Monday, October 31, 2011

nyc baby. day one.

 i decided after my august learning circle discussion that i was going on a trip to my favorite place at my favorite time of year.  i gathered some willing participants and took off.  the baby weaned right in time and scott was ecstatic to take a few days off to plug in to our home life (that is not sarcastic). he doesn't get to be fully submerged with all of his obligations and he may have enjoyed his time at home as much as i enjoyed my trip.

it started off with a red eye flight to the big city.  my whole goal was to be able to sleep a little on the flight as i was the driver for the trip.  with my back injury it was downright miserable and i DONT recommend the red eye.  it plays with your body for weeks. and that is why we look so silly by breakfast.

we found a charming cafe in poundridge, CT called blind charlies. it was delicious but i have to say that you should never ask a waitress that weighs eighty pounds if she thinks the a breakfast plate is big enough to share. taleese and i decided the description of the large breakfast plate would fill both our bellies as did the eighty pounder. when it came out we all broke into fits of giggles. mingled with no sleep, we were so delirious that this only added. we each got half of one french toast, a pencil thin parcel of bacon, and 2 potato pancakes that were the size of quarters. somehow that triggered jokes of enormous proportions that lead to us saying things like "meow". to make matters worse, in the restaurant were a older group of ladies wearing pearls having a ladies meeting of some sort. i can't believe we didn't get kicked out. at one point we had to look down and not look at one another to get thru the meal. it was the dry heaving, bodily fluids shooting out laughing. it was only a hint of the laughing we were about to do for the next five days.  we had a charming country drive but shackled with the delirium of no sleep we begged for an early check in a slept for a while before we attempted the big city.
angela taking one for the short people of the world and including a funny face .  all of the shots we got of her were hilarious.
we stayed in stamford and took the train in everyday. the train ride in proved to be one of our favorite parts of the trip. we were able to people watch, eaves drop, and feel like true new yorkers. for selfish purposes i wanted the first view angela and taleese had of the city to be grand central station. 
it is so surreal and so magnificent.
(left to right - angela, mindy, taleese)
we got a true new yorker experience to view times square: night time, foggy, humid, and stinky. i love NYC.

this below is our first taxi ride of the trip. it was wild. we took it to the ever famous grimaldi's across the brooklyn bridge.
i was able to introduce the gals to antipasto, real mozzarella, and tomato pie.  it was so heavenly.  and believe it or not, we walked right in. we had some wicked good luck on this trip.  we ordered a calzone and couldn't finish it, so taleese there offered it to the fellas sitting next to us (the were total new yorkers).  when they declined, she asked if we could finish their antipasto.  you can imagine the giggles.
i tried to google, research, find every good food option possible.  while watching a bit about brooklyn, i heard of a place called brooklyn ice cream factory.  my friend jason, a born and raised new yorker, also recommended getting ice cream while viewing the bridge.  we shared a banana split and i think the butter pecan ice cream rocked my world.  we had fudge, caramel, and syrup soaked walnuts.  i was so smitten.

as evidenced above, we had great need to walk. we sauntered across the walking path on the brooklyn bridge and were enthralled with the amazing city line. some of us (taleese excluded) admired the statue of liberty. somehow taleese missed our conversation about that and it took her four days to realize what she was looking at :)

we decided to call it a day and took a cab back to grand central. i loved this misty shot of the beautiful building.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

the power

in may i was invited to be a part of a learning circle.  i have been meaning to blog about this for a while now because it has been such a positive thing in my life.

my connection to it is: scott was friends with steve in high school.  i went to elementary school with steve. steve married emily.  emily's sister in law is my good friend and neighbor angela.  angela found out that saren, one of the co-founders of the power of moms was moving into emily's neighborhood.  saren encouraged emily to start a learning circle and by all of those magnificent connections, somehow i got the opportunity to be involved in this learning circle.

the concept is that a group of women are invited by a circle leader to participate in a monthly discussion pertaining to values that support motherhood.  anyone can sign up to be a circle leader if they are inclined to and feel like they have a diverse group of women that would participate.  it is an amazing experience.

co founders saren and april have a website here (the power of moms) that write articles daily from different authors supporting the months theme.  there is a specific essay for the month that is read by all members of the learning circle and discussed at the monthly meeting.  ideally a group will have 6-10 members.  this offers a cozy number of people to glean good motherhood bits from.

this has been a life changing opportunity for me to decide how i mother.  sometimes the thick of thin things get in the way of deliberate parenting.  i will have moments of evaluation and think, when am i going to get to all the fun memories i want to make with my kids. or, when will i teach my kids everything i want to. or, when will my house ever be functional and clean.  i can say that every month the topic has spoken to my heart and i have been able to change things i have been doing to be more, period.  sometimes life gets hard, and the thick of thin things as a parent are challenging.  the more kids that you have, the more monumental getting 6 people in the car can be.  sometimes life is felt to be something that needs great accomplishment associated with it and as a mother it can be a little trite when our major goal achieved for the day was a smooth breakfast routine, or all kids getting to bed on time and staying asleep for 6 hours at once.  suffice it to say, this group has helped me immensely putting purpose to motherhood.

this is for myself when i reread and remember, but i want to scribe a couple of things that have been monumental for me each month.

may: i read this article and loved the thought: you've made your bed, it's time to lay in it, even though it's often lumpy. honestly, this article pulled my head out of the post partum clouds and helped me own things better, putting more intent into my life. i can honestly say this was the most powerful month for me.  i have never looked back and have not had those moments of poor me since.  this is MY life, and it all amounts to my choices, own them and be proud.

june: i can defy gravity and accomplish lots of things. if you can do it in two minutes or under, DON'T PUT IT OFF. this one simple rule lead to an entire month brimming with productivity and crossing things off my list. it was so empowering!

july: retirement moments for me are so necessary. it is important for me when the house is bustling and overwhelming to picture what our home will feel like in 25 years when the kids are independent, and making noise somewhere else.  it is a two sided appreciation for me. one: my husband will look so good in coveralls trimming bushes and eating lunch with me. two: i will miss this bustle. i have so many opportunities to soak in the stage of life i am in and often those can be missed by the sheer exhaustion parenthood brings. to appreciate my stage more, it often meant going in after the kids were sleeping, grabbing their little hands in mine and thinking of all the good things that are going on RIGHT NOW with them.  i appreciated all of their little quirks and joys and often left their bedrooms with tears of gratitude instead of exhaustion at days end.

august: self nourishment is essential. i have lacked severely in this category.  do not fill my stores when they are low, rather, keep them brimming. i have been eating three meals a day, sometimes before my kids if i feel lightheaded. also. i decided at this meeting that i was going on a trip to nyc for five days with friends ( i always used to judge women who did this. now i see the necessity of filling one's stores). it was a milestone for me.

september: cleaning with kids is essential. they do not come knowing how to clean. teaching and working along with them makes cleaning about building relationships. what a key concept. i am working on a master cleaning plan for our family that helps nurture relationship building activities.  we talked about this for our last family home evening and everyone is on board as soon as we stop puking.

there are things that come along in life that we can look back upon and see as turning points in how we live and why life only gets better. this for me has been monumental and i highly encourage anyone with 6-10 women they look up to to start a learning circle!!! it is rich and wonderful and for me has been that "parenting manual"we all wish we had access to.

in case you missed it, here is the link to the power of moms website.  it is free to read the daily articles supporting the months theme and essay, and $20 to join for the year.

(you can email me with any questions)                                                                                                                                                                                                  

tis the season

last thursday i got a call from easton at school.
"mom, i 'm sick. can you come get me?"

just like that i was in the car off to the school. he looked white as a ghost when i got to the office.  i checked him out and asked what happened.  he said his teacher asked him if he felt sick and he told her no.  he said the butterflies were so tiny. she insisted he go home as he was the color of milk.  on his way to the office he made a stop at the bathroom and his lunch was given up.  he was fine eating and back to regular that night. so when i received an invite to go on this outing, i was thrilled as the temperature was projected to be in the nineties.

by the next morning he was writhing in pain.  scott was out of town and so i called him to get an appendicitis checklist so i could be sure to watch easton closely. he is not a complainer and his pain had me worried.  we had to forgo the last day of summer outing regretfully.

the next day was grayce's big day to sing in general conference.  she was so excited.  she had battled a miserable cold/stomach virus for 3 weeks and had to go to one of the practices with a barf bag. if you missed one practice, you were out.  she worked so hard to be a part of the children's choir, including going to practice on her birthday, giving up evening celebrations.  so when the notion was suggested to me about the possibility of grayce getting easton's belly ache and having to miss the performance, i started to pray intently that she would not miss this opportunity.  easton threw up a couple of times and by saturday night we thought all was well. grayce got to sing, and did a great job!  we were off to the greenery to celebrate grayce's singing triumph when easton started again to writhe.  he said he was fine to go anyway and halfway thru the meal he and i had to high tail it to the car so he could wail in private.  sunday morning about 1 am we were awakened to feet racing to the bathroom.  grayce was spared from saturday but not sunday.  after throwing up at least 40 times she had the look of death.  sunken eyes, pale skin, and misery written all over her face.  By tuesday all were feeling well and i thought we had been spared the worst of it.  grayce was planning on going to school wednesday and i was ready to be back to normal, vomit free.

tuesday night i started in with the agonizing perils of the flu and by 1 o'clock grayce was back in the bathroom begging for mercy.  ella joined in at three and the next 24 hours became a survival game.  after one particular episode with some violent vomiting on my part, i noticed that my foot had gone numb.  being delirious by 2 a.m. i started thinking i was going to be paralyzed by sunrise.  my head was spinning and i was in the clutches of being on the run every 10 minutes completely freaking out.  i sobbed for scott to give me a blessing so i didn't end up in a straight jacket from delirium  and worry.  my foot continued to stay numb and then came the back pain.  apparently when i was "so sick" the weak disc in my back most likely herniated.  it added to the stress of being sick and also the worry set in as i am headed for a 7 hour plane ride next week.  anyone who has had the misfortune of back pain knows that sitting is the hardest part.  it feels like someone is constantly pulling on your legs, butt, and the throbbing with hot and cold flashing up your legs is down right pitiful.  scott was able to call in sick (bless his surgeons heart, i heart the kind surgeon who employs us. his last surgeon ridiculed him relentlessly when he called in sick once because of 4 barfing family members he wanted to help out with) and take care of the sick and afflicted.  my gracious and kind mother in law took rowan the next day so i didn't have to lift him furthering the damage to my disc. my family came to our aid with a giant bucket of soup.

 scott went to work thursday (day 8 of affliction) and came home early to take care of ella and i.  thursday night we retired to bed early only to be awoken after an hour by a miserable baby throwing up every ten minutes.  screaming.bloody.murder. scott joined in an hour later (and yes, he had a flu shot this year) and we are officially the most pitiful family around.  6 for 6.  and one of the unfortunate thoughts that came into my pessimistic mind was, you brought all these people into this world, do you really want to bring more into this yearly event. i blame that thought on the devil for surely i am not done bearing babies.

today is saturday and i have been sitting in a chair for almost an hour, this is a major accomplishment for my poor back.  i can finally hold down some food so a steroid pack has been ordered to see if the shrinking of the herniation will help with the pain.  i can't wait for the MRI in which i declare the reason for a visit: an episode of violent vomiting.

people are so kind when they hear of incapacitating events such as this past week. my kind, sweet, dear next door neighbors played perfectly the loving grandparent role when they heard of our predicament.  turkey vegetable soup, rolls, fresh peaches, and an amazing cold gel pack for my back.  it is times where you are in humble circumstances that you get to count your blessings.  i am really glad that every other year or so we have something like this happen. we bond, we are kinder to one another, and sometimes there is no other choice but to lay and be sick despite a long to do list.  i can't recall the last time i was in pajamas for days, took a morning nap, and let others bring me food.  sometimes it is good for the soul to realize you don't have to push yourself beyond reasonable limits when others can make up the difference for you.   we are better for this insane 10 days. and look, i have time to blog. a good ordeal indeed.

like oprah's favorite things....

my friend emily is related to some cool cats who produce the most fantastic pillow you have ever slept on. this is real, no joke.  i have had two for over a month now, and suffice it to say, there are 10 in my amazon shopping cart.  we lay awake at night thinking of who we can give them to for christmas.  i love giving away things that i love to people and my red headed husband is not the "everything" gift giver.
as in if there is a gift given, i usually pick it out.  if it is supposed to be from "him", why, i run it by him and make sure it's alright.  while contemplating who would be christmas receivers of "the pillow" he was acting funny about some of the recipients.  i think his mind categorizes presents like a candle for mother, a tie for father, little ben with a red fire truck.  kind of a cliche gifter (although he has pulled off some awesome stuff for the kids and i) outside the immediate family circle.  i think he almost feared giving pillows for gifts might be akin to giving someone undies as a present.  a little personal.  but,  i think we have our list narrowed down to who wouldn't get offended getting such a personal item as a pillow. he justified it with telling me he would present the gift saying, just think of this like an oprah's favorties gift item.

i hesitate to describe what this pillow is like.  you see, i have fallen victim to reading reviews as of late and i think it's been tainting my mind. i stewed for weeks about buying a pair of tom shoes for an upcoming girls trip in the big apple.  stewed and stewed.  i saw every disney loving mother wearing them in march while we paid homage to the black ears and felt like that spoke for itself.  coz yer dogs be hatin after a day of magical kindumb. for reels.  then......i suckered into reading amazon reviews and website reviews by loyal toms customers.  i was torn.  underprivileged children getting shoes if you buy a pair. loyal supporters telling of all the colors and collections they have. i plunged.  happy to be a part of this trendy movement and help someone? sure.

turns out that for fifty dollars, i think they are junk.  kind of like when you get suckered into those "parties" and for $99.99 this baking stone will do the cooking for you and make your life worth living.  directly after she tells you about the bahama's last week because she sold the most baking stones at last years party.  i would have felt much better if i had written a check for $50 to an organization based in africa and they bought shoes for the children based on the area, need, and duration of the material.  they are $15 dollar shoes.  i realize this puts me into a non-trendy category.  i remember in the seventh grade going shopping for school clothes.  we had $100 dollars to spend on clothes for the year.  i was going to have a pair of girbaud jeans. yes. i was.  the problem was that they were $78.00 and that was for the color blue.  the actual blue jeans were $99.  i was dead set on them.  got my jeans and a shirt and my budget was blown.  i sat with them in the closet for a week thinking that everyday i would have to wear them as i had no other jeans.  that did not roll around my brain so well and there was born my non-trendy self.  there were plenty of other cute pants for under $78.  turns out coolots ended up in my shopping bag and i wore them proudly that year.  this further proves the point that i am not fashionable or trendy.  but.....that said.

i do know when i love something.  when it is a good product and the price is right, i will hop over the moon for it. food, products, clothes as long as i don't know about someones trip to the bahama's because of my purchase. i am happy to report that the malouf pillow, found HERE will satisfy all of your christmas gift recipients.  and let that recommendation speak for itself. it's like butta.