Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mind readers need apply

We are now in full swing of the phase of raising a baby that I refer to as "I wish I could read her mind".

Samantha has strong ideas on what she wants and where she wants to go. Sometimes she'll bring us her shoes and put out her feet for us to put on her. Other times she'll just put out her arms and start a combo wail/moan sound until you figure out what she is looking at. It is incredibly cute when you finally pick an item up and say 'This?!?!?" and she gets the biggest grin and smile on her face. Yes, it took long enough to play detective and get to the bottom of it, but it was well worth it in the end when she is so incredibly happy and giggly with the much in-demand item finally in her hands.

Due to a lack of vocabulary and mobility, it is incredibly frustrating trying to figure it out. Oh, if only I could read her mind. There would be much more peace in our house. Who am I kidding? Even if I could read her mind, then I'd be wishing I could interpret what the dog's barking means, and how much I can actually push Ian to work on his letters/numbers before he truly "Can't take anymore" (his words, not mine).

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What happens in Berkeley Springs, stays in Berkeley Springs (or, can be read below!)

For 40 hours I left behind my identity of being a wife and a mom and became just "one of the girls". Yes, that's right, it was time for my annual girl's weekend.

The girls and I go away to Berkeley Springs once a year and do the spa thing. We have our trip down to a formula and the only thing that varies is the number of girls going and where we will be staying. If the group is big enough, we get a house up in the mountains (about a 5 to 10 minute drive from town), or if our numbers are on the small side, we can reserve a house in town and be able to walk everywhere. This year we totaled 4 girls and scored big with what is probably the best house we've ever been in. The house slept 6, so we were more than comfortable and in the back was a hot tub.

We meet up on Friday; some of the girls head up earlier in the day and some others, like me, go in the evening. Just a 2 hour drive away and before you know it, we are all sitting in the hot tub with a glass of wine in our hands and a few full bottles near us, ready to be poured. Saturday is always the day for our spa visit. Long ago we discovered a top-notch spa with affordable treatments and enjoy going all-out being pampered.

If we stay in town, we'll walk to a nearby restaurant for dinner. The town isn't that big and our options for a nice meal are limited. 9 times out of 10, we go to Tari's. This year we got a great recommendation for a restaurant that was literally a stone's throw away from the house we were in. Always up for trying something new, we got very excited reading the reviews online. Lot 12 did not disappoint and we can't wait to return next year. To the 4 other regulars who usually join us -- boy, did you miss out!!

The meal was phenomenal and a MUST for anyone in the area. Reservations are most definitely needed. We called around 1:00pm and asked if they had a table for 4. The gentleman on the phone said they were completely booked and could put us on the wait list. Meaning, that if someone canceled their reservation or did not show, we would get a call to come. I gave him my name and phone number and said to the girls, we need a back-up plan! Since we were eating lunch at Tari's at the time, going back to Tari's wasn't really an option. Therefore, the back-up plan became showing up at Lot 12 in person seeing if they could do anything for us once they opened for dinner. The same guy I spoke to on the phone earlier, answered his phone again and let us in when I told him we were on the other side of his door. We left the restaurant with a new plan. We were able to get 4 seats at the bar for 8:15pm. Yay!! A nice surprise came when we returned at 8:15pm for our reservation and the hostess showed us to a table. Somehow the guy we dealt with earlier worked his magic and got us a table. As we come to find out, this guy was the owner and chef. The food was so flavorful and melted in your mouth. I will be dreaming of this meal for months to come.

Everything about the weekend just clicked. For not having any kind of schedule, we were able to relax in the hot tub, leisurely watch a chick flick (an oldie, but a goodie "Sweet Home Alabama"), play some board games, shop, and of course have many, many laughs over Facebook and what our status should be. We even cooked an awesome breakfast Sunday morning and worked out to Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD.

I do so love hanging with the girls. There is nothing like leaving all the responsibilities behind and only having to worry about you. It is nice to rejuvenate and get to the point where you miss the kids. I know, after having close to 2 days off, I come back through the front door being a better mommy for having the break.

On a side note: Kudos to Jeff for being an excellent father and dealing with Sam who had a 103 degree fever most of Saturday. Many, many thanks for him not requesting I come back early. :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sugar and spice and everything nice...

When I see Samantha play with my purse and push a baby stroller, I am reminded of a song my mom used to sing when my sister and I were growing up.

From the show Flower Drum Song:

"I'm a girl, and by me that's only great!
I am proud that my silhouette is curvy,
That I walk with a sweet and girlish gait
With my hips kind of swivelly and swervy."

I find it so fascinating that Sam knows she is a girl and has already begun acting like one doing girly things. Our boy-specific toys (cars, trucks, trains, etc) out number the girl gender toys (play kitchen, doll baby) easily by 100 to 1. Obviously Samantha's older brother has had a good 3 years on her growing his toy collection. Even with all these boy-specific toys, her favorite activity for the past week or so is to take my smallest purse and put it on her shoulder. She likes to carry it and push the baby stroller/walker. Samantha makes her rounds and puts in some serious mileage walking around. Since she isn't comfortable enough to walk on her own, I think Sam really enjoys being able to move and get where she wants to go.

I am so excited that Sam is enjoying being a girl. One of the highlights of my day is when she sits completely still first thing in the morning and allows me to do her hair or when she looks down at her clothing and smiles in delight over any bow or decoration her outfit has.

I have big plans for us. As soon as it is appropriate, we will go for mother/daughter pedicures, afternoons of lunch and shopping, and of course, high tea at some of my favorite places with some of my favorite people joining us. I've had my eye on the Teddy Bear tea The Ritz offers for some time now.

I only hope that we become as good of friends as my mom and I are. But since I had a great role model growing up, I don't think I can go too wrong. And to all the girls out there, pinkies up!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

One letter changes everything

No one was more shocked than me when my phone rang at 5:45pm on Monday afternoon. It was the office manager of the GI doctor's office, letting me know she appreciated my letter very much and wanted to thank me for writing my concerns. She told me that they are rearranging the way they schedule patients for Dr. X so that in the event he gets held up at the hospital no one will be kept waiting excessively.

OMG!!! I couldn't believe my ears and was seriously impressed with how to heart this doctor and his practice were wanting to make things right. And to take the time to let me know the effect it was having was beyond fantastic.

I feel great and love knowing that patients everywhere may wait a little less to see the doctor because of me. I was smiling after getting the call from the doctor himself on Friday and have an even bigger smile on my face from getting the call from the office manager telling me their new way of scheduling. All because of my letter. The power of the written word. Woo-hoo!

Monday, September 21, 2009

They don't teach you manners in medical school

Quite a few of my friends have inquired how I am doing with my recent diagnosis of Celiac disease. Now that I've officially been diagnosed, my GI doctor wanted to see me. My appointment was this past Wednesday. The very next day I sent the following letter. I've taken out any personal, identifying information to protect this doctor's identity. Read more of what transpired (after the doctor received the letter) below.

September 17, 2009

Dr. X
Address of doctor

Dear Dr. X:

I take my health very seriously and would like you to know why I won’t be coming back as your patient in the future.

It isn’t because the two appointments I had specifically to meet with you I was kept waiting for more than 1.5 hours on my first visit (and never did get to see you) or kept waiting for 30 minutes on yesterday’s visit. I understand getting held up at the hospital and these things happen. Your whole staff was more than courteous, honest and upfront about it. In fact, it was the way the staff handled your absence the first time that impressed me and caused me to schedule the colonoscopy and endoscopy without formally meeting you.

No, the reason I will not be coming back is specifically the way I felt I was treated on my most recent office visit on Wednesday, September 16, 2009. My appointment was for a follow-up regarding the results to the colonoscopy and endoscopy. The most important aspect was being told I had Celiac disease. I had come to the appointment prepared with many questions. I was trying hard to get a grasp on this diagnosis and understand what it meant for me to have this disease. As you are aware, Celiac is a life changing condition and would mean making many lifestyle changes to accommodate it. Given your unknown return time from the hospital, Jane Doe (name of nurse) was able to assist and answer a good number of the questions I had. If we came to any questions that she couldn’t give me an answer she felt good about, she said to wait and ask you.

Upon your arrival, when it was time for me to ask you the questions I still had lingering, I was taken aback by your abrupt one or two word answers. I don’t feel you took any time to try to answer my concerns or help me understand the condition any better. In my opinion, you were bordering on being rude (and in fact were when you stopped to take a phone call in the middle of my appointment with you). Jane Doe ran circles around you in how she handled the questions I had. It is a shame my appointment wasn’t solely with her as she gives a much better impression of your practice than you do. The one question I still have and feel you completely dismissed in terms of giving me your professional opinion is, “How will I know eating a gluten-free diet will be working? How can I be confident I am doing everything right?”

In addition, I had questions regarding the findings of reflux and the hiatal hernia. However, I was so rattled by your disposition and lack of ‘bedside manner’, that I completely forgot to ask you about them. I had expected you would’ve gone through the findings of the report and wanted to discuss this, in addition to the Celiac diagnosis. Apparently I was wrong. In fact I am now wondering why you even requested a follow-up appointment.

I took this appointment with you very seriously and had arranged a babysitter so that I could give you my full attention and not be trying to juggle and entertain a 15 month old. I am disappointed by the lack of medical insight you gave me and frankly, insulted that my condition didn’t warrant your full attention.

I would like to make it abundantly clear that these reasons stated above are why I will not come back to your offices. Your staff, especially Jane Doe, is all top-notch and excels in customer service. They are a major credit to your practice and I hope you realize how fantastic they are. You, on the other hand, could learn a thing or two from them.


My name
Cc: Jane Doe and the referring physician

I put the letter in my mailbox on Thursday and come Friday, at 6:00pm, my phone rang. It was Dr. X!! Boy was I surprised and not just because the letter made it to his hands in one day. I really didn't think I would hear back from him. If anything, I thought I would hear from Jane Doe. Dr. X apologized and said I was always welcome to come back. And then we talked. I brought up all my questions and this time he really answered them. We not only spoke about the Celiac, but also the hernia and reflux. It was me who initiated the end of the call. I thanked him, told him I appreciated him calling and hope he has a nice weekend. He reiterated again that I was always welcome to come back.

I've got to say, I feel so good that I wrote this letter and sent it. By Dr. X calling me, he completely did a 180 degree turn on what I thought of him. My perception of him has changed - all by the simple act of picking up the phone and calling me. He was the bigger person and I give him props for doing the right thing. Who knows, maybe he was having a bad day and was a little off during my office visit with him? But, I felt it was important for Dr. X to know the effect he had on me. This visit was a big deal for me and I wanted him to know that I matter.

I've been so fortunate my whole life to have amazing doctors. When you find a great doctor, you hold on to them and don't let go. For as long as my dentist is in practice, I will travel the 45 minutes to downtown D.C. to see her. Sure, there are dentists much closer to where I live, but she is the only one I want to see. I feel the same way about my OB/GYN and got very lucky that the house we bought 5 years ago wasn't that far away from the hospital they deliver at. Made it much easier to explain to my husband why I wasn't switching doctors.

Ideally, I would like to find a GI doctor that specializes in Celiac. But until then, I feel Dr. X deserves a 2nd chance from me. In my eyes he met me more than halfway by picking up the phone and making good.

Just to keep everyone in on the latest, I've got an appointment with a nutritionist on October 1st. I plan to make small changes and slowly ramp up to a 100% gluten-free diet. My goal is to have this accomplished by Dec. 31st. I've already found out that soy sauce has gluten in it. Oy!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Teething is Evil!

Let's all be thankful that we don't remember what it is like to cut a tooth. I can only imagine by Sam's reaction it is extremely painful. For some reason I don't remember Ian suffering like Sam, but then again, any of the more difficult aspects of raising a baby seem to get mentally blocked from my memory as soon as we leave that stage. Still, if my sleep is going to be affected, I usually can recall just how long that stage lasts.

Our teething remedies is baby oragel and Hyland's teething tablets. Unfortunately both take a few minutes to kick in and do their thing. Sam's sleep is getting majorly disrupted by all the teeth she is cutting. She will cry in her sleep or if it is bothering her enough, stand up in her crib and start a full-blown screaming fit. One of the best inventions ever created is the baby video monitor. It gives us a birds-eye view to see what she is doing without going in her room and disrupting her. Jeff and I do our best to not go in there and hope she falls back asleep before she gets used to us coming to her room in the middle of the night. As a last resort, I'll go rescue Sam from her crib and take her downstairs for a little cuddling time on the couch. We hit paydirt on Thursday night, when we were able to catch the last 30 minutes of "Little Miss Sunshine" on tv at 3:30am. This movie is a classic and I think even Sam enjoyed seeing Olive do her dance at the end.

I expect we will wake up soon one morning and she'll be grinning from ear to ear with all her pearly whites exposed. Her teeth will be starting the climb upward in her mouth. All things come and go in stages and we just need to grit our teeth and bear it until this one is over. No pun intended.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Teenagers today - Update

Follow-up to the following blog entry - Teenagers today

The idea came to me like a light bulb going off over my head. I have a friend whom I've known my whole life (well, since I was 5) that has a baby girl just 3 months younger than my Samantha. In fact, her little girl's name is Samantha too. Total coincidence; as custom in the Jewish religion, both girls named after two different, but very much loved family members.

Amanda has multiple nannies who divide the week and take care of her Sammy. So before I totally started freaking out over my sister Meghan's lack of reliable friends, I called Amanda and asked if she had anyone in her circle that could do the job. Without even taking a breath, Amanda gave me the name and number of the perfect person. I called Jackie and to my delight found out she was available. We went over the details of the weekend and I booked her on the spot. Jackie does not have a family so I don't feel guilty taking her away from her kids all weekend. And, according to Amanda she is certified in infant CPR and does developmental work with the children. So by the end of the weekend, I expect Sam to know her alphabet and be reading.

A big sigh of relief that this can now be checked off the to-do list. I just wish this idea came to me sooner.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Soccer the 2nd time around

What a difference a year makes!! Ian tried soccer last year and never made it beyond the first practice. In fact, Jeff did more running on the field than Ian did. There are many reasons why Ian probably didn't take to it. It was an unseasonably hot day, he refused to wear the shin guards, and he always finds a way to surprise us when we think he'll really enjoy something.

I was more than surprised when a few months ago Ian announced "soccer is my life" and he expressed a strong interest in playing again. Without further ado, I researched a new league to put him in and registered for the Fall 2009 season.

Because of Ian's history with the sport, I received special permission to hold him back and start over again in the U4 division. Why in the world would I want to purchase two team shirts (a red one and blue one) and have him do a practice session once during the week and a game on Saturdays when in reality he may hate it and we are back to square one? No thank you! We can build up to that. Plus, I feel it is good he gets the fundamentals down and make sure he really likes it before we get carried away with all the requirements of the U5 league. If he enjoys participating in U4 for the whole season, then we can make the jump to U5 in the Spring.

To my delight, Ian has taken to soccer like a fish to water. He slept with his soccer ball the night before the big day. He couldn't wait to put on his team shirt and shorts and even made his uniform complete with the shin guards. It was like we were dealing with a brand new Ian. Once on the field he listened to the coach and gave it his 100% in participation. It was a very exciting moment for me. Seeing Ian enjoy being out there had a smile on my face almost as big as his.

Now I just need the minivan to make the 'soccer mom' image complete.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Teenagers today

So as I've mentioned a few times before, my sister Lori is getting married in October, on Sunday, the 11th. We are quickly approaching the big is officially less than one month away!

I also have another sister. Her name is Meghan and she is 17 years old (yes, we are 21 years apart!). Meghan is incredibly social. This girl has friends! In fact, according to her Facebook profile, she has 991 of them. She lives in the city Lori is getting married in...Orlando. The wedding (ceremony and reception) is being held at a beautiful hotel. Jeff and I are checking in on Friday and will be 'living' there until Monday afternoon when our flight is scheduled to go back home. We figured it is much easier with 2 kids in tow to stay at the spot where all the festivities are taking place rather than going back and forth to one of my parent's houses.

My kids are not part of the wedding. Let me just say I am totally ok with my sister's decision and agree with her that kids have no place at a wedding. Not to mention, it would be an added layer of stress making sure they behaved and didn't cause a big disruption. They will be dressed up for pictures, but will not be seen at any part of the ceremony or reception.

Jeff and I devised a plan to have one of Meghan's friends come help us for the weekend. We have done the math and figured at $12 an hour (the going rate for a babysitter in NoVa) for the two days we need her is approx. $250 for the weekend, plus of course, we will cover all meals. And, this job couldn't be any easier -- during the days on Saturday and Sunday, she would mostly be an extra pair of hands. We will have adjoining rooms and if Sam needs to go down for a nap, she can be near her while she is sleeping, but still be able to be on the phone, watch tv, or text in the adjoining room. This will give us the chance to be with our other child out and about or by the hotel pool (which if anyone knows the Hyatt Regency Grand Cyprus in Orlando is spectacular!) and still free me to help Lori with wedding things. And when Sam is awake, the babysitter can hang with everyone having fun doing whatever we are doing.

In the evenings, the events (rehearsal dinner on Sat. night and wedding on Sun. night) are starting late enough, that when the babysitter is by herself with both kids, they will only be awake at the most for an hour or two before they go to bed. Again, she can put them down in one room and hang out in the other.

Here's the dilemma - with all the friends Meghan has, she can not get anyone to commit to babysitting for us. None of the friends are willing to say they will show up. Call me crazy, but isn't $250 for the weekend a good deal for a 17 year old who is still in high school? And, these girls know my kids and really like them...they've sat for them a few times before in Orlando in the past. They know how much fun they are. They know how easy this can be.

I am astounded that these kids have no desire to work. That a weekend of hanging out with their friends is more important.

Meghan is still working on finding someone to help us. But as we get closer to the big day, I am starting to freak out. I know the hotel offers babysitting services, but I really don't want a complete stranger watching my kids.

Back in the day I would've jumped at the chance to do something like this. I hope that this isn't a sign of things to come with this generation. Or else, we are in trouble.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Heard and Observed III

Let's just make it to kindergarten, shall we?:

Ian: I'm never going to college
Me: Why Ian?
Ian: Because I don't want to make new friends


Yes true, but:

At a friend's house for a BBQ, Ian ate 3 hot dogs (two of them with buns!):

Steve: Ian, are you full?
Ian: No, I'm 4


But how will they know to come?

During our time in Orlando, having a conversation with my mom:

Ian: Mom-mom, I am going to throw you a SURPRISE party for your birthday. We are going to get you a cake and a pinata.

Me: Ian, why are you telling Mom-mom about her party if you want it to be a surprise?

Ian: Because it is a surprise for her friends.

Me: Oh


Grandma and Grandpa Toppall came for the weekend to take care of the kids:

Ian notices that Grandma wears her shoes all day long in the house (a concept very foreign to a mostly barefoot Ian).

Ian: Grandma, you need to take your shoes off before going to bed, because we only wear socks or feet.


On the way to Burke Lake Park, Ian points out to Grandma and Grandpa where Bailey is being boarded for the weekend:

Ian: Bailey is staying over there with his friends. He only plays with the medium and big-size dogs because the puppies no longer like him.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I am mommy, hear me ROAR!

After my latest battle with Ian acting out and refusing to cooperate, I decided to step up my game and get strict, very strict. I am not a yeller and feel there are more effective ways to get my point across. I always threaten to take away tv watching privileges and put Ian in 'time-out'. Admittedly, my bark was worse than my bite. Until now.

I told Ian in the morning, when there was not a situation occurring, and he was more apt to listen that I was not going to take the attitude, the yelling, the defiance. The consequences would be any of the following (sometimes all of it!): no tv for the rest of the day; immediate confinement to his room for him to cool off; no further playdates/activities for the rest of the day.

Jeff and I have been trying very hard to get Ian to practice his writing skills. All we ask is that for 15 minutes a day he takes one letter of the alphabet and write it over and over again. Even if we got 10 good minutes we'd be overjoyed with that. However, Ian is still showing no interest in practicing; no matter how fun we try to make the activity or help guide his hand through each letter.

The other day I gave Ian the one show warning and said when his show was over we were going to take advantage of Samantha sleeping and practice writing. He said ok. Then the show was over and he asked very nicely if he could watch one more and then write letters. I was okay with this and felt if he thought he was getting a compromise, he'd be more eager to partake after this next show. Boy, was I wrong!

Sam woke up during the last 10 minutes of the show and fortunately gave me the ability to get as loud as we needed to without worrying about waking her up. Ian flat-out refused to do letters, so I said, "Fine, no tv and turned it off." Ian started yelling very loudly. Having told him my "no yelling, no attitude" threshold earlier in the day, I said it was now time for him to go to his room until he calms down. Again, Ian refused and continued yelling. I picked him up (kicking and screaming mind you) and carried him to his room. I was able to clear his doorway and close the door. Sam is doing her best to keep up and fortunately I got the door closed before she made it in his room. I had to hold the door closed for a good few minutes before Ian stopped trying to escape. It wasn't a pretty scene and I am sure the neighbors could hear all hell breaking loose, but at least he was in his room and staying there. I told him when he was ready to come out, please let me know.

After about 10 minutes of some major yelling, Ian opened the door and said he needed a drink. I got him his drink, closed the door and he continued yelling. Then about 10 minutes past that, Ian said he needed a hug. I went upstairs gave him his hug and asked if he was ready to talk. He said yes. I got down to his level and asked him why he was told to go to his room. He said he didn't know. I calmly explained that he refused to do something we both agreed to doing, he started yelling and threw a temper tantrum. I reminded him that I would not tolerate the yelling or attitude anymore. I left him in his room and told him to let me know when he was ready to talk again.

After another 10 minutes, he said he was ready. The same exact conversation happened and Ian was still sanctioned to his room. This went on for close to an hour before he was able to answer my question - "Why were you told to go to your room?" He finally was able to answer the question. Yay!

I did stay true to my word and Ian was not allowed to watch any tv for the remainder of the day. Plus, in the height of his screaming the phone rang and it was Stefanie asking us to join her and the kids at Burke Lake Park. I was able to use her call and make my point that "no, we can't join you this afternoon. Ian is not behaving and therefore not allowed to go do anything fun." It was perfect timing to show Ian just how serious I was being about my new, strict form of parenting.

The funniest part in all this was when Jeff got home and Ian ran to meet him at the door and said, "What if mommy doesn't ever let me watch TV again?" Boy, I guess I scared him good!

I am not sure just how much impact my discipline method had, but the very next day I told Ian we were going to Bed, Bath and Beyond and Wegman's in the morning. He was eager to get in the car and even inquired what we needed at each of the stops. When we got back home, he came up with the following plan; "How about I watch a Fireman Sam and Calliou and then practice letters?" And when it was time to sit down at the table, I not only got the letter 'A' out of him, but also the letter 'I'.

Score one for mommy!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Ian the Terrible

My mom is convinced we (Jeff & I) need parenting discipline classes. We, as adults, should be in charge at all times and not be manipulated by the temper tantrums thrown by a four year old. For the past couple of years now my mom has offered to pay for these parenting classes. Each time Ian throws one of his world-class fits in her presence, my mom is reaching in her purse for her checkbook. I keep saying, he is 4 and this is how a four year old acts. My mom replies with, in a few months you'll be saying he is 5 and then he is 6 and the excuses will never end.

I've gotten amazingly good at ignoring Ian when he starts yelling and stomping his feet. The other day I wanted to run a few errands and Ian wanted nothing to do with it. His fit started way before I even got him to get his shoes on when trying to leave the house. He yells at the top of his lungs that he is not leaving and will not go anywhere with me. I tell him goodbye and carry Sam to the car. I know that I can call his bluff and he doesn't want to be left behind. And, once in the car, he will do his best to negotiate how many stops we are going to make. Ian is still yelling the whole time. When we get to our destination he'll then refuse to get out of the car. Again, I call his bluff and begin walking away from the car. Soon he is yelling at me to wait so he can catch up.

And, in each store or place we go, Ian will not even take a breath to slow down the yelling and screaming. I am sure people are looking at us but I don't care. I have things that need to get done and if this helps us check out sooner, then so be it. If the people bothered by this display wanted peace and quiet they should've stayed at home.

I feel like I do so much for Ian for him to enjoy each day. I arrange playdates, take him to the park, playground, pool and many other activities; so when I want to go do something I want to do, I feel like he should comply. I simply refuse to give into his attitude and give him his way. I think I'll be able to keep this up a little while longer. At least until Ian realizes I won't actually leave him behind in house, in the car, in the parking lot, in the store.

If you don't tell him, I won't either.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Five Sweet Years

Just before I turned 30, I was convinced I would never meet "The One". I figured marriage wasn't in my cards and I needed to continue to live my life to the fullest. I was not going to get hung up that I would never have a 'plus one' to events. It was a devastating weekend for me to come to this realization, but I survived and did what was in my power. I bought a condo and got a dog. What else does a person need?

About 15 months later I got a call from a good friend named Dana who asked if I wanted to be set-up. She worked with this guy named Josh who knew a guy that they wanted to set me up with. "Sure" was my reply. What did I have to lose? I asked Dana for details about this guy and got extremely little information back. Dana barely knew his name. Josh sent out an email to the both of us as an introduction. Before I could figure out the appropriate amount of time I should wait before responding, Jeff took the initiative and sent me an email. It was a top 10 list of completely random things to know about Jeff. I absolutely loved his approach and he had me at hello. Seriously. He took cues from things I had written in emails back to him and planned a great first date. He made sure the Thai restaurant had plenty of vegetarian options and had purchased tickets to The Improv for afterwards well in advance. He even had an umbrella ready to hold over my head as it had started raining sometime during the date.

We were engaged 9 months later and the wedding took place 14 months past that date. It was wonderful falling in love and I still look at Jeff most days and fall deeper than I did the day before. He isn't perfect, but he is perfect for me. He can look at me and instantly tell something is bothering me. He knows my moods and appropriately reacts. He gets me. He asks how my day was and really listens to my response. He remembers things I've told him in the past. He makes me laugh all the time. He is my biggest supporter and cheerleader. And, he'll knock me down a peg or two if he thinks I am in the wrong -- which rarely occurs. :) He is compassionate, caring, generous, and a little neurotic about our finances. Jeff is also one of the most intelligent people I've ever met. He can be brutally honest sometimes and I wouldn't want it any other way. He is affectionate and likes to hold my hand. I like that. He completes me and makes me be a better person. I believe with all my heart, Jeff is my soul mate.

Today marks our five year wedding anniversary. Sometimes it feels like we've been together a lifetime and I don't remember what life was like before he came into mine. Other times I feel like we are still getting to know each other -- who knew he didn't like piano bars after going to 4 of them with me?!?!? We've covered a lot of ground in the past 5 years. Between buying our house, having two kids, making a few career changes, there is no one I would rather go through life's ups and downs with. At the end of the day, it's Jeff that I want by my side.

It was a wonderful surprise how Dana's phone call to me turned out. They say things happen when you least expect them. I can honestly say that everything worked out the way it was supposed to. 31 years, 16 months, 22 days and 19 hours was more than worth the wait.

I love you honey with all my heart and look forward to many more amazing years with you. Each day has been a wonderful adventure.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Heaven help us

The questions started innocently enough..."Is the gas on the right or the left?" "What does the wider one do?"

We were doing a power shopping trip in Hallmark (meaning I've got about two minutes to buy all the greeting card needs I have for the entire month) and Ian was quizzing me on the mechanics of how to drive a car. "Do you press them both at the same time?" That was the clincher when I realized he was teaching himself how to drive a car. And not just any car, my car. For the past day or two Ian has been jumping in the driver's seat any chance he has. He is measuring how much further he has before his feet touch the pedals.

On the way home from running some errands he told me that by age 9 he'll be big enough. His first stop is going to be Ho's Dynasty for lunch and then he is coming straight home. Ian told me that I'll be sitting in the passenger seat next time while he is driving.

Can I wear a helmet on this maiden voyage?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

But you still have to use a booster seat

Ian loves, loves, loves the movie "Cars". Everything he does is centered around Lightning McQueen and he makes endless references to it throughout the day. In fact, he named his big boy bike "Shekicks" because that is the fastest car in the movie. There is nothing faster than Shekicks and frankly with Ian on his bike, there is nothing faster than that as well.

Imagine Ian's surprise when during our trip to Orlando, my dad took Ian with him to meet me after my sister's bridal shower and brought out his corvette to drive him. Now this was a real racing car!! And just like Lightning McQueen, the car was red. Could it get any better!?!?

However, according to Ian, there were a few problems. Ian astutely observed the following;
There were no racing stickers on Papa's car, not even a number 95 on either of the doors; Papa drove way too slow and is now affectionately known by Ian as "Slow Papa"; and Papa doesn't stand a chance racing against Shekicks - because as we all know, Shekicks is the fastest.

As Ian does with everything and everyone around him, he quickly gave my dad's car a nickname. It is now called the "Vette Jet". Papa couldn't be any prouder if he had thought of it himself.