Sunday, December 25, 2011

At the edge

Eatin' ribs at the beach. Sand gives them more flavor and crunch.

Might be nice if mommy thought to bring a blanket.

This morning Mr. Monk enjoyed his first taste of what I expect will be a lifelong love...the Carribean Sea! He face planted in the water easily 15 times and kept coming up for more. Sitting at the shore, as the tide washed in and out, he seemed to be in a state of utter bliss. I had to hold him as tight as possible to prevent him from just crawling/walking right in. Can someone please explain how are toddlers so strong? It's like I'm putting steroids in his milk. As calm as this water may be, I'm thinking he may not be ready for his first open water swim.

Last year, on this same island, I was hit by a rogue wave that knocked me completely on my ass. As I came up sputtering, I was minus one pair of fancy sunglasses. The year before, the same thing happened though that time I came up minus one bikini top, which I thankfully found before my father-in-law could see me. Eek! Still, losing the sunglasses was worse. I'm hoping they found their way to a lovely new owner with good taste.

It was such a relief to see that the little guy likes the water, after he grunted and pelvic thrusted his way through dinner last night. His tantrum included knocking over a glass of water, throwing pasta and an utter refusal to walk anywhere except up and down a set of stairs ten thousand times. After his perfect behavior with my family in Florida (including actually walking for the first time in front of his grandma and great grandma!), we were convinced my husband's family was in for the devil treatment this week. But, he's a beach boy through and through. I'll be finding sand in him for weeks after we leave. Now, if only the ocean could do something about his constipation.

Here's wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Straight baller

So, apparently the trick to flying solo with a little is to go first class....

If only. We got upgraded because of a glitch that had us seated in a row with another baby, which is not allowed on Virgin. My lucky day! The other baby cried the whole flight and never slept. Poor baby and poor mama. I spent most of the flight walking up and down the aisle, so I didn't get to take full advantage of the amenities. But we did manage to fully recline for naptime. Total relaxation at 30,000 feet. Mr. Monk LOVED flying in style. He charmed all the flight attendants and only elicited slight side-eye from our neighbor to the left who drank easily a bottle and a half of white wine on our morning flight. Thankfully, the pilots didn't seem too disturbed by his banging on the cockpit door for a few minutes when I was trying to clean up a little animal cracker slaughter. That kid is like lightning speed these days. I had to grab his hoodie at least five times to prevent him from tearing off back into coach. With the plebes. Oh, man, I miss that flight.

We're now in the land of tan bodies, early bird specials and really awful drivers. Ah, Flahreedah. I've already seen three accidents in two days. Fun times. I also saw a woman jogging this morning with her little toy poodle strapped into a jogging stroller. Weeeeeee. I'm in love. I've been coming to Miami to visit my gramma since I was a kid. She's 96 now, so you do the math. 96?! Seriously, I hope I'm as active as her when I'm 56, let alone forty years later. She is one stubborn, charming, and rather amazing broad. And, spending the past couple of days with her and my wonderful (stubborn, rather amazing) mom makes me realize how alike the three of us are. How fun for my husband, eh?

This is just the beginning of two weeks of family time for the Schneeds. Good thing no one cares about anyone but the baby anymore. I could disappear for a day and Mr. Monk would be the only one to notice. As long as the blondie keeps showing off his belly button, stomping his feet (like an elephant-can you do it?) and eating his grammy's latkes, we're in business.

Happy holidays! We are going to brave the mall tomorrow am. Hope we make it out with all our limbs in tact!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mama can't hang

Earlier this week, in celebration of our one-year anniversary (time, oh time, where are you?), my playgroup mamas and I had ourselves some cocktails. And then about a hundred more cocktails. Seriously, y'all, we killed multiple bottles of champagne and wine. At dinner. We also went to a bar before and after the restaurant. Holy moly, I may talk a big game about my former partying ways, but I've always been a pretty cheap date. Thursday night I drank like I was at a wedding. The old, fancy kind with singles tables and premium liquor. It was so incredibly super fun to celebrate with those ladies. Without the babies.

We spent much of the night laughing hysterically. I was still giggling when I got home (late. LATE) and spent a good twenty minutes in the bathroom deciding if I should cut bangs again. No. Cue spin central. My husband was laughing at me as I moaned about having to wake up with the babes. Mr. Monk took pity on me and slept till 8, which would have been awesome if Tony hadn't thrown up in our room at 5. Nothing like hearing your dog yakking away to make you wonder if you really might throw up from alcohol for the first time in 10 years. *Shudder*

The next morning I looked and felt like a poopy diaper. The post-breastfeeding, real deal, solid foods kind. Thankfully, my son doesn't yet understand "Mommy's hungover." And, hopefully, he never will. Despite the 8-hour recovery period, our wild night was so worth it. I'm just glad no one brought a camera.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Evolution hard at work

Three minutes later and this horsey was dead to him

Ever have to go digging through a diaper pail to find a missing shoe? I don't recommend it, unless the missing shoe happens to be the mate of the only pair that are just tight enough to prevent your child from kicking them off the minute you leave your house. Of course, if you do find yourself diaper digging, be sure to keep your eyes open for missing wood pegs, bath squirters and other assorted objects that have mysteriously disappeared in recent days. And hold your breath!

Yesterday, I managed to find a sock and stacking ring buried in the plant watering can. And, about a minute ago I opened the garbage to find his brand-new (well, used, but new to him) crocs sitting on top. This kid, as my grandma would say, is quite a character. I wonder how much of his stuff I inadvertently throw out on a daily basis. Sometimes I feel like we are playing a game and I misplaced the instruction manual-maybe he flushed it down the toilet before we smartened up and got the strangely complex lock that now has me tinkling my pants a tiny bit every time I'm rushing to the bathroom.

I know one day soon when they are replaced by actual words I will miss his frenetic pointing and grunting, DARE, DARE!! There? Where?? The second I finally figure out one food that he seems to like and stock up on it, he flat out refuses to even taste it anymore. His friend's toys that he wouldn't put down just aren't as cool once they are in the confines of our house. Sometimes the car seat is a haven of security that immediately brings sweet slumber and snorty breathing, and sometimes it is so infuriating, so horrific that even the thought of being strapped in necessitates shrieking, full body thrusts and a stiff pelvis that is impossible to manipulate. Diaper changes have become an all hands on deck situation, as we never know if it'll be a poop smearing kind of a day. One minute I'll look at him and he seems such the big boy, about to ride a bike down the street and away from me; the next he's poking at my belly button and looking at me with his sweet baby smile. The only predictable thing about my child lately is that he is constantly changing.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wash and fold

This week Mr. Monk is scheduled for a swim class, gym class and two library story time hours! My babe is going to be one social butterfly. Speaking of socializing (and potentially inappropriate behavior), he's actually developed this new incredibly adorable habit of lifting up people's shirts to see their tummies and then hugging them. What can I say? He's a sucker for belly buttons. Or maybe he's just checking to see if anyone else is an outie like him. So far most people think it's sweet. Hopefully, he drops this approach by high school.

Our little imp has also had the great fortune of visiting the indoor playground, aka the laundromat, twice this week! Sights. Sounds. Hipsters. The laundromat has it all, folks. We're doing a little (but seemingly endless) construction project on our house and didn't completely think through the whole being-without-a-washer/dryer-for-multiple-months thing. With a toddler who stains outfits before he even puts them on. Somehow I have managed to convince the babe that laundromats are awesome. He likes pushing the metal carts, and maybe taking a spin or two inside them. I'm not sure I've ever used a laundromat before, as most of the places that I've lived in had laundry in the building. In NYC, when there weren't machines in the building, it was far easier and usually cheaper to have my laundry done for me. Picking up those folded bundles was an awesome feeling, even if they ruined all my towels. I always expected them to be fairly depressing, but our local laundromats are clean and cheery. I'm making the rounds. At least our water bill should be sufficiently lower this month, though I may need to see a chiropractor after lugging around three loads of laundry plus a baby.

This evening I took a bath (see aforementioned sore back) and steamrolled through the rest of my book, The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides. One thing I hate about the kindle is not knowing how many pages I have left. Even after three years, I still can't think of books in percentages. The book explores life post-college for three Brown grads involved in a love triangle. At first it seemed both superficial in theme and heavily laden with obscure references, but it had a slow burn (and I let myself gloss over some of the references...shhh). Around 30-40% through (whatever that means), I started to enjoy it and became attached to the characters. Overall, it was worth the read, though I never fell in love with the story as I did with the author's previous book, Middlesex. But still, uninterrupted bath reading time was pretty special!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


This afternoon a good friend and I met up for a movie date. For moms of little ones, is there any more delicious forbidden fruit than the taste of movie theater popcorn and candy? I wish someone had warned me that having a baby would pretty much signal the end of my movie going days. But, now that football = daddy/son bonding time, my Sunday afternoons are wide open. We discussed seeing the absurdly cheesy New Years Eve to finally set us in the holiday mood, but we both knew we'd regret it. After ruling out the Decendants for perhaps being a bit too depressing (though I have read it's a comedy, albeit a dark one), we decided to see Young Adult.

From the previews, I gathered this would be a snarky, funny commentary on the state of perpetual youth as told by a semi-successful, beautiful though pathetic woman, played by the awesome Charlize Theron. Whoa. Neither of us were prepared for how mean, uncomfortable and ultimately refreshing movie this would be. I literally spent the entire time in cringing in horror and vicarious embarrassment, wondering what the childish, narcissistic (depressive, alcoholic, mentally unstable...) protagonist might do next. While there were a few funny moments, it was much more a character study about one woman's spiral downward. Unlike most movies, there was no redemption in the end, no life's lessons learned. Instead there was just brutal honesty that some people suck and continue to suck no matter what they experience life or how many people they hurt. It certainly did not get us into the holiday spirit or lighten our moods, but it made me think and I'll take that over levity any day. I was so disturbed I couldn't even shop!

But, shop I must because I have just realized this week that I need to get a shitton of presents for folks. Mainly, for the people who are kind of enough to watch our precious bebe, drop off our mail, clean our house once in a while and take our dog on 3 hour hikes. Oh and apparently I have to give the woman who delivers the Sunday NYT a gift as evidenced by the self-addressed stamped envelope that has been delivered with the paper for the past three weeks. Presumptuous? Definitely. Effective? Probably.

In other news, it looks like bibs are now officially off the table.

Good times

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I miss the office holiday party


One inadvertent side effect of not working right now is that there is a slight lack of excitement about the upcoming holidays. Without any daily decorations to remind me and vacation days to look forward to, I seem to be missing some holiday spirit. My boys and I are lucky enough to be going somewhere warm in a couple of weeks with some far-flung family members, but we'll be gone for the entire holiday period. Being a good Jewish girl we usually get all loud and proud with our Hannukah menorah and latke eating. Since we'll be traveling this year, we've got nothing. Add that to the 60 degree weather here and it's really hard to remember that it's December.

I keep looking for Christmas trees in people's windows. There really aren't that many-why not?? Man, I love Christmas trees. When I was a kid, I was sooooo jealous of friends that got to have them. I spent twenty minutes the other day watching a tree trimming party that was taking place about a block away from my house. It seemed like a bunch of pre-teens, hanging ornaments, placing the lights just so, drinking hot chocolate and debating the merits of team Edward vs. team Jacob. I was all caught up in my daydream about being 12 again when I noticed someone noticing me staring at the group through the window while my dog waited to continue with our walk. Awkward.

Yesterday a friend asked me what I was getting Mr. Schneed as a gift. I honestly had no idea what she was talking about for a few seconds. We've been on a little gift-giving hiatus for the past couple of Hannukahs, though last year I did present him with a (relatively) brand new baby boy. I'd like to think this was because we both feel so enriched by our daily love for each other that we don't need any additional presents, but really it's because we are lazy. Lazy and indecisive. I try to only buy my husband things (I think) he either needs or wants and always manage to miss the mark slightly. Our garage is like a bodega of failed gifts. At least he can't bring himself to throw them out, though at this point we might as well hold onto the boogie board (he once said he liked to boogie board...I didn't hear the "as a kid" part). As evidenced by the gift certificates that he's bought me for every anniversary, birthday, etc. for the past five years, my husband is clearly scared to pick anything out for me.

Lately I have been hearing so many scary stories that really make me feel grateful to be alive, healthy and loved. Maybe a little generosity for ourselves and others will be just the thing to get us feeling a bit more merry. I'm thinking a food theme would be a safe bet for all the Schneeds this year--for my old man, for his ball and chain, and for our wee one.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Just wondering...

Why is it that when I blow dry my hair it looks nothing like when the professionals do it? Does it really require a special degree? I even shelled out a bunch o money for a good hairdryer and yet it's still big on the sides and erratically wavy in the back. Whatever happened to my hair getting thinner post-baby? I'm pretty sure I'm part lion these days.

When does teething end? We had a three day break in between teething episodes. It was glorious-the child was happy, sweet, cuddly and (relatively) calm. And now we're back to this year's regularly-scheduled programming. How many teeth does one kid need? They are just going to fall out anyway. Can't we just stick with 8?

How did I not think through the fact that taking my son to a swim class meant that I had to be in a bathing suit too? Maybe I need to take my own lesson on getting my sexy back. And, note to self, bathing suits that fit last summer when I was still nursing are a tad stretched out and loose in one particular area. Definitely not my best look.

Who is this woman going out three nights in a row without her husband or her son? Party time! Granted, going "out" in my world means staying out past 9 pm, but still...I feel like a girl of 32 again.

Where can I buy baby patches for my Mr. Monk's pants? He's still not hip to the whole bipedal thing we humans do and his extreme crawling is wearing holes in the knees of all his bottoms. On the plus side, we're thinking of entering him in some crawling races, as his technique and speed are quite impressive.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Out of the mouth of babes...

You thought what?!

I saw this list, 11 Silly Things You Probably Believed As a Kid, on Jezebel today and was so excited to see that maybe I wasn't so crazy after all.

It's comforting to learn that I wasn't the only one who thought that if I couldn't see it, it didn't exist and blankets serve as an impenetratable barrier from monsters. I still sleep with the covers up to my chin to this day. And, I never, ever let a limb escape for fear that it'll be cut off in the middle of the night.

Some other greats that I "used to" believe came to mind while reading this:
  • My aunt's bathroom mirror was a vortex through which I could travel to other countries. If only I could have unlocked the code before she moved!
  • Counting to 8 before opening a door prevented any bad guys from waiting in the room to beat me up. 8 is a magic number that I still invoke in any and all scary situations.
  • I would be a famous talk show host, with five different porsches for each day of work. Still waiting for my big break.
  • Tom Brokaw was my real father and one day he was going to come rescue me. He just seemed so stern but kind.
  • I was the perfect cross between Jo and Blair. In reality, I am so Natalie (minus the famous friends).
  • Pamela was the prettiest name ever. I guess I really got into Baywatch.
  • Magical treasures were buried in our backyard. Turns out they were remnants of a hotel that had burned down years earlier.
  • I was destined to meet my husband on a New York City bus. Nope. But, I did go out with a guy that I met on the subway.
  • California was an amazing place where people rollerskated by the beach all day long and drank pina coladas. Sounds about right.
  • Snakes lived in the sewers and sometimes came up into the toilet bowl. I always check the toilet before peeing, especially since the time in Israel when I was 17 and I opened the lid to find a SNAKE IN THE TOILET!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Dog Days of Denim

Maybe we need to start from a different baseline

So yesterday I went through the joy of shopping for new jeans. I find jean shopping to be second only to bathing suit shopping in the humiliation department. I spent the last week fighting my husband's suggestions to go get "some jeans that fit." Finally, I caved realizing that at least I'd get some new jeans out of the horror show. Although he doesn't seem to care about any other items of clothing, Mr. Schneed is compelled by a greater force to comment on every single pair of dungarees* I own.

It all started a few months ago with some confusion on the part of my body and my wardrobe as to what fits post-baby. While my pre-baby clothing is in theory the same size as before, in reality much of it has been stretched out due to my refusal to wear maternity gear for much of the pregnancy. So...those pre-pregnancy jeans now look both tight and saggy at the same time. Sexy!

Although I've been buying new jeans every few months since having Mr. Monk, I've also been losing weight slowly but steadily. Other than boyfriend jeans, which those of us with hips can't rock without looking like a dock worker, most jeans look better fitted. Therefore, most of my jeans look a little not good.

One of the friends I saw in NYC who has a four month old baby asked me when she's likely to get back to her old body. As I was saying that it takes a (looong) while, she turned to me and wondered aloud if I was at my old self yet. Well, clearly I must not look it! Apparently, everything on the body does not just go back to the way it was before. Even if you're at the same weight or lower, things settle and hang and jiggle differently. Fun times. But, I birthed a baby, and I'll be proud of my body no matter what. (And I'll keep reminding myself of this on the beach next month).

As for the jeans, unfortunately, there is only so much they can do for the shape, length and size of the legs, hips and butt they contain. Too bad there's no store that sells some newer, firmer models.

*My mom cannot call them jeans. Once dungarees, always dungarees.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Is there anything more awesome than a mustachioed man? Can't beat funny philanthropy. Go Mo Bros (and Mo Sistas)!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mommy, look what I've got!

After wedging himself beneath and between his parents' airline seats for five hours, spilling almost a full bottle of whole milk down his shirt, sitting in a pellet poop-filled diaper for most of said plane ride because every time his mama looked down the back of the diaper she didn't see any poop even though she could have sworn that she smelled it and should have just changed the damn baby loved himself some bath time and discovered his new best friend down there. Every few seconds he would check to make sure it was still attached. And so it begins.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Easiest way to make a difference

Help us hit 5 million views by December 13, 2011! When this video reaches 5 million page views, UnitedHealthcare of Pennsylvania will donate $50,000, to the Philadelphia Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure to empower the fight against breast cancer.

Circle of life

I've been feeling alternately so happy and so sad for the past few days that I'm beginning to forget how to function on an even keel. After traveling for a week and a half, running around to a wedding, a baby naming, delicious dinners out and homemade, hospital visits, dropping an air conditioner out of a window, meeting new babies, numerous trips to whole foods, train/plane rides, oh and hosting a Thanksgiving dinner in a teensy NYC apartment, I think the baby is starting to think that one 45 minute nap per day is acceptable. Nope, not even close, buddy.

We are so fortunate to have the time and the mental capacity to tour along the east coast to see our dearest (not so nearest) people. Like clockwork, the day before we leave, I break down in tears and sob to my husband that I hate living across the country and I want to move baaaaaack. This time it happened yesterday, a little earlier than normal. We've been negotiating the return policy for about three and a half years now. Today is the four year anniversary of my move to San Francisco. And yet I love my life there and feel so lucky to be this torn.

I've actually been crying a lot this week.

My sister's friend passed away on Thanksgiving day. This strong, beautiful and courageous woman was only 25 but suffered for the past year from a rare form of cancer, small cell cervical cancer. Although I didn't know her very well, her sister is my sister's best friend so the family has been in our lives for decades. I thought of this brave girl nearly every day for the past few months. Her struggle put so many things into perspective and inspired me in countless ways.

There is something so incredibly disturbing about someone dying so young. When I was in my last year of law school a close friend of mine died. Losing him when he was at his most vibrant and on the precipice of greatness was shocking and raw. I can't stop thinking about the family of this young woman. I hope it is of some comfort to them to know how deep an impact she's had on the world. During her illness she raised awareness for this disease and encouraged others to donate money to fund further research. Her life had meaning beyond just those who knew her personally. She changed this world for the better. I can only hope to have someone say the same of me one day. If you're feeling generous and lucky, please consider even a small donation or just start talking about this awful disease so that more preventative measures are taken and, hopefully, a cure will be found.

I also found out about three new and wonderful pregnancies this week.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

With thanks

The entire house smells like garlic and onion (my mom's stuffing prep work) and I couldn't be happier. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. This year is a bit strange in that we're not spending it with my entire extended family, or thirty to forty of my closest aunts, uncles and second cousins once removed. But, I'll be enjoying some turkey manana with my the immediate family I was born into and the one I've created and that will be ever so special.

Tonight I went out on the town with my man, my bestie (who introduced my husband and I) and her husband. They had a baby three months ago and it was hilarious to see that although they are crazy in love with their gorgeous girl, the four of us can still kill a pitcher of sangria in under 10 minutes. Granted, we were far too pleased with ourselves to be out past 11 pm, but some debauchery and many laughs were definitely had. Check out this resto next time you're looking to spice up your NYC eve.

For those of you with kiddos in or around the NYC area, head to the newly relocated Children's Museum of Art. It moved to a big, beautiful, bold space and is pretty damn awesome. Even though Mr. Monk was a bit smallish and shortish to enjoy all the art opportunities-and was nearly thrashed in the ball pit-he still did have himself a good time. I think children two and up would LOVE the opportunity to get down and dirty with the paints, crafts, clay and other assorted creative goodies.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Definitely wearing sunscreen

I'm just going to go ahead and say that I fear I've gone too soft to live in the NYC anymore. At least with a toddler tearing ass all over town. Yesterday we went to a local playground and after he spent ten minutes crawling through puddles, over rocks and in dirt mounds, he started to lick his hands. I'm not usually a germaphobe (the five second rule has elapsed into a 50 second rule in our world), but even I freaked about that. At least he managed to keep his hands and his tongue to himself as we rode the subway.

After visiting with three couple friends of ours with kids in the past two days and spending this morning immersed in this awesome manic mecca, I am starting to get how much confidence (craziness?) it takes to raise a baby in a city as dense and intense as New York. Some of our friends live in one bedrooms and have completely given over the bedroom to the baby for the sake of wakeless nights. Their clutter was making me anxious and overwhelmingly appreciative of our washer/dryer.

Then again, the constant frenetic pace does have its benefits. Since I haven't touched any of the work out gear that I laughingly toted along, it's fun in a masochistic way to test my She-Ra power lugging the baby, plus stroller, plus (slightly less gigantic than in previous infant stages but still relatively large) bag of crap up the multiple flights of stairs that exist in every single building. Why is nothing ever on one level in this city and how did I never notice that before? Being here makes me realize once again that San Francisco, particularly the little corner of the 7x7 that we occupy, is hardly a city at all.

Despite all the difficulties, I can't help but think how cool it would be to grow up right on these crowded blocks. These kids are exposed to so much just walking out the front door. Art, music, speech and all other forms of creative expression are in your face here-you practically have to go out of your way to avoid them. Literally, I have been crossing streets to avoid the big crowds around street performers and various occupiers. Speaking of kids + art, tomorrow I think I may take Mr. Monk here. Why not let him explore his inner Picasso, especially when someone else is on clean up duty. Or maybe the mister and I will leave the babe with his grammy and go have ourselves some museum fun.

The ground, pre washing by Mr. Monk's tongue

He's got places to be and people to see...


Clearly the most awesome toy in the whole museum was mommy's purse

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lady in red

If only this lasted longer than a few minutes

Hmm, so that's what it feels like to not open a computer for three days. Not bad. Not bad at all. Though I did start to think that I was neglected my blog. Funny how it comes with a real sense of duty. I need something to keep me on schedule these days.

As for all my plane apprehensions, turns out they were somewhat well founded. He wasn't a total freak show, but I definitely did not believe the old man who sat behind me who tried to tell me that "the baby was a great flier!" There was some serious crank at the beginning of the flight, which was right when Mr. Monk should have been napping. Once he finally napped, he was relatively calm with a few exaggerated shrieks every twenty minutes or so. My husband and I looked like we'd been through a war at the end, between all the passing back and forth, the hurried diaper changes, and the climbing under the seats to retrieve cast off food, toys, bottles, cups, etc. Luckily, the shorter flight today to NYC was far, far easier. And shorter.

Turns out weddings are really quite a riot when you can drink and drink again. I forgot how much I love champagne. The band at my friend's wedding was badass (Isaac Hayes' daughter was the bandleader--Shut your mouth!) and we tore it up. At least I'd like to think I did. Seeing myself dancing on video is one of my more horrifying experiences.

About five minutes into my let loose wedding weekend, I lost my driver's license. I had already typed in "how does one fly when license is lost" into the google when someone turned it in to reception. Can you believe someone gave me a baby?

In other big news, I finally bought a red lipstick. Big time, people. I went and got my makeup done pre wedding at the mall across the street from the hotel (we asked the concierge what we could do to entertain our baby within walking distance and she said the mall had a great Santa-the makeup gal told me he rakes in half a million per year. Who wouldn't be fat and jolly for that?) Anyway, I opted for NARS Cruella (huh, never noticed the name before). I practically had to scrub it off at the end of the night. It's the gift that keeps giving. I kind of love it and want to wear it everyday but I know I'll lose the fever if I do. Decisions, decisions.

Check out the glamour shot that I made my husband take of me at the end of the night (after we came in and woke the babysitter who was sleeping on our hotel bed). The secret deodorant and my chicken dance pose are especially glamorous, I know. But, really, I wanted to capture the steely power of the lipstick that had not been applied since before the "I do's."

I hope you're all well and happy this week of thanks. I'm in my favorite place with my favorite people so I'm already feeling pretty grateful.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ready for greatness

Tomorrow we leave for an almost two week trip to the east coast. Atlanta-New York-Maryland to see some friends get married, visit some newly hatched babes, reunite with beloved family members and GO OUT IN NYC WITHOUT HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT NURSING. Hip, hip hooray for built-in family babysitters. As much as I enjoy living in San Francisco, the thought of being nearer to family and close friends is a delightful one. I miss my people.

My husband and I each chose to get Mexican for our respective lunches today because we knew we'd crave it while away. This is love, people.

While playing in the playground sandbox yesterday, Mr. Monk was digging away at the world's problems with his shovel and uncovered a treasure trove of cat poop. Apparently, my son's personal nirvana is just one giant kitty litter after dark. I scooped out what I could, got my baby the hell out of there and alerted all the other nannies/moms about the contamination. Most agreed that it was pretty gross, shrugged, and went back to gossiping while their kids continue to pour the sand down their pants, in their mouths, and in each others hair.

Speaking of hair, today was the first time I had my hair professionally colored in almost two years. Holy moly, so that's what it should look like. The greys were staging a mutiny. And now they are dead. For 6-8 weeks.

So...flying across country with a 13 month old that can't seem to sit still/be held/keep quiet for more than 45 seconds? Thinking this might be the trip that we order drinks for all our seat neighbors.

Many, many thanks to Irene from I'm a Silly Mami and Roxanne from Not Winning Mom of the Year for my Liebster Awards. Just knowing that my musings and rantings amused you both is reward enough. But, feel free to send chocolates too. Seriously, the blog community is so supportive and welcoming that it's almost therapeutic to be a part of it. And it's free! One of these days I'll get around to posting some of my faves too--procrastination is my strong suit (as evidenced by the fact that it's almost 11 and I haven't even packed)!

Who needs a playground filled with cat poop when you have a laundromat with its own coffee shop?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

'Tis better to have loved...

This morning at the dog park, I was chatting with a woman who had the most amazing Southern drawl. You don't hear that too often 'round these parts. Her sweet pup was a 12 year old Golden named Hugh (don't you just love inappropriate pet names?). As we were talking about the dog's health and well being at his advanced age, she started to well up and nearly broke down into a full on cry. I too got emotional sharing about how worried I am for Mr. Monk to grow up with Tony only to lose him right around when he hits puberty. I remember when my first childhood dog, Erica, died and my dad buried her in our yard, with a big stone on top so we'd always know where to find her.

Seeing how much joy the dog brings to him each and every day is amazing. The second Tony bounds into the room, Mr. Monk lights up and laughs. He gives him an awesome full body belly flop hug that he now uses as a way to greet every other dog he sees. Having a dog around teaches him so much about responsibility, family and what to do with food he no longer wishes to swallow. Their relationship is only going to deepen and grow and it is one of my favorite things to imagine about the baby's life.

In some ways it's comforting to know that he will learn about death at a young age. That might make it a little easier to process when being confronted with it again over the course of his long (exceptionally long, my grandma is 96 and kicking!) time here. As painful as it is, death is just about the only sure thing in life. Who am I kidding? It's going to be awful. We better have at least another good 10 years, Tony!

I can't shake this sense of loss. I had a very sad phone conversation earlier tonight. A good family friend is fighting a tragic battle with cancer. This poor girl is only 25 and has been suffering in pain for much of the last year. My heart aches for her and her family. I sort of just want to climb to the edge of a mountain and wail at the unfairness of it all. How can one even comprehend her own mortality at that age? She should be just starting her life of adventure. There is no sense to be made of this other than to be grateful for all that we have and all that we are. And all those doctor's appointments I've been neglecting to make? Scheduled.

Hug your loved ones a little tighter, stare at the stars a little longer and consider yourself a little luckier.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Off and running

Last night we had a mini dinner party with 2 other couples and their four boys (five boys age 5 and under-check, please!). Mr. Monk loved being with the big boys. So much so that today he took his first step! Our little baby is becoming a man. Soon we'll need a lasso. Though, really, could he possibly get any faster than he is now? His crawl is like lightning. Blink and he's across the room and out the doggie door. He's less of a baby each and every day. Where is Evie Garland and her magic fingers when I need her?

While walking Tony when we got home after our testosterone-fueled dinner, he took off running and dragged me behind him up to the middle of a steep hill, in between two street lights. In the pitch black darkness, I turned around to give him privacy to do his business. I was minding some business of my own, texting and whatnot, when I started to notice some little bits of brown running toward me. The dog's poop had broken apart into about eight pieces and started rolling down the hill. Tootsie rolls of shit were flying everywhere. As it was the neighborly thing to do (and I was afraid of ruining my new boots on the walk home), I ran around with my little iphone flashlight trying to pick them all up. The fun never, ever ends.

Today we went to the last of our playgroup baby birthday parties. This one was a goodie--no less than three different kinds of baked goods and lots of candy. I kept throwing the wrappers away after every bite so I couldn't keep track of what I ate. And then I remembered that the dress I was planning to wear to a wedding this weekend barely fit me pre-pregnancy and I haven't tried it on since. What's another white chocolate covered oreo going to hurt? I'm finding the worst part of weaning to be the fact that I now have to actually exercise to burn calories. The fueling another life from your body and being able to eat whatever the hell you want, whenever the hell you want? Magic. Maybe there is something to extended breastfeeding after all. Or maybe I should just drag my ass back to spinning.

Why yes, I'd love another piece of cookie...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ellie love!

Dramatic rescue of mother and baby elephant

By Dominique van Heerden, CNN
updated 4:20 PM EST, Thu November 10, 2011
A mother and baby elephant were found distressed and dehydrated, sinking in deep mud at a safari park in Zambia. A mother and baby elephant were found distressed and dehydrated, sinking in deep mud at a safari park in Zambia.

Sinking elephants pulled from mud
  • Mother and baby elephant stuck in mud at game lodge in Zambia
  • Local conservationists rescued elephants using rope and a tractor
  • Elephants were at risk of dehydration and exhaustion

(CNN) -- Most conservationists would agree that you should not interfere with mother nature. But there are exceptions to every rule...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Down the rabbit hole

Follow me...

Yesterday at music class I learned that the 18 month old twins in our class are fully potty trained. Like wearing no diapers potty trained. Whoa. I didn't know that was possible. Somehow I doubt we will be freaking other moms out with our peeing/pooping prowess in 6 months. Half the time I can hardly remember to change the baby's diaper. He's peed through 2 pairs of pants this week. And I'm the one who's supposed to teach him how to navigate through the maze of life?

Now that he's starting to understand (a bit) more, I'm realizing that I need to curb some of my less desirable behaviors. I am a modelizer after all. No more fucking cursing every third word. No more yelling in order to get my husband to give me what I want. No more feeding Tony from the table. Definitely no more going completely limp and then violently thrusting my pelvis when my mommy tries to put me in my carseat.

An old friend and her 3 year old son came over the other day. We were gabbing and gossiping like in our pre mom jeans days. I believe the subjects of divorce, sex, sleep, Thomas the Train and Ryan Gosling were covered in equal measure. The boys were playing nicely and rather quietly so as to let their mamas get their coffee talk on. All of the sudden I came to the creepy realization that toddlers shouldn't be quiet and what the hell were they up to? I ran through the house screaming and found both of them outside, halfway up the slate stairs, staring down a piece of dog poop. We were probably three seconds from a world of pain. Who's winning mom of the year? I let a 3 year old babysit my 1 year old. Awesome.

There is a boy in our playgroup who loves to give out hugs. Just doles 'em on out to babies and mamas alike. As the mother to a lovely little maniac who will only allow the briefest of snuggles, and these only when he's sick and/or scared, I'll take it. You'd think Mr. Monk would get jealous when he sees his mom getting some loving from another shortie dude, but he seems so relieved--finally, now she'll leave me to my climbing.

Biker dude

He's pretty unsure what to make of this contraption, but he did laugh more than he cried. Score. Visions of big wheels, tricycles and bmx's are racing through my head.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Parenthood, like life but prettier

Do other folks watch Parenthood? It's one of my favorite hours of television these days.* I don't think I can make it through an episode without crying. And neither can my husband. While not entirely realistic (the youngest daughter, a successful lawyer, is planning to adopt the child of the pregnant coffee cart girl working in her office-what the what??), there are some moments of sincere poignancy. This week's episode featured the truest depiction of postpartum womanhood I've ever seen, complete with leaking, humongous breasts, fear of sex and emotional free falls. The show also takes place in the Bay Area so I'm hoping I can be cast as an extra one day. We did see Craig T. Nelson golfing in Kauai a few months back-maybe he can hook me up.

Of course, like most shows that I fall in love with too late, (My So Called Life, Dead Like Me, Freaks and Geeks, Party Down), it'll probably be canceled before the next season. Enjoy it while you can, people.

*Sadly, that's not saying much. I used to LOVE television. What the hell happened? We have hundreds of channels and there is often not a single thing I want to watch. I have officially turned into my mother.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Frittatas for everyone!

So this weekend I hosted some friends over for brunch and decided about 15 minutes before they arrived to make a frittata. Every time I even attempt an omelet it devolves into a scramble, so I decided to be a little creative. Good thing it only took about 18 minutes to prep and execute (speaking of prepping and executing, Top Chef started again last week. Holla!). How have I never discovered the beauty, the joy, the sheer laziness of frittatas before? Say it again with me, frit-ta-ta. Doesn't it just sound fun?

I kid you not, these are all the steps I followed to make it:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Heat olive oil in cast iron pan
  • Saute chopped clove of garlic in olive oiled pan for a minute or two
  • Add spinach, halved cherry tomatoes (or whatever other vegetables you need to eat before they rot) to garlic and saute until tender
  • Add in eggs (I used 6 for 3-4 people) whipped with a shot of milk, salt and pepper
  • Spread a fairly sizable amount of crumbled feta cheese and chopped basil on top
  • Cook for about 3-5 minutes until sides of frittata set
  • Bake pan in oven for 10-14 minutes until it looks fluffy and pretty
  • Let frittata set and cool
  • *Do not touch pan handle as it will be exceptionally hot after baking in the oven, even though pan handles are normally not hot when used on the stove. This is a confusing point, I know. I learned the hard way.*
  • Slide off onto a fancy platter for serving (the pan should be well coated from the olive oil)
  • Smile graciously as all your guests swoon over the frittata
I was too busy caring for my seared flesh to get a picture of my final product, but here are a few from across the webs.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hey girl

OK, why has no one told me to see "Crazy.Stupid.Love?" The Mister and I just rented it and I gotta say that I'm a little sad it's over. I liked living in that world for a couple of hours. While not the most amazing movie, it was thoroughly entertaining and engaging. There were a few clever twists and far better acting performances than I've seen in any other recent romantic comedies. When did this genre go completely off the deep end? Witty, sweet and more than a little cheesy? Good. Idiotic, boring, and more than a little mean? Bad. Now I want to go watch "When Harry Met Sally" and "Bridget Jones' Diary."

Anyhoo, trumping all other factors entirely as to why you should see this film is the fact that Ryan Gosling HAS HIS SHIRT OFF for like half the movie. Holy hotness. And, he gets to be funny and not just his usual brooding and depressing fare. I mean...yep, sometimes it's nice to have a crush. Although I may have an even bigger crush on Emma Stone-damn red hair envy.

Have a look-see at this absurd and awesome RG blog.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Say cheese!

Twice in the last two weeks I have been tasked with creating the perfect cheese plate. One was for my baby's first birthday party--you know what cheese snobs those babies can be! The other served as a quick and easy appetizer for my book club.

I am pretty sure I could survive without most things in life, but cheese is one of my basic needs. Give me some Gruyere and some water and I'm good to go. For a seriously long time I wanted to go to Norway solely because it was the birthplace of Jarlsberg. Oh Jarlsberg, how I used to love you before I discovered the hard stuff. Farmer cheese was the only thing I craved while pregnant.

As much as I love it and try to learn more about the various kinds, I have a mental block preventing me from remembering the names of all the fabulous cheeses I taste. Perhaps there's an app for that? Because I can only remember a few names of the ones I know I like, I'm always a bit scared to be too adventurous with my purchases. They are also lately each closer to $10 than $5 for a sliver and I'd rather get a sure thing for the big bucks. I came across this today and I couldn't be more excited! Now I know how to experiment and liven up my offerings.

I'm also thinking about taking a ride up to Pt. Reyes for the Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Tour. What's an hour and a half drive in exchange for free cheese?

Read this and thank me later

How cool is Mindy Kaling? I used to read her old blog, Things I Bought That I Loved, in the yesteryears of the mid 00s. Back in my non-profit lawyer days, I was so jealous of her Hollywood budget. Girl is damn funny and I definitely bought a few things per her hilarious suggestions. Her book, "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)" came out a few days ago and I'm already 68% through it (ever since I got a kindle, I no longer think in page numbers). I haven't laughed this much while reading a book since the first time I read "Me Talk Pretty One Day" (David Sedaris, I heart you big).

Seriously folks, if you're looking for a good time, read this book. Even though she's famous and a successful tv writer and actress, it's so easy to relate to her merciless stories about camp horrors and jobless struggles post-college in New York. You feel like you're chatting with her over coffee and cookies as opposed to lying in your bed laughing so hard that your husband gets irrationally angry at you for having such a good time without him. I now want to move to LA and stalk Mindy. We'd totally be besties, assuming she's into a whiny mom and her even more whiny baby.

Check out the recently revived shopping tips section on her website.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em

I think it's time. Truthfully, I can't even believe it's still happening. I'm pretty sure he doesn't even want to anymore. Both of us have been crying about it. The dog days of nursing are over.

Yesterday, for the first time, the boy up and bit me hard as he could. It was as though he was trying to tell me, ENOUGH ALREADY; I'm over you. After hearing so many stories about the anguish, physical and mental, of weaning a baby who can't quit the boob, I know I'm so lucky. And yet, there is no relief. No excitement. Only sads. What the hell? Where is the woman who couldn't wait to get her body back? Maybe I can't function without my oxytocin fix. Do people become addicted to breastfeeding? I need a new vice (and a new excuse to eat as much dessert as I want).

I think tomorrow might be the first day when cow's milk is the only milk on the menu. I have been feeling some guilt about weaning right before cold/flu season, but that can last through March. I know I can't. My fluctuating hormones combined with Mr. Monk's four incoming teeth from hell have made this one awesome week in the Schneed household. No wonder the Mr. decided to catch the flu. Fun times.

So, now I get to go bra shopping, right? At least the empty inside comes with a pretty, lacy outside.

And, I'm pretty sure the babe will be able to find himself a new source of nourishment...Mexican!