Thursday, November 30, 2017

Day 30: The Last Hurrah ((cue finale music))

Another NaBloPoMo in the books.

This year has been a year of change for our family.

In January, our house was burglarized (read about it here), so I started the year on edge and freaking out about door locking more than ever. Read about my OCLD here.

In April, I turned another year older, and realized that I was wearing my “cheater” reading glasses more often than I wasn’t. And I was using them to do more than read. Getting old sucks.

In May, I took a month-long sabbatical, that truly put my life in perspective. I was happier, and more relaxed than I had been in a long time. I was more patient with my Little and Big Misters. I liked myself more. I got to shop at my favorite stores in the middle of the morning during the week. I got a taste of the “Ladies Who Lunch” lifestyle and I LOVED IT. If you missed it, read about it here.

In July, we said good-bye to Vito. I wrote about this heart-breaking experience on my Day 1 post (grab your tissues, friends). The other day I dragged out the holiday bins and lying inside was Vito’s bone-shaped stocking. Every time we light a fire in the fireplace I expect him to sneak up and elbow his way in until he’s spread out on the run in front of the fire, hogging the heat.

In August, I started a new job at the Surrogacy agency we used to start our family. I found myself working from home and living in leggings, learning a new skill set, challenging myself and finally eating dinner with boys each night. When I go into the office every other week, I get to visit my girls and my most favorite city, Boston. Do I miss working crazy hours and having a long commute? No. But I do miss my coworkers, who made the madness bearable.

In September, Little Mister started Preschool. And potty training. And having an opinion. Can someone please tell me how that happened?

And here we are, on the cusp of December. It's the busiest – and my most favorite – month.

There’s shopping to be done. Cookies to be made. Presents to be wrapped. Trees to buy. Sanity to be kept. But it’s the most wonderful time of the year for a reason.

Grab your loved ones and hug them tight. Put down the phones and pick up your kids. Don't just LOL but laugh out loud. Burn your tongue on hot chocolate. Breathe in the sweet scent of pine. Kiss your loved ones good night.

Thanks for spending NaBloPoMo with me.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Day 29: Did someone say cocktails?

When our family comes over for a night or holiday, Mr. KK is our bartender.

When asked what they'd like to drink, each family member gives the same answer: "I'll have my usual."

And each one has a different usual:

  • My Dad: Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks with a twist
  • My Mother: Absolut Sea Breeze, light on the cran, lime twist
  • My Mother-in-law: Tanqueray and Tonic, extra lime
  • My Father-in-law: whatever we're serving (he's not picky)
But when Mr. KK gets to me in the ordering process, I usually freeze up.


Because I don't have a go-to drink. Sometimes, I'm in the mood for beer. Sometimes, after a long day, there's nothing better than a big glass of red wine to unwind. But beer and wine aside, when Mr. KK and I are standing in the middle of a crowded bar, I stand there like a deer in headlights not knowing what to order.

We are now entering, however, the season of the cocktail. When you more or less have a cocktail in your hand 24/7, unless you're sleeping or sick.

But what's a girl to do when she doesn't have a go-to cocktail?

Enter: the KK Special Cocktail.

Here is the secret recipe to the most amazing cocktail on the planet:

The KK Special

2 parts vodka
2 parts freshly squeezed grapefruit juice*
1 part aperol

*If you can't use freshly squeezed grapefruit juice for this cocktail, I strongly recommend you ordering/making something else. It makes THAT big of a difference.

Combine all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until the shaker is so cold it's giving you frostbite on your fingers.

Pour into a coupe glass.

kk special on the right. Mr. KK's Manhattan on the left.

If you don't have a coupe glass, go and buy one (kidding! sort of.)

You may garnish this drink with a thin slice of grapefruit, or even a rosemary sprig. The grapefruit juice gives it a nice citrusy kick, while the Aperol gives it that bitterness you expect.

You're welcome.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Day 27: #sorrynotsorry Santa

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we can focus on what is truly important: CHRISTMAS.

Our Little Mister is finally at the age where he "gets it". 

His first Christmas, he was just a few months old, so while we got an amazing photo with Santa holding him, the holiday itself was pretty boring with him.

Year 1: "Who is this guy?"

His second Christmas, at just over a year old, he didn't understand the whole idea behind "Santa" yet. So when Santa came to visit him, he was petrified of him. We managed to get a photo of him on Santa's lap, but the look in Little Mister's eyes said, "I don't trust you and I'm about to cry in 5...4...3...2..."

Year 2: "I don't trust this guy."

Last year, we understood the concept of Christmas, and that Santa was going to come and bring presents. We practiced saying "Ho! Ho! Ho!" in preparation for Santa's annual visit to our house for pictures. While we didn't run away from Santa screaming, we didn't run and jump on his lap, either.

Year 3: "Do we know this guy?"

THIS year, however, we are ready for Christmas. We talk about Santa, his reindeer, and how he's going to bring presents.

We also talk about how Santa is keeping an eye on all the kids. We are using Santa to instill good behavior in our child.

And I'm not ashamed of it.

In fact, in our house, Santa is LITERALLY keeping an eye on Little Mister. 

Santa also keeps an eye on me to be sure I cook with real butter.

"Time to brush your teeth. Santa is watching!"

"You don't want Santa to see you doing that, do you?"

"Santa doesn't like hearing the word, 'NO!'"

So far, Santa has proven to be an excellent scape goat.

Not sure what's going to happen on December 26th, but for now, we'll take it.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Day 26: What I Did on My Month-Long Sabbatical

One of the perks of my last job was that being a huge data conglomerate, they were constantly looking for ways to keep up with the Joneses of cool tech companies.

First, the rolled out unlimited PTO.

That's right, no limit on vacation days. (Which is awesome in theory, but impossible to manage).

Then, they unveiled The Sabbatical.

If you had been at the company for 10 years, you could apply for a month-long sabbatical for personal enrichment. 

A month off? Paid? No strings attached? Where do I sign up?

Well, I DID sign up. And in May of this past year, I took a full month off from work.

And it was awesome.

Me and Little Mister, on my last day of my sabbatical, kissing freedom good-bye.
Man, we had fun together.
(Not pictured: Me, later that night, depressed as all get out)

The last time I had 30 straight days of not working was when I was on maternity leave, and I had a human being strapped to me for the better part of each day, so that didn't count.

To answer the question 'what do you plan to do on your sabbatical' on my application, I had written "Begin writing my novel". And because I hold myself to high standards that when I say I'm going to do something I do it (I'm looking at you, NaBloPoMo), I kept my word.

Here's what this Type A, always-on-email, can't-sit-still girl did with a month off:

  • I started my novel. That part was true. I told myself I would write for at least an hour each day; some days, I wrote for 3 hours straight. I wrote about my childhood, my grandparents, me and Mr. KK. I got to around 30,000 words. And believe me, I have more to say.
Me, practicing "happy writing hour" at our neighborhood beer bar.

  • I spent time with our Little Mister. He still went to daycare 3 days a week, but the other 2 days we played, went shopping, went to the park. We were deep in our Nemo phase, so I took him to Boston to see his godmother and we went to the aquarium. He would have moved into the touch tank with the sting rays if I let him.

We chased bubbles!
  • Unbeknownst to me at the time, I got to spend lots of quality time with Vito, who we would lose two months later. My writing buddy would lie on my legs or lap when I was on the couch typing. I totally crashed his 21-hour-a-day nap lifestyle.

  • I shopped. And shopped. 3-hour trips to Homegoods. A full morning wandering aimlessly in Target. 
Fun at Mommy's Happy Place.
  • I cooked. I tried new recipes, and resurrected some old favorites. For that month, we got a taste of what it was like to eat dinner as a family. Little did I know it was foreshadowing to present day, when I'm working for home and we eat together every night.
  • I hung out at night with Mr. KK. Because I was able to get everything done during the day, we didn't have to spend our nights folding laundry, packing lunches, running to the store.
  • I exercised. Sometimes.
  • I hung out with my father-in-law. He made his daily pilgrimage to our house, prepping the yard for the garden and even starting the planting. We'd walk the yard and discuss plans.
Garden supervision.
(NOTE: adult beverage in that cup for our daily afternoon walk)
  • Sh*t got done. Oil changes. Items that had been in my car for a month got returned to stores. The linen closet – which was supposed to be organized while I was on maternity leave – was finally cleaned out and restocked. 
  • I enjoyed amazing beer. In the afternoon.
  • I was happier. Without the stress of working and commuting, I felt lighter and more present.
In fact, I was so busy each day, I couldn't help but wonder: "How did I ever work? When did everything get done?"

But, like everything else, you figure it out.

I went back to work refreshed (which lasted all of 5 minutes), and thoroughly depressed (which lasted much longer). My month of fun was over. When asked if I finished my novel, I could proudly say that while I didn't finish it, I made a good dent.

I spent time with Little Mister, doing a ton of stuff and doing nothing. But I got to be "Mom" 24/7, no distractions.

And I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Day 24: kk's favorite things

What better day for my annual Favorite Things list then on the biggest shopping day of the year.

Here goes, folks...kk's favorite things of 2017!

1. Anthropologie initial necklaces.
These are a mix of cool and dainty. I can't tell if I should get the "M" or two "k's".

2. Mahabis slippers.
The LOOK awesome. And from what I hear, they FEEL awesome.
3. Anthropologie Fringed Wrap Scarf.
For all those days working at home that I won't turn on the heat. And the color is so beautiful...just enough to make the long days of winter a little brighter.

4. Scout Uptown Girl bag.
I first fell in love with Scout bags after buying a large beach bag when we were on vacation last year. They are roomy, durable and come in a million awesome colors and patterns. This one is perfect for carrying all of Little Mister's toys, snacks and extra change of clothes when we're on the go.

5. Boden Rosalie Sparkle Flats.
Flat because you need comfort when you're hosting, but just enough sparkle to be the life of the party.

6. Stainless Steel Bowls from Target.
How have I gone this long without a proper stainless mixing bowl???
 7. Le Creuset Butter Crock.
When my baby wants soft butter, he'll get soft butter. Plus, it's the same turquoise color as my Le Creuset pants!
8. W&P Design The Cheese Knife.
We just celebrated Thanksgiving with 4 different types of cheeses. How awesome would it have been to only have to use one knife? This knife works for all cheeses so you only need one knife. Genius.

9. IDEA spatulas.
You can never have enough spatulas. Especially when they come in fun colors like this.

Because when you get old, you still want to look good at the beach when you're trying to read.
Happy shopping, every one!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Day 23: So very thankful.

For someone who didn't eat any turkey, 
he sure is good at the Thanksgiving nap.

After a long day of cooking, eating, drinking, laughing and reminiscing, it is with a full belly that I head to bed, mentally preparing myself for our annual Black Friday shopping trip.

Today, I am thankful for our families, who defy the "norm" and actually like each other enough to spend holidays together, and not just for show.

I'm thankful for Mr. KK, who has put up with my shenanigans for yet another year, and has adjusted rather nicely to me working from home and wearing pajama bottoms all day and accosting him verbally when he gets home when I haven't spoken to anyone in 10 hours and really need to just TALK.

I'm thankful for our Little Mister, who did his best today to make me NOT thankful by overusing the word "NO" to me right up until the minute our guests showed up. I'm thankful for his quirky personality, and ability to make me laugh when I want to cry. I'm also very thankful for nap time.

I'm thankful we got so many good years with Vito, and we missed him on our first Thanksgiving without him.

And lastly, I'm thankful I can go to bed.

Happy Thanksgiving, interwebs.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Day 22: The biggest going out night of the year!

Scene: the night before Thanksgiving, 17 years ago.

Me and Mr. KK, in a hot bar, vying for the bartenders attention to keep the drinks coming. Out late, but it didn't matter. We didn't have anything to do on Thanksgiving except go to one of our family's houses, drink more, eat turkey and nap.

Scene: the night before Thanksgiving, 10 years ago.

Me and Mr. KK, venturing out for a few drinks and something to eat at the neighborhood bar. Home by 10pm, in pajamas by 10:10, sleeping by 10:30.

Scene: the night before Thanksgiving, 3 years ago.

Me and Mr. KK, prepping to host Thanksgiving while caring for a one month old. Trading beers for burp cloths, and cocktails for crying. Baby down for the night around 10pm. Up at 3am for a feeding.. Might as well get up for the day.

Scene: the night before Thanksgiving, this year.

Mr and Mr. KK, prepping to host Thanksgiving, trying to enjoy a drink while entertaining a toddler. Already in our pajamas at 7pm. Watching the Cars moving with Little Mister at 8pm. Asleep by 8:30, while Little Man continues to watch TV.

No matter how you celebrate the biggest party night of the year, enjoy it!

Happy Almost Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Day 21: Fleece. A Love Story.

Fess up: you have something in your wardrobe that has overstayed it's welcome. Whether or not you wear it often (or even in public) we all have it: that well-worn-has-seen-better-days-you-should-stop-wearing-it piece of clothing.

For me, that article of clothing is my pink fleece.

And not just ONE pink fleece, but two! (It's was so nice, I bought it twice!)

If fleece could talk, I would have them write my novel, as they have been part of our lives for more than a decade.

That's right. These fleece have been around longer than Mr. KK and I have been married.

They first came into my life when I lived with my roommates in Boston. I bought them together, to get me through the cold winter nights. We were living in a drafty, old 5-bedroom house. My bedroom was at the back of the house, where the heat refused to climb. One night, as an experiment, I put out a thermometer in my room. In the morning, it registered 57 degrees. Hence, the fleece.

My pink fleece kept me warm when I lived alone for the very first time in Boston, before Mr. KK moved in with me.

When we lived in our little row house in South Boston, I wore my fleece religiously every day after my surgery, while I was convalescing and watching Ellen with my mother.  

Then we moved back to Connecticut, got new jobs, got married and bought a house - all in a 3-month time span. The house was an old colonial, and I took pleasure in painting each and every room in my fleece. To this day, my fleece is has drops of the slate gray of our upstairs bathroom and avocado green of our kitchen.

When we bought and renovated our current house - which I fondly refer to as the house we will die in because I will never move again - I once again donned my fleece each and every winter. It would get covered in Vito's hair, since he insisted he lay all over me.

During the winter months of my maternity leave, I pulled my fleece on every morning when I'd go and wake Little Mister up for his morning bottle. He would finish eating and then snuggle into my fleece and take a little nap.

Mr. KK makes fun of my fleece. The are stretched out, nubby, no longer a pretty blush pink, caked with paint dots. I like to call them "well loved".

And even though I just bought some new fleece tops, I'm not ready to say good-bye. They will stay in the rotation until they no longer keep me - and my memories - warm.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Day 20: This is my dance space, and this is your dance space

First off, the title of this blog is a movie quote.

(Do you know the movie?)

If you know me at all, you should know that the fact that I am even quoting a movie is noteworthy, as I am movie illiterate, unless it was directed by John Hughes, stars Vince Vaughn, has a plot of a guy traveling to meet his girlfriend's parents or tells the story of the little acapella group that could.

(For those of you guessing, that quote is from the classic movie Dirty Dancing, starring pre-nose job Jennifer Grey and a now-deceased hip-shaking Patrick Swayze (may he rest in peace).

In the scene of the movie where where this quote is from, Patrick Swayze is teaching a young (and tempo-challenged) Jennifer Grey how to dance, indicating that they each have their own space for their own moves.

Now that it's getting colder out, and I'm at home working all day, I notice how cold the house can get. I spend much of the day shivering when I leave the office and come into the main part of the house, so most days I'll just wrap a big scarf around my neck and throw a blanket on my legs.

One day Mr. KK came home to me with a scarf up to my eyeballs.

"Why don't you just turn up the heat???" he asked me, incredulous.

Because I don't "do" heat.

I know I sound like a crazy person. 

But there are certain things in the house I just don't do.

Like Dirty Dancing,  I have my dance space - the things I'm in charge of - and Mr. KK has his.

My dance space consists of the following:

  • Food-related activities, such as: grocery shopping, cooking, meal planning and prep, menus for holidays
  • All things clothing: the laundering of the clothing and the buying of new clothing
  • Keeping the social calendar filled: date nights, evenings out with friends, party RSVPs, scoping out beer fests, comedy shows and concerts
  • Gift buying: for events throughout the year and for Christmas
  • Decorating: from framed photos to candles, to wall hangings and rugs. I should probably check myself in to "Lantern Lovers Anonymous"
Mr. KK's dance space consists of the following:
  • Anything outside: furniture, lawn, leaves, dirt, garden, weeding, watering, mowing, blowing.
  • Manning the vacuum: the vacuum and I are not friends. (And yes, I am a very lucky girl that he finds a weird thrill when picking up dirt)
  • Garbage. All of it.
  • Electrical/Light/Temperature for the house: this includes - but is not limited to - heat, AC, stocking wood and lighting the fireplace, changing light bulbs, propane deliveries, furnace service
  • Sweeping. There's nothing my husband loves more than making piles of dirt and dust...from the fireplace, in the kitchen, in the mudroom
The secret to a happy marriage?

Knowing your dance space, respecting the dance space, and staying within your dance space.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Day 19: 'Twas the Week of Thanksgiving

I get all giddy when we get to this time of year. And, especially, this week.

It's a busy week, but an awesome one.

1. It truly kicks off the holiday season. I'm not one of those people who skips Thanksgiving and goes right to Christmas, mainly because we host Thanksgiving and I get to cook lots of yummy foods. But the minute - and I mean the minute - Thanksgiving is over, Christmas is ON. See ya, turkeys. (I'm referencing the decor, not the guests)

2. The biggest party night of the year. For us, this means prepping for Thanksgiving, grabbing an early dinner, and collapsing into bed by 9pm.

3. Black Friday. We're not crazy 4am-stand-in-line-shoppers, but we do have a Black Friday tradition: we make our way to West Hartford, do a little shopping at Crate and Barrel (for Mommy) and then have a nice lunch. 

4. Post-Thanksgiving weekend. Shopping, leftovers, and if I have my way: we'll get our TREE.

5. Lists, lists, lists. As the official start of the Christmas season, we make all the lists: Christmas lists, guest lists for parties, to-do lists.

Even though for some reason I'm not ready for Thanksgiving (which somehow snuck up on me this year and caught me completely off guard), I vow to be ready for Christmas...and all the parties, events and shopping that has to be done beforehand!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Day 18: 100 Little Lies

When Mr. KK was little, he would go to Friendly's with his mother. They would sit at the stools at the counter and order ice cream. Naturally, any child's first instinct was to spin around in the stools.

Mr. KK's mother would point to the menu of ice cream flavors and tell him, "'I would let you spin in your chair, BUT it says right here that children are not allowed to spin on stools. I'm sorry'."

Luckily, Mr. KK was too young to read, so he believed what his mother told him. Sucker.

Before you have children, you like to think you'll never lie to them. I told myself that. I believed I'd always be upfront and honest. Tell them how it is. But then, you're in the middle of a crowded parking lot and your toddler is screaming and won't get into his car seat, and he's causing a scene. And you have no choice but to tell him about the parking lot police who patrol the parking lot for boys who don't get get buckled into their car seats. 

It's nice to think you won't lie to your child. But then, you are only lying to yourself. Because if you don't lie to your child, you will never survive Toddlerhood.

(And by lie, I mean small untruths, naturally)

On any given day, I tell Little Mister at least 100 lies. it's how we get through the day. And every single one of them is for his own good.

It goes something like this:

In the grocery store. "If you don't sit in the seat in the carriage, the store manager is going to come by. If he sees you trying to get out and being unsafe, he's going to yell at you and put you in time out."

In the car. "If we don't buckle your car seat then the car won't start. Then we can't get home to eat lunch."

At home. "I wish I could give you more ketchup, but we can only eat a certain amount of ketchup a day so we don't run out."

Before lunch. "Let's go wash our hands. If we don't, the clean hands fairy will look at them and if they are too dirty she will eat your sandwich."

Before bed. "We can't have a cookie right now. Do you see the big clock? We missed cookie eating time. It's too late now. Maybe tomorrow."

I'm a big believer in the little white survival lies. 

I think they build character.

Hopefully in a few years when Little Mister is old enough to catch on, he thinks so too. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Day 17: My Peace of Mind Was Stolen

"I think someone broke into our house," Mr. KK said to me this past January, when he called me at work, in the middle of the day. "And I don't know if they are gone," he finished.

"GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!" I yelled to him, grabbing my coat and bags and heading out the door. "I'll be home as soon as I can."

It was a cold, clear, Wednesday in late January. Mr. KK left the house at 8am, returning around 11:30am from an off-site work meeting to let Vito out.

Mr. KK entered the house, noticed some dirt footprints on the floor in the living room, and assumed it was his dad who had a key ad often stopped inside our house, and who often spent the days in our yard splitting wood, driving the tractor and stacking logs.

Vito was on the couch, tail wagging, waiting for Mr. KK to come and give him belly rubs. By this point in his life Vito was pretty much deaf, and we would have to walk all the way into the house before even realized that we'd come home. But today, we was wagging his furry little booty on the couch, wide awake.

Being the OCD neat freak that I love, Mr. KK decided to sweep up the muddy footprints so we didn't track it into the house and scratch up the floors.

It wasn't until he was back in the mudroom looking for the broom that he saw the back door of our house, busted open.

We were officially violated.

I broke all sorts of records driving home, happy that there was no traffic in the middle of the day. When I got home, there was an officer outside of our house and he helped guide me into the house, instructing me not to touch anything or disturb any evidence.


It's one thing to hear that word while watching TV crime shows, or see it while reading in my thriller books. But when there's a detective standing in your living room, wearing rubber gloves and swabbing ever surface in sight, it effing creepy.

It was like an episode of CSI...right in my living room.

Someone broke into our house in the 3-hour window we were away from home in broad daylight. 

We knew it was a male by the size of the muddy footprints that went from our mudroom through our living room and kitchen, down the hall, and into our bedroom. It was a direct line, and you could tell he was on a mission.

He didn't find much in our bedroom. In fact, if he was after cash and jewelry like the police suspect, he was probably really disappointed that he picked our house. We never have cash (I've been known to have less than $10 cash on me for the last 20 years), and I'm not a big jewelry person.

He thankfully skipped right by Little Mister's room, so I could rest easy knowing there was not a stranger standing in the room where my son slept.

That bastard went through my drawers.

He did, however, come into "my room" - the back room where my closet, dresser and computer is. Some of my drawers were left open, and my little necklace tree - that held the 3 necklaces that I owned - was missing.

And then I was pissed.

He not only took my Tiffany letter "k" necklace that I'd had forever, he stole the diamond flower necklace that my grandmother had made for me before she died. And, even worse, he took the necklace that Mr. KK and Little Mister got me for my first Mother's Day.

In addition to the necklaces it seems our mid-day visitor also stole a few containers of gas that we had near our snow blower.

But that was it.

The worst part, was that Vito was home when this happened. But our poor old man was probably asleep on the couch when the stranger broke in, and Vito never heard him. Seeing that my room wasn't as disturbed as it could have been, my theory is that Vito woke up while he was still in the house, and he walked down the hall and surprised him. Because even though Vito could hear, he could still SEE, and if he saw a stranger in the house, he would have barked his little ass off.

It's almost a year later, and they haven't caught who did it. In fact, forensics was so backed up, tests weren't even run until the summer.

The day after the break-in Mr. KK installed cameras around the outside of our house. Our doors were reinforced. The precautions made me feel like we lived in a horrible city neighborhood, not in a house on a main road in a sleepy little town.

If you've never been robbed, let me tell what you what it feels like. It gives you the chills - literal goose bumps on your flesh - the minute you walk into your house. It makes you doubt - more than usual - if you've locked your doors, or set your alarm. It makes you feel like you're being watched, especially after they tell you they found footprints at the French doors off the kitchen, with boot prints facing the inside of your home.

But perhaps the worst part, was that if they had come a day earlier, Little Mister and my mother-in-law would have been here. I keep telling myself that if they saw a car at the house, they wouldn't have attempted a break in. The day they came. both cars were gone.

We don't have a lot of material things in our house that are worth money. Things we deem valuable don't usually have a price tag. However, the day someone broke into my house, invaded my privacy, went through my drawers, was the day that my peace of mind was stolen.

If Mr. KK thought I was a neurotic door-locker BEFORE this happened, he hadn't seen anything yet.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Day 15: Halfway and a Crappy Day 2.0

I am halfway through blogging every day for 30 days. So glad you're hanging in here with me. Right?


Anyway, I took a look back to a year ago on this day, curious to what I wrote about. Last year's blog title on this day was "Halfway and a Crappy Day", which I found rather interesting, because I would title today's post the EXACT SAME THING.

It was just one of those days. Everyone has them. Feeling a little overwhelmed. Work wasn't great, which naturally made me question my move into my new role. Is it right for me? Am I too far out of my comfort zone? I didn't get half the work done today I was supposed to do, which puts me behind for tomorrow. Will I ever catch up? And my personal to-do list a million miles long. How is Thanksgiving only a week away???

And then, Mr. KK and Little Mister came home. And everything got just a little bit better.

We had dinner together. 
We played a fun counting game. 
I had a big glass of wine.

It's so easy to get swallowed up by the minutia of the day. It's the big stuff that really matters. Mr. KK and Little Mister the couch with me. Watching Finding Nemo for the 8 millionth time. Being asked for a special treat for keeping his undies dry all day (Little Mister, not Mr. KK).

So this is my reminder to myself: Look at the big picture. Live in the moment. And just let that bad sh*t go.

And when all else fails, make silly faces with the ones you love.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Day 14: Mama! Mom! Mom-my! I'll take it all.

This video is from two year ago, when Little Man apparently developed a sense of humor.

I was the one who spent 24/7 with him for 4 straight months.

I was the one who read to him every night.

I was the one who took him to Target.

But still...he made me wait. He didn't say Mama until he was good and ready.

Now, however, the ONLY word he says is Mama. Or Mommy. Or Mom.


He screams "Mama!" when he comes home for the day. 

He asks "Where's Mommy?" when I'm hiding out doing something in another room.

Every night it's "I want Mommy to read to me!"

We are in a 'mommy phase' and it's wonderful. Even though I can't get anything done, I will soak up every minute. Because soon enough, he'll only want Daddy. And my time in the spotlight will be gone.

I know I'll always be his mother, but for now, I'll relish being his "Mama".

Monday, November 13, 2017

Day 13: The Most-Heard Word in Our House

We are going through what I hope is a short-lived toddler phase in our house. It's called, "Say 'No!' to everything that is asked of me". Oh, and do it loudly. 

As adults we are conditioned to try and rationalize. However, if you've ever tried to rationalize with a toddler, you'll find yourself wanting to run from the house, ripping your hair our crying. It's probably one of the most frustrating things you'll ever attempt, and it's not for the faint of heart.

In commemoration of our toddler saying "No!" to everything from 'Let's brush our teeth' to 'Time to go to school' to 'Let's finish our dinner', I have rewritten the lyrics to Meghan Trainor's popular song "No".

Parents of toddler, let me hear you sing along (to the same tune):

I think it's so cute and I think it's so sweet!
How you try to rationalize and try and talk to me
But let me stop you there
Oh, before you speak...
Nah to the ah to the, no, no, no!

Bedtime? No!
Bath time? No!
Eat my veggies? No?
You need to let it go
You need to let it go
Need to let it go
Nah to the ah to the, no, no, no!
Clean up? No!
Use the potty? No!
Listen to you? No!
You need to let it go
You need to let it go
Need to let it go
Nah to the ah to the, no, no, no

[verse 1]
First I gotta say I won't eat brocco-lay
I want pasta on my plate
I don't want a coat, it's not even cold
Let me wear whatever I want
I don't need to brush, why you in a rush?
Don't you know I'm the one charge?
Blah, blah, blah
I be like nah to the ah to the no, no, no

Bedtime? No!
Bath time? No!
Eat my veggies? No?
You need to let it go
You need to let it go
Need to let it go
Nah to the ah to the, no, no, no!
Clean up? No!

Use the potty? No!
Listen to you? No!
You need to let it go
You need to let it go
Need to let it go
Nah to the ah to the, no, no, no

Original lyrics to Meghan Trainor's song here:

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Day 12: Italian Sunday Dinners

Sunday dinner prep. Sauce and meatballs! 
(Oh, and lentil soup for the week)

Growing up, Sundays always meant family dinners.

It was usually at our house or my grandmother's house, and nine times out of ten, we ate macaroni.

"Dinner" time was always in the middle of the afternoon. It could start anywhere around 2pm and last until the time when non-Italians eat dinner on Sundays.

And the best part about these dinners, was that everyone showed up. No matter what was going on, they dropped everything and were seated at the kitchen table (no fancy dining rooms here), tearing apart a loaf of Italian bread with their hands.

We'd eat macaroni, meat – such as pork meat, braciola, sausage and meatballs, which had been simmering to ultimate tenderness in the sauce all day, sort of salad and bread. And, of course, red wine. That's it. Nothing fancy.

There were no invitations, besides determining the place where Sunday dinner was to be held, and that destination trickled down through the Sunday morning phone tree. And then you just showed up, grabbed a bowl, and dug in.

Nowadays, it's not so easy to pull off a Sunday dinner. Schedules are busy. Laundry is waiting. Errands need to get done. 

When did life get so busy and complicated? 

I know for us, if we are planning to attend – or even host – a Sunday dinner, I have to plan for that during the week, and pull double duty on Saturdays to get everything done.

Our weekends are sacred: grocery store, errands, laundry, cooking for the week, yard work, catching up on bills, putting away all the stuff that was lying around on the counters all week. And sometimes, finding time to do something fun, like take Little Mister to the park or go out to eat. And when I'm feeling frivolous with time, I try to sneak in a haircut or manicure.

We are fortunate that our 3 year old still naps (I KNOW), and not only that, he's a marathon napper. I use those 3-hour blocks like a pro, accounting for every minute. Downside: when I wrap up doing what needs to get done and I'm ready to sit down and relax for 10 minutes, he wakes up. Mommy time over.

So today, I'm recreating Sunday dinner, even if it's just for the 3 of us. Macaroni, meat sauce, salad. Lots of grated cheese and red wine.

I'd like for LM to have traditions he can remember from his childhood. 

Maybe it's time to bring back Sunday dinners! (Well, maybe once a month...)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Day 11: If I Were to Write a Potty Training Manual...

As a mother, by far my least favorite thing I've had to deal with in 3 years is potty training.

I hear you, mothers of teenagers, laughing at me because it's going to get A LOT worse. But right now I'm chained to a toilet, so it feels a little like rock bottom.

I attempted to potty train the Little Mister back in March, when he was 2 1/2 years old. I skimmed read the books about the 3-day Potty Training Boot camp Weekend. I was ready. I took a day off from work, loaded up on paper towels, and put LM in a short shirt and nothing else. Surprisingly, he did really well. For a few days. Then, not so much.

So we let it go.

Recently, however, as we approached the magic age of 3 and the transition to the Pre School room at daycare, it was time again.

Crotch Watch 2017 was about to begin again.

This time, however, I wasn't as prepared. 

We were embarking on vacation, and LM would start in the Big Boy room right when we got back. His teacher said, "No diapers in this room. When you get back from vacation, bring him in here in his undies."

Excuse me?

Me: "Are you sure? You want him to go into undies cold turkey?" Because I sure as hell wasn't going to start potty training my kid on vacation.

She assured me it would be fine and that she'd take him to the bathroom every 30 minutes.

On that first day back to daycare we dressed LM up in his new Lightning McQueen undies. "You need to keep Lightning DRY," we drilled into his head.

And here we are, two months later, and LM is more or less potty trained. He still wears a pull-up at night, but 99% of the time, we are keeping Lightning dry.

I know someday I'll look back and not even remember potty training. These two months will be but a blip in the amazing memories we have with our child.

However, living through the 2 months, that's a different story.

If I were to write a Potty Training Manual, it would be less about how to potty train your child and the psychology behind it (because, let's face it, your child will start using the toilet when s/he is good and ready, not because you're camping out in the bathroom), and more of preparation for parents on what is going to happen to their normal, everyday lives.

The Only Potty Training Manual You'll Need by kk

1. Potty Training sucks. Sure, go ahead and try and make it fun. You're just fooling yourself. At your lowest low, you will find yourself trying to rationalize with a toddler. You'll ask moronic questions like, "Why didn't you tell Mommy you had to go pee pee?"

2. Stock up on your adult beverage of choice. Because when the clock strikes 8pm and you can FINALLY put a mother-loving pull up on your kid for bedtime, you will need a drink.

3. Say good-bye to doing anything. Ever. All those chores and errands you need to get done on a weekend? Forget it. Why? Because you can't be more than 3 feet away from a potty for longer than 30 minutes. And the thought of packing everything you'd need to venture out of the house and be prepared for accidents? No thanks. House arrest is easier.

4. You will start to hate the sound of your own voice. Why? Because you'll hear yourself asking, "Do you have to go potty?" 4,739 times a day.

5. You will learn self restraint. Especially when your toddler stands in front of you in a fresh pair of undies, looks you in the eye and says, "I'm going pee pee right now." In the kitchen.

6. Get used to cooking. Because you won't see the inside of a restaurant for months.

7. You will start to resent your partner (just a little) for having legitimate reasons for leaving the house and being away from a potty-training toddler. Like they have to go to work. Or mow the lawn. Or go to the grocery store for toilet paper.

8. There's no point in getting dressed beyond sweatpants or yoga pants. A. You'll spend most of your day on the bathroom floor, wiping up pee or reading books to get your toddler to poop and B. You're not leaving the house anyway

9. Your hands will chap. Whether it's because you're constantly washing your hands with your toddler teach good bathroom etiquette, grabbing for skin-drying baby wipes, or once again grabbing the tub of anti-bacterial wipes to clean up the floor, your hands will be a mess. Don't even bother with a manicure until he's 4 years old.

10. Get used to the fact that your child will be much better at potty training when they are with anyone except you. Our child would have dry undies all day at school and when he was with his grandmothers. When he'd get home, he'd play and then tell us, "I made Lightning a little wet." Even though we'd been asking him a million times if he had to go.

11. Accept the fact that will have to bribe your child. It's the only way it's going to work, folks.