Thursday, October 26, 2017

Oh boy!

I was busy making googly eyes at the little creature on the computer screen in front of me when the ultrasound technician furrowed her brow and shook her head. 

"You're how far along?" she asked, peering closer as the image swam in and out of view.

"Twelve weeks," I said not taking my eyes off it as to not miss a single movement. 

"'re at least 15. Probably closer to 16," she said.

Huh. "OK," I said, thinking that made no difference to me. I soon learned that was not entirely true. 

"Because you're further along, I can tell you the sex," she said grinning. 

Well, that changed things. "TELL ME!" I said. 

"Are you sure?" she asked.

"TELL ME!" I repeated. 

"Well, see those?" she said, pointing to two long lines on the screen. "Those are legs. And that in the middle..."

"A boy!" I said, a shocked smile overtaking my face. 

"A boy," she nodded. 

It's official - Justin, Libby, Wilson and I will be welcoming a baby boy into our family on or around April 19. We're excited and overjoyed and nervous and happy and just feeling really lucky that we get to do this again. 

I'm not entirely surprised at the sex as this pregnancy has been so completely opposite of what I experienced with Lib. When I was pregnant with her, I felt so Earth Mother goddess glowy, I remember thinking, "What's the big fuss about? This is awesome! Look at my nails! Look at my boobs! I've never had either before! This rocks!"

This time, on my best days, I look recently exhumed. On the bad days, I avoid reflective surfaces altogether. I feel like I've been hit by a garbage truck, then scooped up by said truck, taken to the dump, and am barreling toward the fiery incineration pit, Toy Story 3-style. Like the characters, I've accepted my fate, only I'm actually kind of looking forward to my imminent demise. 

Every single person I told this prior to knowing the sex responded with, "Oooo! I bet it's a boy!"* Based on the way I feel, I just hope it's human and not something sent from an evil realm to destroy all mankind. 

*I guess boys make you sick? Well, technically, a boy did do this to me, so it's not completely wrong. 

I'm told this phase will pass, and I'm already starting to feel a little better. What won't pass, I'm coming to realize, is the incessant reminder that I really should not have even considered conceiving again in my decrepit state. "Advanced Maternal Age" is a term I'm becoming quite familiar with, as every time I do anything at the doctor's office - go in for a routine check-up, have any test done, blink - I'm reminded that I am SO OLD OMG and probably should have thrown in the towel on this whole motherhood business the instant I became legally able to drink. 

I'm 36. I had Libby when I was 33. Apparently, those three years mean the difference between super-normal-nothing-to-worry-about pregnancy and EVERYTHING YOU DO WILL RESULT IN DISASTER pregnancy. I get it. I do. And of course, better safe than sorry, but the whole thing just gets a little old (ha!) after a while. 

We have told Libby she's getting a sibling, but she's 2, so her understanding of what's happening is pretty much limited to "Mama's tummy hurts." One night, we were cuddling on the couch when a giant wave of nausea hit me. I knew I was going to hurl and didn't want to scare her, so I told her, in the calmest voice I could muster, to go get daddy, who was downstairs. She tore off, barreling through the house, screeching, "DADDY!!!!! SHE'S HURT!!!!!" at the top of her little lungs. Justin bolted upstairs, thinking I had been violently murdered only to find me green-faced and clawing my way to the bathroom. I felt terrible for having upset her, but at least I know the kid can hold her own in emergencies. 

So yes, this time is around is different in many ways from the first, but despite the entire preceding, I'm not really complaining. I'm so excited and happy to get to do this again, and I can't wait to see what this child is like. Super outgoing and life-of-the-party like Lib (and her dad)? More reserved and quiet (like me)? Horned and fanged, as to better annihilate all who stand in the path of its demonic rage (as I suspect)? Kidding! Regardless of all of it, I just can't wait to meet him. Because if how I feel about this one is any indication, we have a love like I've never known in our future.

Monday, March 13, 2017

I Think They Like Each Other...

For some time, I'd been thinking it was bordering on child abuse that Justin and I had not gotten Libby a dog yet. She's slightly in love with puppies. All of them. As some of you may remember, her first word was "puppy," and she stills talks about them nonstop. It was time.

So a few weeks ago, we grew our little family by one when we brought home Wilson, a border collie lab mix who we met thanks to the great folks at Pet Search. He's a total love bug, super affectionate and cuddly, playful, friendly and just overall a really great dog.

And as anticipated, Libby kind of likes him.

I think he likes her too. Mission accomplished.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

It's the Oscars! And we're here to talk fashion and politics. Except, forget politics! 

A h, awards season. It never disappoints, even when the red carpet styles...well, disappoint. That's part of the fun! My bestie Jason and I let you all into our awards show viewing circle with the Grammys a few weeks back. You seemed to like it, so come along with us as we recap the most important awards show of the season, complete with our most important comments! It's the 2017 Academy Awards!   

Jason on Octavia Spencer: Look how awesome she looks!...(camera pans down)...Oh. How many Muppets had to die for that?"

Jason on Brie Larson: That. That's architecture.

Jason: Jessica Biel looks like someone took an Oscar, kicked it down the stairs and made a dress. (For what it's worth, Rachel: YOU ARE SO RIGHT.)

Red carpet interviewer on Casey Affleck: Look who I found on the stairs! 
Rachel: On the stairs? Or under them? 

Rachel: Keith Urban's hair never changes. And I don't mean he never changes styles. I mean his individual hairs NEVER EVER move. EVER.

Rachel: I feel like Janelle Monae's stylist is playing a practical joke on all of us.

Jason: What is that, Leslie Mann?
Rachel: Asked and answered.

 An aside, by both of us, as The Rock comes on stage: Velour. *GIANT SIGH* OK Fine.

Another aside, as Lin-Manuel Miranda comes out to rap-speak about "Moana": We love Lin. EVERYONE LOVES LIN. But does this feel a smidge like a push for him to get a PEGOT. Yes, of course, he deserves it but...OK fine.

 All of us, as they played Viola Davis off: Was that.... "The Heat Is On." I mean, Sure!

General observation: What is up with the wrist-to-wrist clap all the A-listers are doing? And why?

Becca, Jason's wife, as they announce the nominees for Best Animated Film: I feel like a turtle is nominated every year.

General impressions:

Dakota Johnson: Horrid

Nicole Kidman: Perfection, finally.

Taraji P. Henson: SO GOOD. Also, finally.

Emma Stone: Neck up, flawless. Neck to waist, boring. Waist to floor, LOVE.

Last Word:

Jason's Fav: Brie Larson (see above). "I like the architecture of that dress. I thought it was classically different. In that it was classic, but something we haven't seen before."

Rachel's Fav: Shockingly, for the first time ever because usually I can't stand any of her red carpet looks: Nicole Kidman!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Hello from the outside. It's the 59th annual Grammys! And we have tulle! 

My bestie Jason and I love awards shows. LOVE them. We watch every single one, even the less watercooler fodder-worthy ones (I'm looking at you, Tonys and SAG awards) and seriously look forward to every minute. Our favorite thing to do is to watch them together, then call each other the next day and recap, complete with our own best and worst dressed list and a thorough analysis of each acceptance speech, red carpet interview gaffes and everything in between. 

I decided this time, we'd keep track of our more noteworthy observations and share them here because honestly, what we think really matters and we're very important, informed people. Also, SIKE! I decided to do it because...funsies! 

So, have some fun with us, understand we take this entire thing with the world's largest grain of salt and let's get to werk, werk, werk, werr werr! 

After James Corden's raptastic opening, Rachel: "I hope Lin Manuel-Miranda made royalties off that."

Jason, on JLo's dress: "Do you think the designer just said, 'So I have this leftover tulle....(crumples it up and chucks it at the shoulder). That'll do.'"

Rachel" "Even Carrie Underwood can't stop this Keith Urban song from sounding like every Keith Urban song."

Rachel: "Is Seacrest wearing an outfit I don't like for the first time ever?" Jason: "(Significant pause) Taupe velour. That's rough."

Rachel on Tina Knowles' intro of Beyonce: "I am blessed to have daughter. DAUGHTERS! Daughters."

Rachel, after five minutes of Beyonce's epic ode to motherhood intro: "How hard would you die if she came out and sang 'Single Ladies' right now?"

Jason, on Beyonce: "So, we have this tulle...."

Rachel on Maren Morris' dress: "I would love that dress if it was more...dress. More dress." Jason: "She clearly won't be wearing that dress to her church."

Jason, watching the Bruno Mars performance: "This song makes me want to go shake my ass at the club. WE SHOULD DO THAT! We should go be those people at the club this summer." Rachel: "We are 35 years old. NO WE SHOULD NOT."

Rachel: "I would buy an entire album of Little Big Town covering Katy Perry songs." *I really would. Let's make this happen, people!*

Jason: "3M stock just went up with the amount of double-sided tape that's holding these girls into their outfits."

Jason on Adele: "You have to love her. She is the most flawed flawless vocalist out there." #truth

Jason on Taraji P. Henson's dress: "What. Why? She has thunderbolts coming out of her tits."

During the Bee Gees tribute, Rachel: "How hard do you want Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake to come out right now and do 'The Barry Gibb Talk Show?'"

As Celine comes out to "My Hear Will Go On," both of us, in unison: "Really? Still??!?"

Jason, upon seeing Solange: "So we have this tulle...."

After we both looked up info on The Time during the Prince tribute, Jason: "It says here they produced all of Janet Jackson's successful albums." Rachel: "Did they really have to throw 'successful' in there. I mean, burn."

Rachel: "Oh, hey, Rihanna. So we have this tulle."

Friday, February 3, 2017

Dear Libby,

Hello, my baby girl.

No surprise here, but I'm already making mistakes. According to the potty training book I’m reading, I’m not to refer to you as “baby” any more as it sends a confusing message about your new status as a toilet-ready Big Girl. As one who rarely considers any parenting advice to be gospel, I found this idea to be a bit ridiculous when I first read it. As a person who’s slowly realizing her days as Mama to an infant are long gone, I also cried my eyes out.

Your official foray into toddlerdom became abundantly apparent in real life a few days ago, when I was sneaking us a handful of our favorite snack—baked Cheetos, which we call “puffs.” I turned to you and said, “Mmm! Mama loves puffs!”

“Me too,” you said.

Since when do you and I have conversations? Since now, I guess, and this time I won’t tell you how hard I cried after that exchange (A LOT).

Basically, you seem to be having a much easier time than I am when it comes to accepting the fact that you are no baby. You’re 2 today, and honestly, you’ve not stop talking since you learned how to make words, so our little exchange should have shocked me in no way.

A few things are the same as they were around this time last year. You still save most poops for times when only daddy is around (keep that up, by all means); you still love when we tickle your stinky feet. You still love other kids and all things Mickey, though another show, “My Friends Tigger and Pooh,” is gaining on the mouse (you call it “Tig Pooh” and I die every time).

Much more has changed. Here is what you’re up to as of Feb 3, 2017:


As previously mentioned, unless you are asleep or eating, you are rarely quiet. But actually, you do talk in your sleep quite a bit and I holler at you daily about talking with your mouth full, so, really...YOU NEVER STOP TALKING. There are days when I think, “Child, I love your sweet little baby girl voice but if you say one more word, I’m going to go cry in the pantry.” Joking(ish)! Mostly, you narrate your day. If you’re watching a show, you tell me so many details I could watch it with my eyes closed, which is tempting. For example, a typical episode of “Tig Pooh” involves the characters doing something fun until a problem arises and the Super Sleuths (Pooh, Tigger and Darby) must use their smarts to solve it. Watching with you goes like this:

You: “Tig Pooh! Piglet! Eeyore! Darby! Rabbit! Friends? Play? Woods! Fun! Uh oh. Sad. Oh no! Super Sleuths! Think, think, think! Tigger? Bounce! Yay! Fun! Friends! Play! Tig Pooh!”

Me: (after everything you say): Mm hmm.

This type of exchange applies to just about every activity imaginable: talking a walk in the park, grocery shopping, coloring, sitting quietly. Just kidding on that last one! You never sit quietly! But, now that we’ve brought it up...I mean, it might be something worth considering. I hear it’s fun! Just saying.


I have no idea where you learned this or when/how it started, but when you ask the question, “Where?” you press the back of your hand up to your forehead in this “Woe is me, I’m just a dainty damsel in distress,” manner that slays me. You also pronounce it like, “way-year” making it all the more hilarious. Never stop doing this.

It's hard to catch you randomly saying, "Where," but around the 42-second mark, it happens in all its glory.

You also developed a super secret handshake that you surprise us with from time to time. We’ll be hanging out, and you’ll come rushing over, and say, “Friends?” We’ve come to learn we are expected to present our hands side by side, so you can do this little finger wiggle atop them, like you’re trying to tickle our palms. Again, no idea where this one came from, but no one is complaining.

It's nearly impossible to catch your "Friends" handshake in action but this is my best attempt.


This is my favorite thing in life right now. You’ve taken to snuggling up on either dad’s or my lap, wrapping your arms around us and simply saying, “Much.” It’s because I tell you about a thousand times a day, “I love you so much.” It’s your way of telling us the same and I melt every time. I hold on to you so tight in those moments, as I am fully aware of the day in the not-so-distant future when a teenage you will want nothing to do with me and I will have to wait for days like my birthday or posed prom photos for you to even entertain the idea of hugging me. Regardless of what happens in the next 12 months, if I’m still able to say “Much” is a thing, I’ll call that year a success.


Your grandma, who loved you beyond measure, died this past November after suffering a stroke a few months prior. It equal parts kills me that you were robbed of your time with her and comforts me that I don’t have to help you navigate your grief as I stumble through my own. All I can tell you, my dear, is Grandma could not have wanted you more, loved you more or been more excited for every single second she got to spend with you. She loved to rock you to sleep or get down on the floor and play with you. She loved feeding you snacks, watching you run around her big backyard or swim in the pool she set up every hot summer day for you and your cousins. We took many walks in the park, went on countless shopping trips, and just really had so much fun together.

Grandma also loved to laugh, so I’ll end this with perhaps one of our funniest memories with her. You were playing in the pool and got out to run around for a bit. Grandma had been using the garden hose to fill the pool, and it was still out in the yard. You were very curious about it, so she picked it up to show you how it worked. She failed, however, to realize the nozzle was still set to full pressure and essentially blasted you in the face full stream, practically knocking you off your feet. She was horrified, until we all realized you were utterly unfazed and, squealing, came rushing back for more. She held the hose out, this time at a reasonable setting, and the two of you had the time of your lives. She retold that story to anyone who would listen and nearly cried laughing every single time.

So, remember, my love: Life will knock you off your feet from time to time. That’s no reason to forget about all the joy there is to be had.



Thursday, April 7, 2016

Goodbye, Idol

“American Idol” is ending forever tonight. I know not everyone loved the show, but dammit, I did. Every year, after coming down from the high of the holidays, I staved off the looming winter blues with one thought: “Idol is returning soon!” The instant I heard Seacrest (oh, Seacrest. I think I’ll miss you most of all) proclaim, “THIS. Is American Idol!” followed by the bumping theme music, I felt happy. I couldn’t help it. Now it’s all going to be over soon, and I’m already afraid of what will happen next January in its absence. Will it be like the return of autumn every year after I graduated college when, as soon as the weather started to change, I thought, “Wait? Aren’t I supposed to be going back to school now? I should get packing!” When in reality, no, all that awaited me was day after day of the real world, with jobs and bills and blech. No doubt January will return, and I’ll feel that swell in my heart letting me know that something good is about to happen, then the truth will destroy me, much like La’Porsha has done to all who dared to compete with her this year. (Seriously, if she doesn’t win, I’ll...what? Stop watching the show. Ugh. Sob.)

I may be being a tad over-the-top here. But what ode to “Idol” would be complete without some cheesy theatrics and intentional tugs on the heartstrings? To cheer myself up and emotionally brace myself for tonight’s loss, I’ve decided to put together a list of some of my favorite “Idol” moments. Some happened on the show. Some happened in my real life. All made me happy.

Thanks, “Idol.” I’ll miss you!

In no particular order:

  1. Season Five, when my whole family bet on who would win. We put names in a fishbowl, and I got Katharine McPhee. I liked her well enough, but I loved Daughtry, so I wasn’t too concerned with winning. Then, the unthinkable happened and Daughtry went home (I mean, biggest Idol eff up ever? Debatable, but up there). It was me and my Uncle Jack with Taylor Hicks left in the finale. I’d never been more sure of anything in my life - that win was mine. I’d all but pocketed my winnings when Seacrest announced that Hicks had beat McPhee, and I stared, mouth agape, at the TV screen for the next three days. And do you know, that when me and fam went to the “Idol” tour that year, McPhee didn’t even show? And then she went on to star in “Smash,” which I LOVED but it was cancelled after just two seasons. Katharine, I try so hard to be your fan. Why must you always bring me such pain?

What even?

  1. The year Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr., and Randy Jackson performed at the finale, starting with “True Colors” then going into “Go Your Own Way.” Way fun, and played back on my DVR many times.

  1. The years when, once it got whittled down to the Top 10, Justin and I would randomly divvy up the contestants between us and whoever’s contestant won got a whole day to do whatever they wanted. I mean, I didn’t really like Scotty McCreery, but his win got me a day at the winery, so I’ll take it.

  1. Season Nine - the year I watched the entire season with Becca, and every single time Siobhan Magnus came on stage, we both looked at each other and said, “How in the hell do you pronounce her name again?” Then screamed CEE-O-BA-HAN! every time the camera panned to her from that point on.

  1. The year “Idol” filmed in Pittsburgh and Justin got to go shoot it for work. I thought he’d come home super psyched to tell me about meeting one of his favorite performers, Steven Tyler. I don’t think he even realized Steven Tyler was there. Jennifer Lopez had walked by him wearing a pair of shorty shorts, and I think he blacked out until much later that day. “It’s like she’s not even human,” he said again and again for the next forever. It’s kind of freeing knowing the standards of beauty I have to live up to in his mind are 1,000 percent unattainable. Hand me that cheeseburger!

  1. Getting to see my celebrity crush, Ryan Seacrest. My other crushes include Willie Geist, Carson Daly and Anderson Cooper. I might have a type.

  1. This might be my favorite one: The year after Bo Bice lost to Carrie, he came to South Park for a free outdoor concert. I went with my mom and aunt. We were all up close to the stage, and Bo started walking the length of it mid-song to give everyone high fives. My mom was a huge fan and I could see her straining to reach him, big smile on her face. The millisecond he got to her, Bo pulled his hand back to flip his signature flowing mane of hair back from his face. Then he turned on his heel and walked away. Mom’s sad little hand hung there midair for, I swear, a full 10 seconds before the devastation of the inadvertent snub hit her. I’m still laughing about that as I type it right now. Poor Mom. But I forever love Bo Bice for that moment alone.

  1. Adam Lambert singing “Mad World.” Actually, Adam Lambert singing anything.

  1. Going to see Carrie Underwood in concert with Justin this year and just watching her kick so much ass and thinking, “Girl, I saw you audition. You rocked then, and you rock now!” Then hearing her sing a cover of Dolly’s “I Will Always Love You” and sobbing openly. Ugh. So good.

  1. Watching La’Porsha perform this season. Her performances of “Diamonds” and “No More Drama” killed me. And every time the camera shows her baby with those comically gigantic noise-cancelling headphones, I die all over. Love her. Love all of it.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Today’s post comes from Melissa Janisin of Goodness Madness, and is part of a special day of shenanigans from other Pittsburgh Bloggers. You can see my post over on Steel City Intrigue, where I write about why I love running, even when it doesn't love me.

I do not like board games.
I think I had a hard time admitting this, earlier in my life; I have always wanted to be more fun than I actually am.  More free-wheeling, more happy-go-lucky. More able to enjoy whatever life brings, less picky about how I spend my time.  And then someone suggests that we play Monopoly and all I can think is Oh my God that takes forever I can’t possibly stand it please just take all my money right now, you win.
When I play board games, my foot jiggles a lot. Impatiently. I find myself always announcing whose turn it is when people get distracted by “fun side conversations” or “debates over rules.”  I wish it would be more acceptable to read a book while waiting for your stupid turn to come around again. I am perfectly happy for others to win if it means a shortened duration of game play, though I’m not such a bad sport that I’ll just throw the game in the interest of saving time.  
This is how I feel about playing board games with adults. You can only imagine the inner turmoil when I am forced to play them with small children. Which is precisely why my second son was born – conception of a Candyland partner.  It has worked out maybe half as well as I anticipated.
It’s not that my firstborn would have been an only child. My stepson was living with us at the time he was born.  The trouble was he’s almost 8 years older, and spent more time at his mom’s house than at ours. That left me with 60% of potential Candyland time. And even when my stepson was with us, I couldn’t really expect him to spend endless hours sliding down chutes and climbing up ladders.  
We needed another kid. And I wasn’t getting any younger.  
We got lucky; we really did. Jimmy was born when Joey was 15 months old. At this writing, they are 6 and 8 years old respectively and have played Candyland together maybe four times in their lives. All the rest of the times, I played it, either with one of them or the other or sometimes with both of them together. I’ve also played Jenga, Memory, Don’t Wake Up Daddy, Don’t Break The Ice, Logo Party, Say Anything, Hungry Hungry Hippos, and something involving a cherry tree. Those were just the early years. These days I’ve played NBA/NHL/MLB 2K-everything, Minecraft, and every Xbox Lego game known to humankind. These are not board games, I know, but I still expect to be exempt from them. I did, after all, produce that extra kid/playtime pal.

I’ll be honest with you. I started thinking about this because, while planning my hijack of Rachel’s blog, I got to wondering whether little Libby will one day be big sister Libby. I mean, she looks like a decent kid.  Young, yet, but I can see “eldest child” potential in her photos. The thing is, you can’t ask a person this question anymore, because it is either hurtful and/or offensive in many cases. Which weirdly did not stop people from asking me. After I gave birth to my two boys in rather quick succession, I estimate that approximately 9 gazillion people couldn’t wait to ask me, “So, gonna try for a girl next?” I always told them, “No,” and usually we would move on, but not always. Sometimes people would follow it up with, “Awww, come on, why not?” And I would say, “Well, my husband has had a vasectomy, so I think he’d be pretty angry if I got pregnant at this point.”
Anyway. This is not a weirdly passive-aggressive way of “not asking” Rachel if she’s planning to try for another kid (or more). I’m really not asking. Because it’s not my business, especially because we barely know each other. What I am saying is this:  Rachel – if you do choose to create a sibling, I’ll be interested to know how it goes for you. And also, please know that when you hatch a second kid as a playmate for the first, what you actually get are two kids who want to play with YOU.
Which, now that I mention it, is really not that bad.  

As long as they never find the damn Monopoly.

Thanks to Melissa for the great post! Want to read more fun stuff ? Check out all the other blogs featured in this year's event!:

Harvest + Bloom // Yes, Wear That! // jelly jars // Glam and Graffiti // Gardening in High Heels // To The Streets // In Pursuit // Pittsburgh & Pearls // Beezus Kiddo // Crank Crank Revolution // Amanda Narcisi // Pittsburgh is Beautiful // From Cats to Cooking // Yum Yum PGH // Breelicious Bites // Parmesan Princess // Coffee & A Blonde // The Steel Trap // Wavy Alabaster // everybody loves you… // Eat with Emily // Don’t Forget to Eat // Sloping in the Sky // From Farm to Turntable // Secrets in the Wall // Red Pen Mama // Feedback Soup // The AP Collection // Blog Or Die PGH // Pittsburgh Happy Hour // Friendly Fitness Foodie // Small Town Dad // Josh’s World // Geeky Sweetie // Sean’s Ramblings // Lunges, Long Runs and Lattes // Try it and You May! // lil Burghers // Orange Chair Blog // Ya Jagoff // Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents // Melissa Firman