Feelin’ Hot, Hot, Hot!

It's hot out there!

Scott and I took two teenagers (Ashley and her friend–hangin’ with us alone would damage her rep, ya know?) and a toddler to the beach in 100-degree heat. What were we thinking?

We started out by stuffing the car with chairs, toys, buckets, towels, shovels, changes of clothes, baby necessities, snacks, a cooler, and a tent. I waited until the last moment to slip on Alex’s Little Swimmers diaper, knowing they always bite me (oh, and him) in the a$$.

We sat in beach traffic for a good hour, paid $20 for a sh*tty spot that required us to drive on an unsuspecting man’s lawn; demanded our money back (which included me running after the attendant–it’s okay, I have always been a Charlie’s Angels wannabe); broke up backseat fighting (Alex pinching Ashley and her screaming “ow!” every single second); sat in more traffic; called/texted everyone we knew who lived near the beach to beg for parking mercy; experienced epic fail finding anyone who remotely cared about our plight; circled around a few more times with Alex yelling, “Up! Beach! Uuuuuuppppp!” repeatedly; and, finally, paid $7 for a spot that really wasn’t a spot, but Scott’s a master at maneuvering.

I got Alex out of the car and, sure enough, he was soaked with pee. My brand new, overpriced cover-up I was going to debut in Puerto Rico was also soaked with pee. Stupid Little Swimmers strike again. I checked my iPhone quickly for a mental break/pee escape, and saw Ashley live-tweeted the entire car ride. First tweet: “Backseat bonding with Alex. #SiblingBonding.” Second tweet: “I am constantly getting beat up.” Third tweet: “He’s stronger than you think for a two-year-old.”

Serenity now.

And then we had to unload everything.

By the time we got there, it was high tide.

It was awesome.

The day was so fast-paced, I could only take one photo, but didn't have the time to get my stupid finger out of the shot!

Ashley and her friend bailed on us, as teenagers do, and had a ball swimming to the “wall” to scope out boys. When they returned, Dad slipped them a $20 to get some pizza and Vitamin waters by themselves. Alex was lovin’ life, running at full speed into the ice-cold water and swimming until we dragged him out, shivering with blue lips. He played with everyone’s toys but his own, forcing himself on every group of kids trying to build sandcastles along the narrow beachfront plagued by rocks. I kept reapplying Alex’s sunscreen like a neurotic freak, afraid he would burn, and Scott kept trying to de-sand him as best he could, but the kid delights in getting every grain in every single crevice of his body every single minute. Neither of us sat down once. We looked at each other, with knowing smiles, pretty much saying this sucks for us, but it’s great for them, so that means it’s great. That means we’re good parents, standing up all day, sweating our faces off (it would have been worth it if I could literally sweat my a$$ off), doing the best we can to give our kids a good time.

This is a very small sampling of the stuff we unloaded from our car.

After Alex skipped his nap, officially going off the grid–joy, joy!–we took fifteen trips back to the car; sweated some more; piled all of the necessary beach sh*t into the trunk (this time, it was completely disorganized, sandy, and smelly); listened to more backseat fighting before Alex mercifully crashed for a half-hour; got home; unloaded the car; and loaded up the washing machine.

All on one hell of a hot day.

So, tell me, what’s the magic age where beach trips become fun for all? Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing seeing the smiles on their faces, but it was definitely more work than fun!

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Posted in Beach, Family, Kids, Life, Mommy, Thoughts, Uncategorized, weather | 1 Comment

A Mom’s Case of Porn Star Knees

I never expected porn star knees two years after having a baby.

A belly that requires a spray painted six-pack? Sure. An hourglass figure that looks more like a wine glass? Of course. But porn star knees? Are you effing kidding me?

At first I thought I was nursing two bruises from spending lots of time on my knees (stop laughing, b*tch)–looking for stray toys that like to hide under the farthest end of the couch just to torment me, scrubbing the remains of Alex’s thrown meals off the floors (I predict he will win the javelin in the 2024 Olympics), peeking underneath Ashley’s door to see if she’s really asleep or texting by screen light. You get the idea. I am on my knees. A lot.

But bruises heal, and my black-and-blue beauties haven’t gone away! I slathered my knees with cover up (seriously, who has to do that?), before I finally asked my husband to examine them. Black-and-blue knees “covered” with the wrong shade of makeup is a real turn on, I am sure, but I was beginning to convince myself that I have some horrible disease. I needed some reassurance before I did a Google search for “bruises that don’t heal” and found out I was in deep sh*t.

He looked at them, without making fun of me (I know I wouldn’t have been as mature if the situation was reversed–hell no–my bruised knees are great material), and gave me his diagnosis: “They’re callouses.”

For the first time in our relationship, I screamed, with enthusiasm, “You’re right! Completely right. Of course you’re right!”

I may have thrown myself at him and told him he was brilliant, too. Forget Jodi Does Dallas, it’s more like Jodi Does North America with these knees. But I’ll take callouses over the Google alternative.

Post-Scott diagnosis, I made a trip to my local pharmacy, without Alex in tow so I could really concentrate. After a tireless and fruitless search, I was forced to embarrass myself and ask the young pharmacist for knee callous remedies (my luck…why couldn’t the old guy with kind eyes be there during my moment of need?). He’s paid not to laugh at me, right? Apparently not. While mocking me in his head–my Mommy M.D. is not just limited to physical diagnoses, I’ve got the mental sh*t down, too–he simply said, “No, there’s nothing for that. Are you sure you’ve got callouses on your knees?” I saw that smirk. He’s a dirty bird who will high-five my hubby next time he goes through the Drive-Thru to pick up his prescription. No doubt about it.

“Uh, yes, they are” I stammered. “I assume the same stuff that works on feet will work on my knees?”

Please, God, please make sure no one I know overhears this conversation.

“I don’t see why not, though I have to say I have never advised someone about knee callouses.”

Okay, big shot, fresh out of pharmacy school, I get it. You’ll make everyone laugh with tales of the circus freak with knee callouses. You’ll do a Google search for knee callouses as soon as I leave to see if I am off my rocker. You’ll smile at the memory of ringing me up for $60.00 worth of every callous concoction ever produced when you cash out tonight. But I’ve got your boss’ number. The old guy with the kind eyes…I’ve known him for years…and he’s not an a$$ (though, admittedly, I’ve never confronted him with knee callouses).

So, now I am slathering solution that smells like rubber cement on my knees and sticking foot cushions on top of them in an effort to coax stubborn layers of skin off before Puerto Rico. Add my diet in there, and my countdown to Alex starting “school,” and I am one pleasant b*tch to be around.

What’s your funniest injury on the job? Mommies get hurt in the strangest ways, don’t we?

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Posted in Baby, Beach, Kids, Life, Mommy, Parents, Thoughts, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Beach Bum!

I won't go as far as this creepy lady, who has the time to duct tape her entire body. I swear. There's only so much I can accomplish during naptime.

One month from today, I’ll be lying on a beach in Puerto Rico, kid-free. I am on my way to the hardware store to buy a 30-day supply of duct tape for my mouth (one of my husband’s fantasies, I am sure, when I nag the sh*t out of lovingly remind him for the hundreth time to break out his “Jewish tool box” and assemble Alex’s new 9-million-piece water table).

You don’t believe me?

Victoria's Secret supermodel Karolina Kurkova got mocked on the runway for her body. Can you imagine what awaits my a$$ in PR?

Scott says I have to wear a bikini or a one-piece with a Brazilian-inspired butt line (cheeky, huh?)–my choice. No modest Mommy Miracle Suit with industrial-strength sausage casing, gravity-defying cups, and strategically placed ruffles for our getaway. No, no, no…some of my girly parts will be on display.

Duct tape. Two rolls should do it, right?

There was a time when I was considering posting a shot of me in a bikini on Mommy Dish. I was all high on Zumba–and maybe some hard alcohol (Mommyjuice is too weak for me to consider a public showing of post-preggo flesh)–when I thought of the idea.

This episode was ranked one of Oprah's most memorable, before she fell off the radar launching her OWN network.

And then I remembered Kirstie Alley. She opened her mouth before she was ready to completely shut it (or invest in some duct tape), and wound up strutting her stuff in a bikini with Spanx underneath. It’s something I’ll never forget, nude Spanx glistening under Oprah’s hot television lights. Oh, and she had a wrap, too. Everyone ooooed and ahhhhed, and I didn’t get it. Yes, she looked much better, but, really, she needed superhero powers in the form of a customized cape and a glorified girdle to help her cause. So, I figured I’d spare myself the humiliation (you know me well enough without that visual, don’t you think?).

Wherever I go, bathing suit season is all the buzz. My hairdresser swears on It Works, wraps and creams that supposedly blast fat (if you’ve tried it, leave a comment please!). My BFF reduces her carb intake (I have never subscribed to this theory–a calorie is a calorie–but my Brazilian Mommy arse is going to be the butt of the beach jokes in Puerto Rico, so you should probably ignore me). A woman at the playground said she actually had luck buying online from Victoria’s Secret this year, which made me smile thinking I will not have to endure the bad fluorescent lights in the dressing rooms. Seriously, why hasn’t anyone caught on that trying on bathing suits is trying enough? Give a girl some good lighting, dammit!

What are your summertime tips and tricks? I have been doing well–my baby badge is more like a speed bump now (yay, me!), but I’d like to maximize the time I have left before I have to slip into something uncomfortable.

***It’s a rainy, crappy day here, so I made my favorite low-fat Split Pea soup. I love it, and Alex does, too!***

Parker’s Split Pea Soup

Courtesy Ina Garten (with a few minor revisions of my own)…give me a click before you make it, please:
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Ingredients

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 cup good olive oil (enough to thoroughly coat your soup pot)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups medium-diced carrots (3 to 4 carrots)

1 cup medium-diced red boiling potatoes, unpeeled (3 small)

1 pound dried split green peas

8-10 cups vegetable stock (2 large containers plus one can)

Method

In a 4-quart stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with the olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, split peas, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for about an hour and a half, or until the peas are soft. Skim off the foam while cooking. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Struggling with the thought of leaving him, even part-time. Love my little man.

There’s going to be a seismic shift in my son’s life.

School. A gentler word for daycare, which conjures up scary news reports that replay in my mind at 3:00 a.m. (am I the only one who can’t sleep through the night even though her kid does?). School–yeah, let’s stick with that term.

I am freaking out. Oh, and I am feeling guilty, too…because I’ve had a rough few days with my ultimate fighter son. It’s like a school bell went off, alerting my newly-minted two-year-old that it is now “part of his development” to throw a massive tantrum in the mall that requires me to carry him out face forward, on his side, so he can’t hit, pinch, or pull my hair in protest. Unbelievably, I ran out of quarters to feed the germ-infested, sorry-looking carousel near the food court on a rainy day (my traitor Costanza wallet was deceptively jam-packed with pointless pennies that should be outlawed). Yeah, I have turned into one of those women I used to feel sorry for when I was single, smirking to myself, thinking I will never have a kid like that.

I have a kid like that. I am that woman with a sweaty lip, screaming apologies through Bloomingdale’s, while trying to avoid air punches. I consider Alex a part of my cardio regimen; carrying a 30-pound boy from center court to the parking lot makes me feel the burn, let me tell you.

Even though my son can throw a give me an IV of Mommyjuice–stat! decent fit with me, I took him to three different schools–all “the best of the best” (of course they are–I am neurotic news report Mommy who has soundbites of frantic parents pounding on the locked daycare door in a desperate attempt to set their children free echoing in my head)–and he walked in like he owned the joints. Self assured, he pretty much said, “Hey, I am Alex, and I have arrived. Now you can really sing and dance with some enthusiasm. The party has started.”

I'll think about this at 3:00 a.m.

I know he’s going to love school. He’s incredibly social, curious, and has a true zest for learning. And I have been offered a dream gig doing my public relations/marketing/communications guru work twenty minutes from my house for a global firm that’s going to let me work part-time to transition my son slowly. It would be hard to pass it up, as I spent a lot of years building a career before becoming a SAHM.

My internal dialogue, which I am so grateful is mostly silent (sometimes I slip and blurt, but that’s just me), has been constantly abuzz since I made the decision. I am not going to be there for him every single second. Someone else is going to change his diaper. What if he acts like an American Bad A$$ with the teachers? What if he likes them too much and he showers them with kisses? How is that going to make me feel? How am I going to ever drop him off and leave? Is it the right time, or should I wait? What if he needs his Mommy and I am not there?

I know I am so fortunate that I have been home with Alex these past two years. I saw it all: his first smile, first laugh, first crawl, first step, first run…it was always me on the other end, waiting for him to jump in my arms. I was always the one to congratulate him on an accomplishment, and give him a prideful smile only I can deliver. I was the one who taught him how to speak, how to eat, how to share, how to dance, how to let loose and have fun during our precious years together. I was the one who was there to hold him when he needed a reassuring hug, or kiss him when he puckered his little lips to meet mine. It was just me…and, now, it won’t be.

There are many Mommies who put their kids in school long before me. I know I am lucky, believe me, but I am still freaking out at the thought of leaving my baby, even if he’s ready. Will I ever truly feel ready?

Sorry I have been posting a little less frequently…life has just gotten in the way. Remember, I am freaking! If you still love me, show it, and give me a click below. Thanks.

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Posted in Baby, Family, Kids, Life, Mommy, Thoughts, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Remember

As a Mommy, I’d give my life for my child. No hesitation. That doesn’t make me special…ask any Mommy, and I guarantee she’d do the same.

But would you give your life for a total stranger? For your country? Most would say no…maybe we wouldn’t openly discuss it at Memorial Day barbeques…but, fact of the matter is, most of us would say no.

This weekend, amid the beach trips, burgers, badmitton, and beer, let’s remember those who said yes. I will openly say I am not as brave as the men and women who gave up the opportunity to kiss their kid goodnight to protect my freedom. I buckle my seatbelt, get my annual exams, go to Zumba class when I can get a sitter and the laundry under control, and routinely detox from pizza (oh, how I love it…pathetic me considers that a sacrifice) in the hopes I will live a long, healthy life. I want to be here so bad to share all the smiles, wipe away all the tears, and see all of the milestones that I would literally do anything to protect my role as a Mommy.

So, today, I remember the ones who said yes. I honor them, and I salute them, and I thank them. They are the heroes to Mommies like me, and they are reason why I can kiss my baby goodnight tonight.

***Here’s my favorite Memorial Day Weekend Dish, Asian Pasta Salad…***

Asian Pasta Salad

Ingredients

1 pound thin spaghetti

1 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup teriyaki marinade/sauce (I use Ken’s Steak House brand)

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

3 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon honey

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

1 bunch of scallions (5-6), chopped

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

3/4 pound sugar snap peas

3/4 cup smooth peanut butter

Salt and pepper

Method

Cook spaghetti in salted water according to package directions until it’s al dente. Add the sugar snap peas into the boiling water during the last few minutes of cooking to save yourself from preparing them separately.

While the pasta is cooking, mix the vegetable oil, vinegar, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, peanut butter, and salt and pepper (to taste) together. Add the red peppers and scallions to the sauce and mix well.

Drain pasta. Put some of the sauce mixture on the bottom of a large serving bowl, add pasta on top, and pour remaining sauce over the pasta. Mix until thoroughly combined. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds or parsley, if desired. Dish can be served immediately or cold (tastes great after it’s been in the fridge for a few hours).

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Posted in Baby, Beach, Dishes, Exercise, Family, Food, Holidays, Kids, Life, Memorial Day, recipes, Thoughts, Uncategorized, weather | 3 Comments

Bigtime!

My little love had a blast, and I had a blast planning his celebration!! I love him like crazy!

No, I didn’t get swallowed whole by anything…put your spare change away…no rescue fund donations are necessary. So sorry I haven’t posted in a week! But it was a BIG week!

B-I-G!

I now have a big boy. A two-year-old. I know, I can’t believe it either! There wasn’t one cloud in the sky in celebration of my beautiful son, my sun, on the day he turned two. But there was a big bash! Of course there was…I am his Mommy. I grew up on The Beastie Boys’ (You’ve Got To) Fight For Your Right To Party (RIP MCA).

You must know by now I am insanely slightly detail oriented. I like things to be just so freaking perfect when it comes to party planning. Scott dubbed Alex’s 2nd birthday party his bar mitzvah, but whatever. It was awesome!

Post party, I am now suffering from a one-two punch of bronchitis and a sinus infection (not diagnosed by me, Mommy MD, I actually schlepped into the doctor today with my toddler in tow). In the interest of getting some rest and giving props to the incredible women/companies that helped me pull of Alex’s special day, I am listing a few of them here…plus the recipe for my Mom’s cupcakes we served at the party. Thanks to all who helped me honor my little rock star! He’s still singing the Happy Birthday song to himself two days later. I would call that a success!

Alex enjoying the band at Kidville! He loves being the center of attention!

Kidville: If there’s a Kidville near you, check it out! It’s a kid’s fantasy land! Alex takes incredibly enriching and fun classes there, and the staff are warm and supportive (thanks, Kaitlynn!). We chose the Rockin’ Railroad party with a talented four-piece band because Alex likes to shake his booty with wild abandon…the bigger the audience, the better. Wonder where he got that from?

Alex's outfit! He rocked it!

Outfit: MommyTime Designs. I order Alex’s outfit every year from Michelle at MommyTime Designs, and I am never disappointed. She makes the cutest shirts and party hats!

They were almost too adorable to eat off of...almost.

Plates: Everyone freaked about Alex’s personalized plates that were inexpensive and easy to create online at Birthday Express.

Barbara Neely Designs created the cupcake toppers, birthday banner, goody bags, and stickers perfectly according to my instruction (and with her own flair). Loved it all: http://www.etsy.com/shop/bndesigns



Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
8 tablespoons of butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup of sour cream (or you can use greek vanilla yogurt in place sour cream)
1 large whole egg
2 large egg yolks (yolk only)
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Method

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl of a standard mixer using the paddle. Add the butter, sour cream, egg, egg yolks, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and mix until the batter is smooth (do this step by hand).

Place cupcake liners in your cupcake pan. Fill them with the batter until they’re about half full.

Bake for 20-24 minutes. Allow to cool in pan before handling.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1 cup (two sticks) room temperature butter
6-8 cups of confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup of whole milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Put the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of sugar and then add the milk and vanilla. On medium speed of the mixer, beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy (about 3-5 minutes). Gradually, add the rest of the sugar (1 cup at a time). Beat two minutes after each addition of sugar. Add enough sugar until icing is of good spreading consistency.

Use and store the frosting at room temperature as icing will set in the refrigerator. Store icing in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Posted in Dishes, Family, Food, Kids, Mommy, Parents, recipes, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Mother’s Day, Interrupted

Alex goofing around with his Grammy Mimi at her pre-Mother's Day lunch.

I had to celebrate Mother’s Day early this year. I wish I could say it was solely because my Mom deserves a week of festivities for putting up with my antics for 39 years, but that’s not the case. Cancer–the rudest, most obtrusive, unkind, unrelenting, and unwelcome S.O.B disease ever created–dictated the terms.

My Mom signing on the dotted line for poison she's allergic to. She's amazing. And inspiring. And determined.

She’s getting chemom (my word for chemotherapy) she’s allergic to this time around. How brave is my Mom signing up for poison that could put her in anaphylactic shock if the IV drip that tricks her body into accepting it isn’t slow enough? The infusion–start-to-finish with our commute–takes twelve hours, and we have to do it every three weeks. Grueling. Despite her strength–I swear she has more stamina than any gym rat after tirelessly fighting ovarian cancer for ten years–the treatment knocks her out for days. As her daughter, it’s incredibly hard to watch.

So, Alex joined me for a special lunch to celebrate the woman who gave me life earlier this week, and taught me lessons I will never forget. Tonight, I reflect on just a few of them.

Laughter: My Mom is known for her jokes. I envy her ability to start telling a joke flawlessly during conversations (me, I have to announce I am about to tell a joke, inevitably flub the set-up, and hesitate before delivering the punch line to ensure I get it right). But I do know how to give in to a deep belly laughing fit that doesn’t stop until I hyperventilate and tears are streaming down my face. I have her laugh. I knew I reached adulthood when she delivered a dirty joke in front of me after shooing me away for years (teachers, coaches, and friends’ parents always swarmed around her growing up, anxious to hear her comedy routine, and I remember watching them break into hysterics following her raunchy material). It’s a gift to be in on her jokes. It’s a gift to laugh at life when it’s so serious at times.

Fun: My Mom also built a reputation on her legendary haunted houses every Halloween. Her cackle puts the evil witch in The Wizard of Oz to shame; her creepy costumes, handmade and authentic, screamed scary with every stitch. She rigged a ghost to fly across our living room if a child mustered up the courage to reach into the smoky caldron of candy. Pure brilliance. Even now, random people on Facebook will write on her wall about it. Even now, I am known for her spooktacular haunted houses.

My Mother started this! And of course my son thought it was beyond funny wearing lettuce as a hat in public!

Even though she converted to Judaism, it looks like Santa Claus regurgitated the North Pole at her house every year at Christmas. She’s the type who embraces any holiday, encourages jumping in the ocean fully-clothed if you don’t have a bathing suit, using P.F. Chang’s lettuce wraps as yarmulkes if the mood strikes, eating cake first thing on your birthday, and singing in the car with the sunroof open at a stoplight. You get the idea. She enjoys life. It was her philosophy BC (Before Cancer), and even more so AC (After Cancer).

Risk/Reward: My Mom struck out on her own at age 18 with no safety net. She made it–through all of life’s trials, tribulations, and dinners consisting of a measly can of beans. I was living in NYC for years when I got a call from a news station in Burlington, Vermont, on a Friday afternoon, offering me a job as a reporter and anchor of the cut-ins during Good Morning America. The only catch was that I had to start on the following Monday, giving me two days to make my decision, pack my belongings, and move to a place I never visited my whole life. What do you think I did? I went for it, with her full support, and the confidence needed to embrace drastic change. Quick. As my Mother’s daughter, I learned early on it’s okay to take risks, because she is, and has always been, my safety net.

Kindness: If there’s a frog hopping across the road, she will stop her car and make sure it crosses safely. She will offer her seat to an older or pregnant woman, even if she isn’t feeling well herself. She understands the value of writing a card and mailing it the old-fashioned way, and will send one, unexpectedly, to conjure up a smile from a distance. She’s stayed up all night making homemade desserts for bake sales that supported all of my teams, taught me the value of volunteering, and always made sure I approached people with both an open heart and an open mind. At her core, she is genuinely kind, and she expects nothing less from her children and grandchildren.

Perseverance: I have only gotten through her surgeries and chemotherapy treatments (plus my own heartaches, and, believe me, there have been plenty of them) without being a crying mess because of her leadership. She perseveres, so I persevere. She adjusts to the “new normal” living with a deadly disease, so I adjust. She finds enjoyment through the pain, and I do, too.

Love. Her love is fierce, unwavering, telling, true, unparalleled, eternal. In my life, she has been my one source of unconditional love. I have always felt my Mother’s love, even if I didn’t deserve it (I was a b*tch when I was 16-years-old!). I know she loves me, the real me, flaws and all.

He has learned so much from his Grammy Mimi already!

This Mother’s Day, Interrupted, I pause to reflect on the values instilled in me by my beloved Mom. Although she’s not with me celebrating tonight, she will soon recover, and we will be back to our giddy selves. Until then, Mom, I promise you, I remember everything you’ve taught me and am paying it forward every day. You are the north on the compass of my motherhood journey. I love you.

Give me a click below, please. It’s still Mother’s Day, even though it’s Interrupted!
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Posted in Family, Food, Jewish, Kids, Life, Mommy, Mother's Day, ovarian cancer, Parents, Thoughts, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

50 Shades of Grey

Am I the only woman who hasn't read this book or what?!

Okay, let’s dish about this blockbuster “Mommy porn” book, shall we?

Apparently, I am the equivalent of the last kid picked for the kickball team because I have not indulged in 50 Shades of Grey…yet. But I’ve gotten lots of swift kicks in the a$$ tips to get me started on the scintillating series (everyone has told me to just go ahead and buy all three books because they’re as addictive as chocolate):

– One of my friends delights in reading the 50 Shades series at family functions…on her Kindle. That way, her kids are playing with their cousins, the hubby is distracted by beer and baseball, and she has some time to fantasize. Keeping it on her Kindle makes it even hotter because it’s her own dirty little secret. When her dear old uncle recently asked her what she was reading, she told him The New York Times. He smiled, impressed by her intellectual curiosity, while she stifled her laughter (kid-free and NYT just don’t go together, in her opinion, and, yes, she’s fulfilling her sexual curiosity, Uncle Al).

– My fifty-something-year-old dental hygienist brought it up before my latest round of mouth labor (I am personally paying for my dentist’s kid’s swanky sublet in NYC, thankyouverymuch). She told me she’s no prude AT ALL, but she’s “just not into bondage or domination.” Um, okay. I needed that visual to accompany the shriek of the drill. She blushed 50 shades of red when it dawned on her that I am a patient and not her BFF, and we’re chatting over shots of Novocain, not real shots. It was really funny.

– A random woman stuck in a long line alongside me at the post office told me she reads it with her husband every night before bed. They’re already on book two, and their marriage is on fire. ON FIRE, she said, 50 times in line, making sure everyone could hear that she is now a suburban sex kitten. Meow. Oops, ME-OW!

– Some Mommies I routinely run into at the playground told me I need to call in every favor I can possibly think of to secure childcare so I can devour the pages quickly. They all b*tched about being interrupted by poopy diapers, sibling rivalry, (insert your Mommy drama here). Kids are cold showers. Got it.

– And, of course, Saturday Night Live hilariously dubbed it THE gift for Mother’s Day. Forget the flowers, boys, get the smut (Scott, if you’re reading, I’ll take both).

Alright, alright, I am convinced…I am going to carve out some time for this must-read. Did it consume your life once you started the first book? What makes it so good that Mommies can’t stop talking about 50 Shades of Grey?

In honor of dirty books and upcoming Mother’s Day brunches, I am re-posting one of my favorite naughty dishes: French Toast Casserole. Make it this weekend, or have someone make it for you. No calorie counting on Mother’s Day!


French Toast Casserole

Ingredients

1 loaf French bread
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Maple syrup

Method

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.

Give me a click below, please. It won’t make me blush!
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What’s in a Name?

Longest pregnancy EVER!

What are celebs on when they name their children?

Jessica Simpson FINALLY gave birth to her baby girl after 9,000 years of pregnancy (I thought she was going to deliver a freaking teen model to debut her fall line after all this time). We were bombarded by a constant barrage of her infamous “Jessicaisms,” with her chatting up anyone who would listen about her pregnancy cravings for orgasms (both the real and chocolate kind), MommyBrain, and “swamp ass.” She even used the term, “hoo-ha.” Haha, seriously. She did.

“I feel like I have a bowling ball sitting on my hoo-ha,” Jess said. “Apparently I have a lot of amniotic fluid, so when my water breaks, it will be like a fire hydrant!”

Well, somehow the medical staff survived the flood, and they placed Maxwell Drew Johnson in Jessica’s loving arms yesterday. Aw…I know, nothing like a newborn who already has a closet much bigger than mine stuffed with Fendi dresses to warm the heart. I am happy for Jess–she beat Nick and Vanessa Lachey to the maternity ward like she wanted to–but I feel a little bad for Maxwell.

Remember this controversial outfit? People couldn't shut up about that, either.

She’s a girl. And her name is Maxwell. If she goes through a chunky phase like her Mom did (by Hollywood standards…not by my standards…please don’t send me hate mail!), she’ll be called Maxwell House. If she has a period accident in middle school, she’ll be ridiculed as Maxi Pad. She could wind up dating a guy who has a grandpa in the nursing home named, you guessed it, Maxwell. I could go on and on.

Maxwell is on the heels of Beyoncé naming her girl Blue (with choice blue nail polish to match). And of course there’s always Alicia Silverstone’s Bear Blu, Mariah Carey’s Moroccan and Monroe, Gwenyth Paltrow’s Apple…and so many more Hollywood children all screwed over by their parents’ name selections from birth.

You Can't Touch This.

Yes, I know celebs have cash and clout so they feel like they can name their kid Pilot Inspektor or Aleph (Jason Lee and Natalie Portman, respectively), but MC Hammer once had no.1 albums, millions in the bank, a huge entourage, and people like me looking absolutely ridiculous imitating his “style.” And, now, crickets. That’s all I hear. Please, Hammer, don’t hurt me. I speak the truth. U Can’t Touch This.

I am not saying my son’s name is perfect for everyone, but it passed crucial tests all names should be subjected to. Namely:

1) The banana fana test- Alex, Alex, bo balex, banana fana fo falex, me mi mo malex, Alex. Safe. Unlike the name Chuck…automatically out because it rhymes with f*ck. You get what I am saying? I went back to the playground to name my kid, you know?

2) The initial test- My son’s initials are AJM. Worst nickname he could get is AJ, which still sounds cute. Most importantly, his initials don’t spell out anything mock-worthy. I had a friend growing up whose initials spelled out A-S-S. Even my husband almost fell victim to subjecting his kid to initial hazing, as he considered naming his daughter Brandon Joseph if she was a boy. Brandon Joseph sounds fine, but on the playground he’d be nicknamed BJ Meltzer…and, well, that’s just not okay.

3) The top 200 name test- It’s recognizable, but not in-your-face. Everyone has heard of the name Alex, but every other kid in his class won’t have that name. It’s a nice balance.

So, congrats to Jess and all of her crazy celebrity friends on picking crappy names that could potentially scar their kids for life. At least they can afford therapy…for now (please, Hammer, don’t hurt me for that one last little jab…I remember you went through that bad ass gangsta phase before you became a preacher all too well).

So, I messed up my UPrinting sticker printing giveaway. I know, I suck. I am sorry. Leave your wittiest comment on my blog or social media pages anytime before May 11 and you’re automatically entered to win 250 2″ x 3.5″ custom stickers. I will announce the winner–the comment that makes me laugh the loudest– on May 11.

Give me a click, please. I promise I won’t break out my MC Hammer pants if you just click:
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I Did It!

This weekend was a memorable one. I did something ballsy. And crazy. And thrilling.

Ballsy: I cut the cord. Not in a creepy January Jones type of way, more in a I-can’t-leave-my-beloved-son-for-any-real-length-of-time-unless-I-am-forced-to kind of way.

Crazy: I surprised my husband who doesn’t like surprises. Really, he doesn’t…it was a risk. Trust me on this one.

Thrilling: I spent money a SAHM shouldn’t–with no hesitation, no guilt, no remorse. In fact, I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when she went back to that snobby boutique with Richard Gere’s credit card in hand. Yeah, b*tch, I’ve got this covered. Uh-huh.

I am not going to lie…it was scary. Actually, exhilerating is more like it. I got the same rush when I bungee jumped half over water and half over concrete in Cancun back in the 90s, only this time I didn’t have to sign a 12-page waiver and hand my jewelry over to my BFF for safe-keeping in the event of my untimely demise. I am a Mommy now…I need to get my kicks without a cord wrapped around my ankles.

My husband returned home from work on Friday to a giant card I made while Alex flung portions of his dinner at me in protest because I wasn’t paying total attention to him. I am artistic–this isn’t the best I could do by any means–but it was all I could muster sans a splatter of spaghetti sauce or an epic meltdown. Whatever…disclaimer aside…the card wasn’t awesome, but what it said was (if I do say so myself).

It read, “I’ve got two tickets to paradise. Won’t you pack your bags and leave July 10th? Love, your wife.” Plus all sorts of other stuff I can’t dish about because my stepdaughter reads this blog and will be grossed out.

Seriously, I deserve something freaking fantastic for pulling off this surprise, don’t you think?

Thanks to your encouragement and suggestions (comments, emails, Facebook posts), I booked us a trip to Puerto Rico! Four days, three nights…completely kid-free. It will truly be our first real vacation, as my stepdaughter will be at camp and have no access to her cellphone (she fired off tons of texts to us on our honeymoon), and Alex, well, he’ll be out of luck because we won’t be in yelling distance. We will check in on the tag-team of grandmothers lovingly caring for him when it’s convenient for us (knowing me, it’ll be convenient a lot of time, but I am trying to act like I won’t stalk them right now…just go with it). And my husband was genuinely happy…I made his day, and gave him something to look forward to besides paying bills, wiping a$$, and chauferring teenagers (thanks for all you do, Scott! xo).

To mark my exciting weekend, I am giving you something to get excited about: a cool freebie from UPrinting.com! One Mommy Dish reader will receive 250 2″ x 3.5″ custom stickers. Use them for your side business, kids’ camp stuff, address labels, whatever! Click here to enter!

Oh, and while you’re clicking, give me a click please. You can do it! Click the brown box…
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Another disclaimer: You should assume that I will receive free print products in exchange for the post. Any and all reviews posted are based solely on my own experience and may be atypical. Please practice due diligence in making any related purchase decisions.

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