Archives for category: Family

Am I turning the Monster into a bona fide Mama’s Boy? Lately he has been all about Mama. It is a Mama or Bust attitude in our house right now. (Insert play on words joke with “Mama” and “Bust” here.) He’ll be playing happily with Daddy or by himself with some toys, and then look up and realize that I’m not there, or that I just walked by and didn’t pick him up. When that happens, we get this.

Meltdown #12,897

It’s like a switch just went off. If I pick him up, he returns to the happy, babbling Baby Monster we know and love. It’ like he needs some part of him touching some part of me at all times. I realize how endearing this might sound, but it can also be really tiring for me, and at times lead to some major Mama-guilt. I know, I know, first piece of advice will probably be to not pick him up each time he cries. And I really don’t, but there are times when I just want the path of least resistance. Is that so bad? I’m new to this parenting gig, and I’m already exhausted and he’s not even a year old!

Putting things into buckets. Very important work.

One MAJOR saving grace in all of this has been my baby carriers. When he is particularly Mama-focused, I can strap him into my Ergo or BobaAir and have my hands free to do other things. Like write this blog.

But I’ll admit, I still pick him up and spend a lot of time just snuggling with him. Can you blame me?

Snuggling with Mama


OMG! OMG! OMG! The Beast is flying out here this FRIDAY and I am so EXCITED!!!

When we first got the Beast

He has been staying with my friend A in CA the past few months. I am beyond grateful for her generosity in opening her house to a 70+ lb labrador. She already has three kids, so it’s not exactly as if she didn’t have other things going on.

So, how exactly does one fly a labrador across the country? Well, it turns out that there are multiple options, including working directly with an airline, pet relocation services, pet airline services, and even ground transportation services. We decided to work directly with United Airlines for several reasons; they have a dedicated PetSafe desk with a live 24/7 800 number, we could fly him direct from SFO to JFK, and he’ll fly cargo, so he will be the last thing loaded and the first thing unloaded.

Beast and his new travel kennel

At first I was a little concerned about the whole flying as cargo part of it. But after talking with United’s reps, it does seem that is a better route for him. Since he’s flying as cargo, he’s basically another revenue stream from cabin passengers (and their checked luggage) which means he is of a higher concern than a piece of checked luggage. Also, United will have an agent in charge of the cargo for the Beast’s flight and will ensure that he is put in the plane right side up (eek!) and is not left on the tarmac with the luggage until the handlers are ready to load the plane. Honestly, while I’m a little soothed, I’m still pretty nervous.

I have tried to do most of the coordinating from my side. I have to say, each of my conversations with United’s PetSafe Program were very helpful and reassuring. I really appreciate the fact that they have a dedicated desk to pets. A has graciously stepped in and helped with several important items. Namely, the travel kennel and the drop-off. I seriously owe A and her family something HUGE and AMAZING! Any ideas?

Keep the Beast in your thoughts as he flies over the country on Friday! I am one excited and anxious puppy mama!!

Beast at the beach




I suppose I should start at the beginning. Usually the best place to start, right? After a few years in Carbondale, IL, P and I decided it might be time for a change. He began looking for jobs and was offered a position in New York. And we took it!!! We became Queens, NY’s newest residents in September.

What a ride it has been! We arrived late Monday night and took a taxi from JFK to our new place in Queens. Fortunately, we got a mini-van taxi because we had several LARGE bags, two strollers, a car seat, 4 carry-on pieces, and a diaper bag. Oh, and a 10 month old who just went through a cross-country, 5 hour flight. He was a champ.

Arriving late at night to JFK

P found the house through some colleagues and signed the lease before I ever saw it. So, I was moving into a house, unseen. We totally lucked out, though. The house has many of the amenities that one might worry they would lose when moving to a city, including our own washer/dryer and a dishwasher.

I should stop here and acknowledge a MAJOR absence. Where are the Beast and the Diva? Rest assured, they are still a part of our family. P and I are very lucky to have some generous, and animal-loving, friends and family. The Diva is spending the summer and fall at Grandma’s house in Illinois and the Beast is spending two months at a dear friend’s house in CA. She has three kids, so I’m pretty sure he’s having a good time. They will both be joining us in a few weeks.

Beast loving it at A’s house

My one concern is that they are going to try and turn him into a Giants fan. We can’t have that. 😉

So, back to NY! We’re here and I certainly still feel overwhelmed and nervous. P really likes his new job, so that does help ease some of the concern about being here. The Monster and I are in a few Mommy and Me and Playgroups, and are meeting other babies and toddlers. There is no shortage of little ones in our neighborhood.

While the last month has been focused on settling in, we’ve still managed to go do some quintessential New York things. Namely, go to Central Park and Central Park Zoo.

Monster in Central Park

Taking it all in in Central Park

I love the park! There are so many things to watch and incredible people-watching. But it also provides a nice respite from the city around it. One thing we’ve checked out is the Central Park Zoo. P’s sister gave us a family membership as a bday/moving gift. After our first use, we realized what a valuable gift it really is. We joked/really mean it when we say that the membership is probably something we’ll have to factor in our yearly budget.

Monster and Daddy next to the Seals at Central Park Zoo

The Family Premium Membership gives free admission to two adults and all kids in the household to all of the major zoos in NYC. Plus there are a bunch of other free goodies, such as free parking, admission to education programs, and a free shirt! (Who doesn’t love a free shirt?) Thanks B and family for the very thoughtful and useful gift!

Whew! It has been a long time since I’ve posted. And, if you’ll hear me out, you’ll find that I had pretty good reason for my absence.

1) My little sister got married earlier this month! I know everyone thinks their, or their family member’s, wedding was the best, but truly, V’s wedding was incredible! She held it in my parents’ backyard, which gave the wedding a sweet, intimate, and romantic feel. My sister and I declared myself the World’s Worst Maid of Honor (WWMH) as I barely took any pictures, planned the bachelorette party more or less the day of the party, and was pretty hands-off. In my defense, she wanted me to be that way. When the time came, I definitely stepped it up with all of the tears and smiles that are expected of MOH’s.

My sister is a very creative lady. She designed her own wedding dress and found someone to make it for $80!!!! She did not want this to be a break-the-bank kind of wedding, so she had all of the bridesmaids wear a dress of their choice. We were all in different colors and styles. It was perfect for the theme of her wedding. I found my dress, a 1950’s” wiggle” dress, on for $28! A little tailoring and it fit beautifully.

One, of the many, thing she did was change into a different dress for the reception. I absolutely love this idea. And, true to V’s independent spirit, she changed into a not-your-typical reception dress.

Like I said, I didn’t take many pictures myself, so I’m having to swipe a lot of these from other people’s albums.

Once I get all of my pictures together, I want to do a more dedicated post to the wedding. V + J are perfect for each other and will have a beautiful life together.

2) Our other big change is that we moved to New York! We’re Queens, NY’s newest residents and we are loving it so far. And that will all be in another post…soon….I hope…