Monday, February 20, 2012

Jail Break...Mercer escapes his crib

****Editted with Backstory

There are some days that Mercer is against napping.  Sunday was one of those days.  And Sunday was the day that he decided to do something about it.

Mark and I are pretty hardasses about naps, moreso because as working adults with a toddler, we are denied that prividelge and thus we feel that Mercer should take every opportunity to rest - even if we can't.

Apparently, Mercer is already tired of us living vicariosuly through him (oh, he's going to hate me when he starts pee wee football).

We put Mercer to nap in his crib and closed the door.
He screamed.  He cried.  He whined.
All of us looked at each other like, "You're hearing this right?  It just got louder".
So I said, "Oh, I bet one of the dogs pushed his door open, I'll go check".
The door was closed.  The screaming was definately louder.  And when I opened that door, in front of me stood one toddler who looked quite pissed.
My mind could not process what has happened to enable him to get out of his crib. And for a split second I thought it was magic.

So, I put him back in his crib, this time removing all stuffed animals and blankets that he could have used to  help himself climb out.

Not even five minutes later, there he was standing in our great room, now, even more pissed.  And when I "pissed", I mean that you could tell that if he understood how to flip us off, Johnny Cash Style, he would have.  And nothing is funnier than picturing my son in a diaper giving us the double Jersey salute.

At this point, I decided that I had to see Houdini do this with my own eyes and it needed to be recorded so my "fans" could see it too.  I put him in his crib and Mercer, as a circus performer in training, did not disappoint - he escaped once again.

So, now, on top of the 100 other things on our "to do" list - we are going to covert his crib to a big boy bed.

And while I hope it's not so, depending on my resolve on any given weekend day, we may have just given up naps.  *sad*


Saturday, January 21, 2012


It’s never too late in the year to make resolutions, right?  And while I’m sure that I should resolve to make some of the more popular ones ("dropping the trailer", as my father would say).  The one that I’m making to myself is to write more.

I’m not great at organization – of anything.  I don’t print out pictures (or frame them, or hang them).  I didn’t do well with completing Mermie’s baby book.  I don’t scrapbook.  The blog that I write about my son is one of the only complete journals that I have documenting our lives from his 9-month mark to the present.  And when I opened my birthday gift from my sister and realized that with her help, I get to publish my blog as a keepsake, I was thrilled – because, even if the internet becomes extinct, I will have a memento of my ramblings for Mercer to enjoy when he becomes a Dad. 

But, while re-reading JenStar and her SeidmEn,  it made me realize that the following: 
1.       I can’t spell
       I can’t edit
       I like run-on sentences
4.   Whoa, I drink alot.  
5.       I’m too f*cking opinionated for my own good
       I curse way too much
       My son uses my laptop?
       I’m a giant sap (WTF, on that one?)
       Most importantly, I captured so much, yet so little.

The writing process for me is cathartic.  It’s a way to channel the creative energy that builds up because the career that I chose isn’t creative.  But, I feel like this process takes FOREVER, because, I’m a perfectionist, of sorts (Mark, stop laughing).  I’m an idea perfectionist.  I have this inner need to ensure that my blog isn’t just a collection of random thoughts, but that it MEANS something.  That it resonates with people.  That when I write, people can relate to me and to our situation.  So, in order to get that just “write” (pardon the pun), I hone the content of a post for a long before I unleash it to the world.  Which in turn, limits the amount that I actually post.

Deciding what to actually post on here is another factor that limits my productivity.  Putting yourself out there in words is pretty uncomfortable for me. While I’m sure that some cringe with the content that I share for all the interwebz to read, I probably keep in about 95% of it.   I purposely don't post about my job, my relationship with Mark, or major life decisions that affect our family. I try keep it light and rosy and take the high road with my entries.  As many of you know, this attitude flies in the face of my everyday self - a sarcastic, self-centered , realist of a class-clown.   But to me, it all comes down to permanence; once it’s written, it’s out there for everyone to read and interpret (forever).  And while I know that Mercer will know that he and his Mom will have had their battles, I'd never want him to look back and read an entire blog about it.  Before I decided to write this, I read alot of Mommy-Blogs.  Some Moms are amazing and inspirational (and organized) (KAREN and REBECCA) and some are just down right whiners.  I hate whiners; I vowed not not be one (all the time).

So, bear with me, this blog is a living organism, changing and growing with us, as we take on what each day brings.  I’m going to make an effort to post pictures and funny things that Mercer does once a week, even if I don’t have something earth-shattering to rap about.  I owe it to the people that read this (all 8 of you - thanks!!) to give them what this blog was actually created for – a place to showcase how adorable my son is.

Thank you for your support and Happy Belated New Year.

And for those of you who are Mercer fans, here’s a sampling of pictures from the first part of January:

Arts & Crafts Afternoon - which lasted like 5 minutes

Led to Hulk Mouth - It looks like he ate a Shrek baby

But I really think he enjoyed the Oreo better!
"Who's that kid with the oreo cookie?"

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

December Posts 3 of 3: Going to the Chapel...

…and we’re going to FLOR-I-DA.

Our friends, N&T, invited us to join their family and friends to celebrate one of the biggest days of their lives – their wedding day.  Festivities were planned to take place December 28 – 30 in Palm Beach, Florida.  So, we decided to leave the cold of the Northeast, add a leg to our Christmas journey and hop a direct flight from PHL to PBI (West Palm Beach aka WPB).

We left NJ in a sea of hugs, kisses and tears (Great Fairy Godmother, our family crier), with Mercer saying, “Bye Bye Airport”. 

Snacking with Daddy
At the airport, Mercer enjoyed snacking like a king:  cheese, grapes, crackers, hummus, pretzels and water.  It was a dinner of snacks, because we knew that we’d arrive in Florida at his bedtime.  And as we climbed, higher and higher, into the clouds, in a (stupid) attempt to keep Mercer occupied, I handed him my water bottle with the sport top (the kind that squirts water in your mouth).  And without fail, Mercer choked on some water and surprised us all with another round of vomit.  Many thanks to Auntie Fran who suggested that we always keep a plastic bag handy.   We sprung into action and wrapped up Mercer’s sweatshirt into the plastic bag and hoped upon hope that for the rest of the flight, he remained puke free.  Lcukily, he did…although he reeked of garlic hummus, which is quite enchanting (read tolerable) if you actually like Lebanese food.

And we thought, “Oh, it’s no big deal, because we can just drop him in the tub when we get to the hotel, right”?  Sure.  If the hotel had bathtubs.  The Hyatt Place in WPB is awesome.  The staff is super attentive & friendly.  The breakfast buffet hits the spot.  The rooms are modern and clean.  The location allows you to walk everywhere.  But unfortunately, our bathroom only had a shower.  And this shower was refreshing…for adults, with its great temperature and excellent water pressure.  But for a kid who really never really takes showers, Mercer must have felt like he was being hosed down with a fire hose.  We made the clean up quick and then it was time for bed, for all of us.

Now, we haven’t shared a room with Mercer since he was 9 months old and we were visiting his Florida Grands.  So, this whole "roomie" experience was new to Mercer.  To make more space in the hotel room, we put the crib right next to the bed.  Hilarity ensued when we were awoke from a sound sleep by our son staring at us and repeating, “HI.  Hi.  Hi.” And “Up?” in the middle of the night.  He was definitely excited that we were that accessible to him in the middle of the night.  We scooped him up and plopped him in bed between us and after 45 minutes of him trying to get comfortable (and me getting kicked over and over, just as I was dozing off), I put him back in his crib and was met with no fuss from him.  Apparently, the kid like his own sleeping hole. 

The first day in Palm Beach was just what we needed – relaxing.  In the rush of December, with work being crazy, multiple parties, shopping obligations and traveling, we really never got a chance to celebrate together…just the three of us.  So, we got up, put on our shorts and sunscreen and just walked.  All day.  In flip flops.  And while our feet hated us for it, our hearts and our souls really needed that walk.  Palm Beach is beautiful.  The houses are spectacular, the weather is perfect, the beaches are clean, the water is blue and all the people that we ran into (because they like to tell us how cute our son is, as he flirts with all the ladies running) were so nice.  Special thanks to two local ladies that tag-teamed the taking of our family photograph below.  One took the picture while the other one stood behind her doing every funny thing she could think of to get Mercer to smile (We were laughing outloud at her antics).  I want to go back and hug these ladies.  I feel like they knew what it was like to never have a family photo with EVERYONE in it, because someone is always taking the picture.  And while I look like hell – we’re all present and smiling…and I love it.
Us - in front of a Poinciana Tree at the Royal Poinciana Chapel
The tree was gigantic - like prehistoric gigantic...and stunning!

Our Beach Boy
Loved the sun and the sand...was a little unhappy with the temp of the surf
Enter the FLORDIA Grands (Bubby and Grandpa) aka – the Super "Bubby"sitters.  We asked them to meet us in WPB to look after Mercer while we attened the wedding events.  Mercer was welcome to attend along with us, but, we thought it was a good opportunity for him to have some bonding time with his grandparents (and we loved the idea of having 3 date nights in a row).  We met back at our hotel, after our day-long walk and caught them up on all of Mercer’s Holiday Happenings.  Then for the next 3 days, Mercer and his Florida Grands were BFFs (best friends forever)!  When we went to a welcome dinner, the ordered-in pizza and watched nature shows.  When we had a lunch and boat ride, they went to Burger King and the park.  And finally when we got all dolled up for the wedding, Bubby and Mermie napped and Grandpa chauffeured us to our bus.  The three of them spent that evening eating, reading and playing while Mark and I danced the night away (literally).  Every night, after we returned from our function, Bubby gave us a full report of Mercer’s “what-doings”, with color commentary added from Grandpa.  And I loved it.  It warmed my heart seeing just how much they enjoyed their grandson and just how much their grandson enjoyed them.
Mermie & Grandpa

Bubby's Babes
We clean up nicely - Photo credit - SC
On a side note…

Our friends’ wedding was majestic.  And it was made so because in the midst of every beautiful detail at every event that was hosted, from the flowers (that I wanted to take up residence in) to the food (that was delish), the love of the Villages that support these two crazy kids, was palpable.  The bride and groom were smiley.  Their parents were so welcoming.  The wedding toasts were warm and heartfelt.  Over the three days that we spent celebrating, a community of people from all over the world became friends because these two met, fell in love and got married. 

The newly minted Mr & Mrs

I always say that a testament to a great wedding is how packed the dance floor is.  At one point, I looked out upon it, filled with a sea of people and it appeared as though it was breathing to the music.  It was packed with guests; some high on life, some tipsy on champagne (like me).  And in the middle were the two brightest smiles I had ever seen, just radiating - creating their own spotlight.  One was dressed in a black James Bond-eque tux and the other dressed in gorgeous white lace gown…two big smiles, two big hearts,  just high on love.

N&T – May you never come down off the cloud you were on that day.  

And now – back to reality…Resolution posts coming next and hopefully more weekly updates.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

December Posts 2 of 3: Jingle All the Way New Jersey.

Dear Santa –
It’s Mercer.  And currently, I’m hiding in my crib, under a blanket, pretending to sleep, while writing you this note on Mom’s IPAD (thanks for the idea, E-trade baby!).    This thing is SLICK.  Do you know that I can stream Big Bird whenever I want? WHENEVER I WANT!!!!   I’m going to make that fat turkey dance for me all night long.  This could be dangerous.

But I digress.

I saw Mom writing out all these thank you cards, emails and Facebook posts for all the wonderful things that we received during Christmas.  And, because I’m at a stage where I mimic EVERYTHING she does, I thought I’d write one too.

Santa – I think you’re great.  You are the bringer of all joy.  And I couldn’t be more grateful for how you spoiled me this holiday season.  I got to fly to NJ to see my family.  I love flying…and so do Mom and Dad.  When we are on the plane, they get these little bottles of “water” and mix them in their juice and after that they spend the whole flight laughing and sleeping…and I do the exact same thing, when I'm not squirming and squawking.

When I got to NJ – my Grandparents’ house looked like Santa Land!  I loved all of the lights and ornaments that Pop Pop and Grandmom decorated with, especially the ones on their Christmas tree.  My absolute favorite ornament was a 1960’s era white mustang convertible.  I kept “finding” it on the tree, pointing to it and saying, “CAR, CAR, CAR”!!  That was Mom’s ornament from when she was a teenager (one of her dream cars) and I think I’m going to make it my ornament for years to come. 
Mermz Checking out the Ornaments

In poking through Mom's computer, among a history of some major online shopping,  I found a draft blog post that Mom wrote this about her parents tree that seemed nice to include here (she’s so wordy…):

Because we travel during the holidays, Mark and I don’t really decorate the house.  I put a festive holiday table cloth down on the kitchen table with Santa placemats and that’s about it.  We did start a chocolate Advent calendar to help countdown the days to Christmas.  But I don’t think Mercer truly understood what Santa-land was all about until he walked into my parents’ house on the 22nd

To be fair, my parents have been looking forward to spoiling grandchildren with Christmas for a LONG time.  And it showed.  The outside of the house was twinkling with thousands multicolored lights, making sure it was bright enough to catch Santa’s eye.  The Christmas tree was perfect, it’s always perfect.  It's charming; a collection of ornaments from many Christmases past adorn the branches – each holding a special memory.  Over the past 33 years of my life, we’ve had many trees, yet in my mind – they always look the same, and interestingly, when I do decorate my own tree, it turns out looking just like my parents’ tree.  

"Are you buying presents for an orphanage?" - John Pactua - Dec 2011

Yadda, yadda, yadda.  Why is she freakin’ sentimental about everything?  Back to me…and Christmas.
Cheesin' in his Christmas Jammies

All dressed up in his skull tie

And on Christmas – there were presents.  Presents, Presents and more Presents.  Someone had to remind me what presents actually were and what I was supposed to do with them;  i.e., play with the toy inside the box and not just the box and the paper.  I’ll confess, I was a little overwhelmed by all the attention.  Mom opened one box for me that had a dump truck in it and I demanded that I play with that immediately.  I was so content playing with the truck that I let Mom open up the other million boxes.  That looked like hard work, and I was content playing with my toy and enjoying my vacation.  
Mermz - More interested in McQueen than having his photo taken
Santa, I know what I asked for from you was extensive, but, I never thought you’d actually bring it all (minus one small request that I mention at the end of this post).  Mom says that I’m spoiled.  I totally laughed at her when she said that.  I’ve seen pictures of the Christmases that Mom had growing up…she forgets quite easily how spoiled she was and still is…right…Cashmere sweater?  I am so thankful for everything I’ve received – all of my Santas were so very good to me.  Once the UPS man delivered by gifts back to NJ, I got busy playing with them and then I found a placemat in a drawer and have played with that for the last 4 days.  It's a really nice placemat! 

The best part of the NJ trip was spending time with Mom’s Village.  I am adored, as I should be, by just about everyone (I think Misty the dog is jealous of me).  I got to read books with Great Great Uncle Vince and Aunt Drea.  I got to snuggle with Pop Pop, even when I wasn’t feeling well.  I entertained everyone with my sheer amazement of everything.  I loved all the hugs and kisses that I got from my family – I was smothered in them the whole time.
Pop Pop and I snuggling when I was sick

Great Great Uncle Vince teaching me about "Things that Go"
4 "red heads", 4 generations

Cutest Family EVER

Aunt Stinky, Uncle Cookie and Mermz (sorry Dre - this is the only pic I had of the three of you)

Cousin Bill, Aunt Drea, Daddy and Mermz

Great Uncle Andy - The builder of the coolest piggy bank EVER and Mermz

Our family lost in the presents

Which leads me to my final point….

Santa, just for your records, next year, let’s avoid bringing me a stomach virus.  Experiencing this phenom for the first time was less than magical and I will try to avoid it at all costs.  The look on Mom’s face when I puked down her shirt was priceless and hysterical, but the taste of old gnocchi in my mouth, afterward, may have made me vomit again.  Gross.  Ewwww…. Yucky.  (Gnocchi's are Yummy. Vomit is Yucky)

Santa - you rock and I look forward to our date next year.  I hear you may be sending an elf my way to do reconnaissance on me for you during the month of December.  All I have to say to that is...BRING IT ON...CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Next year..I'm getting the one thing you pet reindeer.


Notes from Jen:
*Stay tuned for the report of our Florida trip (December Post 3 of 3). 
**Big thanks to everyone for the merriest Christmas yet.  Much love to you all of you...from US.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

December Posts 1 of 3: It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

...'cause it's my birthday.

For those of you who know me, my birthday is kind of a BFD (big f*cking deal).  Everyone always asks whether I get jipped because I was born so close to Christmas.  And I respond with a resonating, “No”.  I loved being a December baby and still do!  The whole month is one big party:  everything is decorated in lights and garland, everyone is indulging in libations and sweets, people are generally in more festive moods as their smiles are bigger and their hugs are tighter.  How could I complain about being born into a celebration?   I embrace it.  In fact, this year, at last count anyway, I celebrated my birthday seven times.  I cackled with my Hens over some wine (and a GIANT glass of Crown Royal), brunched at the Ritz with the Knickmans, had dessert first at Jilly’s with the Marks Ladies, dined on donuts with my work group, blew out a candle in a sea salt caramel tart with the best team ever, shared a limo with my little family and a couple of lovebirds and was serenaded alongside my Aunt (who is also a December baby) with birthday wishes by my NJ family on Christmas Eve.  And while I know some may think that was excessive (like my husband), I think it was just about right.  Because the best gift that I received (sorry Mark, this trumps the IPAD), is the time spent toasting life with my family and friends.  Each celebration and each birthday wish that came in through cards, Facebook, email and text,  made me realize just how lucky I am to surrounded by and immersed in so much love with so many interesting and unique people.  They are my Village – in STL, NJ (and all over the world).  THANK YOU for making me feel so special.

Dressed up for the Ritz Brunch

Snuggles with my baby in the "big car"

Naps in the limo

Cheers to me!!!!!

Gone 'til November

To my blog fans – I apologize for my lack of writing.  It’s amazing how time flies when you’re having fun or atleast managing the chaos that is our lives sometimes.  Welcome to January 2012. 

We’ve been a busy family since November…

Thanksgiving took Mark, Mercer and I back east to NJ.  While Mercer spent some time with the family, Mark and I met our friend Mel (from Dallas) in NYC and as tourists, we were determined on living as New Yorkers.  And in retrospect, I think we did a helluva job biting into the Big Apple.  We scoured the town for bagels and found them at Zucker’s.  We took the subway everywhere and loved descending into the cellar of one part of city only to pop up in a totally different locale with a totally different vibe.  We went on a Food Tour of the West Village, sampling cheeses from Murray’s, cannolis from Rocco’s, rice balls from Faicco's (my favorite), pizza from Joe’s and cookies from Milk & Cookies.  Mel introduced us to his old friend, Jiggers, who shares with us an appreciation of drinking before noon, and we brunched with he and his beautiful wife on a warm November Sunday morning; sipping the drinks of our choice, hearing all the tales he had to tell and people watching until our hearts were content.  We ate at Carnegie Deli and actually sat with the owner, with Mark grinning from ear to ear as he devoured his entire meal, part of mine and cheesecake for dessert.  We kissed the sky at the top of the Empire State Building and were christened with rain at the Top of the Rock.  We walked in the footsteps of our forefathers as we visited Lady Liberty and Ellis Island.  We ventured into Queens for a little Salt & Fat with Mark’s brother Neal and were blown away by that foodie experience.  We even met a Rockette and while watching the Christmas Show at Radio City (and after 2 margaritas and a glass of champagne) I even contemplated enrolling in Rockette Training Camp (stop laughing).

New York City is a muse for fantasy.  Mark and I walked the Brooklyn Bridge, hand in hand, dreaming about how I’d work at the Food Network in Chelsea and take the subway from “our place”  in Brooklyn every day.  Mercer could grow up an urban kid, with the NYC streets under his black and white Converse.  Of course the record scratched on the background music of that daydream when we saw how much a placed actually costs in Brooklyn.  So, in compromise, we promised each other that, should we ever move back East, we’ll make it a point to visit NYC more often.

I left NYC with a bittersweet feeling; a feeling that I had seen so much, yet so very little.  But I think that’s her allure, the city that never sleeps always teasing you to come back.  Luckily, I took a ton of pictures to memorialize our great affair...
Mark's Mecca

The sandwich before

All Done!

Hogs and Heffers - Door to the potty

Mark & I - Hogs and Heffers

Melvis & Jiggers - Hogs & Heffers
Brothers at Neal's new studio in Queens

How pizza should always be...Joe's Pizza - NYC

C is for Cookie

Dinner at Bubby's - Tribecca

Drea joined us for the Rockette show

Mark & I - Top of the Rock - in a rainstorm

Dre & I - Top of the Rock - Rainstorm

Melvis & I - Under Lady Liberty

In an alternate universe, Mercer had a pretty awesome time with the family.  He didn’t even miss us (we are so lucky that he’s not clingy, it would break my heart)!  He was spoiled, fawned-over and loved-on for an entire week.  When I look back on what they accomplished with him in a seven days, I get tired just from reading it!  Here’s a short list of all the things that I was “told” he did.  Like the saying goes, “what happens at Pop Pop’s stays there”…so I’m sure they did some cool stuff that wasn’t even reported.  Big thanks to Auntie Drea for taking the whole week off to spend with her nephew.  Judging by the 1 million pictures that she took, I know she, Pop Pop, Grandmom, Uncle Cookie, Fairy Godmother, Gram and everyone else had a great time.
Here's a sampling in pictures...

Fresh Cut – Faux Hawk at the 33 Barber Shop
The result pictured below

18-month Portrait with Pat

 This is a 3-photo sampling a pretty amazing shoot.  Pat is so very talented that I'm still trying to decide which pictures to print and frame!

Discovery Museum
Ball pit!!!!!!!

Fish in a TV - this blew his mind like Inception

Future Pilot?

Future NBA star - Slam dunking with help from Pop Pop

Future Newscaster?  Mercer entertains a call from the control room.

Dinner with the Fam
Pop Pop's Lasagna

Just like his Mom with the BBQ sauce - the boy loves to DIP

The Park
Mercer & Uncle Cookie on the Slide!
The Library
Future Librarian in Training?
As we left the east coast, I realized that each of us got spoiled in our own special way on this trip.  Mercer got the undivided attention of the Village for 7 days.  Mark got the indulge in a sandwich at a restaurant that he dreamed of eating in for years.  I got to walk the streets of New York as if I owned the place with my husband and one of my best friends.  Each one of us loved it.  And, isn't this what vacation is all about?  Removing yourself from your daily ho-hums and inserting yourself into something fresh, new and different in an attempt to feed the soul?  Mission Accomplished!

And now..a picture of me with my arm in a turkey.  Fun.
My shirt (a gift from Melvis) says, "Burritos are like sleeping bags for meat".