Monday, October 31, 2011

A Little Adult Halloween Fun

Every year Andy and I host a Halloween party. I love Halloween.  I love the spooky atmosphere and kooky costumes.  I always want to put more effort into it, but it always sneaks up on me...not this year.  This month I'm focusing on fun and I thought it would be really fun to take the party up a notch.  So I googled and I came up with a list of great Halloween themed food.

There were mummy dogs (pigs in a blanket, but wrapped in breadstick dough so they looked like mummies), pepperoni pizza snake, and BBQ'd pulled pork intestines.  Also there were, witch fingers and creepy cupcakes for dessert and some goblin goodies for snacking.




I wish I would have gotten a picture of all of it.  The place really looked great.  The only problem was that it was snowing, which kind of sucked especially for the people who drove in from Brooklyn.  A few of my douchier friends didn't show up, but whatevs...I still had a really great time and everyone looked great in their costumes.

Tell me my sister is not a spot on Peggy Bundy?!

David Hasslehoff and me The Queen of Hearts



I had a lot of fun focusing on Leisure and I'm glad that the resolutions carry over.  Next month...Mindfulness.  And today, some good old fashioned kid Halloween fun, we're off Trick or Treating.  

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Finding my Groove

Usually I thrive on routines.  Isabella's been on a routine since she's about 8 weeks old and since she came squalling into this world almost two and a half years ago, I've been on a routine too.  It just makes life easier.  Until it makes life boring and then you need to throw a wrench in it, but that's a post for another day.

Being a working mom having a routine in place really helps save my sanity.  I shower and set up lunches the night before.  All my clothes are laid out.  My coffee pot is set up. All to minimize the amount of noise I make in the morning getting ready and to maximize the number of times I can snooze.  I go to work, touch some lives, make some long lasting memories, pave the way of the future, and come home.  I usually hit the gym right after work if it's a gym day, come home and play with Isabella, clean out my lunch box and start dinner.  After we eat and play a bit more, I take her upstairs for books, bath, and bed.  Then I usually tackle a few things on my to-do list: sweep the floors, clean the counter, blog whatever.  I try and give myself about an hour or two to just kind of relax and watch TV, play a game with Andy, or read a book.

That's how it usually goes.  That's how it's gone my past years as a working mom.  But this year I just can't find my grove.  I have no desire to make my lunches or prep the meals for the week or go food shopping or sweep or anything.  Dishes are staying in the sink overnight and the floors are collecting more dirt.  I just can't get into the swing of being back to work after the summer and October is almost over!

I feel like I'm living in a perpetual state of vacation when I'm totally back to work.  I at least usually like to put the house together after Isabella goes to bed because it's easier for me to relax when there's no clutter, but I can't even get it together enough to do that. The thing of it is, is that it's not really driving me crazy.  I'm kind of all, "Meh, what's the point I'll have to just do it again in a few days anyway."

 Can someone please find me Stella because maybe she can tell me how to get my groove back
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Strawberry in the Toilet

This story is not for the faint of heart.  It's fairly gag worthy, and despite the title of the post it has nothing to do with an actual strawberry.  So Isabella has been completely potty trained for a little over a month.  No pull ups and only the very stray and random accident, dry through the night.  But obviously when she needs to use the potty I go in with her and apparently she thinks she owes me the same courtesy.  This is where this story begins.

So I walk into the bathroom to pee and Isabella is flipping through an old issue of Parents magazine, probably looking for some tips for me, maybe a recipe or two whose only ingredient is cheese.  I take this time to try and hastily change my tampon.  One because I don't know about the rules of periods and tampons and how they relate to toddlers.  What can you say that really won't scar them?  Mommy bleeds for 5 days and doesn't die?  And two, it's creepy.

So if you're kind of getting the idea of where this story is going feel free to back slowly out of the post.

So I manage to take out the old tampon and put in a new one without being spotted until... I stand up.  She loves to flush.  "Mommy, I flush...what that?"  She had caught a glimpse of my tampon in the toilet. "Mommy, you left a strawberry in the potty.  It looks yuck."

That entire day she told everybody, and I mean anybody that was in our presence for longer than 5 minutes, that mommy left a strawberry in the toilet and she also hasn't eaten a strawberry since.  Le Sigh.


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Monday, October 24, 2011

Finding More Fun

When my proverbial plate is overflowing with work, child care, a home to care for, meals to prepare, a husband to deal with, lessons to plan, jiggly thighs to work out, and idiot drivers to deal with finding room for fun can seem beyond difficult, may I even say impossible? But this month for my happiness project I forced myself to get serious about having a good time.

I thought I was going to have a harder time with it, since I'm usually like a machine.  BAM dinner is on the table.  BAM lesson plans made for the week.  BAKOW check out those squeaky clean floors.  But really...having fun is a lot of fun.  I had a kick ass night out with my girl friends.  Spent some time with my pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks.  Spent an entire day out just Isabella and I at the pumpkin patch and then shopping.  I've been sillier at home even though it prolongs bedtime.  Do I feel happier for it?  Sure.  Except last week...last week was brutal and there was barely a ray of happiness in it (nothing major just a lot of little things that pissed me off combined with an informal observation at work that might have been the worst lesson I've ever taught, and a wickedly bad case of PMS)

But the biggest source of un-fun in my life is that much loved, much hated, much needed to-do list.  I love my to-do list.  I love making it.  I love checking shit off.  What I don't love is actually doing the shit that's on it.  Mopping the floors is really not the highlight of my life.  Uploading my pictures to facebook is kind of annoying.  But I know I need it to keep my life running smoothly, but sometimes I need to just say screw it.

Like right now as I type this, it's Sunday night and the only 3 things I have left on my to-do list are to sweep, mop, and dust the furniture in my bedroom, but that sounds like the most pathetic evening I can think of so instead I've decided to just say fuck it and I poured myself a glass of wine, curled up in bed with Hell House, and am about to savor the last few moments of the weekend in a way that doesn't make me want to rip my hair out.  I mean really, when I'm an old lady I don't want to look back and say, "I really did have clean floors."  They'll keep until tomorrow.
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Fun Fall Photos


Whitman Farms- apple picking, pumpkin picking, hay ride, corn maze, play ground, and pumpkin tunnel 




Playing with the spooky decorations outside our house




Sesame Place Spooktacular



Hayride with grover at Sesame Place


And just a little fun with picnik!  Happy Fall!

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Spooky. Creepy. Strange

So the Halloween season is upon us and aside from trick-or-treaters and 5 lbs worth of candy corn, there's a darker side of Halloween.  I've always kind of been fascinated by the paranormal.  Things like ghosts, demons, seances, etc.  And it might just be because I'm reading a lot of horror books and watching tons of scary movies and going to see a haunted house attraction that I have all of this freaky stuff on the brain, but there have been a lot of weird things going on around here lately.  Let me break the spooky down for you.

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1.  The other night we had just finished putting Isabella in her crib and Andy went to turn on the video monitor and he kind of jumped back a bit.  He said that he saw a small black circle move from the corner outside the crib to behind the toy box.  30 seconds later, she starts crying.

2.  Isabella has been complaining lately that she's scared of the tunnel in her crib.  Maybe something freaky or maybe just a toddler attempt to dodge bedtime?  I guess we'll never know.

3.  I put a paper towel down on the counter after I dried my hands on it.  I turned around and it was on the stove.  The windows were closed and the fans were off.

4.  It's almost like I feel eyes on me, like I'm being watched.  It's really creepy.

5.  I've been hearing weird noises, almost like whispering or rustling.

Like I said, I'm fairly certain that I'm just hyper aware of every little thing because I have the spooky, creepy, and strange on the brain.  Have any of you guys ever had any sort of brush with the paranormal?  You know I'd love to hear it.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Have You Ever Been So Drunk...?

Have you ever been so drunk that you think McDonald's is a great idea at 3 am?

That you have a "Dougie" off with a giant,  black man and win with an entire bar cheering you on?

That you rename a gay man Ezekiel so his name is just as biblical as his life partner who is named Jesus, even though Ezekiel's real name is John, which is one of the four books of the Bible?

That you get a shoe shine from a man in a tin foil hat and a purple suit?

That you drunk text someone completely inappropriate, like the girl from work to tell her that you just schooled some dude at doing the Dougie?

That you saw a girl slide on her ass all the way down an entire flight of stairs and you're first reaction was to laugh, and wondering if she was ok was a distant after thought, after checking to see if your friends saw it too?

Well I have.  Don't worry folks, this was just one really drunken/really fun night this past weekend, not a bunch of different days.  A few girlfriends and I went out this weekend to some dive bar in the Village section of Manhattan.  I'm practically married to my house in the sense that I'm a super anti-social homebody so when I do get out for a night out of drinking and dancing with the girls I tend to go a little hog wild.

But you know what's the pits after a night like that?  When you wake up and you're hit with that, "Holy fucking shit, how embarrassed am I right now.  WTF was I thinking trying to Dougie in public, I know I have no rhythm and I probably woke up poor Danielle to tell her about my exploits and she probably doesn't even believe I won because she knows I'm clumsy.  And that McDonald's will take me exactly 172 hours of running to work off.  And OMG, why did I stay out so late, when I have the breast cancer walk so early.  I'm such a hot mess.  I swear this is why I don't go out.  I'm too old for this crap."

But even remorseful and a little embarrassed, I had a kick ass time.
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Some Unexpected Fun

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This month the area of my life that I'm focused on for my happiness project is leisure.  Honestly, I was so looking forward to this month because I figured that it's my job to have some fun.  Easy peasy.  Well it's not so easy because, honestly, my life is fairly boring and routine and I don't exactly have a ton of free time to spend doing the things I love.  But really making a conscious effort to try and do more things that I find fun has really boosted me in my leisure and I'm happy for it.

For example, I love to read.  I'm a straight up book nerd.  I wrote recently about my love affair for the Ice and Fire series, which I finished.  I could sit with my nose in a book and a hot cup of tea or apple cider, curl up on the couch and be content.  I also love Halloween and all the spooky things that go along with it; the ghosts, demons, haunted houses!  So I combined my two loves and bought a few scary books on my Nook.  I just finished Come Closer, by Sara Gran and I'm starting Hell House by Robert Matheson.  That makes me happy.

But I really wanted to share with you guys is a moment of unexpected fun that I had this week.  I'm not alone in my love affair with Fall.  I love the leaves, the weather, the clothes, the fall activities, and the foods that go along with the season.  Many of you guys have made Fall inspired posts of recipes or photos and the like.  But it really feels like fall when I have my first Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks.  I'm almost obsessive about how and when I have them, delegating them to perfectly sublime moments of bliss where I can savor every sip.  You can read about the Pumpkin Spice Latte Debacle from last fall by clicking HERE.  So, Isabella, Andy, and I just spent a lovely afternoon at Sesame Place Spooktacular.  We watched a show starring all your favorite Sesame Street Muppets, went on some rides, and ended the day with a hay ride with our good friend Grover.  And I'm glad it wasn't Cookie Monster, because he just seems deranged, like in 10 years I can see him going postal on Elmo over a Tag Along cookie.  It's happening.

Anyway, the weather was perfect; a cool chill, but sunny and the leaves were just right.  The leaves have to be just right for the first Pumpkin Latte of the season.  I like them crimson and burnt orange, not craptastic brown.  Isabella fell asleep as soon as we put her in the car seat, she was probably relieved to have made it out of Sesame Place without running into Cookie Monster and his wayward eyes.  So I looked at Andy and said, "Pumpkin Spice Latte?" He agreed.  He has a weakness for them as well, although he doesn't share in my obsession for the perfect latte moment.  Whatevs.

So my plan was, go into Starbucks, order the lattes with two pumps of pumpkin syrupy goodness, because the three they usually put overwhelms the flavor with sweetness (See I told you I have an unnatural obsession with these lattes), high tail it home so I can sit on the stoop and drink it and soak up all the Fall goodness.

Things didn't go on exactly as I planned.  First of all, Isabella wanted to come in with me.  Fine...we all went in.  Then she insisted on a cake pop.  Fine, they're deliciousness and if I wasn't going to drink up my fun calories for the day, I would have eaten one too.  But she insisted on a pink cake pop and they didn't have any left, but the barrista behind the counter saw Isabella's little lip quiver in disappointment and offered her the display model.  Fine, we'll take it.  Andy and I got our lattes and headed for the door, but Isabella didn't join us.  Instead she climbed up on a cushy brown leather chair, took of her jacket, and started eating her pop and making eyes at the people sitting across from her.  So we all sat down, had a conversation with two old ladies, and drank our lattes.  And it was super fun!

Sometimes fun creeps up on you when you least expect it.  Although, I am planning on spending some time alone with a pumpkin latte and a good horror story in the near future.  Any scary book recs?
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Oh, and a very happy birthday to my cousin Nicole!  Have a great day.  We'll do Char again soon.
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Acceptable Reasons for Tantrums

A Toddler's List of Acceptable Reasons for Tantrums


1.  I wanted a red lollipop and all you have left is yellow.
2.  My peas touched my mashed potatoes
3.  You won't let me drive the car.
4.  You won't let me have chocolate covered pretzels for dinner.
5.  You're washing my hair when you know I prefer it dirty.
6.  That little girl looked like she might try and take my toy
7.  You put my hair in a headband when I waned it in a ponytail, but I want you to put it in a ponytail without brushing it while I'm running around the house.
8. You sang along to the theme song of Olivia and I can't abide tone deafness on my favorite show.
9.  Anytime I have to leave a party/park/show/museum.  It's happening.
10.  Whenever another kid gets too close to you because even though you're a huge pain in the ass and you try to run my life, you're my mom.

An Adult's List of Acceptable Reasons for Tantrums


1.  You're stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and are going to be late for work because of people rubber necking a fender bender pulled off to the shoulder.
2.  There's no more coffee.
3.  There's no more wine.
4.  You brought a salad to lunch because you had every intention of being skinny this week, but now that lunch time is here you want to throw the salad at your skinny co-worker and tackle her for her plate of left over pasta.
5.  You run into that bitch from high school with her pencil skirt and high heeled pumps, while you're wearing stained sweat pants and your husbands T-shirt.
6.  You're having a "fat" day.  Your pants don't fit, you feel bloated and gross and what do you find on your door step? BAM! Your husband's copy of maxim with a perky boobed, flat bellied, cellulite free Jessica-Minka-Christina whatever staring you in the face.  And the thought that they're probably air brushed brings you no comfort.  (This is only on a fat day, on a normal day it might have no effect whatsoever, which will keep the man of the house wondering if maybe you really are crazy)
7.  You can't wait to try out a new recipe, just to realize half way in that you're out of the key ingredient.
8.  Anything that involves traffic, the road shoulder, and a douche bag.
9.  When you get dressed up looking all pretty and go out with your girlfriends and no one even leers at you suggestively.
10.  When you spot that first sprout of silver hair on your head.
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Monday, October 10, 2011

The Sadness of the Happiness Project

As I'm focusing on Leisure this month for my Happiness Project, I'm realizing there's something sad about focusing on fun.  That's realizing my limitations.

There are things that have simply passed me by that I'll never get to have experienced.  I'll never graduate as valedictorian.  Never mind that I never aspired to graduate as valedictorian, it's just realizing that the option is closed to me.  I'll never fly into outer space or open a restaurant or be a famous actress.  It's not that I even want these things, it's just that I know I'll never get to experience them.

Then it's realizing my own limitations on things that maybe I feel I should be doing, but that I don't generally think I would enjoy.  Living in such close proximity to NYC and working in an outer borough, I feel that there are so many options for "fun."  So many wonderful, cultural, unique, and exciting things to do that I feel guilty when I'm not out there experiencing them.  Like going to a smoky jazz club at midnight or taking a pole dancing class or going to see the ballet at The Met.  Those are examples of things that I think should be fun, but I don't have the inclination or the energy to do it.  And that's a bit sad.  I mean maybe I should be doing more novel and adventurous things, but I really want to stick to Being Melissa and trying to find novel and adventurous things to do that are more within my realm of interests.

It can be a little bit sad to realize your limitations, but also a little bit liberating.
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Friday, October 7, 2011

Flashback Friday - Rock Band


Picture it.  It was a summer night back in 2007.  All of the girls decided to go out for sushi at Fushimi and then head back to Crotch's house to play Rock Band.  None of us can sing.  None of us can play an instrument.  Christie can dance...a little.  Just look at Teresa hunched over her drums trying to keep the beat.  And I'm pretty sure I shattered windows trying sing whatever song I had never heard of before into the microphone.  Epic Rock Band Fail.  Epic.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vegas

You know what's fun?  A weekend in Vegas for one of your bests bachelorette parties.  Here's the short version.

  • 85% of the people in Vegas are hot.
  • At one of the pool parties the Maxim Hometown Hotties were there and I couldn't even console myself with the fact that they are probably air brushed in the magazine because these girls were gorgeous.  
  • Day parties at the pool are completely awesome.  So is having an acceptable excuse to get tanked by noon. 
  • Dressing up and going out is a lot of fun, especially when you're staying in a cushy suite and don't have to worry about waking up early.
  • My friends got drunk and most of them fell and I laughed. 
  • You can totally exist on a diet of chicken fingers and Grey Goose 
  • The higher the heel the better.
  • Getting a few days to blow off steam was a much needed respite. 






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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

If Moms Ruled the World

...There would be a designated lane on the highway called "The Mom Lane" in which there were no pot holes to jostle a sleeping baby awake, it's sound proof to avoid obnoxious horns, and the speed limit is like 15 mph to ensure that you can drive slow enough to make sure that baby gets a long enough nap.

...Maternity leave would be 3 years, fully paid instead of 3 months or 6 weeks if you're a teacher like me.  Being a mother would mean you were valued at work, not lessened.  I mean really, being a mom has a certain built in skill set: organization, delegation, creativity, and routine.

...There would be days built into the work year that you had to take off: recitals, holiday shows, school functions,  doctors appointments, and report cards.  No need for an uncomfortable conversation with your boss, the day is just yours,

...If you have a crying baby or a squirming toddler (or both) you skip right to the front of the line at the post office/grocery store/drug store/clothes store etc.  Anyone failing to allow you to cut to the front of the line will receive life imprisonment because there's nothing worse than that.

...Anyone who gives you and/or your tantrum throwing child the stink eye will lose said eye.

...High quality day care would be completely free.

...Stay at home moms would be compensated for "staying" at home.  Which means they would get paid for cooking, driving, cleaning, crafting, and filling the day with fun activities for kids with the attention span of a fruit fly on its death bed.

...Kids would be appreciative of all of our sacrifices and love or else they would find themselves in some sort of detention or containment camp.

...Our children would love us half as much as we love them.

Move over Obama, I think we need a mom in office.
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

When The Fog Lifts

A few days ago I wrote about having the Bad Mood Blues and in case you were thinking I was hiding in a closet somewhere crying into my green tea, I just wanted to let you know that the fog is lifting and I'm feeling much better, or at the very least, much more like myself.

Sometimes I just get like that.  I was rereading my blog a few weeks ago, like from the beginning and I've noticed that I tend to go in cycles.  When I'm up, I'm really up and when I'm down, I'm really down.  It appears I have a moody personality.  Also, the overarching themes that are apparent in my writing is that I have issues with friendship, I'm really insecure, I hate my body, and more than anything I love my daughter and want to be a good mom even if I don't always know how.

I think when I'm in a bad mood or when I'm having an "episode" as I've grown fond of calling them the best way for me to get through it is to just feel it deeply.  Some people seek retail therapy, others talk it out with friends, while others ignore it completely, while I need to just allow myself to feel sad, maybe indulge in a glass of wine or two, watch a sad show and have a good cry.  It always sets me right again.
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Monday, October 3, 2011

October Happiness - Leisure

Whew! September is over and I'm still in one piece, relatively.  While the challenges at work aren't lessening, I am getting back into the swing of things and I'm ready for the next chapter of my Happiness Project.  In October I'm getting serious about play and focusing on Leisure.

I'm talking about carving out and focusing on the things that I do for myself, for fun, and for my "me" time.  Which means that one of the first things I needed to do was think about what I like to do in my free time.  Where do I find my fun?

  • I love to read.  Browsing in bookstores, getting lost in novels, learning from non-fiction, perusing magazines all makes me super happy.  
  • Shopping is fun.  I like to window shop and put together new outfits, although I don't know how well this is going to fit in with my budget. 
  • Pretty much anything that gets me out of the house.  I tend to brood when I'm indoors too often, so spending time in out of doors activities or at places that provide a change of scenery gives me the greatest sense of fun.
  • Watching TV and movies.  Loves it.  
  • Cooking. Especially new recipes.  
It may not be the most sophisticated list, but I'm not exactly what you would call a sophisticated gal.  And honestly, it took me a long time to kind of puzzle out what I find fun.  I also need to remind myself that just because someone else finds something fun, doesn't mean it's fun for me. Here are my resolutions for the month.

Find more fun: It's so easy when I have a free moment to throw in a load of laundry, do a quick mop of the floor, or unload the dishwasher, that sometimes the whole day goes by and I haven't done one thing that's just fun for me.  I need to try to do one fun thing a day.  Maybe it's watching Mike and Molly instead of dusting or getting a mani-pedi after work instead of rushing home to make dinner.  I'm worth one fun moment a day, and I'm sure that the people around me will benefit from it.  I'm so over feeling guilty about doing things for myself, especially since no one else in my household shares that affinity.  

Be silly: So what if Isabella spills the paint on the floor or if dinner gets burned because we had to sing Hakuna Matata again for like the 10th time.  Honestly, sometimes I'm so consumed by the running to-do list in my head or overwhelmed by the amount of crap that needs to be dealt with that I feel glum and humorless.  Sometimes I need to just be silly.  Instead of cajoling Isabella to take the underwear off of her head and put them on her butt, maybe I should just go with it.  

Go off the path: Research shows that introducing novel activities into your life can significantly boost happiness.  I want to try new things.  Even if it's just once.  For example, I've always been terrified to drive in Manhattan.  The crowds, the traffic, the parking, so I've always cabbed it or if I really had to, taken the subway.  But recently, when I took Isabella to the bubble show I decided I would do it and it was a little bit scary, but I did it and it felt great.  I was so inspired that I took her to go see the Lion King by myself the following day just the two of us and it was great.  I really want to try to do something novel at least once a week.  

I'm ready to get down with leisure.  

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