Monday, August 30, 2010

She Loves Me

Today I took off work and had an adventure with my baby girl.  We went back and forth with how much we loved each other and I loved every second of it.

Me: "I love you to the Moon."
Her: "I love you to the Sun."
Me: "I love you to the stars."
Her: "I love you to the sunshines."
Me: "I love you for as high as the stars are!"
Her: "I love you for the baloons fly high."
Me: "I love you for as high as birds fly."
Her: "And the bumblebees, and the butterflyers..."
And then she said... "I love you ... I love you... UM... I LOVE YOU DORAS!"
Me: (laughing) "I love you... to INFINITY & BEYOND!"
Her: (HYSTERICAL LAUGHING) "I love you in your bathing soup! When you where you're bathing soup."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Festivals are NOT for the Weak

My guy lived in the North End for the year we courted. I was in NY and he was in Boston. Unlike the gaggle of twenty something people I know I never called the North End home – but it was close enough having the soon-to-be ball & chain residing in the 02113 there.  He would complain about the smell, the crowds, the festivals, the tourists – the whole lot of the experience did nothing for me. He once lived in an old school apartment where they had to use the oven as a heat source and in another stint he lived on the 78th* floor up a stairway to heaven. No. Thank. You. Walk up? I think not. My cap is 3rd floor.

Being apart of the neighborhood you would think he would have attended the long anticipated yearly St. Anthony’s Feast.  This poorly planned festival boasts fresh off the boat Italino cuisine, carnie games & many a worship shrine to tack dollars to in hopes your wishes come true. What isn’t on the bill? The crowds of people. I’m talking swarms. I’d be afraid for lives lost if the crew from the Jersey Shore showed up for one of their many bar crawls ending in a bar brawl. 
Nothing says "St. Anthony's Feast" like a GTL Muscle Tank
Despite having t-shirt & souvenir booths dedicated to them they didn’t show up this year. You know who did? 
The Guarros: in full effect. We thought it’d be a grand idea to walk through this weekend.  I had to work this weekend, in the corporate office of the company I work for (in Boston) – and for the first time in for as long as I can remember I’d have a room to myself so since we haven’t all been together at any given weekend clip over the last few monthS, why not bring them along?  That was a good idea.
Bad idea? Bring a toddler through the hott mess of St. Anthony Festival in the North End.

Period.

I tweeted and emailed a few peeps on what to do – I got a few suggestions to head to the North End. More than a few people were DEAD WRONG. I think I replied something to the effect that I loved a little chaos from time to time, why not?

Why not? Well, self of a few days ago, I'm glad you asked.  Chaos with an almost 3 year old is not only dangerous but damn it’s frustrating and you’re angry enough for funnel cake’s sake. We walked from the hotel we were staying in and upon arriving we were hesitant. Let this be another lesson for you folks, go with your gut.  

After being essentially trampled for yet another food booth and pushed in front of while driving a PLAIN AS sight ORANGE stroller we made our escape. The good news was restaurants on the outskirts of the festival were ghost towns so we were able to have a kick ass meal with out the wait you’ll usually find on a weekend night. To pry the kid out of the restaurant quietly at 9 pm we went to our go to parenting standby: ice cream.**  Upon hitting the streets in search for the dairy goodness I think L got her nationalities mixed up.

“ICECREAM? VAMANOS MOM. Let’s GO!” – L by way of Dora. 

Thanks Dora. More on our walk home and the integration of her love for Dora, later.

*Exaggeration, reality was maybe 6? It felt like more. 
**Please note – we are well aware of the fact that before we were married, before we had our kid we looked at parents who had their kids out in the dark, never mind after 9pm. So judge away – onlooker. Suck it. Also – suck it if you are judging over the bribery go to. It works. You don’t mess with things that work. And IF you are one of those Mary Poplins parents that don’t implore any of these tactics – good for you. Big friggin deal.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Obsession: The SoMe Addition

Maybe I'm just obsessed with linking - but I feel like I have to outline my obsessions.  These right here are my obsessions as it relates to the world wide wild web:

  1. Google. I google things, it's what I do. I google random things. Why fight? Why debate? Google it. 
  2. Regular reads. I love you internet for so many reasons. I get to keep up with friends and/or people that speak my language. I may not 'know' them - but reading them helps me on the daily in one way or another. And by daily I really mean as often as possible. God please point 3. 
  3. I wish I had the patience to link all the feeds in my reader. God I love that thing. Find something interesting? Subscribe. That's how I do. 
  4. In related news - Google Alerts that I subscribe to in my feed. Love. It's like a constant Google search for an interest, question, statement, phrase that gets delivered to my door. See number 1.
  5. StumbleUpon. Well... that's usually how I find something interesting. 
  6. The book. Obvi.

    Friday, August 27, 2010

    The Love of a Parent (or Close)

    I was resent an email that I wrote almost two years ago by a coworker.  She kept the email in her 'warm and fuzzy' folder.  This is a folder that lots of us have, where we keep feel good emails that make us laugh or well simply put, give the warm and fuzzy feeling. In reading it, I realized how much I miss this kind of interaction and childcare.  Especially coming off of a week where L's daycare has been closed and we've had to juggle childcare.  By in large, C was able to take off a few days but there was a day or two that we absolutely used the TV to occupy the kid.  I suspect this will hold up the delivery of my "Super Mom" cape, however sometimes most times I need to go with the motto, "whatever it takes." It is what it is. The following is the full email sent, though some of the names have been altered to protect the innocent.


    ----


    Hi All!

    This morning as the Kat (my au pair) and I were chatting about the day, her class from last night and the plan for the day when she asked me with GREAT excitement, “So… how was last night?!?!?!”

    I looked at her puzzled because last night was okay but not much to get excited about- I mean I knew she had her big presentation for class but in terms of us- we just watched some TV and ate dinner but what else was I missing???

    I said we had a good night, we relaxed, ate dinner- OOH right! L had her first meal of solids- we were testing out how that yummy rice in a box was going to be! I told her how it went, that while I think we got more ON her than we did IN her, she seemed to enjoy it all.

    This is when I thought of you, because it was at that moment I realized how much I appreciate the Cat and how right the program is for my family.  She was so excited for L's first ‘meal’ and was so excited to see the pictures that I took! She said how last night she was thinking she was missing L's first real food and forgot to ask that I take pictures- she was so glad that I did. (Meanwhile I thought, of course I took pictures- she’s only 5 months old and I think I have over 1,000 pictures of her!!! I’m kind of obsessed with taking them!) Anyway, I wanted to share because it was just yesterday we were talking about being a host mom and what it’s like. Even with balancing act of  sharing your home with someone and all of that- comes with it moments like this you realize that someone loves your baby almost as much as you do!!

    That’s the scoop- and that’s why I thought of you this morning!

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    What is the meaning of life (on this blog)?

    In high school I was friends with a girl that used to say "I'm a bitch, if you don't like it, then don't be my friend."  Oh hell, that drove me nuts because she was a bitch and I didn't like it - but damn if I could walk away because I like real people, however much they piss me off. She's one of the few kids I still keep in touch with - sure it's mostly through Facebook - but that counts. Real messaging not just inviting me to plant something in her garden or cook something in her kitchen (explanation for my non-Facebookers out there: these are references to stupid games people play on facebook that irritate me. Please tell me you know what facebook is).


    Why do I blog? It's a space I can be me and not apologize. It's the naked truth in a place that you can love or leave - though I do hope you stay awhile.  I write how I talk because I like to tell stories and sometimes there is no sentence structure that works for all that I need to get out and spelling, grammar and keeping it clean doesn't cut it (that was on purpose).


    Writing makes me smile.


    For most of my life crazy things happen to me and as I tell the stories that are my life I have been told  I need to write it down. "You need to write a book!" they would say.  I'm not disillusioned that there is a book somewhere in here.  I'm a editors nightmare. Let's be honest.  I have, however, always wanted to write the stories down.  I journaled (Dear Diary style),  but I'll be damned if I can read my handwriting.  For as long as I can remember I thought, "write that down." Then there was Doogie (yes Doogie Howser, MD) who would dear diary each night - was Doog the first blogger?


    I started blogging because I found myself with child and mis-era-ble.  Confession: if you emailed me in 2007, just so you know, your very detailed email reply from me was most likely a result of me cutting and pasting to several people giving them an update. I thought it was more personal than a mass email.  Frankly when I sent mass emails you'd always respond and part of my reply would address why I was mass emailing.  I was being kind to both of us.


    I decided to cut out the middle man all together and write it out.  I've never, in my life, felt better. I am a writer, however in progress and process I may be. I am passionate about words and evoking a response.  Even if it comes to me by way of emails, phone messages or texts.  P.S. I want you to comment, in case you haven't heard.


    I love the connection and finding those connections, however virtual.  Reading like minded people or those that are different but speak my language.


    I read over at Aunt Becky's Mommy Wants Vodka (or Bud Light, if you ask me) who was inspired by Cecily to ask the question - Why do you blog?


    I feel at home. I feel saved.  I've talked at length about all this, but having this outlet took me places that I don't think I realized at the time.  I have my memories and my stories to share.  I'm just starting the journey.


    I'm not a follower.  I want to be the kind of woman I want my daughter to be.  There is always a little wiggle room, if you ask me.  I'm going to listen up and be real. I'm going to write hard and do it for me.  It's who I am, and if you don't like it - then don't be my friend. Seriously though, dude, I'm pretty cool - stay awhile.


    *This post was updated 9/17/2010 to recognize some fantastic women & sponsors - the SITS girls and to the sponsors of the Back to Blogging event.  Go check them out -  Standards of Excellence, Westar Kitchen & Bath, and Florida Builder Appliances

    Friday, August 13, 2010

    Vamped Up Sundays

    True Blood is a ritual I care to never deviate from.  This past weekend, after a ridiculously hectic (and wonderful) weekend Mama needed to get her veg vamp on.  Each week, the story and gory True Blood surprises me, excites me, and gets me amped (or vamped) for next week. 

    It's hott. 

    You know what else is hott? 


    Yeah I did.*

    Last week it was vamp time and simultaneously a milestone happened. I jumped up as soon as I heard her cry, I'd been gone all weekend and there was no where (for the most part) I'd rather be than to console her.  I wanted to run to her, I missed her much.  L was able for the first time to verbalize that she had a nightmare and what it was about. That's huge. Sometimes she wakes up, is freaking out and can't really talk about what is wrong, what the dream was, if there was one or what happened. 

    Proud Mama moment: It has been wonderful to be able to watch and listen through her development ... and listen even more because she just won't shut up.  It's remarkable.  

    Embarrassed but honest Mama moment: This time, it posed as a little inconvenient. While my gut had me jump at the sound of her calling out and she was in fact and as usual adorable it wasn't the kind of timing I was looking for. My kid's nightmare and cue to console her was JUST as Eric was taking his shirt off. Thank GOD for DVR.  Priorities here. Would I have jumped up if not for DVR? Of course.**

    As L was telling me about this bumblebee that was trying to get her, where it was, where it landed, where she pushed it - there was a lot to learn about said pain in the ass bumblebee - all I could say was,   "Girl, pull it together. Ok? Mama's trying to watch her stories."***

    *The picture I really wanted to put up? Better. And by better I mean filthy wonderful.
    **I hope. I'm sure, I mean, I'd like to hope that I'd be sure, of course. 
    ***Disclaimer: that is NOT what I really said... but that's what I wanted to say.  In my heart of heart it's true. Reality was, I listened to the dream sequence... while thinking of my own and gave her coping skills the next time the bee came around. Yeah. I thought my kid to fight back. What of it?

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    Enlightened : BlogHer 2010

    There are mountains of bloopers I will need to highlight in time.  It's my bag, it's the way I roll.  Today?  Today I need to talk about the light. Moments of amazing women (and even a few men) giving their work, passion, struggles, time, effort, accomplishments, joy, and pure unadulterated good juju.

    How was the weekend? Kick ass.

    The End.

    Oh what? You want more? Now look what you did.  Here are the top 5 reasons my weekend kicked your weekend's ass. Unless you were there, so you might have some different reasons but I'm hoping it was just as ass kicking.
    1. Humanity and good deeds were freaking everywhere. Was it flawless? Hell no. It's New York City for god sake. Who needs perfect?  It was as close as close could be.  From small to large events of wonderful, I was taken aback. On the teeny tiny scale - I lost my camera. I know, not shocking. What WAS shocking? It was brought to Lost & Found. My gorgeous tiny brand new point & shoot.  My response to the lovely hero and security team member at the Hilton New York? "SHUT UP. SHUT UP!"  There was a brief moment where they thought they lost my camera, IN lost & found. I screamed shut up at him so I gave him a few minutes to collect himself and my camera. I mean look at that glorious man... screaming "SHUT UP!" right back at me? Swoon the hero who found and returned my glorious camera. Beyond this quick do gooder moment, there was the story of how a little boy and his family get to be a family for as long as they absolutely can. It's too much to feel and too much to write here, so I wrote about it there.

     

    2. Knowledge is power. The conference offered sessions that were immense and amazing.  The best part? There were people in each breakout live blogging the content, podcasts will be posted and some bloggers like Capital Mom were live tweeting. It was fantastic. Since I haven't figured out how to clone myself just yet, I'll be listening to more than a few of the sessions offered and probably re-listening to the ones I did go to. I am going to expand on all this later, because really? It's too much.  Ultimately the message: HOTT subjects with amazing speakers and fantastic audience participation that drove the content. Perfection. 

    3. Busting through my comfort box, ninja style.  This weekend I went outside my comfort zone, 100%.  I walked up to people, sometimes with my partner in crime, Actual Mom (I feel like we're fighting crime), making small talk and chit chatting (two things I am not a fan of initiating with strangers. See "stranger danger"). Many times I was alone. Personally, this is absolutely gigantic for me. Asking questions, answering tough ones and telling stories. While I heard about this whole "strangers becoming friends" thing and thought it was a load, it is in fact the case.  One night, for example, flying solo with out my wing(wo)man I was able to meet up with a few women who became fast friends including the solidarity of (barely) getting through the next day. More on this later.  

    4. Don't believe the hype.  Before I left I heard about "big bloggers" vs. "little bloggers." To be fair, I only heard about this buzzing, never really any specifics - so this could have been my own grapevine.  I didn't read anything that specific people were unfriendly, maybe it was just that others were intimidated or the people they met last year weren't who they thought they would be. I don't know.  For me it was like I was about to attend a high school reunion but I didn't in fact graduate in the same class.  It's like I just transferred.  It's intimating. It was for me. 

    There were more than a few bloggers that I did want to say hello to and introduce myself to.  I read them on the regular and hoped to say "hi, big fan" and all that. There was one in particular that I wanted to meet.  Kristen Chase, over at Motherhood Uncensored was the first blog I ever read, Shaniqua forwarded her blog to me. She was also the first blog I delurked at to comment.  I was so nervous and so weird about it (Who is this stranger commenting? What is SHE talking about? See "stranger danger").  I wrote my full name out like a big ol'dork.  Also like a dork I think I opened with that. I had seen her out and about through out the week, like many of the people I read daily or every once in awhile, but hadn't yet had the nerve to walk up and introduce myself.

    Side bar: how weird is it to "recognize" people that you have never really seen in person? And my order of the above sentence full of links is in no particular order, if you were wondering.

    Ok back to the scene at hand.

    Me: "Hi, my name is Jenn. I just wanted to say hello - dork alert. I'm a big fan. You were the first blog I ever read, first I ever commented on - I even used my full name. No one calls me Jennifer unless I'm in trouble."  Something like this - but it's pretty much verbatim, verbal diarrhea of the mouth. Creepy, right? 

    Stop making that look. 

    She was LOVELY. Absolutely lovely - and we sat down and chatted about many a subject. Things on both of our blogs, left 'behind the scenes', the conference, family, friends, the gamut. Lovely.  She introduced me to one of her friends, also someone who I read regularly.  She was lovely too. I don't know what all the hype was about or who people felt were "too big" to talk to the little ol'bloggers of the blogosphere because that was not my experience at all. There were tons of wildly read bloggers, authors, executives, professionals, etc etc -and everyone seemed absolutely open to the random stranger extending a hand. Lovely people, people. Seriously. Maybe stranger danger isn't so dangerous?* 

    *Dad, this is just in the context of the story. Don't worry.

    5. The pure art of it.  BlogHer Voices of the Year and accompanying Art Show. Purely (I kind of just want to curse through out to really bring it home, for serious) fantastic. In 2008 BlogHer started to recognize writers and designers for different work, submitted in five categories and out of 90 finalists (1000 this year were submitted), 3 from each category read their piece. I'd say each one was better than the next, but that would be lie because I felt each of them were amazing in their own completely different and amazingly touching, deep, hilarious and brave way. Unfuckingbelievable. (No choice. True story). 

    What's your story?

    Monday, August 9, 2010

    Tutus For Tanner : Rock Out With Your Tutu Out!


    As I start to recap on my adventures in NYC, the portion I talk about finding faith in humanity I find I need more. I can't just talk about how I found my lost camera oh and then there is that thing where people raised over $29,000 to keep a family together and made sure in the process of stupidity a little boy didn't have to stay stranded and was able to experience an incredible adventure.  First, obviously these two things are not comparable.  Second, you might not understand what the hell I'm talking about.  Finally, I need more space to talk about why this story affects me.

    For anyone not on twitter or watching CNN, or the Today Show, or perhaps reading local papers or online articles I'll give you a recap. You're welcome, Mom. A better recap is probably over at ShePosts, but I'll do what I can.

    This isn't the first time I've seen a community rise together in a swell of love, support and faith that shouldn't surprise me but it does. Why does it surprise me? When L was in the hospital I wrote about how things were going and I was saved.  Friends and people I haven't had a relationship with in years came out of the wood work.  Their support, offers of help, dinner delivery or more, however from out of left field, saved me. You saved me with random emails, comments, voice mails and texts. I think I forget about that.  Why would I want to remember that for which I needed saving from? Then something happens and there is a band together that you can actually feel, even if behind a computer screen. 

    Now, let's be honest my support came from people who I knew, even if from once upon a time, but how is that any different than those who come out of left field having read and followed along someone's journey?  As we write, we invite you (whoever you are) in.  There are a variety of reasons as to the whys we do - but we do. Was there a password? Not so much.

    Now back to this very real and awe inspiring event.  Where last we left our tutu wearing heroes this community (once again) came together to support a ridiculously important (and unfortunately needed) cause.  First there was the ability raise money, time and commitments to help a family be a family. In it of itself I am certain everyone involved would have been (more than) just fine with, there was of course more.

    Cliff notes? Truth be told, I am following via twitter & online articles, so I may or may not get some portion of this wrong and since I'm linking the hell out of this post - I'm thinking you can click out to get the official word.

    A blogger in Canada, Catherine Connors, and more importantly aunt to Tanner and his mom, Catherine's sister, go to the airport ready to jump into a vehicle to caravan to NYC for a 5K in the honor of Tanner (seriously people, click on the links if you don't know the story). The vehicle, as planned, doesn't have a wheelchair accessible ramp so they end up getting on a flight to NYC. I'm pretty sure that sentence I just wrote had hours of figuring out what to do next in between it. They take Air Canada to New York and upon arrival to the airport come to find out that when the airline took Tanner's wheelchair apart in transit they broke it putting it together or maybe taking it apart the first time. A $15K personalized wheelchair, as the family heads into FREAKING NYC is dead.

    Eventually and after much ridiculousness, twitter all a kerfuffle and media coverage out the wazoo, Air Canada (in my opinion, took their time) to make it right and the happy ending took place.  The wheelchair was fixed (good 'enough' for now) and the remainder of the weekend was full of memories he and his family were able to have. In addition thousands of people celebrate with him. It's the kind of love and feeling you don't think you can feel through a computer screen, but for real - I think I did and I was behind my iPhone so that's some serious loving. More than that, since I was there, I got to see Tanner out and about in NYC and dude, that kid smiles hard. And that made me smile.



    Seriously ... check out #tutusfortanner or all the tutu-riffic pictures out there! Oh and no, you won't see me. I don't really run unless being chased... but I really do believe if I were ever to enter a 5K it'd be one where I get to wear a tutu. True story.

    Thursday, August 5, 2010

    BlogHer : BlogThat

    In typical fashion I am waiting until the last minute. Not on purpose. Not because I want to. Not because I meant to. To quote mothers around the globe, “Just because, now stop asking me.”   

    Life got away as usual (see also: unposted adventure sequence, fraking fantastic photos unposted, laundry still in basket (folded but not put away – I consider this a slight win) or dust bunnies behind the scenes – some front and center).  The goal was to be out the door to catch 11 am bus; dream sequence would have been to be on a train at 10 am.  Neither took place.  While I toyed with the idea to just bag the whole mass transport thing, hop in my car and just drive myself to my moms (in NY, a short train ride into NYC) – it turned out there was a 1pm train. HOLLA.

    That was until the cab didn’t show up on time.

    I barely made the 1 pm train.  I did, but not with out incident.  I think I may have forgotten another pair of contacts (read here: something WILL happen to my contacts, though normally nothing does) AND I forgot to even post about where I am going and how scared nervous, frightened, deer in headlights don’t run me over, excited I am! 

    And here we are, on the bus telling the story. Last minute Louise, thank you very much.
    If this post goes live then it means I have narrowly escaped the maniac behind the wheel and the Judgey McJuderson seatmate I have.  First thing’s first, the speed in which this beast can go is pretty amazing.  I’m waiting for Sandy to hop on the bus or to sit in some dang gum before I find out that this is in fact not a drill. Pop Quiz, Asshole. 

    Next up my dynamic campaign here to my right who I am hoping can’t read my screen at 25% visibility. First off – the train is packed and home girl just left her backpack on the seat next to her. Fine, forgiven maybe she doesn’t see there is nowhere for me to go but the back of the bus – toilet style. When I say. Can I sit there – she literally thinks about it. Honestly girlfriend, move it or loose it.  I call her Judgey McJudgerson because you would have thought I whipped out a tuna fish sandwich on rye bread with garlic pickles and hard-boiled eggs on the side for my lunch.  Yes, I packed a lunch. No, I’m not 12. I was thinking I had time while the cab didn’t show up and since I had only had (several) cups of coffee – I figured I should bring something along to avoid passing out. I am a delicate flower, you know. I pulled out some cold spaghetti. What?  Don’t make that look at me. It’s delicious, easy to eat and you know what? Pretty much order less.  In other news, I’m fairly certain that she posted something about me on facebook – so no, I don’t feel bad about writing her story here.  

    Long story long? I’m en route to BlogHer.  I can’t believe it. I’ve known for a year it was happening, months that I am going.  Thoughts on packing the day I’m leaving, presumably the time I was supposed to be shuffling out the door to catch my reasonably timed transportation plan?  

    Whatever. I over pack. It took a minute. I ONLY brought 2 (maybe 3) extra outfits / but they are dresses for the most part and barely take up much space at all. What I didn’t do was evoke the sense I had when we went to Amsterdam. It looks like I packed MORE for 4 days than I did for our week long vacation. To be fair, I need 2(ish) outfits a day but the lack of rolling up my clothes I know (read here: hope, to the wee baby Jesus) I’ll have more space and not be so jam packed on my way home. 

    I’m nervous, but I pledge to you Mom, Meg’s mom, MyMy, the Guarros of the ‘Burgh, Sabina & Sierra … my loyal 6 readers I WILL get out there. Meet some damn people, make some connections – and gawd dang it…. have fun while doing it.  Luckily for me I have one of my fans (insert sarcastic tone here) right there with me. Homegirl is primed and ready to GO this weekend.  

    I love (when I can carve out the time) to blog, I love to read blogs.  Most of all, like all the things I (try) to do in life- it’s the people you surround yourself with that make the experience. I’m going to get out, jump (WAY OUT) of my comfortable little box and meet some damn people. Brand new business cards in hand, ready to go – smile, check. Positive outlook, check (as much as I possibly can – come on I’m only human / me. You’ve met me right? NO? Well… dang, look at that – it worked. You found me! Long story LONGER: I need an attitude adjustment sometimes).  

    I’m going to learn lots of things, attend some parties and maybe see a Unicorn or two. Stay tuned … I’m thinking I’m at a blogging conference how could I slack off here with some recaps? 

    (Insert the end of the movie here, where it pans out to the next date of entry at least 2 weeks from today’s date).

    Tuesday, August 3, 2010

    July 2010

    How is it August already? July pics are few and far in between and LOTS taken from my cell phone so not the best resolution - but they are what they are.



    Also, I updated with some Junes as well. Where did the summer go?
    (c) 2007 all rights reserved. aka don't be a D and swipe any content, photos, etc - sucka. Should you be tempted, let me know so I can be flattered and then give me something write about.