Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Little Train Conductor

So my parents landlord is a train conductor, imagine that!  A real live train conductor.  He found out that my son LOVES trains.  He invited us down to the yard to see the engine, climb on the engine and to blow the whistle and he gave him a lantern and a pair of gloves.  How lucky is my son???!!!?? 

Thank you Mr. Ronnie!!!! 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Early book review... Bringing up Bebe

On Saturday at the airport, I was looking at some popular books on iTunes to see if anything struck my fancy. The title "bringing up Bebe" caught my eye, mostly because we call Jason's mom "Bebe" rather than a traditional grandmother name. And this name so suits her. :-).

So I downloaded a sample and put it in my library. It had to do with French parenting vs American parenting. It is an honest account by the author of her birthing and living and rearing her children in Paris. How different the French are (in most things) but particularly how they view their children. I quickly downloaded the entire book and I'm enjoying it thoroughly. There is nothing earth shattering or even cutting edge.... But it is so common sense. It is so do-able and realistic I am smacking my head for not doing having these practices already in place.

She talks about "the pause" which is not jumping at your infants every whim so as to teach them they can self soothe. Not cry it out but just not to jump at the first whimper. This teaches them VERY early that they don't always get what they want and that they can make themselves happy.

She talks about the old test (some call it the emotional intelligence test) with putting a marshmallow on the table and telling the young children not to touch it and when they come back if the marshmallow is still there, they get two. Something like one in four left it alone. That one in four distracted themselves by singing, reading, telling stories... Basically entertaining themselves so that they achieved the end result which was two marshmallows. These children were ultimately better students and more centered adults because they were taught that waiting for things is not a bad thing.

She talks about having a "cadre" ie frame work within your family. The child has a lot of freedom within the frame.... And that by having those boundaries they feel more secure. Again, nothing new or even groundbreaking but common sense. She talks about how the French reason and explain to infants why something is the way it is. That they understand instinctually what they don't understand verbally.

She talks about how the French don't push their children to achieve milestones early... But that they awaken their senses to new things and let them be children. They have their entire lives to be grown up. Only once to be a carefree child. Genius... And common sense.

I am only on chapter six.... But I am enjoying it immensely. If you have a moment and are looking for a good parenting book that is not a parenting book.... Check it out! You won't regret it.

Now, I think I want a croissant.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How can I miss you if you won't go away!

This is a country song I used to make fun of when I worked on ships. But this trip made me think of it.

There is nothing I love more than my family! You all know that. But getting away for a few days by myself has been good. I miss my family horribly! Which is a good thing. I can appreciate the nuances that make each of them unique.

This trip has been a series of experiences. Of getting out and wandering. Of sleeping in and walking. Walking into stores and going on food tours. I stood in line (froze my butt off) at tkts to get half priced tickets to Mary poppins for my mother in law and myself. It was a wonderful show complete with great voices and amazing theatrics.

We walked back to the hotel and dropped her coworker off then went and had a bowl of soup and an appetizer.

This has also been a great time for me to get to spend quality time with my mother in law. When I drew the lottery ticket for mothers in law, I won. She's delightful to travel with and just how lucky am I that she wanted me to come with her?? :-))

It has been colder than I planned on so running in central park hasn't happened but I did get to go on my foodie tour of Greenwich village today. This started at Murray's cheese shop. We made eight stops and sampled foods at each of them.

We had real new York pizza (joes pizza) that is 100% about the ingredients (duh) but the dough is thin, the sauce is only San marzano tomatoes (no salt, no pepper, no oregano or garlic) and fresh amazing mozzarella. If there is grease it's cheap cheese. It truly was a pizza experience. it will never be the same.

Next was o & co which introduced me to the difference in regular store bought olive oil (ahem crap) and real olive oil. Apparently the FDA doesn't regulate olive oils in this country and what they give us is most likely at least 50% other oil. Hmph. I actually tasted good olive oil. Good like spread it on a piece if crusty bread and eat good. With a second piece of toast with sunflower honey with a light truffle salt dusted on top. Yum!

We wandered down Cornelia street which is between 6th and bleaker streets. Cute quaint homes with amazing restaurants nestled. We went into a restaurant called Home cafe and had a creamy scrumptious macaroni and cheese made with jack, cheddar and asiago cheese. Toasted on top so as to have a crispiness.

As we wandered the streets of Greenwich village you could feel the energy radiating outward like a force field. An energy of creativity, fun, food, life. Lives that still have struggles and challenges but hope and joy. Just like any other city or street yet different. This.... THIS is new York.

After home cafe we went back to murrays cheese shop and sampled three cheeses and an amazing green olive. Did you know green olives and black olives grow on the same tree? It is just a matter of ripeness.

Next up was centro vinoteca for a longer visit with a sampler platter and where we could enjoy a glass of wine. (which I did).... It went wonderfully with my deviled egg with truffle essence, artichoke heart with Romano cheese shavings, bacon wrapped date stuffed with Gorgonzola and zucchini fritter. For dessert we walked to "milk and cookies" for of course.... A cookie. :-))

From there we got to see the apartment building where "friends" was fashioned after, the skinniest town home featured on today show that doesn't even merrit it's own address it's 75 and 1/2, and a door that had foot scrapers next to it for bank in the olden days when they needed to scrape the horse manure off their boots. Cool, huh?

We finished off with pizza from Roma that is quite different than the pizza at the beginning of the trip. It's a thicker slice, like focaccia. The dough rises for 96 hours.... That way the air escapes there rather than in your belly. :-> we had a slice that had shaved zucchini and olive oil (very fresh) and a slice with prosciutto and mozzarella (tasty). And finally a mini canoli from Rocco's. Supposedly the best in the city.

It was such a fun tour that really featured some neat restaurants and sights. Makes me want to do a foodie tour of montrose or of the heights. :-)

I had so much fun that I took my mother in law and her friend Bonnie back last night to see some of the sights. We ended up eating at an amazing little restaurant called Parma. It's on Cornelia street. We walked in and the waiter asked us if we wanted garden or main room.... We asked to see the garden and it was perfect. It had a glass ceiling with twinkling trees above us, flowers all around, doors to the private party rooms were in back looking like a guest house. We were in the corner next to a set of stairs. Heaters surrounded the place in case there was a chill (which there wasn't).

The waiter was attentive and adorable. He knew the best things and wasn't afraid to steal us away from others. We shared a salad and each had our own entrees. I had tagliatelle with a lamb and calamata olive sauce. Bebe had the freshest buffalo mozzarella (did you know it's actually made from buffalo milk??) ravioli with a tomato basil sauce. Instead of having a mixture in the ravioli, it was essentially the mozzarella wrapped in ravioli dough and steamed. Who knew!!! Deeeelicious!

We walked after dinner and then headed back. What a great day and night!!! Apparently Bonnie had such a great time she raved about the tour I'd taken her on.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

North to New York City

About a month ago, I got an email from my mother in law asking if I wanted to go to new York city with her. She has conferences the whole time, so I will mostly be on my own... But it's a free hotel room.

My first response was no.... We just have too much going on for me to go. But I mentioned it to my dad first, (jason was out making sales calls) and was surprised to hear him say... You should go. So I "humphed" and then went back to work... Sure that I still wasn't going.

I then mentioned it to Jason and he surprisingly said... Absolutely!!! You have to go!

Lastly, I ran it past my mother and she was the trifecta. I haven't been away from Jocelyn for any period of time, let alone four days, and I could use a wee bit of me time. However, I let the $$ be the guide.

I went online and found a flight for $171 including taxes.... And that sealed the deal.

So, here I am with my layover in Detroit.... I've walked around, gotten a gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwich for later and had sushi with an adult beverage for now. And I did it all with my book. I read my book.... While eating.....

Now don't get me wrong... I miss my kids and hubby. But I know that he's having a great time with them.... Taking them to the train and a birthday party.... He's been looking forward to some time with Jocelyn and I know they'll do great without me. :-)).

As for me? I'm going to sleep and run and take the subway and go on a foods of new York tour of Greenwich village and go to the 911 memorial. And sleep and eat, and see a show or two.... Quite possibly by myself or maybe with some old ship friends or friends from high school or maybe even college.

You know what? I can do anything! :-). And when I get home I will be refreshed and ready to see my hubby and my beautiful children and be called "mommy" again. :-)

Thank you to all that made it possible.... Said in my best "Grammy" voice.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Long Time No See... Balance

I cannot believe it's been almost a month since I last blogged.  Things have been a bit nuts though...  

We opened our doors to Cement Colors, Houston on January 2nd and the way we set it up was to have me in the office Monday - Thursday and Jason on the road selling.  Then on Friday, he's in the office and I'm with Jocelyn (who is in daycare Tues, Wed and Thurs).  Well getting up throughout the night with Jocelyn (usually only once) and getting up with Joe who is now in his own bed (but asks me to walk him back several times) is for the birds when you have to get up at 6:00 am to get everyone ready and yourself to be out the door by 7:30 am.  :)  

I work until about 4:15 and then usually head to get the kids (because we only have one car seat and base for Littlest J) and get home... I try to go for a run, Jason goes for a run, dinner, bath, bed, collapse.  No time for blogging.  Shoot, no time for anything.  

So, I am trying to find a balance.  
  A new reality, if you will.  A new reality that includes working for Cement Colors, working for ChemSystems, being a mom and wife, being a daughter and a friend.  A sister to my two half sisters and an aunt to my beautiful niece.  And a runner... a marathoner again.  

There's a saying that says if you want something done... ask a busy person.  I find this to be true, however... a sleep deprived busy person is one who forgets a lot easier...  

I am going to New York City with my mother in law though... in two weeks.  I can't wait.  I plan on refilling my personal "well" and really catching up on sleep and running and reading.  I am so excited and a bit anxious about leaving my babies.  Not because my hubby can't take care of them...  but just because I haven't left my littlest J for any stretch of time.  

It will be good for me and good for them.  :)  
For now...  balance.  I'll work on it when things settle down a bit.  :)