Clothing Management

Like many other Moms I have plastic bins filled with baby clothes piled high in my attic. When the snaps don’t quite snap, when Caroline cannot fully extend her legs in a sleeper, or when she struggles to get the garment over her head, that garment makes its way to a waiting pile in the guest bedroom/office where it awaits sorting and storing. All Moms must have these piles? Clothing management takes up a significant amount of time around my house.

I love organization. The Container Store makes me giddy. Nothing is more gratifying to me than putting things in their place, so this clothing management gig should be right up my alley, but it isn’t and I will tell you why. While tossing too tight onesies, far too short pants, and oops we missed this tops into bins I am overcome with this one thought: “These items STARTED fitting Caroline at 9 months, but they are being lumped together with other items that she didn’t really start wearing until nearly 12 months, so if there is a next time around for these clothes, how will I ever know when to pull them out??????” Does that make any sense? Does it bother anyone else the way it bothers me? Does this make me sound as "psycho" as my husband said it would?

No? Here's an example...

Adorable sweater for 6-12 months - started wearing it at 6 months old, recently retired due to shortness.

Equally adorable pair of pants for 12 months - started wearing at about 12 months, recently deemed too short for pants, too long for capris.

These items will be lumped together in the same bin unless I take out the other bins, locate the one that begins at 6 months and put it with its 6 month friends. Clearly that sweater and those pants don't belong in the same bin. Or do they?

I think that part of this that bothers my organization freak soul the most is that like all baby clothes some run small, some run big, some have a smaller wearing window, others seem to last and last and last... I don't know anymore where most of these things fall in any of those categories. This frustrates me...

Short of taking everything out again and reorganizing it, I feel helpless on the clothing management front. Anyone else??? Tricks?? Baby clothes organizing secrets please!

Also – as I type this I am fully aware that the reorganization of this clothing surely would happen with a mythical baby number 2 because the unexplainable urge to fold baby clothes will need to be filled somehow, and hey why not organize your entire attic while you are at it.

Sweaty Mini-Me

If ever there was a debate (not that there ever would actually be one) about which of her parents Caroline most resembles, I think I would be able to make a very strong case for Steve. Sure her raven baby fine hair is certainly mine. Those big hazel turned brown eyes match my own. I catch her profile and am taken away by how much she resembles my likeness in a photo of myself at her age. My brother looks at her and declares, “she is you, Ker.” The way she loves to put things in their rightful place, trust me, could only be a trait courtesy of her mother. Sounds like I make a pretty good case for me doesn’t it, but really, no, she is very much her father’s daughter for one important reason.

Our daughter is a hot body, a sweat ball often waking up with her head sticky, full of moist salty curls. The last few nights she has been put to bed sans onesie in adorable pajama sets with shorts that I had envisioned her putting on for the first time in heat of July, not the occasional warm humid May night. We have swapped her lovely warm winter blankets for a feather like cool cotton one. It seems that she is perpetually warm and I have to bite my tongue to keep from saying, “does she feel warm?”

This could only come from Steve not because I am frigid ice queen (and if you think I am, fine) but because while he throws open the windows and turns on the ceiling fans, I reach for the blanket and lament that I just shaved my legs…two days ago. While he would hop into his hot car at the end of a workday and gasp for air, I ease into the seat and soak it in, even if ever so briefly, because heat feels so good. A perfect winter day for me includes a nice hot seat by a fire. That perfect winter day for Steve might be playing pond hockey with his secret lover outside so long that his snots freeze.

Caroline might have a lot of her mother, probably more than I know now, but for now this hot bod baby of ours is truly her father’s daughter. Let’s just hope that come summer she will cope with the heat by taking a swim with her Mommy or her Papa in the numbing waters of HUM and not whine to go back to the house, not that her father has ever done that.

Potty Bye Bye

How do you start a post about poop? I suppose you just dive in? We haven’t talked about this since way, way back when we were dealing with the green variety thanks to oversupply, unless of course you count the terrible no good very bad rash from April. Don’t worry this won’t be gross, it is actually very cute in a weird kind of way…

When we are at home and a diaper is not just wet, but also dirty we do the usual clean up/sanitize hands routine and then take Caroline by the hand and lead her directly to the powder room. We ceremoniously show her said dirty contents, flip it into the bowl, and flush it away. She stared blankly at me the first few times we did this, “seriously, you dragged me up here for this?” Now when I say, “OK, let’s go to the potty!” Caroline races up the stairs, as fast as one can race when she is crawling, and right into the loo where she patiently waits for me to present her diaper contents to her and the potty. Just yesterday when we flushed she waved “bye, bye.”

Hoping this will someday help us with potty training, but for now it is enough to add a silly story to embarrass her with someday. "You used to wave goodbye to your poop!"


I don’t think I have shared here yet that Caroline is getting her molars. I found one while Steve was away last week and wouldn’t you know it, the molar’s partner in crime is cruising through her gums on the other side too. Now while I am quite sure that this is clearly uncomfortable, annoying, and at times painful, is all the whining really necessary?

At pick-up yesterday her caregivers had already left for the day, as is often the case, and she had been moved to an adjoining room with consolidated kids. I retrieved her bag and cup from her room, waved hello, and met her at the door of the other room where she proceeded to completely FREAK OUT. I smiled and tapped the glass on the door waving to her and she screamed as if I:

ripped her toenails off
burned her with a hot poker
spit venom in her face

She was ok on the ride home and was even playful for a bit; dancing, reading books in her chair, laughing, eating crackers. I was in the kitchen making dinner and she was loudly whining from the family room to be let out of her cage. Sometimes she just wants to be in the kitchen with me, so we brought her in, set up her stool so she could watch, and she instead she found the mini blueberry muffins hiding spot on top of the fridge and that was all she wanted.

We heated up some chop suey for her while I finished preparing our chicken lo mein. She ate a good bit of that as well as some peaches before her attention was again steadfastly on those blasted mini muffins. There was much screaming and crying and we gave in and took one out for her, which satisfied her for a moment, but not very long. I was trying to put her lunch together after dinner and Steve was finishing the dishes and she started up again. Steve and I shared one of those, dear god is it bedtime yet glances and I took her outside, where it was raining slightly, to help her get a hold of herself.

We aren’t the type of family that cannot wait for bedtime, in fact we are quite the opposite, but last night bedtime could not come fast enough. She slept well after a dose of ibuprofen and this morning was her normal sunny self, yet still obsessed with those dang muffins. Even with a full one of her plate and her mouth so full crumbs were spraying everywhere, she still pointed furiously to the container.

So about these muffins… What’s a parent to do when your child freaks out like this because they want something? Let’s think beyond muffins on this one, the muffin could be a toy, a book, anything that they want, but do not currently hold in their hand. How do you go about drawing the line and saying "not right now" without them losing it and causing you to feel as if you will lose your mind? I understand that she is teething, that she needs some extra love and attention to get through this challenging time, but is that a reason to abandon all statements ending in “no?”

It must have been a great weekend

While Caroline gobbled up her breakfast of mini blueberry muffins and eggs, Steve and I chatted about how it felt like it had been so long since she had been to school. In real life it has been the same 4 days away that it always is, but for some reason these 4 days felt like they lasted much longer. It must be a sign of the very full, relaxing, and a very happy time we had this Memorial Day weekend.

Caroline and I successfully maneuvered the train on Friday. She had a blast bouncing on the seat, pressing her face up against the window, smiling at everyone she saw. She kept waving to the people getting off as they walked by her window and a few people surprised us by stopping to wave back. Our little layover proved to be quite easy, except that she was not interested in sitting on my lap, next to me, or anywhere in my vicinity. It was apparently very fun to watch Mommy make chase with a humongous backpack, two coats, and an Abbi doll. People around us kept laughing because she shrieked with delight each time she burst free of my grasp and ran around the corner after the pack of school kids en route to NYC for a field trip.

The train from New Haven to Boston was more than packed and my hopes for a seat of our own were dashed. I quickly scanned the train for a passenger who could put up with us and located the nicest looking woman I could with the least amount of luggage, wearing headphones. She gave us the window (thanks!) and when she left shortly after our departure to use the restroom I jumped into action pulling out the provisions; crayons, books, snacks, toys, and a blanket. Caroline was very well-behaved, just very busy and I kept her as entertained and as quiet as I could. There was only one outburst just after Providence and with 20 minutes to go she finally fell asleep in my arms. So there was no book reading for me, but there were also no dirty looks and a general running away from the car with the screaming child either, so it’s a win in my book.

Kiki picked us up at the station and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon at the beach. Caroline played in the sand, stuck her feet into the frigid surf, threw rocks, and took a nice little nap. Steve and I went to dinner AND a movie while Kiki and Steve did bedtime which was such a treat.

There will be more photos soon of Caroline’s first lobster coming soon. She wasn’t sure about it at first, but as the photos will show she gobbled it right up. Poor Auntie had to share more of her crustacean than I am sure she would have liked, but wow, she had lobster. Last summer we were daydreaming about this year. She would be able to play in the sand, point to birds, swim in the ocean with us, eat lobster, and watch the flags flapping along the shore. She can and she is.

Sunday we traveled part of the way home to attend a christening for Dan and Carly’s twins John and Henry. They are just adorable, with the bluest eyes, squeezable thighs, and such easygoing temperaments. Courtney is John’s (I think?) godmother. It was so nice to see the MA friends we had not seen since Puerta Vallarta, which is really just inexcusable! Next weekend we’ll see most of them again at Amy and Jesse’s.

Yesterday we got some work done around the house, enjoyed the perfect weather, took in the parade, made some new friends, caught up with some old ones, and spent a great afternoon with the C3 fam. Caroline and Christian got to play together and except for our daughter dowsing poor Christian’s feet with water, they had a great time. We hope there will be many more opportunities for our little ones to play together. It’s so nice to have them so closeby.

The long weekend closed out with the sweetest sound, “Hi.” Caroline is fascinated by Reese and it seems like she is always in hot pursuit. She knows to wave when we tell her, “say hi!” She waves to everyone she sees, at no one in particular, and most especially at the cat. Walking into school she pulls me back toward hallways with people she wants to wave to. Last night when we arrived home from the delicious C3 BBQ, Caroline and the kitty were sitting with us on the living room floor and we once again asked her to “Say hi” and she did. Out of nowhere, clear as day, “Hi.” Not “eye.” “Hi.” She said it this morning too as we were getting ready to leave and is there anything more amazing than the sound of a child’s voice saying something completely clear like that? She has the sweetest little voice and I keep hearing it in my head. We’ll have to get to it with the video because as simple as “hi” might be, we think it is completely amazing and adorable. I am sure you will too.

Thank YOU Internet

I have submitted both adoration and contentment (because it seemed just too darn close to call) to an amazing photo contest. Perhaps you've also heard about it? Perhaps you haven't? Either way I selfishly can't bring myself to list anymore details here because I have been accused of being just a tad bit competitive. That being said, if you are inquisitive about what exactly you were voting for or might have a killer moving moment photo to share with the world, email me for the details... or you know, we do live in a google world, go to it.

If my photos are accepted to the gallery I will let you know and THANK YOU for VOTING! I was slightly surprised by the results.

We have arrived at the beach. Caroline has already been playing in the sand and is napping away downstairs. Happy Long Weekend!

Daddyless Thursday Night

Steve just finished a round of golf up in MA. Reports indicate that he “didn’t do all that well, but not horrible” and that he had a “fun time.” Poor guy had to wake up at 5AM this morning to drive up, but hey, a day of golf for work where you get some serious one on one time with the higher ups is never a bad thing.

Caro and I are on our own today. I got her up and out and then raced back to the house to let in the tile guy who is working on our backsplash all before arriving at my desk just a few minutes late. That being said, I didn’t exactly shower today. That means I didn’t, BUT I don’t want to feel bad about it, ok? Caroline, bless her heart,woke up a little before 6:15 just after my alarm went off. Instead of racing to shower, which I fully contemplated doing, I instead snuggled in bed with her for 10 more minutes. I’ll take snuggling over a shower anyday and besides isn’t it bad to wash your hair everyday?

I am not sure what we will do tonight. If she were older it would be fun to make a girls night of it complete with pizza, manicures, face masks, pjs, and princess movies. We watched the beginning of the Lion King together recently just before a nap and I was almost in tears, which is so silly I know, but my daughter and I were watching THE LION KING. I was watching THE LION KING with my daughter. WE were watching together. Ok you get it, I will stop, but seriously, she was pointing and holding my hand and was so relaxed and this, this was a moment of epic proportions. Disney has entered the picture for good (who are we kidding she drinks out of princess cups) and I am already asking Steve how old she will have to be before we can go because I want to take her NOW NOW NOW! Realistically we want to wait until she is old enough to actually enjoy it and remember it, but that kingdom really is magical! I did say I would never go back until I have a family of my own after leaving my CP (College Program) in 1998. Ten years. It's been ten years since I lived with the mouse and I want to share all that darn magic with Caroline. I can wait, but seriously, we watched the amazing beginning of THE LION KING and even though she lost interest after little Simba was held up for all the animals to see, she snuggled into me for her nap, and I kept that darn movie on in the background the rest of the afternoon while she slept and I cleaned & cooked & organized & read.

So our evening tonight will most likely be dinner, playtime, bathtime, books, and bed. Not so girly, but we'll get there eventually. Maybe I will sneak her some dessert!

We will be taking a train in the morning to rondevous with Steve at the beach. He is working out of the Corporate Office tomorrow at some required training thing. We have plans to see a movie and have dinner like grown ups and on Sunday we are attendning a christening for Steve's high school friends' twins. We'll be home before Monday though, don't want to deal with that traffic and we got a lovely invite from the C3 fam to spend some time with them Memorial Day afternoon. YAY!

We’ve been on the train once before to go see the Rockefeller “Holiday” Tree in NYC. That seems like so long ago now (and I guess it kind of was?!) and I am hoping she will be a bit more interested in what is flying by her in the window than she was last time, if not for my sake then for the other travelers. I am actually really looking forward to this little adventure.

Steve brilliantly suggested that we pack ahead of time and he bring everyone’s stuff up in his car, leaving me with just the baby & a bag of amusements, snacks, and diapers. Either a coworker or a cab will get us to the train and then after what I hope is a short and painless "layover," we’ll be heading via Amtrak toward Boston. Kiki is picking us up at the station and we’ll be at the beach before we know it right? All told the trip will take 4 hours, at least one of which I hope is spent reading while a comfy toddler snuggles with me in slumber. I’m not insane for thinking that this trip is going to be fun am I?

the cat just doesn't really care for her

Dear Gods of Toddler Health and Sleepdom:

I am aware that you spared us an entire weekend of mopping up stomach contents with dishtowels and countless loads of baby laundry. I thank you for that. Don’t get me wrong, if the little snuffly nose was the price we had to pay to end the sickness after just 24 hours, I’ll take it. I just wanted to make sure you were also aware that the snuffly nose is not merely an inconvenience, but a leaping ahead to Ear Infection City, a city I really don’t care for and would be okay never visiting again. Please tell me there is in fact a direct correlation between the sniffles and the early waking because I think I am slowly going insane waking up at 5:45, not to mention that I am quite snippy when forced to deal with a toddler racing around my bedroom that early in the morning. Steve and I could use a bit more sleep and perhaps an ear infection free summer if it isn’t too much to ask. Thanks for your consideration!


Wiped out antibiotic enablers

We learned about Caroline’s ear infection on Monday afternoon while at an appointment in MA with an ENT doc. She had been sniffly for approximately 48 hours and they recommended we treat with Azithromycin, which you may have heard referred to as a “Z pack.” We will return to see them in six months if she has a couple more infections, sooner if she has many more, or not at all in the slim chance that she miraculously grows out of this as some kids do when they turn 2.

Since the weekend Caroline has been waking up ridiculously early, this morning’s wake up call was 5:45AM. I should not complain because I know there are plenty of parents whose children wake up daily at this time or even earlier, but when you are used to sleeping until at least 6:30 it seems like a very big deal. (Incidentally, how do you early risers DO IT?) It has knocked the morning routine for a loop because I have to shower knowing she is already running Steve ragged like a caged animal in our bedroom. Then she attaches herself to my leg for the duration of the getting ready procedures. By the time I get her downstairs for breakfast she has been up for almost an hour and a half. The milk cannot be poured fast enough, the banana is stuffed into her mouth in hungry barely able to chew mouthfuls, and the toaster oven appears to be set at “sllllloooooowwwww.” She is irritable, teary-eyed, and dare I say pouty-faced?

After having half a gargantuan muffin this morning and half a banana, the first thing Caroline wanted when she walked into her classroom was her fruit and cereal bar. These were the best things I ever found at Trader Joe’s for her. She loves them in all flavors and apparently it has become her morning routine at school to eat one upon arrival. Watching her climbing onto the little chair and sitting at the table eagerly yet politely waiting for her first morning snack, my baby doesn’t appear to be 15 months old.

A quick Caroline-ism…

We think she finally accepts that the cat doesn’t really care for her or at the very least doesn’t trust her. She has chased the poor animal all over the house with the Bear puppet, properly placed on her arm of course, more times than I can count. She uses every adult petting the cat moment to her full advantage, most times being gentle with her pets and pats. Yesterday I took her upstairs so I could remove my working mom uni and the cat was there to greet us in the hallway. Caroline took off after that cat and starting making this guttural roaring sound with her hands up in the air. Where did this noise come from? How does it come out of such a sweet little girl? It was very Godzilla-esque.

Caro continues to experiment with different noises and sounds. After bathtime she said, “baby,” but alas there was no baby doll to be found, no photo of a baby either.

Did I mention she also has a word for kitty?

Yeah, “titty.”

Mission Moving Moment

I am searching for a photo that meets these criteria:

“Captures a memory as it happens”
“A record of something that moves us and allows us to share these memories and connect with others”
“The essence of a moment that others will feel”
“Truly moving”

I am having quite a hard time picking just one, I can get it down to three (though the next time I look I pick a different set of three), but I need a singular moving moment!

Your mission Internet, if you choose to accept it, is to select one of these photos for submission to a really super contest. Please vote for the photo you think best captures a moving moment according to the criteria above by Thursday May 22nd.

Votes will be accepted via comment or through the poll feature.

Your choices:







McCashew as seen via googledom

I really enjoy looking at the search terms people use that ultimately land them here. Some are laugh out loud funny, others are just plain wrong, while some make me shake my head that people came here looking for an answer to what seems to be a very serious search query. I recently looked since I started tracking terms via google analytics and thought sharing the results would be an interesting post.... I know some of you come here on purpose, but here's how others seem to be finding the McFam.

The “Call the Doc” queries

Small lump in abdomen
Lumps from stomach to thigh
Why am I losing my voice (58 and counting)

Your Child Likely Has An Ear Infection If…

Baby grabs ear, baby puts hand over right ear, baby pulling ear, and many many other variations of ear pulling (250 and counting)

Been there and so sorry you have found your way there too

Baby ear piercing screams
Green poo thrush

Food, Glorious Food

McCashew Pot Pie (THE MOST POPULAR SEARCH PHRASE – 120 and counting)
Funfetti cupcakes
Veggie Booty

Around the House

Remove Hosta
Several Benjamin Moore paint color names

Silly Baby Searches

How much diaper cream
Baby choking on cat fur
Rashes that go away (if it goes away, why are you googling?)
Baby grabbing (as in abduction?!?!?!)

I laughed out loud

Whoo hold on
How to catch a squirrel


Many variations of Robert Ryan Pirelli (45 and counting, with longer than average reading time, what I have written does not seem to be enough for those seeking to remember such an amazing person)

She’s a girl.

Steve announced this morning that Caroline is in fact a girl. You might be thinking, "hmm, shouldn’t the McFam have realized this by now – after all those diaper changes and the feminine name and all?" Yes, yes… we know… but he is right. She is such a total girl.

Caroline is Mommy’s shadow in the morning. While still in my robe (the usual morning plan of being mostly ready by the time she wakes up has fallen by the wayside lately due to a combo of her waking up early and my snoozing a few more times than I should be – truly lethal combo to being ontime), I ask her “want to help Mommy dry her hair?” She saunters right over to the hair dryer. I hand her a brush and she helps style my hair and then her own.

This morning in particular she picked up a pretty pink gift bag from Mother’s Day and hooked it over her arm, toddling off towards the hallway and then back again, holding steadfastly to a bag that even by Hollywood’s standards was too big for her.

There are too many girly examples to list; feeding baby dolls, hugging her plush animals tightly and tapping them on the back, wrapping them up in blankets, smashing their heads on the ground.

That being said, she made a beeline for the biggest Tonka truck I have ever seen this morning at drop off. Caroline, believes in the necessity of a fashionable carry all and driving the biggest baddest truck she can find. A renaissance woman!

Also, Steve found a new gadget he wants to pick up and I sent the following message…

“Go for it - maybe we can do this next month - we have been spending so much lately on extras ---- did I just type that? oh my god - it happened - you officially have made me cheap”

His reply…

“That’s what I like to hear!!! =)”

the great outdoors

There was a discipline incident at school yesterday. Caroline found herself a little puddle leftover from a rainstorm over the weekend and proceeded to squat and splash her hands in all its mucky muckdom. Michele told her no, redirected, and took her inside to wash her hands twice (which as Michele said only further encouraged her to splash because the little kid sized sink is by far her FAVORITE part of her classroom) before she eventually had to sit her down away from the other children for some gentle discipline. I washed her shirt last night with some of our laundry because it was brown and crusty from the dirty puddle. Yuck. I have seen Michele correct other children’s behavior and she does a great job; saying No, explaining consequences for a repeat performance, and executing the consequence without missing a beat. The consequence is usually sitting in time out alone away from the fun and the other kids. In Caroline’s case it was sitting next to Michele on the paved part of the playground away from the puddles, sand, and toys. She stayed away from the mucked up puddle after that, or so I heard.

This morning when I dropped her off she walked right over to the little table, pulled out a chair, sat down and started banging on the table for a snack. This was approximately 20 minutes after she finished scarfing down 3 blueberry mini muffins and a cup of milk and also after she pushed the very same banana she was currently gnawing on away. We are polar opposites in this regard. I am annoyingly indecisive, while she knows exactly what she wants and precisely when she wants it.

As I finished loading cups and plates into the dishwasher before we left this morning, she raced off to find Steve who was leaving to go to work after I made the mistake of saying, “Daddy’s going bye bye, go say bye to him.” He couldn’t leave the house until I retrieved her from the front door because she wanted to go with him and when he closed the door behind him the cries of anguish were heartbreaking. Sorry Steve, I think she misses you, but it was the not going outside factor that pushed her over. We zipped up her coat and waved goodbye to Daddy from the gaping open front door and I picked her up while I packed my own bag. As soon as I placed her down so I could put on my own coat she raced off to the front door and kept walking to the door to the living room, “ah da” ing as she went as if to say “hurry up Mom, outside, let’s go, c’mon, outside, aren’t you ready yet??”


With all the great excitement of the weekend behind us, I forged ahead yesterday morning with the task of collecting enough food (nutritious or otherwise) to fill my family’s belly for the remainder of the week. * Caroline has had a seemingly insatiable appetite since Sunday, leading her Auntie K to ask, “do you ever worry she will explode?” I don’t worry she will explode per say, but I do wonder if she has a bottomless pit in there or perhaps a tapeworm.

Caroline was pretty whiny yesterday. Getting dressed sent her over the edge, eating breakfast was out of the question (despite the recent feeding frenzy), getting through the grocery store required a very organized list and tight cornering from aisle to aisle. By the time we were in the car on the way home I looked at her from the front seat and said, “if you know what is good for you Missy, you will nap, r.i.g.h.t n.o.w.” I called Christina on my way home to check in on our little morning play date and informed her that my daughter was “in a mood.” Turned out both her son Christian and Aimee’s son Rylan were also not happy smiling toddlers either, which made me sigh in utter relief because the thought of spending an entire windy cold day at home with a little girl so whiny I couldn’t imagine taking her out in public, well it made me want to rip my own lips off.

She did blessedly nap and I was able to shower and get things organized for our trip over the river and through the woods (15 minutes south) to the C3’s new digs. Christina generously provided a yummy lunch for the kiddies and I was so happy for a chance to connect with her and her friend Aimee, who I feel like I had already known for eons since I started reading her blog awhile back. Rylan was even more adorable in person and Christian was such a good sharer! Caroline enjoyed herself so much that she ceased whining for most of the time we were visiting, long enough that we might even be invited back someday, but woe the whining was intense for most of the afternoon and evening. I daresay my husband may have also felt like ripping his own lips off by dinner time yesterday when Caroline ate 3 huge TJ spinach and ricotta ravioli, several grape tomatoes, strawberries, and two mounds of rice from my plate. I know all the eating MUST be related to all the running about and constant motion, but seriously people the gaped mouth begging must cease and desist because it just results in more whining and the throwing of oneself on the ground, which try as I might, I can’t always just redirect her from.

I can’t and won’t complain too much. All that tummy stuffing, whining, and running about tired her out pretty much by 7. Her new bedtime routine includes a tub (where last night I witnessed her really comprehending how the cups work – they are utensil drainers for a dish drainer that I bought on clearance so they have a strainer effect that until now has been perplexing her), brushing her teeth, turning off ALL the light switches on her way down to read books, reading & snuggling, a song, some tush tapping, and then being carefully flopped into bed onto her tummy with her little legs crouched up under her Marty McFly style.

Steve and I picked up our car this afternoon and it looks so strange to see it minus all its battle scars (a rear ending incident at a traffic light, a scrape by in our old parking lot, another parking lot incident). Steve and I officially traded cars. He puts so many more miles on his car, which as of this month is PAID OFF – wooo hooo. We held a great long debate about trading in his car for a new shinier model with leather seats and dual climate controls, but in the end with this economy we are hoping that it will serve us better to have him drive the newer car with 30K less miles, me drive the paid off Jetta a mere 21 miles per day, and save his usual car payment for college and a down payment on a new car in what we hope will be at least a year from now. Of course now that I typed that the timing belt will go and I will find myself on the side of the road with no way to get home and whole lot of whining from the backseat. I will miss my car, it was the first NEW car I ever purchased, but Steve’s car is great, heck the carseat even fits, and if it saves my family some $$$ at the end of the day I am MORE than ok with it. I am hopeful that driving my car will fill whatever “I really want a new car” fever still exists in Steve’s brain. Also with gas at $3.99 a gallon locally, the more pennies we can save now, the better.

*I also won a bet with Steve who doubted that I could shop for under $100. I shop at Big Y, the home of Buy 1, Get 20 Free, where I often buy things that we don’t necessary NEED, but are such a great deal that I simply cannot miss out on the savings. Shopping this way is obviously not always the best way, but when meat is on super sale and we have room in the freezer, AND I have a wallet full of silver coins, you bet your boots I am shopping big. There are weeks when I don’t buy much at all, just fill in with fresh produce, sides, and snacks. Unfortunately those weeks are also usually when I journey to Trader Joe’s or BJs and then you might as well just cancel out all the savings. I can’t win. What does your family spend at the grocery store each week? Is 100 bucks really that out of line?

Auntie Colleen and Uncle Hokie are ENGAGED!!!!


Uncle Hokie pulled off not only proposing to the beautiful Auntie C, but also organizing an amazing surprise engagement party dinner and managed to get family and friends from all over the country together to celebrate! We've known for weeks, since Uncle Hokie called Steve one night and asked if we were all available on May 10th to attend a surprise engagement party. You've never seen a big brother smile ear to ear after learning that his baby sister is getting hitched the way Steve did all night and for all those weeks while we waited and hoped we wouldn't blow the surprise. Steve and I even had to sit through an entire Red Sox game with the happy couple and I kept myself to a single beer to keep my tongue in check.

So there is a McFamily wedding in the works (!!!!!), but we won't know anything, not even one single detail, for at least three weeks. Stipulations accompanied the sweet proposal; no planning for three weeks, just a relaxed time to celebrate and be together. Nice touch huh? Also not to worry she has enough wedding related reading material to keep her bride mind occupied far beyond these three weeks.

I am looking forward to no longer being the only McFamily in law and Uncle Hokie is a perfect outlaw partner in crime.

Kerry's Marathon Montage!!!

Philadelphia here we come!

There is a new dashingly handsome and sweet boy in the McFamily!!!

Steve's cousin Kelly (Mom to Chloe and Teegan) and her husband Bobby welcomed their son Jameson on Thursday morning! He is so adorable and from the photos I have seen loved fiercely by his big sisters. We can't wait to meet him!!

We are BEYOND EXCITED to travel down to Philly this weekend to finally meet TJ!!!! Tasha and Tony have been posting photos of their little guy, but sometimes photos just aren't enough, even when they are as sweet as this.

Tasha and Tony are doing an amazing job with him from what I have heard and it will be so nice to hug her and open up a whole new phase of our friendship; as mothers.

Happy Mother's Day to all Moms, Moms to be, and those on the journey toward motherhood.

Could they be the Sox fans we long for???

I am usually in a bit of a rush when I drop Caroline off at school in the mornings. I am almost always at least 5 10 minutes behind schedule and anxiously watching the clock get closer to my 8:30 start time. I have altered my route several times seeking the fastest and most direct way to get there and back. I just can’t be that Mom who races in, tosses her kid’s coat in the cubby, and races out at lightening speed. I especially can’t be that Mom when I clearly smell that Caroline’s diaper is indeed of course full. I always stop, no matter how late I might be running, because seriously, it takes two seconds and it is just one more small way I can show Sara and Michele that I value them not just as diaper changers, but as teachers. This morning was one of those mornings and I actually got to catch up with Sara, hear all about her upcoming trip to Puerto Rico, and find out what antics Caroline has been up to.

She’s been playing with the baby dolls more, often slamming their heads repeatedly in the ground. Sara said they were perplexed yesterday when she took her blanket and put it over the doll, pushing the blanket down around her. We do that at home, I take her blanket and swaddle her baby doll and then she unwraps her, bangs her head some more and tries to replicate my wrapping – over and over and over. I got to shed some light on this peculiar new behavior and Sara got to tell me about how well Caroline listens to and sometimes follows directions. They can always trust Caroline to stay in the room even with an open door and they marvel how she entertains herself with the bookshelf for seemingly hours on end.

Yesterday afternoon when we arrived home we went upstairs so I could strip off my working mom costume and get comfy in some holey jeans and a t-shirt. While we were in the bedroom Caroline was racing all over with a stuffed bear that belonged to me when I was a little girl. “Bear” has been everywhere with me for over 20 years. Reese likes to wrestle with Bear. I sat with Reese one night and let her play with Bear and Caroline laughed and laughed. Ever since she follows the cat around with Bear trying to get Reese to play with him. I wonder often if I should wash Bear, but I can't bring myself to because HELLO, he's 20 years old and what if the washing doesn't go so well? Isn't a potentially dirty germy Bear better than no Bear at all?? So where was I? Right, chasing the cat with Bear. She literally tripped over her own feet and smashed her perfect little face on the hardwood. OUCH! She cried real solid awful tears, lay her head on my shoulder and then just as soon as the ouchfest began it was over when she spotted a brush on my dresser, “ah da.” I marvel at the quick recovery these toddlers have. If I tripped and fell and smashed my face I am sure it would take more than just a snuggle and a brush to get me going again.

I promised I would tell you about how I accosted our expecting neighbors Sarah and Jason. We’ve seen them before. They walk their dog, Jules, every night and last summer when we were doing regular evening pre-bedtime walks (which we are starting up again now that the weather is better!) we almost always saw them, said hello, but never anything more. Last Friday night when Steve was unloading about 1000 pounds of tile and grout for the kitchen they came walking by. Caroline saw the dog and started waving, contorting in my arms to be put down, so I waited in the driveway so she could see the dog. (Doing anything else would have resulted in a throw yourself on the ground and scream moment as it was way past bathtime.) They came walking up, her very pregnant and him holding tightly to Jules’ leash, while Caroline gently pat its little head. They seemed pleased that their dog was handling the toddler attention well and I told her that she looked amazing. She said she had three weeks to go! I saw her Sox hat and you can imagine how the rest of the story went. Sarah and Jason (originally from RI C3!) have long noticed our Boston paraphernalia and license plate covers. We had the nicest conversation and it seemed that after saying hello all those times that we were all hoping that we would someday get around to an actual introduction. I still don’t know where they live (ann, HELP!?! could they be the Sox fan neighbors we spotted behind us???), but I have been looking for them ever since with no luck at all. Maybe she had their little girl early and we’ll see her pushing a carriage soon? I can’t help but feel an overwhelming urge to make them a lasagna or something!!

Powerful stuff

Saying it has been a crazy week would be a vast understatement. Yesterday afternoon was the Annual Memorial Service for the bereavement group I facilitate. I spent time Monday purchasing and preparing for the “light reception” portion of the day. I sat at my desk for approximately 10 minutes to swallow a salami sandwich practically whole on Tuesday. The service was lovely; simple and from the heart. There were some tears, but I was happy to see that at the reception those tears were for the most part replaced with laughter, with happy stories, and recollections.

I added Rob’s name to the Candlelight Vigil. As much as yesterday was about my group and their losses, it would not have felt right to attend such a service and not acknowledge him. So I read his name, “Robert Ryan Pirelli,” and lit a candle in his honor.

Today is all about catching up. What a week. Y'all can't complain too much, I DID post photos!

I just got an email from a college roommate who recently started reading this blog. She sent such a lovely thoughtful letter after years of fractured disconnect. The power of the blog. She read all the way from the beginning and caught herself up to the present. It seemed from her response that though we have been out of touch for so long, simply by reading here and seeing photos of Caroline, that she hasn’t missed a single beat. The power of the blog. Keep reading Eileen. I have missed you… now start your blog so I can cyber stalk you too =)

Dooce was on the Today Show this morning and I missed it! I can’t even view the video from here at work! She recently posted an interesting piece about her mommy blogging and whether or not it is exploitive of her daughter Leta (rhymes with pita). I cannot exactly explain the drive to post about your family personal moments, the daily grind, the milestones, the failures, the silly stuff. As things in our house unfold, I often reach for the camera and think hmmm, what should I title this post. It has just become a way of life. Steve knows that if it happens he is likely to read about it here, but does that mean I am exploiting Caroline or my family? There are no ads here, no revenue to be gained and even if there was, I don’t think I would consider that using my family for personal gain either.

The power of the blog. Just by keeping this blog, journaling both the mundane and the fabulous, my old friend Eileen was just able to catch up on all the craziness that is our life. If I didn’t have this place we still could have caught up, but I doubt in the same way. Imagine if you will a world where everyone kept a blog. Friend fall off the face of the Earth for awhile? Read her blog and get caught up and then call her to have dinner to discuss her adventures whilst off the face of the Earth. Your shopaholic cousin got married and now you never see her? Read all about her shopping antics and then accost her at the pasta salad at nana’s 80th birthday picnic to get more info on how she scored those James jeans for a song. The power of the blog.

I don’t think writing here exploits Caroline’s life. I think that when she is older she might be embarrassed by some of the things I have said, that she might even beg me to stop writing about her. I also think that when she is a mother someday struggling to figure out her place in the world that she will read about how we got to this point of contentment. I am hopeful that my words will resonate for her, help her, guide her (though I realize not always as a how to, perhaps even as a how not to) and if nothing else remind her that it is all normal, everything that she is feeling, that it won’t last forever no matter how bad it is or how badly she hopes it will. Behind each word she will find herself, my perfect little muse, the only thing in the world that would ever get me to want to sit and write and share all this with the world.

Tomorrow I will regale you all with the story of our chance meeting with expecting neighbors Jason and Sarah and maybe I will even toss in a silly Caroline story too.

Exhibits A through E

A quick post since it is Friday night and I should be sitting with Steve reading and watching the Celtics beat the Hawks.

This morning as we were leaving the house I asked Caroline if she was "ready to go bye bye?" We've been through this haven't we? She walks to the door and starts standing on her tippies to reach the handle which thankfully she hasn't figured out yet (Ryan, you're obviously brilliant but also - eeek!!) =)

Today for fun I added in, "ok, go get your coat!" and she TOTALLY walked over to the little coat rack by the door and pulled her coat down and handed it to me. Seriously what else does she understand??

Sounds simple, but it really shows us just how much she understands and absorbs. All those baby books and babycenter emails that constantly remind you to give your baby a play by play constantly aren't lying! ("Mommy is putting on Caroline's blue shoes, first Caroline's right shoe on her right foot and then Caroline's left shoe on her left foot. Ok, now uppy goes, let's turn off the light. On. Off. On. Off. On. Off. Look it's Terry Francona and the Red Sox. Where's Manny? Where's Papi? Where's Pedro? Let's Cheer for Christopher Nixon!) Sure that last part only happens in my house because I stop at a painting of the 2004 World Series on the landing and point to the various people - For the record Nixon is in that group hug somewhere - not sure where - but gosh I adore him still so we always ALWAYS cheer for him too. I saw a five dollar Nixon shirt for Caroline and if I could have justified the shipping I would have bought it because I am not sure, and Steve don't hate me for saying this, that I can ever admire another Sox player like I did Trot. There I said it.

Holy tangent ---

So that constant play by play really seems to work, though it does make you feel a little crazy by about 2 pm each day. How else would she know what her coat was or where it was if we didn't say each and everytime we are leaving the house that we need to put on her coat and go retrieve it with her. I am not trying to pat myself on the back here because seriously, the play by play is nothing miraculous or revolutionary, but rather I point out this example as just another exhibit to how fast babies learn and how much they absorb and how completely sponge like they really truly are. It is simply amazing to watch her learn new things every single day and I know that is so cliche and it must sound awfully boring, but MAN, when I show her something now she can do it and if she cannot do it she tries with all her might.

Exhibit A. Stacking a block Exhibit B. Inserting a straw into an empty juice box Exhibit C. Turning off various different types of light switches all throughout the house. Exhibit D. Brushing her teeth. Exhibit E. Filing mommy's nails (awesome distraction for when I am filing hers and freaks the heck out!)

Also, It is a bit worrisome to consider what other things she may already have picked up on around these parts. Gulp... ahh, gotta love that parental guilt and I cannot even think of a single solitary thing I did or said that would be inappropriate, but I am sure there is SOMETHING I should be feeling guilty about teaching her!

Are you on the edge of your seat?

I know you are all just jumping out of your skin with excitement to see Phase I of the kitchen renovation officially complete... New dishwasher, new hood, and new counters

Some before and afters...

BEFORE - These are from the night before the install and we were in the midst of aforementioned plumbing disaster...

And AFTER - imagine if you will a tile backsplash and tile floor - coming soon! Steve wants me to be sure to mention that we did the sink install ourselves and HE did the disposal all by himself! =)

I am coming out of my "bug coma" and seem to be on the road to recovery. Hated to miss work today, but the naps definitely did some good.