills), left the Cat to open a business with my dad (good and bad - man I miss that crazy kitchen), got married, got pregnant (we're still wondering how that happened), had a baby... I'm not really sure I have a point to all this, but I guess I just wish it would all slow down. Just a little. For like a week even. So we can enjoy it all.

Since becoming a mom, people constantly ask, "When are you having another one?" Sometimes it's tongue-in-cheek, but most of the time it seems like people are serious. For the record, we're not planning on having another. When I tell people that, it's like I just dumped one of Joey's diapers out on their dinner plate. The usual response is, "Oh! You'll change your mind, just wait!" And sometimes - fleeting moments, mind you - I think they're right. I think I'll change my mind. And then I lose another night of sleep, or miss out on something because Joey can't miss his naps, or I have to tell a customer that I won't be able to do what I promised them until tomorrow... Sounds uber selfish, right? Don't get me wrong - I love being Joey's mom. And I usually want to (and sometimes do) answer the, "When are you having another one?" question with, "Can't I just enjoy the one I have?" I'm not one to sugarcoat what being a mom means. Are there innumerable good things to go along with the lost sleep, missed events, huge life changes? Absolutely. I wouldn't give them up for the world. But I'm also not going to walk around telling every married woman they should start production before their baby factory shuts down for good.

I struggle daily with striking a balance between being a wife, being a mom and a friend. And any woman who says she doesn't is lying to herself, completely delusional, or deserves the Nobel Prize and needs to write several books (and put them on tape, or iTunes, or better yet, flashcards) and give them away for free when you apply for a marriage license and/or leave the hospital with a baby. I dunno, I guess I'm just waiting for the day when people around me just get tired of waiting for me to find that balance. And some days, I worry I won't find it until Joey leaves for college.

Right now, I should be cleaning my house, or writing thank you notes for Joey's birthday gifts, or working on a project to get ahead for tomorrow. But I think I'm just going to enjoy the silence of the house, take a hot shower and maybe have a glass of wine. Balance.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Cake

I mentioned in Joey's one year update that I made his birthday cake. I set myself up for total failure by finding this cake online, deciding to duplicate it for Joey's party, and telling all my Tweeps and Facebook friends what I was up to. But you know what? I didn't fail! It came out awesome, if I do say so myself, and I didn't even say the eff-word once. Really, ask Mike.

The tutorial for making the cars on top came from CakeJournal and I pretty much just winged the rest (referring to photos from Sara Bakes Cakes the whole way through). The cake and frosting recipes came from Zoe Bakes, and they were just divine: Not Your Average Devil's Food and Outrageous Mocha Buttercream. I used the Wilton recipe to make my own marshmallow fondant (this stuff actually tastes good, too!) which covered the whole cake after it was iced, and was used to make the black checkers that circle the cake and a few pieces of the gumpaste cars. For the "dirt" track, I tossed the scraps from trimming the domes off of the baked cakes into the food processor to make crumbs.

Without further ado, the cake:

Then and Now

Or "Our Married Life by Katie DiSimone"

We were referred to Katie DiSimone by our friend Meghan when we were planning our wedding. Katie shot our engagement photos and our wedding. She is an amazing person, and an incredible photographer (I swear, she can make anyone feel comfortable in front of a camera), and after the wedding we stayed in touch. When Joey was born, she visited us in the the hospital and graciously brought her camera along. She even called me when she was on her way there to ask me if I needed anything from Starbuck's - I mean, how awesome is that!

So, when Joey turned one, we contacted Katie to document our next chapter. It just amazes me to look at the photos she took when Joey was only two days old next to his one-year shots:

One Year

Dear Joey,

About a week and a half ago, you turned one year old. One. Year. My God, where did it all go? I swear, I feel like I remember bits and pieces of your first few months - all in a sleep-deprived haze. Then, all of a sudden, I was back to work (you tagging along with me) and time sped up even more. Even after a whole year, there are still days when I feel like I am doing it all wrong, and others when I feel like I am the best mom in the world. I wish I could give you more of the latter, and something tells me I will never be able to shake that desire. You are unpredictable, yet predictable. Totally benign, and yet completely volatile. You are an entertainer and a goof, and you are sensitive beyond belief.

I must admit, I have spent many days over the past year wondering when I would "get my old life back." I would think I would see glimpses of it here and there when we would have a successful outing (all errands done without a meltdown), or I finished an entire cup of coffee while it was still hot... But I only just recently realized that this is my life - no old or new. You. Daddy. The three of us. It is not a new life, simply the next phase of the one I had been living all along. Yes, it is different than what I had originally expected, but it is good. SO good. Sometimes I have to stop, and take a breath, and just enjoy it. Not worry about what I have going on at work, or how much of your lunch you did (or did not, as is usually the case) eat. Just stop and enjoy you and daddy laughing and playing in the living room, cracking each other up, each teaching the other a thing or two (like where you can find your tongue, for instance).

Your personality is amazing. You really don't have a "medium speed." You are either asleep, or going on all cylinders. Sometimes I joke with daddy (in my terrible impersonation of the guy from This is Spinal Tap) "This one goes to eleven!" You hardly ever stop moving - you seem to know that if you stop moving, you just might fall asleep and miss something. Perpetual motion.

You now have a molar. I had been keeping an eye on your bottom right gums for a couple weeks. There was a big swollen spot, and I was sure the tooth would pop through any day. And then the swelling went down. No tooth. But the other day, daddy had you squealing with laughter on the couch, and that's when I saw it. On the top! You are still quite a trooper when you are teething. Perhaps it is because you got your first teeth when you were only 4 months old - been there, done that.

Perhaps the biggest news this month: you are walking! Everywhere. Once you figured it out, there was no stopping you. You walk laps around the kitchen island, carry monkey around the house, and follow us around tugging at our pant legs. Oh yes, and the first steps you took: I cried. I was so incredibly proud of you, and a little sad to know that my baby really is growing up. Fast. You are officially a toddler now. Oh, and did I mention you can whistle? You are definitely the only toddler I know that can do that!

You haven't really said your "first word" yet - although you babble a lot, and we think we catch things in there. You still say DADA, only it is usually still followed by more dadadadada's. You will mouth things, but no sound comes out - like the words are on the tip of your tongue, just waiting to pour out (and I have a feeling once they start, they won't stop!) Although, the other day when I picked you up at grandma and grandpa's house, we are pretty sure you tried to say "Ruby" (as in Ruby the dog). What we heard was "Roobuh" - close enough if you ask me! You also say "BA" whenever you see a ball or a balloon - again, close enough! You are starting to pick up on a few signs we've been trying to teach you (more, drink, all done), but you have added your own twist to each one (and you make up your own). You get your point across though, so I guess that's what matters in the end!

We celebrated your first birthday with family and friends the Saturday before your actual birthday. I was surprisingly calm the week of your party, considering I had given myself the monumental task of baking your first birthday cake. But baking a cake? What's the big deal? Well, my inspiration was a cake I found on the internet. And I manged to announce to everyone that I was going to try to make it. No pressure or anything. Well, I planned my week, finished a cake task or two every night, and it came out great! I didn't even swear. Not once! Ask daddy. We kept your party simple - grandpa and uncle Ben grilled burgers, grandma made her famous Portuguese beans and awesome salsa (you ate a bowl full of guacamole with her salsa mixed in, and then proceeded to toot for the rest of the day), and I made a pasta and fruit salads. You got lots of wonderful gifts - and, as we expected, you enjoyed playing with the boxes and wrapping paper the most. Your great uncle Milt even gave you a Wienermobile! You love to sit in it, make car noises, and honk the horn. By the time everyone left, you were absolutely exhausted. I managed to get you to take a quick nap, and then you proceeded to stay up until 10pm.

I planned to spend all day with you on your actual birthday - playing, going to the park, maybe even going to the beach. But when I woke up, my plans changed. I had come down with the stomach flu, and had to call daddy to come home from work. I was so sad that all I could do was lay in bed. It was supposed to be our day together. But, daddy took you to the park (I think twice!), and fed you lunch, and I came out to help with naps as much as I could. It was kind of funny, it almost felt like we had just brought you home from the hospital - daddy taking care of both of us, making sure I was OK, had things to eat and drink if I wanted them, and that you were warm, fed, rested, and happy, too.

This past year has brought more change to our lives in such a short period, it is incredible to even think about it. I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned a lot about daddy. And I have learned a lot about us, about communication and about patience. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: This is the most difficult, but most rewarding job I have ever had. Thank goodness it allows for on-the-job training!

We love you so much, baby, and we can't wait to watch you continue to grow and change each day. You are an amazing little person, and we are so proud we get to be your mom and dad.

Love and kisses,