Long Island Mom

What I've learned about being a mom.

The Child-Free Vacation

My husband and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and we realized as it was approaching that our last vacation without kids was – gasp – our honeymoon. Dave has gone away with friends a few times without the kids and I’ve gone with them to visit my parents in Texas a few times without him, so he is used to spending a few nights away from them. I was the problem. For some reason I felt like leaving them to go do something fun for a weekend was somehow going to make me a bad mom. You know, mommy guilt being what it is.

Well, I had enough and booked a trip to Hilton Head, SC. My parents had been there a few years ago and raved about how much fun it was, and when I got an email from Jet Blue about cheap fares, I jumped on it. We stayed at The Beach House, which is a Holiday Inn Resort. The entire 3 night/4 day vacation cost the 2 of us about $1000. Not too bad! We flew into Savannah, GA, which is a short 45 minute drive to Hilton Head. We stopped for lunch in Savannah at The Olde Pink House, an 18th century mansion turned restaurant. We had an amazing lunch and set off in our rental car to Hilton Head, playing Zac Brown Band the whole way. Made for a nice drive!

The Tiki Hut bar at The Beach House became our home base. Fruity frozen drinks and a steady stream of live music right on the beach made for a relaxing adult-only retreat. I think I tried every specialty drink on the menu before I settled on Coconut Mojitos. We drank, swam in the pool, and just basically lazed around. We asked for dinner recommendations from the bartenders there and were sent to a few cool places. Night 2 we headed to a fish place and sat at the bar to eat. Two couples sat next to us as we were wrapping up and we got to talking, and decided to meet at a bar when they were finished with dinner. Definitely not something that would have happened in New York, people just aren’t naturally that friendly toward strangers. Something about the south!

Had a great time chatting with our new friends Andy and Danielle and wound up having dinner with them and their adorable 5 year old son, Asher, the next night. Hoping to go visit them in Nashville sometime soon. Did I miss the kids? Of course. Watching all the kids splashing around in the pool and in the ocean made me wish they were there. Waking up whenever the hell I felt like made me love being without them. At home, my mom and dad tended to the kids and generally exhausted themselves. When my dad came to pick us up from the airport he burst into laughter recalling a trip to the grocery store with both of the kids to get ‘a few things.’ Anyone with a couple of kids or more that does the grocery shopping can probably guess how that went. When we got back to the house, my mom looked like she was just released from Guantanamo and was so relieved to see us. And we were so happy to see them. A long weekend without the kids made me so appreciative of the chaos I’m surrounded by day to day. They’re little lunatics, but they’re my little lunatics.

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Wanna go out now?

I’m not into Valentine’s Day. Maybe it’s the cheap Scottish girl in me, but I just find spending ten times the amount you normally would on some flowers that will die in a few days to be ridiculous. That said, I do use the day to reflect on how good I’ve got it.

This year I have 2 little valentines to think of, so yes, I’ve made a big deal of the day with heart shaped and pink and red everything. But there will be no dinner out, no flowers or jewelry, just a card telling the hubs how awesome he is and a nice home cooked meal. And wine. But I have wine every night. ;)

12 years ago, I met Dave in an English required course at NYU. He was wearing clothes about 8 sizes too big for him in a way only an Italian Wu Tang fan from Long Island could pull off. He was late, looked hungover, and I thought he was adorable.

Many awkward days ahead were spent finding excuses to walk out of class at exactly the same time as him so he’d be forced to walk back to the dorms with me. Our dorm buildings were next door to each other. We talked – correction – I talked – about where we grew up, what we wanted to do for a living one day, and how much we hated that damn class. We were both dating other people, so it was all very innocent, but I had a big time crush on him.

A year later, a friend dragged me to his fraternity party and many games of beer pong gave me a little courage. His buddy Nhat told me Dave was looking for me and directed me to his room. He walked out and when I asked him what he needed me for he said ‘nothing’ and I realized what Nhat was doing. So, many solo cups of beer gave me the courage to ask him if he wanted to go out sometime. His answer? ‘Wanna go out now?’

2 underage college kids in a seedy bar split a pitcher of watered-down beer and didn’t talk. We made out in a way only drunk college kids do. I’m still embarrassed by that one.

He called me the next day. And the next day. And the next day. We were instantly inseparable and 3 years of marriage and 2 kids later I couldn’t be happier. I have several people and things to thank.

– NYU
– Finnerty’s
– Mike Lampasona
– Nhat Le
– Bud light

But mostly the Bud light.

Happy Valentines Day!

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Snoring

I had it bad enough with snoring in my house before my son came along. A few beers in my husband and off he goes, making his annoying brand of nose music all night long. Well, it has gotten worse in my bedroom, guys and this time it’s not his fault.

Yes, that sound is coming out of my 3 month old son. And it’s all night long. If this is how bad he snores now, what will happen as he gets older? I feel bad for his future wife already…

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2012 Year In Review

What a year.

We had so much drama in 2012 I can honestly say good riddance. A difficult second pregnancy gave way to an even more difficult pre-term birth and subsequent NICU stays for my little preemie. We lost my grandmother and then Hurricane Sandy. As 2012 comes to a close I am breathing a sigh of relief that things are looking up.

As I have written before, through all of these obstacles thrown our way this year, we feel extremely lucky. Our kids are both healthy and happy and we have a roof over our head. That is so much more than many people in our area can say. Nothing has made me appreciate my family more than the terrible tragedy in Sandy Hook and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of the pure hell those parents are going through mourning the loss of their children.

2013 looks very promising for our family. This is the year my firstborn, my little tyrant Sofia, will start pre-school. I look forward to many parent-teacher conferences about her temper. There will be many milestones for our baby. He will learn to sit up, crawl, walk and talk this year and I am so excited to see him grow.

Some new exciting things are headed my way for this blog as well! A good friend and writer Jesse Lasky (@jesselasky if you’re looking for someone funny to follow on twitter) has me in contact with the Huffington Post online and Modern Mom is going to feature my recipes, so look for more information in the coming weeks. Very excited about what 2013 has in store and I’m so appreciative of all the support from you guys!

Spread the word about this blog, my Facebook page : www.facebook.com/LongIslandMom and my twitter @thelimom Thanks again!

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Lookin Haggard.

Several people in my family including my Aunt Terri and my husband got me skin care stuff for Christmas.

What are you trying to tell me guys? Apparently these nights of no sleep are making me look pretty haggard these days…

Time to put in a little more effort lol

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Holiday Family Drama

The holidays should be the best time of the year, full of happiness, family, love, good food, etc. But boy, does this time of year bring out the worst in people.

No family is without its share of drama, and so my advice for getting through all of this forced ‘togetherness’ is to drink early and often.

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May your holiday season be nice and tame. :)

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My surreal life

Day 7 without power. No garbage pickup so the street is full of everyone’s garbage and items destroyed by the flood waters. What the hell do my property taxes pay for anyway?

Driving around Oceanside is surreal. An upper middle class town now looks like a total slum. A Red Cross truck came down the street today delivering blankets, water and meals, something I’ve seen in devastated places on the news but never expected to be in my neighborhood.

Saw what I thought was a LIPA truck go down the street so I grabbed my cousin Ro and we tried to see where it was going as if we were 5 and he was the ice cream man. Couldn’t find him but came across this :

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Can’t believe this is my neighborhood. No answers from LIPA with a timetable either. I feel so powerless!

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Our Story of Sandy

Whew… We’re safe. Now where to begin?

My husband took the news of this hurricane as pure hype and refused to prepare. To be fair, Irene did nothing to us last year and we were lucky. Unfortunately it was a false sense of security for what was to come this year. We live in Oceanside, on the south shore of Long Island just minutes from Long Beach where people were evacuated and we were issued a ‘voluntary’ evacuation.

I was not around for Irene last year, as I was lucky enough to be visiting my family in California with Sofia. My husband and brother in law weathered the storm together, drinking whiskey and ‘holding down the fort’ as we were untouched by the overhyped storm. I was increasingly more worried as days went on this year, watching the news describe this storm as something far more serious than any storm we’ve seen in recent history. I decided my in laws were a safe place to stay since their house is a good 7 steps above street level and they had a generator, should power go out.

As we watched the winds pick up I wished I had fled somewhere north, far away, with my 2 kids who include my 6 week old preemie and my not even 2 year old little girl. I felt scared as I watched the water rush through the street like a river, climbing step by step up to my in laws front porch. We were lucky it stopped before it reached the top and the our only real issue was a loss of power.

My in laws lost so much. 2 houses nearby that they rent out are badly damaged. My father in law’s collision shop under 5 feet of water. Cars flooded to the dashboards and totaled. And a basement full of my husband and his sister’s childhood memories that his mom has saved for decades. We got off easy, a few inches of water in my guest bedroom and garage and a totaled car. My kids and husband are safe, which is all that matters.

What makes me upset about the whole situation is how forgotten our area in Oceanside is. Nearby towns have FEMA and Red Cross trucks handing out water and food, and power is being restored all around us. We can’t even get the town to collect the mounds of garbage on the curbs, and I’ve yet to see a single LIPA truck around to even assess the situation with the downed power wires. It could still be weeks until we get power. As time goes on the weather gets colder and colder, so Dave and I had to leave to stay with friends to get the kids into a warm house. No idea when we will be able to return home and start to get our lives back to normal.

Gas shortages here have gotten scary. Stories of fist fights breaking out as people line up for blocks to fill up their cars and small tanks to power generators. It’s so much worse, they say, than the gas shortages of the 70s, and no real end in sight.

Long Beach is a ghost town. The sand has washed up so far that it looks as if apartments were built on the beach. Long Beach Hospital will be closed for a minimum of 6 months to repair and I wonder if it will ever be what it once was.

I can’t shake the feeling that this is all just a bad dream. These kinds of disasters are things you read about happening in other places. Events that you watch on the news shaking your head in disbelief. Events you donate to relief funds to quiet your guilt as you sit on your warm couch watching benefit concerts. Now all of these benefit concerts and relief efforts are for us. Eerie.

In the meantime, if anyone is looking to help please contact your Red Cross and donate money, bottled water, food, warm clothing, toiletries, anything you can think of that might help the families here that have lost so much. Those of us lucky enough to walk away unscathed will get past this, we will move forward with our lives. But there are those who have lost loved ones, those whose homes are condemned. They will need so much more and many will never be the same again.

Love and support to everyone in the tri-state affected by Sandy.

Red Cross

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The power of daddy

My husband has taken 3 weeks off from work to be home with me helping with the kids while we adjust to our new life. I remember the time he took off to be home after Sofia was born 2 years ago and things have definitely changed. Dave was very hesitant to change diapers, feed or give baths because he thought Sofia was so fragile. He was scared to break her. This time around, with a 5 lb. preemie, I expected much of the same.

I was so wrong. Not only does he look like a seasoned pro this time around, he seems so much more confident in his daddy abilities. He’s feeding, burping, changing and holding baby David without any hesitation, and seems to enjoy it much more this time around. When the baby is wide awake at 4am and I look like a complete wreck, Dave takes him downstairs to hang out and watch a movie so I can get some sleep.

He is also showering Sofia with attention, taking her outside to play, snuggling with her and making her feel special every chance he gets. She’s going to be devastated when he goes back to work. All the attention she is getting from daddy makes her a very happy girl.

The cherry on top of this fabulous daddy and husband sundae is the list of household chores and things to fix that he made himself. I didn’t impose this on him. Every day he checks off a few more household improvements and errands he’s been meaning to do but hasn’t had the time.

So, this is my homage post to my wonderful husband. What an amazing family man you have become and I find myself falling in love with you more every day.

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Mommy is important, too

It is incredibly easy to forget about yourself as a mom. All day long I do things for my daughter and my husband, to the point where sometimes its noon and I’ve forgotten to eat. Ok, maybe not lately being that I’m 36 weeks pregnant and ravenous, but it’s been known to happen.

I’ve heard from every ‘veteran’ mom to make sure to take care of myself. I wish it were that easy. Between mommy guilt, lack of time and energy, and limited funds, I would just rather sneak in a nap than do anything else. I don’t get my nails done, and if my sister in law wasn’t my hairstylist, God only knows what my hair would look like. One thing that I have learned to occasionally indulge in is spa treatments. Sort of like a nap, right?

If I had the money, I would make it a monthly excursion, but for now I ask for spa treatments for bday, Christmas or Mother’s Day gifts. After I leave a spa, I feel relaxed, happy, and well-rested, and therefore a better wife and mommy. Because like my mom always said to us growing up, if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

There are lots of deals online for different spas at reduced prices, so take advantage if you’re feeling the stress of being everyone’s caretaker. I’ve linked an NYC deal below but look for them in your area through Groupon, Living Social, or Google Offers if this one doesn’t apply to you. And be happy!

Nina’s European Day Spa & Laser Center

One, Two, or Three 60-Minute Spa Treatments at Nina’s European Day Spa & Laser Center (Up to 68% Off)
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