Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
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 diaper...my 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
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.
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
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
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.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
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
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)!
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
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
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.
Friday, November 11, 2011
By Dominique van Heerden, CNN
- 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
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.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
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.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Dr. Andrew Weil Founder and director, The Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine10 Ways to Have a Happier Life
Bear in mind that by "happy," I am not referring to endless bliss. Despite what many in the media proclaim these days, such a state is neither achievable nor desirable. Instead, these practices are designed to help most people reach and maintain a state of contentment and serenity. From there, a person can still experience appropriate emotional highs and lows, but knows that he or she will soon return to a pleasant state that might be termed emotional sea level...
Monday, November 7, 2011
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
Saturday, November 5, 2011
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
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?
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
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!
Secret To A Long, Healthy Life: Bike To The Store
by Nancy Shute
November 2, 2011
What would you say to a cheap, easy way to stay slim, one that would help avoid serious illness and early death? How about if it made your neighbors healthier, too? It could be as simple as biking to the store...
Putting the shopping bags in the bike basket rather than in the car trunk could deliver big health benefits.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
There was one little boy dressed as a vacuum salesman, complete with fake British-accented pitch and all. The poor kid was in the middle of telling me all about his precious vacuums for sale when a huge clan of heathens swarmed my door and pushed vacuum boy out of the way. I felt so bad for him and his cute nerdy ways. He may or may not have gotten to take a whole handful of candy.
Two sisters were dressed as Harold and the purple crayon. Beyond cute. They even gave me a little hand-drawn postcard of thanks to remember them. Ridiculous, no?
Our handsome little devil had a few friends over to watch the revelry and play with Tony's tail. Halloween is always the best and worst day for Tony--why do all those kids who love to pet him have to ring the damn doorbell over and over and over again? The other baby mamas and I drank some wine and marveled at the fact that starting next year we may have to actually go out and trick or treat with the kiddos. Or maybe we can hold off until they are three? At least I got some great costume ideas last night. Thinking Max from "Where The Wild Things Are," but I've got 364 days to decide.