Thursday, June 23, 2011

Beautiful, the mess we are

Welcome to our day:


I thought so.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The one with all the metaphors

I ran into a friend of mine from high school at the grocery store recently.

We spoke briefly about life, where we are, what we're doing, the things that have changed.

Before he left, he observed: "You really seem to have it all figured out."

Of course, I made some quippy, self-depricating remark.  On the inside, the only thing I could think was, You shoulda seen me last year!

Because last year, he wouldn't have said that.  Last year, he wouldn't have recognized me in my sleep-deprived, milk-stained, forgot-to-wash-the-conditioner-out-of-my-hair, constantly-on-the-verge-of-an-anxiety-attack state. 

It got me thinking about "having it all figured out."  Is there even such a thing?

And I suppose that, today, I do seem to have it all figured out.  I mean, really, my biggest worry right now is whether or not I'll be able to be a stay at home mom by this time next year.  Let's be honest, that is a pretty priviledged and rare place to be. 

But does that equate to that mystical title of having it all figured out?

This moment - today - feels like walking along a moving sidewalk.  It's easy.  Effortless. 

There have been other times that the journey hasn't been so easy.  Times that I've been running - sprinting, even - to catch up or stay ahead. 

Times I've been able to walk leisurely and enjoy the sunlight. 

Times I've jogged along in the pouring rain. 

And of course, times that I've been the oxen yoked to a cart of rocks so huge and heavy that even the task of  putting one foot in front of the other day after day is enormous.

It is funny how life is like that, and how quickly things can change. 

So I suppose for now - whether I have it all figured out or not - I'll just sit back and enjoy my days on the moving sidewalk while they last. 

Not to mention, enjoy the compliment of some(obviously delusional)one thinking that I have it all figured out.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Because a picture is worth a thousand words

Happy Fathers Day to my incredible husband.  I love you more than words can say, and I am so proud to be your wife.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sneaky Mom am I

As Leah grows up, I've been a tad concerned that she would be a vegetarian.

Now, don't get me wrong.  It's not that I have anything against vegetarians.  It's more that the words "iron deficiency" and "comprehensive nutrition" flash before my eyes and make me fear the V word. 

The older she gets, the more I'm coming to terms with two new words:  cheese and toast.  Because, if you ask Leah, these are what she would tell you she wants to eat.  All the time. 

She used to eat only the vegetables; now I mysteriously find little flecks of green on the floor with greater frequency. 

But as any good General will tell you (okay - I'm making a pretty gigantic assumption here, seeing as I don't actually know any Generals, let alone good ones), the best offense is a good defense.

So into the fray, I offer these:

Banana-Carrot Muffins
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
2-3 mashed bananas (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup butter
3 tbsp milk
2 eggs
1 finely grated carrot

Combine 1 cup of flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt.  Add banana, carrot, butter and milk.  Beat with electric mixer until blended.  Add eggs and remaining flower.  Beat until blended.

Pour into greased muffin trays.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Fruit and veggies deliciously disguised as a yummy muffin.  Take that, cheese and toast. 


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Planes, trains and a weekend without the little

Some of you may remember the only other time I have ever been to NYC.

I didn't exactly see very much, aside from the inside of a cab and a tiny rehearsal room where I narrowly avoided wetting my pants with anxiety.

And, let's be honest, there's a lot more to New York than that!

Not to mention, Casey and I discovered that we haven't been on a plane together since 2006.  Not to say we haven't taken trips - obviously we have - but always piggy-backing on something he was already doing in some city or another.

So this trip was a much needed, husband-wife adventure.  Here's the recap:

The view from our hotel.  37th floor!
Friday was our first travel day.  We had big plans to do a few touristy things (like the Empire State building), but by the time we got in and after spending time wandering around Times Square, that was about all we had time for. 

Speaking of Times Square, can I just pause to mention how ridiculously much that place overloads your senses?  HOLY MOLY.  It was a neat experience, but just getting sidewalk space is a fairly significant accomplishment.

We had tickets to Phantom of the Opera at 8, so it wasn't too long before we had to head back to the hotel to start getting ready.

I absolutely adore Phantom.  I've seen it four times (Yes - I like my comfort zone.  I'm not exactly one to branch out!), and the difference between a Broadway cast was obvious.  It was by far the best production I have ever seen.  There is a vibrancy and level of talent to the show that others clearly lack. 

After the show, we headed out for dinner.  I did love the idea of having dinner at 11:00 at night.  And walking through Times Square?  Even more challenging than it had been at 3:00 in the afternoon! 
It looks like I have tons of space around me.  That would be because I'm walking in the street.  Because there's nowhere else to go.

We stumbled upon this lovely little Cuban place with absolutely delicious food and live music.  It was so much fun to sit in the city that never sleeps, eating a wonderful meal at midnight.

Saturday brought gloomy weather that again changed our plans.  We had intended to visit the top of Rockefeller Center and take an evening cruise around Manhattan, but the weather was cloudy and chilly, so neither of those would have been very good choices.

Instead, we did a lot of subway riding and a LOT of walking - to Linclon Center, through Central Park, to the World Trade Center, and to Rockefeller Plaza. 

Lincoln Center

This photo gives you a good idea.  Much of NYC was in the clouds that day.

Enjoying Central Park

Matt Lauer!  Okay, you caught me.  Not the real one.

Rockefeller Center

My favorite part of the day was probably visiting the World Trade Center.  We came upon a tour group which was lead by two gentlemen, one of whom was in the Pentagon and the other who was in the South Tower that day.  Hearing their stories and standing on the site, re-living that day was a pretty incredible experience.

World Trade Center site.  The memorial is going in, along with...

...a new World Trade Center building, even bigger than the last.  1776 feet tall and 150(? I think) stories.

We also visited a memorial put up by American Express, dedicated to the 11 people that company lost.  I have to say, it is one of the nicest memorials I've ever seen.  I couldn't hold back the tears while reading the beautiful words about those people. 

The 11-sided circle has the names and a short description of each person.  Randomly, little drops of water fall from the ceiling, symbolizing sadness over their loss, but also the connection between us and them through the ripples in the pool.  SO COOL.  This really moved me.
Saturday night, we went to a Japanese restaurant where we cooked our own dinner.  Why that sounded so appealing, I'm not really sure, but we had a blast!

We also found a little Cabaret/piano bar called Don't Tell Mamma and sat and enjoyed the music and ambiance.

By Sunday, I was definitely missing our girl, so I wasn't exactly sad that it was our last day in the city.  We walked to 34th street to visit Macy's, and then took the subway out to the American Museum of Natural History. 
Obviously I had to visit the site of the Thanksgiving day parade!

By the time we got there, though, we didn't have very much time to actually walk around and view the exhibits.  We might... kind of... well... sort of just walked in without paying (ooooops!!!).

I know, but before you get all judgemental, you should know that museum admission fare is a suggestion (honest!), and we also only stayed about 20 minutes.  It seemed really silly to pay $25 per person for a 20 minute visit. 

All that said, I've never done anything like that before in my life, and the entire time I was convinced somebody was going to come running at us and toss us out on our fannies for not paying.  I couldn't believe no one stopped us to begin with - when we walked in, we just intented to see the rotunda, but no one seemed to mind!  I felt very much like a fugitive, and horribly guilty.
Don't I look guilty?

But, it is kind of a good story to have to tell, especially since I've never met a rule I didn't follow.  Until now...

It was a wonderful weekend, and a very nice way to spend my birthday (that's right!  I'm officially a year older now, and we've reached that brief window in which Casey and I are the same age). 

The best part - as always - was coming home and seeing that beautiful little face we left behind.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Full-fledged Toddlerhood, party of one

Today, our darling girl is 15 months old. 

Not only has this past three months been perhaps my favorite phase so far, but it has been one of her most monumental in terms of development. 

At 15 months, Leah...

Is an excellent walker.  That girl can get pretty much anywhere she wants to.  We love baby gates.
Has perfected her "evil villain" laugh.
Loves to do things that make us laugh.
Helps put laundry in the washing machine, and from the washing machine to the dryer.
Refers to herself as Lee Lee (Yee Yee - melts my heart every time!).
Calls all birds - from flamingos to parrots to chickens to robins - Ducks. And we nod and tell her she's right.
Speaks somewhere between 40-50 words by our count.  Including....
     Eye                 Nose                           Cheek
     Mouth             Hand                           Hair
     Elbow             Knee                           Ear
     Toes               Arm                             Shoes
     Sock               Banana                        Cheese
     Yes                 No                               I love you
     Hi                   Duck                            Book
     Stuck              Back                            Hat
     Help               Yuck                            Trash
     Up                  Down                           On
     Off                  Go                               Water
     Mama             Dada                            Jess (as in auntie)
     Please             Thank you                    Jesus
     Night               Bob (the sheep she got for Easter)
                          ....and probably half a dozen or so more that I've forgotten.

Follows simple directions like, "will you take this to Daddy?" or "Will you get Mommy that pink block?"
Understands darn near everything I say to her.     
Has gotten so much more comfortable in her own skin and outgoing when it comes to being in unfamiliar situations.  She's really starting to come out of her shell.
Will walk up to strangers and say, "Hi!" in her cute little voice.
Hugs us around the knees when she's feeling particularly cuddly.
Follows me into the bathroom and declares, "HI!" with a gigantic grin on her face.
Her hair has grown out just enough that she no longer has the awesome 'hawk.  I kinda miss it.  Instead, she now has crazy, mad-scientist hair in the back.  Equally as awesome.
Climbed (once) up onto the couch completely unassisted.
Loves to build with blocks.
Wears size three diapers and size four shoes.
Is such a good sleeper!  She loves going to bed, and naps once a day for about 2 1/2 hours.
When you ask her if she wants to take a bath, she will stop whatever she is doing and climb the stairs all on her own.
Enjoys helping clean up in any way she can, including putting toys away and helping Mommy unload the dishwasher.

It's amazing to me that our little person is exactly that - a little person.  She has her very own specific set of likes and dislikes.  She'll tell you what she wants for lunch (and, just as importantly, what she doesn't want), and is definitely experimenting with the word NO.  Fortunately, she says it in her delicate, sing-song little voice, which softens the blow somewhat. 

Overall, though, she is easy-going and fun.  This post fails to express just how much joy she brings us every day, and the indescribable awe with which we watch her take on each new adventure. 

We couldn't love you any more, Big Lady, and we are blessed by each day we get to spend with you!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

If music be the food of love

Casey and I were band kids.  That's how we met. 

So it seems only natural that the first activity we would collectively force upon our daughter would be music classes.

Fortunately for us, she loves them!

Music classes were the first place we really began to see her outgoing spirit express itself.  Slowly, steadily, she began to become more comfortable and more adventurous.  These days, you're much more likely to find her off somewhere, exploring the room or interacting with the other kids in the class.

And although she comes back to Mommy occassionally...

...mostly, she is quite content to spend time away from me, hamming it up in front of anyone who will give her an audience.

That's my girl!

Friday, June 3, 2011


We had one of those days.

Those days that make you really, really happy when it's time for the husband to come home.

One of those days where I'd prefer to be curled up in the corner rocking myself slowly.

One of those toddler days where Leah cried like a banshe every.single.time I had to say no to something. 

Really, her requests were quite reasonable.  Things like wanting to touch the stove while it was on.  And hitting me in the nose just for fun.  And shoving apples into her ears.  It was Mommy who was limiting her fun. 

So when it got to be 4:30 and I hadn't heard from Casey, I knew it was time to take evasive action. 

I broke out my secret weapon: FinPaYo.

What's that you say?  You've never heard of FinPaYo?  (gasp!)

It's totally the latest craze.  Almost as good as FroYo.  (You know... Frozen Yogurt?  Same concept.  I may or may not have just invented it.)

FinPaYo - Finger Painting Yogurt! 

A few drops of food coloring and a few spoonfulls of yogurt, and Leah and I had ourselves a grand old time. 

After the intial thrill of eating the yogurt with her bare hands wore off, she actually made some pretty spectacular art work.  I even added sprinkles and accessories before it was all over.

The best part?  It was a cinch to clean up. 

And, I can credit FinPaYo with saving our Friday afternoon (and along with it, my sanity).

I changed my font at