Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fall Festivities

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love to dress up and now that I have Jonah, I love dressing him up too. He decided to be Yoda this year. I couldn't find an appropriate pattern, so I bought his costume. Over-sized as it was, it worked. I went as a kind and gentle queen (long story, but it was a theme-thing at work). I did make my costume and LOVED how it turned out. I wore it to work for annual parade and school-wide Halloween party. I will wear it again tonight when we take Jonah out to trick-or-treat. Although he won't exactly know what all the fuss is about, I am sure he'll enjoy the free candy....right before bed, no less.

Here are a few pics of us in costume.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

share and share alike

So, I told a couple of coworkers a portion of my birth story today. Neither one has yet given birth, so my story was a little overwhelming - or, at the very least, gross! But it went beyond the birth and into the weeks following. I had a rough go of things, but I felt the need to share those stories with other women in an attempt to let others ask questions and say their concerns without feeling judged. I don't want to seem like I'm over dramatizing or asking for sympathy, because I don't need to do either. I do however, wish more people had been honest with me about their birthing experiences before I had a child. (Thanks to Kim H., Dana and Lacey who were very honest with me and shared all the stories, good and bad, and helped me prepare for Jonah-mo's arrival.)

While I'm on the subject....why is it that more women don't share their stories? Not just about giving birth and parenting, but about other things like where they get a fabulous haircut, how to make crock-pot chili, or why their husband rocks. I feel like there is so much conversation about negative things, complaining, and woe-is-me speeches. Why can't we open ourselves up a little bit to friends and strangers alike to share our positive experiences? All I know is that when someone has a good idea, good contact, or good relationship, I'd like to hear about it in the hopes that I can improve my life without having to go through the trial-and-error. Also, you shouldn't feel like your "bragging" when you score a great babysitter or when your husband takes you out for a nice dinner. The world could do with a few more happy stories like these, as opposed to everyone competing for the "worst something-or-other of the year award".

So, next time you have some happy news, or an important experience that you think might benefit others, share it, for gods sake! Encourage others to give you happy messages and do your best to re-direct those Negative Nellys, Debbie Downers, and Sad Sallys.

Speaking of Debbie Downer...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

try it....you might like it!

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Many of you know that I have never been a beer drinker. However, during my pregnancy, every time Jason drank beer, the smell made me sooo thirsty! I now enjoy a beer from time to time, perferring draft to bottle. I went to happy hour with a few co-workers today at The Tap Room and tried the Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale. Wow - I drank every last drop and it was super-yummy! Of course I love anything with pumpkin in it, so it's no surprise I like a pumpkin beer.

Speaking of pumpkin, a new family favorite are pumpkin pancakes. Just add 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling) and a pinch of pumpkin pie spice to your pancake recipe and cook as usual. Of course maple syrup is always a delicious accompaniment, but try it with honey!

Another pancake variation, made very easy, is to add a jar of baby food to a traditional pancake mixture:

1) banana nut pancakes - Add 1 baby food jar of banana puree and 1/4 cup of slightly crushed walnuts. (I am tempted to pour chocolate syrup on top, but resist that urge)
2) sweet potato pancakes - Add 1 baby food jar sweet potatoes and 2 tablespoons brown sugar.

I always make a double batch and refrigerate them so Jonah has breakfast ready for several days. Smaller pancakes can be re-heated in the microwave or the toaster.

Take some time to enjoy the tastes of this wonderful season!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

bad fish?


If you see Escolar on the menu the next time you dine, and you are AT ALL prone to digestive issues (weak stomach, recovering from the flu, IBS, etc.) think twice before ordering this controversial fish:

As stated in my earlier blog, I love me some Top Chef. Most recently in Season 7, NJ native Kevin Sbraga won. He is the executive chef at Rats Restaurant at Grounds for Sculpture, a restaurant where I have actually eaten. However, I have some sad/disturbing news. A coworker of mine decided to make a reservation at Rats for her anniversary and much to her chagrin, ended up sick! The culprit? A menu item that is known to cause intestinal trouble in many who consume it! The fish, Escolar, is a permanent fixture on the menu, however, one simple google search will turn up many sites warning you NOT to eat this fish, no matter how it's prepared!

Not only was I disappointed that his classy restaurant would serve such a thing, I was mad, and I didn't even eat the damn thing! Said coworker called the health department in the hopes of simply having the restaurant add a disclaimer on their menu so as not to mislead patrons. I may enjoy some greasy coney dogs and chili cheese fries on my trips to Michigan, but I am aware of the havoc it will reek on my digestive system. I make an educated decision each time I wolf down that cheesy, chili goodness. But without warning, it can most certainly ruin your evening, weekend, and anniversary!!

Message to Kevin, Rats and the whole gang: I hope you quickly take action to make your diner's experience a more pleasurable one.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"I Like Turtles"

Because my last few posts have been rather serious, I thought I would share something funny....at least I hope you think it's funny.

I refer to this clip on a regular basis using the punch line as a catch phrase of sorts with my friend/co-worker Amanda. It is important to enunciate properly, including the slight speech-impediment. It is synonymous with "whatever", "duh", "really?", or "just forget it!"*



What I also love is how the newscaster struggles to find a transition. Lmao.

If you watch Tosh.0, you know he did a web redemption of this clip. If you don't watch Tosh.0....what's wrong with you? Just kidding!


* Proper use in a sentence:
I drove all the way to the car wash and it was closed. I like turtles.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Why it is tough being a mom....

Jonah was cranky today. Very cranky.

I had a million things to do + He didn't want to nap = Frustrated mama & Even crabbier Jonah. Days like today are tough - I feel selfish for wanting to go to Joann Fabrics, talk on the phone to my family, or sit to meal plan for the week. Jason had to run errands, so I was home trying to occupy Jonah while still accomplishing my tasks. I did get a bunch of laundry done, made a VERY quick trip to Joann's, but still feel like 75% of my "to do" list was untouched. It's now 9:45 pm. and the little guy is in bed, but I have lost all motivation and energy to do just about anything, except write this blog entry.

I know this is the common life of a mother ("working" or SAH), and I wouldn't trade Jonah for the world, but every so often I have the moment where I miss my married w/out children days. The lazy Sundays of sleeping in and going out to breakfast at noon. The middle of the afternoon nap with Jason on the couch. The evenings where I didn't have to choose between Jason and the must-get-this-done-before-I-fall-asleep tasks.

A mother's work is truly never done. Jason is amazing, but he can't relieve the stress and pressure I feel from Jonah to be the mother he deserves. I am a perfectionist - it's all or nothing with me. Some days I just want to a break. I want to be Becca again. I know this isn't possible and I was willing to give that up when I made the decision to have Jonah. But I also know that I'm not the only mom who feels this way. Too many women gave me the false impression that when you have a child you cease to be selfish - that you give up your childish ways in lieu of your dedication to being a mother. Well, maybe for some women it is that simple, but for me it's a hell of a lot more complicated.

Please don't mistake this post as a plea for sympathy. This is my way of venting and also letting other mothers and/or mother-to-be know about my reality. It may look like yours, it may not. But I have no shame in how I feel. There is a distinct difference between loving your child and loving being a parent. My sadness lies in my effort to reconcile two versions of myself, knowing that it's an evolution, but anxious to find resolution.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

30 days of.....love



My mom and my sister were charged with bestowing 30 days of gifts upon their lovely Rebecca on her 30th birthday. Beginning on September 12th and continuing for 30 continuous days, I opened one gift per day. Nearly every gift included a personalized card, wrapped or in a cute gift bag, and notifying me of the designated day to be opened either by day of the week (2nd Tuesday) or by emotion (open on a day you're feeling crafty). Arriving in separate packages (one per week) and over flowing with love, this was truly an undertaking. It took a great amount of commitment, money and dedication to complete. While I am in awe, I am not surprised. My mom and my sister go to great lengths to make me feel special, loved, and closer to them both. I received everything from a beautiful dress to a scratch-off lottery card (even won $20), from homemade granola to a meat tenderizer. I text mom and Misha every time I open a new item and I've used nearly everything they sent me! There is no doubt that I am easy to buy for, but they find a way of getting me things I didn't even realize I needed in addition to those things I asked for (the meat tenderizer being one). With my 30 days drawing to a close, I wanted to show my absolute gratitude to my beautiful, wonderful, thoughtful, loving, caring, sweet, creative, talented, and amazing mother and sister for making my 30th birthday better than I ever expected.

Additionally, I need to acknowledge some of the others who made my birthday extra special:
Jason sent me 11 roses on the Tuesday before my b-day, and arrived at my work on Friday with rose #12 to take me out to lunch. He also sent me a beautiful and/or funny card every day that week. (if you know me, you know how much Hallmark cards mean to me). Lastly, he bought me a gorgeous pair of diamond stud earrings.
Amanda (my co-worker) made a dozen cupcakes and brought them into work with a 6-pack of Diet Coke and a big birthday balloon. It made my day!
Jacob gave me a beautiful camera charm for my Pandora bracelet - very personal and very thoughtful.
I received so many cards and gifts all with lovely messages reminding me how blessed I am.

I had a lot more anxiety about turning 30 than I ever expected. During a random conversation with a friend, I realized the source of my angst: My 20s were amazing for soooo many reasons. I felt as though turning 30 was a symbolic "good-bye" to that time of my life and it made me very sad. In many ways my life has just begun, and I need to start looking forward to all that lies ahead.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dedicated to Kathryn


I have spent countless hours of my life (in the recent past) crying over my "friend" situation. Getting married, moving, and having a child put significant strain on the already strained relationships between me and some of my female friends. It made me sad, but it also has made me realize that I have a choice in the company I keep. I don't have to remain friends with you simply because I've known you since I was an adolescent. Yes, we share a history, but perhaps that is all we share anymore. I need to surround myself with people who truly care about me and my circumstances, and respect my life choices. I have felt like an outsider, ignored by the people I consider to be friends and it's no longer healthy.

Fortunately, moving forced me to do a couple of things: 1) Invest only in the friendships that result in positive interaction, mutual support, and love 2) Meet new friends and try them on for size. I am grateful to the long-distance friends who have reciprocated the effort to maintain friendships. I slowly, but surely, feel like I've become part of a new circle of friends whose husbands also get along with Jason quite well (bonus). I've also been getting along famously with some of my new co-workers. These situations have allowed me to feel good about myself again. I don't feel like I'm the odd-woman out anymore. I feel like I belong.

One of my new friends is remarkably like me. We share a love of creativity and design, a positive attitude, a healthy marriage, and a strong work ethic. I feel a unique connection to her and it reminds me of being around family - the people who know you and love you no matter what. The people you rarely have to explain yourself to. The people who laugh at you without making you feel self-conscious. The people who give you a hug before you knew you needed it. It just feels good and I'm so grateful.

I think I'm a good friend, but I've seriously doubted that fact for the past year. Now I realize, its just not that simple.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Favorite Things: Volume I


Visual Media Edition

So, this is a somewhat boring post, but I thought it was positive. I could post about things I DON'T like, right? That would be less than boring....that would be ugly.

While I don't want to be a couch potato, there are SOOOO many good shows on the boob-tube these days that my DVR can hardly take it! Here is a listing of my faves and why:

1 - Parenthood: For its broad and inclusive portrayal of familial relationships, its sense of humor in spite of difficult circumstances, its very realistic dialogue among characters, great casting, and great acting.

2 - The Good Wife: Cast - Julianna Margulies, BIG, Josh Charles, Christine Baranski, and the list goes on; great acting; story line is unique, dramatic and a little over the top but not ridiculous; makes every woman in America wonder, "what would I do if I had been in her shoes???", the answer isn't what you think.

3 - Top Chef / Project Runway - Each season is a little different, but I truly enjoy watching "amateur" chefs and designers battle it out for the title. Tom Colicchio: You're kind of a dick, but for good reason. Heidi Klum: I love and hate you, simultaneously.

We also watch House, Bones and CSI (LV only!), but most everyone knows about the merits of those shows by now and if you're not into them, then why start now?

In addition to regular TV, I enjoy movies and miniseries when I have time. If you didn't have HBO you might have missed the John Adams miniseries. It first aired in 2008, and is now available on DVD. I HIGHLY recommend watching the entire thing. Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney play John and Abigail Adams exceptionally. The rest of the casting was wonderful! It was also a gorgeous historic portrayal of the changing landscape of our nation while vividly telling the story of John, Abigail, their family, colleagues, friends and countrymen as they intertwined with the cultivation of our government. When this aired, Jason and I got excited every Sunday night to watch the next episode, which made me realize that I am a dork and I love history. Especially when history incorporates the voices of women, children and the human element, and not just the old, white, male, authoritative perspective.

Please feel free to post comments that include YOUR favorite TV programs and movies. This should promote an exchange of 'likes'....

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reflections


Everyday I think a million tiny thoughts. Because I can talk rather fast, I am able to get about 1% of all those thoughts expressed verbally to Jason, my coworkers, my family, my friends and Jonah. Most of it sounds like rambling even as its coming out of my mouth, yet I can't seem to help myself. Yes, I am HYPER-VERBAL. I think that if I don't say all that is floating around in my head it will be lost forever and what a shame that would be. I wish that i could type even faster so that more of my thoughts could be communicated that way....I think it would help my personal life. People would be more likely to listen and less likely to tune me out.

So, this is my way of saying, I need to start blogging more and talking less. I think that if people want to hear me express myself, they can read my blog, but if not, they can just listen. It's a win-win, expect for the fact that the diligence to type everyday doesn't come easily. It requires a little more thought, effort and discipline.

BTW, this is not a ploy to have friends and family tell me that I'm NOT hyper verbal in other to feel better about myself. I am NOT insecure about it, in fact, I own that self-diagnosis. I just thought I would begin my re-kindled love of blogging with an explanation of my rationale.

TODAY'S QUOTE: Don't confuse effort with results. A harsh reality for some, not nearly harsh enough for others. When people "try hard" to "do their best" but constantly fall short, I don't think they should be rewarded for those efforts. In the real world, directed effort will end with successful results. If your effort is weak, ill directed and/or under-whelming, your results will be as well and perhaps you need to rethink your reasons for being in the position you're in. I am using this quote to evaluate others, when truthfully, we should all first look at our own circumstances and see if we have been confusing our own effort with results.

With that I will bid adieu to my readers....or reader... or just you, mom, and subliminally remind myself while I sleep that blogging everyday will promote creativity and sequester my verbal rants.