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Written 2 years ago, this was originally posted on an older blog and my Myspace blog.  Even 7 years after 9/11/01, my sentiments remain the same.

**

I continue to walk in stride, sometimes stumbling to keep up with the Rat Race. All of us in the Race continue to look straight ahead, dodging all eye contact and rarely, if ever, looking up at the buildings above us.

Five Seven years later, and it’s apparent things are strikingly different.  Though things change and lives are forever affected, it’s still apparent that many things will stay the same.

Despite the sadness and ongoing apprehension that is imminent, it’s often the mundane aspects of the City that bring comfort, and even a sense of relief.

Since 9/11/01, I am reminded by how much life has really changed.  Every now and then, when going to or coming from work, the hum from a helicopter from above is louder and more prominent.  The sirens from firetrucks and emergency vehicles garner a look out the window or turn of the head– just in case.
Unlike before, my work calls for more coverage on security issues.  Our safety in all respects is something that we, as sometimes complacent citizens, now find a necessity and crucial terms.  When loved ones call from home, their voices still reverberate a sense of uneasiness, especially when NYC issues arise in the news.  But above all of the mundane routines, a train ride into the WTC is now chilling, a walk around the WTC site is thought-provoking and a brief pause in front of St. Paul’s Chapel, scurrying to the 4/5 train, speaks volumes, regardless of how many years have passed.

I was just a clueless Va. transplant five seven years ago.  Living in Jersey City, in an illegal apartment no less, I was about a mile away from the WTC site.  I had new roommates (from Va.) at the time.  When the first plane hit, I got a knock on the door while I was in the shower.  My roommate, I thought, was being annoying and impatient.  When I got out of the shower, a few minutes before 9am, mom called me.  She seemed anxious and worried and told me to turn my tv on.  Since I was a penniless intern back then, I didn’t have cable.  Since the local channels’ towers were broadcast from the WTC, I had no reception on my local channels, either.  I immediately turned on the radio and heard Guiliani say, “if you don’t need to be in NYC today, please stay home.”  It was then, when I heard that a 2nd plane had hit the other tower.  Speaking to mom, the ever-optimist, I was convinced that these planes had to be a freak accident.
After several minutes of listening to the radio and to mom’s voice, I knew that not only was this a major catastrophe, I was also 350 miles away from my comfort zone.  My cell phone had no service, my landline rarely connected, my dialup internet barely got online, and so, my family and friends, all of whom were in Va., were frantically trying to reach me.  My roommates at the time, had only been in NJ/NY for a week.  Because they were newer than me, they weren’t used to the separation and detachment that went along with being a transport.  They immediately wanted to leave town.  I was the only one with a car.

Because we had no idea what was going on, with limited phone service, no tv and intermittent radio connection, crisis mode was in full effect.  I was terrified of the unknown, but for once, I wasn’t thinking of myself.  Because we were close enough, we could see the towers fall.  Because we were close enough, we could see the smoke billow from the site.  And because it seemed all too surreal, we had to walk down a few blocks to get a closer look.

Our view from Jersey City, just blocks from where we lived.

We saw for ourselves, the destruction and uncertainty of 9/11.  I was conscious of the fact that the U.S. would “go to war.”  But I was terrified of the fact that there could possibly be another attack. After all, the plane that was diverted and ended up crashing in Pa., left from Newark, just 11 miles from my apartment.
After finally getting in touch with Jeff (who was still living in Va.) and my family, I decided to do what I thought was best during this time of uncertainty.  I had to go home.  If anything was to happen, I wanted to be with my family.  Even though I had roommates that I’d only known for a week, I was really alone up here.

And so, we piled into the Jetta for what was possibly the longest ride to Va.  The roads going south on the Turnpike were the emptiest I’d ever seen.  Yet, the Turnpike going North was packed, but with only Emergency Vehicles.  It was truly surreal and mindnumbing to see this parade of Emergency Vehicles reporting for duty.  It’s a site that I’ll never forget, but one that touched me in many ways.


After the 9/11 attacks, it was apparent that people could come together in crisis.  It was apparent that we are all bound together because of one underlying factor:  our freedom as Americans.

People will always ask, “where were you on 9/11?”  I always say the varied versions of the same thing:  “I was an intern, living right outside of NYC, getting ready for work, when my mom called to let me know the news.  I never made it into the City that day, but I drove 6 hours to go home- just in case.”

I’m well aware that my existence was unsubstantial in comparison to the multitude of heroes that saved others that day.  While I was driving home to seek comfort, there were hundreds of firefighters, police officers, emergency servicemen and women and regular civilians who helped others find comfort in this time of need.  It’s said 20,000 people were saved that day.  And while we should never forget the lives that were lost, we should always remember how many heroes prevailed because of this catastrophe.

After finding the solace that I searched for in Va., the smoke still billowed from Ground Zero a week later.  Nevertheless, I anxiously and adamantly returned to NYC.  Though I made the trip alone, I returned to my new home, and realized that I’d never be alone in this wonderful town ever again.

I took this pic about 2 weeks after the attacks.  The smoke was still billowing.

And my favorite photo of the Tribute in Light Memorial taken on Sept. 9, 2004 by the Coast Guard.

And one of my favorite covers of the Village Voice.

**

I know I’ll never forget.

All the hype about Chicago? Yeah, so worth it.

Let me just preface this recap by telling you what my agoraphobic-non-city-loving husband told me: “I almost like Chicago more than NYC.”

Can you imagine? Almost!??

At first, I felt like saying, how dare you question your loyalty to NYC.

But you know what? As much as NYC has become a part of our family, I’m so glad to have finally visited Chi-Town. I almost get what he was saying…

Oh Chicago. How much do we love thee? Let me count the ways!
Chicago
Quite honestly, we were only in Chicago for 2 days, but we totally fell in love. And one of those days shouldn’t really count. On the first day, as we were out gallivanting at the Navy Pier, we got stuck outside during a torrential downpour. It turns out, while we were seeking higher ground and getting drenched, Jeff, his dad, brother and nephew were at Wrigley Field.

Apparently, tornado sirens sounded, the stadium had to be evacuated and well, the rest is history. As Jeff reminded me the other night, “You know I’m going to tell my Wrigley story until the day I die.”Chicago Children's Museum

He’s so not kidding, folks.

Before the tornado craziness, we had a chance to check out the Chicago Children’s Museum. That was fun! It wasn’t as Chicago-centric as I had hoped, but it was still a fun place to visit. One of the best aspects about the CCM was the Target Free First Monday. (And they say nothing in life is free.) I loved the Treehouse Trails– a nature-inspired exhibit. Jack in the Waterways exhibitBut of course, Jack loved the WaterWays water exhibit–a little too much. Jack loved the exhibit almost as much as Barack!

On the next day, after the storm passed, we set out to see the city. We walked down Magnificent Mile a bit and then met up with my dear friend from high school, Kathleen. Oh Kathleen. Kathleen took us to a very cool historic Chicago eatery, Berghoff–an old cafe that was in the basement level of a fancier sit down restaurant. Meeting up with Kathleen and introducing my family to her was serendipitous in ways…well, not for me, but for Jeff. As we were catching up with each other’s lives, Jeff was beside himself after one sip of his beer. “THIS IS IT!”

What was it? Jeff “found” the beer that he loved from his grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary–12 years ago. I suppose it was happenstance that my dear high school friend took us to a cool Chicago joint, that so happened to be the namesake restaurant for this long lost beer. Good friend, good eats, good beer=good stuff.

Kathleen took us around that area a bit more, and we had a chance to see Millennium Park up close and personal. As far as city parks go, Millennium Park is amazing. I’m a big fan of Central Park, but this 24.5-acre park rocks in its own way. Its website touts the park as “an award-winning center for art, music, architecture and landscape design.” That’s an understatement, btw.

The Pavilion, called the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, was one of the most incredible outdoor concert venues I’ve ever seen. It has web of outdoor speakers, and the outer “shell” itself, was a piece of art.speakers at Millenium ParkPavilion in Chicago Chicago Symphony

As if all that wasn’t cool enough, we had a chance to sit in on the Chicago Symphony Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra’s practice session, along with throngs of other tourists, of course. As always, Jack did his little jig to the music. Our visit to the Pavilion at Millennium Park provided a fun (free) dose of cultural activity. If it wasn’t so painfully hot, I’m sure we would’ve stayed even longer!

After listening to a bit of the symphony, Kathleen led us to Cloud Gate, otherwise known as “The Bean.” The Bean is described as

Anish Kapoor’s first public outdoor work installed in the United States. The 110-ton elliptical sculpture is forged of a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates, which reflect the city’s famous skyline and the clouds above.

The Bean
It was perhaps one of the coolest outdoor sculptures I’d ever seen. In a way it reminded me of the Elsa Peretti Tiffany Bean, but on a much grander scale. Besides the humidity that day, it was also one of the most perfect days to view it. It was sunny, bright and the sky was filled with clouds. The reflection on the Bean lived up to its official name, and every inch reflected something spectacular. The Bean- reflectionAnyone that appreciates the beauty of a skyline would appreciate an installation like this! We walked beneath the sculpture, to check out the curvature of the Bean. The concave shape of the underside created some unreal reflections. I was able to walk backwards in my paparazzi-like way and catch a glimpse of Jeff’s head. It’s dizzying but very cool. Because Jack loves “the baby in the mirror,” this art installation naturally, was a huge hit!

Jeff under the Bean
The baby in the Bean
As we made our way out of the park, Kathleen was telling us all about this really cool wade pool– something we know all about. The Crown Fountain, as its officially called, was a juxtaposition of wet, frolicking children in a reflection pool.

Crown Fountain, ChicagoCrown Fountain, Chicago

The backdrop on either end were fountains that project various faces on these huge LED screens. It was an interactive fountain in the true sense of the word and as the website describes, they were also a reference to the traditional use of gargoyles in fountains, where faces of mythological beings were sculpted with open mouths to allow water, a symbol of life, to flow out.

After a beautiful afternoon with Kathleen, it was Jack’s naptime so we bid adieu to my good friend. We retreated back to the hotel for a bit, in time to get ready to meet up even more loved ones!

Jack, Uncle Cesar and ChristineWe had the chance to meet up with my uncle (my dad’s cousin) and his daughter, Christine. This is the first time I’d met my second cousin and the first time either of them met Jack. We learned that Christine is quite the budding DJ and has mixed at various big venues, including one in Manila. We had dinner at Pizano’s and enjoyed the deliciousness of real Chicago Deep Dish pizza. Nothing goes together better than good food and family! Speaking of family, I keep nudging my bro, John, and telling him he’d love Chicago. Who knows? Maybe he’ll go and love it, just like I imagine he would!

Due to the insane weather upon our arrival, sadly, I missed out on seeing a few friends. But luckily, I DID get to see one of my BFFs from jr. high (!). Oh, Vicky B. Liz, Vicky, me and JackHow I missed you, my dear friend. After several plan changes, Vicky agreed to meet me and the boys at the airport on our way out of town. What a reunion that was! Vicky and I have been friends since I think we were 12 or 13. With the advent of the internet and social media, we’ve been able to keep in touch.

And like I’ve said before, good friends, no matter how long you’re apart, always pick up where you left off.

With that, I’ve decided that Chicago is now our good friend. We’re hoping to go back again soon, and this time, to experience even more (minus the tornado sirens)…and pick up right where we left off.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for us with the traveling, catching up and resuming our daily craziness.  Jack isn’t quite back to his normal routine yet.  Just when I thought he was settling back in, the poor kid woke up with a stuffy nose.  No fever, just a clogged up nose.  With that stuffy nose, he almost sounds like his father when he snores!

Since I finally got around to doing 4 loads of laundry tonight, memories of our trip came flooding back.  We went to Wisconsin for Jeff’s (extended) family reunion, and what a time it was!  So, here’s my synopsis of our Midwest travels.
On the road again
Traveling with Jack this time around was much more seamless. The shorter flight, extra set of hands and morning departure worked out in our favor. The 2hr. car ride from Chicago to WI, however, not so seamless. I ended up having to hop in the backseat because Jack was in hysterics for half of the ride probably because he was so restrained all day long!  Lesson learned:  with small children in tow, direct flights are the way to go.
Once we finally made it to WI, we saw all the east coast family at the hotel and had fun hanging out and catching up.
Friday Night Fish Fry
The first night, we went out to dinner– Friday Night Fish Fry. From what I understand, this is a big thing in the Midwest. Not sure what other areas do it, but it’s pretty prevalent in this part of Wisconsin. This was my 2nd experience at Friday Night Fish Fry.  It’s exactly what it sounds like– the family gathering and enjoying a smorgasbord of fried fish and other goodness.
Later that night after we got the babies to sleep, all of the adult cousins got together at the “Uptown Bar.” We enjoyed the the $5.75 PITCHERS of beer. Jeff and I couldn’t get over the price difference. In Hoboken and moreso in NYC, often times, you can’t get a single drink under $6. Jeff was like a “pig in shit”  (As he likes to say.)  Beer for EVERYONE!

Saturday was the best day of the whole weekend. We all made it out to the family farm, where 2 of Jeff’s uncles still live. The farm was turned into acres and acres of wildlife refuge.The trails
Jeff’s uncle maintains the property and it is gorgeous! I can’t even begin to verbalize the beauty of the wide open spaces. We had a catered pig roast, lots of beer, wine and booze and plenty of ATV riding and exploring the property. All the kids–young and old–took turns riding the ATVs and getting a taste of life on the farm.  Because of location, we don’t get to see these relatives all that often, so it was such a wonderful day to spend with family. It was a great opportunity to introduce Jack to WI and a few new PA relatives. But to see Jeff channel his country boy side was quite the sight. He had so much fun riding those ATVs and doing what boys do.

Country boys...It was a well planned party and a much needed reunion. It’s so interesting to see how each sibling has lived their life and followed different paths, and then of course, seeing their children and grandchildren who are the products of those paths they’ve chosen. From the photos, you can tell that we’re from all different walks of life, but certainly bound by common denominators. Such is the beauty of family.

As they always say, family seems to get together for weddings and more weddings. I’m so glad this gathering had a much different motive –family togetherness– and one that I hope we all get to do again!

Chicago recap is next up!

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.  The boys and I had a relaxing weekend enjoying the neighborhood, as well as our backyard– NYC.  After Jack calmed down from a rough start on Saturday morning, we went into Great Lawn the City to meet my cousin’s fiance, Jason who is in town visiting his brother.  This was the first time Jason and Jeff had met, but as Jason said, thanks to the internet and from our stories, it’s like they already knew each other.  We had a chance to relax and stroll around in Central Park, and eventually found our way to the green urban oasis, otherwise known as the Great Lawn. It’s always cool “escaping” the cacophony of the city and retreating on the luscious lawn.  While people played softball and picnicked, we all chatted and watched Jack flirt with nearby baby girls.  It was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Once we got home, we made it back in time for the last night of our church’s feast.  St. Ann’s Feast, in many ways, goes hand in hand with so much of our life here in NJ.  In its 98th year, the feast has so much history and tradition, but at the same time, therst.ann's feaste’s a sense of newness to the congregation, which, I thought, could be conveyed through the diversity of the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds.  If you will, it was old school meets new school.  As always, the feast was a week long of great music, sausage and peppers, Zeppoles and nightly novenas.  We absolutely love our church and priests, which makes the feast so much more special to us.  As much as it was a spiritual celebration for us, it was also a way to commemorate what will probably be our last summer here in Hoboken.

On Sunday, however, I thought I’d take the initiative with the changes!  Chopped itAs noted by my previous post, I’m way overdue for a change!  I thought I’d take advantage of the spa gift certificate the boys got me for my birthday and get a massage and haircut.  Since my hair grew at an exponential pace during and after pregnancy, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to cut and donate for Locks of Love once again.  So, within 2.5 years, I’ve donated 24 inches of hair!  And with that donation, it’s my hope that a child can benefit with a brand new look.

On my end, I’m hoping to benefit by facing the world with a brave new face.

What does record breaking heat, a meat festival, pig hats, water sprinklers and family naps have in common?
Not much really, other than being the highlights of our scorching weekend.

interesting name, delcious sandwichesJust like last year, we went to the annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party. It was hot, crowded but of course, the festival boasted a lot of meat. Because of the heat, we spent much less time waiting in the atrocious lines. We opted to go to the much shorter lines to grab our sandwiches and hide in the shade. We ended up going with the Checkered Pig. And wouldn’t you know? They were from Va. Figures 🙂 Delicious BBQ sandwich. Their Slaw got a thumbs up from the slaw connoisseur himself.

Pig hatWhen we weren’t forcing him to wear pig hats for photo ops, Jack quietly napped in his stroller, as we trudged through the shoulder to shoulder crowds in Madison Square Park. I was fine since I’m so used to ridiculous crowds. Jeff, on the other hand, was getting frustrated because of all the intolerable variables. (who could blame him?) After we ate our meaty treats, we found our retreat in the form of a playground and water sprinkler. The two of us took our turns playing in the sprinkler with Jack and the other kids. I could see the glimmer in Jack’s eye– the forward-looking dreams of running alongside of all those big kids and splashing THEM in their faces.
admiring the sprinkler

Sunday, as I’m sure most of you experienced, was just as hot. Since we spent a majority of the day outside in the furnace that was NYC, we decided to take refuge in the AC. We hung out at Starbucks in the morning after church, where we met a prospective weekend babysitter, but other than that, my guys and I sat in front of the AC and fans.

And to think, it’s only JUNE!

Since I’m discussing weekends, I wanted to mention how I was on Google Calendar “organizing” our social calendar for the coming weeks. With a few trips coming up, some friends coming into town, various work obligations, family stuff and a few gatherings, I was mentally overbooking ourselves. But while I was going over these various dates, I realized just how much our lives have transitioned…and with whom we’re surrounding ourselves.

Social lives don’t stall with the addition of babies, like I feared it would. Instead, it goes into full gear and into offroad terrain.
We’ve found there’s so much more logistics involved when orchestrating nights out; I totally see why people stop socializing all together. Figuring out the childcare, who are we meeting and where, does it fit into bedtime schedule? It’s hard, but as much as we love to hang out, what it comes down to is that sweet, silly little boy.

Unapologetically, on the weekends, we’re a tight little unit, just the 3 of us. It’s hard for us to make plans if they don’t involve the 3 of us. Jeff and I still find time to do things together, like our weekly date at the bar around the block. We try to find time to hang out with different friends (back home and in NJ.) Maybe we don’t go out together, or maybe not the entire night, but we try to make it happen. Often times, when we’re out, just the two of us, all we do is talk about the boy. Like other parents feel about their kid(s), he’s our world. He is our fun.

Once upon a time, a fun weekend may have included lots of booze and late nights. These days, there’s still booze and late nights, just at a different degree. Enjoying a quiet afternoon and napping together at home is our idea of fun.

Lame to some? Perhaps.

Fun takes on a whole new meaning after having a kid…and there’s no apologies for that.

I’m so behind in so many facets in life, it’s not even funny! One thing’s for sure, those back to back vacations were just what the dr. ordered!

Even though it’s Thursday, we just got back from our trip to Va. on Tuesday night. Spending a long weekend in Va. Beach was a great way to kick off the summer. And like always, after a nice visit back home, I always feel nostalgic and sentimental.

Jeff and I both have such fond memories of our childhood in VB. From swimming all day and night to playing out in our yards until the knees in our jeans dissolved. Home is where our hearts are…

As we made our way south down the turnpike, we were greeted with next to no traffic. Perhaps the mounting gas prices were to blame. And to think, NJ, of all places, not too long ago reportedly had the cheapest gas prices. Now we’re hovering right around $3.89/gal. I don’t blame a lot of people for staying local. For once, it was nice to have the road to ourselves!

Cousins!
Our time back home, as always, was fun. We spent time with Jeff’s family BBQing and watching the kids play together. It makes me feel old to see Britney- who was a baby when I moved up north- lugging my kid around. It’s so sweet to see how the bigger kids dote on Jack. I can already envision him running after his big cousins this time next year.

Per usual, we timeshare our visits with our two families and friends. On Sunday, we had a family friend’s baptism to attend and then another BBQ at home. Jack was able to give his uncle Jeff and uncle John drooly open mouth kisses, in between their crazy schedules. However, my favorite part of the weekend was, undoubtedly, sitting in my parents backyard– picnicking with the family, Jack swimming in his kiddie pool, laying on the grass with my boys and watching my parents enjoy being grandparents.

waiting to swimEvil KnievelAs my dad loves to remind me, “you can’t buy a backyard like this anymore.” To me, his statement translates to: the fruit of his labor, in a sense, is symbolized by their home and yard. Many memories were made there. Without a doubt, many more memories are upon the horizon.

I’m incredibly blessed to be able to share such an important part of my youth with my kid, even if it means driving 600+ miles in a weekend to do so!

For all those who wonder how we do that drive so often, that is why.

Since we literally and figuratively grew up at the Beach, it’s so inherent that we immerse our kid there, too. Honestly, it’s no surprise Va. Beach was tapped as one of the best areas to raise kids, according to Best Life.

Swimming time!

Dreams and careers are what landed us in the NYC area. At a time when joblessness is at a high, a flourishing career is what will keep us here. It’s hard being away from family and friends, especially after fun weekends. But, as they say, there are trade-offs for everything in life.

Much to my dismay, Jeff once said to me on the eve of my departure to chase the unknown, “NYC is a great place to visit, but not a place I want to live.”

At this point in our lives, I’m going to put it out there: VB is a place we’ll always visit, but NJ/NYC is our home.
Congrats on your promotion, Jeff!

(I’m so glad you changed your mind.)

I’m a bit late on this, but as they say, better late than never!

It’s Children’s Book Week this week, and from what I’ve read, school libraries, bookstores and others are celebrating with various reading-related events. It looks like there are various happenings in NYC for Children’s Book Week, so hopefully, there are some celebrations going on at your local libraries and book stores.
I know I’ve mentioned my obsession for books before, but I truly do believe books are the gateway to creativity. I love how our nephews and nieces love reading too. Michael and I like to compare notes on our shared love for reading. He told me awhile ago how he sometimes likes to “sneak” past his bedtime just to finish a book. Sounds like something I did just the other week! My sister in law left my a voicemail a few weeks ago to tell us that when she was going through Brandon’s book bag, she found the book we got both boys for Christmas. (Since the boys are the same age, we like to get one of the same gifts so they can interact together as cousins. And with this book, we told both nephews that since Jack is their baby cousin, it was their job to “teach him how to be a boy.”) Anyway, my sister in law was so tickled that Brandon carried this book around every where and had notes all throughout the book. In the day and age where kids seem isolated, thanks to the internet and video games, Jeff and I were pretty touched that a book could warrant a special part in our newphew’s busy life.

reading timeGetting lost in a book makes me forget about all the stressors in life, even if it’s 20 minutes at a time. With Jack at such a fun age, I love introducing new books every chance I get. I can’t even begin to describe how big my heart gets when a squirmy Jack will sit on my lap, lunge for a book and settle down with me, the minute I start to read. Honestly, I could be reading the Macy’s sale paper–it makes no difference–he seems to appreciate the idea of reading. And it turns out, according to Jack, his boardbooks make for for great teethers.

With tons and tons of books out there and in honor of Children’s Book Week, I thought I’d list a few of our favorite baby books.

Boynton Books
The Going to Bed Book- This is our nightly ritual. Even when Jack’s in mid-meltdown on the way to sleep, the minute I open this book, he calms down and lays next to me as I read it to him. I almost fall asleep after I say, “and they rock and rock and rock to sleep.”
ABCs-Boynton’s ABC book is such a hit! I really want to believe that Jack likes interesting-sounding and very articulated words. Perhaps, it’s because he loves to watch lips and grab them. Who knows? But, Vicunas Violining is always a line that makes us giggle. Vicuna? C’mon, if an ABC book leads me to googling about an animal I don’ t know about, it’s a keeper!

I Love You Stinkyface

The title says it all! The illustrations and the outlandish theme and importance of unconditional love in this book make so much sense to us!

Who are you Baby Kangaroo?
I bought this at an Earth Day festival, so this is a new book to our library. I love how this doggie goes around the world to find more about a Baby Kangaroo.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See?
This is yet another classic well known for the illustration and simple dialog. The vibrant colors of Carle’s art is just as fascinating for me as it is for the boy!

And finally, for future purposes for me and for those of you who have big kids, I read on Parent Hacks via Jen Robinson’s book page, a good way to encourage life long love for reading is to let your kids choose Let Young Readers Choose their Own Books.

So, what books do you guys love?

Today’s one of those two handed umbrella-wielding days. The one handed umbrella grip just isn’t enough to stay upright in this wind and rain! What a contrast from the flip flop-gorgeous weather we this past weekend. The weekend was so lovely, it was one of those weekends that I didn’t want to end.

I'm a flower killerThis weekend was productive and memorable, with many thanks to my thoughtful husband and son. We spent much of Saturday doing the usual errands and chores. While Jack and I were hitting Target and the grocery store, Jeff, apparently, was out doing some shopping of his own. Jeff, like most husbands, is NOT a shopper. It meant the world to me that he was out and about shopping at my expense. Once we reconvened at home, Jeff brought home a nice bouquet of hydrangeas, which, surprise, I killed within the same day. (Don’t ask me how I killed fresh cut flowers, but I did it!)
We went out and picked up Jack’s convertible car seat since he has officially surpassed the weight limit for his infant seat. And since we were out west, we popped in to visit our friends and to do a little “browsing.”

Sunday was fun day for us. While our Sunday wasn’t the same as Sunday Funday that you debaucherous youngsters like to call it these days. Our version of Sunday fun day was so much fun. The day started out with cards and gifts too (thank you to friends and family for thinking of me. Two or three cards are actually missing from this pic! I’ll have to take an updated picture for my own records). Jack, btw, was a fan of the singing card that Jeff got me. He does his little dance where he waves his arms like he’s a bird and grooves his little body while he’s sitting on the floor–the same one he does any time he hears music!

Aside from the cards, Jack (actually Jeff) bought me this really wonderful cubby container from this awesome local vintage/antique store. Not sure if anyone appreciates eclective finds like we do, but this thing is so cool! There’s a story behind it that I’m sure Jeff could tell much more accurately, but basically, it looks like a card catalog drawer, which was actually a drawer from a local electronics(?) company that has since relocated. cards and my giftThe drawers took up an entire wall and contained various bolts and tools and the like. My specific drawer has a pull-looking thing on the front which once indicated the enclosed contents. It’s painted a very 70’s burnt sienna hue, which Jeff says he’d like to sand and repaint, just to be safe. Since it looks like a card catalog, Jeff suggested that I could store Jack’s books and such inside. But quite honestly, Jack has so many books, he needs an entire wall of shelves. So, I think I’ll use my drawer to contain memories, or rather, hard copies of pictures, cards or whatever else that I’d like to scrapbook at a later date. And how cool is it that not only is it a green gift, but it also has its own charm and history that I can take with me. In the future, I can totally see it in my craft room/office. But for now, it’ll look perfect on my shelving area. As someone who has journaled and made scrapbooks before it became a multi-million dollar industry, my little drawer is so ‘me!’ My boys help with the memory-making, but it’s my unspoken role to actually collect and preserve them.
In addition to the cards and vintage gift, Jeff got some wonderful seats to the Mets game for yesterday’s game! What a fun time that was! Separate post and pictures to come 🙂

I hope everyone’s Mother’s day was just as beautiful!

from behind home plateRight about now, somewhere in the neighboring state, my husband, just like throngs of other die-hard Mets fans, is probably watching history online, on t.v. or if they’re lucky– in person– at Shea.

It’s a big day in Queens and the rest of NYC. The Mets, the team that “lives” in our living room for half of the year, is celebrating opening day in Flushing for the last time atMetsgame618 009 Shea– the place where the Amazin’s have called home for 40-some years.

Personally, we’ve had awesome seats, some pretty bad seats; we’ve seen some great games and we’ve witnessed some miserable ones, too. Beyond our personal memories, Shea is storied with its own history.

I can’t recite stats instinctively like my husband can, but I can tell you that the Mets aren’t just aat the game, 2004 team that we follow. They’re a team that has hometown ties, a team that has lifted us up and has let us down…in monumental ways. Our fondness begins with Jeff’s childhood adoration which permeated my way and if it’s possible, grew stronger as we set up shop in the Tri-State area.

On September 30, 2007, the Mets punctuated the most historic collapse in baseball history. On that same day, we left a NJ hospital with our new baby.Jeff and Jen

For those who have cheered for teams and are familiar with misfortune, “bittersweet” hardly sums it up.

How could we be disappointed when it was *really* the happiest day of our lives?

It’s a new season and baseball’s in full swing.

With a new baseball fan in our brood, not to mention a new stadium opening up for an Jack and Jeffall “new” team, we’re looking forward to even more memories.

[update:  ok, so they lost their last home opener at Shea.]

Moral of the story: whether it’s baseball or not, Ya Gotta Believe.

Home run!

Six months ago, I was miserable and swollen with anxiety. Six months later, I’m swollen with pride but still miserable*

We’ve come so far in just six months. Every night Jeff and I hover over the boy and cheesily whisper to each other, “can you believe he’s ours?”

To answer that rhetorical statement, no, I can’t. I still can’t believe we’re responsible for this funny little guy.

And you know what? So far, so good.

jack6m1.jpg
I think.

There have been many nights over the past 6 months where I was mentally packing my bags and searching for the keys to drive myself to the loony bin. The breastfeeding, the mom constantly in my face, other relatives making judgments, the working mom juggling act, squeezing in some time for friends, finding the composure to still be a wife and searching for my professional higher ground– this motherhood stuff is no joke.

And Jeff is already naming the rest of the litter. HAHAHAHA.

It’s no wonder why I enjoy vodka so much.

And then, as quick as I envision myself en route to the crazy house, our sweet boy grabs my face with his chubby arms, pulls me close and plants an open mouth drooly kiss and emits a faint noise—an inaudible version of “mwah.”

Mwah!

That’s all it takes.

I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since the summer time. I have scars from PUPPPs, reminders of my first few months as a very hormonal new mom. My guilty pleasure, bargain shopping, doesn’t produce bags full of clothes for me any more. Now, it’s bags full of diapers and butt cream for the boy.

Without a doubt, motherhood suits me more than I ever thought it would. It’s been a fun first 6 months.
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