Friday, May 30, 2008

That's Me

If you read the blog and you don't actually know me, that's my picture, finally posted in the profile. It was taken in Sicily this past summer; I was three months pregnant and having a morning coffee on the patio, where we ate every meal. C and I were often the first two up in the morning.

I'd like to feel that happy all the time, so I figured it was worth posting for inspiration to get back to that state as often as possible.

The Spelling Bee

Have you ever watched the National Spelling Bee? It is remarkable to see the kids at work. So many of them have studied so hard for years; this year's winner had a bit of a family legacy with his sister in the Bee three times. His name is Sameer Mishra. His repeats of the word were great, with slightly childlike emphasis but teenage bravado.

My favorite...

Are they any alternate pronunciations?

Can you repeat the word?

Can I have the full etymology, please?

And the origin was?

Can you use it in a sentence?

"Bobby saved a recipe for a risotto with taleggio and pine nuts."

(Well, that sounds delicious; I even tried to look one up, to no avail. I actually spelled taleggio without looking at the TV. Knew it was a cheese.)

He won on the word "guerdon". Do you know what it means? I'll put the answer in comments.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Introducing Dinner Surprise

I'm going to introduce a "special" here on LoveMomWorkLife....Dinner Surprise. I think it will become a recurring regular on the menu. Tee-hee.

How do you shop for groceries? Do you go once a week, every day, somewhere in-between? Same store all the time or multiple stops?

If you are like us, you frequent three different stores for groceries. In our case, Stew Leonard's is the "big shop" for the week, then every few weeks I hit Trader Joe's, and then peppered in amongst those visits are pit-stops at our local DeCicco's. If you are paying attention, you can deduce we appreciate fresh food and like to cook.

(Which is why, again, we had to redo our kitchen and give us a place to cook we could both fit in without bumping into each other. Yes, yes, I know...I swear I will post the renovation soon. The kitchen is not done yet, though.)

We don't create a weekly menu when we shop, or go to the store with a list (unless we're out of some staples). Whatever is in season or on sale or we're inspired by, we buy. Then we just figure out what to make with what as the week goes by.

Tonight's Dinner Surprise ingredients:
  • chicken breast from Stew's
  • green and yellow squash
  • onion
  • salt & pepper
  • chicken broth
  • fresh chopped basil (a little)
  • fresh chopped parsley (more)
  • lemon
How to make it, from memory: Chop onion, saute in olive oil until starting to brown (use higher heat to get there fast); add chicken breast, cut into chunks and sprinkled with s&p. Add a little broth, just to cover the bottom, barely. Add the squash, also cut into chunks. Add more broth. Bring it up to a bubble. While you do that, add in the chopped herbs, and the juice of half a lemon. Add more pepper. Serve with couscous.

Verdict: Thumbs up from both C and O, barely any leftovers. I think I should have added more lemon juice just before serving.

My Hair is Falling Out

Not a euphemism for stress...though I suppose it could be.

I've hit that point post-baby where I have decided to nurse G less due to work (and life). We are down to two times a day, about 12 hours apart. She seems perfectly fine with it and honestly, I am still surprised I did as well as I did with it this time around.

So when the nursing stops, things begin to revert back to normal.
This means I kind of go back to a normal bra size (God only knows what it will be this time), and my hair falls out. My shower is clogged. Yuck.

I don't have the best hair to begin with. When I am pregnant it's a bonus, as my hair always seems thicker and healthier than when I am not. (Don't get any ideas,'re only getting two out of us.)

Thank goodness for ponytail season, I suppose.

Last time, my feet grew. I swear. Ask my mother-in-law's family...I think I gave away about 15-20 pairs of shoes. So sad. Really....this was a travesty for me.

Wish me luck on the transformation! In the meantime, I will still be stuffing myself into whatever fits.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Start to the Day

G woke up in a fuss at 5:15am. Poor little thing has a cold and her nose is stuffy.

C said when he walked in she was trying to get at her if something was in it, or she was actually trying to take it off her face. You've got to love the fact that they still have so much to figure out.

Anyhow...poor Mama, I stayed up until it was time to take a shower, just trying to get her to sleep. Way too much to do today. At least she's back to sleep. Zzzzz....

Are you reading?

I just changed the "comment" option on this thing...anyone should be able to comment now if you've been reading and are feeling so inclined.

My bad, I think I had the wrong setting. Live and learn.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Post-Baby Body Blues: Follow-Up

So I was crabbing about getting a dress for this wedding this weekend because of my current state of being, right?

So I did go to Loehmann's, found something that a woman next to me told me looked great on me, and bought it. Got home. Had a shoe issue. Damn. It was kind of gold brocade-ish (that sounds a lot uglier than it was) and my gold sandals were just not going to work...too party-girl and the dress was more tailored. ARgggHhh.

Do I go back and get the navy one that had sequined stripes on it (very cute but these descriptions are not doing justice, here) but I was concerned was a little short? I mean, my legs are good, I can wear something shorter...but should I? Am I too....old?

I checked anthro online (as always...and thanks for the reminder, P...we really do have to meet!) but everything they have right now didn't seem dressy enough for a night wedding.

Yesterday, crabbing to the nabes, and one of them says, hey, I have all these dresses in the closet. And then grabs a handful later to show me. Take them home last night...SCORE! Really pretty black feminine tailored in a very cool elegant fabric. She has great style so I feel extraordinarily triumphant. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Problem solved. what age should a woman stop wearing miniskirts?
Does it matter casual or formal?
Does the occasion play a role?

What do you think?

Neglectful Mother: G is 3 months old, in case you didn't know

And this is what happens when Mama tries to take a picture of the family to commemorate the day. Sad. No...I didn't bother with the timer. Next time.

Okay: here's a real shot of the beauty on her third-month birthday (which would have been the 21st). Happy birthday sweetie.

Memorial Day Weekend Recap

My bad...yeesh, no post since Friday?! Horrifying.
How about a recap, people.

Friday we headed to NJ to see C's family. Which is always a good time. O bounced off the walls at the promise of Oreos, like usual, and we all filled our bellies with a big ol' meal made by my mother-in-law...which is always a great way to begin a weekend.

(Have I mentioned before how positively in love I am with "starting the weekend" on Friday? Meaning...get out of the house before Saturday morning. It gives you like a whole day. I know, it's not brain surgery...but plan for it and it does feel like you have a bit of a shorter week. I swear. It's all strategy.)

Saturday is going to be a fuzzy recollection of events since (and no, what I have to say next actually has nothing to do with wine, thank you very much) I woke up with a raging sinus headache which quickly spiraled into day-long nausea. Couldn't eat a thing. Didn't get stuck to the lower digestive system if you get the idea...but miserable. And exhausted. Maybe I ate something on Friday before we went.

Anyhow, we all went to see C's sister, who we haven't seen in a while and has been sick recently. So it was killing us we hadn't seen her, particularly C. M has Rett Syndrome. (This link is to Wikipedia, but there are a ton of other resources out there about it, though it is not an overly well-known condition. I will do a post on Rett's in the near future. Suffice it to say, it is nothing I ever would wish on anyone or their family.)

Regardless of my state, I was really happy that we got to see her, hug her, and most importantly...she got to meet G! First time. And O was so much bigger than last time.

I had to lay down in the car by the end of the visit (a pretty bad sign, no?) and crashed in bed for about three hours once we got home. Whew, that sucked. Ate a half a piece of toast before bed, but I could tell it would pass by morning. And it did. A-men.

Right now I'd like to take this moment to give my husband a big rockstar shout-out for being a great dad and totally pulling it off while I was useless and sick. Love you, honey. Everyone should have a husband like him. Lucky, lucky, lucky me.

Sunday. Well, we sure made up for lost time. We had fresh blueberry pancakes in the morning at the in-laws' house (delicious!) and got on our way home pretty early. We had to take O to one of his girlfriends' birthday parties...a Mad Hatter party. This was a special girlfriend, of our precious neighbors.

(Have I bragged about my neighborhood yet? How we have the best block on THE PLANET? Seriously. Well, you'll hear more about it soon.) O went for the most pimp-tastic hat offered, of course, but ultimately wound up in a black fedora that reminded us all of Sinatra. Note the shades. They are his "Ironman" sunglasses. He uses them for any adventure he deems necessary.

Two things to say about that. First of all, he has not seen Ironman, nor will he until he's much, much older. Secondly, they're actually infant sunglasses he recently dug out of a toy bin. Go figure.

Anyhow, the party was smashing--literally, they had a pinata, ha ha--and so cute. It was so lovely to go to a simple and sweet backyard party, the weather was awesome, the kids were all so good.... We all really enjoyed ourselves. The birthday girl's mom (and sisters!) were great hostesses.

Then we were off to our friends' place in Scaahsdale (yep, go with the phonetic pronunciation for effect...though we love them because they are so not Scaahsdale yet live so close!) for a BBQ, burgers and corn and all sorts of yum. And wine. Kids all got to play together, babies were good, lots of conversation...a really nice night.

Woke up Monday, Memorial Day, with no real plans. The only thing we couldn't miss was the village parade. Turns out I ran into one of O's camp directors and was able to introduce him! Yay. His favorite part was the old-time fire truck they have every year.

We turned down an invite to head to another friends' house for the day and a BBQ to see what we could get done at home. After an hour of trying to dismantle the deck, C gave up and acquiesced that the contractors were going to have to do it. Or, we needed a big hacksaw. We hate to have to pay them more, honestly.

And errands we ran...three stores, in total. Me & G two, C one. O took a nap. Ran into neighbors at CVS and they were like "we've got pork on the grill (yes, while they were at CVS) and why don't you come over for a beer later". Sounded so nice I told them I think we'll take them up on it.

So after said children's naps, we did. O got to play with his best bud and everyone else too. Dads got beer, Moms got wine, baby got fed and a nap in the fresh air. (Photo courtesy of neighbor K.)

We were there for around 4 hours, I think, and it was relaxing and fun and a wonderful Memorial Day. I hope you enjoyed yours.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Post-Baby Body Blues


So we have a wedding to attend on the 31st, and I'm only three months out from having G. Now, I'm happy about the wedding, it will be a blast for sure as it's for some of C's very fun family. But I do need to attend (and remain in close proximity to) with my sister-in-law, who is very thin, well-dressed, and 8 years younger than me, and my mother-in-law who always looks fabulous for these events...and is also on the svelte side.

So the mid-section is not working with me, or any of the dresses that I already own for this event. (Why, why, do I always go for things with a defined-ish waist? It's that tailored + girly combo that is my trademark, I suppose...).

Anyhoo. I'm stuck. I need to either buy a serious spanx waist-whittler to shove myself into something I already own (not that likely, because the breast-feeding boobs still won't work) or something with a classy empire waistline. I don't want to spend a fortune on anything right now...just not a priority. Focus on the legs, I think, is my priority.

Off to Loehmann's, perhaps. Will keep ya'll posted on what I dig up. Cross your fingers for me.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Spa Make-Up Event at Riverspa, Irvington!

My fabulous friend Heidi from the Riverspa in Irvington has just told me about an event they are having and asked me to help get the word out!

June 6th (Friday night)
Wine, Cheese and Free Makeovers!
Jane Iredale Mineral Make-up

(Seriously, what is better than that?)

50 South Buckhout Street, Irvington NY
Call in advance to sign up: 914.591.5757

Heidi is lovely, Riverspa is lovely, and this makeup is supposed to be great (and good for your skin). I am so there. It's time for me to spruce myself up in that department anyhow...I'm very overdue.

Check out Riverspa's services. And then check out the low-down on Jane Iredale Cosmetics.

See you then! And please let me know if you're going and I'll see you there!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Olive oil, salt and pepper

We were eating dinner tonight and it struck me how many things we cook simply with olive oil, salt and pepper. Tonight it was sauteed cauliflower (thanks to my mother-in-law for this one).

We use it for everything...proteins as well as veggies. Great on steaks and swordfish on the grill. Ditto for this week's grilled pork chops. O eats all of it.

Eggplant. Asparagus.

I guess anything that has good substance to it can take it. Simple is good.

My first game of tag in e-world

My new friend P at pve design is a lovely local design guru that I have yet to meet in person (hello, e-world...and she even lives in our 'hood!) and has just given me my first blogger "tag". I'm in. Please check out her blog, she has a great eye and always finds a lovely daily visual or two to get you thinkin'.

For the uninitiated (as I was recently), when you get "tagged" you are asked to post specific info and then pass the tag onto others so they do the same. Since my audience is pretty small (hey...can some more of you start commenting, please?), I'll have to fudge the pass-on a bit. Forgive me, P.

(P came to me via my lovely neighbor K, of Kwana Writes fame.)

Here I go.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?

1998...ten years ago I was getting ready for my wedding on August 29 (holy cow, that went fast, didn't it, C). C and I were living in Manhattan on 14th Street between 7th and 8th Aves, Apt 5B, a walk-up. Lots of good shindigs in that abode. I was still working my rear off with long hours at my first big agency job at MVBMS on crazy accounts like Select Comfort, Fox News Channel, and Hallmark. I'd walk to work every day (unless it was raining) and I made some very good friends from that position...many I keep in touch with today.

2. What are five things on my list for today?
  • Cross my fingers and do anything in my power to make sure O stays feeling better today (he is, amen)
  • Come home early to feed Ginger as I am still rotating out of the breastfeeding thing
  • Head to work where I contemplate my fate while trying to drag it out as long as possible in order to ultimately find that elusive dream situation of working from home full time...
  • Pick out G's christening invitation, even though I have no idea of exactly when it will be yet
  • Talk darling C into cooking dinner when he gets home
  • (I have so many more things than five!)
3. Snacks that I enjoy?

Chocolate! Dark chocolate; milk doesn't do it for me. Rich hot chocolate. A tall cold glass of milk with...something chocolate. Berries and raisins. Angel food cake. Those little sesame snacks that you find in bar mixes....they sell them at Trader Joe's. Fage yogurt with honey. Lastly, those new Sunmaid raisins that are covered guessed it...dark chocolate yogurt.

4. Things that I would do if I were a billionaire?

First things first...I'd quit work so I can spend more time with my kids. And put away more than enough for their college educations, their children's college educations, and their grandchildren's college educations.

Then I'd realize I still have the desire to work, so I'll have to start a non-profit.
I'd donate a lot to education.
I'd make sure my family traveled the world and appreciated all the differences that are out there and tasted every food type there was.

I'd buy a lot of shoes.
I'd make sure I had fresh flowers around...all the time.

5. Places I have lived:
...I realize I haven't been all that adventurous, here...
North Branford, CT
Guilford, CT
Fairfield, CT (college)
Upper East Side, Manhattan
West 14th Street, Manhattan
Ardsley, NY

6. I have tagged each of you or anyone else who likes to play fair and square.
Kwana Writes
finkipedia I have a very short list of blog friends (hey, I'm still somewhat new at this!)
If you're reading and don't have a blog...please feel free to comment (click "COMMENTS") and post your answers. I'll post for all. Thanks for playing along!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The new house has been christened

...note the use of the lower-case "c" as I don't mean in the holy sense.

O threw up at the top of the stairs and the landing right after getting home from school this afternoon. I swear it's because he's had a little cold with post-nasal drip and we can't get the kid to blow his nose or spit, so God knows what winds up in that stomach.

Hopefully no one was eating while reading this.

I am so lucky

No, you can't be any cuter, G.

O by "his tree," planted after he was born.

Monday, May 19, 2008

On Working from Home: Boundaries

To follow-up from yesterday's post, it seems the best topic to cover would be the boundaries that need to be set around working from home. In the short amount of time since I've had two children, it's quite likely I have enough fodder to write an entire book on this topic. Bearing that in mind, I'll be sure to edit my commentary to a digestible amount.

There are four types of boundaries you need to set when you are working from home:
  • Physical boundaries
  • With your children
  • With yourself
  • With your caregiver(s)
Physical boundaries. After working from home for a short time, I was ready to sacrifice eating lunch every day in order to have a proper space for my productivity (some days I got too busy for lunch, but alas, no magic office ever arrived). Designating a space with a door on it is one key to success. For a period of nine months of freelancing, I worked in our upstairs "office area." The problem with the office area was that it was open, and located at the top of our stairs in our little cape. So while I loved every second of hearing my two-year-old look up the stairs and yell "Mama!..." was not so great for conference calls. The physical boundary of a door also provides another benefit; as more of natural barrier, it helps your children with the "out of sight, out of mind" principle. If they are engaged with their caregiver, you may actually get them to forget you are in the house when you are behind a closed door.

With your children. This conversation will differ wildly if you have a toddler or a teenager. (Even trickier if you have both.) The toddler conversation may register to some extent, but the reality is that the younger your child, the more important it is to develop a plan with the caregiver. When my son was two, I told him mommy just worked upstairs now instead of somewhere else. It needed to be reinforced often, but we have a great caregiver, and she worked with me to corral him away from the office area and/or get him out of the house to activities, which helped quite a bit.

Recently, we have renovated our home and it has given us an office space--yes, with a door. Now my son is almost four, and because that room served another purpose (the almighty TV room...somewhat of a Mecca to Dora groupies), he's very used to walking right into it and plopping down. So there needs to be a constant reminder--and a much firmer directive from his caregiver--to keep out. "When the door is closed, honey, mommy is at work. And it's like when I work at the office, you can't just come in and see me or interrupt my phone calls."

I haven't experienced it personally yet, but I imagine that most teenagers would prefer you were at the office.

With yourself. You may be saying, "what does that mean? I have self-control! I won't do anything but work when I'm home. It will be great; I'll be able to focus and get so much done..."

"....oh, jeez, let me run up to the bedroom and get that wash to throw in the machine."

Aha! Actually, self-discipline is great if it comes naturally to you. But when you are aware of the fact you are in your own home all day, it becomes incredibly tempting to take care of a few little things; ultimately, enough distractions really eat up your day.

If it doesn't come naturally to you, set mini-goals for yourself over the course of the day to achieve your workload in a responsible manner. Or, create a set of rules as to how many personal tasks you can take care of around your work. Or, make a strict schedule as you begin your day and stick to it. There are plenty of ways to handle it.

On a side your multitasking. I was recently trying to breastfeed while on a conference call. I had my earbuds in from the BlackBerry, and muted the call when I was not speaking. Since I have a great relationship with the clients, they know I work from home a bit more often since the baby was born. I chipped in with some commentary, and before I knew it, one of the clients said, "Hey, was that the baby? Is this her first conference call?" UGGghhhhh.

I'm so used to her little noises that I didn't even realize she peeped. Good thing my client is a new parent as well, and a really good guy. I'll try not to repeat that one.

With your caregiver(s). If your child is at school or daycare while you are working, you have saved yourself some trouble. If you have a caregiver--be it a nanny, au pair, or their grandmother--and your child is in the house while you are, it's going to be a little more challenging. I swear sometimes my kids can smell that I'm in the house.

The most important thing to consider, which is important to remember when you have any sort of caregiver, is consistency. Set the rules and make sure the caregiver is going to enforce them the same way that you will with regard to what's allowed when you are home. And if you have more than one caregiver, make sure it's a consistent message to all of them.

Well, I'm not sure that was exactly a "digestible amount" but I'd love to hear any war stories around the boundaries of working from home if you've experienced it yourself. Love the trenches, share the trenches.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

On Working from Home

As a mom, it is practically inevitable when you meet another mom that you will have the conversation as to whether you work or stay at home with the kids.

"I work full time, but on some days I work from home."

If they work full-time too, the response is usually in the area of: "You are so lucky! It's sooooo much easier."

Hold it right there, my friend. I don't know if "easier" is really the right way of looking at it. I'd say it's more beneficial in the long run for both me and my family. Lucky, yes. But easier?

Working from home is ultimately a blessing, but challenging for a series of reasons. You must have a significant amount of self-discipline, set up appropriate resources for your situation, and have a work situation that facilitates working from home as a logical or practical option. Not to mention you need to have had the forethought to select a profession that allows for it (clearly, you can't be working in retail, or waiting tables, or dancing on Broadway). With that said, I'm a huge advocate of it for any parents, particularly moms, who can pull it off.

My current position gives me the opportunity to work from home two afternoons a week. I need the flexibility to bring my son to and from preschool (we carpool; his friend's mom tackles the other two days). I'll also often work from home when there are doctor's appointments, school activities or other personal or family activities that need some attention. This helps to cut down on travel and make it a more efficient and productive day for me. I have to admit the situation is a bit of an anomaly in my profession...advertising and marketing typically demand very regular 9-5 hours and well beyond that...full-time plus, if you will. Before committing to it, there is a lot to consider.

Flexibility to work from home could affect compensation. You could say that I took a "pay cut" to have the benefit of working from home. Had I gone back to work in Manhattan, I could be bringing home a much fatter paycheck. But the benefits aren't there: the lack of commute, the proximity to home in case of an emergency, and most importantly, the extra quality time that I have with my kids. As difficult as it is sometimes, I am proud I have not given back in to temptation simply for the cash. (At least I've been blessed with a natural sense of priorities.)

Child care...a much deeper topic than I care to address here. While my circumstances now (breastfeeding a newborn, and preschooler-wrangling) are different than when I was freelancing from home and I had one toddler to worry about, it's good to have consistency with child care. That has to be the number one thing you are comfortable with before being able to commit to this. I hope to have the same situation in the goal is to be able to work a majority of my hours from home as my work situation evolves.

I could wax poetic about child care options, and how to make working from home work, but the reality is that everyone feels comfortable with different situations, and only they can determine the impact that child care can take on their household budget.

There are also the issues of setting boundaries within the house while you're home, how you address it with your family, how you agree upon it with your employer (or decide to take the jump on your own) and--very critical--the space you work in. I'll address these in some follow-up posts; this one is long enough for now.

Presidential Candidates: Common Thread

...John McCain is on SNL right now.

It's amazing and so predictable how any candidate, no matter what their nature seems to be, gets that Sally Field "you like me, you really like me!" look in their eyes the minute they introduce themselves by name and an audience claps.

He did ok. The gaydar joke was the best.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Name that Municipality! (NY version)

We were headed to Dykes Lumber today en masse to look at stair railings (as we will need one to get a C of O on this house). When we got to Hawthorne, the sign said it was a "hamlet". So we got to thinking that it would be interesting to know what makes where we live a "village" vs. a town or city.

So, on to Wikipedia. This is specifically for New York.

Just about everywhere, your state is broken into counties. A county is defined as:
"The county is now a municipal corporation with geographical jurisdiction, homerule powers and fiscal capacity to provide a wide range of services to its residents. To some extent, counties have evolved into a form of 'regional' government that performs specified functions and which encompasses, but does not necessarily supersede, the jurisdiction of the cities, towns and villages within its borders."
Now, breaking it down for the smaller bits:
"...a city is a highly autonomous incorporated area usually contained within a county. It provides almost all services to its residents and has the highest degree of home rule and taxing jurisdiction over its residents. The main difference between a city and a village is that cities are organized and governed according to their charters, which can differ widely among cities, while villages are subject to a uniform statewide Village Law. Also, villages are part of a town (or towns; some villages cross town borders), with residents who pay taxes to and receive services from the town. Cities are independent of towns. Some cities are completely surrounded by a town, typically of the same name. The city is not somehow subordinate to or a part of the town." There are miscellaneous exceptions to these rules all over New York.
Getting specifically into towns:
"In New York State, a town is the major division of each county. Towns provide or arrange for most municipal services for residents of hamlets and other unincorporated areas, and selected services for residents of villages. All residents of New York who do not live in a city or on an Indian reservation live in a town. Unlike villages, towns cannot cross county borders, since they are part of each county. A town can contain zero, one or multiple villages.

Towns lack an executive branch of government. The town board exercises both executive and legislative functions. The town supervisor presides over the board, but does not possess veto or tie-breaking power. The judicial branch is known as Town Court or Justice Court, part of New York's Justice Court system."

Now, we live in a village. Kind of interesting. Seems as if villages in NY state are similar to what towns are in other states.
"In New York State, a village is an incorporated area, most of which are within a single town. A village is a clearly defined municipality that provides the services closest to the residents, such as garbage collection, street and highway maintenance, street lighting and building codes. Some villages provide their own police and other optional services. Villages have less autonomy than cities. Those municipal services not provided by the village are provided by the town or towns containing the village.

The legislature of a village is the board of trustees, composed of a mayor and (usually) four trustees. The mayor may vote in business before the board and may break a tie. The mayor generally does not possess veto power, unless provided by local law. The mayor is also the executive of the village. A village may also have a full-time village manager, who performs administrative duties which would normally fall upon the mayor. A village must have a municipal building or village hall. Villages may also have a village justice.

To be incorporated as a village, a territory (i.e., given area) must have at least 500 inhabitants and be no more than 5 square miles (13 km²) in area (though there are exceptions to the area rule, such as if an entire town wishes to incorporate as a village)."
Finally, the little hamlet...
"In New York State, a hamlet is a populated area within a town that is not part of a village. The term "hamlet" is not defined under New York law (unlike cities, towns and villages), but is often used in the state's statutes to refer to well-known populated sections of towns that are not incorporated as villages.

A hamlet has no legal status...and depends upon the town that contains it for municipal services and government. A hamlet could be described as the rural or suburban equivalent of a neighborhood in a city or village. The area of a hamlet may not be exactly defined and may simply be contained within the zip code of its post office, or may be defined by its school or fire district. Residents of a hamlet often identify themselves more closely with the hamlet than with the town. Some hamlets proximate to urban areas are sometimes continuous with their cities and appear to be neighborhoods, but they still are under the control of the town."

So there you go. Enjoy the education.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Abba Bobbi what?

File this one under "we brought it on ourselves."

O and his best bud have been singing the following, constantly, for the last week.

Abba bobbi show-ah!
Dis-co! Disco Duck!
Dis-co! Disco Duck!

Then doubling over in laughter. Then singing it again...and again.

Mind you, this all stems from the fact we got him one of those singing cards for Easter (March's not like the card is anywhere he sees it anymore) that played the Disco Duck song. "Abba Bobbi Show-ah" is whatever the Duck voice sings at the start of the song, which I've never understood anyhow. I'd like to apologize to his friend's parents here. Sorry about that.

Damn that Rick Dees. Never again. (Until, you know, C finds the Star Wars cantina theme when O is a teenager or something.)

Renovation: Pictures (disclaimer)

Shamefully, I was reminded just now as the bank inspector came by to take pictures of the house for our most recent draft on the construction loan that I haven't posted pics of the renovation yet.

Sorry. Once it stops raining here I'll get them taken with the new camera and do a mega-post. This weekend.

Really, we have a few things to do to get the C of O and then finishing our mess of a yard:
  • porch
  • stairs to porch
  • stairs to french doors
  • stair railing
  • doorways in the basement
Can we get it done before O's birthday party on 6/28? The race is on.

I REFUSE to let this go to August, making it an official year-long project.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I Got Sunshine...On a Cloudy Day

"...and when it's cold outside..."
...oh my Lord, it's May! Already. Good grief. Little G is 3 months officially next week.

So I had some interesting glimmers come my way this week so far. I am blessed with many, many friends who are (a) really bright and (b) good people. I have two friends who have offered to help in one way or another with the writing endeavor. I have one that has introduced me to someone who will be interesting and great to know whether anything comes out of it work-wise or not. I have handfuls of people who just wish me well and check in on me to see how things are going because they know I'm kind of stressed. We have neighbors that are quickly becoming incredibly good friends that I know I will stay in touch with for life regardless if we or they ever move away.

Okay, I sound sappy. I'll stop. I guess I just wanted to say that while there's a lot of crap going on right now...we are (I am) lucky to have such a big support system.
Thanks, sunshiners.

G: Baby Mysteries #1

How does this happen?

Note the sleeper-keeper, as I call it, under the blanket to her right. It is supposed to keep them from rolling over and suffocating themselves. She was sleeping soundly in that.

We woke up to find her lying perpendicular to it at the top of the crib.
Crazy baby.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

On Carnivals

What is it about those local little carnivals that send small children into a complete frenzy?

Is it the lights? The rides? The smell of sugar and fat contorted into every possible foodstuff that destroys one's internal workings? (Ask C how he's feeling tonight.)

Our local fire department has one every year, and yes, it's this week. We went last night, we went tonight, and if the weather permits, we'll go tomorrow. Well, they have wristbands, so you pay one fee and the kids ride all they want.

Here's O in the fun house. It was a tiny one, but the fact he jumped in there with all the older kids, climbed his way up the rope ladder, ran around like a loony through swinging bumpers and ropes and nonsense...well, I called his PT and told her how excited I was watching him, that there was no way in the world he would have come close to this last year without the PT sessions. A FUN HOUSE for crying out loud! Woo-hoo! Go, O!

The second fave attraction this year (as the "boats", cars, flying elephant things and train certainly aren't as exciting as last year) is the roller coaster. Or, by its formal name, the Dragon Wagon. He just has this insane joy on his face when he's on it. (That's him in the first car in the picture.)

So deluded by the excitement that he ran away from me to get on it last night. Oh yes, was I thrilled about that. We had to have the "you know if you run away from me someone else can take you away from us and you'd never see mommy and daddy again and you wouldn't want that, right?" conversation. It got an "oh."

The Dragon Wagon is too cute.

G was comfortable at the carnival, hanging out in the baby carrier, watching all the sights and sounds and smells, I assume. Or sleeping. Then...."hey, I'm hungry!" Which was fine with me as it was getting too chilly to hang out any longer.

The local carnival didn't have full-on "carnies"...the ride operators and kooks that go around with the carnival from town to town. The characters were far more entertaining last year.

Last wristband night tonight. Do we dare go again? (I feel like I have seen everyone I have ever met in this county in two nights.) May need to blame it on the weather...and leave a last stop until Sunday.

Although...I could use another bag of zeppoles.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Warm Weather Inspires a New Look

Just like I go from high heels some days to flats to Chuck Taylors...I've got to switch up the look of the blog every now and then. This seems ready for summer. Like me.

Dream a Little Dream

So the fishiness factor at work is way up there, and boy, am I just over it.

I've decided I don't want to fill this space with my gripes...because really, how fun is that to read all the time (it's not). So I'm going to do a little dreaming here while I have some hot chocolate. Oops, no I'm not, because G is screaming and it seems I've got to feed the little munchkin. 'Scuse me.

I'm back.
In the last week, I've had a realization. I don't like what I do, I don't want to continue doing it, and mostly importantly I need to get a move-on to, well, move on.

For the uninitiated, I have been working in "Account Management" in "Advertising" or "Marketing Services" forever, it seems. (In fact, only since 1996. Holy crap, that is only slightly less than 1/3 of my life. Lord help me.)

For the most part, Account Management involves client-wrangling, negotiating, selling strategic and creative ideas, getting stuff done/produced and keeping the bus on the road. With whatever client personality type you're given.

As you may assume from the above, I can hold a conversation with a brick or a crazy person at any given moment if I need to. This is part of what makes me good at my job.

So I want to write. To get into copywriting for ads and marketing communications...which would be the easiest transition, at least at first, from what I do. Familiarity with the creative process, briefs, being presentable to clients, business-savvy...and now experience in digital...hell, I have a lot to offer.

Called a pro, a friend, someone I have oodles of respect for with regard to writing. We used to work together and she knows the business inside and out. She made me feel a lot other words, not crazy. That a "crossover" has happened before, and she was encouraging about my odds of success. (Thanks, my dear, if you are reading.)

I am now embarking on the process of creating a portfolio, a set of writing samples to shop myself around. I'll still have to find a position to keep me paid, but this will hopefully evolve into what I want it to. Will keep ya'll posted on how it comes out. Root for me, please.

Here's that dream I was talking about:
I write copy to pay the bills. I write articles for fun, and local entertainment. I keep this blog. I get to start a business with my dad for something we've invented (see, paying the bills has to come before that in order to start the business--I'm still a bit grounded, even in my dreams), and I get to go on QVC and sell it. Success happens like the Spanx chick, and life is comfortable. Not crazy, just normal, and comfortable. Then I get to work from home as my kids enter the getting-into-trouble years.


Monday, May 12, 2008

On Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day. Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there that may be reading this (especially my mom and my mother-in-law, aka: Nonnie and Grandma).

I love Mother's Day because it makes me think about being a mom and how lucky we are. Like probably any mom, I think my kids are amazing. I can't love them any more, I don't think. Women rock...I mean, hell, we can procreate. That's a pretty good argument-ender, isn't it. No one ever seems to remember to use it, though. Hmmph.

We didn't do anything fancy. C and I are not big on fighting the crowds on holidays just to go out on a particular day.

At breakfast I was greeted with my gift from O, which he made in school. A Happy Mother's Day card made with koosh balls and paint (and he wrote his name on it, of course), and a flower pot decorated the same way (quite cool, actually). Along with a ziploc of dirt and a packet of seeds. I love it! We are going to plant the seeds tonight. We already have a radish growing in a plastic cup on our windowsill in the sunroom area. A regular garden. Thank goodness because our yard is still in garbage-dump mode from the reno.

You should know that I also got a lovely ring--red rhinestones--from a little boutique in Dobbs that O picked out while we were waiting for our take-out dinner on Saturday night. It's stretchy and it cost a dollar, and it was picked out just for me. Gorgeous. I wore it all Mother's Day. See, who needs gifts better than that?

Then, we were off and running.

O had soccer at 9am; he did well and that is always good to see. I have to take some photos next week to show his P/T, L. Not that he'll be getting P/T for much longer...but that's kind of the point. He is doing great and without it he never ever would be feeling confident enough about himself to get into soccer, period. A year or so ago, he wasn't comfortable running into a group of kids (ie: to get a ball, to grab an instrument for music time, etc); he would get bumped into and get all thrown he would wait and get whatever it was, or engage, after the group had dispersed. At any rate, he's close to dribbling. Nice.

We came home, fed G (working on bottles now, half the time...but that's another post), went to church. Late, of course. But at least we're back in the mode of getting to mass again on Sundays. It took us long enough.

Home, lunch. Then, the event of the day...we got to Best Buy to buy a new camera. It wasn't nearly as crazy there as I expected it to be. Truthfully, I have to give Eddie at the Hartsdale Best Buy a big "hey ya" as it was the best Best Buy experience I ever had. You go, dude. Thank you.

We wound up with a Canon PowerShot, Elph, whatever it is. Rechargeable batteries (yay, greener existence) and in blue. Well, blue was what they had in stock. I'm not taking pictures of the camera, I'm taking pictures with the camera. So who cares what color it is! People are crazy. Anyhow, love it. Total upgrade from what we had.

We hung at home for a bit and finally went grocery shopping to stock up for the week. Our friends were also coming for dinner (yay!) so we got a bit more and gave them a choice of nibbles.

We didn't get to the park with the kids as planned...the weather got pretty crummy and windy, but we had fun and great conversation (...and C makes the best, really. He does.). Both our friends are in my industry and it was very helpful to bounce a few ideas off them work-wise. And of course, we shared a good amount of wine. Which is always fabulous. Thanks for coming, guys.

A nice day and night. Once you grow up you kind of realize this is all you need.

(What's with the face, O? You look like you're 10. He definitely has my dad's--and my--nose. Poor kid. No offense, Dad.)

Friday, May 9, 2008

On Blogging and the Female Persuasion

I just got this in my inbox today (some of you may be very interested to pass it along to pals if you haven't seen it already...):

The title?
"Women Would Sacrifice Almost Anything But Chocolate for Blogging"

Wow. Seems pretty intense, doesn't it? That's a major statement.
I have to say while I am a newbie at this blog thing, it does provide a wonderful outlet for me. With that said...let's see how I agree with the general population of BlogHer.

Women are so passionate about blogging, says the report, that large percentages said they would give something up to keep the blogs they read and/or write:

  • 55% would give up alcohol
  • 50% would give up their PDAs
  • 42% would give up their i-Pod
  • 43% would give up reading the newspaper or magazines
  • only 20% would give up chocolate
I would not be giving up wine or chocolate. They are just too much a part of my life. The PDA can go. The iPod...I could live without it. Newspapers and magazines. What, no NY Post Page Six? No SuDoku? No Cookie Magazine? Mmmm....well, I guess I can read it all online. So, okay.

Makes you think about what you would give up, period, if life was a series of trade-offs.

Maybe that's a good way to look at my life today. Let me think about that.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

O: The Sign

If you read my prior post, I mention the finding of a gray hair in my head yesterday. This is a rare occurrence for me (blessedly...thank you mom and dad).

At dinner, I mentioned to C that I saw that and took it as a sign of some sort. That finding one right before my discussion with the partners somehow prepped me for what was coming, and perhaps it was a signal that I shouldn't be there anymore.

O spoke up and said, "What sign? What did that hair say on it?"

Well, I explained, it wasn't that the hair necessarily had anything written on it, but it was something that meant that something else was or wasn't the way it was supposed to be. That sometimes you see something unrelated to something else, but it makes you think differently about it.

(I understand this is a lofty conversation for an almost-4-year old, but he seemed to be getting it.)

O: "So the hair told you you shouldn't go to work anymore? Oh no. I like you going to work..."

(Wait, he likes me going to work?)
Me: "Bud, I'll still work, I just may not work where I'm working now. Hopefully I can work from home a little more, even."

O: "Oh, yeah, I would like that. Maybe you should tell the sign that you go to work and if you don't want to work where you work you can find somewhere else to work and do that. And the sign doesn't have to talk to you anymore."

Or something like that. Hilarious as usual.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Returning to Work, Part V: Day One

So I got to the office today after minimal trauma at home. The morning went remarkably smoothly. G slept for 8+ hours again, bless her little heart, waking up at 7:30 or so, and I was able to nurse her and still get to work at my usual arrival time.

I teared up only upon walking out the door. Not bad. No craziness yet. I'm in control.

Got to work, checked in to find my boss, and he was apologetic but told me that he had a few calls scheduled for the morning and could we please talk in the afternoon? Well, sure. I figured if I needed to, I could always go home and come back with the nursing thing, so I didn't explode.

See, Monday I had a conversation with him, and I just had...a feeling about things. That this initial conversation was not going to be super. So this conversation simply made me even more anxious.

Spent the morning getting up to speed on my main client. Not a lot to get up to speed on. Hmm.

Around 12:30, I went to the ladies' room. I found a gray hair. (I see one once in a blue moon. See my other post for additional content around this.) What the heck?

We met at and two of the three partners. The short version of the story is that the main account I have been handling is down about 80% in revenue. I knew this was coming; before I went on leave, they had switched agencies for the bulk of day-to-day due to political reasons internally...blah blah blah. Nothing new, I've seen it all at this point. I knew that they were trying to get some additional statements of work signed while I was on leave. Clearly, that didn't happen.

While I could read between the lines on what this meant immediately, it was up to them to tell me what the situation really was. They said they wanted to be as upfront and honest as possible since they knew what my "situation" was (2 kids, mortgage...). Basically, we've got about 30-45 days to get a SOW signed from the clients with a decent amount of work on it in order for them to afford to keep me on board.


I realize that I am one of the higher paid folks on staff. I also realize that it's hard running a small agency business when a recession is looming and marketing efforts are the first thing to get cut. And I respect the fact they were honest with me. But, it sucks.

I have to admit that I was musing about my options outside of my current position, wanting to do more writing, wanting to shift my focus and leverage the fact that I "get" digital marketing now. Which is valuable. I would venture to say I am far more marketable coming out of this position than going into it, to be truthful.

Welcome back, eh?
I'll be starting that job search...just in case.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Returning to Work, Part IV: The Trial Run

It's confirmed I go back tomorrow. Not for a full-full day, but a rather full day.

We've decided that I'll still feed G when I'm home (night, morning) but give her bottles (obviously) while J is here taking care of her and probably at dinnertime too. Right now her eats are all mom-generated; we'll start the formula introduction this weekend. But this way she'll still have the breastfeeding benefits as long as possible; I'll draw it out as long as it lasts.

Tomorrow will be the tricky day with work, as Thursdays and Fridays I work from home in the afternoons to do the preschool shuttle.

So G did a weird thing this morning, wanting to eat only 1 1/2 hours (not even, really) after her morning feeding. I should also add she slept 8 hours last night! Woo hoo. And she did the same thing last night...wanting almost a double-feeding prior to bedtime. So maybe this is a ramp-up to wanting a longer night's sleep. Heck, I'll try if she does.

So after the hunger mania this morning, I took off for the mall, to leave J in charge of the munchkins. (J is our nanny if you've missed my earlier posts. She is great. We are very much on the same page, and it is not her that I worry about.) I got all my errands done in record time, of course, and lasted a good hour and a half until I checked in to see how everyone was doing. No stress, everything was great. So I ran some more errands.

Why does it seem that errands multiply exponentially during the spring? Is it life's way of getting you out of the house? Or is it all the preschool birthdays? C and I refer to this as "the birthday season."

I got home and J was just about to feed G. I let her do so and hung back, attempting to get my own body on a schedule that will coincide a little better with work hours. I am about to burst. (That's as graphic as I'll get here.)

J asked me to keep an eye (on my own child...I know, that sounds odd) on G while she did some wash for the kids. Already getting to spend time with her felt decadent. Fun! I got to change a poop and hang out with her on her playmat.
So far, success.

There's this struggle with two children that I knew was coming, but wasn't sure how it would manifest itself. It's evolved into a kind of a two-headed monster.
  1. I feel badly for O, because when I need to deal with G, he seems disappointed. I know he is not getting the time and attention that he is used to having. We try to involve him in everything, but sometimes you just have to help the baby and put him off. He's been great...a really good boy about it all.
  2. I feel badly for G, because I know deep down she is never going to get the amount of time and attention that O got in his first 3 1/2 years. This makes me feel better about O but worse about G. And she is so happy. I don't know how I walk out the door tomorrow and leave that face.
It seems as if I don't know how to categorize my guilt, doesn't it?

It's also new territory for me. I am an only child. I never "got" the sibling thing. C has a much better life reference than I do, with an older brother and a younger sister. He jokes with his parents about having too few baby pictures of himself, and I think he is quite conscious of "second child" behaviors. Meaning, being the second one himself, he is somehow driven to always make her feel special.

Although this is slightly different since now we have the prince and the princess...the first grandchildren on both sides of the family. Different than two of the same sex, I would imagine.

I'm off to attempt to stave off my mental anguish by doing more chores.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The timing just hit me

I'm returning to work right before Mother's Day.
Oh God, that sucks. I think. (Could it be a good thing?)

I just have a feeling that it's going to be a tough week emotionally.
Wish me luck.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Renovation: We own a dining room table

So what do you think of that. Does this make us official adults?

We used to have something we would call the dining room in the last iteration of our home...that we never used as a dining room. It kind of became a playroom for O, with sliders out to the (now defunct) back deck.

In the new dining room, with french doors out to the back (yes, that was a necessary upgrade in our estimation), we have recently added a table that can officially be called a "dining room table". Not just a dining table...many things can serve that purpose. But something that looks like it's designated for dining, not just eating.

It's a cool table, procured from the ABC Carpet Warehouse in da Bronx. Love that place...sign up for their email alerts for sales, you are a FOOL if you live in this area and do not. Seriously. It's like not knowing when the Barneys Warehouse sales happen. Sinful.

My dad (can he be any more helpful, hello) and C took my dad's giant SUV to pick it up today and we christened it with a snack for all when they got it here. It's actually got two leaves that fold up onto the table when it's closed (can fit 6 snugly), so you would be eating on the backs of the leaves when it's open. Does that make sense?

Anyway, I feel terribly grown up. I think we can start hanging art and pictures now. Yay.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Returning to Work, Part III: Sinking in

Okay, so I'm dwelling on it.

It is so nice to watch G as she changes and grows every day...every day we swear she is bigger...and see O off to school, playing tennis, doing his thing with his pals. I am going to miss being at home.

I explained to O that I was going to have to go to work again next week. "Why?" was his pleading, whining tone (kind of like mine in my head, as I write this, admittedly).

"Well, the same reason I've always had to work, honey. I have to work to help pay for our house and things we like to do together, and it's just part of life. Things haven't changed from before, except now you'll have G to stay home with you and J. I'll still bring you to school twice a week, just like always."

"Okay. Will Daddy stay home?"

"No, Daddy has to work too."


He seems to take it well. He is used to the situation, so it shouldn't be that big of a deal; I suppose we have all gotten used to me being around the last handful of months, though. He likes when I come to watch him play and I can eat lunch with him or help him get dressed in the morning, or something silly like when he makes me a strawberry-orange pie with his Play-Doh. Me too.

And then I explain it to G on her changing table this morning, which is much easier since she doesn't speak yet. She just smiles at me with a coo and a giggle and somehow I feel like it's ok because she's female and she understands already. "It's okay Mama, I know it's hard." I know that makes no sense, but I just wonder if she is going to be an old soul like O is.

I'm starting to reach out to work, ask them to include me on things so I am not clueless upon my return. How does my boss want me to enter back into projects, do I have anything new on my plate...are all my responsibilities the same? I am curious to find out, honestly. Hopefully we'll speak this afternoon, but the day is going fast. Time is a-ticking, as I can constantly hear in my head.

On the home side, I want to be really organized, too--which is difficult as we still try to string together the bits of our living space post-renovation. I think that will help me do everything I need to do every day...things I want to make sure I do, like picking out clothes for both of them, taking care of anything necessary for his school, making breakfast, making dinner. I like to cook; so does C. We take out maybe once a week, and once G gets a little bigger, I am sure we will start going out to eat again. We are attempting a brunch this weekend (with friends and their family). Wish us luck.

I would have to work even if we didn't do the renovation. This makes it a bit less flexible since it will increase our monthly payments quite a bit, but if I'm in that situation regardless, I am glad we at least are going to be happy with what we are paying for.

Happy Friday, all--I am certain they will become infinitely more important again, starting next week.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

G: 2+ month check-up

Wow. 10 lbs, 13 1/2 ounces. 22 1/2 inches.

I know that's not that big for some people but having had Oscar with so many weight gain issues, it is a joy to have a baby that is gaining weight exactly as expected and on track. She is doing great. Hooray.

First vaccinations today (three). Big screams on impact, but quieted down quickly. Slept a lot. Good baby.

O: Vocabulary

datteries: (dat•er•ees) O was in the car with me this morning and kept trying to say that he needed to put batteries in one of the toys in his room. Dad almost always handles battery management. He was speaking quickly, mangling "Daddy" with "battery".

I am going to ask Daddy, "Can you put some datteries in my fire truck train?"

Sometimes I think his brain is in a higher gear than his mouth can function with.

Questions of the Week

Not necessarily a weekly feature, but some items have presented themselves that warrant comment. This week, a television theme.

  1. Why is Bret Michaels (of Poison fame, for those not in the know) essentially doing karaoke on that show "Don't Forget the Lyrics"? Didn't he already share a bit too much of himself on "Rock of Love"? And secondly, why is his hair so freaky...oh wait, I know, I know..."the finest European hair extensions money can buy."
  2. Why do people like that pair of fools from "The Hills" get to go to the White House Correspondents' Dinner? This is supposed to be for journalists that cover the president. Now it's all about the Hollywood guest list. (If you can even call these characters--yes that is what they are, characters--Hollywood. I should note that I have never actually watched an episode of "The Hills." I have watched plenty of "Rock of Love," however.) On a side note, the keynote speaker from our college graduation, Ann Compton, is actually the president of the WHC Association. Hmm.
  3. Why did Tom Cruise really need to go on Oprah again? And why did it have to be a big ol' field trip? Don't we all know already how sickeningly rich the two of them are? Ick. He freaks me out.
The microphone is open for any compelling answers. Discuss.