Monday, March 25, 2013

iPod Survives Child's Independence: Story at 8

The kid came into the living room yesterday... saying the iPod was acting strange. The app pictures were turning white. Upon inspection, I took it from her... realizing it was soaking wet. I asked, "What happened? Why is it wet?" She said, "It was messy. So I cleaned it." 

Rest, dear iPod. Rest.
I am torn in trying to figure out, was I more impressed with her independence or my ability to stay calm?

As we raced around finding rice to put in a bag to dry it out -the ball & chain and I  asked, almost in unison, "Did you put it UNDER water or just rinse it a little with water?" She looked at us - looking for the right answer... "A little of both."

An overnight in a bag of rice and the iPod works fine. The app pictures are still white but the rest works fine.  My girl, Miss Independent... and still an iPod owner. Lucky duck.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

week 12

How we survive dinners alone.

How mommy survives.



End of March. Still snowing.

Sometimes their play time is picturesque.
Like right off the pages of Pinterest.

Most times: it's just a well timed photo. Because there is always mayhem.

We take "Flat" Stanley/Karrie too far.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

week 11

  • This week, we booked a trip to Disney. 
  • This week, I got sucked down a Pinterest > Disney hole. 
  • It's so freaking cold here. Still. 
  • I took my girl out for a frozen yogurt date.
  • I know, it's cold - went for frozen yogurt. I'm not saying it makes sense. 
  • You know what else doesn't make sense? St. Patrick's Day in the Cleveland.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ever wonder: Is the Cleveland St. Patrick's Day Parade family friendly?

Wonder, no more. The answer, 100%, absolutely: NO.

In order of appearance:
  • Alcohol.
  • Cussing (others). 
  • Drugs. 
  • Cussing (mine). 
That was just the train ride to the parade. Pretty sure we should have taken that as a clear sign to turn around. We didn't and proceeded to the train route. Obviously there was going to be a lot of drinking, but as we headed to the parade there was an abundance of vodka pretending to water in water bottles and a lot of drunk people talking about how the water in their water bottle is not actually water.

Spoiler alert: It's vodka. We would have known if you didn't mention it. Loudly. Several times.

The long and short of it is, after the second time we witnessed domestic violence we head back home. Keep it classy, Cleveland.

Monday, March 11, 2013

week 10

NOOOOOOOOO! - only / favorite / most used / always used



  • Nothing else matters except that the weekend was beautiful. I wore my contacts, sun glasses and on Sunday my flip flops. This, is really all I need to say about the week. It.was.awesome.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A guide to St. Louis

I've spent a lot of time talking about how I'm not adjusting to my new surroundings and how I am going to make an effort to talk about what is working here. Of course, what do I think of? All the places I loved in the STL. I'm not saying I make sense. I put together this what's what of all the places to love in the STL that I want to share, should someone be looking. What I've found here is googling simple terms like "where to eat in Cleveland" OR "things to do in Cleveland" have me coming up empty search cached. 

When it comes to eating, there are some great treats & stand bys. The real question is what are you in the mood for? Broken down by location.

  • Three Kings. Really anything on the menu is delicious. We went every other week, it was close, a great location, it's deceivingly kid friendly, prices are decent, and the food is amazing.
  • For breakfast, this local place is the definition of "hole in the wall" - Boosters Cafe. The pumpkin pancakes are life changing (and honestly I don't even like pancakes). It's PERFECT because it's quick, easy, and the prices are amazing.
  • For burgers there is Cicero's & Blueberry Hill - both right on Delmar. Blueberry Hill is a bit of a tourist restaurant, it's neat, the burgers are good, and it's definitely "something to see." Blueberry Hill has music acts regularly, including Chuck Berry. 
  • Delicious farm-to-table food (breakfast is divine) - but it's all amazing, Winslow's. This is one of our favorites. It's a little crazy in terms of overpriced - but so delish. So fresh. I once saw a review on that sums it up: This place is like the dude who treats you like crap, is always late, and hits on your friends, but is amazing in bed. You hate him you hate him you hate him you hate him and then ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh you love him.
  • Chinese food - Wongs Wok. Another 'hole in the wall' description (right next door to Booster's Cafe) - but the best (and most affordable) Chinese food we found in St. Louis.
  • BBQ, is Pappy's - super long line most days, but it's always worth it.
  • Pizza - here's what you need to know about pizza, especially coming from the Northeast. They use a cheese here- called "provel" - correct me if I'm wrong, but it's a mix of cheddar, provolone and something else. It's really only used in St. Louis, specifically. I'm not a fan, but if you are from St. Louis I'm pretty sure you are conditioned to love it. They put it on EVERYTHING - Mexican food, Italian food, American, salads, really anything. Most pizza is made with it. There are, however, great pizza places that don't use it. Pi Pizza being one or Dewey's they have different locations . The salads are very good as well. The VERY BEST pizza, made by New Yorkers - so I'm partial is: La Pizza. Another 'hole in the wall' - but really the best pizza I've had since moving from NY. 
The Central West End or CWEWe LOVE the Central West End. It's an area of St. Louis that has amazing restaurants, shops, great place to walk around. It's accessibly by metro link which is convenient to our house and there is stop that takes you right in the heart of the "CWE" or Central West End. 
  • Mexican:  Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen Tortill. Really good prices. 
  • American (another farm to table restaurant): Duff's.
  • A personal favorite, a tapas place. Taste.
  • American, more options than Duff's and probably less expensive: Bar Louie. 
The Hill would be a Little Italy equivalent for St. Louis. It's a cute little area where you can't go too wrong for Italian food. Their mozzarella & tomato salad is probably the best thing I've ever ordered. Ever. It sounds so simple, but it is just plain amazing.
  • Italian food - I'm super picky about Italian food- but I think my favorite has been Charlie Gito's. They have two locations. One downtown (more casual) and one in "The Hill." 
We went out a bit. With two young kids, our "activities" are pretty limited. Luckily they are pretty good in restaurants, though some of the above have been "date night, only" destinations.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Disasters of mommy dating: episode 1

Background: I realize, after posting this, that you don't know all the little stories. All the little stories that tell the larger one: I'm terrible at making friends

The worst.

Which is weird, because I think as a whole I have awesome friends. Conundrum, indeed.

In an attempt to find some friends and get involved at my kid's school (not in that order) I responded to an email to hang up pictures throughout the school. I never heard back. Days, if not weeks passed. Honestly, I don't know - but it was over a week at the very least.

As I waited for the kid one day at pick up I overheard two moms talking. The long and short of it was: one was the person I replied to and the other has the same first name as me. Mistaken identity hijinx ensue and the mom with the same name as me agrees to hang the pictures as my email had said I would. I know all of this, because I'm eavesdropping so can we say awkward for me to get 'in' on this opportunity to hang up pictures (seriously, this is all about  But as you might have guessed, I'm desperate - so awkwardly I walk up to these two and essentially say "I over heard you guys talking - I think I'm the one that sent that email." AKA: I was listening in on a conversation because I have no friends, but I don't know why. {sarcastic font}

Fast forward: the two of us both get wrangled into hanging pictures.

I show up, only to find there is absolutely no organization of our efforts.  There is another mom with me & my namesake. We are all handed one roll of tape, almost empty. The inner control freak in me just wanted to make it all right. It took all I had to keep calm and smile on. So what if there were no instructions with the piles of paper we were handed?  So what if we weren't given the right material to hang up said piles of paper.  So what if I had to go door to door begging for tape or staplers? Time I could have gone back and gotten the right damn supplies at my own house.  So what if we put up the papers and had to take it down and place it in another area based on pre described disorganization - several times? The good news was that me & my namesake hit it off.

She invited me & the kid over, for a play date. Our first in good ol'Cleve. When the kid got in the car, that fine day and I told her we were going on a play date you know what her first response was?

"You are kidding, right?"

We went. They played. It was nice. As we were leaving, the kid & I went out the backdoor. I waved goodbye as our host thanked us for coming. My arm went up - I waved hard and slipped into a puddle of mud.  From my elbows to my ankles.

This, among many reasons to come, are the reason I can't make friends.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sisterhood in motherhood

I was speaking with a friend the other day, a mother herself. We shared stories about trying to find friends. Not the friends you grew up with, went to college with, worked with - your mommy friends.  The friends you hear you'll find in a mother's group or at the hospital with your baby.  Their children and your children will be besties.  The women you'll find that are in this moment with you - your sisters in motherhood. They share your experiences, they understand what you are going through.  You'll go to the park. You'll have play dates. It'll be grand.

I have friends in my life, that are my family - they are my sisters. That's not what I'm after. Though if I'm being honest, I wouldn't mind a good local lifetime friend up in here. It's more so, I imagined that this whole motherhood gig would bare a sisterhood among other mommies. A bond or respect that is instant or at the very least likely.

Except it's not.

I'm sure these groups or people exist, somewhere. I'm not saying these magical mommies are the unicorns of Fantasyland. I am saying, I'd fall over if I met one.

This friend I was speaking to? She has three girls, all somewhere around my age. Home girl was speaking from experience... but guess what? It hasn't gotten any better, not from my vantage point. What the hell, I thought everything got better with time?

If you are going to say any combination of the following, I don't want to hear it:
  • Get out there!
  • Be patient. 
  • Are you getting involved?
  • Have you tried local mother groups?
I've tried it all.

I join online groups (, local Facebook groups) and I have been kicked out of more than one. Why? Because I can't commit to the daytime play dates. I work. Let's not get into that divide, the continued debate, the {dramatic music} mommy war.

What the hell, ladies, I can't meet for coffee at 9:15 or story time at 11 and you can't do this girl a solid and let me be involved virtually to start? It's freaking meetupDOTcom. It's a freaking website. I told you I would meet up at some point, just needed to work some things out. What's that? None of you want to meet in any hour that is after 5 pm or on the weekend? Awesome. Leave me out in the cold? Thanks. I really feel that sisterhood, especially when I get another deactivation notice in my inbox. Nothing says solidarity like a "you can't be in our club" notice.
Said profile picture that
repels people.

Facebook? I've reached out to people and volunteered where I can for local events. Nothing. The group leader puts out a request for volunteers - message me - they say. Message I do and I don't get a response back. Is my profile picture not friendly enough? For God sake we're a freaking Pinterest dream right here.

I've signed up for classroom activities, reached out to other parents in the class to see how I can help and on more than one occasion received a "we're all set." I've attempted to volunteer directly through the PTO and received little encouragement if any response. It's as if, they have their tribe - their people - and not taking new recruits. They are all set. My oldest is in kindergarten. For all intents and purposes, I will be in the district for years to come. Wouldn't you want to let me in, if only for the tenure I have to offer? I've attended a PTO meeting in a room full of people who all knew one another. Not one person introduced themselves. I smiled, I said hello, I was friendly.  I was shy, but not unwelcoming. In the same meeting they discussed how more parents need to be involved and how could they get people to be more active?

It took all I had in me to not raise my hand, "Suggestion from the peanut gallery - a little 'hello, and how do you do' is a start. Playing hard to get as adults is not cute."
Side note: Someone is saying to themselves: "Are you this hostile in real life? Cause I think I found the issue." No, I'm not. That's why I didn't contribute in that moment, because I likely wouldn't have been able to be all calm about it. Someone who knows me is thinking, "You are TOTALLY this hostile." And to that I say: it's different if we already know each other.

Could I have been more aggressive (in a nice way), could I have stuck out my hand and introduced myself? Absolutely. I have. It still gets me nowhere.

At a recent meetup activity I was able to attend, I introduced myself to another mom. Stuck my hand out and said hello.  You know what she did? Didn't take her eyes off her phone. She was on to see the RSVP list. She said she wanted to "see if she recognized anyone by their picture to introduce herself to." As I was introducing myself, live - and in person. 

I have this dream that I'll find my tribe. Forget the tribe, I'll take a warm body (that makes some semblance of eye contact). They have to be out there, right?  I'm looking for quality over quantity. I'm hoping for one person to let me in their club; to show me this comradery of motherhood - face to face.

Side note: did you know they make 'mommy play date cards'? I can't seem to get a hello, but somewhere, someone out there is meeting so many people she needs freaking business cards? How in the hell?

Source: via Amanda on Pinterest

I'm going to keep trying. I'm going to keep at it. It doesn't help I'm coming from a place of starting out.  I've been the new girl for the last few years. I'm always starting this search. I cannot wait to not be the new one. When I come in contact with the 'next' new person - hold on, girl. Mama's gonna make you feel welcome, it will be uncomfortable for both of us - I'm sure.  I can assure you it's better than the alternative.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Children's Museum: Cleveland

We've been to more Children's Museum than my 21 year-old self would ever imagine being to. Boston, Connecticut, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and now Cleveland.

What's not to love:
  • The cost. As with all things around here, the Cleve could take a page from the Lou. Lower costs, please sir. For the 4 of us it was just about $30. For the amount of space they offer, this wasn't the best value. Note to self: look at family membership costs before only buying a day pass. This was a rookie mistake.
  • It's not that big. There are only 4 rooms to explore. 
  • Surprisingly it isn't 100% beast proof. I mean, I know we have some special challenges with the beast JJ, but there were a lot of random little holes that as the beast she would walk across bridges and walk ways she could (and did) fall into them.
What's to love:
  • There is a level of desperation of things to do during the winter, I would imagine especially. This is a great option, once you get the yearly membership. 
  • Free parking. On the "take a page from the Lou" thought - there isn't always free parking for places and this place has it. 
  • It doesn't take forever to get there, from where we are. 15 minutes, this is pretty much the unicorn of Cleveland. Highly desirable, magical and never seen. 
  • It isn't a zoo. And I love the zoo here, but it wasn't mobbed with people - which a lot of the Children's Museums we have been to, typically are. 
  • The exhibits they do have, are nice.
    • SANDasaurus: basically a floor filled with sand. There were dinasour dig sites and sand for as far as the eye could see. The kids loved it and we found a group of kids to play with. We hid dinasour eggs for groups of kids and played for (what felt like) hours having them dig for dinasour eggs. There was a map for dig sites, that when the kids dug they would find fossils. Much fun. 
    • Big Red Barn: A play farm that is small enough for the babe. Too small for the big kid, but she did a great job helping her little around. 
    • Splish! Splash!: Water room. Enough said. They had "rain coats" to keep the kids dry, FYI that didn't work. We decided to leave the sand pit for last... after getting soaked in the water room? Wasn't our brightest moment. 
    • Bridges to Our Community: A miniature village / town / city complete with: a two story house, different rooms including bedrooms & kitchens, dress up, with details down to ironing stations. Bus rides, a grocery store, hospital, bank & cafe. Super cute. This, however, is where there seemed to be baby sized man holes to fall into. The name including "bridges" but underneath the bridge? Areas to fall into.
We'll go back. It's certainly going to be useful for the loads of crappola days we have.  Have I mentioned how lovely it is to be able to get there quickly? Beyond being as impatient as I am (and I am), the beast hates to be in the car.  The sooner we can guarantee she'll be out on the loose - the better it is for all of us.

We'll be back, Children's Museum, If for no other reason to get in some more cowbell.

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