The View

This picture hangs in my home office in direct view of my desk.  When I am dealing with a particularly sticky issue, I sometimes look at the picture and pretend that my mom is there with me, lending moral support.  When I'm on the phone with an unsavory customer, I will roll my eyes at this picture, you know, to try to get my mom to laugh.  When I am having a bad day, she's there to make it less-bad.  When I am having a good day, she's there to enjoy it with me.

Every time I enter and leave the room, I pass My Mom. 

It's no where as good as the real thing, but it's all I've got.

Have a wonderful weekend.  I should have some good stories and pictures for you next week. 


Leah at the Lake

Over the weekend we attended a BBQ at a lake house.  I was nervous on how Leah would be in the lake, as we are pool people.

Scratch that, I am pool people.  Greg is lake and pool people.

And, as it turns out, so is Leah.

She loved the lake!  Spent hours in there with Greg and all of the kids at the party.

And after she spent all those hours in the lake, she came home and slept a whole lot of hours that night! 

Which I enjoyed.  So, maybe I, too, am lake people.

Probably not, though.



Reason 341 Why I Love Being a Mom

Funny hairstyles done entirely for my own enjoyment.



Don't Be Afraid! Don't Be Scared!

So, we’ve entered a new realm. A scary place. A phase that I hope we move on from at a fast pace.

We are currently Very. Interested. In “Yo Gabba Gabba.” And, for those who know of this atrocity, I’m sure you feel my pain. And for those of you who don’t, just know it’s worse than “Barney.”

I yearn for Barney these days. Pray, wish, hope that Barney will be requested. But, alas, it’s mostly this Gabba crap.

Here is a picture from Saturday of Leah and Elmo watching Yo Gabba Gabba. Elmo enjoys it too. Traitor.



Houston We Have Touchdown

The face of a girl who just entered the bathroom on her own, dropped trou, and took her first tinkle on the potty.



Running Update: Nerd Alert

I have a lot on my mind. There is a lot going on in my life. I’m not saying this because YOU don’t have as much as ME going on. I’m saying this because I am one of you. And I want you to all know that, despite my tendency to talk about my life and the things in it a lot on my website, there are things that I keep to myself. And I have problems handling them, at times. So, to all the people out there who have crap going on in their life and are looking for a way to handle things, may I suggest going for a jog?

I know! That is probably the lamest sentence I’ve ever written!! I am embarrassed of myself.

But, hear me out.

I used to really dread running days. I would think about the inevitable run all day long and let it preoccupy my thoughts and I would complain about how the weather wasn’t cooperating and I would put it off for hours and hours and hours.

And, I totally still do that. But, in a way, I also really look forward to it.

It’s MY time. Just for me. No one else. There is no other time in the day where the action that I am doing is for entirely just for me. And, because I am not worrying or thinking about anyone else, namely the small person in my house who normally takes up a lot of my brain power, I am free to think about other things. Anything really! I can think about problems I might be having and what my next step in handling should be. Or, I can think about ice cream. Whatevs. Either or. Neither nor. WHATEVER I WANT.

It’s not unusual for me to come back from a jog and have a full list of things I want to tell Greg. Like last night, I finally got to thinking about that damn broken pool pump, and I figured that it would be in our best interest to replace it, despite its hefty price tag, because closing the pool now and not using it for the rest of the summer would be detrimental to the mental health of everyone in our family. And several neighbors. And it took me about 4 minutes of weighing the pros and cons about the pool pump to actually come up with this answer, but do you know we had been hemming and hawing over it for the past two weeks unable to come up with an answer?! All it took was some uninterrupted time to think about it.

And the fact that I sound like the biggest dork in the land does not go unnoticed. Believe me, I know I sound like the band geek that I really am. Ahem, Color Guard geek. But, this past week has been one of the toughest weeks of my life. Any type of problem that could have come up has reared its ugly head: Money? Check. Employment? Check. Health? Check. Family? Check. And I’m a little surprised that I’m not lying in a puddle on my basement floor begging for a Xanex. All I know is that I leave the house before a jog in a wretched, stressed out mood, and I return feeling better about my life, myself, my problems. So, take from that what you will.

So, here’s a quick rundown of my jog these days. I leave the house at 8 p.m., when it’s cooled down a little and the sun is no longer shining. I am leaning towards a Wednesday, Friday, Sunday schedule. I’ve tried other days, but these seem to work best for me. I am on week 5 of the 5K101 podcast, which is an 8 minute interval jog. I start with a 5 minute warm up, jog for 8 minutes, walk for 2, jog for 8, walk for 2, jog for 8, and then walk home and use that at my cool down. Last night it took me about 36 minutes to complete the entire jog and I covered about 2.25 miles. I have also been working on my breathing technique, as I can’t do anything strenuous for 8 minutes straight without having to regulate my breathing in some way. I think it is making a huge difference, as when I arrived back home after the jog last night, Greg questioned whether I had even done the run at all, as I wasn’t hyperventilating, “like you normally are.”

He’s such a gem!


Greg's Garden

Back in March, I wrote a post about Greg's gardening.  In it, I showed pictures of some of the cups of dirt and seeds that Greg had planted around the house.  Back then, that's exactly what it looked like to me: a lot of dirt and seeds.

But, not anymore.  I am happy to report that all of the cups have officially moved out of the house, and our yard looks like this:

Looks like organized chaos to me, but Greg spends HOURS out there working on his garden.  He brings things inside each day and we cook them for dinner.  He's very proud of that garden, and visitors get a tour each time they come over.  I'm not complaining, because I enjoy eating fruits and veggies that come from our very own backyard. 

Here's a picture of some chicken legs he made on our fire pit over the weekend. 

When it comes to matters of cooking and gardening, Greg is much better at it than me.  I do enjoy eating it, though.



What’s so strange is that I still sometimes forget that she’s gone. I still find myself thinking about calling her or think about what her reaction will be when I tell her a story later on.

After the initial raw pain of losing my mom subsided, I thought that I would be done with the worst pain. It wasn’t until she was gone for a year and a half that I found myself really missing her. And the pain came flooding back.

It’s normal to not see your mom for a few months—did that when I was in college. Or, let’s pretend that I had a big argument with her and for some reason we didn’t speak for a year, maybe a little more.

But, when the year and a half mark hit, that’s when I really really missed her. That’s when I hit the point where I would have made a special trip home to see her, had we lived in different parts of the world. That’s when I would have called to patch up our rift, had we been in an argument. That was my breaking point. That was the amount of time that was too long for me not to see my mom.

That was the time when I started to conceive this website. When I had so many things to tell her. When I needed her to be there to listen.



Fridays in the Park

We are lucky enough to live in a town that has a Cultural Arts Department that hosts Friday night concerts.  We pack up the chairs, blankets, snacks, drinks, and ourselves and head on over to the field for 6 Fridays in the summer.

This past Friday was our first concert this summer.  Leah's at a great age now because she 1) doesn't remember anything from the past so saying things like, "We are going to a concert!" appears to be something she's never done before in her life, despite the fact that we did it last summer, and therefore, she's really, really excited to try something new.  2) She understands things like, "We are going to a concert!" to at least mean that will be leaving the house now, so put on your shoes already, and we know that, soon, once the music starts, she will be learning something new.  Mainly: what a concert is.

Friday's concert featured Patrick Fitzsimmons, the original drummer from From Good Homes.  We arrived and started the night with some snacks:

Then, the concert started.  It was phenomenal, and we really enjoyed it.  I was really proud of Leah for sitting on the blanket and listening to the music.  I knew she wasn't feeling her best, but she was such a good listener.  Greg and I joined her on the blanket a little later and sat and listened to the music.

When we arrived home, though, she was running a fever.  In fact, she's had one all weekend, and this morning we took her to the doctor and found out that she has an ear infection.  Poor baby.

Hope you had a great weekend.


Some Day...

Some day I'm going to wake up and realize that this life is not making me happy.

Some day I'm going to sell all of our material possessions and pack us a bag and move to an island. 

Even my purses.

Especially my purses.

I'm going to say good bye to my family and tell them I'll write them.  Some of them.

I'm going to quit my job and not look back.  Hand my laptop to my supervisor with a smile on my face.

I'm going to live in paradise and spend my days with Leah.  We'll go on island adventures, and play with children at the playground, and play in the sand and swim in the ocean, and we'll go for runs at dusk.

We'll wear our bathing suits every single day.

Greg will be a farmer and grow vegetables, or tend to animals, or maybe he'll open a restaurant.  He'll do whatever makes him happy because we will not be slaves to our lifestyle.  We will not live paycheck to paycheck.  We will live life experience to life experience.  We will never be a marching ant again.

Some day we'll look back at the minute we decided to take the plunge and laugh at the hesitation we had before we did it.  We'll think back to how stressful life was before, and how we let our fear of the unknown keep us in a place that made us unhappy.

Some day we'll laugh at the idea that we are meant to work hard, and not have fun, and stress over simple things like the cable bill and a leaky pool filter.  And that G D 529.

We'll remember how we let other people's ideals about life rule our life.  We'll remember when we decided to stop doing that.  We'll remember when we figured out that we deserved more and that Leah was meant to do great things and that our life at that time was not great.  And was not going to lead to anything more than two people working their asses off till they are 65 and then retiring and then dying.  And Leah going to school in Sparta where everyone looks the same and growing up thinking that life is full of really white people who go to work every morning and then come home and have dinner and head to 7-11 for a slurpee or maybe Sparta Dairy for ice cream and what kind of life is that? 

Some day we'll take that plunge.  Mark my words. 

Maybe that day is today.


Running On Empty --NOT a running update

I just love this picture of my mom. 

I know that look on her face.  Both what it meant to her, and what it means to me. 

I am pretty sure that I have had this look on my face several times this week.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the summer, but I just don't understand why everyone must hold some sort of event on the summer weekends. 

Ok, I guess I understand the whole point of hot weather = good BBQs.  And graduations happen at this time.  And if your birthday occurs during a summer month, you are going to have a party then.  And, if you have a swim party, then chances are, you are going to throw it during the summer.  And, oh, forget it.  I get it.  Summer weekends are a hot commodity.  Therefore, they are going to fill up with events and the weekends are going to feel like work days too, what with the preparing, and the hustling to get to the event, and the running after your child at the event.

Anyway, my look these days resembles my mom up there. 

I call it HARRIED.


Party of Three

Everyone always asks me when I am having a second child.  And the answer is "Not now."  Or, "Not yet."  Or, sometimes, "Not ever."  And as hard as those answers are for people to hear, it's not that difficult for me to say.

I'm not ready for a second child, for a myriad of reasons, but mostly because I'm content with my family right now.  Or, I should say, the number of people in my family right now.  Women have told me that until they had their second (third, fourth, herd), they felt incomplete.  They knew their family wasn't done.  But, me?  I don't feel that way. 

Occassionally, I think of having a second child so that Leah wouldn't have to go through life alone.  If we are being honest, I really think about having a second so that if anything happens to me, or Greg, or both of us, Leah has someone else to go through it with.  I am grateful for my sister when my mom died and do not know how I would have made it through if I had to have done it alone.

But that is not a good enough reason.  That's unfair to a potential child of mine.  "Oh, I had you so that if I died Leah could lean on you for support."  Jeez, that sounds horrible!

I owe it to any future children to want and desire them.  I owe it to myself and my husband to wait until we feel that desire to expand our family.  So, for now, we are party of three.  And, it's just fine by us.

Dana, Greg, and Leah

Pat, Enzo, and Dana


We Interrupt This Broadcast

Every once in a while work, home, and all the in-between catches up with me and I am so swamped I don’t have a spare minute. As much as I love to write on my website, it tends to take a back seat to the more important things in my life…like say my job, which pays the mortgage, so is therefore a leetle more important than whining about my life on the internet.

Hope you understand.



Hot Day in the City

Hello! How was your weekend? We had a great weekend.

We went to a birthday party for my brother in law on Saturday. I remember saying that I would probably get a bunch of pictures of Leah in the pool at this event, and I was wrong. I got NO pictures! I am not sure why, as I remember walking around with my camera for a good portion of the day. But, when I looked to see what pics I could post I was very surprised to see that I had not snapped one. Great job Dana! A photo journalist you are not!

Anyway, on Saturday night, we slept over my dad’s house. Here is Leah with her pal, Matthew, whom she refers to as Mac. It’s quite catchy, as I called him Mac all weekend too. And, he informed me that while Leah can call him Mac since she can’t say Matthew, he’d prefer that I call him Matt or Matthew. Duly, noted, buddy. Sorry for the confusion.

On Sunday we went to the Bronx Zoo. It was pretty fun! Here is Leah with her dad…I think this is RIGHT before Leah needed a diaper change. If you know what I mean. As if you couldn’t tell by her face.

Leah with Mac…I think he was nervous she would be looking off towards stage left or something.  Not exactly sure why he's holding her face.  It's cute, nonetheless, and Leah doesn't appear to mind. 

And Mac with my brother on a camel. Don’t tell Matt that I am calling him Mac on here; he might not take it well.

And that concludes my in depth picture taking journey for the weekend. The Bronx Zoo was great, though. Highly recommend.

Hope you all had wonderful weekends, as well.


Finally Sweat Is Not Dripping Down My Back As I Type This

I'm not even going to address the heat issues we had this week, because I'm just so grateful that my butt crack remains dry today.


One day this kid is going to look back at this website and say, "Gee, my mom took a lot of pictures of me in the car...hope she wasn't driving at the same time."  And I'm going to say, "Mostly no."

Ok, quick post today.  This is what we've got going on.  Tomorrow is my brother in law's 30th birthday party.  I plan on getting a lot of really good pictures.

And what I'll end up with is probably a lot of pictures of Leah in a pool.  That seems to be my Summer 2010 theme these days.

And on Sunday the plan is to visit the Bronx Zoo.  I am already getting a lot of grief from people who will be tired/hungover/hot/tell-it-to-the-judge, because once I get something in my head, it's hard for me not to focus on anything other than that.

So, I leave you with well wishes for the weekend, for I must go back to the zoo website to find a site map so that I can plan every single step of my trip there.

I wonder why people sometimes don't like doing activities with me.  It can't possibly be due to my desire to make sure every tiny action is perfectly planned and followed to my specifications no matter what, right?  There must be something else. 


With a Capital A

I think I started to get Anxiety, right around 7th grade. It wasn’t anything debilitating, but it was able to enter my brain, hold my thoughts, and even warp them for periods of time.

You know that part in Ghostbusters when the guys have to think of NOTHING because anything they think of will come to life and then someone thinks of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and he starts chasing them? That’s how anxiety takes over my thoughts. It’s the only way I can describe it.

Last week Leah fell into the pool. I was all the way on the other side. I jumped in and swam to her in a frantic rush as she bobbed up and down in the water. At one point, right before I reached her, our eyes met. Hers showed pure terror. I am fairly certain that mine did too. But, I knew what I was doing. I was saving her. She had no idea what was going on. She was completely helpless.

I finally reached her and got her out of the pool. I managed to climb out myself and take off my soaked cover-up and hang it on the fence. I could barely speak. I was having a hard time breathing. I think I kept saying it’s ok, it’s ok, over and over again, but I’m not sure.

I wanted to burst into tears. I wanted to grab her and hug her so tight and tell her that I was never going to let her go. I just wanted to scream and cry and freak out, but I knew that was the worst possible way to act in this situation. So, as I attempted to calm down and catch my breath, I said things like, Oooh, let’s get back in the pool! Let’s practice jumping to mommy.

She was silent the whole time. She knew that something different, (wrong?, bad?) had happened, but she wasn’t sure how she should react. I know that my ability to hide how damn scared I was was imperative in keeping her calm and unafraid.

She was concerned over the fact that I had jumped in with a dress on. But, other than that, she just followed me and let me hold her and hug her briefly and then we got back into the pool together and started playing. I knew it was important to get right back into the pool to avoid any future water fear.

But my water fear is now alive and present. And for days I couldn’t talk about the event and could only see her terrified eyes in my head when I closed my eyes at night. I am having a hard time focusing on the fact that we avoided a huge and devastating event and being relieve about it. Instead, I am engrossed with what could have happened. What would have happened if I wasn’t there. What would have happened if I didn’t get there fast enough. And it’s leaking into other events of my life. Last night I almost had to stop doing laps in my pool because I was convinced I was going to break my neck on the side of the pool and drown to death.

My anxiety is now in full force. Every time I try to think about something else, I start thinking about how this situation could have gone. I think about horrible terrible things and it’s difficult to get these thoughts out of my mind. As much as I try to just clear my head of all bad thoughts, I just can’t.

When my mom died, I started having these really morbid thoughts. Thoughts about getting into car accidents, having problems with my pregnancy, losing other family members.

I’ve thought for a few years that this anxiety started with the death of my mother, but lately I’ve been thinking about the past and my childhood, and I think that this started back in grade school.

But I’ll save those stories for another day.


Our Weekend

On July 4th, we decided to have a BBQ.  Leah is very patriotic, so she dressed accordingly.  Here she is waiting for the party to start.

Once the guests arrived, it was time for fun. It was hot that day, so it felt refreshing to go for a swim. 

At night, Leah went to see fireworks for the first time.  She is still on the fence about how she feels about them. 

On Monday, we took Leah to Space Farms Zoo and Museum


This was the first time she had ever gone to a zoo, so it was a very big deal. 

She was excited to see most of the animals...

And loved the ones that she could feed.

It was really hot, so we took a lot of drink breaks.

She was such a good girl, and we let her walk on her own for most of the day.

We just told her that if she was naughty, she'd end up in jail!

And, this little car seemed like a lot of fun...

Until I did the unthinkable and put a quarter in it.  Ahhhh!  Bad mommy!

So, we'll just stick with zoos for now.

Oh, and playgrounds too.



If you are my friend on Facebook you know that on Friday, I was in bed by 9 p.m., and on Saturday, I was in bed by 9:30 p.m. It took two nights to get through The Proposal. Not because it wasn’t a good movie, but because I fell asleep in the middle of it the first night.

On Sunday night we headed to the fireworks in town, and it took us a half hour to get home afterwards. There is nothing more frustrating than being stuck in traffic less than a half mile away from your home. I might have commented negatively about a car filled with younger people sitting next to us with the windows open blasting music.

We were out of the house and on our way to Space Farms on Monday by 9 a.m. There were 5 cars in the lot when we arrived. I was happy that we “beat the crowd.”  I even said it out loud.

I won't get out of bed to check a text that comes in after 10 p.m. and usually find myself waiting an hour or so after I wake up before making contact with anyone who doesn’t have children but has the day off. Because that means they are sleeping in…I vaguely remember what that is.

I passed on plans to hang out on a boat tonight because it’s bath night. NOT for me.

I am organizing a trip to the zoo on Sunday and am annoyed by the people who told me that they might pass because they’ll be hungover.

The wireless didn’t work in our house yesterday and this bothered me because I couldn’t pay bills online.

I am actively looking for an establishment that sells temporary tattoos that are age appropriate for a two year old.

I cut out diaper coupons.

I am concerned about my town taxes increasing.

I got rid of all of our glasses and opted for plastic cups in our home.  For safety reasons. 

My friend April called me old this weekend and it didn’t bother me. I wasn’t embarrassed; I wasn’t sad. I was totally ok with it.

I think that means that I am officially old.

Not old, but sure does act like it at times.


Tiny Toes

Reminiscing today about Baby Leah. Like every other mother says, I can’t believe she was ever that small and that time has gone by so fast.

I remember her legs being so skinny. And her little toes were the size of pencil erasers. I didn’t have to cut her toe nails for months because they were so tiny.

Greg and I would just stare at her at times. Not sure what to do next. Afraid that she would start crying and we wouldn’t know how to get her to stop.
She sounded like a little kitten when she cried. And she barely ate. An ounce here, an ounce there.
And, despite her ability to fall asleep anywhere and everywhere, when it came to nighttime, she made it pretty obvious that there would be no sleeping done during those hours.
And she had great hair.  For a 50 year old man.

 She might be older now, but she's still the same little baby that I brought home from the hospital two years ago.  And I can't wait to spend three whole days with her this weekend!