December 21, 2012

A Christmas Ode...

'Twas four nights before Christmas 
and all through the halls
background noises were buzzing
and shaking the walls

The airplanes were plenty
the heat running hard
the dishwasher sloshing
the Brody on guard

The Griswolds adorned 
the Samsung TV
whilst I sat draped in fleece
just feet from the tree

Glowing and twinkling
the tree did its best
to pry Christmas spirit 
from those who detest

Each ornament hung
with the care of skilled nurses  
as the needles pricked fingers
drawing blood and some curses

Candy canes dangled
strategically tucked
they sure taste like crap
what do you want for a buck?

Then there's the oldies
the little green clock
the guy I call "corn man"
the mom-knitted sock

And from my crib mobile
a sweet, yellow bear
my brother's before mine
a staple, each year

And my favorite of all
you may know his name
with a weird, Amish beard
and maniacal mane

In his handsome, green suit
he hangs front and center
greeting and sizing up
all those who enter

Fred is his name
and he's crafted from felt
about fifty years old 
with a pretty sweet belt

But he's not just a tree-decker
no, that just won't do
Fred hangs in our bedroom
the whole year through

He sways from a curtain rod
looking out at the shed
he twirls around clumsily
from the hook in his head

But one December day
at the end of each year
he's placed on the tree
to spread his strange cheer

So, Fred, my favorite, 
this ode's from my heart
I'll keep you forever
if you don't fall apart

Happy Holidays!! 


October 21, 2012

The Scarlett Letters #10: The First Birthday

Dearest Scarlett...

Here are some pictures documenting your very first birthday. I leave you no guess-work - you can see it all right here.

I wanted to make your party colorful and sweet just like you! I found lots of ideas online (some that I stole completely and others that I tweaked) and had a blast creating a special theme for you. We chose to give away pumpkins to your little friends as their favors. They were happy to choose their own pumpkin to bring home!

You wore the hell out of your birthday dress - SO. STINKIN. CUTE! Mama went crazy looking for a dress sweet enough for you and after lots of "not-good-enoughs" we found the perfect one! You only kept your ponytail in for about four minutes but man did it look cute for those four minutes. After you demolished your cake we changed you into your big-girl shirt letting the world know that 'YOU ARE ONE'!!

I really wanted to make a cake just for you. I bought a yummy cake mix and pink frosting with sprinkles. I baked the cake and cut it into a circular shape, stacking one circle on top of the other to make a very Dr. Seuss-esque shaped cake. It was super cute. But, since Mama is certainly no baker, when I went to frost your cake it turned into a deliciously hideous mess. I had to dump it and send Daddy out for a twenty dollar quick-fix. It was cute enough but just not what I really wanted for you. I tried, Sweetie... but you were happy as a clam with your sugary snack regardless!

Your birthday party was on a Saturday with all of your friends and family. You had a really great day! Barely a twenty minute nap the entire day and you were so pleasant! You love to be around the kids and you had no problem sitting with anyone - even the people you had just met for the first time! Your real birthday fell on a Monday and since Daddy had to work we spent the day with Grammie and Gram-Gram. Grammie had an afternoon cupcake lighting for you. And when Daddy got home we went to Toys R Us where you got your balloon and crown and we picked out your Minnie Mouse Ride-On that you love so much. (Mama & Daddy love it now too since Daddy broke off the VERY sensitive shifter thing that annoyed the crap out of us every-time you moved an inch)!

You really had fun opening and playing with all of your new toys. You got LOTS and LOTS of clothes too! Thank God because our arsenal had run out at 12 months! Some of your favorite gifts were: the talking/scurrying kitty-cat, a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse lift-the-flap book, a Minnie Mouse plush doll, your Fisher Price house and your plastic puzzle. While Mama loves all of those toys too, I also am very happy that I found your adorable pink rocker at HomeGoods during their half-off moving sale! You love to sit in it like a big girl and slide out of it within about ten seconds.

Although it is very bittersweet for your friends and family to see you growing so quickly, we had a wonderful time planning and celebrating your first birthday. You are becoming such a character - it's making it a little easier to let go of your baby days... but not TOO easy. Love you so much!

October 2, 2012

One of those quarters...

We've all had them. A bad day. A stroke of bad luck. An unpleasant turn of events. Whatever. Sometimes it's as simple as three hours of consecutive shitty happenings. Other times it can be weeks upon weeks of miserable occurrences. I regret saying that Gregg and I are muddling through quite a crappy quarter of 2012. I guess I have to call it a quarter since it started in July and we are into October now. Hopefully I won't have to brush up on my fractions to go any further with it.

Ya know when you try to cut corners a bit and you call a few companies and bargain with them for lower rates and whatnot? Well this year I decided to switch auto and homeowners insurance companies. Ecstatic that we would be saving around $700/yr. I felt great about my decision... until the sneaky little bastards pulled some ridiculousness and left me jaded with a fat lip. Long story short - we had two weeks to make roof repairs with very limited funds. Not THAT big a deal, we got it done. It was just very shady how it all went down.

Next up was our central air/heating unit that was just installed last summer for which we paid a hefty $9000. You can imagine our surprise when it started leaking and we had to shell out $400 for repairs on it a month ago. During those repairs, we were charged in error, our warranty was misconstrued and the unit failed again the very next week. Repairs made and refunds all squared away - I called for our FREE Fall tune-up. During this visit- which took place two hours ago- lo and behold, a new problem cropped up. Another faulty part which will be fixed tomorrow, labor not covered by warranty.

Then we had your typical car troubles two weeks ago. The brakes went on Gregg's Jeep while he was hitting up a gas station before heading to work one morning. THANK GOD he needed to get gas - otherwise he would have gotten right on the highway. We don't even want to think about how that story would've turned out. Another hefty sum.

For added fun it's about to start raining in our living room. We've had a watermark on the ceiling for a while but after this weekend's storm it has gotten larger and it is now soft - about to break through any second. Gregg climbed up into the eaves and found the wet spot - now it's a matter of pinpointing the actual leak and forking over another stash to the lucky fix-it man.

Add on all the small things like:

Missing pieces for my daughter's ride-on toy which involved an infuriating customer service phone call, emails to Hong Kong and an eventual easy trip back to the store

Brody's constant digging of holes in the backyard and running muddy-footed through a freshly cleaned floor

A toilet that runs constantly -unless we strangle the hell out of it- which is driving me slowly insane because we just haven't gotten to fix it yet

Gregg's never-ending million dollar dental work 

An infestation of bees in our retaining wall which kept Gregg from mowing the lawn and Scarlett from swinging in her pretty pink swing until finally we had the exterminator blast them

Ohhhh, and the fruit flies. The son-of-a-bitchin fruit flies!!! It's like the entire city is infested!! They're driving me crazy. Gregg and I actually call out how many we kill in each room, like it's a creepy, disgusting game. Sure I've used vinegar, I've even used tequila - but it just draws more into the house! I've resorted to Windex. They definitely hate being blasted with glass cleaner - free tip.

So, this was my WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA post. My post of wallow. My whiny, complainy, blah, argh, humph, grrr, drat, thumbs down with raspberries post. With one eye on the ceiling I've written this strictly to let you know that you aren't the only one going through a swampy time. We've been wading for months and months. I have to keep reminding myself, at least we are all healthy   At least we are all healthy  At least we are all healthy ... after all, that really is what is most important. That and the fact that we all know that our debt will live on well after we croak.

Ha! (Just kidding, that's not funny)

September 6, 2012

Scarlett Letter #9

Dear Sweet Scarlett,

You are now eleven months and two weeks old! When will this end!??! You are much like a sponge these days, just absorbing everything we teach you - and things that we didn't realize we were teaching you! Your latest surprise was the hand gestures for The Itsy Bitsy Spider. I sang the song to you twice one morning and that evening you were motioning those little hands all over the place. My heart nearly doubled. It is amazing - to say the least - watching you becoming YOU. Your personality is nothing short of awesome. I love your silliness, your ability to understand when something is funny, your devilish grin and animated eyes. Let's face it, I love everything about you.

What you love most: 

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - mainly Pluto, the little puppy Bella and the "kitty-cat" Figaro. You always get excited to see the beginning of the show and you always, always dance to The Hot Dog Dance and wave bye-bye as the characters all go home.

Brody - You love to watch him walk around the house and play rambunctiously outside in the back yard. You've recently started to enjoy watching him eat and drink. He's pretty noisy so it always attracts your attention.

Being outside - We put your Around We Go entertainer on the deck the other day and you were loving every second of it! We've had to keep you away from your pretty, pink swing lately because we've had a nasty bee problem. Daddy and Brody were stung several times and Daddy tried spraying them away but they were stubborn! Mama ended up calling "the bug guys" and they took care of those bees for you. It's time to swing again, babygirl!

Exploring - I think your favorite thing to do is to roam the house. In and out of the rooms, zooming around, bruising up your little knees. (You won't wear the heart/band-aid knee pads I got you!) I make sure to sweep up and vacuum the dog hair before we let you loose. You love playing in the hampers- pulling out all of your clothes. You also enjoy the air that comes out of the humidifier - even as I tell you, "no-no" you just smile. You love standing up at the deck slider looking out into the yard at the big tree and watching Bro. And for some reason you have a thing for straps - so you like to stand at your highchair and fiddle with those for a while. You giggle and giggle and giggle as we chase you with stomping feet down the hallway. I hope we can always make you giggle that way.

Vegetables - I am SO SO SO happy that you've been such a great eater so far. I realize that can (and most likely will) quickly change. But for now, when I spread out a variety of food on your tray you always grab the greens first. Broccoli, asparagus, green beans, etc. You love sweet potatoes too. And I tried peppers with you again this week and you ate them right up! You have a very healthy diet and I'm very proud of that. I promise to always try to give you 90% healthy and 10% treats.

Your room - Daddy and I spent long hours dreaming up and creating that beautifully sweet room for you. It makes me so happy to see your face light up each time we enter it.

The beach and pool - You've had a wonderful first summer! You really enjoyed going in your inflatable pool at Grammie's house and we even brought it to the beach! I'm so happy that you seem to love the beach! I could've done without the handfuls of sand in your mouth but ... it happens. You didn't even flinch as the waves came hurdling toward you, crashing on your little legs. It may not have been very relaxing for Mama or Grammie but you sure had a blast and that's all that we care about. Daddy and I will take you a lot more next year! You also had your very first taste of Aunt Carrie's clamcakes and chowder!

I guess I could go on and on writing about the things you love - you seem so happy all the time, it appears you love just about everything. Although I can say with conviction that you do NOT love: teething and cherry tomatoes. You've handled your teething remarkably well considering but tomatoes... not so much. Ha Ha.

Mama has been very busy planning your very first birthday! We want everything to be special for you. You're the most special thing in our lives and you've brought us all so much joy - we just want to honor you the best way that we can on your big day. Apparently, to me, that means lots and lots of rainbows. I've been busy making cupcake toppers, signs, invitations, thank you cards, favor tags, flag banners, etc. And Daddy has been spending his weekends working in the back yard - painting the shed and renovating the deck! We are hoping for an outdoor party so keep those little fingers crossed for sunshine!

Today we may have bought your very last tub o' formula! Oh, how the months have just flown by. This past year has been amazing. I hope the next twelve months bring us even more happiness together. Love you "sooooooooooooo much!" xoxo


I love you more today than yesterday - but not as much as tomorrow. 

August 28, 2012

the one about working out ...

You were wondering when this would come up, weren't you? I've toyed with writing this post at least a dozen times over the past few years. I always talk myself out of it. This time, however, I've decided we're going to get into it. And a lot of you (ladies) are going to agree with me. Here we go...

Exercise. Middle fingers UP.
I can't stress enough how much I don't enjoy exercise. I just don't like it. I don't like lacing up my ugly sneakers (they're really not that bad looking, I just feel heinous in sneakers). I don't like setting aside time that could be spent doing other things (most likely cleaning which has already been done to satisfaction). I don't like sweating or lying on the floor doing ab workouts while my asthma creeps up making me feel disgustingly out of shape. I don't like staring at the wall, pounding feet on a treadmill. I don't wear cutesy workout gear or get all jazzed and smile like the dopey lady in the video. And I do NOT go to the gym. I throw on various combination outfits of black and gray, I stand in front of the television in my bedroom, turn the ceiling fan on high, do what 'the lady' says for thirty minutes, kick my stupid sneakers off and immediately shower. And THEN I feel fantastic.

Yes. Only thirty minutes. Get over it. I just can't commit to anything longer than that and have the routine stick. I've tried it all. Believe me. I've been steadily exercising since I was in my late teens. I have to. I'm 5'1" and built like my Great Aunt Rosie. (No offense, Rosie, you were a lovely woman and a helluva good cook). I will confess that after I had the miscarriage (I had exercised during the first trimester) I didn't do a thing during my second pregnancy. Try to tell me that's not healthy. I'll knock your teeth out. After having Scarlett it took me almost four months before I could do much of anything (due to the C-section recovery). When I started back up I started slow. I rotate twenty different workout routines. Interval training mostly. Aerobics/cardio, weights, toning and stretching. They're only a half hour, true, but they get the job done. Sure, I'm not shedding pounds but I'm not gaining them either. I remain seven pounds less than I was before my pregnancy.

Just yesterday I noticed how tired I've been feeling. I thought about it for a minute and realized that I had slacked a bit on the exercising over the past two weeks. I had just been a good mix of busy and lazy. But man, could I tell the difference. It is amazing how my energy plummets when I'm not faithful. I'd much rather just do the damned thing than feel sluggish. So I continue to fight the lifetime battle.

Most of you are probably surprised to hear that I do any physical activity at all based on my overall appearance. (That sentence is going to piss off my husband - sorry, babe). It's not much of a secret that I have image issues. I'm the one that will bitch you out for tagging me in a facebook photo if I haven't given the thumbs up. I'm incredibly sensitive when it comes to horrible photos. I am constantly cropping out my arms, my forehead and my torso and forever moaning about my double chin. Hey, what can you do? I am willing to bet that 82% of you readers are almost as obsessed as I am. (I suck at math so we're not actually going to calculate that).

I don't know that I'll ever be satisfied with my appearance. I do know that I'll always have to workout in order to keep the rest of Auntie Rosie at bay. Overall, I'm incredibly thankful to be healthy - that's really all that should matter. And all the bitching and moaning about the lunging and squatting just comes with the territory. It's just always going to be that way. I'm never going to hop out of bed, hear the birdies chirping in the sun's warm rays and say, "I'm gonna go for a jog!"
*It is worth noting that if I should ever do that, it's a pretty good sign that I'm having a stroke so react appropriately.

August 23, 2012

don't judge me by my stove top...

It is no secret that I love a clean house. A few papers out of place and a stray coupon on the counter spells "chaos" to me. Things must be put away where they belong and when a junk drawer gets out of hand it's time to reassess the situation. It's just the way I am. I like things to be neat, organized and visibly clean. People ask me, "Do you really think people are judging you when they come over?" No, I don't. That's not my issue. Just as I don't judge other people when I visit their cluttered home. That's their space and they can do with it what they like. I keep a clean home for my own peace of mind. I feel relaxed when I see that every space is clutter-free and the counters are shining. Speaking of shiny counters I am newly obsessed with Meyer's Clean Day countertop spray - Basil scented.

It is awesommmmmmme. I spray it every day in the kitchen and dining room. (I have the lemon verbana for the bathroom and living room). After using this spray I immediately feel better about my day. It creates the illusion of clean even if things aren't 100%. Which they normally are. Or at least a solid 98%.

When I was pregnant people loved to taunt me, pointing out that once I had the baby my house would never be clean again. Really? I found no challenge in cleaning my house the same way I always had. I choose a few small areas to clean each day and I stay two steps ahead of a mess. I don't understand how clutter just happens. Put your things away. Isn't it that simple? Even when we play in Scarlett's room, and believe me she's like a tornado, we clean up after every session. The next time we walk through that door it's presentable and ready for destruction once again. Which is clearly the fun part for any kid.

However, I've realized that there is a task that I wicked slack on... cleaning the damned stove top. Next to scrubbing the shower and tub I think it's the biggest pain in the ass. That grease build up is unacceptable. I could scream when I see it in the creases trying to hide from my thrice daily pass with the dish rag. Before I know it, I'm spending forty minutes scouring the entire surface. And that hood!! That stainless steel hood is my nemesis. I might as well paint angry eyebrows on it. Stupid jerk hood.

Sure, from afar it looks decent. Shiny even. It's a farce though. Up close you'll see the greasy little circular patterns that I half-heartedly wiped earlier with a soapy cloth. I clearly didn't bother to give it the seventeen wipes that it needs. I didn't remove the burners and soak them. I haven't even cleaned out the dried spinach and egg that jumped the pan last week. Gross? Yep. You bet. But I care just enough about it to write this post. And later, when I re-fire that burner I'll say a short hello to the egg and spinach duo without eliminating them once again. See, I'm not entirely obsessed! But that's just the 2%.

August 15, 2012

No, chef.

Once in a while I wake up just knowing what I'd like to make for lunch. Luckily, it's normally something that is Scarlett-friendly as well. So, today I felt like having an egg-white omelet with peppers and onions in a tortilla with cheddar cheese and cherry tomatoes on the side. Perfect! All morning I felt like I had this big surprise coming for Scarlett (she'd never tried peppers or tomatoes) and I couldn't wait for lunch. Little did I know, Miss Priss had her own surprise in the works...

August 9, 2012

Scarlett Letter #8

Ten and a half months old. Holy mackerel. Scarlett is growing like the weeds in our backyard! Only she's prettier and she hasn't attracted any bees thus far.

August 8, 2012

the best nightmare EVAHHHH & other junk

Yes, it's been a month since I've written a post... tsk tsk. Get over it, people, I have things to do. Just kidding -- while I do have things to do I don't expect you to have to get over it. Nor do I expect that you've even noticed that my blog has been a cricket-fest for a month. Onward...

June 18, 2012

the wishes that already came true...

Oddly enough, it came to me while I was cleaning chicken. I was standing at the counter beside the sink, Creedence on the ipod and my hands wrist deep in unacceptable poultry pieces when it hit me--- no, thankfully it wasn't a chunk of that white clumpy stuff --- it was a realization.

June 14, 2012

small talk sucks

I'm now a small-talker. I guess. Or is it considered "small talk" when you are conversing about someone's child? I'm not entirely sure. Regardless, I am now one of those people who talk to strangers. No, don't make the mistake, I'm not a friendly person... just a small-talker.

It's been slowly building up over the past year. When I was pregnant random people felt the need to know my due date, the sex of the baby, the name of the baby, what hospital I would be delivering at and so on. When I started bringing Scarlett on errands we would be, at times, the center of attention. Elderly ladies are especially interested in who's in the baby carrier. Lots of peeks, smiles, waves and friendly oohs and ahhs would ensue. It's actually a pretty great feeling to know that these complete strangers are in awe of the little person that you helped to create. But as of today I've reached a level I wasn't expecting to reach. I think it's called the my daughter is almost nine months old so ask me a shit-ton of questions and tell me everything you've done for your child who is slightly older stage. Or something like that.

June 6, 2012

I'm a stubborn bird

I'm just winging it.

Motherhood that is. I mean, of course I google things almost daily to see what the others are doing. Ya know, like 'what kind of sippy cup is best' for Scarlett's age and 'give me some damn finger food ideas because I'm already stumped'. But ultimately, no matter who I ask for opinions, no matter what articles I read, no matter what informative emails I receive -- from the hospital that will continue to bleed me dry until I'm in the ground -- I do what I want. I buy the sippy cup that's pretty and fits her age group and I break up pieces of whatever the hell I want and put them on her highchair tray. The best part? She's doing just great.

May 24, 2012

8 months and an elephant

Yep. Scarlett is officially eight months old today! Can you believe it? I know I can't. Truly. She's doing great, she's such a happy girl. I love spending every second I can with her... she's just amazing.

May 17, 2012

two faded shirts ...

A few weeks ago Gregg and I purged our closets of their excess articles of clothing. You know, the pants we forgot about - with good reason, the skirts that I can't believe I ever bought in the first place, the pajamas that were always too tight or too big... those articles. We do this clean sweep two or three times each year but it is amazing  how many bags we fill for donation every single time. Where does this stuff come from???  I certainly don't buy ten garbage bags full of clothing every four months. Apparently each time we just dig a little deeper and let go a little easier. It feels great to donate so many items that will finally get to see the outside of a closet-- regardless of which decade they were purchased in.

May 8, 2012

"You're obviously in the wrong place, PLEASE LEAVE"

Forgive me, I thought I was in the Warwick  Mall Macy's; I didn't realize there was a dress code.

There I was, casually browsing around the shoe and bag department in the newly remodeled, gleaming white, shiny store. I was looking to splurge on some new sandals and a bag with my birthday money when I noticed something almost immediately. Apparently, along with the facelift of the structure they also lifted all the noses of their employees. I could feel  their eyes on me, judging me, looking me up and down as if I had just taken "5" from my part-time job as the greasy Sizzler operator with the traveling carnival.

May 5, 2012

RIP Adam Yauch

{photo source}

By now, I'm sure you've heard of the untimely passing of the Beastie Boys' Adam "MCA" Yauch. Gone at 47 years old, yet another victim of cancer.

I just wanted to write a quick post expressing my love for the Beasties.

May 3, 2012

remember our treasures

"We move from terror and loss to unexpected good fortune, and out of darkness hope is born."

I heard this quote when I was in high school on an episode of My So-Called Life. Angela Chase read it from a book about Tarot I'm quite certain. Nevertheless the quote has remained with me all these years. I just love its truth.

I recently read of the passing of two beautiful baby girls. Baby Zoe had a malignant Rhabdoid Tumor and Baby Avery had Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Each also had their own loving parents, family and friends. Each taken away from the world before ever getting a chance to really see its beauty.

May 2, 2012

I don't wanna be a kernel!!!

Well, the rumors (that you heard from me) are all true, I have deactivated my Twitter account... again. I know, it's a shame... @sherib0bbins no longer exists. What will the world DO?? How will my former Twitter followers go on with their lives without knowing what songs I played for Scarlett during her breakfast?? It's a tragedy, really.

Twitter seemed like a good idea about two years ago when I started my Etsy shop (which also no longer exists). I joined and networked and plugged and played the game. But I never fully got into it. I didn't want to spend my time trying to get followers and I didn't enjoy it. It wasn't long before I ducked out. I had no reservations about it and didn't miss it one bit.

This time was different. I re-joined Twitter in January for different reasons. I wanted to find like-minded bloggers and new moms. Within days I had found plenty of both. I was engaging in lots of conversations and accumulating followers quickly. With a bunch of new blogs to read and answers to my baby food or teething questions I was quite satisfied.

Things took a turn after a couple of months however. I started to notice the incessant plugging of blog posts. Friends were tweeting links to their new post several times daily and sometimes three or four times within an HOUR. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with doing that, I just wasn't aware that people did. Then I saw people voting for blog posts and learned there were blog awards. Bloggers were entering endless contests and asking for votes. I started coming across tweets with tips on how to "grow your blog" or things like, "10 biggest blog mistakes." I wasn't in on any of this! Sure, I would tweet a link to my post every now and then but not ten times a day. I didn't join any contests. I had no idea about blogging awards. And I didn't realize the time-consuming science behind creating a super-duper read-worthy blog. Hmmph. It got me thinking... I'm clearly not doing enough and I don't measure up.

But I quickly realized... I'm not trying to compete.

I never started my blog with the thought that it would become this big, successful site that people would love to visit daily. I didn't work to try to get people to follow it. Sure, I add links to most of my posts on Facebook, and the reason behind that is simple: I would like  for people to read it. But I can't base my life on how many page views I get (or don't get) daily. It's too stressful! It's not going to break my heart if you don't enjoy reading The Scarlett Letters. I fully understand. Do you realize how many blogs are out in the universe that I wouldn't give a second glance? I suspect that mine is one of them to many, many, MANY people. I offer very little - no tips or tricks, no daily recipe, no fashion or fitness advice, no remarks about the Bachelorette or RHOBH. What I do offer is a glimpse into my life. A peek at some of my thoughts. Updates on my little sweetie-pants. Occasional rants. Many ramblings. And countless mundane facts and observations.

I left Twitter mostly because I felt like a kernel of corn amongst many, many cobs. I don't like that feeling. At its core, Sheribloggins is for me. My blog is basically an extension and evolution of my former journals. I write because I feel like I'll boil over if I don't get rid of my racing thoughts. It's like my fingers are antsy. Blogging is my way of releasing built up sentences that can become like a wordy traffic jam in my head. Compare it to a very angry or scorned soul that uses the gym to blow off steam. I also blog because we grow so much in our years and seldom realize how far we've come. My archives help to remind me. And I like the thought of leaving a little something behind for my daughter ... and maybe her children. Maybe not quite as interesting and entertaining as The Hunger Games or the Twilight saga but it's what I've got to offer. I don't have many followers, I don't even know who subscribes or who faithfully reads every post. What I do know is that I'm much obliged if you read it, happy if you enjoy it and always appreciative when you let me know about it. At the same time, I don't blame you if you hide  me from your Facebook news feed.

I will miss some of my Twitter friends. Luckily the majority of them were bloggers as well as new moms so I can catch the baby updates on their posts. Social media can be so overwhelming. I've learned I can control it and keep it right at the level that works for me. I don't have to succumb to the pressures of the overly-connected networking world. After all, life is only as busy as WE  allow it to be, right? (Stay tuned for a future retraction of the latter statement)

May 1, 2012

triggering memories ...

A perfectly rainy day and a great playlist. These are the two things that have prompted the writing of this post.

I love waking up to a cloudy sky and street puddles gaining weight. As much as I loathe our well-distressed deck and its buckling, splintered planks, I enjoy being able to see the raindrops joining puddles that shouldn't be there. Savoring a second cup of coffee while I gaze out the deck slider, the trees and grass becoming more vibrantly green with every sip. The dampness and overcast sky bring along with them a feeling of laziness. A desire to be comfortable. It is during these lapses of lethargy that I reminisce of simpler times. I carefully choose a playlist that will showcase the feel of this enjoyable day.

I've always loved music. My mother taught me the chorus of many a classic Barry Manilow, Donna Summer and Air Supply hit when I was just a baby. Even the Nights are Better is one that is engraved in my memory forever. I'm sure I sang my own mixed up version but I didn't know any better nor did I care. My father contributed to my love of Motown and oddly, drug-induced tunes. A very young girl, I began making room in my heart for Smoky Robinson, The Commodores, The Four Tops, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac and countless others. A music bug from day one you could say.

Mazzy Star has always been one of my favorites. While in high school I gave So Tonight That I Might See quite a wearing. I still have the CD though it's long since been transferred to my iPod. I listen to frequently. It transports me to my old teenage bedroom... accessorized in blue, candles lit, cigarette burning (yuck), and pen in hand -- painting my journal with my every thought. When I read those journals now it's as though a stranger wrote them... though at the same time I remember being that stranger.

I remember learning to drive in my father's Grand Prix during my Creedence Clearwater Revival phase. To this day I can't hear Have You Ever Seen the Rain without picturing me blowing through a stop sign or taking a right-turn far too quickly.

Harry Connick Jr. brings me back to Saturday mornings spent cleaning the living room with my mom. I had the pleasure of dusting while putting on an obnoxious show for my family. Lounge-singing my way from table to table. The duster, my microphone. My mother, in stitches.

Music is like a gateway, isn't it? Such a strong connection to the old days. Even the theme song from The Golden Girls is a trigger. Memories of lazy, Saturday nights when my mom and I would be in our pajamas after a night of "calooping." We frequented Paperama -- where I would usually be gifted a new journal or stationery -- Lechemere, Apex and various other stores that no longer exist. {The Saturday night line-up at the time was 227, Amen, The Golden Girls & Empty Nest. Remember that?}

I just love looking back. In contrast, I look forward to the songs of today someday sparking the wonderful memories I'm currently making with my daughter and husband. Remember friends, each day is a memory in progress. Make sure you're making the best of them.

What songs trigger strong memories for you?

April 29, 2012


May 5, 2011 ... a.k.a. Cinco de Mayo ... a.k.a. the day that our lives really started.

My husband and I had been awaiting this day for nearly five months. We were heading to the doctor's office for an ultrasound. Not just your typical ultrasound ... this was THE  ultrasound. We were about to find out the sex of our baby! I was cool and calm on the outside but man, was I bursting with excitement on the inside. Oh, the anticipation!! Such a wonderful feeling.

Our great friends were visiting from Colorado so a bunch of us started the day with a delicious breakfast at a (former) favorite spot. It wasn't until the very end of our meal and conversation that I mentioned our upcoming afternoon appointment. Their faces lit up! Our visiting friends -- having a four month old baby boy -- knew all about the joy that was about to rock our world. Everyone gave their best guesses and demanded immediate texts when we learned if we were blessed with a boy or girl.

Because of our previous loss (in October 2010) we had more ultrasounds than the average pregnancy would entail. Each one, along with excitement, brought a bit of anxiety and at times nausea. I think we were both preparing ourselves for bad news so the blow would be softened if that moment did come. And thank God it didn't. Not this time.

Gregg had worked that morning and finished up early and met me at home. We went to the appointment together, both ready to jump out of our skin. Nineteen weeks had led us to this moment... a long, long awaited moment in time that would change our lives forever. 

We found ourselves in that familiar room. The room where we first had received amazing news. The room where we had also received the most devastating news of our lives. We were ready. The tech rattled off the usual instructions and before we knew it we were viewing our little pea on screen. I think we were both amazed at how much the baby had grown. The tech began to show us the arms, legs, hands, feet, heart, kidneys, bladder, stomach etc. It was wonderful to hear and see that everything was growing and functioning as it should be! That is all that matters, after all. But you can't blame a new parent (or an old pro!) for being super excited to find out whether they're buying blue overalls or pink sundresses!

The time came. The tech asked us if we wanted to find out the sex. "OH YES!!" we anxiously replied. Naturally, the baby had its legs closed tightly together. The tech had to do some prodding. She moved my stomach around as if it were molding clay. I felt disgusting at the thought of my flab being pulled around like Silly Putty. I quickly thrust my self-consciousness out the window and focused on the news... "Well, it looks like you've got a little girl here!" Oh my God is she serious?? She wouldn't joke, would she? Do I get excited?? Is this for real or is she going to say BOY in a second?? My mind was racing and my smile, wide. Gregg grabbed and shook my foot as he knew how badly I wanted a baby girl. "GET OUT! I'll DIE!!" That's what I so eloquently said to the ultrasound technician. She again said she was pretty sure. I asked her for a percentage of accuracy and she felt that she was 85% accurate in her deciphering. I'll take it!! I was over the MOON. Gregg was beaming at the thought of his little baby girl (but I think he was mostly excited that I was getting my wish).

We floated out of that doctor's office. Our first stop? Target. I needed to buy sundresses immediately. And we did just that. Sundresses in pinks and yellows. Little sleepers with hearts on them. Mama's dream come true. I was having a baby GIRL.

My heart still leaps when I think of this day. I'm not a girl who gets everything she wants. I'm not the one you envy for my material possessions or awe-inspiring lifestyle. My life is very simple. It's about love. My love for my husband, my family and now this immense love for someone that I hadn't yet met but loved with all of my heart. My baby girl. My sweet Scarlett June. I got my wish this time. And all the wishes before it could not compare. I am forever grateful.

I'm linking this post up with The Lightning and the Lightning Bug for Dare to Share: 
The Big Day

April 27, 2012

Gregg's Sneaky Birthday Surprise ...

Guess who turned thirty-fiiiiiiive?? Yep. I know, I know, you can't believe it, right? I look like I'm twenty-six, right?? Alright, quit laughing and texting your friends to tell them what an ass I am. I've seen the smile lines. And the crows toes (I haven't quite got the full "feet" yet). I see the wisdom behind my eyes. And I've cursed gravity for being such an apparent douche.

But I'm happy.

I'm grateful to have my health, my wonderful marriage to the perfect husband and our beautiful baby girl. What more could I ask for? (It wouldn't kill ya to throw me a winning lottery ticket - just sayin').

So, this year when Gregg asked me eleven thousand times what I would like for my birthday - I was truly STUMPED. I actually wrote a post about it. (If you are going to fully understand the rest of this blog you'll want to read that, don't worry, it's short). I tried to think of things that Gregg could wrap up for me but honestly - - - it wasn't happenin'. The boy was on his own.

So when it came time for that faithful moment - the opening of the gifts - I had no idea what would be in those boxes. We sat at the dining room table and he pushed the big box toward me, "this first" he said.

I remarked about his marvelous wrapping job. I've always wanted to wrap the cover separately like they do in movies. I opened the mystery box to reveal five smaller, wrapped items. I was intrigued. As soon as I saw the first "gift" peeking through the pink paper I knew where this was headed. Reader's Digest. Then a pair of backless, shuffley slippers. Followed by an eyeglasses chain. With a bag of prunes next.

Lastly, a hideous housecoat that is basically made from the material of those bibs you get at the dentist...

Alright. Nice job, Gregg. He paid attention. He read the blog. He used that clever brain of his to throw me right off track. So, what now? This must mean that those two other boxes, the ones I had to keep aside, must hold the real present. What could it be??

Well, here's the answer...

Yep. A Lego helicopter and a Lego boat that Gregg promptly put together after I opened them. Don't worry, I was just as confused as you are.

"You missed the gift!" he said.

"I did??" I replied, puzzled. I had taken out various bags of Lego pieces along with instructions and nowhere in that pile did I see a Keurig or sapphire. I searched again. I noticed a folded piece of paper and opened it ...

I was flabbergasted. Truly. I read and re-read the sentences but couldn't believe this was for real. I looked at him and said, "But who's going to go with me??" and he said, "Who do you think??!!"

My husband, who is terrified of flying and easily gets seasick, has booked a helicopter tour of the Newport mansions for the two of us -- followed by an hour and a half long sail on an eighty foot schooner, topped off by reservations at an amazing restaurant by the ocean. What could be better than that?? Remembering my obsession with helicopters (I actually wanted to be a pilot for quite some time) and knowing how much I love the sea... he is setting aside his fears and vomit to make me happy. Now, THAT'S a gift.

I have a hell of a guy, I do. I know he's reading this right now because he says he reads all of my posts... so, thank you for my super sneaky wonderful surprisey birthday gifts!!
Blabey, you're the greatesssss!!

April 24, 2012

Scarlett Letter #7: 7 months old!

April 24, 2012:
Happy Seven Month Birthday, Scarlett!! 

I cannot believe seven months have passed since I first saw your beautiful, little face. A face that's accumulating more character every single day. A face that only gets sweeter with each ticking second. My sweet girl. 

What you've been eating: 
Lately you've been loving plain yogurt. I just add mashed up banana or some pureed peaches and you gobble it right up! You've also been good with trying new meats and veggies. Newest have been pot roast with celery, carrots and potatoes. And chicken with celery and carrots. All pureed of course. Spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, peas and butternut squash are some of your favorite vegetables. Pears, apples, bananas, mango and peaches are some favorite fruits. You tried some teething cookies but they're still a bit too much for you, you were getting very scared and choking! So Mama found you some new ones today that are just perfect!

What you've been busy with:
You have mastered sitting up and playing. You spend anywhere from a half hour to an hour on the floor with your toys. We spread out a sheet (with colorful polka-dots that you love) and sprinkle toys all around. You move from one to another, happy as a clam, giving each a little attention. You love your Fisher Price play kitchen - turning the faucet on and off and putting the spoon, soup pot, milk and carrots in your mouth. You also love your Zany Zoo with its four sides of activities. And you're still going strong in the doorway jumper. I think you're going to be so sad when we have to take that down! You've also been VERY vocal this month - cracking up everyone around you. Squawking and "singing" with that babydoll voice that I can't get enough of. Did I mention you rarely cry? Thank you, love.

When you sleep:
Well, you don't take great naps during the day but you still sleep an average of eleven hours each night. Usually around 8pm - 7am. Your naps are anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. One around 10/10:30am and the other around 2pm.

How you measure up:
At your last appointment, your six month visit on April 3 - you weighed 17.13 oz - and were 27.25" long! You tend to grow out of your clothes a little fast due to your length. Your shirts are short! A lot of times I put dresses or baby-doll tops on you with jeans or leggings - hey, it looks cute!  

Favorite books: 
We always read a little bit everyday. How The Grinch Stole Christmas has been a favorite since you were born (maybe even before) because I always recited it to you. I know most of it by heart and you like when I randomly break into verse while you're on the changing table or any other odd place. Your favorite lines? "Oh, the NOISE, NOISE, NOISE, NOISE!!!" These days you're also loving: Goodnight Moon | Nighty-Night | Bubbles, Bubbles | Eyes and Nose, Fingers and Toes | Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? | Squeak Squeak | Counting Kisses | Yawn. I pick up books here and there when I'm out, I'm a little obsessed. But a few of these faves were bought for a dollar each at Target! Love that dollar section.


New places you've been:
We took you to the playground at the beach last week and you had so much fun on the swings!! We walked along the beach and gave you your first real glimpse of the "ocean" - it was the bay - but you were in awe just the same. You smiled while watching the waves roll in. We wanted to play in the sand but it was too windy! 

Other than that you've just been busy being wonderful. Mama and Daddy are so, so happy to have you in our lives. We can't imagine how we got along without you! We love you so much!

"Scarlett June, You're my moon..."

April 23, 2012

Monday: minute by minute

Finally, finally, FINALLY today was the day! Today was the long-awaited day. The day that I'd looked forward to since we moved into this house over five years ago.

We got the stairs and hall re-carpeted.

That's right, folks. No more nasty, soiled, ripped, chewed, dull, dusty, dirty gray, poor excuse for a rug! Well, except for in the upstairs den and our bedroom. Sigh. But let's focus on the positive, shall we?


"Hi, I'm the first thing you see when you walk in. Welcome to our disgusting home!" ...

This hot mess is where Brody decided to thank me for letting him roam the house 
when he was a new pup and I was at work...

 Why was there a giant threshold in the middle of the hallway? 
Yeah, no one knows. It's a mystery...

I was mortified when Gregg ripped this up and I saw the filth,
These "black lines" will haunt me until at least next week...

Looking better already...


Wrench in the works - Installation Man asked if he could use our living room to cut the carpet due to the rain outside. Drat. I hurried to gather Scarlett's toys and little chair, I took my phone, laptop and water bottle (essentials) and we hunkered down in my bedroom. The couch was relocated into our dining room. The new living room area rug was now in the kitchen. The Pack 'N' Play was in the hallway. Scarlett was unable to use her "jumpa-jumpa" (doorway jumper) which is her favorite morning exercise. Bummer. So, there we were. S- rolling around with a few toys and Doc McStuffins on the TV for entertainment. I- on the bed updating my facebook and twitter in case the workmen had a  sinister agenda. A few blurry pics ... 

Nap-time was greatly affected. S usually closes her eyes between 10 and 10:30 but by 11:10 the workers were still hammering away just inches from her crib and she was having no trouble letting me know she was tired. 
We improvised...


A big, big improvement but I wish we would have chosen a darker carpet... maybe even brown rather than bland ole tan. I figure we'll have this rug for many years to come, maybe it will grow on me. It definitely dresses things up, ya know, without that giant hole at the top of the stairs. I'm just happy to cross it off my list of "things I said I wanted to do immediately when we moved in." Funny how that list is complete, naive bullshit, huh? Haha. First thing on my list was to remove the god-awful brass on the fireplace doors. Yeah, they've never been brassy-er. Oh well. Soon enough, friends, soon enough. 

April 22, 2012

Chaos in the Clouds

I'm linking up with The Lightning and the Lightning Bug once again for this week's Flicker of Inspiration prompt #47: Beautiful to Me

"Our individual insights and perspectives determine how we see the world and what we consider to be beautiful. I think it's fair to say that everything is beautiful to someone. A manhole cover can be a thing of beauty to the man who designed it, if to no one else."

The clean, white clouds slowly swell with shades of gray. What was once a slight breeze now gains momentum as it reaches the treetops. The distant rumbles and flashes inch closer as I count the seconds between them. I stand out on my deck, neck craned, spinning in circles to wholly witness the evolution. Soon, gargantuan drops of fresh-scented rain are polka-dotting the landscape. I take as many pictures as I can before needing to step inside. I enjoy the rest of the beautiful show from behind the sliding glass door, screen open of course. 

I am a storm junkie.

There have been days where I have watched The Weather Channel for hours on end as if it were The Godfather saga. In awe of the massive number of severe storms sprawling across the map. Jealous, at times, of the cities that are in "the red" and awaiting their potentially destructive disturbance. While tornadoes have wiped entire cities off the map I cannot help but be completely enthralled by them. My very first viewing of The Wizard of Oz at four years old is likely to blame for my lifelong fascination with storms. There is just something so captivating about a sky alive with natural, unstoppable force. 

The beauty that I find in a storm is immeasurable. Almost indescribable. My focus is unwavering as I gaze at the changing scenery. The white clouds mature into a palette of purples and grays. They move in waves, almost tsunami-like. Walls of wonder passing from town to town. I take countless pictures second after second and each image is so different. I feel a sense of cheerlessness as they move on.

A clear, blue sky is lovely but one filled with chaos is just beautiful.