Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This is sooooooo me!

So the celebrations to mark my upcoming birthday (It's tomorrow!!!  It's tomorrow!!) keeps getting better and better.  As if the outings with my MOMs Club mommy friends, my preschool mommy friends, the upcoming Girl's celebration, my ENTIRE family flying in and surprising me wasn't enough, I walked in to my house on Saturday afternoon and found the most wonderful cake in my living room.  This cake is so awesome, that it deserves its own blog entry.  For anyone interested, Kelly Nyman ( made this cake.  She is one amazing and talented artist.  Jeff arranged with Kelly to have the cake made.  She took all she knew about me and whipped up this little number.  The top layer was gluten-free.

The running shoe on top is the exact kind I
wear, Asics.  The clapboard's movie being
featured is "Beaches". 

One of my most favorite touches..."RIP Pasta 2009"
I love the Crystal Light packet ("Friend's don't
let friends drink plain water.")

That's Jeff and I, with the date we got
married in the heart.  The address to our
house is on the mailbox.  The book is "My Sister's
Keeper" by one of my most favorite

Ian and Sam, their birth dates are written in the
balloons.  The top of the cake has my high school
and college diplomas.  There is even reference
to the #1 guy on "my list" Matt Damon.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Best. Birthday. Surprise. Ever.

Blown away would be an understatement.  I naively thought I was going to lunch with my mom and stepfather Jim on Saturday.  Unbeknownst to me, my mom planned a surprise party at my favorite restaurant (Choices by Shawn) and had Jeff's family and my whole family in attendance.  My dad, stepmother Rita, Meghan, Lori, and her husband, Ben all flew in. 

Hands off, they're mine...all mine!
 Mom arranged everything with the restaurant and reserved one of the private rooms in advance.  Not to mention she pre-ordered my favorite dish, Gnocchi and made sure it would be gluten-free.  Walking in to the restaurant and seeing everyone at the table was pretty spectacular.  I had the ugly cry going on for a minute or two.  Family means the world to me and I absolutely love that they wanted to be here to celebrate my birthday with me.

I couldn't ask for more.  It was perfect.  Being together for a happy occasion.  Being with family.  Having us all in one room at the same time.  This is what it is all about.  I am so blessed to have such an amazing family.  I love them so much.  

To be able to pull a surprise over on me is pretty cool too.  They did it.   Looking back, I can tell now how close I came to blowing the surprise for myself.  A few days prior, I received an email from my local Let's Dish announcing that they were closing as of July 1st.  I wanted to dish one last time and booked the sesson for Saturday, showing up to dish anytime between 11:30am and 1:00pm.  Behind the scenes everyone was freaking out over this when word got back to them on what I had done.  My sister Lori tried to convince the people at Let's Dish that they needed to call me and tell me they were overbooked for that time slot and I'd have to come another time.  They didn't want any part of that lie.  It wasn't until Thursday evening that my mom said she was really looking forward to going to lunch with me on Saturday.  Without any kind of questioning from me (which is quite rare!), I called Let's Dish first thing on Friday morning and asked if I could change my session to that Friday evening after dinner.  They said yes.  I originally didn't chose the Friday time slot because I was getting up at 4:00am the next morning to meet my friends for a 9 mile run.  But since my mom said she'd help me, I knew we'd be in and out super fast. 

I still can't believe they came. I thank my lucky stars I am related to them.  What an amazing day it was.

Yep, this picture pretty much says it all. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A walk down memory lane

In anticipation of Ian and Sam's visit for an extended amount of time, my mom cleaned out the 3rd bedroom in their house and made it more appropriate for Sam to sleep in.  They got rid of the big desk and bookshelves and bought a sofa sleeper.  The room is more like a den now, rather than an office. 

When cleaning out the room, my mom came across a lot of my stuff, boxed it up and brought it with them in their car.  On Monday evening when they arrived, out came this box and a flood of memories with it.  It was a crazy trip down memory lane.  In this box were 2 baby books my mom filled out from when I was born (neither of them more than 1/2 done), a ton of pictures growing up, mostly from high school, college and trips I had taken. I now have in my possession these huge (think 16x20) framed Olan Mills b/w school pictures.  What in the world am I going to do with that!?!?!  

Also included was a lot of random stuff.  The funniest being a letter I wrote to my mom when my sister, Lori and I was staying with my grandparents (my dad's mom & dad) one summer in 1986.  I wasn't very nice and I am finding the letter hilarious now.  I could scan it and include it below, but I have a feeling that this would start a big fight between Lori and me.  So, I will restrain myself and tell Lori publicly in this blog how much I love her and am so happy we are sisters.  :)   The letter did mention that I just received my learner's permit and neither Papa or Nana was letting me drive.  Apparently my grandfather kept saying he would let me drive tomorrow and then kept moving it to the next day when tomorrow came.  Did he not think I would catch on to that?!?!   I go on to thank my mom for being the only one to let me drive before I was 15.  Huh?!?!  We both got a pretty good laugh out of that.  Because if anyone was letting me be behind the wheel before I was of legal age, it would be my dad, certainly not my mom.  But I guess somewhere along the way, my mom was cool like that.  :)

The coolest thing was the Orlando Sentinel newspaper from June 3, 1983.  It was when my sixth grade class made the font page of the newspaper, above the fold!  It was a small class of only 8 students at The Hebrew Day school and they gave us this test that was designed for public teachers to take in order to be certified to teach.  We all passed the test! 

That's me on the left-hand side, closest to the front.
 My mom and I looked through all the photos, letters, and articles for well over an hour.  It was crazy to see some of the stuff that was saved, not to mention that I found it important enough to even photograph in the first place.  My hair color ranged from every shade of blond, brunette and red. And there were even a few photos from when I changed the color of my eyes using blue contacts.  Photos of every dog we ever had from puppy hood all the way to old age were in this box. And way too many bad photos of me on picture day at school each year when my mom freshly cut my bangs that morning and did a very crooked job.

Some of these photos are probably best left at the bottom of the box allowing them to continue to gather dust.  However, the fun my mom and I had looking through them all was priceless. 

Here's my most favorite picture I found:

I love how happy and goofy my parents look and how shell shocked I look.  This picture was taken in one of those instant photo booths.  I was one month old. 

I am glad my mom brought this box of stuff to me.  I have absolutely no idea where I will be storing it. I'll probably sort through it one more time, scan a few old photos in to post on Facebook, tag everyone in the photos, and relive some of the good old times all over again.  Then I'll find a good sturdy box to store it in, stick it in our shed and find the box again in another 20 years.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The State of Samantha

Many people keep asking me about Sam and all those hot topics we are dealing with.  Here is an update on The State of Samantha.

Oh, those sleepless nights!
I am going to take a big risk, tempt fate and say this out loud.....for several weeks now, Sam has consistently been getting 11 hours of sleep and making it through the night without too much turmoil.  If she gets through the day without a nap, Sam will go to bed easily at 7:00pm.  However, if Sam falls asleep at any point during the day, she won't fall asleep at night until 9:30pmish.  Its nights like these that you can bet she'll wake up earlier than the roosters and greet the day grumpily at 5:00amish.  It makes for a long, long day and you only hope she won't fall asleep again before bed time and can get back on schedule.  We are all happier that Sam's sleep issues have seemed to work themselves out.

Here a temper tantrum, there a temper tantrum, everywhere a temper tantrum!
Now that Sam is getting sleep, her temper tantrums have been taken down a notch.  I'm not saying we are out of the words completely, but we can reason with her more and for the most part, Sam listens to what we are saying and is satisfied with the answer.  If Sam is tired in the least bit (which is likely the case starting early afternoon), then she is whiny, cranky and downright miserable.  In other words, very hard to be around.  I have noticed some change for the better in her temperament.  Either that, or I've become more tolerant.

Potty Training - Day 23
I made it 23 days in this crazy potty training saga before I couldn't take it anymore. 

Here's what finally made me snap and jump overboard the potty training ship (so to speak):  We went to the movies on Saturday (Day 21).  Sam had a spectacular day and I was very impressed with her ability to tell us she had to go, hold it until we made it to the bathroom and keep her underwear dry.  The whole day she was a rockstar.  The very next day, on Sunday (Day 22), she had absolutely no success and we went through 30 pairs of underwear in less than 1/2 a day.  It was the craziest thing!  We did nothing different than the day before.  She never made it in time to the bathroom, and some of the time didn't even tell us she was peeing.  It was a nightmare!  On Monday morning (Day 23), when we had 5 accidents within an hour, I was beyond frustrated and couldn't go on like we had been.  I told her we were doing pull-ups from here on out.  When she can show me she can keep the pull-up dry for hours on end, then I will reconsider putting her back in big girl underwear. 

She obviously can do it and has proven to us that she is capable.  So now we will wait it out and use the pull-ups in the meantime.

Need ear plugs STAT!
Sam whines so much I want to offer her some cheese to go along with it.  OMG!  It's grating on the ears and makes me sometimes wish I was deaf.  I've tried every tactic in combatting it and now resort to telling her I can't hear her in that voice and do my best to ignore it until she changes her ways.  The other day I found myself yelling at Sam for such a long time, that I am sure Joan Crawford ("Mommie Dearest" reference) from her grave was taking lessons.  It was really bad.   Ian said he was feeling a little left out and I asked him if he wanted me to yell at him too. 

Now that I've come to terms with the potty training not working out, the whining is the one thing that needs major work. 

Let's wrap this up!
Sam is amazing.  She can be playful, funny, sweet and cuddly a good portion of the day and then something will her set her off and it's all downhill.  I'd like to think I am doing a better job of anticipating her moods and trying to side-step some of the major explosions that can occur.   Every day brings a fresh new start....that is until I get back from the gym at 7:00am and see what kind of mood she is in.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Feeling the love

I am now in single digits, counting down until I turn 40.  Just 9 more days to go.  Although, I love to make a big deal out of other people's birthdays, I am not usually one to go crazy over celebrating my own birthday.  That is until now.  For some reason I am finding much delight in making a big deal over the big 4-0!  I am trying to figure out why this number means so much to me.  I have come up with one word:  EMPOWERED!

I remember 10 years ago, approaching my 30th birthday and feeling very depressed.  I wasn't as far along in my life's milestones as I had wanted.  I hadn't met The One (not even close!), didn't have children yet, and was in a job that was pretty much not going anywhere and barely covered the bills.  I came to the conclusion that my life was not taking the path I had hoped and needed to change my plans.  I got a dog (Bailey) and made a good, full life for the both of us.  It is when you least expect it to happen, that everything has a way of falling into place.

Fast forward 10 years and I couldn't be happier about where I am in my life.  I am now married to a wonderful guy, 2 kids, and am at a very fulfilling place taking care of the kids, running the household, and being part of a great community.   But more than this, I feel more confident, more alive, and more in control of my life than ever before.  I feel like I have arrived.  I love that I have this strength to no longer give a damn about what others think.  Strength to do what I feel is right.  Strength to get up in the morning and train for a marathon if I want, or take 2 young kids and tackle Chuck E. Cheese or the pool by myself if I want.  Strength to let my instincts guide me and not second guess myself.  Strength to be the kind of wife, mom, friend, woman I want to be. 

As I turn 40, I do it with gusto!  I want to celebrate this amazing feeling of empowerment I have.  I am so blessed to have formed so many amazing friendships with women from all aspects of my life...The Girls' (these are the ones I always reference), my fellow preschool moms, and my MOMs club friends.  I can't imagine a day going by without speaking, running into, or emailing/texting one of them.  They are my sounding board, partner-in-crime, BFF, and the reason I don't go insane most days.

This is the headband I was given to wear at my night out
at the National Harbor.  Nothing says fun like a
pink, purple, black feathered headpiece, complete with
sparkles and pink party hat hanging out beyond
the feathers. (Thanks, Amy!)
 I have been enjoying my upcoming 40th with multiple celebrations.  2 weeks ago, my MOMs club friends took me out to the Melting Pot (can you say YUM!??!?!), this past weekend my preschool mom friends took me to Rosa Mexicana and Bobby McKey's (dualing piano bar) at the National Harbor (3 shots of tequila later! YOWZER!  Who knew I was able to handle that?!!?), and then on August 7th, I will go out with The Girls.  We've got dinner with Jeff's family this coming weekend on the calendar.  And lets not forget, the trip to Vegas next week with Jeff.  I am partying like a rockstar and loving every minute of it.  Getting to spend quality time enjoying each other's company, doing special outings, the ability to have a long conversation, laughing and creating special memories is better than any party.   This is exactly how I want to celebrate and comemorate the big 4-0.  I am blown away by the love being shown to me and how so many people want to do something.  I wasn't the popular kid in school (far, far from it) and now I feel like I was just crowned prom queen.  I love all these women so much and they each mean the world to me, and to feel that love come back to me all at the same moment is very overwhelming and humbling.
I may look like an absolute
dork, but I am having a
fantastic time!
40 is the new 30.

 I am turning 40 and I feel fabulous.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A picture is worth a 1,000 words

As I sit here and try to do justice to describe the type of father Jeff is, I realize I will come up short.  No amount of flowery adjectives can adequately come close to demonstrate the amount of love Jeff has for his children.  Raising kids is a team effort and I couldn't think of a better partner to be my side in this journey called parenthood.  Happy Father's day Jeff.  You may be one of many fathers out there, but in my eyes, you are one of a kind.  We all love you so much. 

Moments after Ian was born...first bottle

Moments after Samantha was born

Samantha's 1st birthday - after eating cake.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Losing It

For the past 17 days, those around me know how consumed I've become over this potty training thing.  I am not going to bore you with the details on how challenging this has become, but I do want to give a public apology to one of the victims of my current mental state.  This public shout-out goes to my dad, Jeff Mazer. 

You see it was my dad's birthday yesterday and I completely forgot. In all my years, I've never forgotten a family member's birthday.  Never.  Ever.  It's unthinkable in my mind. In fact, for weeks ahead of the date, I will start thinking of the perfect present and make sure it is bought or ordered in enough time to receive it before the big day.  And on the first of each month, I'll make a trip to my local Hallmark store and stock up on all the greeting cards needed that month.  Neither happened this month. And to make matters worse, it took my dad calling me yesterday, surprised I hadn't called him yet to wish him a happy birthday.   Yeah, I was surprised too.  Surprised it was his birthday and very surprised I forgot.

Happy Birthday Dad!!  You showed me it is okay to think outside the box, bend the rules when necessary and to give it everything you've got.  I love you and wish you many more birthdays to come. 

The epitomy of cool.
I've got a chance to redeem myself on the 19th, when it is Father's day.  I've already got a great surprise planned for Jeff (husband).  Now I just need to pull something together for the other Jeff (my dad).  After all, he is 1/2 responsible for giving me life, and thus making me go crazy with this potty training thing.  Hmmm.  I wonder what wonderful thing I can find to say "Thank you" for all that?!?!?

Oy!  I need to regroup and get it together again.  I most definitely need a break.  But I am way too far into this to turn back now.  Just 13 days until the kids head down to FL.  Yes, 13 days.  We will soon be in single digits.  Yay!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

An act of sisterly love

The other day I reported on an act of brotherly love and Ian's demonstration on how much he cares for Samantha and wanted to help in our potty training efforts.  It wasn't more than 48 hours later and I saw a reciprocating demonstration of love, this time from Sam towards to Ian.

Every day when we leave the Synagogue, either after preschool or camp is over, there are sweets put out that the kids can help themselves to.  I don't know about the other moms, but I love that the preschool director puts these goodies out in the lobby.  It certainly helps me get Sam to move along and exit the building faster.  On Friday, Sam saw the tray of cookies and picked two.  She told me that one cookie was for her and the other would be for Ian.  She had a cookie in each hand and was ready to go to the car.  I looked at Ms. G (the preschool director) and wondered out loud how long the 2nd cookie would make it before Sam decided against her plan to give it to Ian.  Since Ian wasn't with us, he'd never know that there was ever cookie with his name on it.  Ms. G. smiled back and said, "Probably not long.  She has been licking each cookie."

Yes, it used to be round.  :)
 By the time we got home, Sam had eaten one cookie completely and had taken approx. 3 bites out of the other cookie, not to mention it looked a little soggy from her licking it.  She walked into the kitchen and said she needed a baggie to put the cookie in.  She told me, "I am going to give this to my brother.  This is for Ian." 

Even though she was hungry and asked for another snack when we got home, she didn't once touch the cookie.  When Ian got home after school, she ran to the kitchen and grabbed the bag with the cookie in it. I could hear her yell to Ian, "IIIIIIIIAAAAANNNNN, I got a cookie for you from my school.  Do you want it?" 

You got to admire her restraint.  She came very close to eating the whole thing and Ian would've never been the wiser.  But she managed to save 2/3rds of the cookie and give it to her brother just like she wanted.

It's moments like this that I am so happy they have each other.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Getting our Summer groove on

Summer is underway.  Bring on the pool!  Bring on camp!  Bring on the fun summer activities! 

As the kids get older, each year it gets easier and easier to manage the pool on my own.  Don't get me wrong, I am still about 3 years away from sitting on the side of the pool ready to jump in at a moment's notice.  And a good 4 years away from being one of those moms who can sit on a lounge chair with her Kindle while the kids are swimming without me.  But, we are finally at a point where I am no longer a freak trying to keep an eyeball on each child.  Ian is showing remarkable progress in the pool and Sam is happy either playing on the steps, baby pool, or letting me hold her in the deeper water.  And when she is willing to wear her arm floaties, it is the best possible scenario for this age.

On Wednesday, we hit nirvana!  We met up with some friends at the pool at 4:00pm, ordered pizza to eat poolside and didn't make it back home till 6:30pm.  It was a great way to end a super hot day (record breaking temps - 99 degrees).  Any activity that the 3 of us can enjoy that doesn't require me yelling, lets me relax, love being around my mommy friends and oh yeah, the kids have a great time is a good thing.  A very good thing.

I hope to be doing this weekly and have discussed with the mommy friends taking it up a notch.  We are going to bring shampoo and pajamas.  By the time we leave the pool again at the end of the day, everyone will be showered and ready for bed.  Does it get any better?   I think not. 

Walking to the pool. 

This bathing suit was given as a gift.
It's the only one she'll wear now.

Watch out folks, he'll jump in, swim underwater,
come up for air, and use googles!

I've upgraded my wheels!  No more red wagon, now I am
equipped with this super-duper cart.

Bring on Summer, I think I am ready for ya!