Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ummm Ben, That's Not The Pool...

People it is my world and you are just living in it.

A Dizzying Experience

Ever since, Benjamin took a ride on the Dizzy Dragons in Point Pleasant he has been obsessed with taking another spin on the nausea inducing ride. I took the first journey with him and I thought it would be best if his Dad had a turn. After the ride, I'm not sure how many more spins on the Dragon this family will take, Ben included.
(The video is sideways to help you experience the sickening feeling)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

An Af"fair" To Remember

If you ever happen to meet my Mom, you might want to ask her about her experience at the Pennsylvania County Fair. She'll probably tell you how we stayed with her sister-in-law's sister and that there was pig slop in the corner of the kitchen and how fly strips hung from random spots on the ceiling. She might even tell you how she got to witness a demolition derby. But the thing she will definitely mention, after telling you her tales of horror, is that the only reason she did and survived her personal hell was because she loved her kids - much of the same reason I do certain things today.

In order to fully take on this parenting role, Wally and I decided to take Benjamin to the Sussex County Fair, not the official "state" fair but after experiencing it first hand I am petitioning for it to be. The day started with a ride on the Busy Bee then onto the Super Slide. Next Benjamin spotted the Dizzy Dragon, which Wally bravely ventured with him on (more about that in a separate post).

Feeling a little dizzy, we next went to watch the goat and sheep judging. There were some fine specimens to choose from that day and Benjamin chose our "Best in Shows". Next we headed to the Holstein tent then on to bunnies and chickens. The smell of food got the group hungry and we started off with some fried pierogies then on to chicken strips (I know weird after seeing live chickens) and french fries. After our grease filled lunch, we headed to what else but the tractor trailer pulling contest!
Not knowing how we could top that, we checked out the equestrian venue then ShopRite's "Little Farm" for kids where I got a sweet tattoo of my favorite client and Ben got to ride a mini-tractor. Finally, we checked out some butterflies, hopped on a real tractor, watched cows being milked, played some games, drove a few Nascars (of course) and finished the day off right with some mini-doughnuts.

Maybe it was the fact that I didn't have to stay on farm, but as opposed to my Mom, I think The Kamienski family will be headed back to the fair next year.

This Way To The Gun Show

For The Birds

A few months into my relationship with Wally, we headed down to Atlantic City. The next day happened to be gorgeous so we decided to hit the beach for a little bit before we returned home. During that time, Wally learned of my fear of feathered creatures. As he attempted to feed the seagulls, I got downright angry with him and told him that if he continued to feed the birds I would be leaving the beach.
Flash forward 12 years and now my son is a card carrying member of the Audubon Society. Because I love my son and would do anything for him, I have allowed a bird to build a nest on my front porch and birth a few new birds that might come and peck your eyes out one day. Don't believe me about bird attacks? Google it and you will see for yourself that there is a rise in bird attacks all over the world. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

You Are The Reason Why...

Ever wonder why I blog? Wonder no more. Read my latest post from NJ Moms Blog:

Will Ben Ever Learn Beach Etiquette?

With summer coming to a close (wah!), I wanted to share my latest posting on NJ Moms Blog about trying to teach Benjamin beach etiquette. Find out how successful I was below:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chronicling Benjamin's Birth Day

Since I began blogging more than a year after my son was born, I never thought of chronicling his birth until I was given the opportunity to participate in the SV Moms Book Club. This month, we read a book by Mark Sloan, M.D. titled Birth Day, a book which "explores the wonder of childbirth". So what better time than now to explore the wonder of my son's birth and what a wonder it was...

A day I thought would never arrive did on a snowy Monday morning in February. I was at that point when you are just OVER being pregnant. At an appointment earlier the week before, I had explained this "feeling" to my obstetrician, Dr. Yeum, and she suggested I meet with her partner Dr. Pittman, also fondly known as "Pitocin Fingers." Note: I would not think of her fondly during my exam. That Monday morning, as the snow continued to fall, my husband Wally and I took separate cars to the doctor's office to see if we could "get things going." The plan was to have Wally there for moral support and a hand to squeeze really hard if the exam got too intense, then for us to go our separate ways off to work. Well, that was the plan.

I won't get into the gory details of the exam. Needless to say, when the exam was over my belly was visibly contracting and Dr. Pittman had earned her nickname. I was then put on a monitor for about 10 minutes. When Dr. Pittman returned, she said, "okay this is it. I will see you at the hospital." She might as well said to my husband and I, "okay this is it. I will see you at the planet Mars." We couldn't process "this was it." My next response, after we picked our jaws up off the floor, was, "so, we'll go home and wait, right?" It was then her turn to look at us like we were speaking in foreign tongues, "no you need to go the hospital." It was now my husband, Wally's turn, "ok so we will get our bags and wait for the contractions to get intense and get to the hospital - probably later today, right?" The frustration started to build on Dr. Pittman's face, "no, guys you need to go to the hospital now." Me, "can we at least get our bags?" Dr. Pittman, "how far are you guys away?" Me, "only Morristown." Dr. Pittman knowing I can't fathom going to the hospital at this very moment says very kindly, "go home and then go directly to the hospital - no waiting around - get there as soon as possible."

Still not understanding the full magnitude of what was happening, we go out to the parking lot and realize, "oh shit, we have two cars." Wally turns to me and says, "do you think you can drive?" Keep in mind my contractions are 7 minutes apart and there is snow falling pretty heavily on the ground, my response, "sure." Wally assures me he will stay on the phone with me and will follow close behind. Yes, I am the woman who drives during labor, during a snowstorm! I think I need to get a medal or something for surviving that feat. No medal yet.

We make it home safely and I decide there is no need to rush. I take another shower. Wally takes another shower. I do my hair and makeup. I check to make sure I have everything. Of course, I have about four armfuls of things we are bringing with us to the hospital. We make a few phone calls. We kiss our pooch goodbye and head back to the hospital. We don't arrive until after 12 pm. If Dr. Pittman was at home with us she would have only allowed us to grab our bags and leave but I thought, "I've had worse cramps than this. This baby is not ready to make an entrance just yet."

We arrive and check into the PET unit where I get hooked up yet again. At around 2 pm, I get a message from Dr. Yeum saying they are ready to check me into the L&D and that they are going to start a small Potocin drip. To be honest, I thought I was going to be sent home as a "false alarm," but it seemed this was REALLY happening.

Then the crowds started to arrive, first my parents then my best friend and her husband, my mother-in-law then finally my brother (with a life-size giraffe for his new niece or nephew). All were gathered at the hospital before 5 pm that day. What I remember most from their visits in and out of the room was my Dad's sheer amazement of how good I was doing. He commented to my Mom several times that day, "I can't believe how great Jennifer is doing. She doesn't seem to be in any pain." To be honest Dad, you and me both. I too was amazed and not sure why, but I really wasn't in a lot of pain. Me, the girl who faints at the thought of pain was actually being tough as nails. By 6 pm still no epidural and only dilated about 2 cms my nurse convinced me to get the epidural. While she knew I wasn't in any horrible pain, she explained that it would relax me and hopefully get this show on the road.

Up until this point, things are going pretty smoothly. Enter the anesthesiologist's PA. I am handed a bunch of legal mumbo, jumbo to review and sign. Having to prepare to receive the biggest needle of my life (did I mention I have a needle phobia), I hand the papers to my husband who proceeds to look over. He asks the PA, very nicely I might add, why he cannot be present in the room during the epidural. Her answer, "germs." Wally, "germs? really? that doesn't seem to be a good enough reason considering people have been in and out of this room all day doing God only knows what to my wife." She then quips, "what are you a lawyer?" Not sure what happened after that I just know that my husband was trying to remain as calm as possible for me. Wally then decides to take up this argument with the doctor. The doctor tells him that we need to focus on the patient that this is a very delicate procedure, blah, blah, blah. Now, I appreciate the valiant efforts of my husband knowing how afraid I am of this GIANT needle, however, the doctor has now refused to do the procedure unless my husband and mother leave the room. I look at Wally and I say to him very calmly, "I appreciate what you are trying to do here but get out of the room now so I can get this thing over with." He then tells the PA, doctor and nurse that he is only going to stand right outside the door that if something happens he is coming back in. Everyone is fine with this and I get my epidural. To get the bitch PA back for her rude comment to my husband, I squeeze her with all my might during the procedure hoping she gets some nice black-and-blues on her arms.

Things start to really move now! They break my water (some random dude - still hoping he was a legit doctor) and I go from 2 to 8 in record time. Dr. Yeum is called and the nurse starts preparing the room for the arrival of Baby Kamienski. But instead of pushing out my child at 8 or 9 that night, I stall. At 11 pm, Dr. Yeum comes in and says I am going to give you another 15 minutes but that's it somethign about swelling and the position of the baby. With fingers crossed, I get one last exam and then the OR is booked. No pushing for me. I cry to Wally and my Mom who tell me how proud they are of me. My Mom tells me who cares how this baby comes into the world? I did, but in the end it doesn't really matter now does it? Before I head into the OR, I ask my Mom and best friend for a brush and mirror. They indulge me knowing full well that I am going to be putting a cap on to cover all my hair but they don't say a word. As I am wheeled into the OR, I get last words of love and praise from my parents, mother-in-law, brother and best friend and husband.

As I am being prepped, my friendly PA returns looking right over my head. Then it happens, "ummm, Wally I feel that?' Friendly PA, "you don't feel anything." Me, "ummm, I do feel something." Dr Yeum now peers over the curtain to look at me, "what's wrong? what is it?" Me, "Dr. Yeum I felt it when you started to cut me." The PA is about to talk back to me when Dr. Yeum shoots her a look and tells her boss to turn it up NOW. Dr. Yeum waits a little while and then proceeds. If we are being honest here, it sucked. I hated the feeling of being awake under the knife and to say "you are going to feel some minor tugging" is putting it mildly.

At 12:19 am on February 27, a shout rang out in the operating room announcing, "It's a boy!" Up until this point, I had no idea of the gender of this life growing inside of me nor did I know how awe-inspiring he would turn out to be nor did I even know his name just yet, all I knew at that very moment is that my miracle had finally arrived. After trying for almost 4 years and waiting another 9 months for Baby Kamienski, all our dreams had come true in in the middle of the night. The wonder of it all...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Our Adventure At Sea (I Mean Lake)

Saturday happened to be one of the best days of summer. We decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and do something we haven't done since I was pregnant with Benjamin. Wally and I both agreed it was time to dust off the ole' kayak and take Benjamin for his maiden voyage.
A little apprehensive, for fear of the entire crew falling in the lake, we set out on our journey but not before a life vest for Ben was purchased and picture-perfect picnic was packed. We headed to Split Rock Reservoir , a dream of a lake right smack in the middle of Boonton Township. Not easy to find, there are absolutely no signs pointing the way to the destination which I believe is done on purpose like a well-kept secret. However, we happen to know one of Jersey's finest fishermen, my father-in-law, and he was able to point us in the right direction.
The lot was near capacity when we arrived (it is also the only parking lot/boat launch on the reservoir). We decided it would be best to dump all the gear near the path to the lake and then park the car. Of course, I got a little spastic and somehow injured my shoulder before the paddling even started but I swore to myself that I was going to be a trooper.
Now before we get to the kayaking part, let me paint of picture of what needed to be accomplished to get into the lake. We had to lug a 100 and something pound two-person, I mean three-person now, kayak down a rocky hill with a picnic basket, cooler, paddles, life jackets and two-year old in tow. I have to say Benjamin listened to every word we said that day and was extremely well-behaved (thank you God). Ben held onto his Daddy's hand as we navigated down the incline. When we got the bottom of the hill, we asked Benjamin to stand to the side and "not move a muscle." He agreed, "Mommy I won't move a muscle." Once again another thank God - this time for the kindness of strangers. As we scratched our heads trying to figure out how we were going to get everyone in the kayak without tipping it over before we even started, a nice man helped us steady the boat as we loaded in. And off we went...
Benjamin was thrilled to be in the boat. Well, at least that's what Wally said, since I was in the front and the two boys were in the back and I wasn't turning around for fear of tipping. I could hear him though as he started pointing out all the various sights.
We paddled around the lake looking for an uninhabited, smooth spot to dock and have our picnic lunch. Heading straight across the lake, we found a lovely cove to picnic. Upon exiting the boat, I almost stepped on a frog which Ben still thinks is funny. In fact, he placed a plastic frog between my toes the other day to amuse himself. Once we were all safely out of the boat, I unpacked the lunch and spread out the tablecloth on a smooth rock. Not sure how Benjamin would be with a sandwich, shockingly he hasn't really had many, he ate his hummus and cheese like a sandwich eating pro. He also enjoyed some chips and other snacks. As a treat for my newly promoted husband (yipee Wally!), I made him a special snack of deviled eggs which got a little tossed around but were still delicious nonetheless. While eating, I threw bread in the water to show Ben the fishes who came close to the surface to grab their own lunch.
After picnicking with the dragonflies and a run in with a spider, we headed into the water. Wally first took Benjamin out into the water but he pleaded with his Dad to go by me since I was in a more shallow area and closer to shore. Together Benjamin and I sat on a rock in the water and watched Wally swim. Daddy even swam under water for us which thrilled Ben to no end, "do it again Daddy!" After getting over his initial fear, Ben got brave enough to swim between his Dad and me! Go Ben!
Before heading back, we paddled some more checking out a few other spots on the water. Not realizing how far we had actually went, we came a bit confused as to where the boat launch was located (again no signs). We eventually found our way back and proud to say without a tipping incident. As we sat in the car, exhausted, sweaty, sore and wet, I knew this would be a memory we could all treasure forever.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Will It Get This Bad?

As Wally held Benjamin's hand down the stairs of our deck headed to our car, Ben heard the church bells ringing and said, "I'm not going to church." Wally failed to tell me this until after the service was over. When we pulled up to church, from the backseat we heard, "I'm not getting out!" He started banging on the car window and repeating the mantra, "I'm not going to church." We finally got him into church where he was good for the most part except when he told me I wasn't his mother and that he didn't want to see me. Apparently, I am the bad guy.

When I saw the following report on the news, at first, I was comforted thinking "not my kid" which quickly turned into fear as thoughts turned to, "will it get this bad?":
Is this what we have to look forward to?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I Don't Want To Say I Told You So, But....

A friend asked me on Friday, "Jenn how was Sesame Place?" I told her to wait for the blog post, so here it is...

On Wednesday, I called my Mom to voice my concern over the weather. During that time, we got into a "heated" discussion on whether or not to cancel the trip. My Mom accused me of not wanting to go and I just decided to let it go. And so, reservations were made and plans to meet in the morning were arranged.

There comes a time in life when the words, "I told you so" are very appropriate -- this is one of those times. When I woke up that morning, it wasn't very promising. It seemed the sun had decided not to rise. As we traveled down to Langhorne, PA, it started to get darker and darker and darker and the words "I told you so" danced on my lips. About a half hour outside of the theme park, the heavens opened up and the rain came down in buckets. Finally arriving at about 11:30 am or so, we saw legions of sopping wet parents and their children heading for the exits. However our group wasn't going to give up so easily. My Mother, now known as Al Roker Jr., and I headed to the entrance to see "what the situation was." After standing there for about 10 minutes, we were told it was declared a rainy day and were refunded our money. The rainy day policy didn't sit well with the 2 and 3 year olds so elaborate tales of Big Bird catching the swine flu were told.
Almost 2 hours from home, now what? What a silly question! You sit in a Burger King for over 2 hours while the kids play then you head back in the pouring rain and sit in traffic on the turnpike and return home at 5pm having accomplished nothing but a lot of sore butts from sitting in the car so long. Here is the even crazier thing! We all plan to try it again in a few weeks. Glutton for punishment yes. The thrill of being able to tell my Mother, "I told you so!" - priceless and worth the aggravation :).

Baby Crazy!

Before anyone gets too excited, when I titled the blog post "Baby Crazy," I was not referring to me but Benjamin. My son LOVES babies! Seriously, can't get enough of them. If a baby is in a room, he needs to be near that baby. He loves to kiss babies, tickle babies, look at babies, rub babies' heads (very gently) - you name it Benjamin wants to be part of the baby action.
Take for example the picture above with a few of Benjamin's third cousins, Ben had to be next to Baby Chloe for the picture. Not the twins who are more his age. Nope the baby of course! If it was a choice between a room of toddlers and a room of babies, Ben would always choose the babies. He is also fiercely protective of these little ones. When we were at a party, he was playing with Baby Nicholas and the baby's Dad who he hadn't seen up until that point takes the baby from his wife. Benjamin went right up to Baby Nick's Dad and said, "give that baby back to his Mommy!" Everyone in the room laughed except Ben who was adamant that the baby be returned promptly to his Mom.
As I look at Benjamin and see how much love he has to give, it gets me to thinking. Is a number two in our future? Only time will tell.


Lately Benjamin seems to be hit or miss when it comes to eating, but the other day it was a hit! As he spooned the corn, mac n' cheese and london broil into his mouth, he turned to me and said, "Mmmm! Mmmm! My favorite!"

Friday, July 24, 2009

Potty Talk

I am tired of potty training and even more tired of Benjamin getting all the kudos. Here is my most recent post on NJ Moms Blog for your viewing pleasure:

More Tails From The Toilet

If you have come in contact with me in the last few weeks, you have probably heard this story but I love it so much I need to preserve it:
Benjamin has been having a problem controlling his aim while peeing (nothing new in the boy category or the male category for that matter). So to help address this problem, I have been encouraging him to "point your penis down." This has seemed to help keep the urine in the bowl rather than all over my floor.
The other day he came over to me and said, "can I teach Shorty (his stuffed monkey-get your minds out of the gutter) how to go to the bathroom?" I said, "sure!" Next thing you know Ben is propping Shorty on the toddler potty. As Shorty is sitting there Benjamin gives him this instruction, "now Shorty point your penis down." Just for the record, Shorty didn't make any mess. Good training Ben!
Later that same day, Ben bursts in while I am going to the potty (I have no more privacy in my life). He decides he too wants to join me. While he sits on his throne, he asks me, "Mommy is your penis pointed down?" I then need to explain to a 2 year old (I thought this conversation would take a few more years like 20) that "mommies" don't have penises. In quick response to this revelation, Benjamin asks, "but you do have shorts and shoes like me." Yes, yes, I do.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Four Ben Stories

Here are some recent musings from the world of Benjamin:

Benjamin isn't the world's most proper dinner companion but Wally and I are working very hard on changing this situation. In fact, recently, we sent him to his room and ordered him not to come out until he was ready to finish his supper. About five minutes later, he was calling for Wally at the edge of the steps. Wally went to the foot of the staircase and asked, "are you ready to come down?" He said that he was ready. Wally then asked if he was ready to finish his dinner. Benjamin then said, "no, I will stay in my room." With that statement, Ben turned around headed back to his room and slammed the door. So much for standing our ground.

Let me take you back to the dinner table but another night when Benjamin was being agreeable. We were having Chinese and he was enjoying his Lo Mein immensely. At the time, I was dipping an egg roll into duck sauce. He asked me, "what is that." I told him duck sauce. He made a face and I told him to try it. Wally then compared it to a dipping sauce like ketchup. Ben then agreed to try it. Cautiously, he took the Chinese noodle in his hand and stuck his tongue out ever so gently and dabbed it on the noodle. With a contorted face, and Mom expecting the often heard "I don't like", he said, "I like it. Maybe I can put it on a chicken nugget?" Note to self: get more duck sauce.

When watching Ben enjoying riding Lightening McQueen in our backyard, my Mom decided she wanted an electric ride-on toy for by her house. My brother, Uncle John, agreed to get this for Benjamin to play with while at Grandma's and Poppa's house. Last week, they all went to the toy store to pick out a new toy. As my brother and mother tried to sway him towards the Jeep, Benjamin caught site of a Cadillac. He asked Uncle John to bring it down so he could get a more thorough inspection of the Escalade. As Uncle John brought it to the floor, Ben began to hug the car and said, "Uncle John I don't want a Jeep. I want a Cadillac! You get this for me?" Oh my young son, I have taught you well. A Cadillac with a real working radio is much better than a Jeep any day of the week.

My Mom just told me this story. Benjamin and Grandma went to the zoo where a peacock proceeded to follow Ben out to the parking lot as they were leaving. Benjamin turned to my Mom and said, "Grandma the peacock wants to come home with me. Can we bring him home?" My Mom said, "Ben I would have to call your parents and ask." I didn't get a call but unfortunately the answer is no Ben --- Bruin wouldn't be okay with it and he has the veto power when bringing any new animals into the house.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Taking A Back Seat

While I was pregnant, my brother said to me, "do you know what you are doing here?" I wasn't sure what he meant. He went on to explain that by having a child and bringing my parents the long-awaited grandchild we (my brother and myself) would soon be taking the back seat in our parents' lives. My brother especially noted this theory with our Dad. At the time, it was something I never really considered and knowing the relationship I had with my Dad I thought that wouldn't be possible. Enter Benjamin Joseph Kamienski, the boy who made my Dad a Poppa.
Since I was the one that stole my Dad's heart from my Mom, I guess it is only fair that my son be the one to steal my Dad's heart from me. When we (my Dad and me) are teaming up against my Mom, she can often be heard telling the story of how on the day I was brought home my Dad left her in the rain and tended to me first. Yes, there was a new boss in town. However, just like my Mom I didn't mind taking a back seat.

You see my Dad has a very rare gift. He has the rare gift of loving someone completely, forever. Even when you aren't in his presence, you can feel his love. My Dad worked a lot when I was growing up but I never, not even for a moment, didn't know I was surrounded by my Dad's love. While he wasn't present for every little bit in my life, he was there when it mattered the most and he wasn't half there he was whole there. He was the one person that cheered the loudest when I performed on stage for all those year's of my life. He was the one that hugged me the hardest and longest the day I graduated college.
So you see, it doesn't matter that my status has been downgraded. I have selfishly had my Dad's love for so many years that is only fair that this great gift be shared with my son. Because before it was all about the happiness I felt from my Dad's love to me, now it is about the happiness I feel when I see the joy that Benjamin brings to my Dad. I never really knew how I could ever repay my Dad for all that he has given to me. Now I realize how simple it really is.
My Dad has told my Mom, how he didn't think his heart could love anymore than it did before Benjamin came into his life. I did. I know my Dad's heart inside and out and it is the biggest heart I know. Happy Father's Day Dad -- loving the view from the back seat.

Bringing Joy Into Our Lives

It may sound cliche but one of the main reasons I fell in love with Wally is that he makes me laugh. If you are looking to have fun, there is no better person on earth (in my humble opinion) to have a good time with than my husband. And it is this reason (and yes many others), that I love the type of Dad Wally is to Benjamin.
While I am the uptight, "don't do that Benjamin" parent, Wally is laid back soul that brings laughter into Benjamin's life. When I am in another part of the house and I hear their chuckles through the hallways, it puts the biggest smile on my face. Wally has helped make Benjamin a lovable kid -- the best (once again in my humble opinion). It gives me my greatest joy when someone approaches me to tell me, "boy your son is just such a happy kid." When I hear that, I have no further to look than my husband.
As a Dad to Benjamin, Wally shows Benjamin all the joy that life can bring. Even in the mundane like taking a bath, Wally makes Benjamin's days an adventure worth having. Like the other day, I sat back while all 6'5" of Wally hunched over to push Benjamin in a Tonka dump truck in circles, at top speeds, around our yard. Squeals of laughter could be heard from down the block. Benjamin demanded more and more and more. And Wally didn't stop, he just kept on pushing with the biggest grin on his face. And that my friends is the type of Dad Wally is and always will be - he's the guy that won't stop pushing the Tonka truck no matter how bad his back feels because it makes his son happy.
Thank you for bringing the laughter into this family's life. I am blessed to call you the father of our son. How did I get so lucky?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

YUCK! Mud! What's A Girly Mom To Do?

I love my son more than life itself. I would do anything for him. And yes, I would stand in front of moving bus to save his life without hesitation. However, I don't like mud. You can throw in the dry stuff too - dirt - I don't like that much either. The problem is Benjamin LOVES dirt and mud. If I let him, he would spend all day with a few trucks and a pile of dirt. I try to discourage this practice as much as I can but I can't keep the child away from his passion.

While most thought I was better suited to raise a girl, my now amateur palaeontologist and construction connoisseur status have changed many a mind. Instead of playing with Barbies and having tea parties, my days are spent reading books about bugs and watching Disney's Cars. I love all things boy but I can't get over the dirt thing. Why the obsession with dirt boys?

Don't get me wrong I get right in there and play in the pile of yuck, but not as much as I get into playing with toys that are clean like plastic gorillas and plush dogs.

Why do I hate dirt? Here are my top reasons:
  • Dirt under the nails (impossible to remove from a 2 year old's fingernails)
  • Dirty toys (that Benjamin then insists on bringing in the house that I have to clean in the tub that also gets dirty)
  • Dirty clothes/shoes (not only his but mine - so many clothes/shoes ruined - I hate dirty shoelaces)
  • Dirty dog (eventually Bruin gets in on the act and inevitable the dirt ends up in our bed)
  • Dirty floors (the absolute worst - it seems I am cleaning the floors every single day - reason #54 why Jennifer needs a maid)

Why do I tolerate this? Why do I live with the dirt? The dirty truth is that I can't resist that face (even when it is full of dirt)!

The End Of Innocence (originally posted on NJ Moms Blog)

I recently tackled a tough topic for me about the mortality of parents:

Do you remember the moment when you realized your parents wouldn't live forever?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Number 2 is #1

This past Wednesday, Benjamin reached a milestone event in his life. He went on the potty all by himself. The past 2 months or so, we have observed Ben as he would quietly walk into the next room after dinner or stand silently near his train table shortly after breakfast. While we knew what he was upto and would ask him if he wanted to go on the potty, his response would almost always be "Don't see me, Daddy" or "Don't see me, Baba". When asking him if he wanted to use the potty, we would always get a big "Noooooo!". All that changed this week.

Having spent the day with Ben while working from home and having some extra work to catch up on, it was boys-night-only as Jenn was over by her parents wishing Uncle Bill farewell on his return to California. When I spied Ben casually walking into the dining room, I asked him where he was going. He said "Don't see me, Dad" so I countered with "Would you like to go on the potty?". To my stunned amazement, he said yes. But there were conditions. "Can I bring my trucks with me? he asked. I said of course you bring your bring your trucks and helped him gather 4 small-sized, yellow Tonka bulldozer, pay loader, dump truck and digger, I recall.

By the way, the reason I also say "Of course"to his any requests nowadays is to simply hear his parroting return "Of couusse" which sounds so sweet that I love just to hear it everytime. But that's another story.

Back to the matter at hand. Ben, holding his four trucks in his tiny lap and hands, was removed of his shorts and 'diapy' and seated on the mini-Diego throne which is situated in the near corner of the downstairs bath between the tub and inside wall. "Don't see me, Dad" was instructed and I obeyed by leaving the washroom, closing the door and letting our little man have some quality time.

I could him talking to his trucks and then minutes later, bowled out the door and exclaimed "I did it!" The evidence was clear and undeniable. He did it. I was proud as a Dad could be. Since then, he has done it again each night and we are on way to Pull ups and big boy underwear. Way to go, Ben! Number 2 is #1.

It's Back...Four Ben Stories

After a short hiatus, every one's favorite storytime is back (or at least that's what people tell me):

Friday I had to work from home. To occupy Ben's time while I went through my emails, I put on a Max & Ruby DVD. About 10 minutes into the cartoon and checking emails, Ben came into the office. I asked him, "don't you want to watch Max & Ruby?" He looked at me and said, "no, I want to watch you." Note to my boss: Not sure how much work I can get done after that statement.

To add a little ambiance to the evening, Wally played some music outside while we ate dinner. After dinner was over, Benjamin wanted to get his groove thing on and started to dance in circles. I asked him to, "shake his moneymaker!" I then showed him how to shake it and not break it. He thought this was the best thing in the world and couldn't stop asking others to join in his dance party including Bruin (who he felt didn't get the concept). In the car the other day while listening to Usher, I asked him to shake his moneymaker. He said, "I don't want to shake my moneymaker." He then looked out the window and wouldn't talk to me the rest of the car ride. I guess you can't force the moneymaker.

Benjamin and I were getting ready to head out on a walk. When we got the driveway, I noticed a pile of scraps (wood shavings, paper, twigs, etc.) the birds had created underneath the basketball hoop. Ben turned to me and said, "what a mess! get the vacuum Ba Ba."

As Benjamin is getting older, I like to introduce new words into his vocabulary and with his excellent pronunciation (I didn't say it two speech pathologists did) I tend to push the limits. This time it was the word "pharmacy". I told Ben how we were going to the pharmacy to pick up cream for the rash on his arms. After picking up the cream and going about our day, later that night when I put the medicine on he said to me, "Mommy, we got the cream at the pharmacy." Maybe I should have introduced him to the word hydrocortisone, as well?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Memory Like An Elephant

Much to my chagrin I don't get to see my best friend as often as I would like. And it seems even rarer these days to get both families together, but we were fortunate enough to have one of those rare, wonderful get togethers over the Memorial Day weekend.

When I told Benjamin we were seeing Aunt Kristi, Uncle Mike and Michael. He looked at me and said, "I can't see Uncle Mike. He is on the boat." I had to think a minute and attempt to figure out what he meant by this statement. Not having much a memory these days, I then recalled that when Aunt Kristi did happen to come by a couple weeks back and asked where Uncle Mike and Michael were we told him on a submarine. Obviously having a better memory than I do these days, he recalled me telling him about the sub. Having been reminded by my 2 year old, I told him, "don't worry Uncle Mike and Michael are off the boat. You'll see them tonight."

I'm not sure he believed me but when he saw the two Mikes walk into the restaurant he was excited that they were finally off the boat!

However, I realized that my child now has quite a memory and not much is going to slip past him. Another example, when I showed him yesterday a car's "Cars," and said "oh you don't have this one," (keep in mind he has about 100 different ones) he told me "yes I do! it is at Grandma's." Guess what? He was right. The ole' "pretending it didn't happen" tool might not work that well these days. I believe a new parenting tool will have to applied here. Any suggestions?

Happy Anniversary The Kamienski Chronicles!

A year ago today, I wrote my first blog post. I hope The Kamienski Chronicles has brought you as much pleasure as it has brought me. Thank you for continuing to read about my family's adventures. Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Few Reasons Why My Mother's Day Was Perfect (yes, I know it was about a month ago)

After talking with a few friends, I realized how perfect my Mother's Day was thanks to my husband. On Mother's Day, we did exactly what I wanted no questions asked. I was given the chance to take a long shower (my personal heaven on earth). I was greeted with a "Happy Mother's Day," by Benjamin (and a beautiful card, gorgeous flowers and a very special gift). I received lots of hugs and kisses from my son (something he is sometimes stingy with). I went to church with my Mom and had brunch with my entire family (I had cheese and sweets and fries and didn't care). I even got to sit on the couch while Wally put Benjamin to bed (ahhh). Thank you Wally for giving me a Mother's Day that makes me smile every time I think of it. It was a day that I did nothing but enjoy my son and the life we created.

Mom's Say The Darnedest Things

At my friend Karen's baby shower (congrats to Karen, Jared and soon-to-arrive baby Blaire!), Denise, another friend and fellow mother said, "Look at all these women rushing home to their families. What's wrong with them?" With that, we continued to sit there and drink our glasses of wine. Cheers Denise!

The Big Boy Bed Has Arrived And Life Is A Dream

Let me start off by saying I am typing this post at 7:44 am and Benjamin is still sleeping in HIS bed! Thank you big boy bed I knew you were a godsend. People who don't know my son can't truly appreciate what an absolute miracle the statement above is to me. To shed a little light, my son refused to sleep in a bassinet, pack n' play or crib for most of his baby year. As soon as that little precious head would hit a foreign flat surface, he would immediately wake up. Wally and tried every sleep method but the place he was most comfortable was in our bed. Yes, I know how dangerous this potential is/was but the child outright refused to sleep. Imagine three straight nights of the Ferber Method where on the last night my son actually ripped his baby monitor down and started screaming directly into it with a look of fury in his eyes. He paced back and forth in his crib like a crazed, caged animal. I was scared of him at that moment and I as weak so back in the bed. We've had our little triumphs here and there but when Benjamin could actually begin to verbalize his feelings he told me, "I don't like my crib." Yeah kid, tell me something this Mom doesn't know.

So at the rip old age of two, Wally and I decided that it would be best if we started looking into a big boy bed for Benjamin. After much searching, we settled on a full size bed* for our pint size insomniac. Why a full size bed? Considering I am taller than the average woman, Wally is 6'5" and Ben is 88 percentile of height, a twin might not cut it by the time he is ten. Oh and there was one more reason, I guessed there would be a few nights I would spend in bed with Ben and I wanted some extra room. Selfish maybe. Smart yes.

It wasn't easy getting the bed. Pottery Barn cancelled the order with a random, nonchalant message. An hour long phone call later, Ben had the exact bed Wally and I wanted in the color we originally wanted for the price we wanted (and a gift certificate for $50 for Ben for all his pain and suffering).

Enter the age of the big boy bed! When Wally and I would be away the bed was set to arrive, so we had to get rid of the crib the night before we left for vacation (Wally was not happy with me that evening). While sitting on the plane getting ready for takeoff, Wally and I get a call from home. Benjamin was demanding to know where his crib was! WHAT?!?! Seriously, kid? I couldn't get on the phone. I was baffled and speechless all at once. Wally explained the situation to him again and he seemed to be okay with it. Ben never ceases to amaze me.

When we returned home, we walked upstairs at 2 in the morning to find Benjamin asleep like an angel in his big boy bed. Wally and I gave ourselves a congratulatory hug and knew we had made the right decision. Welcome back sleep I have missed you. And on cue, Ben has just woken up.

*Fun Fact: Did you know that more than half of the 20-something males in my office sleep in a twin bed?

Monday, May 18, 2009

No Guilt

Wally and I vacationed for the first time without Benjamin read all about it in my latest post for New Jersey Moms Blog:
Would you ever vacation without your child? Would you feel too guilty to do so...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

He Is Definitely My Son

When Benjamin was born, I thought will my son be anything like me? Would any of my personality traits, mannerisms or habits be passed onto my son. Since he was a boy, I wasn't so sure but recently I have found that I didn't need to have a girl to have child that is just like me in many ways.
On Monday, Benjamin's Uncle John brought him three Lightening McQueen jerseys (football, basketball and hockey) from his recent trip to Disney World. Ben insisted on wearing at least one of them. Upon putting the football jersey on him, he ran to the mirror hanging on his closet door. He stood there for about a minute "checking himself out" in the mirror. I asked him if it was okay and Ben smiled at himself in the mirror and said, "good." My Mom also happened to be there to witness the mirror moment and commented, "he is definitely your son." Now, he can't get ready without looking at himself in the mirror to make sure he approves of his outfit.
Later that same week, I found a giant Mr. Potato Head containing about 3 additional heads and lots of noses, eyes, lips, ears and accessories that I had to buy for Benjamin. You see, when I was about Benjamin's age, I probably had about 20 Mr. Potato Heads that I played with but the thing I loved most about them was the yellow eyeglasses that transformed me into Mrs. Beasley, my alter ego. I would take those too small eyeglasses and stretch them out, don a pair of gloves, poncho and with a mirror in hand I would become a little old lady for the day (yes, my parents encouraged my creativity or craziness - I choose to think it was creativity). When Ben and I played with the Mr. Potato Head for the first time, he took a pair of those yellow glasses and put them on just like his mother. I was proud.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Vacationing With Ted And Cathy And Other Highlights From Our Vacation

A few items worth mentioning from our vacation:
*We almost missed our flight because our "gate closed" 57 minutes before the flight was to depart. P.S. The airport was empty
*I rode for the first time in an electric cart to the gate that should be standard practice in my life
*Starting drinking screwdrivers as soon as I hit first class to calm my nerves. I would pay for that decision later that night - I'm not as young as I used to be
*The airline showed Marley & Me. I had to refrain from sobbing. I looked over at Wally and tears were streaming down his face. We needed more drinks...
*Our room was upgraded to ocean-view. Nice!
*The weather couldn't have been more perfect
*Ted Kennedy and J. Lo were staying at the property or two individuals who looked very much like them. Well maybe it wasn't them but it gave Wally and I hours of conversation. In fact, we came up with a new product to market while talking about J. Lo one afternoon. Thanks J. Lo!
*We met the world's most chatty woman. Ironically, her name is Cathy. It took me a while to connect "chatty" and "Cathy" - hey, I was on vacation
*Chatty Cathy tells me her life story after five minutes of meeting her. Keeps Wally and I floating on a raft chatting for over two hours. We wonder later why our backs are burnt to a crisp
*I beat Wally in a game of H.O.R.S.E. The next two times he beat me but I think he got up in the middle of the night and was practicing
*Wally surprised with a spa appointment
*My first nap in over 6 months (or maybe longer) was interrupted by a call asking me if I was enjoying my stay
*Wally surprised me with dinner on the beach. The surprise was almost ruined twice when upon arrival the event coordinator handed me the itinerary which noted the "butlered dinner" Wally quickly snatched it from my hands. The day of the dinner, we also decided to take a walk after lounging out by the pool and found a cart with flowers and such that I noted, "someone must be having a romantic dinner on the beach" little did I know it would be us
*We danced in the moonlight to James Taylor
*Wally ordered my complete dinner which included risotto, lobster and gnocchi. He does know me
*The romance didn't end when we arrived at our room which was filled with rose petals and candles
*Our romantic evening was interrupted twice by the staff. First, to find out if Wally wanted to put the dinner on the room account. Second, asking if we were enjoying our evening. The next morning we also got a call asking about the evening at about 8:30 am. Despite all the interruptions we did have once-in-a-lifetime celebration
*The guitar player/singer at breakfast is INCREDIBLE. Sang an acoustic version of Kenny Rogers "Lucille" and the Flashdance standard "Maniac" which was surprisingly good
*Each night we are serenaded by frogs "peep, peep"
*I ate a bagel and lox each morning - screw the diet
*We ate lunch almost everyday at the Jerk Center (INSERT JOKE HERE)
*Jerk Center cook made a special early morning run to get us Chicken and Beef Patties for lunch
*The chicken at the Jerk Center was the best I have ever had. Wally almost died from eating a pepper that accompanied his Jerk Shrimp dish. Johnny Cakes are the Caribbean hush puppy but better
*Wally is considering a work exchange program with the towel boy
*Wally taught me how to skip rocks and play horseshoes
*Wally and I spent about a half hour looking for a missing horseshoe on the beach
*We received a thousand blessings from God from our room maid
*I talked to Ben everyday on the phone. He missed his Mommy
*Wally and I talked and talked and talked about nothing and everything
*Wally had me falling in love with him all over again

The Anniversary Trip In Pictures (and a few words)

Starting our vacation off right...
Wally romancing me on the beach with a butlered dinner

When bears attack!

An end to a perfect evening but wait there was more...

Wally pulling out all the stops

Love was definitely in the air that evening

Wally enjoying some time away from me while hitting the links

Taking advantage of the "all-inclusive" booze. Filler-up!

The world's most unfortunate name for a restaurant
Kiss me you fool or fish

A perfect vacation with the man I have loved for 10 years (well actually 12)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Mom: The Natural

There are some people you look at in life and think -- they were born to do that -- and often you can tell at a very young age. Whether it be born to be an artist or born to be a baseball player or whatever, there are some people who's calling couldn't fit them any better. My Mom was born to be a mother. She is a classic Mom in every sense of the phrase. If you have ever met my Mother, you wouldn't dare argue the point with me. In fact, you most likely would agree whole-heatedly -- my Mom is a natural - it is was what she was born to do.
There are so many reasons why my Mother is a Mom. I was just having a conversation with my best friend about our moms. We both said there is nothing our mothers wouldn't do for us and it is true. I can often hear myself saying "Mom I need to go to XYZ can you help me out?" The answer without hesitation is always yes. And sometimes the answer should be no but my Mom will rearrange her schedule to accommodate me. In a word, my Mom is selfless. There has never been a time in my life when my Mother has put the needs of herself before others. And sometimes, we don't deserve it but she is makes it her life mission to see her children and those she loves happy. When I look back on my 36 years, I am very fortunate to say there has never been a moment when someone hasn't been there for me and more often than not it has been my Mom.
I can say my Mom spoils me but my Mom likes to say she spoils us with love. I can rattle off a list of sacrifices my Mom has made to make me the person that I am today but I would be here for years. Suffice it to say, my Mom has the rare gift to love unconditionally. She has taught me the power of love and how to give it freely to others. While I have told her I hated her (lots in my tweens and teenage years) and ashamed looking back at it now, I never meant it and that didn't stop her from loving me with all her heart. Loving someone in this way is the greatest gift you can give anyone. The beauty of this gift is that it gives back and then some. There is no better way to live life and I thank my Mom for giving me this gift.
She is a kid at heart. My Mom is fun! I didn't and don't have a sideline mom. My Mom is has always been in the action. From frolicking in the ocean to creating arts and craft projects together to being the "class mother," my Mom has enjoyed taking an active role in my life and I couldn't appreciate it more. By taking on this role, she has supported me in all my life's pursuits. She made me believe I could do anything that I wanted in the world and never put me down. She has always been there with a word of encouragement, hope and love. Life is limitless with my Mom by my side.
My Mom is the one that my other friends look to as a friend and someone they can receive motherly advice from. When Kristi and I wanted to talk about the birds and the bees, we sat down with my Mom. When my friends now want to gossip about life in general, they can be found bending my Mom's ear. I love that my friends love my Mom. While I didn't realize it my younger years, but my Mom has always been my greatest friend.
She is the Mom that will do my laundry (and actually does Ben's for me to this day) and do it well. She is the Mom that can cook and bake like no other. She has made my life a joy. She made our house a home and an incredible place to grow up. I am not the daughter that will ever be seen sitting on the psychiatrist's couch complaining about how my mother ruined my life because I have been blessed with a "real" Mom - a Mom who knows how to do it the right way with all her heart. Thank you Mom today and always for being the best Mom a girl could ever dream of - you have made my life what is today.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bon Voyage

In life, you should consider yourself lucky if you have one good friend. In my life, I have been blessed with a handful of very good friends and one of them is leaving for London today. Jennifer, the one in the blue, is the first friend I made at college. While she thought I was a bit too wild for her liking, I eventually won her over by refraining from talking too much about beer chugging (yes this Mom can chug a beer). What we found was a friendship that doesn't come along very often. She is fiercely protective friend like the mother hen of the group. I recall once, in fact, I was just telling this story to someone who attends our Alma Mater, Jennifer getting in the face of a girl who was harassing me (she kind of had every right to because her boyfriend was cheating on her with me but that is another story) at our favorite bar. She told her in no uncertain terms that this was our bar and she suggests she leaves or she was going to be asked out by several of our friends who worked there. I also remember her getting into actual blows with another sorority sister over our friend Fran (believe it or not the demure ladies pictured above can fight). Yes, loyal she is and always will be.

Jennifer and I spent many a night in college and after college just talking about anything and everything. She is the person I can pour my soul out to - turn myself inside out and say this is me for all the good and the bad accept me for who I am. And what I like about Jennifer is she will always give it to you straight, there are no mincing words with this woman. If she something that you aren't being honest about or you are just plain screwing up your life, she will tell you and you are better for it.

As for what I love about Jennifer, she makes me laugh. I love her tirades. I love her GIANT heart. I love that she has chosen for me to be her friend. Jennifer, life will not be same for the next few months without you in the States and for this I have a heavy heart today. However, my heart soars for you and all the POSSIBILITIES that wait for you in London. Enjoy life and don't look back, look forward - always look forward. This is a once and a lifetime opportunity - take it for all its worth. And when you come back, the next exciting chapter begins but don't forgot to live this upcoming chapter to the fullest. I love you and will miss you but this is what life is about - adventure!