Category Archives: Me

Exhaustion, Thy Name is Heather

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There were a string of summers about 10 or so years ago where we had a wedding to attend every single weekend.  It wasn’t unheard of to have 8 or 9 weddings a summer- it was fun, crazy and expensive. Now that 95% of our friends are married, those summers are a thing of the past and we only have 1-3 weddings a year. This year we had 3 weddings to go to and, as luck would have it, 2 out of the 3 were this weekend. We had one wedding Friday night 2.5 hours northwest of here and 1 wedding an hour south of us on Saturday.  So, thanks to my mother-in-law and her extraordinary babysitting skill, the Hubs and I were able to party like it was 2002 for 2 days.  Some random thoughts:

1) We are too old and tired to party like it’s 2002 for 2 nights. 1 night, yes. 2 nights, no. We all showered today, but no one got out of their PJs all day.
2) Weddings make me cry- even weddings where I don’t know the bride or groom well like the beautiful wedding we attended Friday night.
3) I love, love, love getting dressed up but I hate wearing heels.  I whimpered when I had to put back on my (gorgeous) heels on Saturday.
4) A day spent with some of my oldest friends is time wonderfully well spent.  It boggles my mind that I have know such wonderful women since I was in 3rd grade.
5) Having friends who date/marry equally great guys makes going to wedding so much more fun since I don’t have to twist the Hubs arms.  He has just as much fun as I do!
6) Some people should not make speeches at weddings. Period.
7) Always eat before you go to a wedding reception- because you may not get fed dinner until hours after the reception starts (see #6 above)

T-minus 29 days until wedding #3 of 2012. I’m going to sleep straight through until then. *yawn*

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Run- Cops!

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Saturday night we got a sitter and went to friends for an adults-only bonfire. There were six of us outside- eating, drink and laughing probably louder then we should have at 10 at night. We were having a great time- not really worrying too much about bothering anyone because it was chilly out and most people had their windows closed.  About 5 minutes after we moved our party outside,we noticed a light bobbing its way towards us. We had no idea what it was- car backing into a drive way? Someone walking their dog? We didn’t pay it too much attention until we heard, “Excuse me folks, I’m Trooper Smith” and saw a State Trooper standing at the edge of the fire.

Afterwards we talked, and we realized that all our first reactions were to run.  Run like we were in high school, getting busted at an underage drinking party- just scatter because he can’t bust us all, right?! There is one of him and 6 of us- 5 of us were going to make it.  Never mind that we ranged in ages 33 through 36 and the Hubs is a cop- we all had to fight the urge to take off like bats out of hell.

Obviously we didn’t run and the trooper wasn’t there about us- he was checking on a neighbor who was in a car accident earlier in the day.  But we all had a long laugh after he left- I guess some instincts are just ingrained no matter how old you are.  That lead to a conversation about how old we feel. Like, when I think about myself, I don’t picture myself as 34- I picture who I was at 17.  Sometimes it still blows my mind that no one has taken our kids away because the Hubs and I aren’t old/mature enough to raise children.

The next day when we looked at the calendar, the Hubs noticed that we just passed our 10 year anniversary of moving back to NY from the DC area. The 17 year old in me was shocked at this- simply shocked. The 34 year old in me was too busy recovering from the bottle of wine and late bedtime from the night before to care.

Feed me, Seymour!

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Last week our gas grill ran out of propane and it took us 3 day to replace the tank.  Do you know what a calamity that was? My whole evening routine was completely off because for the first time in roughly 3 months, I had to cook.  Cook!! As soon as the weather is warm enough (and even sometimes before then), we grill. Chicken, burgers, steaks, veggies, heck we’ve even tried grilling fruit!  Our house is usually too hot in the summer to cook using the oven, so the grill is our mainstay and when it was gone I was thrown for a loop.

Once we got the tank replaced, life was back to normal and meals were good again. I had my footing and all was well- until the Hubs made an off hand remark about how we won’t be able to grill for much longer once the cold weather moves in.

*gasp*

People, I about had a panic attack.  You see, I don’t really like to cook. I do cook at least 5 days a week because we’re not wealthy enough to 1) hire a chef or 2) eat out all the time but clearly my brain needs a jump start when it comes to cooking inside again.  After going over a schedule of the the kid’s extra curricular actives, it became even more apparent I have to get my act together soon because 3 nights out of the 5 week nights, we won’t be getting home until 6ish.

So this is where you come in. I’m looking for recipes that are either 1) quick or 2) meant for the crock pot. While healthy recipes are the gold standard, I’m not necessarily only looking for healthy ones as I don’t mind cooking up one meal a week drenched in butter. I’m looking for something my kids will want to eat and that I can’t really screw up.  So if you have any that meet that criteria, please feel free to share!

In the interest of fairness here are some of my family favorites. The Riggies recipe isn’t really quick and certainly isn’t  healthy (heavy cream, anyone?!), but it is really good and it freezes well!

Beef with Beer (Crockpot)
> get a Beef Round Bottom Round Roast in the size you need
> 2 beef bullion cubes OR 1 packet of dry onion soup mix
> Beer (any kind will do- the alcohol will burn off)

You can cook this in the crock pot, stove top or oven.  Just put the beef in the pot you’re cooking it in and cover 3/4th of the way with beer and add in in the bullion cubes or soup mix.  Cook until you can easily shred the meat.  Serve on a roll as a sandwich.  It’s great when cooking for a lot of people!  I make it in the crock pot- but it does take all day to cook, so give yourself time.

Chicken Riggies.
(these are spicy. I’d recommend this for a Sunday dinner as they do take some time to make, but they are great to make and eat a few days later. Also, the sauce freezes very well)
1 lb of pasta
~1.5 lbs of chicken tenders
1 stick of butter
garlic, basil, oregano
1 12 oz jar of sliced pepperocinis
2 12 oz jars of marinated peppers (look for “pepper salad” by Cora in the pasta/sauce aisle)***
1 can of medium pitted olives (optional — you can also add mushrooms or onions)
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup grated parm
1 1/4 cup marinara/spaghetti sauce (any kind will do as long as it does not have meat in it)

  • boil the pasta, drain, set aside
  • boil the chicken until thoroughly cooked, drain, and shred or cube
  • in a large pot, melt the stick of butter.
  • add chicken. add a few dashes of garlic, basil, & oregano. saute & stir for just a few minutes.
  • drain ~1/2* of the liquid from the jar of pepperocinis. add remaining contents to pot.
  • add peppers to pot. do not drain.
  • drain liquid from olives. add to the pot.
  • saute & stir for a few minutes
  • add parm, heavy cream, & spaghetti sauce
  • stir well, until the sauce is a light pink color.
  • add pasta, stir, serve & enjoy

*** I didn’t read the recipe correctly and only used one 12 oz jar of this and the riggies were plenty spicy enough!

Parmesan Ranch Chicken
2 lbs boneless chicken breasts or tenderloins**
1 package dry ranch dressing
1 C Parmesan cheese
1/2 C crushed corn flakes or bread crumbs
1/2 C butter, melted***

Preheat oven to 400
In medium-sized bowl, mix together ranch dressing, Parmesan cheese and corn flakes/bread crumbs.
Dip chicken in melted butter, then in the mixture from above.
Place in greased pan, drizzle left over butter over top and add in left over coating mixture as desired
bake for 40-50 minutes (or until chicken is done.)

** I used chicken cutlets or tenders so this cooks in under 20 minutes.
*** To make this some what better for you, I’ve dipped my chicken in egg whites. While I’d much rather use the butter, it still tastes just fine that way!

 

Looking My Age

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I swear I had a coherent post in mind last night full of funny things my kids did and said. Like how Scorch learned the word “nuts” in relation to his private area and every.freaking.time he says it after I yell at him, I have to walk away so I can giggle like I’m 10.  Or how when the Bean plays pretend, she’s never a princess or fairy- she’s now a Power Ranger or Princess Leia- something that I think is just a little bit awesome. I don’t know how to deal with girlie girls- they scare me- so I’m happy to see her trying to kick butt instead of waiting for her prince to get her.

But…then last night happened. My girlfriends took me out to celebrate my birthday last night- which was awesome. But it also involved one drink too many (that would be a total of two drinks for those keeping track at home)- which made me a very happy camper who desperately needed her bed last night.  But, instead of my bed, I got to bond with my dog at 12 am, 2 am and 5 am during some thunderstorms (don’t worry- the Hubs pulled his shifts too).  The upside was getting to watch True Blood and Falling Skies, the down side is the zombie like appearance I am sporting today.

Thank goodness for the bounce house we rented for the Bean’s big birthday party celebration this past weekend.  That sucker was worth every penny we paid for the hours of entertainment it brought the kids while I cat napped in the sun.

Home Invasion

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I may  have done the dumbest thing I’ve ever done today.

After Scorch’s baseball game today, we had plans to go to a friend’s parents house to go swimming.  The Hubs had to work, so it sounded like a perfect way to kill a lovely afternoon. When confirming the plans with my friend, she asked me if I knew where her parents house was. I told her I knew the street name and that it was the 1st or 2nd house on the right. She told me that we’d see her husband’s truck in the drive way along with her parents metallic van.  She said the garage would be open and to come on in if she didn’t answer when we knocked- she would be getting two kids ready for the pool so she may have her hands full.

Can you tell where this is going?

I turn onto her parent’s road and the first house on the right has a pick up truck the same color as her husbands in the driveway and a silver mini-van sitting in the open garage. Perfect- I got the house. I pull in, unload the kids and all our gear and head in through the garage. We knock, wait a minute, knock again and go in. We don’t see or hear anyone after yelling “hello” a few times, so we go to the back of the house thinking they are already in the pool.  Just as we’re looking out the back door, we hear an elderly man yell “hello” up the stairs.  So Scorch goes over to the stairs and yells down hi – but I got panicky because there isn’t supposed to be an elderly man at this home.  Just then, up the stairs comes a couple I’ve never seen before.

We are in the wrong house.

I apologize profusely (all while waiting for the earth to swallow me whole) while, thankfully, the owners of the house laugh and laugh over my idiocy. They could not have been any more gracious as I got my kids out of there as quickly as possible.

When we get outside we see our friends in front of the proper house looking equal parts shocked and hysterical over what I did. In my defense, the neighbors and my friends have nearly identical pickup trucks in the same rather odd color and they and my friends parents have the same van- one gold and one silver.  That said, I don’t care how long I have to wait any more, I’m never, ever letting myself in anyone’s house again until they come to the door.

Ever.

Home Again

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After a whirlwind trip down to VA, I’m home again! It’s always fun for me to travel for work, especially now that I’m working with folks that I haven’t met before.  I love seeing if my mental picture lines up with what people look like in person. On this particular case, I was only close with one out of the five people I met. Clearly I’m losing my edge.

From the plane on the way home…

I got home yesterday around 9:30, so it was perfect timing. The kids were sound asleep, but I still had enough time to before I had to hit the sack to catch up with the Hubs.  The Hubs did a wonderful job while I was gone, but I have to admit to being more then a little pleased when he copped to how frazzled he was yesterday morning.  It’s not easy trying to get yourself and two little people out the door in the morning between breakfast and getting dressed and teeth and vitamins and making lunches. Throw in a dog who needs two different kinds of medicine, to be fed and to be let out twice and it’s easy to go from frazzled to crazy in no time.  After he was done telling me about his morning, I told him how nice it was to sleep 9 hours straight and to shower in peace and quiet for as long as I wanted.  He didn’t find it as funny as I did.

Flying into some cloud cover over Philly.

But now that I’m back, the real craziness begins. On top of my page long to-do list from my meeting, we’re gearing up for a weekend full of birthday parties for Scorch.  Saturday we’re hosting 25 family members at our house and on Sunday we’re heading to a party location so Scorch can celebrate with 32 of his closest buddies. It’ll be a mad house- so say a prayer for us!

On The Road

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When anyone in our family has a crazy schedule, 9 time out of 10, it’s the Hubs. Early mornings, late nights and the occasional business trips- that life is his domain. I’m the steady parent at home- always there to get the kids  to school, always there to pick them up.

But not today.

My view at 10 am this morning…

 

This morning I got up at my normal time, but instead of going for a run, I got suited up.  Dress pants, a blouse, heels and a full face of make up before I headed to the airport. 4 hours and 1 lay over later, I arrived at an the office. I got to spend the afternoon and evening with adults, talking about grown up things and feeling ridiculously productive.  Then I got to go out to dinner with my boss at a place with cloth napkins- and I didn’t need to wipe anyone’s face once.

After dinner my boss had to take off, so I spend a lovely evening walking around an outdoor shopping center going into places I never go with the kids. Then I got dessert and didn’t have to share a single bit. Best of all, I get to do it all over again tomorrow before heading home tomorrow night.

I love my family like crazy and I can’t wait to see them tomorrow- but it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy every stinking minute of this time away!

Happy Mother’s Day

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There is so much in my life to be thankful for- including all the incredible mother’s in my life.

I could not have hand picked a better Mom. As a kid she kept me on the straight and narrow, expected great things out of me and didn’t allow me to settle for less, and she loved me like crazy. As an adult, she’s the one I talk to daily, call for advice on everything from cooking to kids and is the one I can always count on.  There are not enough ways to say thank you for all the things she’s done for me and my family.

 

One of the best parts about my childhood was that all my extended family lived within an hour of us and we got together a lot. Vacations, parties, BBQs- not a month would go by without some family function or another.  And, thankfully, in my family it doesn’t matter whose kid you are, if you’re acting up, you’re going to be called out on it.  So I owe a huge thank you to my aunts, grandmother and great-grandmother for being the village that helped raise me. I’m the better person for it!

When I met the Hubs, I knew within a month that he was The One. What  I didn’t know what whether or not his family would like me or I them as it took a good 2 months of dating before I met them.  I still remember the nerves I felt on the drive over to his house.  Turns out I was worried for nothing. I married into a family of amazing mothers, step-mothers and grandmothers.  Marrying into a family can be a tricky thing, but they have never shown me anything but kindness, respect and love and I can’t imagine life without them.

I have never lacked for strong female role models in my life, and I’m so happy to see history repeating itself for my kids with my sister, in-laws, extended family and friends.  A very happy Mother’s Day to you all!!

One more thing…

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Last night I didn’t set out to write a “Don’t Ignore” post for National Infertility Awareness week.  I had planned on jotting down a few sentences and linking over to one of my all time favorite posts that talked a bit about our journey to having kids and calling it a day.

But the words just kept coming.  I surprised myself- as crazy as it sounds, I didn’t know I still harbored all those feeling. The anger and insecurity and fear and sadness.  9 years and two kids later, you think I’d be over that. I guess not.

So today I will leave you with that post I meant to share yesterday. Tomorrow, I’ll be back to kid’s antics and potty humor.

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This was written on Sept 23, 2010.

It was 5 years ago this week I found out I was pregnant with Scorch.

We started out trying to build our family feeling excited and nervous and oh so very confident that a pregnancy would just happen. We’re married and in love and have always gotten what we wanted by working hard and following the rules and that is whats supposed to happen. Only sometimes, it doesn’t.

6 months into trying, my very awesome doctor ran some tests on the Hubs and I. He was fine- all systems go. I had PCOS- I didn’t ovulate on my own which is must have when trying to get pregnant.

Enter the fertility drugs. One to manage the PCOS. One to stimulate egg growth. One to force me to ovulate. It took three cycles on Clomid- three months of hot flashes, mood swings and pure nerves to finally get pregnant a year and 3 months after we started trying.  You have never, ever met two more excited people! We were bursting with the news and picked out a gazillion different ways to tell our families each one more fun and creative then the next.

We told everyone right away never thinking things could go wrong. We’re married and in love and have always gotten what we wanted by working hard and following the rules and bad things aren’t supposed to happen. Only sometimes, they do.

After our 2nd miscarriage, we pulled out the big guns. We saw a specialist and got tested to see why we were experiencing repeat pregnancy loss. Again, the Hubs was perfect. I, on the other hand, have a blood clotting issue as well as a problem with my anti-bodies which made carrying a pregnancy to term next to impossible without some serious medical intervention.

Our 3rd miscarriage came after a few failed cycles using injectables and IUIs. I had given myself daily shots of Heparin, a blood thinner,  and still I lost that pregnancy.  I. Was. Done.  My life for the past 3 years had revolved around making babies and it had consumed everything- my thoughts, our marriage, my outlook on life. No more.  The Hubs and I had a long talk and sent away for adoption literature because I was not getting on the reproductive roller-coaster again.

God had other plans.

A month after my 3rd miscarriage, a good friend (hi, Cheri!) and I were spending the weekend shopping while our husbands were away on business.  We had big plans that night to go out to a great Italian dinner and split a bottle of wine- I couldn’t wait.  I had been having a few pregnancy symptoms and although I chalked them up to the miscarriage, I thought I should test. Just in case.

I found out I was pregnant with Scorch in the bathroom of Target.  Classy, no?

This time around we switched up the blood thinner I used (thank you, Lovenox!) and tried IVIg therapy to help with my auto-immune issues.  And miracle of miracles, the pregnancy stuck.

Which is a good thing because I cannot imagine life without this kid.

Don’t Ignore: The Scars Still Show

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Yesterday marked the start of National Infertility Awareness Week. NIAW was started by an amazing organization, RESOLVE, back in 1989 to help educate people about infertility and to help erase the stigma of the disease. I mark this week each year looking at my kids and marveling at how very lucky the Hubs and I are to have them at all.

It’s been a little over 9 years since the Hubs and I started trying to have a family. Back then, I knew a grand total of 1 person in my life who had trouble having kids. While I had a great outlet online to talk women in similar situation, the vast majority of people in our day-to-day lives didn’t have a clue what we were going through. It was isolating and frustrating and scary as hell when everyone around us kept saying things like “All he had to do what look at me and I got pregnant.” or “We weren’t even trying- this pregnancy just happened.”  or “Just relax, you’ll get knocked up in no time.”

People didn’t mean to be hurtful, they didn’t mean to be cruel- they just didn’t understand.  “Relaxing” doesn’t fix medical issues.

For some, babies don’t just happen. For some, having a baby requires thousands and thousand of dollars in expenses even with great insurance (which we had).  Having a baby requires daily shots for years and medicine that makes you moody and crabby and hot and fat.  Having a baby requires prayers and tears and raging at God wondering why the druggie on the street corner has a baby every year that ends up in the foster system while you- an employed, stable, married, willing woman- can’t have even one.  Having a baby means having sex with your husband only when you’re told to and only in certain positions to try to maximize the changes of making that coveted baby- it’s not about love or lust any more. Having a baby means living and dying by the calendar as  you wait and test and pray that you ovulate and then wait and test and pray that you conceived.  Having a baby means analyzing every single thing your body does during that 2 week wait wondering if that twinge or that cramp means you’ll finally see those two lines on the pregnancy test.

Trying- and failing- to have a baby starts to color everything.  I started to turn into an ugly person, one who wouldn’t- couldn’t- be happy at a friend’s pregnancy announcement. There simply wasn’t any room for happiness when I was so jealous I couldn’t see straight. After we finally got pregnant and I started to have the miscarriages, I’d find myself wishing that someone- anyone- around me would have a miscarriage so that someone could finally know how I felt. I’m not proud of those thoughts- they are hard to even write about now- but that was my reality.  Infertility robbed me of my ability to feel joy at a friend’s pregnancy.

But the the Hubs and I were lucky- we made it to the other side and we have two amazing, gorgeous kids to show for it.

But others aren’t so lucky and are still fighting this battle. So please, be mindful and be kind. Don’t assume that babies are always the next natural steps in someone’s lives.  If someone does tell you that they are dealing with infertility, tell them you’re sorry and offer to listen. Don’t share the story about your cousin’s best friend’s sister who adopted and then- BAM- ended up pregnant. Don’t judge a couple for going through the infertility treatments and not adopting- or vice versa. You have no idea why they picked the path they did.  If you know someone who is dealing with infertility, be mindful of how you share the news of your pregnancy.  I promise they will be happy for you and rejoice with you- but it may not be right away and if it’s not, remember that’s not a reflection on you or your friendship.

Today I know of at least 8 people in my day to day life that have struggled or are struggling to start their families. Infertility isn’t going anywhere and having a baby isn’t always as simple as you think. Please, don’t ignore infertility and all it’s victims. Educate yourself about the basics of infertility and the importance of NIAW.