Wednesday, October 26, 2011


To anyone who has a Facebook status bitching about kids on planes, has banged on internal walls of an apartment building in response to the 2 am wails of an infant, knocked on a door to "see if that baby is ok..." (yes this has REALLY HAPPENED) this is for you. From the completely overwhelmed, embarrassed, and exhausted parents who you ignorantly assume aren't "doing our jobs." Feel free to respond. If you dare. 
In a nutshell: FUCK.YOU. You need to know, here and now, that in any public situation where they are misbehaving beyond reason, there is NO ONE on this planet or any other that has a stronger desire for my children to pipe down than I do. Do you think I LIKE listening to kids scream on planes? No. I fucking hate it as much as you or anyone else. When my infant is inconsolably hysterical in the middle of the night because she's cutting a tooth or fighting a fever, do you think I get off on that? No. It sucks beyond belief. Hearing your child scream in pain is the most horrifying, heartbreaking, helpless feeling a parent can have. So if we interrupted you watching Jimmy Kimmel or you're gonna be SUPER sleepy for your Sunday brunch and weekly pedicure, I'm SUPER sorry. Except I'm kinda not that sorry. I mean, WHAT do you want me to do that you think I'm not already doing? Hm?
When your seat is being kicked on a cross country flight, you have no idea the amount of Goldfish crackers and coloring books and Buzz Lightyear and bribes and bottles going on behind you to make it stop. It's humiliating. No, it's beyond that. The stress is enough to dislocate my jaw. And add to that the fact that at any moment my little seat kicker could crap up her back, down to her socks. Then I have to deal with how to figure out how to change not only a poopy diaper but a complete outfit head-to-toe in a space barely big enough to change a tampon. Wanna trade lives? No? Then suck it up and order another double Jack and Diet Coke. At least you CAN. Society and medical research tends to look down upon publicly intoxicated mothers traveling alone with a toddler whilst 6 months pregnant. So that kinda leaves me in a bit of a pickle now, doesn't it? Still mad about your seat being kicked? OK, that's valid. But no way you're half as mad as I am for having paid FULL PRICE for an airline ticket for someone who has not yet mastered the skill of wiping her own ass. K?
Oh, and if you see a mother in the grocery store seemingly doing nothing as her child is in a full backbend over the cart, yelping at the top of his register something that sounds like "Sponge Bob cooooooookies!", it's because if she opened her mouth and said what she was really thinking, said child would promptly be taken away by Social Services. So she puts on a neutral face and presses on with her list. So just go grab your Lean Cuisines and your Oreos and mind ya bizniz. Then go home and turn on your TV and watch WHATEVER YOU WANT. You know what she gets to go home and watch? "Caillou." Do you know who "Caillou" is? If you do not, my jealousy for you is suffocating. Search it on YouTube. I challenge you to sit through 5 minutes before wanting to gauge your eyes out with a washable marker. 
Nora Bella at her uncle's wedding. On her best behavior.
Look: Living in New York City (let alone being a mom in NYC) can make you hate everything. I have about 673,421 pet peeves and probably encounter between 17 and 138 of them on a daily basis. Just trying to get my kids from point A to point B. I hate when people eat yogurt on the subway. I hate when fat people take elevators when the handicapped and people pushing double strollers need them more. I hate when people stop in the middle of the sidewalk to text or say "Goodbye" to a friend. ARRRRG. Move to the SIDE. Sheesh. It was one of those days when I had just a few simple errands to run with my girls. A few simple errands, ha! Trying to navigate the island with 2 under 2 puts the schlep to Mordor to shame. The city was just eating me alive. Defeating me. I had just barely made it before the doors of the uptown A train squeezed what was left of me to death. I just looked around. So over it. So grossed out. By everything. EveryONE.  And then, in the midst of my tsunami of a day, a ripple of peace and understanding washed over me... 
Why don't we all go through our day, EVERY day, unselfishly comprehending that we have no idea where each other have come from, where one another are going, and what we're going to do when we get there? If we give everyone around us the benefit of the doubt and assume and accept that they're doing the best they can in the circumstances they're given from day to day, maybe they'll do the same for us. We're all just trying to survive. Just trying through another 24 hours when the odds (and other's bowels in some cases) seem to be against us. Maybe if we realized this we'd all be a little bit happier. And that joy would no doubt trickle down. So how 'bout you get over my double stroller and my screaming kid and I'll get over the fact that you think it's ok to wear a denim button down and pleat front pants. Come to think of it, maybe that yogurt lady on the subway is on her way to her 3rd job. She has no time to sit for dinner and she's making a conscious choice not to get McDonald's. Maybe that fat guy just had knee surgery because he just started working out after 30 years off sitting on his ass watching Maury Povich and eating fried chicken. He normally takes the stairs, enduring the pain. But today, with the crummy weather, it was just too much so just this once he decided to take the elevator. And JUST maybe, the couple parting ways in the middle of the sidewalk not letting anyone by on a Saturday afternoon on the Upper West Side, are sisters. They haven't spoken in 9 years and they just ran into each other visiting their terminally ill mother in the hospital and decided to go for lunch.. I mean, really...what do I know? Well, I do know one thing: Drakkar Noir smells like shit and I can think of not a single sob story that would make it ok for you to wear it in public over the age of 14. Please stop.

This is a new section called THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. I recently (in the past few years) have gotten into baking. Never really liked it before. I went through a nesting period while pregnant with Nora. Cleaning...organizing...? Not so much. Baking? Yes. I became obsessed with baking cookies. There was a reprise of this when I was prego with Pats last Christmas. Don't worry- as the holidays grow closer I'll do a whole cookie series! Anyhoo- I always bake my cookies from scratch and stir by hand. It was part of the nesting. Cupcakes and brownies: I almost ALWAYS start with a box. When mixes are on sale 10/$10 I stock up! Then I add and subtract ingredients and make them my own. My Mother-in-Law actually gave me an awesome cookbook on the subject. In this series, the recipes are my own and I will now share them with you. Cause I'm cool like that. 
The perfect indulgence after a beat down kinda day. Plus, there's booze in them! Follow the recipe on the box, subbing bourbon for the water and coffee for the oil. These were the measurements in the recipe I used today. Your mix might vary a bit. 
1 box of your favorite brownie mix
1 egg
1/4 cup bourbon (I really think it should be bourbon as opposed to whisky or scotch, but the brand of bourbon doesn't matter too much.)
2 tbsp brewed coffee (doesn't make it taste like coffee, just bumps up the chocolate flavor)
4 oz semisweet chocolate chips 
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small dish, reserve about 3 tbsp of the brownie mix. Combine remaining mix, egg, bourbon and coffee until moistened. Don't overmix. Coat chocolate chips in the reserved mix. This keeps the chips from sinking to the bottom. (This is a great tip. For other recipes you can coat in a bit of flour. It works great for any kind of chips, raisins, craisins, etc.) Fold chips into batter. Pour into a greased or sprayed 8x8 glass or metal pan. Bake for 24-26 minutes. I personally always lean to the underdone side for brownies, then pop them in the freezer. Over cooked brownies are one of my pet peeves. Go figure.   

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I'm currently holed up in a temporary house in Stratford, Ontario. We drove the 10 plus hours from NYC, and the night before our journey, Pats caught her first cold. On the road, Nora decided she was a full time potty user. We literally stopped every hour so she could do her business. Needless to say, Nora and I both caught Patsy's cold and the potty is a thing of the past. Oh, and because she can't breathe through her nose, Patsy's 2 solid meals a day have switched back to zero. In a nutshell, she's breastfeeding twice as much, pooping 3x as much and add it to the toddler poo I'm back to changing, basically I'm up to my elbows in shit just as Jeremy's back to full time work. Awesome. GREAT timing.
The subject of timing becomes a hot button before our kids are even born. In regards to any planned pregnancy, I think we all went through the "is this the right time??" Being financially, and emotionally prepared is a big deal. Then we all come the the realization that NO time is the right time, and ya just do it and you survive. And anything you might have "given up" or "missed" due to the gestation and birth of your baby doesn't matter cause she's here and perfect and your life is complete now, blah, blah, blah. HOWEVER... isn't it just PERFECT timing that the moment after you have MAJOR abdominal surgery/blow your vagina out, there's a brand new little creature on this earth completely dependent on you for survival. You don't even know what day it is, you're hopped up on painkillers, you can't poop, and there's a teeney tiny heartbeat literally left in your hands. Literally stuck to you. Perfect. No pressure.
Oh, and as your little bundle of joy grows, their knack for impeccable timing doesn't stop. No sir. Some of my favorites include:
*Several weeks postpartum, cleared for exercise. Yes, Jillian Michaels, give it to me girl. 30 days to shred my chunky monkey back into my jeans. It's at the precise moment my motivation is at its peak that my infant decides she needs to be rocked to sleep and held through every nap. Why, little girl, why? Why do you want a fat, sad mommy? And by the time the bubehla decides she can nap on her own, I decide I'm over working out. I would rather watch the Kardashians, making me feel better about my big 'ol butt. Oh yeah.
*Papa's putting Nora to sleep. Pat's is snoozing downstairs. I am snuggled on the couch in front of Dancing with the Stars about to bite into a Funfetti cupcake I made on a Monday for absolutely no reason except Funfetti cupcakes sounded good, and ringing off the walls from upstairs is the shrill cry of "Nooooooo! Mama books! Puh-leeeeeeease! Mamaaaaaaa!" Amazing.
*I find myself showered and with clean teeth at 2:00 pm on a Thursday afternoon. Laundry is in the dryer and there are no dishes in the sink. Jeremy is home and also good in the personal hygiene department. Nora shouldn't be up from her nap for at least another hour. Pats is asleep in her crib in the bedroom. Sounds like a recipe for Sext Time. Oh my God. This is actually gonna happen. I'm of course exhausted, but I'm conscious so let's DO this. 5 pumps in and, from the neighboring crib, the sex police siren furiously fires, "waaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!" Are you KIDDING me? How do they KNOW??? Arrrg. 
You really just have to laugh. I mean, if your choices are laugh, cry, or throw things...I feel like laughing burns the most calories. Well, throwing things probably burns a lot too, but that means you'd have ANOTHER mess in your life to clean up and I thanks. I think we run into problems when we over plan. It, for me anyway, always seems to lead to disappointment. The Boy Scouts have it right! BE PREPARED. Be prepared for anything, but don't over plan everything. Our kids, the weather, a faulty traffic light, a closed bakery are all gonna factor into why we can't get done what we're trying to do in the little time we have. And it can be SO FRUSTRATING! But it's life, right? Be prepared. Stay positive. Two good mottos to live by on the daily. Because as wives and mothers and working women of the world, perfect timing just ain't gonna happen, sister! Well, except maybe ONCE in a blue moon... Here's a tid-bit:
I was 9 months pregnant with Pats. Nora and I were alone in NYC, Jeremy was working in Seattle. Snow was up to the front door. I was swollen, exhausted, gassy and cranky. Nora was 18 1/2 months old. Not the best combination. How would I make it through this day let alone the rest of the week until my reinforcements arrived? The thought was terrifying and literally nauseating. I'm changing a poopy diaper, huffing and puffing my way through it. I was thinking about crying or throwing something, when Nora reached up to my face and smiled. She cupped my cheeks (as I cupped hers!) and says, "Good job, Mama. Mama? Good job." Sigh. Thanks, kid. Your timing couldn't be more perfect. 

Nora and Pats (aka Cupcake Patrol and Sex Police) caught in a perfectly timed moment.
Here's a few fall recipes. They take a bit of time, but fill you up for a long time. They're warm and yummy, cause mom needs comfort sometimes, too...

I've always kind of shied away from slow cooked meat dishes. Why? So easy, so delicious, crowd pleasing, comforting... I first made this dish for our friends Jenn and Curtis when we stayed with them for the weekend in the Catskills. Fall was just beginning to fall and this seemed like the perfect, cozy dinner. Well, of course that ONE weekend the weather spiked to the high 80's as we had the oven on for 4 hours during the day! There ya go again: perfect timing. 
About 2 short ribs per person (this recipe's for 4 adults)
Superfine flour I LIVE for Wondra. I use it ALL the time to thicken soups, chili, sauces, etc when I don't feel like making a roux.
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
2 onions
2 cloves garlic
Fresh herbs, whatever you have. I used some rosemary, thyme, parsley...bundle up and wrap in cheesecloth and tie up. You CAN just throw it it, but its a little annoying to pick out later.
Olive oil
1 bottle of red wine (something you would drink from a glass. The flavors will concentrate and flavor the meat. It doesn't have to be expensive, but you don't want a shitty wine. Remember "good wine" means what tastes good to YOU. Not some expert or book. No shame in what you like!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large cast iron pot to medium high heat. pat meat dry with a paper towel, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with flour. Drop in hot pot and brown on each side. Roughly chop veggies. You don't need to peel or even skin the onions and garlic. You're gonna drain all these out anyway. Just to flavor the sauce. Once meat is browned, remove from pot and add veggies. Season with salt and pepper. Just let them get a bit of color, then return meat. Throw in your herbs. Pour in the whole bottle of wine. Well, maybe one glass shy! If you don't wanna use wine for some reason, beef stock would work great. So would chicken stock. If you don't have any of that, water is ok, I guess. Put a lid on the pot and transfer to the preheated oven and let it go for 4 hours! Yup that's it! So, not that much time throwing it together. Just a long cooking time.  So, after 4 hours, pull out the meat and set aside. It should literally be falling off the bone. (DROOL) Strain the veggies, and return liquid to stove top. Turn burner to med-low and  whisk in Wondra slowly until the gravy begins thicken up. Give it a taste and and salt and pepper if needed. Serve gravy on the side. SO. GOOD.
These short ribs are awesome with any kind of potatoes: mashed, scalloped, whatever. But, I thought I'd shake this one up a bit. Now my girlfriend, Jenn- Catskill Jenn- she's my side dish diva! She LOVES her crock pot and every time we do a pot luck, or she has us over for supper she always has these super delish and interesting sides made with barley or quinoa. Goodness. So this "stuffing" is half inspired by Jenn, half making a silver lining around a mistake I made at the grocery store. So, we're in Ontario for a few weeks. We might as well be in a third world country. I'm such a spoiled little JAP/creature of habit. I stare at the shelves in the market like I can't read English. I mean, everything's IN ENGLISH. (in my whiny bitch voice): But its all called different stuff... Anyhoo- I was looking for Old Fashioned Oats. As opposed to Quick Oats. Well, I can't find them. After 5 minutes of just...staring at the oatmeal, I just grab what I thought were Old Fashioned Oats. Not. Got them home and they were steel cut oats. SUPER healthy. But super annoying cause they take like 25 minutes on the stove. No. I can't. Half the time I don't even cook my oatmeal, I just throw it on top of yogurt. These steel cut oats weren't gonna cut it for me. They're actually tasty. However, as I was eating them with my cinnamon and honey I was thinking if I was gonna go through this much trouble I wanted much more out of them. So I came up with this! An awesome savory side dish. Almost like a cross between a Thanksgiving stuffing and a risotto. Yes, please!
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion
1 medium apple
1 box of beef stock (just happened to be what I had on hand. Chicken stock would be great too. If nothing else or to make it vegetarian veg stock or just plain 'ol water.
1 cup steel cut oats
Handful of fresh herbs/greens I had chives, parsley and a handful of baby spinach.
Parmesan cheese, a handful or so
Sauté onions garlic and apple seasoned with salt and pepper in olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes until softened a bit. Add beef stock and bring to a boil. Stir in oats. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook 25 minutes, stirring often. Stir in chopped herbs and cheese. Serve right away or refrigerate and serve later in a casserole dish. Sprinkle top with more parm and bake in a 400 degree oven till top is golden brown. Stir in leftover chicken to make it a meal! Besides the little bit of olive oil, this dish is super low fat, super high fiber and super awesome! You can use this recipe as a jumping point and add ANYTHING! Any kind of veggies (mushrooms, asparagus, zucchini, whatever), shrimp, get CRAZY! Yeah. I need to get out more.
After serving this meal that tastes like you spent ALL day (in reality you spent under an hour) they'll wonder "How DOES she do it? And with TWO little ones?! She must be a superwoman!" Adding more pressure to your already breaking point of a life...sigh...just smile and say "Oh it's nothing." And stock up on wine.

Friday, October 7, 2011


I have 16 tattoos. Well, I guess technically I have 8. In addition to a pin-up girl on each arm, I have a mermaid on each calf, a "Star" tramp stamp, a portrait of Jeremy and I on my ribs, and a little star on each toe. I suppose a real tattoo guru would count each foot as a "piece," making my twinkle toes count as 2, not 10. Whatever. I have a bunch of tattoos. I knew exactly what I wanted when I colorfully scarred my body for the first time. The decision wasn't particularly difficult at all. I was thrilled with the result. I was so cool. Such a bad ass. Then...came the inevitable moment where my mother would see my "art" for the first time... 
Exhale. Stomach churns. Butt-hole opens up a little. Full upper lip sweat. She was picking me up from the train station in Trenton, NJ. I was coming home from NYC for, I assume, a holiday or something. Can't recall exactly what. Irrelevant. In any event, my younger sister, Jill was in the car, too. I remember that VERY clearly. I slid into the passenger seat. I was wearing a short sleeve shirt that [almost] completely covered the pin-up angel on my left arm. Yeah...almost. My mother, now known as Mimi, is a bloodhound. But like a bionic bloodhound. All five senses freakishly heightened, then add on intuition. She can smell, today, if you smoked a cigarette behind Mandy McFarland's shed in 1994. She can hear, from two flights up, the faintest turn of a doorknob as you arrive 10 minutes past curfew. And, she can see THROUGH anything. The tiniest tips of my angels stilettos were peeking from beneath my jersey sleeve in that Jersey parking lot that day and she FROZE. She didn't need to say anything. And neither did Jill. I caught a glimpse of her in the back seat through the rear view mirror, and her raised eyebrows spoke volumes. "I'll never be in trouble again," they screamed. Mimi eventually DID go on to say something to the effect of: no matter what the weather, I was to be forever covered up. And if the mid-July heat proves too much for a sweatshirt by the pool, I could wrap myself in gauze like a burn victim. Yeah, something exactly like that. What was the big deal? Get over it! It was an ANGEL. It wasn't like I inked myself with profanity or a racist image or...The Devil. (That would come a few months later) Beside the point. Everyone thought it was super hip and beautifully done. Why was my mother making SUCH a big whoop about it. I never REALLY got it. 
And then, a few months ago... I saw Nora's hair for the first time. I mean, of course, I've seen it everyday for the past two years. I watched as the little fuzz wore away, leaving a smooth little patch on the back of her little head from the way she slept. I watched as she got that oh-so-attractive pre-toddler baby mullet crossed with some sort of male pattern baldness. I watched as she SCREAMED as Jeremy attempted her first pig tails. But the other day...I SAW it. Now to you it may look like a kinda straight, kinda curly light brown toddler mop. NO. Nora's hair is the color of everything I want to eat for the rest of my life. A honey that looks like it were produced by the King's royal bees. If we had a King. And he had royal bees. Every curl, every wisp, artfully in place. I want to wrap it around myself and sleep cuddled up in it's silky perfection. To ever cut this majesty of hair would be a sin. To color it? Oh my God, PURPLE??? (Did it.) Gasp. Eternal Damnation. And my darling Nora's perfect hair is just the beginning! Her stunning skin...what if she deliberately put HOLES THROUGH HER BODY?! NO! (I've done that 14 times.) What did I put my mother through? Yikes. Yeah. I get it now. Sorry, Mom. 
After I didn't end up walking the streets, or in prison, or married to a drug dealer, she started loving me again. Even  sleeveless.
Now I'M the mom. And a completely new kind of love has entered my life. Of course, I love Jeremy. And, obvi, I love my sister, my parents, my in-laws, my closest friends. But everyday, I wake up and make the choice to love my husband. Yes, I made a vow. For better or for worse, till death do us part, blah, blah, blah. But I still make the choice. We're not beasts. We may not be able to choose who we're attracted to, but we choose to be IN love. I feel I'm like most humans in the way that we go through the majority of our lives seeking approval. We want to make sure the people we're in relationships with (friends, lovers, co-workers, superiors) like us as much as we like them, right? I mean, that's natural. But the feelings I had instantly for my child... totally different. I don't have the same choice. It's with my children where that primal, animal love kicks in. From the moment her bony heel kicked my uterine wall from the inside for the first time, I knew my relationship with Nora would be unlike any other I'd ever had before. I knew from that moment...that I loved her more than she could EVER love me and nothing she would ever do in her whole life could ever change that. Ever. And I'm perfectly fine with that. It was shortly after her 2nd birthday when I realized that my perfect little fetal angel was all of a sudden a little girl with free will. And if she wanted to do something, eat something, watch something, FEEL something that I didn't agree with...well...eventually, she was gonna do it. And nothing I could ever do in my whole life could ever change that. Obviously, as her mother, I set the rules and give the tools. Give guidelines, set boundaries. Teach her right from wrong... But there will come a point when I won't see her everyday (*tear*) and she will start exercising her free will. For real. Sigh.
I will always encourage both my girls to express themselves,artistically or otherwise, however they choose. To love honestly and freely, whomever they choose. And to dream big. And I'll support those dreams. No matter how grand. Unless they end up standing 5-feet-tall like moi and their dream is to be a Radio City Rockette. I will squash that dream immediately. Woulda made my life a whole hell of a lot easier. Nobody needs to face that kind of heartbreak. Nobody.
Nora: "Expressing herself." girls are perfect and so is this meal! So easy. Awesome to entertain with. I first made this for an Easter Feast I hosted in Toronto. I was pregnant and ham and poultry were grossing me out at the time, so I wanted to try something different. I've since made it for numerous friends, my in-laws, my parents...a hit every time! And the salad is a PERFECT side dish to take to picnics and parties. There's no mayo in it, so it can sit out for a bit without worry.
Ground Lamb is really the star of this dish. If you can't find ground lamb where you live, or you just don't like lamb, you could substitute ground chicken and substitute the mint for oregano. It would still be super yummy. But try the lamb if you can. I usually do this dish as little meatballs, but last week I split up the meat into jumbo muffin tins and everyone got their little individual portion. Cute. Ok...
1 1/2 lbs ground lamb
4oz crumbled feta cheese
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
Handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
1 egg
1cup breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine ingredients in large bowl. I squish with my hands. Make sure everything's incorporated but don't over mix. Using a small ice-cream or cookie scoop make your lamb balls! Roll the balls in your palms (sorry, im so immature I cant stop giggling as I type this. I really need to get out more) so they're round and even. Place on a cooling rack a top a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes.
1/2 box (1/2 lb) Orzo pasta, orzo puffs up so much when you cook it. If you use a whole pound, you'll be eating it for weeks!
1 grape tomatoes
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 large cucumber
1 yellow pepper, sliced into chunks
1/2 c kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
4-8 oz feta cheese
2 lemons, zest and juice
Olive oil
Dried oregano
Garlic powder

The version I made for my in-laws, baked in a jumbo muffin tin.  
Bring water to boil for pasta. Zest and juice your lemons and set aside in a small bowl. Add lemon rinds,salt, garlic powder and oregano to water. Cook according to package directions. Flavoring the cooking water adds so much to this dish and makes your kitchen smell immediately awesome! While pasta is cooking, prep your veggies. Drain pasta. Empty into large bowl. Add a little olive oil and the lemon zest and juice right away so it's soaked up, then dump in the tomatoes and cover bowl with foil. The heat of the pasta with soften the tomatoes a bit and they get even sweeter. So good. Add the rest of your veggies. Toss with a little more olive oil.  Probably 1/3 c tops. Keep it light. Add crumbled feta and olives. Taste, then add the salt and pepper. The cheese and olives are pretty salty so you don't want to over do it.  And there ya go. Pop open a bottle of red or white, either would work great. I swear this meal is so good it'll make your friends walk away wanting to get "LAMB BALLS FOREVER" tattooed across their chests.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


At least once a week I fantasize about an afternoon I will one day have. Jeremy and I are lounging poolside at the Raleigh Hotel in Miami or the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua in Maui. We are alone. The sun is shining, it's not super hot. But I am. I am golden brown. I get weekly pedicures. I have the time and energy for pilates or Physique 57 everyday. My hair and teeth are clean and have been for several years as I have regained the brain capacity to remember and make brushing and bathing a daily priority. I'm reading a book with chapters and without illustrations and the most pressing decision of the day is that of dinner. What we're ordering, not what I'm making. Nora and Pats are happy, healthy, independent young women in committed, loving relationships. Perhaps, with daughters of their own. I mean this is like a real fantasy, like, 25 years away...I freak about little forehead wrinkles and in my ultimate daydream I'm a grandmother? Who am I? Anyhoo, the fact that this scenario pops into my head so often is particularly puzzling for two main reasons: My husband is present and my children are not.
Maui 2008
I am completely obsessed with my girls. Every little change in the consistency of poop caused by bananas or sweet potatoes is cause for celebration. A new tooth? Forget it. Let's bust out the Funfetti cupcakes and party down. The fact that I hang onto every new word, mannerism, raspberry, milestone, makes it almost unimaginable that I would long for a day that don't completely revolve around them. ALMOST. Look, it's not that I want my kids GONE. I just think it's natural to long for that day, that half a day, that MOMENT where you and your partner can just be. Together. Like the good 'ol days...
Jeremy and I have been on exactly 4 dates in 2 years. 4 dates since Nora was born. Wait. That's not even true. 3 1/2. We tried for the 4th the other night and it was a complete disaster. I couldn't make it through. The girls were fine. They were with my mom. Plenty of bottles. No worries. I started to think it was him. US. Like it just wasn't THERE anymore (hence, my confusion about my fantasy with him in the future). But it wasn't him. He's amazing. It was me. I wasn't fine. I needed MY nukkie. My security blanket of post bedtime Bravo was ripped away and I had no idea how to behave outside after the sun went down. Seriously. ME? I used to go out to meet my friends at 11:00pm. The sun coming up was the issue back then. 
I was completely dolled up the other night. Sequins and lashes (my REAL blankies) and yet it felt...wrong. I didn't feel like I looked pretty enough for him, or skinny enough. I was EXHAUSTED and I was nervous we wouldn't have anything to talk about. The pressure I put on myself to make this the "perfect date", as they are so few and far between, was completely overwhelming. Instead of just believing him when he said I was beautiful and "going with it," I let the sadness of the swamps get to me and I ended up sabotaging the whole night. We came home early. On separate trains. 
WHAT THE FUUUUUCK? What's with the pressure? Like there's not enough pressure put upon us through media, society, other "supermoms..." We need to put added pressure on OURSELVES? So stupid. If I invited my friend Jenn or Mary or anyone over for a play date or brunch or coffee and cookies and they showed up in sweats and no make up I wouldn't give a rat's ass. Who cares? And if Jeremy and I had plans to go out and I threw on jeans, my hair in a ponytail and a tank top I may or may not have worn as jammies earlier in the week, he wouldn't give a shit either. So why should I? Yes. It's nice (for both of you) to get spiffed up every once in a while. But it's about the time you spend TOGETHER. Not about the time you spend getting ready. 
I'm putting so much pressure on myself to be this chick I used to be...trying so desperately to hold on to the "Good Old Days."  Well, guess what? They're long gone, sweetheart, and they're NOT COMING BACK. And thats GOOD. It's called LIFE. It's called growing up. So get over it. I'm probably never gonna eat buffalo wings at 4 am again, or make out in the bathroom of a bar with a guy I just met, or smooth talk my way into a fancy hotel just to go skinny dipping in the roof-top pool. Actually, when it's all spelled's pretty easy to say good-bye to these things, right? So screw it. Happily ever after starts now. Today. These are the Good NEW Days. And I'm gonna have good new days and do new good things. I'm gonna rock my post-double-c-section bikini bod with pride while I watch Nora squeal as she gets knocked down by her first wave down the shore. I'm gonna sit up with Pats one night and eat ice cream out of the carton at 2 am as she vents to me about some asshole who just broke her heart that she's way better off without anyway. And who knows, maybe Jeremy and I will finally get a do-over on that 4th date. Maybe we'll even make out in the bathroom while we're on that date. And maybe, just maybe, 25 years from now while we're on our fantasy vaca we'll tip toe our old balls out to the Raleigh pool and go skinny dipping. I think I might like that very much. 
A shot of the "good old days"

Now, obviously I've never had a blow job. But I'll tell you, make this cake for yo man and you may be off the hook for a long, long time. It's THAT good. Right, right. You LOVE giving blow jobs. Well, good for you. You're such a hip chick and the best wife ever. Go you. Make the cake anyway.
This recipe is based on Prince William's groom's cake. While watching the coverage of the royal wedding, the commentators were talking about this chocolate biscuit cake, and I couldn't get it out of my head. I googled it and came upon several different recipes. Here's my spin on it. 6 months later, I FINALLY made it for Jeremy's birthday yesterday. And, PS, totally redeemed myself for being a whiny baby bitch on our disaster date the other night. OK, here we go:
2 bags of Milano cookies 
1 bag (12 oz) of semi sweet choc chips
2 tbsp butter
2/3 c of cream, 1/2 & 1/2, whole milk (whatever's in the fridge for your coffee, I used 1/2 & 1/2
1/2 bag (6 oz) of semi sweet choc chips (always good to have a half bag of choc chips on hand for potty training. Or in case of a chocemergency for yourself. Better than downing a pint of Ben and Jerry's)
1 tbsp butter
1/3 c of cream, milk, whatever
Break up 25 Milano cookies in thirds. Set aside in medium bowl. That's 5 layers of the little fluted cups. 3 come in each bag. Reserve the remains of the second bag for a future breakdown/celebration/bath/Wednesday afternoon nap treat. Set aside. Spray a 6-8" springform pan with cooking spray. Set aside. Bring butter and cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat. Pour over choc chips and stir until smooth. Fold in cookie pieces until well coated. Pour into pan. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 3 hours, minimum.
After 3 hours... prepare remaining chips (6 oz), butter (1 tbsp), and cream (1/3c) the same way as before. Pour chocolate mixture over set cake and refrigerate for another hour. 
Enjoy! Small slices are ok. This cake is SERIOUS.
These wings are so simple and so awesome. You can feel good about the fact that they're not deep fried. However, they are baked with a stick of butter! Oh well! Its not like you're eating them everyday! Enjoy at 4 am or anytime. Eat plain or with your fave sauce.
4 lbs chicken wings and drummies, just wings, just drummies, your preference.
1 stick of butter
seasoned salt (I use Lawry's)
Preheat over to 450 degrees.
Pat chicken dry with a paper towel.
Place wings in large baking dish or split between two. Shake with seasoned salt. Melt butter in saucepan or microwave for 30 seconds. Pour over chicken. Bake for 40 minutes till brown and crispy. (It's the combo of patting the chicken dry, the butter, the heat of the oven, and the bit of sugar in the seasoned salt that make these so super crispy without the deep fat fry.)
I like mine plain, or sometimes I dip in hot sauce on the side. Other options are:
*Toss in your fave BBQ sauce.
*Whisk together 1/2 c spicy brown mustard with 1/2 honey and 1tsp red pepper flakes. Toss. Sweet and spicy!
*Whisk together 1/2c hot sauce (I like Frank's, Sriracha, or Cholula), 1/2 c orange marmalade, 1tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp ground ginger. Toss. Sprinkle with chopped scallions.
Just a couple of suggestions, but get creative! You can even go buy a cheap plastic pitcher at a restaurant supply or party store, fill with slightly warm, slightly flat beer and serve! Recreate a SUPER romantic night. LOL.