My First Mother’s Day

20140510_112220

It’s hard to believe I’ve just celebrated my first Mother’s Day as a Mother because it’s hard to believe I’m a Mom. I’ve only been a Mom for a little over 3 months now and everything is still surreal. I am loving it and having so much fun with Luna! And, you know that I love holidays and love being the center of attention so Mother’s Day should now run a close second with my Birthday. I did make sure to call it “Mother’s Day Weekend“, but I know I do not deserve to be celebrated as much as so many other wonderful Moms out there.

It’s not easy to be any type of Mother, I know, but I’m still new at this gig and I think I’ve got a pretty good gig going here. I have a supportive Husband. I have the choice to work or stay home with my baby. We have a beautiful home, great family and friends and Luna is so loved! I’m truly fortunate. Today my heart has been with single Moms, Moms of many kids, moms with sick kids, moms who can’t have kids, moms who have lost kids, kids who have lost Moms, sick Moms and the list goes on and on. You Moms are AMAZING and you deserve a whole month dedicated to celebrating you. So, thank you for being awesome.

I had a wonderful Mother’s Day Weekend. I was treated to Starbucks and Sephora and received an adorable card complete with Luna’s hand and footprint.

20140510_122314

Happy baby shopping with Mommy!
Happy baby shopping with Mommy!

We had brunch at my Mom-in-laws with the whole family and spent the afternoon at the park with the dogs.

20140511_171006 20140511_171043

 

Tonight, I got to Skype with the world’s best Mom. (Love you Mom!) Then, I rocked my baby girl to sleep. I couldn’t ask for a better time.

Happy Mother’s Day and thank you all for the many sweet comments and messages today!

Cheers!

Duckie Update

We have had our new kitten Duckie for over 6 weeks now. In that short amount of time, a lot has changed! When we found her she was starving, weighed only half a pound, covered in scrapes and bruises and was not exactly trusting of people. NOW, after living in a house where animals are spoiled rotten, she has quickly become a loving house-cat that sleeps right between us and drives Belle (and us) insane.

IMG_20131027_092942

She has gained 3 pounds in 6 weeks and is not shy about telling us when she’s hungry, or when she wants our food, or when she wants Belle’s food. She has definitely not learned the word “No!” yet. In fact, I’m not sure she knows her name yet. It’s probably my fault though…I call her everything but her name… “sweetie, kitty, duck-duck, littles, goose, lovecat, baby, kitcat, kitten, booboo; everything except “Duckie”.

IMG_20131013_152234 (1)

The first few weeks we had her she did nothing but sleep on our chests and eat. She has now become the feistiest little kitten ever. Her favorite pastime is hiding under our bed and jumping out to attack our feet and scare the life out of us 87 times a day. She also loves jumping on top of every table, knocking every single thing onto the floor and then hiding those things under the nearest rug. She thinks this is a really fun game…we, on the other hand, do not.

IMG_20131027_092701

Her and Belle are typical sisters. For a while bed time looked like this…

IMG_20131027_092900

or this..

IMG_20131027_092821

Now, they sleep fairly close together most nights. Neither one wants to give up their spot, and they both like to be touching us… yay.

Now this one like to steal my pregnancy pillow...sometimes they are both in it.
Now this one like to steal my pregnancy pillow…sometimes they are both in it.

They also kind of play together now. If you consider taking turns chasing each other and swatting each other in the face playing, then they play all the time.

IMG_20131005_103916

Our biggest challenge is getting her to go outside. When we carry her out she freaks, claws us and runs back inside and hides. We have now discovered that if we just leave the door open, she will wonder in and out as she pleases, but she only walks on the deck and the stairs. She loves catching bugs and bringing them inside (awesome), but still won’t touch the grass.

IMG_20131021_222513

It’s been a lot of fun caring for Duckie and watching her grow. Husband won’t want to admit it, but he is loving it too. I catch them snuggling ALL the time. And, sometime he catches me snuggling the animals…

IMG_20131026_065048

I hope she’s enjoying the attention now, because she won’t be the baby for long!

IMG_20131001_140622

Cheers!

Feeling Funky

Okay, it’s been a couple of days since I’ve posted because I have been in such a funk. I am lonely because Husband is still in Nashville. Work has been busy and fun, which just depresses me. I have come home and cried often this week because I cannot believe I won’t see most of these children again. Then, there’s the packing and the cleaning. Remember when there was a major exam in high school or college and you needed to study for days and days, but for some reason you ended up organizing your closet and cleaning out your junk drawers instead? I’ve done a lot of stuff the last few days, but not a lot of packing. Then there’s the job hunting. All of this = funk, and not the superfly music genre kind.

Today, I decided I had to get out of my funk and turn things around. It was beautiful and sunny today so I called up Zoey and had her join me on a long walk through the park.

Did I mention it was beautiful today?
Did I mention it was beautiful today?

As soon as we got to the park we regretted not bringing a blanket and a picnic. There were families playing frisbee, babies chasing bugs, puppies running everywhere and thousands of people laying in the sun. (As soon as NYC reaches 60 degrees on a weekend you will find 100’s of girls laying out in bikinis at the park…people are desperate for some sunshine and nature here.) We tried to ignore our desire to picnic and lounge since neither of us brought snacks or cash, and roamed around taking gorgeous photos of the cherry blossoms instead.

IMG_5568 IMG_5569 IMG_5555 IMG_5561 IMG_5566

You know it’s a beautiful day when you can get such great photos on your phone. We eventually had enough of the walking and the watching other people sunbathe, that’s when it hit me…I have money on my Starbucks app*! So, we did the obvious and walked to the closest Starbuck’s stocked up on snacks and beverages, walked back to the park and lounged away.

There were so many people with adorable dogs all around us. Half of us let them off their leaches and played fetch with our loves. That is until two dogs began wrestling, one began playing fetch with someone else’s croquet balls and Belle started growling. There were also a dozen babies having a field day with all the pooches.

IMG_5592 IMG_5587

While Zoey and Belle were playing together I took a cute photo to send to Husband. He then took a cute photo of his friends playing in TN to send back to me.

double

I am still laughing.

We had a great day and evening eating junk food and duct taping a mold of Zoey’s body (I’ll have to explain that last part later). I think the funk has gone.

My friend Sara sent me this quote the other day because it reminded her of me. I was honored she thought of me because I love Audrey, and glad to be reminded of what “I believe”.

quote

I also believe moving, packing and job hunting will all get easier. Tomorrow is another day, and tomorrow I will pack.

Cheers!

*I actually only had a few dollars left on my Starbucks app, so I had to reload it (which is possible to do on my phone), however I forgot my password. After numerous attempts I called Husband and had him reload it from his phone in Tennessee. Zoey and I are obviously desperate and pathetic. Heaven forbid we just walk home to get our wallets!

My Spoiled Dog

Ever since moving to NYC Belle has become a snobby little upper east side pooch. She sleeps on a giant white feather pillow during the day, in between us at night, has an Oscar De La Renta collar (from Target…) and she shops in every designer store.

She’s been to Bergdorf Goodman’s, Barney’s, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Coach, Chanel and Sephora. Virtually every store welcomes dogs here. Several offer treats, leave out water bowls and give her more attention than they give me…the customer. Our recent shopping trip was to Bloomingdale’s, which is only a 20 block walk, but it’s cold out and I decided to take the bus.

The only problem is that dogs have to be in carriers on the bus. Belle is absolutely terrified of carriers. She screams, cries, bites and claws as if she is on fire. I hate putting her in one, but considering how much we travel and how we take her everywhere with us it’s inevitable. She has actually torn up every single carrier I have ever bought, which is why I just got a new pet carrier from EzyDog.

I love it because it unzips and folds up into a completely flat carrier so it’s super easy to store in our tiny apartment. The inside is soft, the outside is tough and durable. There is no netting, just giant air holes so I can actually stick my fingers through the holes to gently pat Belle and keep her slightly more calm. I may have been excited about these inventive features, but bratty Belle could care less.

She is SO dramatic! Where does she get this from?!
She is SO dramatic! Where does she get this from?!

Once I had her safely in we left together and she remained calm as we walked and waited for the bus. No tears. No yelping. I was one happy Mama.

street busstop

Once we were on the bus, things took a turn for the worse. When I sat down the whining began, then the yelping, then the high-pitched, ear-piercing cries. I tried my best to calm her…

airholes ezydog

Stupidly, I unzipped the carrier, just a little. I wanted to stick my whole hand in and strangle pet her to keep her quiet….people were starting to glare. The second she heard the zipper she pushed her tiny head out.

surprise

 

She tried her best to tear and bite her way out of the carrier, but she failed. So far, the EzyDog Transporter is the strongest dog carrier we have ever had! Finally, after what seemed like hours, we made it to our destination.

madeit

 

Belle was happy to get out, shop and walk around, and I was happy to fold up her carrier and hand it over to Husband to carry under his arm. We shopped and shopped, and enjoyed the night.

purses

 

Husband snapped the funniest picture of us while I was looking at purses!

caption

 

It turned out to be a night of only window shopping, but it was worth the bus ride and the use of our new dog carrier.

buhbye

 

Maybe next week we’ll take her to a store that actually sells dog merchandise!

Cheers!

What to Do When You are Stuck Inside during a National Disaster

Hurricane Sandy has given a me a few much needed days off work to relax and check a few things off my to-do list. Normally, I’d get out and do something fun and adventurous during a 5-day weekend, but this national disaster has put us all under house arrest. After writing some blogs and lesson plans, cleaning the entire apartment, painting my nails, and working out I had to get a little creative.

Here’s “Hilarie’s list of what to do to keep from getting bored and wishing you could go to work”.

1. Cook something. I made two giant pots of butternut squash and vegetable soup, which was really delicious. (Husband says it’s not okay to compliment my own food, but how else will you know that I managed to successfully make a yummy dinner!?!?)

2. Annoy your dog. I took pictures of Belle and teased her for looking nervous when it hadn’t even started storming yet.

3. Because soup isn’t enough…make cookies!

Halloween funfetti mix with chocolate chips, my own special combo

4. Annoy your dog some more. I took some more pics of Belle being cute and sleeping between our laptops.

5. Leave your house and visit a friend with a better view. When, we got really bored we left and went to a friend’s house to enjoy their rooftop view.

The wind gusts are A LOT stronger from 45 floors up!

6. Find an open restaurant. Hurricanes make me hungry.

You are looking at a fried ravioli stuffed with chocolate and bananas, smothered in berry and grand marnier sauce, and topped off with pumpkin ice cream. Yes, it’s a good as it sounds.

7. Carve a pumpkin! Hello! It’s Halloween!

Draw your pattern.
Rip out it’s guts….
Carve carefully, and tada!!! (That’s a cat and a dog in case you weren’t sure.)

8. Annoy your dog one more time. She could at least pretend to be excited that I just carefully carved her portrait into a pumpkin.

Poor sleepy puppy

9. Play cards. I taught Dad-in-law and Zoey to play Rook (a favorite in my family)

If you play Rook, you know this is a TERRIBLE hand.

10. (Husband’s tip) Play with your camera. Husband’s subjects of choice were my wedding rings.

He’s getting pretty good with that camera.
Highlighting the hidden Mickey

If all of these steps fail then watch a Sex and the City marathon, read a book, drink a few bottles of wine, do some yoga, or take a nap! Work will start again before you know it!

Stay safe NYC, cheers!

Finding the Perfect Pumpkin

Union Square Farmer’s Market

One of the very best things about Halloween (maybe the best thing) is carving a pumpkin. Husband and I have made some pretty kick-ass pumpkins over the years. Two years ago we carved an all green Albanian pumpkin with our friends in Albania. One of which had never carved a pumpkin!

We each carved a side of the pumpkin. Mine’s the puppy face in the upper left corner.

The year before that we had a contest in Tennessee to see who could carve the best pumpkin.

I obviously won this contest…

This year, I plan on trying some new tricks, but first I had to get a pumpkin. I did not want to take the easy route and pick one up at the grocery store on the corner. Instead, I drug Husband down to the Union Square Farmer’s Market bright and early to pick out a fresh locally grown perfect pumpkin!

I’ve walked through this famous farmer’s marker a few times, but this was my first shopping experience. I’ve got to say, it was a little overwhelming. There are organic fruits and vegetables, pickled veggies, jarred jams, cured meats, farm fresh eggs, cheeses, flowers, wine, syrups, and honey. Some of it is a pricey, but most of it is reasonable.

yellow cauliflower
black soy beans
fresh artisan bread
purple broccoli

The market was full of restaurant owners, chefs, students, and regular people like us. We bought a fresh donut, some hot apple cider, and test tasted ripe cherry tomatoes. There was even a cooking lesson in one booth. The chef was showing us how to cook sweet potato greens. I didn’t even know sweet potato greens existed! He sautéed garlic, fresh ginger, and the stems until they were soft, then added the leaves from the greens. He was also making boiled peanuts, one of my most favorite things! Everything smelled so good that I bought the greens and the peanuts.

brussel sprouts

The market was fun, and even though we had a giant bag of veggies and a pumpkin, I wasn’t ready to go home. We decided take Belle to the dog park in Union Square. Its too bad Belle hates other dogs and dog parks. I did a poor job socializing her when she was just a pup. She spent the entire time in the park on the bench shaking, and I ran around playing with the other dogs.

I tried so hard to get Belle to befriend this cute chihuahua.
This man LOVES his pug….

We went home and cooked up some greens, but have yet to carve our pumpkin. Hopefully, that post can be written some time this week!

Our produce pickings

Cheers!

 

A Magical Monday Morning

I never look forward to Fall because it means saying good-bye to Summer. Also, where I grew up Fall was not a pretty season. I grew up in Southeast Texas were the leaves just turn brown and drop to the ground, leaving every branch bare, and the city looking dead and colorless. Even after years of living in Tennessee, were Fall is always gorgeous, I still forget that the changing leaves are something to look forward to.

This year, I tried to remind myself that Fall will bring beautiful foliage, but it’s almost November, and the park has yet to look like a postcard!

We woke up this morning to take Belle on our weekly no-leash walk in Central Park. We both had less than 3 hours of sleep last night, but our Monday morning tradition has become so vital that we still managed to get up at 6:30am. Zombie-like, we threw on our coats, staggered out the door, and BAM…. overnight every leaf and tree had magically transformed to orange, yellow, and red!

We spent the early morning hours taking pictures, playing with Instagram, and guzzling hot coffee to try and keep warm.

Walking through the mall
The boat pond with a view of the Upper West Side

Mommy and doggy

Oh, how I love our Monday morning ritual! Hopefully, these picturesque Autumn scenes will stick around until the snow falls. Then, hopefully, the snow only sticks around for about a week because I WILL be ready for summer at that point.

Time for more coffee…that 3 hour snooze is starting to take it’s toll.

Cheers!