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I feel like today was the first day of school, except for the first time in forever, I didn’t have to schlep off on the bus.  It was a wonderful feeling to listen to the buses putter past our window, and not have that constant feeling that I was going to miss the next one.

I have to admit, I’m having a slow start this morning.  Hold on…Jack’s eating electrical cords.

Ok, I started this post at 10:30 a.m.  If it’s any indication of my first day into this whole work at home/freelance realm, um, yeah, I’m finishing this post 12 hours after the fact.

*

So, let me backtrack a bit.  Wednesday, Oct. 15 was my very last day at my former company.  (It feels good to actually type that!)  Most of my colleagues were out of the office, only the underlings were around.  I spent the day cleaning up my computer, filling 3 large boxes of papers, notes and mementos of stories and trips I’ve covered over the past 7.5 years and of course, saying my farewells.  I only got teary once, which is good for me.  And quite honestly, those were tears of relief.

The few coworkers that were around that day were so sweet.  Knowing I love cupcakes and vodka, they gifted me with both.  Nice.  So, yes, I had a Seabreeze and a cupcake to bid adieu to my very first job out of college and the first “real” job in NYC.  No more free work cruises, no more wining and dining by various companies, no more events where I’d run into Rudy from Survivor (haha!)  No more unnecessary drama.  No more.

There’s nothing sweeter than a farewell cupcake. (Well, besides a celebratory mango margarita!)
There's nothing sweeter than a farewell cupcake

*

So now, it’s time to put the plan(s) in motion.  Per usual, I have more ideas than I know what to do with;  aren’t all creative types the same?  I told Jeff that I would give myself a day or so to acclimate myself with this new juggling act.  Jack, apparently, did not get that memo.

To spice things up, my adorable son decided to go on strike today.  What kind?  All kinds, actually.  He’s not eating like a voracious animal like he normally does.  Instead, he dutifully plucks and smooshes everything into his hair.  Considering he came home with sticky, spiky hair almost every afternoon, I imagine this is what he did at daycare, too.  As for naptime when mommy aimed to get in quality Facebook writing time, um yeah—that never happened.  So not only did he not eat anything of substance, he did not sleep at all.  He looked a lot like me by dinner time with the bags under his eyes and total incoherence.  I’m chalking the out of whack behavioral deals to him being sick ONCE AGAIN and the excitement of us being home together.

So, yeah, day one, just like everything else, didn’t happen as smoothly as I envisioned.  I, never for a single moment, thought this would be easy.  oh no.

I’m desperately crossing my fingers that Jack feels better, to have less banana’ed hair and more naps all around tomorrow.

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Many apologies on the lack of posts lately.  Things have been crazy.

Actually, crazy is an understatement.

With things being rattled at work for my beloved–in a good way–Jeff’s on a rocket ship, as my friend describes, which means I’m a single working mom during the week.   So, besides taking the bus to another town to pick up my sometimes uncooperative boy who can only nap once at daycare and waiting for a cab to get us home before bedtime, while simultaneously calling Jeff and whining that “this waiting for cabs and buses is BS,” I’ve had my plate full.

But such is the beauty of life, right?

I’ve been busy lately…busy thinking, busy plotting, busy reading, busy cuddling, busy coping
Basically, all kinds of busy.  Well, besides busy blogging or busy party planning that first birthday extravaganza that everyone else thinks is necessary (for our kid.)

(Have I mentioned that my kid eats shoes?  Obviously, he doesn’t know any better which is why in my book, my shoe-eater doesn’t “need” a party with coordinating centerpieces.  Free flowing parties with family and a few friends?  Now that’s my idea of fun.  Different strokes for different folks, I guess)

But I digress…

It’s been awhile since I’ve stepped outside of my own glass-accented corridor to see what’s going on around in the blogosphere, nevermind my IRL friends and family.  (like I’ve told a few friends why I’ve been MIA–my head’s so far up my ass, I have no idea which way is up anymore.)  Throngs of men, women, from moms to dads to students, in a spectrum of occupations and interests are now blogging.  I recently wrote an article on how blogs, or rather, web 2.0 technology has changed the informational landscape.  And, it truly has:  everyone is sharing.

When people ask why I “put things out there,”  I kind of shrug my shoulders in that “Why not?” kind of way.  Jeff and I have discussed how in the past, generations before us kept everything private and disclosed.  While yes, privacy is certainly important for everyone, don’t we learn early on in life that everyone gets something out of sharing?

I started blogging for a million reasons, pretty much the same reasons why I chose this career path in the first place.  But above all, writing, like it’s always been, is a platform for me to share, express and release.

Speaking of sharing, I stumbled upon this story via Maegan’s blog via one of her commenters.  Sadly, a blogger named Stephanie and her husband were in a private plane crash and were severely injured.  Unlike many other bloggers, Stephanie, a young mother of four,  besides her day-to-day musings, wrote about how she was blessed every day.   She celebrated the beauty of life, above all.  It’s said that while she’s facing a long road to recovery, her children are being cared for by her family,.  She and her husband are doing well considering the circumstances.  Since I first read about it a few weeks ago, the story has been on the Today Show, as well as spread throughout the blogosphere.  Many people have started fundraisers, auctions and benefits.  Though difficult circumstances, it’s a beautiful story and one that’s truly touched me and put things into perspective.

Again, such is the beauty of life.

****

I’ve got plenty more to share, so stay tuned!

Lots of stuff going on these days. Grown up stress–you know, the usual. But because I write about our lives in a way for the whole world to see, I often have to censor the good stuff. Since humor is cathartic and I need to laugh to stay in good spirits, I have to share these sites.

Not that I’m passive aggressive all the time, but I do love having a platform to unleash some veiled frustration. But better yet, I stumbled upon this hysterical site and found myself laughing and pointing at my computer screen. I’ll admit, I’ve written my fair share of passive aggressive notes.

My husband could’ve written this one. He’s given me a stern talking-to about my careless microwave-time-leaving. To love Jeff is to love his OCD charm.
*

Postcardsfromyomama.com is another site that I love. This one makes me laugh so hard, I cry. My mom doesn’t email, but if she did, I’d be sending in entries daily. If I could only record our conversations…
But thank God there are other moms who do send such awesome emails! Thank you funny mamas. I hope I am you one day.

Consume, Digest, Then Poo

Offspring – I am cancelling the reservation to Arun’s restaurant. People are losing everything to the flooding in Iowa; people are losing their homes from bank foresclosures (USA Today highlighted a family who took out a home equity loan for $100,000 – their house is now worth $60,000); the price of oil is making travel via car or air prohibitive yada yada yada and I am going to have my hard working princess daughters spend $100 each for a fancy dinner – food we consume, digest then poo? I would rather spend money supporting the local restaurants. Mama

What's THAAAT?

and there’s more:

Barricades
Barricades

and fuzzy pink slippers

slippers

This, folks, is what our life has become.

Happy Monday, all.  Despite the rain and unbearable humidity, it was a nice weekend all around!  As usual, I didn’t finish half of the chores on my ongoing weekend list, but we did get to see some girlfriends from home and enjoy a nice day in the City.

Jeff’s request for nothingness allowed for a lazy Sunday filled with intermittent naps while we hid from the rain.  By the end of the day, Jack and I were both whiny and cranky, but nothing a trip to the park couldn’t cure.  Jack must be getting another new tooth  very soon because he keeps grinding his teeth and was especially irritable yesterday afternoon.  While the crying and restlessness is nothing new, combine that with futile attempts at sleep training and you get one bitchy mama.  Though I missed celebrating with my own dad, Jack and I did what we could to ensure Jeff had a nice first Father’s Day.

And the Pièce de résistance of the weekend… Anyone a fan of Jackson Pollack?  Wouldn’t you know,  we have our own expressionist artist also named Jackson.
Jack “made” Jeff a shirt for Father’s Day.  Inspired by something I saw online, I thought I’d channel my forgotten dreams of being a studio artist through my son.  Letting an 8month old go nuts with some fabric paint is always a good idea. He likes to destroy things anyway, so why not capture it on a t-shirt.  Since Jeff bleeds NY Mets pride, we chose a fine spectrum of blue, orange and white. As someone who was only allowed to play with Play Doh in the kitchen, it was liberating (and crazy), I must say.   It was fun letting the kid get filthy in the name of “art.”  That’s what baths are for, right?

In between snatching the non toxic paints OUT of his mouth and thus, getting the paints on my fingers (legs and hair, too) and avoiding disaster on our already stained carpet, most of the pictures are blurry.  I forgot to upload all the pix and the final outcome, but I’ll be sure to post them tomorrow.

Jeff smiled and politely thanked the baby artist “Aw buddy, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for.”  I’m completely biased, but the final result was chaotic perfection.

Admiring his work

By now, you should be familiar with my level of craziness. As my coworker loves to say when I do something crazy, “That poor baby…”

Pffft.

Want to see crazy? Spend some time with my family. Together, we’re always crazy. A few years ago, I remember Kris joked with my brothers and said something like, “who’s going to want to marry us and our crazy family?”

Crazy doesn’t even scrape the surface sometimes. It’s the craziness that colors our life; it makes us whole. And as always, it gives me yet, even more stories to tell!

Luggage!

A week ago, with our calvacade of overweight luggage, oversized carry ons, car seat and gigantic stroller in tow, a teething Jack and I left NJ/NY to visit my cousin Kris in California. It was a long overdue visit to go see my newly engaged cousin, who’s Jack’s GodmoJack, me and Kris at Disneyther and like a sister to me. Actually, we call Kris and my younger brother “twins” because they are one in the same: they share the same birthday (May 30), are both allergic to the world, are both extremely outgoing and yes, they’re both crazy, just like the rest of us.

Mickey earsFirst things first– flying cross country alone and vacationing without Jeff were, without a doubt, equally hellacious. I’ll get to the actual flying part later, but leaving Jeff here at home completely sucked.

I’m so glad we got to spend so much time with Kris and her fiance Jason, but at times, I felt almost guilty for having fun. Nevertheless, I did get to spend an endless amount of time with the babe, which was worth every single gray hair I’ve sprouted over the past 8 months. All the extra Jack time made all the working mom guilt disappear the minute we hit the tarmac.

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I have to apologize for being so MIA lately. A professional personal crisis has been lingering, in addition to my monthly deadline madness.
As I was telling my incredibly supportive husband last night about my mounting woes (seriously ya’ll, this guy is heaven-sent *swoon*), I wish I could openly unleash what I’m thinking right now. However, we all know I can’t. Thus, I have to remain cryptic for obvious reasons.

But I digress…
Of all the worries a girl could have, I feel so lucky in the kid and husband department. Things at home are so far from perfect, but undoubtedly, it’s who and what I come home to every day that reinforces that old adage– love conquers all.
So, imagine the surprise I got when I flung the apartment door open yesterday afternoon to greet Mr. Jack after another crazy day. Per usual, when I screamed, “Hiiiiii baby!” Jack responded with the usual giant gummy, drooly smile. But this time, he clapped his little hands, as if to say, “YAAAAAY my mommy’s home.”
I know, it’s just clapping. But it’s my baby clapping! So when I spend all day stressing and growing gray hair, to come home to something as simple as the new development of clapping, it makes my day. For the rest of the evening, we practiced our clapping on cue. If you raise your hands in the air and say, “YAAAAAAY!” he knows that it’s time to cheer and clap. When you sing and need some back up, he’ll sing, or rather, scream along and clap too. And yesterday, as an added extra, as we sat down on the floor to play before dinner, I propped Jack up on my lap facing me. He must have given me 100 big open mouth kisses. He kept kissing and kissing and kissing my cheeks until both of our faces were drenched from all the drool.  Kissing mommy and daddy when we get home for work is part of the routine, but yesterday was so different.
I tell ya, the kid just knows…

In addition to clapping, Jack has been practicing the crawling. Now, he knows to pump that chubby butt and let his knees and hands lead the way. I use the bait method to entice him with crawling, but the army crawling and rolling continues to be his favorite mode of transport. He’s getting there!

Amidst the madness that greets me when I walk out of my door every morning and the mounting pressures of working moms’ guilt, it’s the simple things like clapping, baby butt pumps and endless kisses that make the worries of the day so completely meaningless.

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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My forehead is glittery, and it’s Monday morning.

Glittery? Yes, glittery.

Why?

Well, it goes a little something like this…our sweet boy started the teething process a few weeks ago. As many people have warned me, it’s a LONG process. (yeah, no kidding.) So, after a nice Sunday afternoon at church and then doing laundry at the laundromat for 3+ hours, we punctuated our weekend with an evening of fussiness and relentless whimpering. And when I say we, I mean Jack and me. Jeff wakes up super early to go pick my mom up every Monday morning in the City. I *tried* to let him get some rest, so I was on all night baby duty.

When I finally closed my eyes at 2:30 a.m. to go to bed, 4:30 a.m. came early. yeah, 4:30.

At 4:30, the boy didn’t start out crying…he was talking to his hands and then started screaming because his hands didn’t talk back. The screaming turned into whimpering and the whimpering turned into a full blown meltdown.

Intermittent fussiness, restlessness, clingy? It’s like the newborn phase all over again. I spoke too soon.

Poor baby. (poor mommy and daddy!)

I had 3, maybe 3.5 hours of solid sleep last night. I was teary-eyed and explosive when I got up. Needless to say, it wasn’t a pretty morning, either.

Going against my usual routine (unless I’m on assignment, I tell my friends at work that I won’t bother with the makeup,) I put on more makeup than usual, in hopes of disguising the bags that go down to my knees. We’ll blame it on delirium, but I grabbed some of this mineral powder, thinking it would help erase my pervasive signs of exhaustion.

I’ve sampled this mineral powder before–it’s good stuff–but I don’t remember it being this sparkly. Maybe this is why I don’t bother with makeup on the weekdays? “Soft-focus” must be fancy-talk for glittery.

Yeah. Not so much.

Glittery makeup for me on a weekday is, how do you say…ridiculous.

So, yes, that’s why I’m glittery.

Oh man.

It’s going to be a long couple of months.

Happy Monday, all. Be back with more when I finally wake up!

Last night, I noticed the carbon monoxide alarm plugged into the kitchen socket. I was confused.

Just the night before, it was beeping every 2 minutes as a reminder that it was out of battery juice. I unplugged it yesterday morning and placed it on the kitchen counter, as if it were going to miraculously replace its own batteries.

So when I saw it there all plugged in last night, sans the crazy phantom beeping, I had to ask Jeff if he should be applauded for being the carbonmonoxided.jpgresponsible battery replacer.

I looked at the white box plugged into the wall and cognizantly, yet incoherently asked, “Did you fix the monoxinizer?”

The dude could not stop bellowing with hysterics enough to even look at me.

Finally, he took a breath and said, “What did you just say?”

monoxinizer?” I mumbled.

When the word left my lips that second time, I realized that not only did I botch the word, but I just added fuel to the fire.

“ugh. YOU know what I’m talking about!”

In between the hysterics, he answered, “yes, the flux capacitator is working just fine.”
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