The Disheveled Parent

Parenting in the city (and apartment) that never sleeps


1 Comment

Would you judge me if you knew?

Would you judge me if you knew I was the woman thinking ‘shut your kid up’ on the plane? Would you judge me if I told you I used to feel children had no place at restaurants? What would you think if I told you I used to think children who had temper tantrums were the product of overly lax or weak parenting? How would you feel if I said I used to watch you on your phone and mentally chastise you for not “engaging” with your child? Would you judge me if I said I used to think only lazy parents let their kids watch television?

I used to be that woman and although I never verbally said anything, I am quite sure my face conveyed the message clearly. I am sure my narrowed eyes combined with my partial smile communicated I was annoyed but also basking in the fact that I had no one but myself to look after. I sat there with my People magazine, my trail mix, and my cell phone and had a mini vacation on the flight- so long as your kid would let me. I sat in the restaurant trying to enjoy my food while your kid flung a piece of broccoli by my head. I sat there on the bus watching your kid slide down the seat making no movement to help in the slightest. Your kid, your problem.

I was a very different person then. My former self and those moments are long gone. I now have three kids. I’m on the other side of the looking glass and let me tell you, I’m now THAT woman.

I’m the woman with kids on a plane (when we can afford it). I’m the woman with kids in a restaurant, likely sitting near you because 3 kids and two highchairs take up a lot of space. I’m the one with the kid who is very vocal when she doesn’t like something. I’m also the one checking her phone at the playground while her kids are running around…and I’m the one who grants her kids a show after they come home from school everyday. I’m the one. I’m that woman, and now I get it.

I get that sometimes parents have to fly whether they want to or not and (God forbid) have to take their children too. I get it’s not easy for children to be strapped into confined spaces and sit quietly through an entire flight to be considered “well behaved” by other passengers. I get that sometimes parents want to go out to eat once in a while and not cook and sometimes they may even want to bring their kids! I get that parents’ enjoyment may not always be yours. I get that kids have temper tantrums for many reasons. I also get that even good kids have them. I can speak from personal experience and tell you some causes of temper tantrums range from fatigue, hunger (also known as ‘hangry’), travel, exhaustion, discomfort, not getting what a child wants, Buzz Lightyear is staring at them, and age 3.

I get that parents can be on their phone and it doesn’t mean they’ve been on it all day or are neglecting their children for that matter. I get that sometimes television can be useful and sometimes even (gasp) a peacekeeper when needed. I get that. I get ALL that. It took me having to put on a pair of dirty, worn, weathered parenting shoes and start walking to really get it, but I finally do, and as I look around, I’m so humbled to see who’s walking with me.

These are the people who’ve helped me from day one. These are the people who have not judged me the way I judged others before becoming a parent. These are the people I constantly go to for help; the ones I share my struggles, love, and best moments with. These are the ones who I eat dinner with when my husband isn’t home. These are the ones I make 10+ hour road trips to see. These are the ones who love my children as much as I love them. These are the people who know my children and see them so much it doesn’t matter what kind of day they are having. These are the ones who are forgiving. These are the ones who show love. These are the people I respect and strive to obtain the same level of respect from. These are the people walking around me. These are now my people, and I hope you know that although you may not be one of them or walking with us, we see you there. We know you’re watching. We know you may not want to sit next to us on the plane. We know you may not appreciate the lively lunch we’re having near you at the restaurant. We know you may notice us on our phones.

I remember being in your shoes. I will never forget it. I remember exactly how they fit too. It’s easy to judge others in the moment. That’s what I did and know sometimes you do too. Please let me know when you see me and while you’re at it, try my shoes on too. I know I (and any of my people) would be happy to lend them to you- especially if that meant you’d want to take a walk with us.

Advertisements


11 Comments

How I became the worst critic of stay-at-home moms

It’s 8 pm on a Thursday night. I’ve been up since 5:30 am when my littlest woke for his morning feed. His older brother woke an hour later for his cereal at which point my 3 year-old woke to serenade me with yet another rendition of Frere Jacques. From that point, I fed three kids breakfast, got them dressed, assembled and packed a school lunch, did the dishes, brushed 4 sets of teeth, loaded 4 bodies into the van, dropped my son off at school (which is easier said than done with two siblings along for the ride). An hour and a half later I return (again with siblings in tow) to host a “healthy eating” lesson for the class. After that, I loaded three kids back in the van to go home where I then fed them lunch, did the dishes again, did homework with my oldest son in between putting my youngest son down for a nap and reading a book to my daughter. I prepared and served dinner, washed dishes again, tidied and vacuumed the apartment, bathed kids, brushed teeth, got jammies on, sang bedtime songs, recited prayers, and put all three kids to bed by 7 pm. I do this alone. Every weekday and occasionally on weekends (except on the days hubby lends a hand in dropping kids off at school). I often find myself utterly exhausted when all is said and done. I’m no stranger to hearing “I just don’t know how you do it,” and to be honest, some days I don’t know myself.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids. I love my husband, and in spite of what my intro may suggest, I love our life and am proud of what we’ve built as a family. I’m not looking for any pats on the back or praise (only the most outrageous Mother’s Day gift, that’s all- I kid, I kid!) The only problem is this one little question nagging in the back of my mind. At the end of the day, after I’ve done so much, why am I left feeling like I did so little?  

 

Why do I constantly feel what I’ve done isn’t enough? After 15 hour days, I somehow feel guilty sitting down to rest. Whenever people approach me to offer help, I often wonder if they’re thinking how can she be tired? She’s not working. Why is it I often feel I have to justify every minute of my day; explain that I really am doing “so much?”  

 

Sometimes when people call or stop by the house, I almost feel guilty if anyone sees the kids and I relaxing or watching a TV show. Oh we were just watching a quick show before homeworkDinner’s on the stove. I’ve gotta run. Many times it’s true but, why do I feel the need to explain? I am not accountable to anyone. Not even my husband who has been harping on me to take it easy, take a nap once in a while. Why do I constantly feel I need to do more?  

 

It took some close friends calling me out on it before I realized what I was doing. I was minimizing the complexity of staying-at-home. I was terrified of sending a message that I was either unfit, unstable, or unhappy in my everyday life, because frankly I am a great mother, an emotional one, yes, but happy too! I just didn’t feel I was accomplishing anything day to day. After a solid time of reflection (a period of months to be exact), I turned my eye to our culture and how much of a role it may have played in this. Let’s start with general conversation.  

 

“So what do you do?” the doctor asks me as we go through the check-list of intake questions.

“I’m a stay-at-home mom.” I answer.

“So you’re not working?” She says.

Correction. I’m working my ass off. 

“No.” I answer.  

 

In our culture, once you get past introducing people by name, it’s not uncommon to immediately ask someone what they do. ‘Do’ is in reference to someone’s job. I can’t speak for everyone but my main logic behind why we do this is because we like to form a quick and memorable image of someone and it helps to know their job to do that. That means we are judging someone by what they do. For the number of times I’ve had to field the question ‘so what exactly do you DO all day’, I guess I became guilty of making it seem like the answer was ‘not much’. I started to become a stay-at-home mom critic!  

 

This mentality completely undermines women attempting to return to work after staying at home for extended periods of time. Moms in local parenting list-serves often pose the question: how do I spruce up my resume to help hide the fact that I’ve been out of work for (X number) of years? Of course the parenting community always chimes in with great support, encouragement and zeal telling their colleague to consider listing the many important qualities being a stay-at-home mom requires i.e.: patience, multitasking, conflict resolution, ability to think on your feet, etc. In addition they say, it might be wise to get an unpaid internship or volunteer somewhere. In essence get an unpaid job to cover up the eye sore of a gap your other unpaid job is leaving on your resume.   

 

I’ve felt the societal tide so strongly that I was even quick to “turn on my own” by trumpeting when I finally got a job after 4 years of staying at home. I was so excited to finally have a title to offer up when confronted with the anxiety-inducing question of what do you do?  I was quick to advertise I’d joined the ranks of the working simply because it felt good to say I was doing something. No more wonder, no more confusion over what exactly it is I must be doing all day. Now I’m working.  

 

But is that the answer? Is that the direction we’re going? Stay-at-home moms all know how beautiful, exhausting, frustrating, amazing, silly, and outrageous being at home can be, but how is this getting lost in the greater societal picture? I know I’m not the only one who has tremendous respect for stay-at-home moms knowing personally what it requires. But I also know I felt insecure and ashamed at times and that’s not right. I know the more time that passed I started to panic over whether I would be able to find work again when I was ready. I also know there are many people out there who still don’t believe staying at home demands much other than a physical presence. So how do we change that? I venture to say by talking more about it. Conversation can only help bridge an understanding between different groups and help set a course for change (we see you prospective employers). But that’s not where we should start. We need to start by looking at the (wo)man in the mirror (thanks Michael)! We need to start by changing the way we value the work that we do, and then change the way we talk about it as a community (between moms, at playgroups, via list-serves). Maybe we should think about how we make a difference more, point out beautiful moments in the day, and actively help others see the same. Connecting with others in our communities and sharing this message online can keep us moving in the right direction. I’m headed to the mirror to start the movement right now. I hope you join with me by doing the same. Thanks for reading.


2 Comments

Take This Personally

I know it’s been a while since you’ve seen any activity on The Disheveled Parent. There are many reasons aside from the most obvious one (raising my three kids). For one, I’ve taken on some new projects which will undoubtedly take up a lot of my (minimal) free time. Then to the minuscule remaining minutes I have left, I’ve focused on re-constructing The Disheveled Parent. I love this blog so much and have a lot of pride for the space I’ve created to illustrate my everyday parenting woes in dramatic and (hopefully) playful and funny ways, but now I feel it’s time to get a little more personal and express myself in other aspects of my life that don’t always focus on parenting. There are so many other parts of me as a person I haven’t really put in to words in this space.

For example, although I’ve posted about food and my quest to teach my kids how to make healthy choices, there is so much more I do on a day-to-day basis I feel would be appreciated if I shared. I cook every single day and have learned so much from this. I’ve started to create my own recipes that my toughest mini-critics love and would love to share those more regularly with you. I am not a professional and will never claim to be, especially in the cooking realm, but I have learned a lot and look forward to sharing it here. (I can guarantee you these posts will keep the “humorous” feel around!)

Finally, I’ve shared very little with regards to my own personal thoughts and experiences living in Brooklyn- which is shocking to me because I feel it’s so much a part of what makes me who I am today. Anyways, I hope to give you a glimpse of how I see Brooklyn everyday and through that, I hope you get a sense for what makes Brooklyn so special to me and my family.

So I didn’t proofread this. I’m not trying to be eloquent. I’m not looking for perfection, or for anyone to like this for that matter. All I am trying to do here is to be real and ask you to bear with me as I change The Disheveled Parent over to a deeper, more personal space for you to wander around. I promise I won’t scrap the parenting posts all together, but I will be changing the face and the name to be more reflective of me as a person and hopefully it will also satisfy you more as a reader!

XOXO

Stay Tuned,

Shay


Leave a comment

5 Surprising Things That Kill NYC Parents

New York City: The city of endless possibilities. Home of hemp-adorned vegans to Gucci wearing fashionistas alike. Craving authentic Korean Bibimbap? Maybe you feel like a ritzy night out at a prestigious Michelin starred restaurant. Or possibly you feel like staying in and having dinner (and post-dinner drinks) delivered. You can do it all- and more- in New York. You’re just as likely to see a tourist as you are a celebrity and in Times Square you’re guaranteed to see people dressed as Elmo- who’ve recently become fairly suspicious (read creepy). My eyes are up here buddy!

As great as the big apple is, it has some major cons, many of which hit some of us harder than others. Take parents for example. There are 5 things in particular that we don’t just cry in our organic-naturally-sweetened-no-sugar-added corn flakes over, we die a slow and painful death. Every. Single. Day.

Let’s do this.

5. Walking. Lots and lots of walking. If the incessant ‘are we there yets’  didn’t kill you, see if it does after pushing your little repetitive parrot over huge, uneven stone-slab sidewalks dodging pedestrians, puppies, and other fellow strollers in 30 degree weather. Wanna unload 3-year-old little Ruthie and have her walk instead? Hope you left with an extra hour to spare! Awe hell, just strap her on your back for the hike and cancel that gym membership you’re not using anyways!

4. Elevators. Let’s see a raise of hands for anyone who loves being in small enclosed spaces. Anyone? No? I didn’t think so. Bad news, elevators are EVERYWHERE. Now add a toddler (or 2) to that claustrophobia-inducing-space. Could be a sweet, smiley, (cross your fingers) quiet, little kid. Or could be a snot covered, sneezing and screaming tyke about 30 minutes and 4 floors past nap time. It’s your choice if you wanna ride that crazy train or not. Me? I’m already halfway up the stairs with my kid on my back screaming “suckaaaazzz” to the poor saps who didn’t make it out in time!

3. Parks. When I think of relaxing places (ones I can sit down in peace, possibly zone out, send a tweet or two) I often think of NYC parks. Just about as much as you fantasize about being trapped in a blender with a rabid squirrel! Seriously. Just thinking about parks is enough to induce a panic attack. If I am not running to catch one (or more) of my kids haphazardly dangling from the ‘big kid’ jungle gym, I’m likely scrambling to catch one (or more) of my kids from running toward the exit gate. And that lady who passes through selling ice-cream and shaved ice at 10am? She should be arrested. Shouldn’t selling sugar (the kid-equivalent to speed) at that hour be illegal anyways?!

2. Subways. Aside from the disproportionately small number of subway stops that actually have elevators (not that you fantasize about them anyways- refer back to #4), by the time you actually get to the platform, you and everyone trapped in there with you are ready to call it a day. If you haven’t already been killed by the dozen or so stank eyes watching you and your bus-of-a-stroller preparing to board the train, that stank eye venom will totally get you as you run over toes trying to maneuver yourself in. Whereas most people may not enjoy the occasional performers on the train, I welcome them. At the very least $1 and a song is all I need to drown out the sound of my kids fighting over who gets the apple slices first! Oh, and if you do happen to find a subway with an elevator, here’s a promise: it’s been pissed in. See#4 and multiply by piss.

1.5. Doors. Say it with me parents: SuckItIn! That’s what we are literally doing to cram our stroller frames through doors of bodegas, restaurants, and elevators. Once we’re actually through those Godforsaken things, start that second prayer you fit down the aisle to buy the $4 half gallon of local organic milk before little Ariella totally loses her sh*t. Need to use the bathroom? Forget it. If you’re lucky enough to fit through the door, you sure as hell won’t make it in far enough to shut it. While you’re asking if those jeans make your butt look big, I’m asking if that door makes my stroller look big, and DON’T SAY IT!!!! I already know the answer. It does. They all do.

1. Restaurants. It’s not that I don’t like food, or people, or forcing my children to sit for extended periods of time. It’s just that well, the waitress is killing me softly with her fake smile and suddenly their highchairs are ‘missing’ forcing my salivating kids to sit on their knees in a booth, which at this point is just asking them to slide up and down under the table for the next 30 minutes. After manhandling my double stroller through the front door, down the tiny isle and crumpling it up to fit it in a corner the size of a port-a-potty, I’m sweating and ready for a drink. The alcoholic kind. No really. I do genuinely enjoy eating out. In a 60 minute outing I truly enjoy the 2 minutes I get to eat (after giving 4-year-old a bite, before taking 2-year-old to the bathroom for the umpteenth time, and while I’m breastfeeding my 7-month-old who is close enough to grab the necklace of the stunning woman sitting next to me who clearly doesn’t cross paths with kids often). The food tastes great. I’ll have another drink please, just put it in my coffee.

No guys really, this is fun. TOTALLY fun. Are we still saying ‘whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ these days? Could we possibly move towards ‘don’t be a dumbass and get out while you still can’? That one might add a couple years on to my life!

 

 

 

 

 


4 Comments

What happened when my kid got picked on in front of me

My son’s school recently had a book fair and once his classmates started talking about all the cool books there, big brother naturally had to have one too. The last day to purchase books rolled around and I realized I had to take him since I absentmindedly told him he could get a book while cooking dinner one night. (My kids are smart and know there are two times mom will consent to anything: while cooking or sleeping). My son strategically asked me during the former and I obviously gave the go-ahead so I didn’t look up and chop my valuable “time-out” pointer finger off. Without that pointer, how can a woman demand an intimidating time-out I ask you, how?!

Truth be told I wasn’t too upset that I’d consented to a purchase at the book fair. In fact, I looked forward to it since I remember how exciting it was for me when I was in school. I remember the butterflies in my stomach eyeing each colorful shiny book; knowing that any one of them could be mine. I would run my finger down the smooth cover loving how they lacked wear and tear. I carefully read the back of each and every book that caught my eye to make sure that no great book went unnoticed. I couldn’t buy the wrong one! Sometimes I opted for colorful pencils or other ‘non-book items’ like stickers or folders, but most of the time I really clung to the idea of getting a new book so I could mentally transport myself to a new land with different people and amazing adventures.

“Mom, I want this one!” big brother chirps from my left side snapping me out of my nostalgic daydreams from my elementary school years.

“Mom, I like this one!” shouts little sister.

“Ok, let’s take a look at what we have.” I say only for the reason of making sure no one has pulled a $40 book off the shelf- not cookin’ or sleepin’ this time!

I turn to my daughter who is holding up Pinkalicious which surprises me since she never gravitates towards stereotypical girl things. She usually follows in her brother’s footsteps striving to match him. I turn to face my son only to realize that his sister did exactly that. My son stood in front of me giddy; clutching a Disney Princess board book.

Most people may have felt inclined to explain to my son that he was holding a “girl book”, gently guiding his hands to return the book to the shelf- boy books are over there. However I couldn’t do that. It wasn’t the innocent (thrilled) expression on my son’s his face that stopped me. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to hurt his feelings or make him cry. It wasn’t that I was afraid of big brother causing a scene. I couldn’t say no because it didn’t make sense to. Why couldn’t he read that book if he wanted to?

This past halloween while Frozen costumes took over our country as little girls everywhere became obsessed with Elsa and Anna, my daughter chose to be The Hulk. The Hulk. Not only did she rock the muscularly enhanced costume, but we received overwhelming praise and encouragement for being ‘open-minded’ by any and everyone she roared past! Oh and she roared. Why was she allowed to experiment with a ‘boy’ costume while my son is turned away from reading a ‘girl’ book? I couldn’t explain that to my son so I didn’t.IMG_1284

The little boy standing in front of us in line to pay didn’t share my sentiment. He decided to be the societal messenger.

“Why are you holding a girls book?” sneering. “That’s a giiirls book!”

My son starred back at him with a completely neutral expression, said nothing, and looked at me. I looked back down at the boy who looked to be around 8 years old. I know he is very young and likely stating what he was told when he was 4 years old and unknowingly picked a “girl” item out of interest not knowing society would set him straight by explaining that in order to be “normal” he will pick a super hero or truck book, or at least if he didn’t, everyone else would keep reinforcing it until it stuck.

My smile quickly changed to a confused expression. “Oh my gosh! I’m sorry, I’m so confused! I thought my son had a book!”

Eight-year-old is confused. “He does.”

A sigh of relief. “Phew! A book with words?”

“Yeah” He’s not amused.

“Oh great! Because we were looking to buy a book…with words- one with stories would be nice. Does this book have stories in it?”

Looking disgruntled and irritated. “Yeah, but it’s a girls book. Why does he have a girls book?”

“Wait, do girls’ books have a different language? One we can’t read?”

“No.” Irritated and uncomfortable.

“Oh, phew! Cause we’re looking for books that have words we can read and great stories, so it looks like this book is just what we’re looking for!”

Boy is speechless. Literally.

“You must be used to being told boys aren’t allow to read books like this. Well, let today be the day you see a little boy who is allowed.” I smiled at him and as he stood there speechless. He turned around to pay for his book and was told he didn’t bring enough money.

Such a shame. Maybe my daughter might like that book if he’s not going to buy it!


1 Comment

Top 10 Things I’m TOTALLY Willing To (and sometimes do) Pay Someone To Do

So needless to say I’m completely in the trenches big time right now. What? No blog post in over 2 months? Yeah, that’s because me plus 3 kids plus 14-hour days minus my husband equals an even more disheveled (and sleep deprived) parent! Over the past 5 months since I’ve had #3 it’s become more and more evident I need help in more ways than one. In fact, to say I’m desperate enough to pay a complete stranger at times is very accurate! So instead of writing a lengthy pity-post about it, I decided to do this thang ‘top 10’ style instead. Drum roll please.

 

Top 10 Things I’m TOTALLY Willing To (and sometimes do) Pay Someone To Do

10. Stand by my stroller. I live in NYC, not the burbs where people respect your things. If I leave something unattended (like $800 double stroller or my kid for example) I wouldn’t be surprised if Joe Schmo decided he’d snake the stroller to make Christmas come early this year. So yeah, I’d be willing to pay someone a stipend to guard my minivan of a stroller….oh, or my kids too.

9. Clean my house. Yeah, I get it. There are these people we call housekeepers; they do that. I would LOVE to hire one. In fact, hubs even gave me the green light to. Here’s my problem. I have issue with anyone seeing my house a mess. I mean, serious issue. I compare the feeling to if someone were to see me naked. If my kids were to see me naked it would traumatize them for life. I am too nice to knowingly traumatize the housekeeper in the same way! Plus I’d be losing money over it too. It’s just all too much to handle!

8. Carry my stuff. A raise of hands for anyone who’s seen someone leave their stroller with about 5 bags on the handles causing the stroller (sometimes with child) to then collapse backwards as soon as the owner of said stroller steps away? Yeah, that’s because parents always end up getting more stuff than that tiny underneath storage compartment will hold. There’s gotta be some exercise fanatic looking to make an extra buck that could get the best of both worlds carrying my bags for me that final mile to my house, right?….Anyone?

7. Do my laundry. So, this is actually something we already pay someone to do. When push comes to shove and my husband finally gets time off, you better believe we aren’t sitting around doing laundry. During the week, I’d happily do laundry myself (in between carpooling the kids to school and back, cleaning the house, cooking dinner, and all other things ‘kid’ related) but believe it or not, I don’t always have a 3 hour chunk to take a kid (or two) down to rub elbows with an undoubtedly interesting group of people washing and folding their tighty whiteys. Sixty cents per pound you say? Here’s my VISA.

6. Hold a parking spot for me/or anything vehicle-related for that matter. Having a vehicle in NYC is a saving grace and the bane of my existence at the same time. Aside from the daily game of frogger (see Seinfeld episode ‘The Frogger’, 1998) all over the city, I’m also constantly parading the kids out to the minivan to switch sides of the street for alternate side parking. It’s insane. I’ve been desperate enough that I actually took my landlord up on his offer to watch the kids while I moved the van once, but I just can’t in good conscience ask him to do it every time I need to switch sides. Maybe what I really need to be doing, is paying someone to move my van for me! The only thing is, if it’s a stranger, I need to make sure they’re going to give it back (refer to #10).

5.  Help me in and out of the subway. Carrying a 43lb stroller (with or without 35 and 25lb toddlers in it) with an infant strapped to the front is no joke. I’ve had my share of people offer to help me (which I always graciously take them up on), however there have been times when elevators are broken or people don’t offer- probably because they are annoyed at the lady who brought the vocal kiddos with the stroller/bus on the subway. Once on the subway itself, it’s not the party it’s cracked up to be anyways. You know what? On second thought, maybe I’ll just skip the subway altogether and pay someone to tell me how horribly boring the party I was headed to was anyways!

4. Taxi my children. If I could just pay someone with a lot of spunk and the energy level of someone with a light under their ass, I’d hire them to jump at the sound of my man voice to grab the kids and ‘taxi’ them to preschool while I stay in the van with my flashers on. It’s a lot less risky than leaving the van altogether and WAY less work than having to unstrap and then return and restrap each kid while sweating bullets thinking of getting a ticket. I mean, I’m a great crier and have full confidence in my ability to totally cry my way out of a ticket, however, I’d rather not lose fluids over something so silly. I’ll just lose a couple bucks instead. Any takers?

3. Carry an umbrella over me when I push the stroller. Seriously. I’m not trying to be a diva with this one (as I clearly am with all the others.) True Story: I can’t actually push the double stroller in pouring rain with one hand while holding an umbrella in the other. In fact, to boost my self esteem and morale, I challenge anyone to try it, for that matter! To avoid looking like I just went swimming fully clothed, I’d gladly pay someone to carry my umbrella over me while I push the stroller. An added perk would be people may think I am in fact, famous. (We wouldn’t need to correct them either).

2. Stand in for me. My husband and I have this little game we like to play. Whenever we go somewhere, if I’m terrified one of the kids will lose their (expletive), dear hubby came up with the (best) idea (ever) to just drop the family. In other words: I pretend I don’t know them. It’s freaking awesome. I just start whistling and walking away from the tantrum while looking mildly annoyed at the mouthy kid and the bumbling dad who can’t get his kid under wraps. The downside is I love my husband and I don’t want him to go at this alone. That’s why I’d like to pay someone to take over my duties. Then dear hubs would have some help and I would avoid being judged based on the situation at hand. Win, Win. There’s no way anything could go wrong that way, right? Whoa wait! Was that an ass grab?! Honey, it’s not me!!!!

1. Take a picture. In spite of all the obstacles I’ve endured having 1, then 2, now 3 kids in NYC and going at it day-to-day solo, I’ve absolutely loved so many moments of it. I am a person who really values being fully present in and cherishing the moment. As much as there have been times I think I (might) lose my mind for whatever reason (tantrums, NYC traffic, unsolicited advice, carrying 1 more pound on my person) there are double that (and more) in times I really embrace. I was lucky enough to have a dear friend capture me doing my mom thing with my kids and it so perfectly illustrated my day-to-day life in the city. I am so grateful Andrew was there to observe and document us that day and without a doubt would pay someone (especially this someone in particular) to capture many more. Whether it’s the good, the bad, the food covered, or the ugly- it’s ALL worth remembering. Isn’t that what parenthood is all about?

shayna_kids_stroller_small

 


4 Comments

If Jesus Loved Me- he’d let me get through the damn song!

Wednesday Night, 7pm

I’ve successfully brushed both toddlers’ teeth and got them in pajamas. We’ve had basic chit-chat about our day, I bathed them, we’ve read books, and prayed. Both children are showing the telltale signs of fatigue by flopping around in their beds as I latch my newborn (newbie) on for a feed and prepare for the final signal the day is done: the ritual of singing Jesus Loves You. I mentally prepare for my best rendition to ensure (at least) one of two tots is happily floating through dreamland. If I can get one down, there’s no chance for an additional hour long session of play in a pitch black room. Someone’s always bound to head-butt the bunk bed at maximum toddler speed. To avoid that (and make mommy’s quiet time happen) it’s BEDTIME OR BUST!

I begin with what I imagine to be the softest, most angelic sounding Jeeeeeesusssss

Big Brother (BB) quickly interjects: Mama?

Me: (Smiling) Yes, honey?

BB: (Innocently) Mama, Santa Claus is real.

Baby sister (BS,  no pun intended): Santa REAL mama! REEEAAAALLL!

I unlatch newbie and begin working out a burp.

Me: Oh babe, I thought you were going to ask to go to the bathroom. It’s time to go to bed, I’m gonna sing Jesus Loves You then it’s time for mommy to say good night and leave. So here I go. Jeeeees-

BB: (Urgently) No but mama, I know. I know but mama, he’s REAL. He’s re-

BS: RRREEAAALLL. He’s REEEAAALLL.

BB: …..like my shovel, and my cup. They’re real! But not like Woody and Buzz. They’re NOT real. They have a show, but they’re not real. But Santa is real, and-

Me: Honey, I know you want to talk about Santa Claus but it’s bedtime and if you keep interrupting me, I will have to say goodnight and leave.

BB & BS (total BS): NO MAMA! Don’t leave! No mama, NO!

Newbie begins whining. He has gas and wants more food. I burp and relatch him.

Me: Ok, then we’re going to finish Jesus Loves You and it’s time for bed. Jeeeesssuuuussss-

BB: But mama, when is it going to be Christmas? When can we see Santa Claus?

Me: Honey honestly, it’s bedtime now. It’s not time to talk- and he’s not real anyways. Where did you hear about Santa?

BB: Oh, no mom, he’s real.

Me: No he’s not honey.

BB: Yes, he is mama.

BS: Like shovel, cup, Santa REAL!

Me: He’s really not honey, but we’ll talk about this tomorrow. It’s bedtime-

BB: Mama, he’s real and I know it because I saw him!

Me: You didn’t see him honey.

BB: Yes I did! In the hotel!

Newbie poops his pants.

Me: Tout chez….Well, ok, yes, that’s true you saw him in the hotel (on a family vacation at an indoor water park last Christmas. There happened to be a Santa Claus who greeted everyone and would even tuck kids in at night- which I found a little creepy) but- OK, we’ll talk about this later. It’s bedtime. Seriously, how did we get here? Why are you asking about Santa Claus so much? It’s in the middle of June for cryin’ out loud! Ok, I am singing Jesus Loves You and you’re going to b-

BB: Who’s crying mama?

I change newbie, pick him up, and begin rocking him.

Me: No one is crying. What?

BS: Crying mama? Who crying mama?

BB: You said ‘crying out loud’ mama.

Me: Oh, it’s just an expression. It’s like saying- never mind that’s not the point! We’re not talking anymore! It’s bedtime you little smarty pants! I am singing Jesus Loves You and you’re going to bed!

Newbie is now fed and dry. He nods off.

BB: And mama, why are you angry? Are you angry at us?

BS: Are you angry mama?

Me: No! I’m not angry at either of you at all! I just want you to stop talking and listen to your song so you can go to bed!

BB: Mama we would be sleeping if you weren’t talking!

Me: Oh for the love of Pete!!!

BB: Who’s Pete mama?…….

 

Oh Jesus, with your sick sense of humor!

 

Wednesday Night, 8pm


2 Comments

Don’t go to the gym after kids- HAVE kids so you don’t need the gym!

I had a baby. He’s gorgeous, he’s sweet, he doesn’t make a peep (out of his mouth at least) and his siblings love him more than strawberries. Yes, life is good. The transition is a lot less extreme from 2-3 kids however it compensates in other ways.  I often joked with people I wouldn’t need a gym membership from all the running around I’d be doing. Turns out I was right about more than just that.

My first day solo with my new trio started really well. The kids woke in a happy mood. Breakfast went way more smoothly than it usually does. The day stayed on a positive note with my potty training 2 yr old being accident free. Someone buy me a lottery ticket! Seriously. We made it all the way to dinner before my perfect day went down the toilet. Actually, down the bed sheets and soaking the rug to be exact. After a much more trying dinner (balancing a breastfeeding baby on one arm while preparing bowls of chili, pouring glasses of water, and eating my dinner with the other arm) both kids made their way upstairs for bath time. Bath went well, minus my daughter bathing the bathroom floor too. She takes bath time to the extreme.

My little potty trainer changed in to a swim diaper for bedtime since I couldn’t find a regular diaper to save my life. As perfect as little newbie is, he has a witching hour every evening. I knew it was coming, but I was hoping it wouldn’t be right as his sister had a bladder-exploding pee the swim diaper did NOTHING to catch. I silently cursed the huge wet spot on my bed with matching puddle on the carpet. My daughter denied she pee’d and took off down the hall giggling: “I not go potty MAMA!” Suddenly I hear a blowout poo from newbie and he begins crying. I struggle to catch my daughter slipping and sliding in her own urine down the hallway. I grab my dripping wet tot, scramble into her room to grab clean clothes and run back to the scene of the crime to try to wipe and change newbie and baby sister and clean up. I hear big brother pouring a second bath for his sister. He runs over and asks if he can watch a show. He knows it’s going to be a while. I thank him for pouring the bath and assure him we are on course for bedtime- no show. I forgo the bath. I quickly wipe down and re-dress the two soiled kids. I run downstairs with a clean and dry newbie strapped on in search of just one more diaper for my daughter to get her through the night. I quickly text hubby and beg him to grab a pack of diapers before he leaves work. I fumbled my way through his back-pack (his manly diaper bag) and find the last diaper we have. I run back upstairs with newbie and throw the diaper on baby sister.

Both toddlers turn to me. “Mommy can we have a snack?” Newbie resumes crying. I have a headache.

Out of breath. “No. It’s bedtime.” For ALL of us!

“Mama please!! We’re so hungry” Big brother.

“Hungee mama!” Baby sister.

I look at their little blue eyes.

“Fine, you can each have a banana. But we’re not messing around. No playing at the table. We go downstairs, eat a banana, drink milk, and then it’s bedtime. Got it?”

“Thank you mama!”

“Teetchu mama!”

We all head downstairs. I divvy out bananas and glasses of milk and start feeding newbie again. Both kids are happily snacking. Ah, breathe. My serene  moment dissipates as I hear whining. Baby sister spilled her milk all over herself. It’s dripping down the table all over the rug. I unlatch newbie to quickly take care of the situation. I run back upstairs. My legs are burning and my headache is growing. Newbie is ticked his dinner got cut short. Big brother starts telling him a story to calm him down. Baby sister is crying. “I sorry mama, I sorry”. Big brother starts singing. Newbie starts screaming.

I look over at the clock. It’s only been 30 minutes. If I could clock out I would.

I quickly change my milk soaked tot, re-latch newbie to finish his dinner, and usher the kids back upstairs. We go through a turbo tooth-brushing session and I whisk the kids into bed. Big brother falls asleep instantly. I say goodnight to baby sister who blows a kiss and smiles. She’ll stay up for an hour or more. I can tell.

Turns out I was right. Baby sister stayed up (for 2 hours to be exact) and I certainly don’t need that gym membership! If I got one, I wouldn’t have the strength to get there!


Leave a comment

What’s Better Than Having a Baby?! Having TWO!

It’s finally here!!!! THE MAIN EVENT!!!! I am officially full term in my third pregnancy. “In the home stretch” as many would say. I’ve blogged about the fantastic nature of this pregnancy (if you didn’t read the post, you missed the sarcastic tone there). While I’d love to go into even more gruesome details on the latest developments (read varicose veins, compression stockings, involuntary farting), I actually have a figurative “baby” due 1 week before my literal baby and I must say I’ve become quite attached to this one as well. In fact, I’ve almost been developing it for as long!

When I blogged about working from home last week, I never really gave many details about what it is I’ve been up to, or who exactly I work for. Well today I’d love to tell you a little more about A Child Grows and our signature event The Brooklyn Baby and Family Expo! First and foremost, A Child Grows is the most popular parenting site for Brooklynites. It has become a go-to site for parents looking for everything from weekend activities, schools, and new local businesses to amazing giveaways and the latest educational articles. I’ve absolutely loved working for the two amazing women who own A Child Grows and was even more enthusiastic when I learned I would be working on their incredible signature event the Brooklyn Baby and Family Expo (BBFE). BBFE is the only expo of its kind in Brooklyn, NY.  I’ve had the honor and privilege of working on it since last fall so I’ve become extremely invested in each and every person, business, and organization taking part in this event and it brings me great pleasure to spread the word on what we have in store for the NYC area on April 6, 2014 at St. Francis College.

300x250-going-2

The Brooklyn Baby and Family Expo will have everything from informational seminars covering different topics from financial family planning for baby to Q&A with Pediatricians from Mount Sinai Brooklyn Heights Medical Group. We have delicious food provided by Fresh Direct and musical performances by Little Rock-its and VeredMusic! Additionally, we have a variety of demos and two great book signings throughout the day. All this and I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet! Aside from our many AMAZING sponsors and exhibitors attending, we have a few very special guests joining us.

Brace yourselves and try not to pee your pants (must be a postpartum/pregnancy thing, right?)- A Child Grows is welcoming the one and only Jamie Grayson (aka: The Baby Guy NYC) back as our “Best Baby Gear” seminar speaker and joining us for the first time at The Brooklyn Baby and Family Expo is the notoriously hysterical mastermind behind twitter sensation The Honest Toddler– Bunmi Laditan! Bunmi is not only joining us as our esteemed keynote speaker for the expo, she will also be our master of ceremonies. I can tell you right now, she and Jamie will make a lethally funny team working in such close quarters throughout the expo. This guarantees to be a fantastic day!

So if after reading this, you just can’t even contain your excitement anymore-head on over to the A Child Grows expo page and buy tickets!

Not that you’d need ANY other incentive to attend the expo at this point, but in case you do, we also have enough gift bag swag to make even the local celebrities salivate! All VIP ticket holders will walk away with an amazing BECO Soleil  carrier among many other must-have parenting items! Plus all ticketed attendees will have an opportunity to win any one of our fabulous raffle items– totaling over $20,000 worth in prizes!

I don’t honestly believe you wouldn’t want to attend at this point (unless of course you don’t live in NYC- but that’s not saying it’s not worth the trip in!) Regardless maybe I need to add a little suspense. Would you believe me if I told you I take my job so seriously, I planned this birth right down to a delivery at the expo? Because I can’t think of anything more appropriate for The Brooklyn Baby and Family Expo than witnessing a birth!

….ok so I didn’t plan it that way…but it just might happen if the baby is anything like his mom- one who likes to make a strong first impression!


1 Comment

Working From Home Has its Poops and Cons

So I’ve been working from home for a little less than a year now. I absolutely love what I do and the business I work for. I consider myself fortunate as I wasn’t necessarily ‘in the market’ for a job when I got one. It just happened, and I’m so glad it did. Like many stay-at-home moms, I went from working multiple jobs throughout high school, college, and post-Masters to having kids and staying at home. I’d built this huge gap on my resume which, in the business world,  is still considered a time ‘doing nothing’. I was interested in getting back into the work force but wasn’t interested in working full-time at an office-type job, since I didn’t anticipate many opportunities in my field paying the bills for full-time child care for 2 in NYC. Luckily, I never had to try to find one that would.

Today, I am happily employed and work a few days a week from the comforts of my home. Perks of working from home range from the ability to take business calls in pajamas (although most of the time I don’t) to seeing the kids throughout the day as they come and go with the sitter. Even though I am working, I still get to be around the tots, have no commute to work, and am instantly home when I’m ‘done’ for the day. It’s awesome.

As with most things in life though, it’s not all puppies and rainbows. Working from home undoubtedly comes with distractions that working in an office avoids. For example, when I descend down the stairs to my kitchen to get to my “office” each morning, I am faced with all my domestic chores staring me down- the dirty dishes, dust bunnies rolling in the breeze created by my obese cat quickly waddling over to check his food dish, soiled toddler clothes strewn all over the living room, toys and books in small piles like little volcanos waiting to erupt. Before I started working from home, I never had to wipe a co-workers butt while on a call. I never had to diffuse an argument while typing a one-armed email. Before working from home, even if rushed between appointments, I always ate my lunch in silence and I always had the privilege of eating it ALL! I never had to scoop cat litter at the office because I could taste the smell of fecal matter. I never had to conduct a business call while my children scream their ABCs in the background. Before working from home, I never tried to vacuum my office in between business calls or cook my lunch in the 30 minute break-time I had.  I did fall down the stairs at an old job once (yelping “Whoop, Whoop, Whoop!” on my way down. True story. My boot heel broke. Not my best day), but at least I never had to catch myself or my coworkers from cracking their head on a coffee table!

The other day, a stray cat decided to mark an empty case of beer bottles on our balcony emitting an oder so strong, it permeated my office entirely. Because of my pregnancy and horridly strong gag-reflex, hubby was forced to tackle the situation on the spot. We were both equally impressed with the strength of the odor. To add to the rare anomalies (like a stray cat pissing on our empties), there are always the reliable and consistent possibilities like toddler tantrums right outside the “office” door. Hey, in the middle of a strained business call, who doesn’t need a good scream? And who doesn’t love parties with confetti? Mom’s business cards will do the trick! They’re slim, light, and VERY colorful so UP THEY GO! If you think you have a messy office, look around and tell me how pretty you think it would be after a 2 and a 4 year old pay it a visit. Those massive piles of paper and files weren’t so bad before they were shredded on your floor now, were they?

I find myself cramming as much as possible in to my work days. In spite of my best efforts, most people reaching out to me happen to flock to me on the days of the week I am not working. That means on Tuesdays and Thursdays I am often the most popular person in the world. It is not abnormal for my email inboxes to have an accumulated total of around 300 unread emails a day. Spam aside, it probably boils down to about 70 actual emails I’d want to read. On the same note, there’s always the possibility someone calls me with a business-related matter on my off-days and I answer because if I can, I’d love to knock one thing off my to-do list for when I return to the office (5 steps to the left) the next morning. The problem with answering when the kids are around…is the kids are around. Suddenly, I am the President of the United States and the nation is in crisis. All hell breaks out when I pick up that phone and utter the word “hello?”

The cake topper recently came when I was on a very urgent business call with time sensitive information. My son had just gone to the bathroom. Escalating in volume I hear him. “MOMMY, I WENT POOOOOOOPPPPPPYYYY!” While crushing my iPhone between my ear and shoulder and trying not to hang up,  I silently motion for him to be quiet as I run over, wipe him and guide him off his throne (8 months pregnant mind you). I quickly try to make my way far from my children to get my concentration back. I hear my daughter start whining. She knows I’m on the phone. President, remember? Nation in crisis. I look up and my obese cat is convulsing on the rug and vomits everywhere. I turn my attention to my daughter who has completely taken all her clothes off (with exception to her brand new undies) and covered her body in magic marker. She slowly looks up, smiles, and bears down for what I know to only mean the sign of a good thick poo working its way out. In her undies.

I can’t do what I normally do, which is shrilly scream “POOPY IN THE POTTY!!!” Because I am in the middle of a business call. Slowly trying to reel myself back to reality I hear….. “so we do have that date available?”. All I can think to answer back with is “that’s excellent. Thank you so much for your time, we’ll be in touch.”

I quickly hang up the phone and think to myself ‘imagine how boring working in an office would be’! 


2 Comments

The Mother-in-law. A Resolution Like No Other

Historically, mothers-in-law (MIL) kinda get the short end of the stick. They aren’t portrayed in the most flattering light (i.e.: Monster In Law, Mother Knows Best, The Govenor’s Wife- just to name a few) and unfortunately many daughters-in-law out there aren’t quick to jump to their defense. I’ve heard all too many stories of mother-in-laws who constantly try to pry into their sons’ lives, guilt trip them or constantly criticize the choices dear son and daughter-in-law have made- or even worse, the bitterness becomes so strong some try to turn dear son against the other woman in his life that now holds (in her opinion) too much of beloved son’s heart!

All kinds of stories are out there and it’s easy to think all the MIL’s are crazy. Today I’m resolving to change that- even if just in this one little blog post. I am one of the lucky few it seems that not only got a normal mother-in-law, but has one of the best around. Aside from the fact that my mother-in-law actually hand-picked me out of the high school chorus for my husband (true story), on the very day I married her son a decade later, she sat down with tears in her eyes and informed her son that his home was now with me and all his energy, love and focus needs to now be centered on his new home. She went on to say such beautiful things that in the few minutes of privacy we had on that whirlwind of a day, my husband, father-and-law, and I were all weeping like babies at the end. Some can say she was only saying that in the moment; people say all kinds of things on special days when emotions run high. My mother-in-law didn’t just mean what she said- she’s lived it ever since.

For example, my MIL has tremendous self restraint. She has never once inserted herself in any of my husband’s or my private matters. She has never criticized me or our family choices. If anything she’s only done the opposite. I’ve made some choices that may be considered progressive to many, mostly having to do with my three pregnancies to date. My MIL is an ER nurse and has never once offered advice or her opinion unless asked. When I had my son, MIL and father-in-law (FIL) had come in to visit. I remember being out on our couch in our tiny apartment while my son cried in the middle of the night. In my frazzled sleep-deprived state (and not realizing MIL was in her bedroom awake from hearing my son cry) I was desperately trying to teleport a signal for her to come out and see if anything was wrong with my son or he was simply just being a newborn. No one ever came down the hall to my aid that night. She only admitted the next morning after I continued to express my shock no one heard my son crying for 30 minutes straight, that she had sat there clutching her covers forcing herself to stay in bed so I could get better acquainted with my son on my own…

My husband and I have done a lot of crazy things in our relationship- we lived in Japan, we traveled the world, backpacking through Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos, and when we finally we returned to the U.S. to get our advanced degrees, we quickly sprung off to New York City a few years later when my husband landed his first job at a law firm. My mother-in-law never made us question our decisions. She never stated her opinion or what she wanted for us- only that she hoped we’d find a good church and be surrounded by good people wherever we went. The day we left for Japan, with tears in her eyes and a smile on her face, she looked at us and told us how great we were for doing something so brave. She never begged us to stay. She never begged us to come back. She visited us there and raved about how amazing it was and when we left, even though I know she had to be happy we were coming back, she only told us how much she knew we would miss it…and she was right.

My mother-in-law lives a selfless life, one in which she sincerely wants the best for her two sons and daughter. She doesn’t advocate for herself, instead she rejoices her children’s triumphs and appreciates being invited for the ride. She leads by example and asserts herself only when she feels truly passionate about something.

In truth, this post was originally conceptualized as being a humorous “word to the wise” if you will, for all the mothers-in-law out there- specifically how NOT to alienate their daughters-in-law in 2014. (Ie: Only state your opinion when asked. I remember the time when….. yadda, yadda, yadda). But then as I started writing and reflecting on all the qualities I appreciate about my MIL and why we have such a great relationship, it’s not because she follows all the steps a MIL should, or can check all the peacekeeping boxes. It’s because she is a loving and genuine person. I will never have the self discipline of not always speaking what’s on my mind like she does, but I can work towards it. I may overstep boundaries with my children as they age, but I can try to remember how good it felt when my mother-in-law didn’t. I may never be able to fully reflect the optimism she does, but I can try. So instead of trying to tell all the MIL’s out there how they can resolve to be better, I guess I can resolve to simply start by using this advice on myself.

Happy New Year to all! May 2014 bring you little bits of laughter, love, insight, and maybe even a happy tear or two too!


4 Comments

Happy 32nd! You want me to wear WHAT?!

Some women claim they feel sexier than ever when they hit their 30’s, shedding their ball-in-chain insecurities from their 20’s and evolving physically, emotionally, and sexually to the point they feel at peace, dare I say for some, on the prowl? I applaud those women. I am inspired, a little irritated, and frankly not joining their company any time soon. This is not to say I don’t have self-confidence however twenty-three weeks ago as I teetered over a toilet trying to pee on a stick while my toddler questioned me incessantly and my 1-year-old clamored to be held, I couldn’t help but feel I desperately needed sexy back. As I watched the two lines appear on my tiny urine colored stick, I resolved myself to the fact that it may be a little longer than I hoped before sexy and I would reconvene. This was only more solidly confirmed when I was prescribed compression stockings shortly into my second trimester. Compression stockings? Yes, compression stockings. 32. Pregnant. Medical-grade compression panty-hos’. Lovely.

Last week, as I attempted to get dressed up for a night out with my sister, brother-in-law, and hubby for my birthday, the harsh reality set it. This (3rd) pregnancy combined with my newly minted age; 32 may be a little rough on the edges. I went from the bed to the floor grunting, involuntarily farting, and lunging to try to squeeze myself into my medically prescribed compression stockings. (This may beg the question: why would you need a medical prescription for compression stockings? How could they possibly be abused/harm anyone?) Let me be the first to tell you if you get the right size they could kill you, let alone the wrong one! There’s plenty these mo-fo’s can do if in the wrong hands- like be used to strangle people…which is what a person prescribed them wants to do after popping a hernia just trying to get the damn things on. They are strong enough to put the best pair of Spanks to shame and they are tight enough I challenge the likes of “the world’s strongest man” to get a pair on in less than 20 minutes. I bet he won’t. He can’t.

We had dinner reservations at one of my favorite restaurant’s in Manhattan and I was determined to look feminine in spite of my appalling undergarment. I was determined to look classy in spite of the fact I was not able to wear heels because my pregnancy-induced varicose veins were so bad. I needed to feel fabulous in spite of the fact that I was wearing compression stockings at almost the tightest compression level you can get. This needed to be a sophisticated night because if I sneezed at the wrong time, I may pee my pants. Sexy people don’t do that. They probably don’t poop either.

After I was able to cram myself into my stockings and my sister turned a blind eye to the horror she just witnessed, we made our way downstairs to speed-talk our bedtime run-down to the sitter. We all finally got out the door and breathed a sigh of relief as we headed to our destination. Things don’t always begin (or slide on) smoothly but sometimes it makes for a better ending as a result. We made it to the restaurant and had the most wonderful meal and evening… aside from the 7 times I had to go to the bathroom and battle my stockings which were harder to get back up as the meal progressed. Around the 6th time I went to the bathroom with my sister accompanying me (for her 2nd time to the loo) I felt a little less sorry for myself as I lunged in the bathroom watching my sister try to mask the humor of it all. After I let (maybe a small fart) and a grunt of laughter out, she finally broke down and we were both in hysterics. Times like these remind me that sometimes instead of feeling sorry for myself, it’s better to have my sister there to laugh at me instead- because at least that way there are two people laughing as opposed to one person feeling sad! Thanks 32, at least we are starting out on the humorous side to say the least.


1 Comment

Top 10 Things That Terrify Me About Halloween

The title requires very little introduction.

10. Halloween is terrifying in general. The concept of dressing in disguise is dangerous because just like the internet, people don’t know who you are. This contributes to heightened levels of self confidence leading people to act as they wouldn’t otherwise…like the internet.

9. Then there are those people who dress up and never quite break out of character. Creepy.

8. A common Halloween tradition is egging houses. In the city, houses are all joined together. Many people live in apartments. Housing all blends together.  What doesn’t blend in, is a minivan. I have a minivan. Research suggests we treat things better when we name them. Our minivan goes by Ted. I am very attached to Ted. I would hate to think someone may take special note of him on Halloween and- I can’t. I can’t go on….

7. Aside from (gag) egging things that stand out in the city, individuals in costume also like to do weird things like smash pumpkins. What terrifies me is trying to explain to 4 innocent little eyes (6 if you count my husband) why someone would want to smash the beautiful pumpkins they put all their tender loving care into painting (and maybe named too). IMG_8208IMG_8209

6. The trick-or-treaters. Like the onset of Christmas merchandise, they come out earlier and earlier each year. Three in the afternoon?! Who do you expect to be home and handing out candy at 3 in the afternoon?! I guess I was home, but I didn’t necessarily advertise it.  Nothing scares me more than large numbers of angry children. They’re like monkeys. They’re so unpredictable.Trick-or-treaters also scare me because they hate people like me. I give out apples.

5. The homemade ‘treats’. I’ll have to see your kitchen and (possibly fingerprint you) before I’ll indulge in your ‘man-made’ treat, let alone allow my kids to dive in.

4. The movies. I can’t even watch the tv show Criminal Minds without having nightmares, forget Halloween movies.

3. The sexy Halloween costumes. They are starting to make me more uncomfortable each year and just like Miley Cyrus twerking, once exposed, I will never be able to fully shake the images from my mind. Taking my child out trick-or-treating and having to cover his eyes while Trixie the sexy doctor picks up her dropped treats is not my idea of a good time.

2. The sexy halloween costumes. I have a daughter.

1.  Sugared up kids. Who in their right mind thinks giving children sugar is a good idea?! Do people not have “bedtime crazies” in which their children literally run rampant as though on crack for 2 hours straight before bedtime?! I barely make it out alive every night. So no, I don’t think it’s a great idea to allow my children to go house to house and collect 4 months worth of sugar snacks. No, I’ll pass on that. That’s the most terrifying thought of all!


6 Comments

What I Want My Daugther to Know About Elle Magazine

Five years ago, my idea of a relaxing day was sitting outside in a lounge chair with my girlfriends reading tabloids and snacking all day. After I had children, I would secretly love (the very very few) solo trips I would take because I would indulge in flying- which so happens to provide every sort of literature imaginable in the airport. Naturally skipping anything enlightening, I always bulldozed straight to the tabloids and as I aged a little, some good cooking magazines. Two children and a minivan later, flying is out of the question (we are trying to postpone buying 4 round-trip plane tickets for as long as possible). That means I frequently travel solo with two kids offering me no time for tabloids and snacks (or peeing for that matter). Very recently, when my husband and I drove two of our closest friends back to the city, my bestie was prepared with what most women would consider a complete goody bag of tabloids and a big old fat Elle Magazine touting ‘650+pages’ on the cover. Naturally I was excited about the tabloids but even more so about Elle since I read it so little and could use some major fashion advice these day. (Apparently yoga pants aren’t meant for day after day after daily wear?)  Alas, me being the motion-sick traveler I am, I wasn’t able to read Elle as I sat gagging in the middle row of the van next to my happily snoozing 1 year old. Elle would have to wait till later.

One week later to be exact, I excitedly sat down with a blanket and some tea in hand while hubby was out entertaining the kids. When I say ‘entertaining’ I mean he took them to the laundromat. I maintain it was entertaining. For someone. As I started flipping through my beloved Elle Magazine. I noticed something: a lot of ads. I kept flipping and flipping and flipping and as each page heavily turned, I became more and more irritated. I am however many pages in and I have yet to see ANY text. All I’ve seen so far are airbrushed models wearing designer clothes. At first I was irritated at the fact that people actually PAY for a magazine that is, as far as I’m concerned a book of ads. Then as I really mulled over each page, I felt my anger growing. I was angry at the messages these ads were sending. I was angry for the unattainable standards I felt this magazine was setting for young women out there. I began thinking of words young females probably associate with each of these ads: sex, money, power, fame, success, ‘it’ girl, designer look, perfect, thin, fashionable, better than me. 

This is absurd. It’s absurd for so many reasons beyond the fact that women shouldn’t attempt to match these standards. I could ramble on to try to make my (many overly passionate) points, but instead I think I will finish with something more powerful. I present you with the numbers.

The first 56 pages of Elle were full page ads for mostly designer brands for the elite.

Then 1 page of little tidbits of information followed by 29 pages of ads.

One more page of random September tidbits followed by 13 pages of ads.

Page 100 was the Table of Contents followed by 22 more pages of ads.

One more page of Table of Contents followed by 11 more pages of ads.

One page of Table of Contents listed as “Hot Contents” followed by 9 pages of ads.

One page featuring a guest blogger with a half page of text and half page of images followed by 5 pages of ads.

One page labeled “Fashion Week Forecast” (half the page was images with half the page being text) followed by 9 pages of ads.

One page of Elle Magazine Staff beginning with the Editor-in-Chief. The remaining list of staff was after 30 more pages of ads.

Then 5 pages of ads until the Letter from the Editor followed by 18 pages of ads.

So I will not exhaustively list Elle’s contents (or lack thereof) until page 660. I will just tell you the final numbers. I only counted 184 pages out of 660 that were NOT ads. I will go on to state more than half of the remaining 184 non-ad pages depicted women as having a lot of money, looking seductive, wearing a lot of make-up, and of tall and thin build- most likely considered thinner than the average reader by a long shot. Additionally, over half the remaining ‘non-ad’ pages constituted full-page spreads of models and a full list of every single item on their statuesque physiques- in essence more ads. 

What I hope my daughter takes from this someday are the numbers. I also hope she takes from Elle Magazine exactly what it is: a (huge) book of ads composed of digitally enhanced images. I hope she realizes believing she can or should look like any of the women in those ads is as crazy as spending your life trying to look like a Disney Princess. I hope I’m able to raise her to know her self-worth and who she is without being influenced by such ridiculous and unattainable standards.

I hope she grows up to be a strong, smart, inquisitive young woman who is good at math. Because if she’s good at math she would realize spending over $4 on a magazine entirely composed of aggressive ad campaigns with heavily altered images is pointless when she can just go in to Manhattan for a ‘girls day’ with her mom for free and even get a small ad fix (if she felt she really missed out) on the way! Because going in to Manhattan to the spa and out to dinner with your mother (not wearing yoga pants) is way better than sitting in your room with a 660 page book of ads summoning low-self esteem and feelings of inadequacy, right?

Well, let’s hope. Between Elle Magazine and myself, at least I provide free dinner!


Leave a comment

Some things NEVER change

One of the cool things about being married to my high school sweetheart, is we’ve seen each other through it all. Highschool, puberty, awkward haircuts- mine in particular (I still can’t believe he didn’t dump me when I got a pixie cut), friendships- new and old, college, transitions from being with each other all day everyday to being long-distance with no cars (at first…we didn’t last past sophomore year without them) becoming college graduates, getting engaged and traveling the world- living in Japan. It really has been a great journey. Aside from all the memories we have together, seeing each other grow and change has been the biggest reward (and surprise) because even though we all inevitably change over time, some things remain the same.

One evening before we went to watch hub’s brother play basketball, we decided to go out to eat. As we walked to the cute (THE meaning, the only) diner down the street, we debated what we’d order. Hubs said he was starving so he’s gonna go big or go home. We had an important game to make, so home wouldn’t be it.

As we sat down and were greeted by a friendly waitress with our waters, hubs sits up straight and states he wants to order the fish fry (which of course comes with two sides and a roll). So he’ll have the fries, cottage cheese, and his roll…and a grilled ham and cheese.

The waitress looks at my hubby (who was not one of the “meatier” of students back in the day). “Hon, the fish fries are really big. I don’t think you’re gonna need your sandwich.”

Now, hubby, a man of his word (and pride), readjusts his position as he says “Oh no, I’ll be alright. I’m starving.”

I sit silently knowing hubby believes he was discretely challenged. I can’t reverse his order now. I order my fish fry and resign myself to the thought of doggie bags, HUGE doggie bags.

Sure enough, as the waitress slowly saunters in to the dining room, I can’t help but show my surprise at how huge these fish fries were. The fish were literally hanging off the ends of our plates. Briefly I wondered if the waitress told the chef to give us the largest fish they had….teach that little pistol a lesson!

As she sets our food down on the table, I see my husband confident. He is sizing up each part of his meal. He looks up at the waitress, smiling with a hint of arrogance. “I ordered the grilled ham and cheese sandwich too”.

“I know honey, I couldn’t get it all in one trip. Be right back.”

He begins strategizing. Game on.

He starts with his fish, quickly making his way through the first half. He’d cut it in half to convince himself he was eating less. He quickly finishes the first half and then moves on to his side of cottage cheese.

I’m sick as I watch hubs go to town and realize my dinner is about 4 times what I really needed.

Waitress returns with his sandwich. “Everything ok?”

Hubs proudly. “It’s delicious!”

Hubby is now  alternating between fries and cottage cheese because they “are light and go down smooth”.

I can’t eat anymore. I sit with half my fish, my roll, and half my fries remaining. I ask for a doggie bag. The waitress turns to dear hubs. “You ready for a doggie bag too hon?”

He looks up. His facial expression a little worn. I am praying so hard he just asks for one. I can see his pain. I know he’s getting full. I thought I saw him sweating.

“Nope, still going strong!” Forced smile.

Now he’s looking fairly uncomfortable and less enthusiastic. I turn to poor hubby. “Babe, don’t eat it if you can’t. You’re going to make yourself sick.”

“I can’t back down now Shay! She thinks it’s too much for me. I have to do this. I have to show her it wasn’t too much!”

He returns to half his fish, his roll, and grilled cheese and slowly plows ahead. About 20 minutes, a lot of deep breathing, and a couple “close call” burps, hubby has only his roll remaining.

He turns to me on the brink of vomiting and leans in towards me. “Put this in your purse.”

“Huh?” I say confused and slowly look down to see hubby’s hand shakily holding his sad little dinner roll. “No! I’m not putting that in my purse! It’s ONE roll for goodness sake! Just leave it!”

Leaning closer, controlled, and firmly. “PUT it…in your purse.”

I look at his eyes. He is controlled and firm, but pleading. I angrily rip the roll from his hand and put it in my purse.

Hubby sits back and basks (for a moment) as the waitress comes and collects his plates. She failed to react as she noticed ALL the food was gone. Hubby begins to get angry about it but quickly redirects to the fact that he really did finish his fish and 2 people saw it!

As we left the restaurant and headed to what became one of the longest and most grueling basketball games ever, I promised to never forget that night in the diner. It was a great moment showing my husband’s pride, determination, and in hindsight- sense of humor.

Now 13 years later, as we gather around our kitchen island and I pour my husband a bowl of soup. I realize I gave him too much but I was hoping he and I could finish the last of the leftovers. I turn to him and say “Oh sorry honey, I didn’t mean to give you a bowl that big. You don’t have to eat it all if you can’t.”

He looks up at me, smiles and says “Is that a challenge?”

….Some things never change. Thankfully they are the things that keep me smiling.


1 Comment

A Company I Can’t Help But Endorse: Joovy

I want to begin by saying Joovy is NOT paying me to blog about this. I would go as far as to say they don’t even know I exist but they do and that’s what compelled me to write about them now!

This past June, I had the privilege of attending an incredible event hosted by A Child Grows in Brooklyn called the Brooklyn Baby Expo. I was working for a dear friend of mine and was lucky enough to share a room with an incredible woman named Pam. Pam was attending the expo representing the company Joovy. To make a long story short, Pam and I ended up spending the entire day together bonding more than high school BFF’ers for life! Throughout the day, Pam told me the story behind Joovy. They are a family owned company (which was evident since Pam’s daughter was at the expo supporting her). She told me about her children, how the family works together, and how the company developed. I felt a part of her family before she even finished. She was kind, warm, and genuine. I decided right then, I wanted to support this brand. Not just because Pam made a positive impression on me (although she did) or because I already owned and loved one of their products (I do). I wanted to support Pam and the Joovy brand because they have great products, they are family owned, and they make good parenting their focus. Before I met Pam or became mildly interested in obsessed with their brand, I already happened to own one of the best products on the market today  The Greenie Leatherette Nook Highchair. This highchair (that folds in half and wipes down smoother than a baby’s butt) has been on three vacations this summer and I know we won’t stop there!

Image

Yes. It folds in HALF!! Here’s your proof. The chair, the myth, the soon-to-be legend! (If you haven’t spotted it, it’s to the left of the white table!)

IMG_6876

I would say it’s me making my daughter smile this way, but in truth, I think it’s the highchair and the food….I’m not bitter.

IMG_6853

Our first fishing trip with our highchair!

I could go on and on and ON about that highchair and how it’s revolutionized our lives, but I have something else “Joovy” to tell you about: the Groove. My husband and I never thought we would have use for an umbrella stroller after having two kids, but as we now face a budding toddler and a (very) mobile older toddler, we are finding a quality lightweight stroller essential. Enter Joovy Groove.

This stroller really is all that and a bag of chips. First, it arrives almost entirely assembled.

photo-20

This is it right here folks! Pretty easy to assemble if you ask me! I almost gave 1 yr old a crack at it.

Although I can’t speak from personal experience here, by the look on my daughter’s face, I venture to say this stroller is comfortable! In fact, I had a hard time getting her out of it! photo-19

photo-16

A different trip the next day, nap time took NO time! 😉

To get to the good stuff, here are some major features:

* Easily folds down with a handle on the side for convenient carrying (to the upper right of the picture above)

* Adjustable seat to recline and lay tot all the way down

* Nice size canopy protecting tots from the sun

* Reasonably priced compared to competitors

* Underneath storage for a small diaper bag or purse

Unique features

* Canopy size- well past the extension of a comparable model with velcro straps to secure it in place

* Mesh pockets on the  inside of the stroller where baby sits (you can put bottles, snacks, or toys in them to keep kiddies happy longer- Or also pictured above, your child can use the pockets as arm rests- see arm on your right!)

* A zip-enclosed pouch on the back of the stroller for cell phone, wallet, other storage options

* Additional small mesh pockets also on the back (see below) photo-18

The Groove is a teeny bit bulkier and heavier than some comparable models (the tradeoff for being jam packed with features) and the storage underneath is not huge. If you are in the market for something a bit more compact and streamlined, Joovy also offers the Groove Ultralight which is totally worth checking out to compare.

Whew! Well, I think I’ve said my piece here! I don’t usually post advertisements for products because I much prefer writing humorous or thoughtful anecdotes from my city-themed parenting adventures (plus I don’t get paid for them) however after meeting Pam and getting to know her and the Joovy brand more intimately, I just had to share the good news! What it really boils down to is as parents we all want the best for our family. We want to know what we buy is great quality, useful, and most importantly we want to be able to trust where it came from. After spending the whole day with Pam, I can honestly say I know she would want that too because that’s what she’s helped create through the Joovy brand.


3 Comments

Piss Happens: A Mother’s Unforgivable Moment

So we’ve been traveling a TON this summer. I took the kids to Ontario, Canada (with hubs for part of the trip and drove back solo), the Adirondacks with kids and my NYC BFFs, and the Finger Lakes region most recently with the in-laws. Both my and hubby’s families live in Western New York so we try to travel to see all the grandparents and our siblings at least a few times a year in addition to our summer trips. The trips are often a lot of work for me (especially when I’m preparing, packing, and driving solo), but always worth it. Not only do road trips offer us new and exciting adventures and valuable time with family, they never fail to deliver great stories. Our most recent trip to the Finger Lakes gave us just that.

We were on our way out of New York City traveling to Binghamton where we planned to stay in a hotel and finish the remaining leg of our trip to the Finger Lakes. Each city departure is predictable; the first leg of the trip is always failed attempts to get out of the city in under two hours immediately after which we are forced to stop just as we pick up speed because big brother has to pee (or God forbid and plug your nose- poop). In all the trips we’ve taken, we’ve only ever gotten out of NYC in less than 2 hours once. When that happened, no one was with me of course…Anyways, consistent with our usual drawn out departure, right as we hit the notorious 2 hr mark, we start cruising. Finally moving now, both hubs and I exchange confident glances. Maybe we won’t have to stop for a bit.

“Momma, I have to go poooooottttyyyyyy.”

Hubs turns from the front passenger seat.  “Can you hold it bud?”

“No, I have to gooooo. Momma, I have to go potty!”

I turn to hubby. “Ok, I don’t want to mess around. When he says he has to go, he usually has to go. Well, with exception to the time he discovered porta-potties and had to “go” every three minutes for two hours straight. But, I mean, most of the time, he’s legit.”

Hubby lets out a tired sigh. “Well, we’re not stoppin bud. Here I come.” Hubby reclines his seat to be completely flat and slides into the back of the minivan to the far rear where our son was sitting. Aware of my 70 mph cruise, hubby whips out a water bottle with a smirk.

“Oh no, honey, this just isn’t a great idea. I can stop.”

“No Shay, just give me a chance. I got this.” like a professional football player before the game winning catch.

“Fine, just……be careful….and neat.” A few minutes, snickers, and an eventual tinkle later, I look in the rear view mirror to see my husband proudly angling our son into the Poland Springs water bottle and a sigh of relief from my son still comfortably strapped into his car seat. Hubby competently helps son finish up, zip up his pants, and tightens the top on the water bottle sliding it into the middle door pocket so we can toss it at the next gas station.

As the trip carried on, the kids pulled out rock-star behavior. My husband ended up surprising big brother with Cars to watch in the van and we cruised on into Binghamton while baby sister happily slept. We then unloaded the minivan at our cozy little hotel and got a good night’s rest before continuing on the beautiful Finger Lakes region where we had a wonderful trip.

Fast forward 1 week 

Tuesday morning, I am preparing French toast for the kids while big brother gets dressed and brushes his teeth for preschool. Baby sister putters around the living room happily. Waking up is always hard for big brother when we return from a family vacation. Returning to preschool from travel is even harder. Spirits lifted after some lucious French toast, big brother, baby sister, and I load into the minivan to go to preschool. I am strapping baby sister into her car seat and big brother is rambling about something.

….”and can I have some fresh water mama? I gonna drink some water, mama.”

I finish strapping baby sister in to turn and see my son wide-eyed, cheeks puffed out like a chipmunk, housing way more water than he should. Then it hits me. His look of disgust. Big brother is sitting shell-shocked with a mouth of his own pee.

“Spit it out!!!! Spit it out honey!” I shouted on the brink of excessive laughter and guilt ridden sorrow at the same time. Big brother quickly sits forward and spits his pee between my legs out through the open minivan door.

He shudders and looks up. “Mama, what was that?”

Too embarrassed to admit I failed him as a mother by letting him drink his urine. “Nothing honey, it was nothing. Just rinse your mouth out with this.” I double-check the new bottle I am holding to make sure it’s actually water this time. Big brother diligently takes it, swished it around in his mouth, spits it out, and says “…and mama, why did I drink my pee-pee? That’s silly!”

As I loaded my son into his car seat (as he’d clearly recuperated), I silently prayed he wouldn’t announce his new -found beverage when he arrived at preschool.  Maybe he would forget, although if big brother is anything like his mother, he won’t do well with situations that leave a bad taste in his mouth!


Leave a comment

Throwback Thursday: The $1,000 Dinner

Well, it’s Thursday and I often don’t participate in “throwback Thursday”, but all the sudden summer has come and (almost) gone before I got my stuff together! We’re headed on a final week-long trip to the Finger Lakes region tomorrow which (I can’t believe) I am picturing as being somewhat relaxing, but I am! It’s a trip with the in-laws which is always a treat since everyone dotes on the children, same-aged cousins are there, I get to bond with my sister and mother-in-law, and hubby’s parents ALWAYS force us to go on a date while they stay with the kids and rock their bedtime routines. With cleaning the house, packing suitcases, lining up cat care, while still watching the children (well, maybe the babysitter came a few times) I found myself strapped for time. With all the madness preparing for our trip, my worst case (blogging) scenario happened: I didn’t even finish a blog post. So with that, I decided to resurrect one of my all-time favorite posts from this year: The $1,000 Dinner. I felt it fitting as hubby and I plan to have another date night, we are hoping as we gleefully run out the door to a cute little waterfront restaurant, we are able to digest a nice meal and a much nicer food bill in return! Here’s to throwback Thursday! I hope you enjoy! (I should add there have been a few modifications since the original post).

The $1,000 Dinner

Having children really changes the way you do things. My husband and I fantasized about doing all sorts of (clean) things when we moved to New York. We imagined going to the farmers’ market, buying flowers and cheeses…having a relaxing breakfast while reading the New York Times. Later we would take a walk in the park. The whole day would be relaxing with no cares in the world. Needless to say, after kids we watched our dreams drift away leaving us with something just short of insanity. We ended up at the farmers’ market to buy groceries- no flowers because our cats or our children would eat them and the cheese tasting happened after bedtime. My husband works in the New York Times building which is close enough- no need to read the paper. Walks in the park happened when the children were ready to sleep in the stroller otherwise it turned into a panicked run in two different directions: one after the toddler, the other after the stroller and when baby sister is walking, we will just have to scrap the idea all together.

Having strayed from our NYC vision, we vowed to keep one thing a tradition. We would go out to a really nice restaurant a few times a year. We reasoned although it may be expensive, it was well worth it since the hubby works long hours, late nights, and many weekends while I am with the children for the same, we deserve it. If we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do it right! So we budgeted around $500 (which included ALL costs) for the evening thinking we were being overly generous. After much debate as to where we would go, the winner was Del Posto: created and owned by Mario Batali, and Lidia and Joe Bastianich. We would have our regular sitter with the kids so we could kick back and enjoy the evening. My husband’s coworker and I went to great lengths (she may or may not have gone undercover) to make it into a double date. I pulled out all the stops and dressed up. Since the kids were staying home, we expected a quiet and (aside from out-of-this-world dinner) uneventful night.

Well, here’s how it actually went down.

I kick off the night leaving the apartment 15 minutes late (which is early in parent world). I am out the door and underground in no time. I can’t get a regular subway pass so I end up getting the $10 card. No problem, I am feeling fabulous since I rarely have the opportunity to dress up. Just as I get off the subway, I trip on what I believe to be a bag. I try to stay cool and keep it together in spite of the fact that I almost face-planted in a skirt and boots. Who needs a sexy strut? I’ll just wipe out in the mud instead. I try to discreetly turn to see the culprit. I don’t see anything so I forge ahead…only to trip minutes later. Now I am suspicious- and mildly embarrassed. I slowly start walking again and feel something under my foot. I grudgingly stop and flip my foot up behind me to find the sole of my boot has completely peeled off and rolled up under my boot. My boots are busted- a beautiful black pair of $50 boots. Haven’t even made it to the restaurant yet and I am $60 in the hole. I try my best attempt at a sexy boot drag all the way to the bar where my hubby, his coworker, and her husband await my arrival.

As I enter the bar, I bring the group up to speed with a dramatic damsel in distress performance. They indulge me. (This is why I love them). Hubby’s coworker quickly pitches the idea of superglue. I don’t even wait for anyone to affirm it. I practically shove my husband out the door. While he makes his $2.95 purchase, I down a beer and am pleasantly surprised by the calamari the group was munching on. Everyone is dressed to impress as dress attire is strongly encouraged at any nice restaurant in New York.

As hubby returns, we quickly get to work gluing my boot. I almost caution him not to spill any on his suit but decide against it to avoid insulting my sugar daddy hours before the gourmet dinner he’s treating me to. I slowly stand to put pressure on my salvaged boot and hear “Ahhhhhh! It’s burning! Ahhhhh!” I turn to see poor hubby anxiously pulling at his ($350) pant leg. I don’t need him to tell me what happened. I already know. He spilled superglue and it’s burning the little hairs off his leg while gluing the fabric on, nice and snug.

At this point the group is anxiously buzzing around trying to figure out what to do. My husband’s pants look ridiculous. They are now stiff and the glue has dried into a nice white color down his leg. We can’t go to the restaurant like this. We try to break the ice by joking about how the group could choreograph a special walk into the restaurant keeping my husband’s leg hidden all the way to our table. As we laugh about it, I look up and notice a red trail of marinara sauce trailing down coworker’s husband’s shirt. I hadn’t noticed it before but wondered if it had been there the whole time. Coworker quickly confirms it has not. “Babe, you have sauce on your shirt!” He looks down to see the sauce. Fear spreads across his face. The group is silent for a moment. We all know. We can’t go into Del Posto like this. Our men have to change.

We grab the check and minutes later are quickly run/walking across the city in cold drizzle in hopes of finding a place to buy a nice shirt and suit pants. Coworker and I quickly make the call that our high (half broken) heels are holding dear hubbies back so we duck into a McDonalds while the men take off to replace their clothes. About 35 minutes and $120 later (not including the coffee from McD’s), coworker and I are racing across the city to the restaurant aiming to meet our newly dressed men there.

As we enter the restaurant, we see they’ve beaten us there. Coworker’s husband has barely broken a sweat. He isn’t even wet from the rain. My poor husband has a smirk on and is visibly misted and out of breath. The “you run much?” conversation occurred without being spoken. We check our coats and enter the restaurant. I haven’t felt this disheveled since, well, a few hours ago. Our group is able to recompose and we all look nice. We are told our table is almost ready. We sit in the bar. A waiter approaches us and attempts to force drinks on the group. We have already done the math. Before our dinner is even served, we have run our tab over $500! No drinks, thank you. Not really in the mood.

Our group sat in the bar waiting and feeling guilty not ordering drinks for close to 30 minutes. My husband and I are silently calculating the ‘end of the evening’ costs that most people don’t even consider: like the sitter’s total (already over $100), a cab home for her ($20 maybe), a cab home for us ($50). Before we are even seated for dinner, I feel nauseous. The hostess finally comes over and leads us to our table. We are seated by a beautiful pair of waitresses who approach our table and suddenly it’s as if they are dancing around us (in synchronization) as they set our places and begin taking orders. The rest of the dinner was a nostalgic and delicious blur. Needless to say, when you are paying over $100 per person for dinner, it’s guaranteed to fall in the ‘last supper’ category. We arrived at 9:15 and (tiredly) finished our dinners around 12:30. (Quarter past nine was the earliest we could get a reservation!)

So here’s the total bill for ‘uneventful evening’:
Subway pass $10
Ruined Boots $50
Super glue $2.95
Calamari and beers $20
Ruined Suit $350
New pants $120
Dinner $115/person- $230 for hubs and I combined (pre-tax)
Tip $50
Cab home $50
Sitter $120
Cab for the sitter $20

This makes the GRAND TOTAL of ‘uneventful evening’ a cringe-worthy: $1022. 95

Ouch.

Our solace was seeing Joe Bastianich in person on the way out. That was priceless.

Just kidding. Totally made that last part up. We didn’t see Joe Bastianich. We just paid $1,022.95 instead. Oops, I forgot to add in the $1 McDonald’s coffee…


4 Comments

Where Will Our Children Be?

The kids and I just returned from our second of three summer trips together. The first was a wonderful trip to Canada (which I still owe you a full blog post of), the second was a long weekend trip to the Adirondack’s with two dear friends (and their bunny Charlotte), and the last is an upcoming trip to the Finger Lakes region.

Summer trips are always special to me because I often see family, friends, and get a strong dose of the great outdoors. I take the kids out daily in NYC but it probably goes without saying it’s a different kind of ‘outdoors’. Both of my recent trips offered me time to reflect. One day while watching my son and daughter play in the sandbox with my cousin’s kids, it struck me how content the kids were sitting next to each other sifting sand and pushing trucks. I wondered at what age they wouldn’t be content with simple play anymore. Then I began thinking of how much time has changed. That’s when I began to worry.

I worry today’s children won’t grow up to know the beauty of nature and being outdoors.  Maybe they will watch clips of nature and wildlife on their iPads or comment how breathtaking the sunset always looks in movies- never actually going outside to experience it for themselves. Will they know games like hide-and-seek, dodgeball, or marco polo? Will camping be an event they embrace or will they rent a modern “cottage” with wifi and bring their iPads and movies with them for the perfect set-up to never leave the cottage (or the living room for that matter)?  If that’s the direction we’re moving, will secluded cottages still exist?

Will today’s children grow to know the beauty of solitude? Will they ever embrace slowing down and sitting in silence, stopping even? How about parting with their phones and disconnecting from the internet for a few hours or a whole day? Will they enjoy talking to people face to face? Will they be able to make eye contact when they do? Will they have the ability to have a conversation with real words or will they only speak in acronyms?

Will they take the time to explore and observe things they don’t understand? Will they ask people questions or will they google everything instead? Will they have patience to try and work through challenges or will they immediately give up and look for something with guaranteed success? Will they demand instantaneous results for most things in life? Will relationships with others mean anything if they aren’t available at one’s beckon call…or text…or tweet?

Will the thought of hanging out with relatives be completely out of the question by then- away from friends, without the internet or cell service, no less?

Will they ever know the beauty of life, people, and the world around them through their own eyes?

I really hope so, because as close as these images are to my heart, they don’t even compare to being physically (and mentally) there. I truly hope today’s children can embrace the gift of being fully present over time. At least I hope my summer trips can teach a few of them to be….

IMG_7462 IMG_7463 IMG_7465 IMG_7519 IMG_7558 IMG_7536


1 Comment

Would You Like S’more? How bout a Winner?!

My family’s annual camping trip came and went in the blink of an eye. Since my return (9 hour solo road trip in torrential downpour) I have been scrambling behind the scenes to sort through my images and write up a few goodies. It was an incredible trip with lots of great images from the week so I look forward to finalizing the posts in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I will leave you with this delicious picture of my son with a tiny revision of the age-old camping food tradition- the s’more. Doesn’t it look so tempting with the extra dirt seasoning from my son’s nails?IMG_6557

Stay tuned for more on camping in Canada! You won’t want to miss out!

In other news, I wanted to officially post and congratulate the winner of my second “Picture This” contest winner who happens to be a two-time champion as she nabs the highest number of votes with this gem of a picture to fit the caption: Parenthood. Because life without kids is boring. 

Congratulations to Susan H! This picture cracks me up every time! Thanks to all who submitted. I genuinely love looking at each one.

Picture B By Susan H


Leave a comment

Things I Learned From My Minivan Being Vandalized

So our beloved minivan (the one I had a custom header created for) got into a scuffle. None of us were present to witness it. In fact, we have no idea how it happened. I arrived with both kids in tow, to find the rear window of our minivan with a hole in it. So I guess I should say someone vandalized it.

photo (31)

Yes. That’s my reflection with my baby strapped to me. Taking a picture of my poor minivan….Neither of us was smiling…

Pretty bad huh? I thought so. It was a messy situation all around. From vehicular damage to the insurance company…. and the shady garage that “fixed” the window (only to break our trunk latch), things didn’t go well. I try to be a positive person and always focus on the best. In this case, the best comes in the form of a blog post. Here are a couple things I learned from the assault on our beloved minivan- a few things I hope to educate others on in hopes they won’t be as ill-prepared as I was.

1. Upon arriving to find glass shattered and a huge hole in a window of  your vehicle,  your toddler may experience an uncontrollable urge to touch the broken glass. Consequently, you may experience an uncontrollable urge to stop grabby toddler.

2. DON’T call the police. Contrary to popular belief, you should actually call 911. Although NYPD agreed to come to my house, they maintained next time (a discrete way of telling me this is common?) I need to call 911, which I find interesting since it wasn’t an actual emergency.

3. If the police take pity on you and DO show up at your house. You better haul ass to their car so they don’t turn around and leave. Apparently NYPD’s form of ‘knocking’ on a door is pulling up in a cop car, “boop, booping” the siren, then driving away if too much time passes before you answer ….regardless of whether you are elbows deep in a poo covered diaper change!

4. When the police notice your children, they seem to default to “wanna sit in the car buddy?” Children know this. They patiently wait for it. When the offer is made, they not only take the police up on it, they GLOW in it. It will make your kid’s day; it will make yours too.

5. Then this will ruin it again. When you go to a repair shop to have your vehicle repaired, you should NOT choose the repair shop with same-day availability. There’s a reason they aren’t booked solid. (Hint: It’s probably cuz they’re shady.)

6. When you inadvertently book ‘shady repair shop’, it’s best to avoid bringing children with you. Turns out mechanics, garages, chemicals, dangerous tools, and children don’t mix…neither do the questionable hairs coating the bathroom.

7. …Or the junkyards surrounding the garage.

8.  Shady mechanics are shady because they can’t fix one problem without creating another. For example, the window that got busted will get repaired while your trunk suddenly won’t latch.

9. This means you will end up driving your minivan home with the rear window fixed but the trunk jammed shut.

10. Consequently this means you will load the  trunk of your minivan for your camping trip the following week by crawling through the middle row of seats and dropping items up over top of the rear seats.

11. Which also means you will curse. A lot.

12. It may mean you will take up martial arts. So you can find the person who vandalized your car.

13. But you wouldn’t employ your newly learned skills on the assailant (not that a whimpy little white girl could anyways) because you want to set a good example for your children.

14. Instead you would employ a really really good lawyer. That is, if in fact you catch who did this to beloved vehicle. I happen to know a really really good lawyer.

15.  So instead of trying to find, chase down, and use newly minted karate skills on your vehicular offender, you may just use a good lawyer (who you may or may not be married to) to work with the insurance company instead….which generates a LOT less sweat on your part!


1 Comment

It’s that time again! VOTE for your favorite picture!

You know the drill.

Caption: Parenthood. Because life without kids is boring.

Picture A  By Kaylan B

Picture A
By Kaylan B

Picture B By Susan H

Picture B
By Susan H

Picture C By Marisa K

Picture C
By Marisa K

Picture D  By Susan L

Picture D
By Susan L

….let the voting start….NOW!


2 Comments

Picture THIS: The Winner and Next Caption Up!

I asked for your pictures, you sent them in, from there we voted. The very first winner of “Picture THIS” is Susan H with the good ol’ fashion poo smear down a slide at the campgrounds!

Truth is “silence is NOT always golden” when it’s in the form of horrified parents staring at the poo streaks from your kid on the playground slide!!

photo-9

Needless to say Susan H and her whole family lost the title of “cool kids” at camp that year. Thanks to everyone who submitted photos. I sincerely enjoyed each and every one of them and I truly appreciate your participation. Check out the next caption below and toss some goodies my way!

My plan for total world dominat- (clearing throat) I mean….the contest is to eventually have cool prizes!  (I didn’t name myself ‘The Disheveled Parent’ for nothing…you should expect nothing less than my unorganized (but good intentioned) attempt at a fun contest here)!

Check out the next caption below and toss some good leg slappin’ pictures my way at thedisheveledparent@yahoo.com.

NEXT CAPTION UP: Parenthood. Because life without kids is boring…..

IMG_5144


Leave a comment

Would You Like A Car For That Alarm?

IMG_6810The mind of a toddler is an incredible thing. They are so young and flighty, yet so thoughtful and deep. My son is three years old now and it’s almost like his mind is working faster than his mouth. He’s constantly stuttering and enthusiastically repeating his questions to ensure every single thought has closure. This can be a wonderful thing, yet also so very damning at the same time. That little mind is working so hard with such urgency that sometimes he has no filter.

Summer is in full swing so with the first 85 degree day I found myself longing to run through freezing cold sprinkler water…I wish I was kidding. Not surprisingly when one of my best friends texted asking if I wanted to meet her and her son (my son’s BFF) at the sprinklers, I jumped at the chance. In what I thought to be an impressive 15-minute post-nap rally, son, daughter, and I were happily cruising to the park.

We’ve had a string of “close calls” with my son where he kicks cars or bumps them. By some miracle, he has yet to set off any alarms. With this in mind, when we got out of the minivan I warned him not to kick the (really) nice car behind our van. He responds without missing a beat “mama, why does it have an alarm?”

“Well, because cars have alarms to make sure the wrong owner doesn’t try to take them.”

“Mama, why does the wrong owner try to take them?”

“Well, they usually don’t. But the alarm is a nice way to tell people to go away.” I wait flinching for a follow-up question. My son seems content with my answer. He drops it.

We head to the sprinklers which were a huge hit. It’s funny how each new stage of life offers new perspective. After having children, I started really appreciating the little victories over big battles. Even though things were less than ideal (overcrowded sprinklers, shade was lacking, occasional whiffs of urine- either from the restrooms nearby or kids secretly peeing in the sprinklers, and big brother’s animosity towards the cold water) I was so grateful to be outside with occupied children. I deemed water-date a huge hit.

As dinner time closed in and I could see the toll of the sun and heat on big brother, I decided it was time to pack it up and head home. As we made our way to the van, my son starts with incessant questioning.

“Mama, why is it sunny?” Innocently.

Patiently. “Because the sun wanted to come out and shine.”

“Mama, why did the sun want to come out and shine? Mama, why?” Urgently.

Patient and watching people pass us. “Because it did.”

“Mama, why? Why did the sun want to come out and shine? Mama, what’s that over there? Mama, what is that man doing? Mama who is that man?”

I don’t know why. I don’t know what is over there. I don’t know what the man is doing and I don’t know who the man is. More importantly what man?!

Out of the corner of my eye I see a person approaching. Awesome, that man. Great, I was hoping and praying someone would come speak to me right now in the midst of my rapid-fire questioning.  I hear a deep voice. “Excuse me miss. I really hate to do this….”

Then don’t. Big brother in the background. “Mama, what is the man doing?”

Mystery man stays on course “…I really hate this.”

I don’t even know what the hell is going on and I hate it! Getting antsy and circling me. “Mama, who is that man?”

He pretends not to notice my obvious distaste for the whole situation and continues.“….but I lost my job. I am tired, hungry, and homeless….” He’s no mystery anymore. He’s homeless.

“Mama, what is he saying? Mama, what is the man saying? (Baby sister gets bored, starts crying in the van. I am sweating, attempting to dissect and fold down our double stroller and pack it in the trunk of the van.) Mama, mama what is the man saying? Mama? MamaMamawhatishesay-“

The man continues unphased. “…and I’ve got nothing to eat….”

“Mammmmmaaa? Why is baby sister crying? (crying intensifies in the van) Mama, baby sister’s crying.”

Alternating between packing the stroller, looking at mystery man, and answering my son. -“honey go wait in the van please.”  I am being completely honest when I say I wanted to help the man. I really did. Nothing makes me happier than giving to those in need. I probably would have offered to buy him a sandwich or something if I had my wallet. Although with the situation being what it was- we were at the park with tons of towels, clothes, and miscellaneous things (along with my 2 kids) I didn’t want to lose my wallet in the shuffle, so I left it at home. I turn to address the man in the midst of my toddler’s relentless questioning and baby sister’s increasingly irritating screams.

I turn to explain I can’t help the man (who is impressively still there). “I am so sorry, I can’t help you-“

Before I can explain any further, toddler rips the increasingly uncomfortable Band-Aid off for me. “Mama, is this man gonna go away? Do you need an alarm? Mama you need an alarm to make the man go away.”

Horrified and partially relieved with the comic relief, I slowly look up from my son to see the man slowly walking away. With relief I look back down at my son and pat him on the head “I think I have a pretty good little alarm right here.”

 


4 Comments

The Pictures Are IN!! Vote for your favorite!

I asked and you answered! Picture This not only generated some funny pictures, but got me thinking of captions for the coming weeks! Take a look at some great entries below and vote for your favorite. The winner and a new caption still to come so stay tuned!

Silence is not always golden….

when mixed with the wrong colors of paint….

IMG_0601

PICTURE 1: Submitted by Susan L

…in the crevices of the kitchen…

photo-12

Picture 2: Submitted by Laura K

 

….when concentration gets us stuck in a hard place…..

photo-10

Picture 3: Submitted by Marisa K

……when it’s in the form of horrified parents starring at the poo streaks from your kid on the playground slide!

photo-9

Picture 4: Submitted by Susan H


Leave a comment

Change of Plans! Just Go With It.

waiting….

waiting….

Anyone who knows me personally, knows I’m a social person. I absolutely love connecting with others and I thrive in unfamiliar environments offering new opportunities to meet people. I guess that’s part of how I’ve been at such peace with moving every two years (on average) since attending college 9 years ago. I like change. I like new and different things. (On that note, this year officially ushers New York City to the top of the list of places hubby and I have lived the longest!)
That said, there are times I don’t embrace change and sporadic occurrences. For example, as much as my husband and I both appreciate his job (and his coworkers- who I LOVE) I still struggle with the long, unpredictable nature of it. Since this is my blog and not dear hubby’s, I won’t go into too much depth with his situation but what I will say is we’ve all had to learn to play with the hand “large law firm life” deals us. For example it’s not uncommon for us to be en route to church when just before entering the subway, hubby receives contact from someone at his firm or a client. Half the time, we all turn around (because I can’t carry the stroller with toddler and infant strapped to the front of me up and down subways stairs without hubby’s help) and head back home so he can get to work while I try to reroute our day to a fun activity for the kids. The apartment will not get cleaned as I planned. Whatever lead I had on dinner is lost. I have to explain to big brother why we aren’t going to church now. I can’t physically carry you and your sister all the way to church. 
I am a planner by nature. Some may prefer the term anal retentive although I’d like to think I’ve made progress from that!  I’ll admit I’m the type of person who appreciates an agenda and knowing what to expect (for the most part). Some days are harder for me to walk away from than others. One year, hubby’s parents were visiting for his birthday and he ended up working the entire weekend unable to even have one meal out with the family. Another year, hubby worked all Christmas Eve.
It’s not that I can’t be flexible or free spirited. I can be. Any of my true friends will lie confirm that. What I struggle with most is knowing that children need structure and consistency- sometimes I need it too. I know the feeling I have as an adult never knowing what to expect or when my husband is coming home. I know how I feel when my husband comes home on a Friday and announces he has to leave on business for Dallas, Texas for three days on Monday. There have been times I find myself angry because so little is in my control and I have to be ready and willing to simply change plans at the very last minute. My son has to feel the same or worse because he can’t possibly comprehend the situation fully. All he knows is everything he just prepared himself for, got excited over, daydreamed about doing, just changed and he has to be ok with it. Even if he’s not, we are doing it anyways.
My husband and I try hard to make the best of everything. Recently, hubs proved the best can indeed happen by surprising us all with a last minute flight to the kids birthday party in Western New York! Our family and friends all understand that it’s not that we are sloppy or poorly planned, but our schedule depends on my husband’s. Everything does.
It’s the best case scenario’s that keep me going. Plus, the little smiles on my kids faces when they see the love we are always working so hard to give them. I know they see how hard we are trying. I hear it in their voices, feel it in their hugs, and see it on their faces. They remind us it isn’t what we do but how we do it. They are what motivate me to stay positive and make the most of our life. They are what sooth me and remind me we can find happiness in the midst of ever-changing plans.


5 Comments

Picture This: A New Series

Things are getting exciting around here! Aside from the new look at The Disheveled Parent, a new series is about to begin. As you all know I love photography. It is something I felt an immediate connection to when I had my son and I haven’t lost my love for it (or him) since! One of my favorite parts of the blog is sharing my photos and connecting with others (friends, photographers, parents) in response. As much as I love posting my photos, I started to wonder what it would be like to see some of yours…on The Disheveled Parent!

Presenting the newest series on TDP: Picture This

How it works: I will begin by posting a caption. You send me your pictures to match the caption at: thedisheveledparent@yahoo.com. I pick the top three and post them. You get to vote on them and the winner will be announced along with the next caption for the following week!

Kicking off the series with this caption:

Silence. It’s not always golden. 

(Below is an example picture.) Ok, I showed you mine, now you show me yours! Get your submissions over to thedisheveledparent@yahoo.com

IMG_5839


4 Comments

Peace

Instead of doing a throwback today, I decided to make today ‘thoughtful Thursday’!

These images really put a smile on my face and gave me an appreciation of the peaceful times in childhood. Enjoy and Happy Thursday!

photo (27)

photo (26) photo (30) photo (29)


Leave a comment

Does This Blog Make My City Look Big?

I’d be insulting you if I told you something was a little different around here. To my loyal followers, you probably noticed the blog got yet another face lift. To the visitors, I am so glad you are here and hope you stay a while, maybe even come back.

This whole experience of finding the right look for my blog was a long and enlightening one. I began with the help of two wonderful people who worked tirelessly with me to create my previous look which housed a custom header with mint green background. Not only did I appreciate all the efforts put into my look, I respect both friends for helping me make changes I would have never figured out how to do on my own! Then why change the look again?

Well over time, a bit of self reflection and confirmation by some near and dear friends, I realized I didn’t have a clear vision of what I wanted- or of myself for that matter. I’ve written about my struggles with my identity as a mom before. Well, it happened again and this time it affected my outcome because I wasn’t able to clearly communicate my vision to my wonderful blog creators. The truth is, I often have a million different ideas running through my head on any given day.  It takes a lot of energy and effort to hone one and run with it. I am positive I blabbed nearly 100 different ideas to my friend then told him to pick one for my header!

Although I loved my old look and felt great having given my blog some extra lovin’, I felt it didn’t truly reflect who I was because I didn’t truly know at the time either. I decided to take some time to really pay attention to who I am and think about the best way to showcase that in a header and on my blog. After a nice little break and some collaborating with another dear friend and wonderful artist, we came up with this header. From there I stumbled on this fun little Etsy shop, and my new blog look was born!

So welcome to the new Disheveled Parent! Don’t be afraid to check out About TDP to learn more about me, TDP Clicks to see more pictures, and TDP Cooks to hear about my cooking successes and failures along with some recipes and cooking resources too!

Thanks for visiting! Stay tuned for an upcoming post with updates on the home front.


7 Comments

What are the odds?

What are the odds of avoiding a meltdown as you prepare for a long road trip without your husband? What are the odds you remember to pack everything for yourself and two children? What are the odds you make it out of New York City and to the first rest stop incident free? How about all arriving at your destination in one piece, late but with both kids happily sleeping? What are the odds they continue to sleep through your arrival to nana and papa’s house, being unstrapped from their car seats, carried inside, and greeted by grandparents and pets alike at 1:30am? Are they any more likely to sleep through the night?

...and what are the odds OF THIS?!?!?! JUST as I pulled in to my in-laws drive way!!! I  was so tired I didn't even know I was on E!

…and what are the odds OF THIS?!?!?! JUST as I pulled in to my in-laws drive way!!! I was so tired I didn’t even know I was on ‘E’!

Would one believe the odds to be in their favor as they arrive to host two events in two days with two kids to arrange care for? What are the odds your family rallies around you slipping in and out of your visit offering child care exactly when needed? What are the odds both kids are angels? What are the odds your husband surprises you and your children with a last minute flight in to celebrate? Any less likely than your odds of hosting two lovely events with no setbacks?

My 3- and 1-year-old's birthday party favors.

My 3- and 1-year-old’s birthday party favors.

A picture of the flowers at the baby shower I co-hosted.

A picture of the flowers at the baby shower I co-hosted.

How about ending the trip with your best road trip drive time yet (including an unprecedented zip in to NYC without having to stop at ANY bridges) WHILE 1 YEAR OLD NEVER WAKES ONCE? Or during the road trip only having to stop three times (2 of which turned out to be self-imposed because you couldn’t refrain from drinking yet another coffee)?

At our first truck-stop enjoying the sun. Headed back to NYC.

At our first truck-stop enjoying the sun. Headed back to NYC.

The odds of a few of these things happening are slim, let alone everything. With the odds stacked squarely against me, luck proved to be strongly and wholeheartedly in my favor on this road trip, which only means one thing. Buy a lottery ticket? No, I will get addicted. Test my luck at the slots? No, too many lights, sounds, and noise. Too similar to a day-in-the-life…of me. Travel more? No, just the opposite. This will probably never happen again. So from here on out, it’s safe to say, you all know where to find me! In my cozy apartment in NYC! Smiling and waiting for the next bold visitor to drive or fly over to see me!


3 Comments

ROADTRIP!!!!

So here I am on the eve of a massive 8+ hour road trip surrounded by a huge suitcase, bags of decorations, a high chair, piles of clothes, a double stroller, and my fat cat. It’s overwhelming. In spite of his repeated efforts to make room in the suitcase, Puma (also known as ‘fat Pu’) is the only thing that isn’t going at this point! I used to travel with my son solo all the time. It wasn’t easy although now having two children and a minivan, trips tend to take a bit more time and effort. Since I am indeed traveling alone again, I am left with everything from packing clothes, snacks, and accessories for three to packing, loading, and servicing the minivan with kids in tow. I recall a panicked phone call from my sister recently. She was standing in a gas station parking lot. “Shayna! How am I supposed to go to the bathroom when I have my baby with me?!?!” I instantly felt a warmth in knowing we can completely relate with our solo travel experiences. It’s not easy. If you recall, the last time I took the kids on a road trip sans hubby, it turned in to a bit of a disaster. So I’d say this isn’t a pity party….but this is totally a pity party! On top of it all, I am hosting two events at the other end of our trip!

At least we have a DVD player in the minivan. No really, I totally love every minute of Toy Story…three times in a row. I also love the way my ass goes numb after about the 4th hour behind the wheel, or how I talk to myself. I am so damn funny after hours of driving in the boonies. The expense of travel is another thing. Gas prices, please! Stop spoiling me with your increasing nature! You and the tolls combined are just rolling out the red carpet for me and my trip. People always seem to be in such great spirits traveling too. I have already nailed the horn ‘code’ between drivers. (I think the long blaring one starts with an ‘F’ and ends with a ‘you’. Not totally sure, just an educated guess.) Well, at least I will always have the faithful truckers by my side at 1am which is usually when I’m in the final stretch. I don’t mind the catcalls as long as they stay in their lanes.

All (partial) joking aside, I travel because that’s where my family and many friends are. (Both mine and hubby’s). Even though the trips can be grueling, they’re always worth it when we get to the other end and see such wonderful people waiting. This trip in particular was important because I am celebrating a few births: a birth yet to come, two births from yours truly, and my newborn nephew! I guess I kinda wanted to introduce myself in person.


Leave a comment

Press ‘End Call’ to Restore Your Sanity

The saying goes something like this: being a parent is both highly rewarding and equally challenging. I have learned at the very least that much since having children. Each day brings new laughs, unexpected surprises, and pull-my-hair-out moments. Plus having a toddler and proddler is one of the most challenging combos to have. (I made that word up. Somebody made the word ‘tween’ up. Well, pre + toddler= proddler. You’re welcome). Anyways, the daily grind with my mini duo already has enough drama. I don’t typically seek out the opportunity to introduce more. My husband and the hospital however…they sometimes provide little tidbits for me!

Enter conjunctivitis, sinus infections, and hospital fiasco. Getting ready for work, I see hubby dressing and reading a letter that came in the mail. He looks at me “Shay, did you see this? We were billed for something our insurance should cover. Oh, actually, I just noticed the hospital billed our old insurance by mistake.”

Hubby turns, looking into my and proddler’s pink, watery eyes and asks “Shay, do you think you could call the hospital today to clear this mess up?”

I gaze back at him while bouncing proddler, trying to mask my fear “I will try to take care of it during nap time. I have to get a hold of the pediatrician to get pink eye medicine first”.

I am scared to death because I know this is going to be way more than just a phone call. The progression of my morning battling conjunctivitis proved just that. Unbeknownst to me, the kids pediatrician broke his leg and was out of the office, so when I finally got a hold of him the first time and explained the situation (Toddler brought pink eye home from preschool and now baby sister and I both have it. We need medication for all three even though toddler somehow didn’t get pink eye, he just lovingly distributed it throughout the family. I fear the cats are next) he quickly agreed to call in meds for the kids. When I pushed the 35lb (without the two bodies) double stroller (with the two bodies) a mile and a half to the pharmacy to pick up the medication, I was informed that there were no meds under our name. I had to trek all the way home and attempt to reach the pediatrician again…at his home…with a broken leg. You can imagine he wasn’t happy when I got through again and he learned the meds were not taken care of. You can imagine I was not happy when I had to push that stroller with two kids 3 miles again. You can imagine they were not happy when they realized how eye drops are administered. Good thing nap time was around the corner. We could all use a little down time. Then I remembered I had to call the hospital.

With phone in hand and p-ler on hip (She chose today to skip her nap) I dialed the hospital billing department. My heart sank as I listened to the automated touch-tone system. I shouldn’t have been shocked. I have only come across two places with absolutely incredible PEOPLE serving as customer service associates: Amazon and Paypal. Apparently you can indeed buy everything on Amazon, including excellent customer service! Paypal, well, they have the word pay in the name, so that should qualify us for something right? I am so deep in thought, I miss the entire main menu and wait for it to repeat.

Press 1 for English. No, I don’t want to learn Spanish today, of all days. Maybe I will start tomorrow. P-dler getting antsy.

No, it’s not an emergency, I will refrain from hanging up and dialing 911, although I’ll reserve that option for later (Just in case. I have a bad feeling). Bounce, bounce, bounce.

No, I don’t know my party’s extension, although I have a feeling if I did I would be transferred to another automated party, so there. Whine. Proddler is whining.

Crap! I missed the rest. Now I have to wait to start over.

1 for English, pass for emergency, pass for my party’s extension. Set Proddler down, she starts whining loudly, on the brink of a scream, pick her back up.

No, I don’t need visiting hours and directions, pass 4. Bounce, bounce, bounce.

I don’t need patient information, not 5. Bounce.

No to outpatient clinic, sorry 6. Numb arm, switch P-dler to the other hip. She starts wiggling.

Oh thank GOD the billing and finance department!!! Enthusiastically pressing 7.

To my surprise a person answers. “Hi, my name is Candy. How can I help you?” (I made that name up. Candy is ironic since this is becoming more bitter by the minute). P-dler starts crying. Candy can’t hear me.

Shouting “Yeah hi Candy, our old insurance company was billed for a visit our new company should have been billed for so now it appears my husband and I are responsible for the cost when in reality the wrong company was billed so we just need to bill the appropriate company- which you do have on file since you’ve billed them before-”

_”Oh, I am so sorry we are the ER billing, you need to speak with Wanda, let me transfer you….”

“Candy wait!” Too late. I wanted to ask for the extension number in case I got dropped. Proddler is now screaming. Bounce, bounce, bounce. Throw back out, question if I’ve dislocated my hip.

“Hi, this is Wanda, how can I help you?”

Explain situation again.

“Oh, I’m sorry you are in the wrong department. Let me transfer you.” Busy tone.

Screaming proddler, napping toddler begins stirring.

“Hi, my name is Shelley, how can I help you?”

Screaming proddler, crying toddler, shaking arms.

“Yeah hi Shelley. Let me tell you this. If you can’t help me, you are going to need to call 911 for me because I’m gonna lose it over here and my arms are too weak to dial the damn number!”


Leave a comment

Shanna Jones: Remember Your New Favorite Singer?

IMG_5296

Update since this post published: I want to take a moment to state that this post was completely written and set to post days prior to the original post date of April 16. When the tragedy in Boston took place on April 15th, I think it’s fair to say America and the world was forever affected and changed as a result. In all honesty, as dear as this post is to me, it was the last thing on my mind as I learned more details of the Marathon events. I want to take a moment to acknowledge and pay my respect to anyone affected by the attacks on April 15th. Please know you have my deepest sympathy and prayers.

Times like these often make it difficult to focus on anything but the grim unfolding events in front of us but I do hope others can look around and see good acts and wonderful people still out there. This post is a great example of one of them.

Shanna Jones has an incredible voice. Every time I hear it, I immediately relax. It’s this saucy mix of broadway, jazz, folk, and some good ol’ soul. I didn’t meet her at one of the many venues she performs at all around the city. Nor did I see her on Broadway. I wish. I met Shanna when she responded to a message I sent requesting babysitting services. Shanna has become like family ever since.

Being like family meant when Shanna approached me about taking head shots of her, I couldn’t say no. Not only am I extremely fond of Shanna, but I am one of her biggest fans when it comes to her voice (and her babysitting ability). I always had a feeling she wouldn’t stay with us long simply because she’s that good.

Growing up, Shanna began performing at the ripe age of 5 naturally segueing her into acting. Before moving to the city, she toured with the Tony award winning Utah Shakespearean Festival.  In New York City, Shanna could have made a job out of juggling jobs! She was constantly looking for performing gigs (acting/singing). Performing at venues seemed to have a sporadic and unreliable nature thereby forcing Shanna to pick up supplemental jobs (nannying and babysitting). Although great, the supplemental jobs weren’t always predictable or consistent leaving Shanna seeking “supplemental to the supplemental” jobs (yoga and fitness apparel clerk). When she interviewed with me I questioned her ability to smoothly juggle a million-and-one things while constantly peddling for her true passions: singing and performing. Shanna assured me she could deliver, and deliver is exactly what she did. A year later, Shanna’s music airs on Women of Substance Radio, she’s performing at venues all over the city on weekends, along with landing THE  starring role in a one (wo)man show called Undone set to open this year!

Most recently, Shanna performed in Phaedra’s Cabaret in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Currently she writes lyrics for her band (aside from her self, the band is composed of her percussionist Amanda…and when they really feel crazy, they throw in a guitarist and an upright base player too!)

Be careful, because if you aren’t paying attention when you wiz down the slide, you may miss her nannying at a playground near you! Now tell me this face isn’t one of a true rock/jazz-partial-folk-little-bit-of-broadway-and-then-some-soul star?!

IMG_5399IMG_5326IMG_5315IMG_5392IMG_5400


Leave a comment

Stop the Train, I Want to Get Off!

If you saw my recent post, you’d know my daughter turned 1 a few weeks ago. My son usually seems abnormally considerate of his mama often posing questions like “mama are you happy?” However today, in a move I can only describe as selfish and inconsiderate my son completely disregarded his mama when he turned three without giving me much time to recover from baby sister’s milestone birthday! Like a freight train whipping down the tracks, number 3 has quickly arrived showing no signs of slowing down. I believe Stephanie Tanner from Full House put it best with her well-known phrase “how rude!”

On a serious note, I honestly don’t know what I would do without this little guy. He is the sweetest boy and no matter how crazy the day I’m having is, he always manages to make me smile. Happy Birthday to the best big brother and son a family could ask for!

IMG_5532