Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Day 30: "The Best Of" Edition

Well, I made it.

30 posts in 30 days.

And in those 30 days, the following happened:
- I spent a weekend away
- I hosted Thanksgiving
- I had the flu for 5 days

If you read one post, if you read 29 posts...thank you.

To commemorate the end of 30 days of NaBloPoMo, I usually post something poignant on this last day. 

Two years ago, I wrote about my 10-Year Cancerversary.

Last year, I shared what I hope will be the prologue to my novel.

(click the links to read those posts)

This year, I thought I would share links to some of my favorite posts, sort of a like my compilation album.

On why I prefer Target to Walmart: read it here.

On my animal hoarding neighbor and duck rape: read it here.

On my love/hate relationship with technology: read it here.

On my marriage into a fruitcake family: read it here.

And the joy of 4 stockings: read it here.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Day 29: Please excuse my barefoot child.

My child hates shoes.

You read that right.

If my child could be barefoot his whole life, he would be happy.

He hates putting things on his feet.

Problem is...I LOVE shoes.

Like, LOOOOVE them.

When I worked in retail advertising, I would clean house during the sample shoe sales because I was the magical size 6. I would scoop up about 20 pairs of shoes for about $5 each.

It was like my Christmas.

And I couldn't wait to share my shoe love with my child.

So when Max was born, I had visions of having a son with a mad shoe game. Tiny work boots. Hipster sneakers. Little sandals with the ankle strap. Rubber wellies.

Instead, I have a child who hates shoes.

I know.

And it's not for a lack of trying. I buy this child so many pairs of shoes just hoping he will fall in love with them. (That, plus his feet are growing so fast he keeps needing bigger shoes!)

Currently, here are the shoes that were purchased in hopes that Max would wear them.*

 *This photo does not include 2 pairs of rain boots and 3 pairs of shoes already returned to Target.

And out of all those shoes, these are the only shoes that he will wear:

At least my hipster sneaker dream came true!

Every time I try and sneak on a pair of shoes that aren't his velcro Converse, he screams in protest, yelling, "Take dem aff!"

So even though it's freezing outside and these shoes are made of breathable canvas, this is what we wear every day. At least I bought them in a second color so we have a "play" pair and a "dress" pair.

So me – the self-proclaimed "little shoe princess" – has a child who hates shoes. How is this possible?

I'm not quite sure what's going to happen when it snows.

Does Converse make a velcro, waterproof boot that looks exactly like this by any chance???

Monday, November 28, 2016

Day 28: Bring on the boxes!

Alternate title: why you shouldn't shop when hopped up on meds.

In all the apartments and houses that I've lived in since graduating college (6, in case you were wondering), my mailman has hated me.

At one point in my life, I subscribed to 12 – TWELVE – magazines. Twelve heavy publications that had to be stuffed into a mail slot each month, trudged across the Boston Common, delivered during rain and snow storms.

Then, this little thing called the internet was invented, and really took off. And with it, came online shopping!

When you have boxes being delivered by large UPS and FedEx trucks, and you live on one of the most narrow streets in Southie (one that's barely on the map, and traffic isn't supposed to drive down it), you hear all sorts of colorful language, tinged with a thick Boston accent.

And then one day, Amazon was born. And following that, Amazon Prime.

If the mail/postal/delivery people didn't like me before, they certainly don't like me now.

Last year when we were renovating our family room, our contractor said to my husband, "Your wife sure gets a lot of packages delivered." Um, thanks buddy. Way to out me.

It's just so simple. Shop. Add it to your cart. Hit "purchase" (and your credit card info is saved! so easy!). And then two days later...POOF. Packages.

You've heard the phrase "Don't drink and Prime?" Well, I'd like to suggest: "Don't Prime on Meds" as a close second to that.

Today, I'm home sick. And it's Cyber Monday. And I'm armed with prescriptions. 

In between naps, I MAY have done some damage Christmas shopping.

So my point is, I blame the person who invented the internet, and then Amazon Prime, for any troubles the UPS delivery man has two days from now.

(And for the record: I'm down to only 5 magazine subscriptions right now. Not bad.)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Day 27: Captain Obvious here: Being sick sucks.

In the midst of my crazy fall, some things fell by the wayside.

And, like most Moms, I fell to the bottom of my own list of things to do. So while I made sure Max had his flu shot, I failed to get mine.

And so...I got the flu.

On a 4-day weekend.

That's the kick-off to the holiday season.

With our annual Black Friday tradition.

And a toddler who screams, "WAKE UP!" whenever he sees someone lying down.

I feel like I was hit by an 18-wheeler, and Mr. KK was insistent that I do absolutely nothing and stay away from Max. He even told Max I had a "boo boo on my head" (which kind of makes me sound like a crazy person??) so Max keeps coming over and patting my head and kissing it. (But don't let Mr. KK see or he will put me in a plastic bubble!)

I haven't laid down this much since I was an infant.

Yesterday I felt like poop stuck to someone's shoe. Today, I feel like plain old poop that sitting in the yard; so a marginal improvement. I'm on all sorts of medications, too.

When I stand for more than 30 minutes, I am suddenly exhausted, like I just ran a marathon. Carrying Max. Uphill.

The one person who IS happy I'm sick is Vito. Because being sick means someone to lay on the couch with him all day.

My view for the last 60 hours has looked like this:

So what did I do? Well...

- I binge watched "Gilmore Girls" on Netflix. And HOLY MOLY no one with a healthy mind deserves an ending like that, let alone someone who is not at her wits. Come on, people!

- I (kind of) napped. When Max napped. Except for that day he didn't nap at all.

- I shopped online. I mainly bought myself a necklace and a pair of pants, but it's something.

- I booked a beach house for our vacation next year. Amazing the things you'll purchase when you're on meds.

- I paid the bills.

- I drank my weight in ginger ale.

- Did I mention the binge watching???

I'm good at caring for sick people, but I hate BEING the sick people. Because I have no patience and things need to get done.

But first? A NAP.

(Get your flu shot, people!)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Day 26: kk's favorite things

Christmas is my most favorite holiday.

There's nothing I love more than finding the perfect gifts for everyone on my list. I scour websites, magazines and stores. And every year I compile a list of my favorite gifts.

1. Crate and Barrel Wood-Marble Platter. Perfect for entertaining. $29.95

2. FUJIFILM Intax Mini 8 at Because sometimes you want old school polaroid photos. $54.95

3. Game of Phones from Uncommon Goods. It's the G-rated version of Cards Against Humanity that you play with your phones, with questions like "Who has the most unread emails?" (PS: That would be ME) $20

4. Pearlized Braided Necklace from the Loft. It's a little bit chunky, a little bit rock 'n roll. And the Rose gold makes it feel very holiday-y. (In fact, I just bought this for myself today) $54.50

5. Hobnail Glass Cocktail Shakers from Anthropologie. I love the retro feel of these shakers; they remind me of my Grandmother...if she were a martini drinker. $32-$42

6. Cooking for Jeffrey by Ina Garten at Amazon. It's not secret I have a girl crush on Ina. She could publish a cookbook about toast and I would buy it. $18.99

7. Typhoon Vintage Utensil Pot at Target. This will match my orange stove perfectly. $14.99

8. Red Car Holiday Doormat at Target. I'm dreaming of a retro Christmas. $7.79

9. Pioneer Woman Traveling Vines Nesting Mixing Bowl Set at Walmart. The patterns are fantastic and each bowl comes with a lid. Perfect for mixing and storing. $24.99

Happy Shopping!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Day 25: I'm like a TV's shows worst curse.

Today marked a big day in my pop culture world: The Gilmore Girls Netflix episodes premiered!

I know, right???

I was a huge GG fan – and, by default, so was Mr. KK. And, it goes without saying, that I was devastated when the show ended. 

Here's a secret about me: whenever I like a show on TV, it gets cancelled.

My adoration is like a TV show's worst nightmare.

In case you don't believe me, here's my track record of shows I've liked that have been cancelled:

My So-Called Life. Premiered in 1994 and lasted one season.

Relativity. Premiered in 1996 and lasted one season.

Freaks and Geeks. Premiered in 1999 and lasted one season.

Ed. Premiered in 2000 and lasted four seasons.

Sons & Daughters. Premiered in 2006 and lasted one season.

Chuck. Premiered in 2007 and lasted five seasons.

Burn Notice. Premiered in 2007 and while it lasted seven seasons, I could have watched seven more.

So this post is a warning of sorts. 

If you love a TV show, don't tell me about it.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Day 24: Just plain thankful.

Taking a quick break in the eating to just say, I'm thankful.

I'm thankful for my family, and for our good fortune, and thankful that there may be some of you out there reading this blog.

Today was filled with lots of food and laughs, and lots of dirty dishes.

Time to rest up for Black Friday shopping!

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Day 23: T-minus 1 Day until Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving Eve, and probably one of my favorite days of the year.

We host Thanksgiving, so today is my prep day, where I get to start the day at the grocery store (my favorite place), cook for 8 hours, and then end the day eating at a bar.

This year was no different.

After dropping my munchkin off at daycare, with my tea in hand, I hit the grocery store.

Just to get to this milestone took a lot of work. Writing out menus, doing two rough drafts of my grocery list until finally organizing one master list with items listed in order that they merchandised in the store.

Once home, I started cooking. Baking cornbread for stuffing, bringing cream cheese to room temperature for a dip, cooking down cranberries and shredding brussels sprouts.

This year, I listened to my audio book while I diced, sliced and chopped.

I wrapped up the day by making dessert. While I love to cook, I'm AWFUL at baking. There's too much measuring, it's too much of a science. Whereas cooking is about flavors – a little of this, a little of that. It's much more my speed.

When it comes to baking, there are about 5 things I bake well. And my pumpkin cheesecake is one of them. This year, however, I'm trying a new recipe, and keeping my fingers crossed.

And while our situation has changed a bit in the last two years, we still ended today at a bar. With Mr. Max bellied up in his booster seat, eating a grilled cheese and french fries like it was his job.

So on this eve of Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for so much. A day of cooking, our little boy, and wrapping up the day as barflies.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Day 22: Talk about getting into the SPIRIT of things.

As I've mentioned, I love Christmas, but I respect Thanksgiving and I will wait until it's over before decking the halls and stringing up the lights.

But I have to say: I can't wait for Christmas tree getting day!

We get a real tree each year, because I love how it makes the house smell, and I still have flashbacks from my childhood and putting together our artificial tree by sticking branches in the holes in the metal "trunk".

We don't cut our tree down, but we do pick out a fresh cut tree from a local market.

I remember a few years back, speaking to someone on the phone for my job, and we got to talking about the incredible fact that it was almost December, and how we were both planning on getting our Christmas trees that upcoming Saturday.

She said to me: "A few years ago, before we moved to NYC, we used to get a group of people and all go to the Smith Tree Farm and get our tree together. We'd go up there and tailgate first, then go pick out our tree."



As someone who is totally on board with the idea of adding cocktails to almost any event to make it more fun – manicures, yard work, a 5k – I was intrigued with this idea.

Thinking back to the tree farms that I've been to in the past (if you live in Connecticut, you've been to a tree farm), I remember them consisting of large, unpaved areas for parking oversized, tree-carrying vehicles. The same types of vehicles that are perfect for carting coolers and mini grills. I imagined me and Mr. KK cracking open cold ones, sitting in lawn chairs, eating crock pot chili. It would be just like tailgating for a football game – minus the stadium, thousands of other people doing what you're doing, and, well, football.

And while this all sounds like a perfectly normal Saturday afternoon activity, I couldn't help but wonder a few things...

1. Technically, you're not supposed to operate machinery while intoxicated. Does a chainsaw fit under this category? What about a hand saw? Does that constitute as machinery? Technically it's not electrical, so...

2. After drunken tree cutting, do you wake up the next morning and find your tree not as attractive as you did the night before?

3. It has been my experience that everything in the universe is magnified when you're under the influence - like when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the bar's bathroom mirror and can't get over how H-O-T you look (even though your mascara is running halfway down your face, and you've lost the muscle control to hold in your stomach). Do you pick out a tree that's WAY too big for your living room? Do you have a faint remembrance of yourself chanting the phrase, 'Go big or go home!' as you wandered around the tree farm?

4. Did you see a sweet little family cutting down their very first tree together, and the minute they go to capture the moment on film, photobomb them?

5. Do you wake up and check your wallet and realize all of your money is gone? Because you were so in the spirit of the day, that you decided to buy a round of Christmas trees for all your new friends?

Tree tail-gating is an intriguing concept. I wonder if our local tree place would kick us out of the parking lot if we tried it? Or take advantage and convince us to buy not one, not two, but THREE trees?

I'm thinking a nice hoppy IPA pairs nicely with indecision.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Day 21: What Moms REALLY Do When They're Alone In a Hotel.

This past weekend I was able to meet up with a dear friend in Boston.

We’re food/fashion/style soul mates. And this weekend, even after not having seen each other for almost 2 years, we picked up right where we left off. 

And it was amazingly awesome.

We're both creative directors, full-time working mothers, with Type A personalities, who may or may not be perfectionists.

After a wine-soaked lunch, miles of walking, and hours of trying on clothes, we headed back to the hotel.

What do two busy moms do when they are away from their families?

Well, it looks something like this:

Setting: hotel room around 5pm, each of us lying on a bed in a slightly-comatose state, eyes glued to HGTV.

ME:  “This.Is.Awesome.”
FRIEND:  “No one is looking for me. Or climbing on the bed. Or needs something.”
ME:  "What is up with that fireplace?"
FRIEND: "Don't you totally girl crush on Joanna Gaines?"
ME:  "That room totally needs an accent wall."
FRIEND:  "I could live in that kitchen."
ME:  “For the record, I would totally be down with not moving and doing this all night and ordering room service.”

NOTE: We did eventually get dolled up and went out for drinks and a delicious late dinner.

But that hour of doing nothing except critiquing the Property Brothers’ design choices?


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Day 20: Christmas: It's on.

While Summer is my most favorite season, Fall is a close second. The crisp air, the foliage, no humidity and rain for endless good hair days.

I love wearing vests and light scarves, bringing out the boots and ponchos.

However, once the weather starts dipping down into the 20s and 30s at night, and the leaves are gone off the trees, and I can see my breath, I move on.

I become obsessed with Christmas.

Fall, you're dead to me.

I have holiday music on the radio 24/7.
Christmas deliveries start. (Dear Postman, please accept my sincere apologies for the deluge of boxes you will have to carry and drive down our long driveway.)
Bags of wrapping paper and bows start to fill up the spare room.
I make my Christmas cookie list.
I scope out the best hiding spots for presents.
I decide on the color scheme for our tree.
I spend hours in Homegoods ogling their holiday decorations.

I do, however, wait until after Thanksgiving to bring out the decorations and the tree. I respect the turkey, then it's all about the guy in the red suit.

I'm ready for you, Christmas. Bring it on!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Day 19: We're going to get Christmas right.

Coming off of our #holidayfail (otherwise known as Halloween) our house is preparing for "Operation: Santa".

Because the big guy in red is coming, and I want our child to be prepared (mentally, emotionally and physically).

On Max's first Christmas, he was only two months old. So when Santa came to visit, Max sat peacefully in his big white-gloved hands, touching his snow-white beard, gazing into his crinkly eyes. (It made for great photos, too)

Last year was a different story.

We are lucky enough to have Santa come to our house during the holidays! We set up a chair for him in front of the tree, he reads 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' and hangs out.

Unfortunately, Santa scared the bejeezus out of Max. Not because of anything he did, it was just his mere presence. Max was shy at first, and then he clung to me like a life raft, crying "No! No!" (This also made for great photos, but in a different way)

Currently, our Santa world sounds like this:

ME:  "Max, did you know that Santa is coming soon? He wears a red suit and hat, has a white beard, and says, "HO, HO, HO!"
MAX:  "No!"

Maybe he misheard the "Ho"?

So THIS year, we have a plan. We are going to be All Santa, All the Time.

We will talk about Santa every day.
We will bring out pictures, figures and books with Santa.
We will SEE Santa a total of 3 times: once at our house, once at daycare, and once on the Essex Steam Train.
We will be one with Santa.
We will not cry when we see Santa.
We will LOVE Santa.

I hope.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Day 18: Words to Live By

A few days ago, I posted about the importance of nap time for my everyone’s sanity.

When Max was a baby, we conditioned him to sleep through quite a bit: vacuuming, a barking dog, the TV, conversations, music.

There were a few sounds, however, that would immediately wake him, even if he was in another room:

The “pop” from opening a beer soda can.
The “click and hiss” when our oven ignites and starts heating.
The baritone of Uncle Rick’s voice.
Vito’s nails clicking down the hallway.
The rustling of the plastic when opening cereal or crackers. (Oh, no, wait. That’s what wakes Vito up.)

When Max is sleeping, I am like a ninja. I go about my business of laundry and cooking and chores at a low decibel. I do my normal routine. They are sounds he’s used to. I don’t do anything new.

My husband, whom I love more than anything, was mostly likely absent in school on the day they taught whispering. He’s HORRIBLE at it.

HIM: saying anything to me
ME: “Shh! Whisper!”
HIM (not whispering): “I am whispering!”
ME: “No, you’re not.”

Because of his non-existent whisper and sometimes bad-timing to start certain loud projects during nap time I have come up with a motto for our house: 
“You wake him, you take him.”

Time for Mr. KK to master the art of whispering.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Day 17: Don't even THINK of bringing that food in my house...

...unless you're trying to get on my good side.

I love food.

And I love good food.

I plan vacations around how many meals I can work into the itinerary. I don't get to eat out as often as I used to, so when I do, I enjoy nicer restaurants.

Even if we're out at a party, or a restaurant, I'll have Mr. KK taste something first. 

"Is it worth my calories?" I'll ask him. Nine times out of ten, it isn't.

But there are a few foods, that aren't fancy or special, that break all food rules. Those foods that are so delicious to me, that I just.can't.stop.eating.them.

In no particular order:

1. Stew Leonard's chicken salad. There's a specialty grocery store in CT (and some areas of NY) that makes the most amazing chicken salad. What starts as a small schmear on a cracker, slowly turns into forkfuls until I'm scraping the sides of the empty container. It's shameful.

2. Doritos. We're talking good old classic Nacho Cheese here; none of that 'Jacked' or 'Taco' or 'Supreme' crap. (And don't even get me started on 'Cool Ranch'. It's like the New Coke of Doritos). I LOVE Doritos. And I eat them systematically: first, I find all the chips with the MOST cheddar dust on them and eat those first. Next, I will eat the ones that are full triangles (in descending order from most cheese to least cheese). Then, I will eat the non-triangle chips. Lastly, lick my fingers and press them into the crumbs to pick them up. The result may be orange fingers for 3 days, but it's SO worth it.

3. Ben & Jerry's Peanut Butter Cookie Core Ice Cream. I'm not a sweets eater, but I LOVE ice cream. And this ice cream? It's like frozen crack. I discovered it this past summer on our beach vacation on a fluke. I bought the container to share with Mr. KK, however I'm pretty sure he didn't see more than 3 spoonfuls. If you haven't had this ice cream, you haven't had ice cream. It's THAT amazing.

4. Cape Cod White Cheddar and Sour Cream Potato Chips. If I could marry Cape Cod potato chips, I would. I love potato chips. But not all potato chips. There are potato chip varieties that I don't love (I'm talking about you, greasy Lay's and weird Wise). But Cape Cod chips are the perfect mix of crunch and salt and flavor. I could eat them for every meal.

5. Cheese. There are few cheeses I've met that I don't like. Bring cheese to my house, and you get invited in. Bring one of these three and you get the good beer: Manchego, a nutty aged Gouda or Parmesan, and creamy brie (bonus points for triple heart attack cream).

There you have it. The foods that could cause my shame eating. Or hiding the empty containers at the bottom of the trash. Or permanent orange finger tips.