Monday, October 31, 2011


WOWIE! This was pretty much the first Halloween for us. Dani, Tori and I went to three neighbors' houses, with Dani carrying Tori's bucket and saying "trick or treat". Then we went home to hand candy out. I took the glass out of the screen/storm door, so that Dani and Tori could just hand candy through, to the hundreds upon hundreds of kids who came.
We had 1,000 pixie sticks, 144 vampire teeth, and 300 tootsie rolls, and we were out in 90 minutes. Dani enjoyed giving everything out--she kept telling kids "trick or treat" or asking "what's your name". She had a blast. Tori handed out a couple of vampire teeth, but otherwise stood guard at the front door with Dani.
Most people were patient with the toddler candy hand out. Dani is not the most efficient kid. But she was so friendly and bubbly and trying so hard to hand candy out to the massess--it was not one at a time, but many kids, sometimes a dozen in front of the door, and Dani just kept her pace~yelling "Mommy, more candy!" when she ran out!
But this Halloween thing. It has always seemed to me like a total candy glom. Like the goal for the majority of kids who come to my door is to get as much candy as humanly possible. I'd guess about 25% of kids at my door were Dani's age (under 3) or younger, yet they were in strollers, or being carried! If your kid's under 3, there's no way your kid's eating the candy! Seriously, Dani and Tori had a peppermint pattie and some other little thing and that's it.
As for trick or treaters........It's crazy. And it's a vicious cycle. There aren't too many houses on each street that have their lights on, so people drive their kids all around the city, so each year fewer people give out candy and there are more kids per door because there are way more kids being driven around just to find candy. When I was walking with Dani and Tori, I figured I would stay on the block. I did. Besides my house, there were only 2 with lights on (fortunately my next door and across the street neighbors). That's all. So I understand the driving to find a few houses, but the full bags and buckets many kids had made it clear that people really travel for candy. When my kids are bigger, I'll walk them around a bit more. But, unless it's inclement weather, they will be walking.
I tried awfully hard to get a pic of everyone in costume. Tommy was fussing and the girls were restless! This was early on--Dani and Tori were getting dressed while Tommy wanted to rest!
Big Man managed to snap a quick pic of us at the door. Happy Halloween!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The bags got in the way.

Today, I took Dani to see an elderly man who is like a great-grandfather to me. His tailor shop was next door to my office years ago, and I got to know him well. He calls Dani his "principessa" and Tori his "estrella".
He lives on a busy street, and it's very hard to get in and out of his driveway. As I was trying to back in today, cars were whizzing past me, making it very difficult for me to maneuver the car. I *may* have uttered something like "D*****bags are in my way, under my breath.
Well, I thought it was under my breath. When we were sitting at Dario's dining room table, Dani announced that, "Mommy had trouble parking because the bags got in the way!" I knew what she meant, but he just looked at us, confused. Looks like I've got to clean up my language a bit.
You're looking at Team Naughty here! It was a day of insanity. Kids bouncing on furniture, banging on computers, and a constant "no" "no" from Big Man and I. Even naughty, they are just so flippin' cute!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Two Months!

Little Tommy is 2 months old!
He is towering over baby Dani and baby Tori at that age. He's 12 pounds, 14 ounces and 24.5 inches long. This is over a pound more than Tori was, and 1.5 inches longer (and Tori weighed more than Dani!)
He smiles, he coos, he sleeps. He totally rocks, that little dude of mine.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

So big-a-big-a-big!

I swear, I blinked and Dani turned into a KID. Where'd my baby go?
Conversation that I had with her tonight:
Dani: Mommeeeeeee, you're home!
Me: Hi Punkin'.
Dani: Is Daddy going to work now?
Me: No, why? Do you want him to go to work now?
Dani: Yes. He needs to go to work now.
Me: Why.
Dani: All the bad guys aren't in jail yet.
She's such a big girl. Such a sensitive little softie who wants to be Batman one minute, and a princess the next. Tonight, she was wearing a Batman costume, and wrapping herself in a blanket, declaring herself Princess Batman. Adorable.
And my little Dude-ly Dude is headed to the doctor for his 8 week visit tomorrow. He's alert, smiley and chirpy. And, amazingly, despite a zillion toddler kisses, and pokes from grimy toddler hands, he hasn't had a cold yet. Truly, I'm amazed. When I'm not looking Tori likes to try to stick her finger in his mouth so he will try to suck on it and she laughs hysterically. This is the same kid who eats food off the floor. Tommy has some serious, super baby immunity.
And, this little mischief maker is our wild and crazy one. She literally dances around the house all day long. It's like she's stuck onstage doing Tori Riverdance. She is an endless ball of energy that is smiley and bubbly about 75 percent of the time. The other 25 percent she is an angry wildabeast that I am convinced may be possessed by demons. The wildabeast comes out whenever she is told no or does not immediately get her way--shrieking, flailing and flinging herself onto the floor is the typical response.
She's starting to talk and it's awesome. She's the happiest, zaniest kid I've ever seen. And cute as hell.
As crazy as life is these days, I wouldn't change a thing.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Seven years.

Whenever Big Man and I celebrate a wedding anniversary, the number always seems too low. I know, I know, everyone says that. But I really mean it.

He and I met my first year of college. I was just a kid, from a small town, dropped off in the big city of Chicago. I went out early because I was on the soccer team--and he was on the football team. When pre-season ended, we were in the same house of the same dorm. And we were both work study, and had jobs at the gym--he was my boss.

Now, the year was 1991. Our campus seemed pretty safe, but it was like a little college oasis in the midst of a much harder 'hood. (**Big Man if you are reading this, I'm not trying to embellish, really, perhaps the years have romanticized this story in my mind...just in case you think my story is a bit off.) Big Man and I were friendly. We had a lot in common with sports and dorms and all. I used to work at the gym until 11pm or midnight, and walk home alone after work, without ever thinking that it was risky. For Pete's sake, there were sidewalks and streetlights, so it had to be safe, thought the little girl from upstate New York.

The early 90s were somewhat of a rough time for racial relations--and we were just in somewhat of a rough 'hood. The Rodney King incident happened, and there were isolated incidents of violence on or near campus that referenced a response to that. And one night there was a police report that a college-age woman was kidnapped walking alone at night, at around 11pm, on the general route I traveled home from the gym after work. And as soon as it happened, the next time I worked, a handsome young man showed up at the end of my shift at the gym to walk me back to our dorm, to make sure I was safe. There may have been a thank you kiss or two. And then we were together, an item, and so in love.

Fast forward a bit, and silly B, a tender young lass, decided the wanted her freedom--she was young, and cute (and as the old poem goes, gather ye rosebuds while ye may) and in love all the same, but mercurial as most college girls are. After days of crying on my best friend Gina's shoulder, telling her, "Big Man is the kind of guy I want to marry, but I'm only 18 and I'm not ready yet!" I know, it sounds crazy, but it's true. Gina remembers the conversation.

So when we stopped dating, he moved into the role of one of my closest friends. Through college and beyond, we were always in touch--and saw each other when we could. There's a really funny memory I have about a trip to Cleveland after college--and a barely-safe motel, because that's all we could find. Someone (not me) stayed awake all night, or close to it, to be sure nothing crazy happened.

Lots of years in between; he did his thing in Michigan, I did my thing in NY. But we always stayed in touch, and he would always visit NY on his way to CT to visit his brothers and family.

And then there was the visit.
THE visit.
It wasn't planned as a romantic visit. In fact, he was supposed to visit for President's weekend with two other college friends (Jessie and Chang). At the last minute, Jessie and Chang didn't come. Big Man did.
It was just him and me.
And I was 18 again.
And he kissed me.
He started driving from Michigan to New York regularly.
He proposed. Of course, I said yes. I also told him that I didn't want kids, and told him he should be sure he wanted to marry me as he was meant to be a dad.
He gave up his career and moved here.
He started over, job-wise. The US doesn't have uniform police training standards, so when he decided to go back into law enforcement here, he had to go to the academy again, in his mid-30s.
And he's excelled. He's done very well in his career.

His hard work has permitted me to follow my own career dreams. (ie earn no money)

And, somewhere along the way, all the pieces of my life fit together so well, and I knew it was time. Time to have kids. The girl who never wanted to be a mom, loved so much she wanted to see the man she loves be a dad.

Fast forward seven years-- we have three wonderful babies after a heckuva hard time as we lost the first.
But that which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, they say.
Minimally it makes you appreciate what you have.

And I have a life partner. A best friend. A husband who has exceeded my every expectation.

Who can still put butterflies in my tummy, and who still can me me feel like the prettiest girl in the room....despite my age, and my weight, and everything.

Who I fall in love with all over again every time I look at her:
or her:
or him:
Happy Anniversary, Big Man.

More Dani-isms.

Dani, trying open a bottle of seltzer I was drinking, upon finding the cap too tight to twist off, "Mommy, it's locked!"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Being a big sister, a Dani guest post.

Hi everybody, Dani here. Mommy said I could give you an update on my little brother Tommy. Its fun being his big sister. He's little and snuggly, and he sleeps a lot. Everybody says he looks like me. Personally, I think I'm cuter, but don't tell him that.
Since he sleeps so much, I still have lots of time to play with mommy and daddy and Tori. Tori's getting big. She's starting to talk, and can play with me. She's not such a baby anymore, so I don't mind sharing my toys with her. Tonight, I let her spin with me on the Sit N Spin, and mommy made us a new clubhouse. We decided not to let Tommy in, because it was for girls only! Mommy tried come in, but she was too big, so we just talked to her through the windows.
I take my job as big sister very seriously. Tonight, I fed Tommy his dinner, all by myself! And he didn't even make a mess!
I'm going to teach him all kinds of stuff when he gets a little bit older. That's what big sisters do! Well, that's what they are supposed to do. Tori will probably teach him how to be naughty. She's really good at it. Tonight she climbed up on the table and dumped out the salt and pepper onto the floor. She's always doing naughty stuff right in front of mommy. It's kinda funny to watch. Mommy's always saying, "NO Tori" and then as soon as mommy looks away, she takes off and does something naughty again. Her favorite thing to do is to run into the kitchen and try to grab stuff. She likes to squeeze the bread, and she also swipes the maple syrup, even when there aren't any pancakes. I'm going to teach Tommy to do the naughty stuff when no one is paying attention, so you don't get caught. Like when Tori's getting her diaper changed or mommy is in the bathroom--so no one sees us. That's what I do--it works every time, well most times. Don't tell mommy, okay?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I popped out for a few mnutes after dinner tonight--just down the street to the store to pick up a few things. I decided to surprise the kids with chocolate chip cookies.
When I got home and showed them to Dani, she exclaimed, "Mommy, you spoil me!"

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Making it work.

Mass chaos. That's what things feel like these days. Too little sleep. Way too little sleep. Too much work, at home and at work. The Big Man and I are like ships passing in the night, sneaking a few words in at night when he gets home or in the morning when I hurry to work. But it's good chaos, as good as chaos can be. The girls love their little brother, and make mischief everytime he distracts me for more than a minute or so. I wish he and I saw each other more, but besides that, all is well. Dani is the most amazingly articulate kid; loving, and silly, and sensitive and whiny. She's trying to figure all of this family expansion out like we all are--she takes queues from Tori's naughty not-quite-a-big-kid behavior to screech and make messes, because it's more fun than being the biggest sister sometimes. But she's the go-to kid, always at the ready to help. Tonight I was getting the girls milk before bed, and Tommy started wailing while laying on the couch. I walk into the living room, and Dani was putting his pacifier into his mouth. :) Amazing kid.
And the little maestro here, is the mischievious one. She's the kid whose sneaking into the kitchen cupboard when my back is turned, and trying to drink the maple syrup. When the house is quiet, it's not because she's sleeping, it's because she's somewhere she shouldn't be, like splashing in the toilet or climbing onto the dining room table to see how much salt she can pour out of the shaker before I notice she's gone. People meet her for a minute or two and generally observe that she's got a mischievious look about her...and she's so damn cute that she generally gets away with it!
Tommy's settling in too. He's alert and wakeful for longer periods, and is slowly starting to realize that mommy would appreciate him focusing on sleeping at night. I'm going to need to work on that, as Big Man's headed back to the midnight shift on Monday...wish us luck!