The Final Countdown

i’d written a long update with all the details of passover prep and our awesome weekend in sonoma, but when i hit publish, it turns out i wasn’t logged in and it got lost… forever.  i could try to recreate it but truthfully it’s be better for me to go for a run before this crazy weekend of crazy really gets underway.  instead i’ll leave you with this: 

  • the haggadah is at the printer.  that was a big project that i didn’t need to take on.  i think it’s pretty awesome, probably not totally appropriate for, you know, the 6 children under 5 that will be attending (which doesn’t count the 1 year old and 1 month old who are also attending) but you know, i’ve got coloring pages and tons of flair.  we’re down to the final items on our checklist (so.many.lists): the rentals will be delivered later today, family is flying in from near and far, frogs are EVERYWHERE.  i’m pretty sure there are at least half a dozen grocery store runs still in store for the next 36 hours but that’s to be expected.  also, it’s possible there is going to be a signature cocktail before the actual seder gets underway.  okay – that’s all you get for now.  i gotta keep some of my plans underwraps until the big reveal.
  • ABN and i escaped for 2 nights to sonoma.  and it was AMAZING.  can we just pause for a second and reflect on that.  2 nights, of time focused on the two of us.  we needed it BAD.  there is no doubt that we love each other like woa but when you are basically two ships passing in the night because you are raising two kids and it’s really hard work, carving out time together is both nearly impossible and damn near essential for survival.  we laughed a ton, drank a ton, ate a ton and, truth: i cried a little.  but whatever.  it turns out, i can’t sleep in – but that just meant that in addition to time with ABN i got a little me time too – a big terry cloth bathrobe, a beautiful view from our porch, hot coffee and vanity fair.  pretty decent.  also UNTI.





  • and my parents.  thank god for my parents.  this trip would not have happened if they hadn’t literally pushed me out the door (with ABN pulling hard on the other side).
  • and Z survived.  sure he didn’t really sleep AND remember all that milk i spent weeks pumping?  didn’t touch it.  but he ate all the foods.  and when i got home, he didn’t hate me.  in fact, he basically hasn’t stopped suckling since i walked in the door.  which means i’ve missed two mornings of boot camp – thanks a bunch kid.
  • what else? i’m behind on all tv.  i FINALLY got my hair cut.  i decided to take a break from real life for an hour and block a long neglected crochet project. oh and i was featured on SHE’S POISED.

alright, i’m off to squeeze in a run before the real fun starts.



While You Were Sleeping…


another hiatus – although this time, it was less because i was overwhelmed by life and more because of technical issues.  seems ABN’s server was hacked (yeah, i also have no idea what that means) and so we were not only off-line for a while but he also spent many hours that he really doesn’t have getting this space back in some semblance of order (it should be noted, all this work wasn’t JUST for my blog – the server, apparently, is sorta the center of a lot that is important to ABN – at least the things that aren’t living and breathing).  ANYWAY, all of this is a very long way of me saying – hi.

things are good.  it’s been 4 months since Z made his debut and we are finding our groove – although, that groove has a constant way of switching things up…but still…we’re making it work…most of the time.  i continue to believe that having two kids is like the hardest thing ever (and feel strongly that the silence around the subject is some weird evolution thing– otherwise us humans might die out!), other than 3 or more which is just damn crazy.

our summer continues to trek along.  EBN spends her days at “camp” (which is exactly the same as school except i pack a lunch and she brings a swim suit that she uses at a water table) and at swim (which i drive to the other end of the earth for but it’s worth it because the kid is learning to swim).  and Z gets schlepped along.  he rarely naps for more than 45 minutes but he also rarely gets the chance to nap in his crib so really – he can’t be blamed.

EBN also continues to manhandle her brother at every opportunity.  it’s like a magnet pulls her directly towards him.  she grabs his feet and does wheels on the bus, she squeezes his cheeks and tells him he is so cute and she falls on top of him and covers him in kisses.  it’s adorable and it is also…a lot.  i figure at some point in the not too distant future he’s going to slug her but for now, it works.  i guess.

we leave for the east coast in a little over a week.  truthfully this seemed like a great idea at the time – and by that i mean when Z was no more than a bump on a log and i figured he’d nurse and sleep and not move much throughout the 6 hour flight.  but now the kid wiggles and rolls and is huge and, of course, still spits up a ton.  so that should be fun.  luckily, EBN will have her binder (more on that in another post one day when i get around to it) and the iPad (i seriously have no idea what we would do without that thing) so it will just be all Z all the time.

oh, and we’ve been sleep training (and by WE i mean me because ABN is useless in the middle of the night – i say in the most loving way possible.  all i really need for him is reassurance that we’re doing the right thing and not scarring our child for life, because when the kiddo cries at 3am it hurts my soul.  but if i wake ABN and say Z is crying, he leaps to his feet to run to the rescue, forgetting the intended goal.  not helpful).  you can go ahead and judge me but the kid is 4 months and 16 pounds and while i’m happy to still feed him once a night (which i think is generous of me, really), i’m not prepared to feed him every two hours.  and i’d like him to be able to go to sleep on his own rather than being rocked because, well, i want it all.  he cries for 5 minutes every time i put him down (yes, i’d prefer him to babble for a bit and then roll over peacefully but there are somethings you just gotta go with) and sleeps from 7-5 with a brief waking around 3 in which he rolls around and fusses and i watch him intently on the monitor.  i think we’re doing pretty well.

alright, EBN and ABN are on a rare morning walk which means i should take advantage of only having one kid and give him some direct eye contact.  more sooner rather than later…

You Know You’ve Been Married 6 Years When…

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  • you happily spend your anniversary budget buying odds and ends for the playroom
  • your big date night is an hour and a half out of the house eating delicious and doesn’t-break-the-bank italian food while drinking wine by the glass
  • you “realize the dream,” established in your 1st marital apartment, of having a full wall of ikea bookshelves (photos soon – there’s still a lot of moving, decorating, unpacking to do).
  • you laugh until you cry when in the middle of a semi-serious late-night conversation (okay, it wasn’t serious, it was about someone’s innate ability to grow extremely long leg hair), someone has fallen asleep and begun to babble about something completely unrelated (you can decide WHO is WHO).
  • your big gift exchange at the end of the day, is limited to heartfelt cards
  • your parents forget that they bought you book of mormon tickets for your anniversary and so they send you a second gift – score!
  • your biggest extravagence of the day is to indulge in tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner

not sure about you, but all of the above seems pretty appropriate for 6 years.  i have a gross cold, his back is sore from moving an enormous amount of furniture.  it’s pretty insane to think about how much has changed over the last 6 years – cross-country moves, new careers, a curly haired kiddo and another one on the way, losing grandparents, buying a house, a remodel, a hot tub, a tattoo, not to mention nightly dinners, monthly bills and an endless amount of laundry.  sometimes life is a lot – a lot of running on empty.  but at the end of the day we look at each other, and our wall of bookcases, and realize we really are living our dream – together.

A Family that Hikes Together

followed by some hot chocolate and a bagel.  sounds pretty good to me.

this sunday, mother’s day came in july as i got to sleep in and the rest of my sweet family vacated the house, almost quietly.  it’s hard to believe that ABN can still carry EBN – but they were both into it as i think the faces and hats (i love the exchange in the 2nd to last photo) suggest.

The Way We Were

in getting ready for our basement reno ABN moved his office into my office.  for the next several weeks it will serve as storage for both of us, much more than a work space that meets either of our needs.  in the process of moving, ABN came across a few large files containing memories from our early years.

apparently, i used to be a different kind of wife/fiance/girl friend.  and while i have very limited recollection of this extended period of time, there’s physical evidence to prove it.  lots of physical evidence.

i wrote love notes.  long, detailed, poetic love notes.  i’d leave them next to the bed, tuck them into his suitcase, and slip them into the mail.  i decorated the apartment with posters of encouragement during the long months leading up to the completion of his dissertation.  it should be noted i was also freaking hilarious, with tag lines like, “he’s bringing sexy back….to computer science,” and “in the wise words of rabbi hillel, ‘if not now, when?'”.  i made personalized birthday gift certificates for breakfast in bed, movies of his choice and eye ball massages (i vaguely remember that being a thing) and an itinerary made out of a construction paper collage and color print outs for our first trip to LA.

all of this leaves me thinking the following:

1. i clearly used to have way to much time on my hands

2. did i ever work? – because i sure put that color printer we had in the office to good use

and 3. i sorta miss that girl

i’m not crazy.  i know i’m not the same person, in the same place.  not only do i not have time or energy to create massive art installations (after, i’m raising a human), i realize i don’t spend my days thinking about being in love.  and i used to.   i’m just as in love with him now as i was back then, but so often, we’re rushing and running and before i have the chance to acknowledge what i’m thinking about feeling, the moment has passed and i’m picking squished spinach patty off the floor.

so yeah – the love notes are making a return.  most likely not in quantity but hopefully it’s the thought that counts.  (and some times, it might be in the form of a special dessert – because EBN likes to bake and what better way to show love than with sweet treats).

and with all that, we’re off to home depot, to pick bathroom tiles because that’s how we roll.

10 Years Ago Today…

this might be my very favorite photo from college. it’s horrible quality (how did we ever exist before digital cameras?) and the lighting didn’t help either. these girls were my everything.  we were being silly on a group camping trip, as was often the case, after little sleep, too much wine and secret rendevous that had yet to be divulged. my smile is so big – i think i still had myself convinced that everything was going to work out just fine…

(deep breath – this is going to be long and rambling…)

10 years ago today, i did not graduate from college.  i should have graduated from college.  i looked like i was graduating – you know, cap and gown, family assembled.  dinner parties to celebrate 4 great years.  everyone assumed i was graduating.  everyone also assumed that my life was not a freaking disaster on wheels held together not by super glue but by an ancient elmhers glue stick that had dried up and didn’t have enough stick left to keep two pieces of tissue paper together, let alone me.  i was the only one who knew the truth – as hard as i had tried to ignore it and stuff it deep down inside – the truth reared its ugly head during my dreams (which, logically, is why i quit sleeping).  and so i knew eventually the truth, all of it, would come out.  and that not only would i break into the inevitable million little pieces that i knew i really was, but that the people who i cared about the most, would be pretty broken, by me, as well.

it’s amazing that all of this was 10 years ago.  because it also means that 10 years ago (give or take a day or two) i started to rebuild my life – with life-saving support from my parents – the two people i had hurt the most.  it was time to move forward from a past that only i was to blame.  learning to rely on others to support me in the same way that i for years, carried so many of them.  it has been one long and winding and often cliched road.  i am a work in progress.  and on days like today, and this weekend and probably next – when large groups are joining together to celebrate, in caps and gowns, i tend to itch and turn red and retreat.

i don’t think all the details are important and in truth, whether it be as a survival mechanism or just…time passing…i don’t remember them all.  i can tell you that i am 100% responsible for not graduating when i should have.  and for not asking for help when i needed it (help is a loaded word…no?).  i am grateful for the friends and family who supported me at a time when i had given up on myself (it was a dark few months, once all those walls i had built up came crashing down) and for doctors who listen and provide medication when the going gets really tough.  i’m grateful for the jcc in manhattan who stuck by my side holding my job for me for a month so that i could go to summer school and then presenting me with a complete life once i arrived on the upper west side.  i’m thankful to hunter college for providing me with a chance to take creative writing classes and to one completely forgettable journalism teacher who allowed me to take a final exam two weeks early – so that i didn’t miss a wedding back in california (it might be hard to understand but when you are really broken – and i was really broken – something like a wedding becomes your everything).  and i’m grateful to brandeis – the institution that i did, eventually, graduate from.  it’s hard for me to think back on college with great fondess (more on that below)…it’s just complicated now.

in finding myself – and my truth – i lost a lot.  while in college, building my walls and creating my fantasy world, there were countless moments of pure joy – often around my own dining room table, drinking ridiculously cheap wine and sweet red cocktails. cuddling on my bed with a life-sized rainbow trout, singing while sitting cross-legged in a circular classroom, kissing behind tall trees, meeting jewish rock stars and creating life long friendships with roommates, and classmates and indians and orthodox jews.  but it is just so difficult for me to think about these moments now because i’m no longer able to ignore the chaos that was going on with me – behind the scenes.

i have no idea where this post is going (not my typical style) except to add one more thing – i am not the same person i was back in 2003.  i’m stronger, i’m gentler, i’m more thoughtful, i’m quieter, i’m consistent, i run from drama, i crave alone time and family time and while i still try to do it all – i realize i can’t and i make an effort to slow down.  sometimes it takes an extra push (or 2) but i ask for help when i need it.  i’ve worked really hard to get where i am – it continues to require constant effort.  it is not my natural way.  sometimes i get closer to slipping back than others.

it’s thanks to ABN that i’m here today at all.  at my most broken, long before we became us, he was the one person who was able to get close.  as he carried my boxes into a dorm room i didn’t recognize – after my friends had made the reverse trip only days before – he was the first person i let help me, the only person i let hug me.  at a time when i had completely given up on myself – and shut out everyone else – this guy who was kind and gentle reminded me that it was okay to smile and to hope for a future.

i like to think that all of this happened for a reason.  i’m not sure where my “issues” came from, or if there was a trigger or whatever.  but i’m pretty sure that if the shit hadn’t hit the fan when it did, i wouldn’t be sitting in pacifica right now.  and i wouldn’t be loving on my sweet family.  and, even though i’m a bit itchy this week, and a bit anxious, and a bit on the edge…there really is no place i’d rather be.

A Different Kind of Bedtime Routine

i think it’s safe to say – i’m not a great sleeper.  i used to have trouble falling asleep – and for years i’ve had trouble staying asleep.  i get up to pee, to check on EBN.  i stare at the clock, willing myself back to sleep before another minute, then hour pass by.  i get cold and so put on an extra layer.  i get hot and then take off said layer.  and i’m up with the sun – making lists in my head of all the things i should be doing, while at the same time, too tired to actually get up and anything.

none of this is new.  it’s just my way.  even on vacation, even when EBN is safely with her nani and p’pa and i’ve got not a care in the world – i’m up bright and early.  i.just.can’t.sleep.  i literally think if ABN met a genie and had just one wish, it would be for me to get some sleep.  which is sweet – pathetic – and sweet.

in the last couple of weeks my routine has changed – slightly.  i’m not sure i can claim better sleep but every bit counts…right?  it started with socks.  we’ve had a couple of cold weeks here in pacifica (i mean, cold by my standards, not by anyone else’s) and for whatever reason while the rest of the house is toasty warm, our room – not so much.  so, although i haven’t done it since i hit puberty, i’ve started sleeping in socks.  it’s crazy, i did it one night and now there’s no going back.  i can’t settle in unless my toes are toasty warm.

and then, and this is the best, ABN bought me THIS.  yep, i’ve got a clock that projects the time on the ceiling.  it’s amazing.  it means i no longer lay in bed wondering what time it is before finally rolling over, craning my neck and feeling – defeated – that i’ve waited so much time when i could have been sleeping.  it’s basically amazing – and i’m not really sure my life was complete without it.

i’m not going to lie – a brief soak in the hot tub (which includes a glass of red wine) doesn’t hurt my sleep either.  cheers to feeling well rested.