Elf on the Shelf, Life, NaBloPoMo

Blog month wrap up, a cancerversary and the return of an old friend.

Well, I made it. 30 posts in 30 days. AND, I didn’t even drive Mr. KK crazy this year.

A few people have asked if I would continue to post every day through December, too. I’m flattered that there are people who want to continue reading for another month! And I love the idea of continuing to write for another month (and lord knows with all of the craziness of December there will be stories!).

However, I feel I should give you a sneak peek into what blogging every day for a month really looks like, in this ridiculously unflattering photo of me, lovingly taken by Mr. KK:

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This photo was likely taken around 10:30pm, me in my well-worn decades-old fleece, literally asleep at the computer while trying to write one of my blog posts. (I do think I should get bonus points for keeping my fingers on the right keys even while sleeping.)

Writing every day for a month is stressful. And exhausting, apparently.

But November 30 not only marks the last day of NaBloPoMo, it’s also my cancer-versary! Today it’s 15 years since I said buh-bye to cancer! I remember that cold November morning, driving to the hospital for my surgery like it was yesterday. In my week-long recovery in the hospital I alternated between napping, reading actual physical books, and binge watching HGTV and the Food Network (we didn’t have smartphones 15 years ago, or any devices for that matter…in fact, there isn’t one photo of me at the hospital or recovering from my surgery).

Fast forward 15 years, and here I am: Mom to the Little Mister and our four-legged fur baby, Rocco. This sweet photo was taken just this morning of Rocco watching the sun come up, apparently one hour before he threw up all over our living room sofa. Ah, kids.

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Being the official start of the holiday season, I spent the day Christmas shopping today. And tonight, I gave Mr. KK an early Christmas present: I drank brown liquor.

I know.

Technically, it was a mixed drink (as requested by me, one that would slightly mask the flavor of the bourbon enough so I could get it down). After converting me to an IPA drinker, I know it’s Mr. KK’s life mission to get me to drink bourbon. I cannot drink it straight (the smell alone turns me off), and I’m not yet cool enough to drink a manhattan, though how I dream of the day I could order one!

Instead, we went the Grapefruit and Thyme Bourbon Smash Recipe, courtesy of The Tipsy Giraffe.

And I have to say, it tasted pretty good – and it was so pretty it looked even better!

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And heaven knows I needed a cocktail because look who made his re-appearance tonight for the month of December:

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He’s baaaaaack! Little Mister was so excited to see him! Let the threatening holiday spirit commence!

In fact, my nightly alarm to move the elf just went off!

Thanks for reading along this month!

Life, Mornings, Mr. KK, NaBloPoMo, Screen time

Why I’m proud of my excessive “screen time”

‘Screen time’ is a buzzword, most often used by professionals and websites telling people how they are bad parents when their children get too much of it. Little Mister does not do a ton of screen time at home, however I question whether these experts who pooh-pooh ipads for kids have ever tried to get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour, eat a meal at a restaurant while it was still hot, or just wanted 1 hour to get the grocery shopping done without having to answer the question, “Can we get this?” 3,728 times.

Now, adults are being judged on their screen time. It was either with one of the latest iPhones or one of the millions of updates that I started getting these weekly “Screen Time” alerts, where my phone would scold me tell me how much time I spent on my phone in the past week.

(by the way, that “5:41” at the top is AM folks, not PM)Screenshot 2019-11-04 at 5.41.24 AM

I spend a lot of time on my phone.

I am an early riser. I mean EARLY. (Don’t even get me started on Daylight Savings Time, when for the past 2 days I’ve basically woken up in the middle of the night).

And when I wake up, I need something to do to occupy my mind and time that is not loud or disruptive. Sometimes I read. But most times, I’m on my phone, scrolling, researching, planning.

Sure, I’m catching up on social media and reading articles that Facebook thinks I’ll like, and mentally shopping all of the goodies I see on Insta with the #targetdoesitagain.

But these early morning hours, these are the hours I’m most productive.

Here are some of the things I accomplish while the world still sleeps:

  • Catch up on all my emails that came in the night before
  • Check my calendar and mentally plan out the morning, and my day at work
  • Sign up for exercise classes for the upcoming days/week
  • Organize my photos and upload them to Shutterfly
  • During the holidays, get inspiration for gifts and make lists
  • Shop! I’m Amazon’s best customer before the sun comes up
  • Peruse family vacation houses
  • Make a grocery list
  • Research anything that Mr. KK and I have been taking about in the last few days: recipes for Thanksgiving, activities for the Little Mister, the new brewery opening up
  • Secretly look up and price out beach vacations
  • Silently LOL at the funniest things parents tweeted for the week on HuffPo

Of course, when Mr. KK finally wakes up, it’s likely I’ve been on my phone for a few hours by that point, so he barely has an eye open when I start bombarding him with questions, showing him recipes and asking him to look at the 37 links I texted him while he was sleeping.

Hey, if I’m going to be awake, I’m going to be productive.

dogs, Kids will be kids, Life, Rocco, Uncategorized

Where do babies (and doggies) come from?

We recently dog-sat my in laws’ doggie, Enzo, for a few weeks. Like Rocco, Enzo is a rescue dog. He came to them earlier this year, was around 2 years old, and is hand’s down the softest dog I have ever felt. Guys, this dog is like CASHMERE.

Enzo and Rocco are both some variation of a dachshund – Rocco is mixed with a Min Pin and/or Chihuahua, and Enzo might very well be 100% dachshund (do doxies have odd 6th toes, because this dog has weird extra toes hanging off his feet).

Enzo and Rocco – the Italian doggie mafia – are still feeling each other out and getting used to each other. They LIKE each other, but most of their time together is spent wrestling, playing tug of war, and then power napping.

One of Rocco’s and Enzo’s favorite past time is doing this:

FYI, that’s my innocent boy, Rocco, on the bottom trying to play with a stuffed rabbit while ENZO, the manipulator, takes advantage of him.

“What are they doing?” Little Mister asked me one time.

Me: “Enzo is giving Rocco a super special doggie hug.” (I know. I’m sorry!)

Little Mister: “Do they do those hugs at night?”

Me: “Sometimes.”

Little Mister: “Do they do them when they are in bed?”

Me: “Umm…sure?”

Little Mister: “Do you and Daddy do those special hugs in bed, too?”

And…scene!

Fast forward to the night we had just picked up Little Mister from school, when he was telling us about the babies and astronauts.

Little Mister: “So there’s this astronaut who goes into outer space, and he saw me as a little baby and grabbed me! And he held onto me while he floated down to earth and then he carried me to the hospital and gave me to you.”

Yes, that’s exactly how it happened.

(Can someone get me a drink?)

Rocco and Enzo really do love each other:

IMG_1253Rocco is on the right, Enzo is on the left.

Most of the time, they fought for my attention…and my office chair.

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For 3 weeks I was surrounded by wieners in my house; I was completely out-numbered.

And Enzo – god love him – was attached to me. He followed me to the refrigerator, to the bathroom and to bed. He whimpered when I put a gate up and he couldn’t come down the hall and see me. He spooned me at night in the big bed like we were on our honeymoon. And above all, he gave me those puppy-dog eyes that just melted my heart.

Unrelated – I think – was the night Little Mister asked me at dinner whether or not I was going to the hospital to “buy another baby”.

Flustered, I told him that, no, we weren’t going to buy another baby (has he no idea how much babies costs these days??)

To which he replied, “Ok. Can I have a snack?”

If that’s the worst of it, then I’m totally ready for the next stage of parenthood.

Life, NaBloPoMo

Hello! Let me catch you up!

It’s Day 1 of NaBloPoMo – and I’m back blogging after almost a year off since last year’s month-long blogfest.

I always like to start the month off with a little recap of what I’ve been doing for the last year, besides sneaking off to Target and single-handedly keeping Amazon in business.

A year in review.

December

As always, it was a busy holiday season. We decided that we would indeed introduce the Elf on a Shelf into our home (more on that guy in another post). As predicted, I thoroughly enjoyed finding new and interesting places for his shenanigans. I’m looking forward to threatening my child with no presents spreading that holiday magic again this year!

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In true Little Mister fashion, he SLEPT IN on Christmas morning! Bright side: it gave Mr. KK and I a chance to make tea and coffee and sit in quiet for a few moments before the craziness began.

We have never been big fans of going out on New Year’s Eve; I think we’ve stayed in the last 10 years. Mr. KK will mix up some adult bevvies, I’ll cook up a tasty meal and we’ll play games and watch my all-time favorite reviews of all the people who died in the last year. Since Little Mister joined us, we’ve had the same plan, except our gourmet dinner includes pigs in a blanket and faux countdown at 9pm. But…we still have fun!

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January

I jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon. Mr. KK bought me one for Christmas (unlike some women I LOVE getting kitchen stuff for Christmas! Bring on the appliances and gadgets!)

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I’ve mostly made soups (split pea, chicken, tortilla), artichokes (revolutionary!) and buffalo chicken.

February

We tried swim lessons, again.

And, once again, our child took swim lessons from land:

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That was about as close to the pool as he got. Each week he would sit there and watch the class. One week he dared to put his feet in the water (!) and the swim instructor pulled him in the pool. The parents around me started to cheer and clap (as they, too, watched him watch swim lessons for weeks). Little Mister, however, was NOT having it. He started to scream and cry and when she put him back on the tile he looked directly at me and yelled: “I am so ANGRY right now!” Then he stomped off to the women’s locker room, with as much dignity as possible while wearing a rubber tube around his midsection.

Bonus points for him being able to express his feelings?

March

Perhaps the biggest news of the year, was that we added to our family! Meet: Rocco!

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Rocco is a shelter dog, and we rescued him when he was just 3 1/2 months old. I was home alone one Friday night, throwing back cabernet and scrolling through Petfinder (like all the cool kids) when I came across his face. I immediately texted the link to Mr. KK who distractedly responded, “He’s cute!” Which I translated into, “YOU MUST GET THIS DOG RIGHT NOW.”

Fast forward two weeks from that fateful night, and I picked up this little 7-pound fur baby. And we haven’t looked back since.

You can follow his antics on Instagram @therealroccomars

April

Milestone birthday for me.

Moving on.

We also discovered the Little Mister’s love of roller coasters! Who would’ve thought this shy child who wouldn’t participate in swim lessons would become a coaster junkie??

I think Mr. KK and I squeezed our adult-sized bodies into this rickety kiddie roller coaster 5 times that night. My back still hasn’t recovered.

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May

It was a good year for beer. Lots of new, high-octane hoppy releases from some of our favorite breweries. Now that I’m up in Boston so often, it’s easy for me to pop over to one of our favorite breweries and grab whatever’s new.

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This was a Quadruple IPA.

Not double.

Not triple.

QUADRUPLE.

And it was delicious. Smooth, hoppy, no bitter after taste. And not to sound pretentious, but it drank like a double IPA.

Summer

We took our usual family vacation to Maine, where Max fall in love (that’s a post in itself!) There is just something about the southern coast of Maine in the summer. Between the food and beer scene in Portland, and the beaches in Cape Elizabeth, and that laid-back summer state of mind, it must may be the most amazing place on earth.

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September

If you know me at all, you know that if it involves a trip to Target, I’m down. And if it doesn’t have anything at all to do with Target, I will force fit that sh*t.

Because LM’s Grandmothers ruined Target for me, I now have to have “the toy talk” before we head to the Happiest Place on Earth. Armed with the understanding that we were only getting a backpack and a lunchbox for school, we strutted around the store show off our Toy Story stuff:

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And see that yellow price sticker? That’s CLEARANCE, kids.

BOOM.

October

The Little Mister turned 5! I’m not sure how that’s possible, because it feels like just yesterday we were given the side-eye in a Virginia hotel when we stopped for the night with a 3-day old baby.

If the objective of the day was to keep a big smile on Little Mister’s face, then mission accomplished. We rented a bouncy house, and Little Mister jumped in that thing from the minute it was inflated at 8:45am until they came to take it away at 5:45pm.

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I spent a little time jumping in this thing, too. And I’m embarrassed to say that I was WINDED after a minute of jumping.

And that my legs were sore the next day.

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There you have it – the year in review.

Get ready, folks. In the next 29 days I’ll write about my latest food obsession, college before technology, getting old and being told you’re old, and Little Mister’s thoughts on where babies come from.

Happy reading!

Life, NaBloPoMo

I hate how this world has changed me.

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I should premise this story by saying I’m a paranoid person by nature. When I travel alone I barricade the hotel room door. I triple-check the locks at night. I’m the one who asks, “Did you beep the car?” multiple times.

This morning I made an early morning grocery store run. I pushed my cart into the parking lot and stopped my cart behind my car so that I could load my groceries. There was a car backed into the spot next to me, lights on and running. As I started putting bags into the back of my car, the window of the car rolled down to reveal a woman inside.

“I love your glasses,” she said to me.

“Oh, thank you!” I told her, continuing to load my car. “They’re actually cheater readers because I’m old and I can’t see anymore!” I thought this would be the end of our conversation, but she pressed on.

“Where did you get them?” she asked.

“At The Loft,” I replied, hurrying up a bit.

“Is that in the mall? Where is The Loft?”

At this point, I started to get a little leery. Here’s where my train of thought went: a few months ago, a person was mugged in this very grocery store parking lot around 8am in the morning (it was 7:30am). I had just gotten money back when I paid the cashier. Had someone inside watched me? Who was behind me in line? Was this their getaway car? Is that why it was running? Did a husband and wife team work together? Was it her role to sit in the car and distract someone with small talk while her counterpart surprises them and robs them? Am I total nut job???

See, I told you I was paranoid!

I was trying to be nice, while checking out my surroundings, and getting the hell back in my car.

Also, for the record, my little cheater reader glasses ARE really nice. I do get lots of compliments on them.

“It’s in Milford,” I tell her, slamming my trunk. “In that little strip mall.”

I push my cart into the cart corral and hurry to my door, checking over my shoulder.

“See you later!” I tell her, hopping in my car and hitting the door lock.

Once I was safely inside, that’s when I started to feel badly. She really was just being nice, and here I was paranoid she was part of an elaborate mugging scheme.

The world has changed so much, and it’s disheartening. Ten years ago, I would never have had those crazy thoughts. I would have had a normal conversation with this woman without worrying that someone was watching me. I wouldn’t be cataloging in my mind everyone I saw after checkout who could have seen me get money from the cashier. (The fact that someone was robbed in that very parking lot didn’t help, either.)

When I look at what the world has become, I often wonder how any of us who grew up in the 80s are even alive. We left the house in the morning and came home for dinner. We didn’t have cell phones to check on (or for parents to track us).

It makes me sad for what the world is going to morph into as Little Mister gets older. Will he never feel safe outside? (Or, more likely, will I never feel safe letting him play outside?) When I was in middle school, I was considered a ‘walker’, which basically meant I walked to school. And, I would take the short cut to school, which meant walking through the woods. Can you imagine this happening today? A school saying it was ok for a 12-year-old to walk through the woods alone to school?

I know I will be a paranoid mother – probably more so than I have to be. Will he think I’m crowding him? Probably. Being over protective? Yep. Annoying? I’m sure. But it’s who I am for myself, and who I will undoubtedly be for Little Mister.