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.

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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.

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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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Hello, Summer?!

Alex goofing around before class. Sorry, but it was the best I could do while making sure my towel remained tightly wrapped around me until the very start of class. Doesn't he have the longest eyelashes ever?

Of all of the indignities I’ve suffered on this Mommyhood journey–which include, but aren’t limited to: being spit up on, pooped on, peed on, woken up, hit, bit, yelled at, and ignored entirely–I endured the one I hate most of all today.

Bathing suit season–two months early. Hello, summer starts in late-June, dammit!! But, in my sucker-for-my-son’s-obsession-with-all-things-water-world, it began today.

I slid into a bathing suit and a cold, pee-infested pool so my son can learn to swim. I know I am not the only Mom–there were other heroes braving the elements in my class, of course–but I was the only one showing skin. Somehow I missed the memo that all of the Moms wear big T-shirts or shorts and tank tops to cover up their winter bodies this time of year. So, there I was, in my pale, post-pregnancy glory, modeling (hahaha I use that term very loosely) last year’s (or was it the year before?) tired, outdated tankini at the Y. The only other uncovered caregiver was a Grandma. Me and Grams, suited up and ready to go.

From what I saw (I am ninja-like when it comes to scoping out the scene when I feel uncomfortable), only one of the little “potty trained” peeps let her pee-pee go in the pool, and none of the Moms mocked me for my swim fashion faux pas (not bad, considering)…but it still sucked. Alex kept yelling, “HI!!!!” to everyone over and over and over, as usual, in the large, echoey pool room, to make sure all the senior citizens enjoying the nearby hot tub checked out my barely-covered butt when he realized the Moms were being cool. Thanks, buddy.

And here he is after class. Again the towel limitation and fear of him diving into the pool (kid has no fear whatsoever) kept me from getting the smiling money shot. Next time...maybe next time.

Problem with today was I wasn’t mentally or physically prepared for my big debut. I called the Y to inquire about registration, and, after reviewing all of the scheduling choices with my enthusiastic Y-helper who must have been slurping down her 10th can of Coke, I realized the only class that worked started in an hour. I quickly shaved in the living room (no one to watch Alex but me–a Mom’s gotta do what a Mom’s gotta do), rifled through my bathing suits stashed in the basement, prayed Alex’s still fit, and high-tailed it over to CVS for Little Swimmers.

Normally, it’s an epic event the first time I get in a bathing suit for the year. I am not proud to admit this (well, maybe I am because I’ve learned every fake-out trick in the book), but I get a full-body, personally applied spray tan, hemorrhage however much money it takes to find a suit that suffocates hugs my curves (hiding the receipt if necessary), and brave the waxing b*tches’ wrath. I had no time for my grooming rituals today. The things I do for my son! He had a great time, and there are no photos to document that I came to play at the Y-M-C-A (did you really think I could resist linking to this song?). That’s all that matters, right?

In the spirit of summer, I whipped up some Blueberry Smoothies for us when we got home. Alex looks phenomenal in his suit, but I need to be downing these on a regular basis the next few months! It’s a healthy snack both Moms and toddlers love.

Alex takes his straight-up in a sippy cup.

Blueberry Smoothies

Ingredients

1 cup no-fat or low-fat vanilla (or Banilla if you’re feeling saucy) yogurt
1 cup blueberries (Mommy Dish note: you can substitute any kind of fruit you like if you’re not a fan of blueberries)
1/4 cup milk
1 dash honey
Ice

Method

Place yogurt, blueberries, milk, honey, and a handful of ice into a blender. Blend until smooth. Taste it for sweetness and add more honey if desired. Yum!

Please click on the banner below! I mean, I spent the day in pee…it’s the least you can do:
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Mommy MC

Sometimes, despite my best efforts, Alex falls asleep in his carseat. But he goes down fighting like a rock star!

Are you with me when I say I will do just about anything to keep Alex from falling asleep in the backseat of the car?

Today, I rapped both Jay Z and Kanye West’s rhymes in “N*ggas in Paris” like I was center-stage at Madison Square Garden when I saw my son’s eyes getting heavy in the rear-view mirror. We were ten minutes away from the house (and “me” time for Mommy), so I had to bring it. I tickled the little remaining fat fold on his thigh repeatedly to the line, “What she order, fish filet?” to make him laugh (say that 10 times and your kid will…trust me), and pretended the dashboard was my personal turntable for dramatic effect. I shook my shoulders, flung my free hand up in the air, and beat-boxed like only a white Jewish girl can.

Yo, hit me up if you want to collaborate on future songs. Seriously, I've got it. Just ask Alex.

The car next to me got to see the show for free. Bastard. I think I am getting good enough to charge for this sh*t. MC Jodi’s in the hoooouuuuusssseee. I know I made his day. And Alex stayed awake long enough for me to put him in for a fingers and toes crossed two-hour power nap on a long-a$$ rainy day that seems to drag on forever. Hallelujah!

What was I supposed to do? There was a monsoon outside so I couldn’t roll down the windows (even I have standards). He was full from a lunch at Grammy’s (code: overstuffed to the point of possibly skipping dinner), so I couldn’t give him a cool car snack like Pirate’s Booty to keep him up. He flung his car toys on the floor like I was handing him dirty diapers. I had to rap. Hard core. I broke out the air guitar to Journey’s “Separate Ways” last week. MC Jodi’s gotta keep it fresh, ya know? I am definitely in my zone, zone, zone…

So, are you as protective of naptime as I am? Will you lovingly torture your child so he stays awake long enough to crash in his crib?

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A Perfect 10, Take Two

I am such a vacation tease.

Last year, I flirted with the idea of going away to some tropical resort my husband. Alex-less. Like a naughty Mommy.

I did the online searches, priced out some deals, and narrowed down our destinations. And then I stood Scott up. He knew better than to ask me for another date. I just wasn’t ready to say bye-bye, baby…or hello to Bo.

My twin. Stop laughing, b*tch.

Do you remember how I told you my husband had visions of me running down the beach, corn-rows flopping in the wind, in a nude-colored bathing suit a la Bo Derek in A Perfect 10? He swears it’s me he’s after in this dream, not his pubescent crush (though he’s never hung a poster of me in his bedroom…hmph).

No, he wasn’t drunk when he fell asleep that night, freshie. Guy’s in love, and, in my house, love makes me look a little like Bo when we’re talking about booking a trip. And I really don’t believe him, either.

Although I am still not prepared to rock a nude bathing suit two years post-baby, I think I am maybe kind-of OMG I am freaking out at the thought of it ready to leave Alex…for three nights only. In the care of my Mom. With some liquid courage at the gate before take-off. And maybe a little involuntary seatbelt action once we board.

But then I’ll be fine. Plant my a$$ on a white, sandy beach, near turquoise water and an infinity pool. Serve me fruity drinks and decadent desserts. Let me peek at the thousands of Alex photos on my iPhone from time to time. I swear, I’ll rally.

The question is, where? Where do we go for a three-night getaway from Boston? I want to be transported to paradise within a few hours. Do you have any suggestions? Words of encouragement about abandoning my almost-two-year-old (to squash my ridiculous case of MommyGuilt) are welcome, too.

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Random Things That Make Me Happy

Now that I spend most of my time wiping butt and swearing under my breath at a certain toddler/teenager duo molding my precious children into becoming productive members of society, it really doesn’t take much to make me smile. You don’t believe me? Take a look at my giddy list that proves I seriously need to get a life I’ve somehow morphed into a simple girl (who happens to adore Tory Burch shoes–send ’em my way if you’re reading, Tory ; ).

Does anyone else get excited about folding towels in a sea of laundry? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?

– I get really jazzed about pulling a load of warm towels out of the dryer. It’s almost like Christmas in laundry land. Isn’t it pathetic I am so thrilled about towels? What the hell happened to me? Am I delusional from constantly folding a 2T wardrobe? Or just high from the fumes of trying to get stains out every little thing (including my teen’s white stuff that “mysteriously” turn pink). What is it? Because, truly, I am like, “yessssssss!” when I get to just fold towels. It takes two seconds to get through this particular chore and I get such satisfaction stacking them neatly in the linen closet (they stay that way for less than 24-hours because I live with a house full of ruthless riflers, but whatever).

OMG. Why do I feel compelled to confess this sh*t?

– I enjoy being carded…I admitted that to myself and the entire liquor store when it happened yesterday. It doesn’t matter if the clerk does it because I look like the type of girl who really wants to be questioned about being 21 (did he detect the desperate plea in my eyes?). I can’t whip my ID out of my Costanza wallet fast enough (along with a random receipt to Babies R Us, a gum wrapper, and lip gloss…nothing ever comes out solo). He made it even better when he said, “Wow, I can’t believe you’re 39!” with genuine enthusiasm. I almost bought a case of Mommyjuice just to reward him for making me feel like I’ve got it going on, but then I remembered he doesn’t work on commission and I might not work with a case in hand. Who cares if the clerk’s a raging alcoholic downing nips behind the cash register? He carded a woman closing in on 40–and pretended he was just doing his job. Yes sir, you make me ecstatic.

Alex enjoying his cone today. Trust me, he got a lot messier, but I was wrestling with him to get him back to the car after his cone hit the dirt, and couldn't take a photo without risking hair being pulled out of my head.

-I love the effect an ice cream cone has on an almost-2-year-old. Despite the mess, and stickiness, and inevitable drop in the dirt that results in an inquisitive look (best case) or a river of tears, it’s just awesome. In yet another sign Mother Nature has lost her marbles (or bought the case of Mommyjuice I passed on at the liquor store), it was 90-degrees in Boston today. Scott and I took Alex to get the good stuff, and killed an hour eating it. An hour closer to bedtime and a bonus cone for Mommy? Bliss.

-I cheat on my family with my iPhone. Daily. Repeatedly. And it feels intoxicatingly good. I escape to tap into my inner voyeur on Facebook, text my friends who are equally exhausted, and check my email, hoping for something good (i.e. a coupon that provides me with an excuse to shop…uh, Tory, wink wink). It gives me more joy than that little device should. Do you stray for a few minutes on your smartphone or what?

– Girls’ nights are invigorating. I’ve neglected them for too long, and I really shouldn’t because they make me laugh. And drink. And I am very merry when I am surrounded by women who have a hilarious way of telling it like it is. Plus, it gives me an excuse to ignore my holy sh*t summer’s here! diet with gourmet macaroni-and-cheese with tomatoes. Yum. Life is good when you set aside some time for the girls.

What are life’s little pleasures that make you happy?

Easy, Refreshing Banana Pudding
***Always a crowd pleaser, this dish is adapted from the tried-and-true Nilla recipe, with slight adjustments. It’s incredibly easy, delicious, and requires little thought…yeah, that makes me happy.***

Ingredients

1 small box of jello banana instant pudding
2 cups milk
1 container of Whipping Cream (Mommy Dish note: I always prefer to make my own whipped cream, but you can use Cool Whip if you’re so inclined)
Confectioner’s Sugar to sweeten the Whipping Cream (to taste–just try it–at least two tablespoons)
1 box Nilla wafers (I won’t substitute brand)
4-6 bananas cut in slices (depending on the size of your trifle dish)

Method

Prepare the banana pudding according to package directions (combining the mix with 2 cups of milk), and set aside.

Beat whipping cream with Confectioner’s sugar until it turns into whipped cream. Combine with the banana pudding.

In a trifle dish, assemble a layer of Nilla wafers. Cover Nilla wafers with a layer of the banana pudding/whipped cream mixture, and then place a layer of sliced bananas on top. Repeat. Top dish with bananas or Nilla wafers or both–be creative!

Put it in the fridge for at least three hours (more if you can hold off) to allow time for the Nilla wafers to soften and flavors to combine. Enjoy!

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Posted in Diet, Dishes, Family, Food, Happy Hour, Kids, Life, Mommy, recipes, Teenagers, Thoughts, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Wacko Celebs’ Guide to Extreme Parenting

The only reason I'd tune in to DWTS.

So, I got a chance to catch up on People while my highlights were baking under the hair dryer today. Not the issue with William Levy on the cover (I am giving you that piece of eye candy because I love you), the one speculating whether William and Kate are pregnant. Since I am not a royal stalker (I think they’re a royal pain in the arse taking up so much celebrity gossip ink), I flipped through for better dirt at my leisure. Getting my hair done is like a mini-vaca post-Alex, and I quickly found the equivalent of a great beach read.

I honed in on an article about celebs and their extreme approach to parenting. Be forewarned, this one may make you a little hot under the collar (if you aren’t already after taking in those William Levy pics). I am going to be judgmental, and bitchy, and snarky…but this material is just too good to be nice.

Extreme is a nice word for CRAZY so People can get future interviews with these celebs.

Don't worry, I will be able to get up to feed you every two hours because I saved your placenta for strength.

First up, January Jones: I must admit, I don’t really know who she is, but with a name like January I would expect she might be a little unconventional. Why couldn’t her parents have settled on April if they were gung-ho on naming their daughter after a month? Anyway, true to January form, she’s out there. I mean, really out there, in a galaxy far, far away, where they think eating their old dried up placentas combat new Mom exhaustion. I feel queasy just typing it, never mind downing placenta in lieu of my morning coffee. This girl saved her placenta from birth, put it through the dehydration process, and paid to have it converted to pill form. I don’t know about you, but I did a happy dance when that crusty black thing fell off of Alex’s belly button way back when. It never dawned on me to throw it in my diaper bag for an on-the-go snack. Silly me. I’d rather be drop-dead tired than eat myself for an energy boost. Since when is cannabalism in vogue? I am, and will always be, placenta-free.

In simpler times...no boy attached to boob here.

Let’s move on to Mayim Bialik. Remember that cool chick from Blossom who taught us that everyone didn’t have to be Noxema Girl pretty? She was a trendsetter with her big nose she refused to fix and funky, mismatched outfits…the original SJP. But now she’s crazy. Now, she has a three-and-a-half-year-old hanging from her boob for his morning milk. I get the benefits of breast milk, believe me…but I also get the benefits of not being the only boy on the playground sipping on a C-cup. Maybe he’s too attached, Mayim? What does Daddy think of sharing your boob and your bed with your son at this point? He must be a tad annoyed, even in your peace-loving, attachment parenting house, no? Cut the cord, Mayim, cut the cord (and, for the love of God, ditch the placenta, please).

Isn't it even yummier flavored with my saliva, Bear Blu?

And then there’s Alicia Silverstone. I am generally a fan. She rocked Aerosmith videos and gave me permission to say “as if” with attitude. She’s also a vegan (I have been a vegetarian for more than 20 years, but don’t have the discipline to go all the way, so I give her props). Until today, I was Team Alicia. But now, I think her little asymmetrical mouth is freaky, because she uses it to chew up her miso soup and regurgitate it into her son’s mouth. As a way of feeding. Like a mama bird feeding a baby bird. Only we’re human beings, in case you missed the memo, Alicia. We’re people. With knives, forks, and spoons to spare our young from our food that’s supposed to make its way through our very own digestive system. I get that you named your son Bear Blu, so, again, I expect a little bit of a freak show, but not a super freak show. His name is Bear, not bird…at least elevate him to bear status and let the kid eat his own food.

If you’re doubting your Mommy skills, I am here to tell you you’re doing just fine if you’re not eating your placenta, breastfeeding your preschooler, or giving your offspring mouth-to-mouth baby bird-style. You’re doing alright…sleep well tonight, Mommies.

As if this post couldn’t get any weirder, I have a fun fact for you: It’s National Grilled Cheese Day. In honor of this huge holiday, I made Asiago Cheese Bread and served it alongside my minestrone. Yum.

It's as good as it looks.

Asiago Cheese Bread

1 garlic clove, pressed
1 loaf crusty bread, cut in half lengthwise (your choice)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1- 1 1/2 cups finely grated Asiago cheese (depending on the size of the loaf)

Method

Preheat the broiler.

Spread garlic on cut sides of bread; brush evenly with olive oil or butter. Top evenly with cheese (Mommy Dish note: you can add some rosemary, too…it tastes great on this bread). Broil 4 minutes or until cheese melts and bread is lightly browned. Cut into pieces and serve.

Posted in Baby, celebrity, Dishes, Family, Food, Kids, Mommy, Parents, recipes, Sex and The City, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Potty Mouth

I can push my lawnmower walking down the street while watching out for traffic and dealing with your annoying a$$, Mommy. Don't you think I can handle peeing in a potty?

I’ve got poop on the brain. No, not literally (though with Alex’s arm that’s not a stretch)…I am thinking about potty training my son.

And then talking myself out of it.

And then talking myself back into it.

No one told me Mommying would create such a sizzling debate in my head all of the time. I am letting you in on what’s going on to save myself from a mental health consult, okay? I’ve really got an epic case of potty mouth. With myself. That sounds really bad, doesn’t it? Doctor…

Anyway, I don’t want to start too early–most boys aren’t ready until they’re 2 1/2, I am told–but I reconsider every time Alex mentions “pee pee” or “poo poo” or tries to prop himself up on the toilet while reading his cars book (yet another thing that must be in the male genetic code). He’s obsessed with the bathroom. I’ve long given up the notion of peeing in peace. Every time I go in there, he’s pointing at me yelling, “pee pee!” Good thing I don’t have stage fright issues–or I am just constantly nursing a coffee high so I have to go. Whatever. Kid’s really into toilet talk.

I am armed with a potty and a toilet seat, and even have the stickers to reward him (rock star Mommy, that’s me). Which one should I use? Or do I use both? I’ve consulted my Mommy Maven, who suggests skipping the potty altogether in favor of the toilet seat (so I don’t have to double-train and spare myself from the indignity of cleaning out that nasty little potty). She also suggests putting a Cheerio in the toilet so Alex can practice his aim (maybe that’s a trick all men should implement?). Quality advice, as usual.

It's payback time, Elmo.

And then there’s my husband, who’s insistent on training Alex to use his brand new Sesame Street potty (true confession: little passive-aggressive me purposely selected Elmo for my son to pee on because I am still harboring some unresolved feelings about him saying “Elmo” before “Mommy,” but I digress). Scott says potty before toilet seat, and he thinks our little guy is up for the challenge.

So, obviously I need your feedback. Not only am I arguing with myself, I am inciting debate with my loved ones and random people at the supermarket (don’t ask). How old was your child when you started potty training? Which method did you use? How long did it take? You get the idea…help a Mommy out, please.

***I’ll feature a new dish on my next post. Who wants to talk food after toilet talk?***

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Posted in Family, Friends, Kids, Mommy, Uncategorized | 5 Comments