Friday, November 27, 2009

Cheating on my daughter

I just peeked in at Cate napping in her room and felt a wave of guilt. Her sweet little face looks so innocent and beautiful as she lays there, happily sleeping in her room - living her little life without a care. In three days we're going to have our son and Cate will no longer be the only cherub for us to adore. I'm riddled with guilt and feel like I'm cheating on her.

Yeah, yeah, I know... the best thing I can give her is a sibling... blah, blah. That doesn't help me right now as I realize how we're going to uproot her very existence in every way possible: her position as only child is ending, the only home she has ever known, her nanny, her school, her friends, her neighborhood and family are all going to go away in two months when we move. The worst part for her - we're going to take the crying, poop machine with us! I worry that she'll never recover or forgive us for wrecking her happiness. London had better rock her world or we'll never get back in her good graces.

She's too young to really understand that mommy is having another baby and what that means. But she's wise enough to know something is up with mommy and has started to favor daddy. It stings when Fen and I both walk in the house together and she runs up to him, arms wide open, shouting, "Daddy!" Doesn't even cast a glance my way. It's hard for me to pick her up now and I have no lap left for her to sit on, plus, I'm tired, fat and well, boring. How's she going to react when I come walking in with a new baby (after having deserted her for several days)!

In all fairness, Cate does like babies and fusses over them so I'm hoping she'll like her brother. And she is a sweet natured child for the most part (as long as no one messes with her dolly stroller - gawd help ya!). But I remember the night she woke up with a slight fever and wanted to be rocked. She lay over my swollen belly, head on my chest trying to doze but the baby was awake and kept wiggling and kicking her. She pat my stomach and said, "No, mommy. Night, night."  But he kept kicking and she kept complaining. Baby wasn't even born and the fighting had begun.

There's a bottle of frosty limoncello with my name on it for next week. I'm going to need it....

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I've been looking forward to today for a while now. I have my feast planned, guests arriving later, firewood for the fireplace, a movie (Angels and Demons) from Netflix (strategically maneuvered to arrive on time!) so Fen and I can curl up on the sofa after everyone is gone and Cate is asleep to have another piece of pumpkin pie and relax. 

Yeah, so far it's not working out as planned. We did get the movie and the firewood but things are going haywire as they are wont to do - not too bad but a tad alarming. My sister had a dinner roll catastrophe so we're doing without. No worries. But our neighbors had a problem today: He, E, and their new adorable puppy were attacked by dogs at the dog run this morning. E is at the emergency room have five bite marks cleaned and stitched! B, the wife, is upstairs trying to get her turkey ready but has to leave to take the puppy to the emergency vet as she started shaking (the puppy, not B) and whining. My sister is going with her to help out.

On top of that Fen thought it was a good idea to go shopping this morning way over at the Kings Plaza and took Cate with him. They didn't open at 11 as they advertised so he's outside with Cate and a cast of thousands waiting to storm the gates. Good luck honey!! He hasn't called in the last half hour so I'm hoping things are going well.

I'm at home working on my meal. The stuffing is made, the turkey is stuffed and dressed, the gravy is started (I make it from the neck, which I roast with herbs, and drippings), the potatoes are ready for boiling and mashing, cranberry sauce is good to go, pumpkin pie is baked and cooling, and finally, my corn souffle which I took a gamble on this year turned out spectacularly! My sister is making the required green bean casserole but we have enough food to feed the neighborhood. I'm taking my time making everything and sitting down in between each entree as I am nine months pregnant! Four days till baby - hooray!

If the corn souffle is a big hit - I'll post the recipe. It's ridiculously easy and absolutely fabulous!

Let's hope the rest of the day goes smoothly and that B, E and the puppy are all fine so they can enjoy their Thanksgiving with their grandkids.

I'm still really looking forward to the after party Fen and I will have tonight with the fire, the movie and pie. Ah, heaven!

Happy Thanksgiving! Do they have turkey in England? Lawdy, I hope so!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

More blogs I'm loving....

As things slow down for me I spend more time reading other folks blogs rather than writing my own! I have 8 days until I have the baby (unless he decides to come on his own - which would be nice. But he's being evicted on November 30th!)

So while I sit here impatiently waiting and ordering things online to pass the time I peruse the blogosphere in search of interesting things to read. Here's what I'm loving these days:

Heather at Notes From Lapland has a great sense of humor and her life sounds chaotic as any mom of young kids does. Great reading - lots to see here.

Yummy Mummy  Flabby Tummy: Her stories are great. Her latest post with her dad singing and dancing in 1985 is worth a look!

If you like food - don't miss Pig In the Kitchen. The recipes are fantastic. I drool over this blog!

Sioban at Real Motherhood is living an interesting life in Turkey as a British Expat. Her hands are FULL! Makes me want to visit Turkey - soon.

Aingeal at Mum's Survival Guide tells it like it is. Her latest post on mistakes she makes me smile - it could be me!

Cowgirl in Wellies: great reading over here. She covers a lot of topics and I could read this all day! Another American in London. I love it.

Lady In London: yet another American in London. She has loads and loads of links to interesting sites and her posts are always fun. It's great to read her experiences and 'firsts' in London. An anonymous posted alerted me to this blog. Thanks - anonymous!

Scandalous Woman: this is written by a NY romance writer. It's being turned into a book for spring 2011! Good for her. Great reads on women throughout history and today who were trailblazers, trend setters and troublemakers.

And finally: a store that found me online and now I love them!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sick while pregnant = FUN!

To make matters worse, I have a stomach virus which has basically stopped me in my tracks since yesterday. I'm drinking Gatorade and water like it's going out of style to avoid having to go on an IV at the hospital. So that's fun. I've slowed right now too - which I really don't have time for but have no choice. But I have been productive - I finished my holiday shopping online and everything is being conveniently whisked to my house within the next week. HOpefully, I'll feel well enough to wrap it before the baby comes. Otherwise it's gift bags or I'll hand them over wrapped in an unapologetic smile!

Fen and I bought Cate a toddler bed yesterday as well. After much deliberation, research, customer satisfaction feedback and disagreement on color - we bought the bed for Cate. We've decided to give it to her when we move into our new place in London. I wanted to start her here but the general consensus is that tossing her out of her bed now, bringing home a new baby, packing the entire house, moving her into temporary housing and then into permanent housing in London is just going to confuse her. I still think she should get used to the bed here so it's a little bit of familiar relief once we land in the UK. Thoughts?

In the meantime, I'm pulling every string I can to try and get a set visit to Sesame Street. Cate is having a very serious love affair with Elmo and I think it's only right her parents should meet her first true love. Also, I think she would just be over the moon being on the actual set with all the muppets. I hope I can pull this off... keep your fingers crossed for me. It would be nice to have a little outing that is all about her after the baby comes. she could use the boost (or so I think as required  by law for mommies).

Well, I better get back to bed, my head is swimming.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pride and Prejudice today?

For the past two weeks I’ve indulged myself with the BBC production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I enjoyed every minute of it but it got me thinking how limited a woman’s life was two hundred years ago.

Women could refuse an offer of marriage, but could not marry the man she loved without her father’s consent. Eloping was considered scandalous and shacking up with a man was enough to have you permanently shunned from society. Women referred to their husband’s formally: i.e. Mr. Bennet. They had to have permission to do anything even within the household or with their children. It was the law that she must fork over any monies and property to her husband upon marriage. Often times, her father paid her husband a hefty sum to marry her – ala the dowry. They also could not inherit their husband’s property so if they did not produce a son, they could be cast out of their own house penniless to make way for the new master upon their husband’s death. Even if they had a son, he could toss his own mother and sisters out of the house if he so chose.

But the allure for that time and the romance of it still grabs me (and it’s not pregnancy hormones). The beautiful language, lush settings, as well as the pomp and circumstance is fascinating. The subtlety and boldness of Elizabeth Bennett’s actions toward Mr. Darcy and his slow realization that he was in love with her is captivating.

But Elizabeth’s acceptance of Wickham in the end made me think of how women often defer to men – even now. Is it in our blood? Is it a certain pride or prejudice that keeps women stuck in a circle of timeless behavior toward men? I certainly hope not.

During my dating years my thoughts for a first date were not, “I hope he likes me” they were more along the lines of “I hope I like him.”

I applaud a woman speaking her mind. All women should. My husband wouldn’t have been interested in me if it weren’t for our lively debates – ongoing to this day. And if he hadn’t, he wouldn’t be my husband, for certain.

We’ve come a long way in 200 years and I’m sure we’re still evolving. Women will rule the world soon enough – as long as we speak up. Not to be preachy or rah-rah ladies - but we've earned the right to speak our minds, haven't we?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Farewell F-word, I knew ye well....

The other day I said, "What an ass!" in response to something on the news. My 2 1/2-year-old daughter repeated in her sweet little innocent voice: ass. As adorable as she sounded, I was dismayed. My potty mouth had finally caught up with me in the form of my yet-to-be-potty-trained child.
My daughter, Cate, is becoming quite the parrot these days. She picks up the oddest words and repeats them. Now we’ll have to watch what we say.
Mind you, I am not a world class four-letter word abuser, but every now and then the f-bomb has come in handy. But how do you stop it? Sometimes saying thinks like "What an ass" just roll off the tongue without thought. My language is peppered with mild curses that don’t offend, but I certainly do not want my child repeating (in private or public).
After decades of not thinking about it, my husband and I are painfully aware of our language now that we have a tiny echo running around the place and another one coming soon. With the world becoming more accepting of cuss words on prime time and birds flying on the Golden Globes (okay that was an accident) how do I let Cate know that bad words are unacceptable if they are everywhere, including coming out of my mouth?
Furthermore, what’s a really bad word compared to a not-so-bad word? I’d list them but I’ve made a resolution (not a New Year’s  but a new life’s) to stop doing it as flippantly as I have. Regardless, we’re giving up the curse words.
Let me tell you, it’s damn hard!

Friday, November 13, 2009

What I'll miss about New York

As time here in New York starts to dwindle, I'm becoming nostalgic. I've lived here over 18 years and now it's time to move on. At first I was thrilled but now I'm a tad nervous and wondering if I can even survive outside of NY. I've been spoiled, or so I think. In New York you can have anything you want at any hour of the night without leaving your house. Everything is delivered, everything is rented or for sale. Taxi's zip by your home night and day and the subways are always running (as well as buses). It truly is the city that never sleeps. Here are a few of the things I'm going to miss most of all:

The Brooklyn Bridge. I live just over the bridge in Brooklyn and one of my favorite things to do is walk over the bridge in the mornings into Manhattan. I've lived out here for seven years and the bridge is just a nice transition from home calm mode to work-'on' mode. It takes about 40 minutes to walk over it and by the time I reach the other side I'm ready for my day. It works in reverse as well coming home. Granted I have not walked over the bridge in months as it's way too much for me and chances are I won't have a chance to walk over it again before we leave but I'm going to try. The view of the city is amazing, the architecture of the bridge itself is a wonder, and the feeling I get from it always puts me in a good mood.

The Met: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is one of my favorite museums in NY. That and the Frick Collection. Right now they have Vermeer's Milkmaid which I hope to see before we go. I"m a big fan of Vermeer and I loved, loved, loved Tracy Chevalier's The Girl With the Pearl Earring (book and movie) which makes me want to see an original even more. On Friday and Saturday afternoons they host chamber music and cocktail in the main entrance on the upper balcony. I love that. They host parties on the roof which I especially love. I used to live just a few blocks from the Met and would pop in after work on some days. I haven't been there in a while as I'm too busy with Cate and being pregnant makes it too far to venture these days. But, I hope to get there soon.

Union Square Market: There are several markets around Manhattan and Brooklyn that I love but Union Square is the largest. I could peruse the stalls for hours. But I think Portobello Road has the best one in the world so I'm going to be happy with that!

Il Bagatto: Without a doubt my favorite restaurant in NY. The food is wonderful and the atmosphere is perfect. I've spent many, many nights here over the past 10 or so years with great friends and sometime just with Fen. Some of my fondest NY memories are here.

Rockefeller Center at Christmas: It just isn't Christmas  until I see the tree at Rockefeller Center and walk through the Channel Gardens with the angels to see the skaters on the rink. A pass through The Met Store and a treat (champagne truffles are my fav) from Teuscher Chocolates is a must. I love doing this every year. It's sad to think it will be the last for a long time.

Sur La Table: I love this place and the online store is nice as well. Even though it's all over the US, I particularly like the one in the Village. I could cruise through the story and leave broke. Their cooking classes are wonderful - I've only taken two here but I wish I could have done a few more. Perhaps I'll find a spot in London. We'll see. When we come back to visit this will be high on the list to return.

This list could go on and on, but I'll save a few for later.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Do you buy your guy knickers?

I read this on today and laughed out loud. It states that if you're buying a man his underwear you're either his mother or your The One.  I had no idea that was the main indicator on whether I was a keeper or not. I've been buying Fen his underwear since we became engaged. I had no idea I was falling into line like a good wife should. Who knew? Are you the one for your guy too?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And then it hit me again....

I must be out of my mind! I'm due to have this baby within the next 20 days (I hope!) and I just don't know what we were thinking. Two kids under three? I can't do this - then have Christmas, birthdays, New Years, pack my entire life up in boxes and move to London within 2 1/2 months!

Right now my 2 1/2 year old, Cate, is more than I can handle. I'm the size of a bowling ball and she can out run me. When she doesn't want to do what I say she lays flat on the floor chanting, "No, Mommy!" because she knows I can't bend down to pick her up. She's a wily one, that kid. Having a sibling is not going to go over big - maybe for five minutes when the baby presents her with her very own Mrs. Potato Head (our big plan - it's her favorite toy at school) but when the realization sinks in that the poop-machine is here to stay it's going to get ugly.

Cate has is good right now. Daddy to herself in the mornings and Mommy to herself in the evenings with a nanny in between, she has classes, play dates, trips to the library, birthday parties and other places (not including trips to the doctor for the H1N1 virus inoculation - that was no fun at all). Now she's going to have to share all of us with some crying, pooping, eating machine that her staff....errrm, I mean... parents, won't seem to let go. Cate does not share at the moment (a big time out issue) so I can't see this going smoothly. I sincerely hope I'm dead wrong and will eat my words happily (if not sleepily).

Just when it may start to simmer down, we're going to pack up everything and move poor Cate out of the only home she's ever known to end up in a strange country, with strange (well, to her) accents, different food (I hope they have mac n' cheese over there!) a temporary home until we can find a permanent one, and the baby will STILL be with us. My heart aches for my little girl. I know she'll be fine but I feel like I'm cheating on her and I'm not the cheating type. 

Pray I don't have to have another c-section. I need my strength for this! Cate was 8 lbs, 8oz with a ginormous head so I had no choice last time. This baby promises to be a whopper too - oy, I should have married a petite fella instead of my big Samoan/Kiwi. In second thoughts - I'll take the c - I love my Fen.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Books on my nightstand

I'm a big reader - seeing how I'm involved in the book publishing world here in NYC I always have more books I want to read than time to read them. I still haven't read the last Harry Potter and it's going further and further down my list right now. Here's what's queuing up for reading right now - just a small sampling of the 26 books accumulating there:

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory. I've loved her writing from Wildacre in 2003. Her Henry VIII novels were all wonderful and I'm really looking forward to sinking my teeth into this one. This is the story of Elizabeth Woodville who was of her own mind and did what she saw fit through trying times and a shakey marriage to Edward IV. Love stories with strong women - especially when they are true (ish)!

Listen Up, Mr. President: Everything You Always Wanted Your President to Know and Do by Helen Thomas and Craig Crawford. Helen Thomas is a legend in Washington. She's the dean of the White House Press Corps and has been front and center at presidential press conferences for over 60 years - and 10 presidents. Here she teams with esteemed journalist Craig Crawford to take a look at what makes for a good president. I've been a fan of Ms. Thomas' forever and I love her books. This is going to be an interesting ride, methinks.

Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol. Hate to admit it but I love his stuff! I'm thinking this may be my hospital read if I have five minutes to myself after my son it

The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell. Another secret indulgence. I love the Scarpetta books and I think Patricia Cornwell is a fantastic writer. I wasn't a fan of her non-fiction on Jack the Ripper, but if this is as good as the other Scarpetta books I'll be thrilled.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Blogs I'm loving...

So I'm still new at this but I've come across a few great blogs that I'd love to share:

Mum's Survival Guide: She has a toddler and a teenager - both challenging. Her stories are terrific and she makes beautiful jewelry. There is so much to read here I could stay all day!

Insomniac Mummy: She has young children and her posts on them are very funny. Her grandma is ill right now, which is  shame - go send her a note of support!

Postcards from Across the Pond: An American writer living in England. He's hilarious. Love reading his stuff. He published a book as well - equally hilarious!

Write On! Marsha has written 24 hours London and features hilarious 24hours from her fans. Very fun stuff.

Expat Mum: She  is a British mum living in the US. Her observations of the US are fun to read. She's a published author and always has entertaining blog posts. Definitely one to follow!

And It Feels Like Home: Great shots of London and terrific posts.

Want To Be a Free Thinker But Still a Nice Person: Great writing, great subjects. I've said it before and I'll say it again - she's a hoot!

American ExPat in London: Kristina is American, young, single (but has a partner) living in London. She tells it like it is and has great info for anyone moving to London. Not to be missed!

I'm still cruising along looking for great blogs. If you know of any please share - I'm interested!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The bath has been conquered and Halloween was a blast

Eureka and huzzah! Cate is happy in the bath again. After we were in the Bahamas for a week and she was in the pool or ocean every waking second - her fear of water (or whatever it was) has dissipated into a love for the bath again. I can't tell you what a relief this is for me. And how handy it was for Halloween.

Cate and Fen (and unfortunately me too) were on the Today show (a US morning national TV show) modeling Halloween outfits.  Cate got frightened by the crowd, lights and camera and hightailed it back to me and the producers shoved me out into the camera much to my very pregnant, waddling dismay. But it was fun and Cate enjoyed the fun afterward.

On actual Halloween Cate (dressed as the literary great Little Red Riding Hood) and I went to her school for their big fair. The teacher I had it out with regarding l'affaire d'pumpkin was there. She could not have been kinder and showered Cate with attention. Cate wasn't having any of it. She stole a cupcake (which I paid for after I realized she grabbed one) and spent the majority of the time on the carousel waving and shouting, "HI MOMMY" each time she went by. That afternoon we went trick or treating in our fabulous neighborhood with her posse of buddies. It was a great day all around.

Her daddy spent the morning getting his head kicked in playing rugby for his team - the Old Boys of NY (you have to 35 or older to join). It was his last game before our move to London. He was nostalgic and woeful when he got home. I'm seriously hoping he doesn't join a team in London for various reasons: he doesn't bounce back from the games like he used to; it's violent and he is covered in bruises every time; it takes all day; and I'm not too keen on him giving up his days off to go play a game instead of giving me a break. Call me selfish - but I'll need a break!

Yesterday we did the final shopping for the baby. It's 27 days until I have our son (or thereabouts). My bag is almost packed. All I have to do is set up the cradle, wash and sort all his clothes, set up the changing table with his diapers and wait. That's the toughest part - the waiting!