Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More Buffalo "Tails"

As most of you know, I now have a Buffalo living in my home. The other day as Benjamin was standing on the Buffalo and Wally asked, "Ben where is the buffalo?" Not knowing that the hairy thing he was standing was a buffalo (all flat, furry it could be mistaken for a Woolly Mammoth), he said, "I don't know Daddy." Wally asked a few more times and the same response came, "I don't know Daddy." After the third time, Ben left the room. I thought he might have been leaving out of annoyance but he in fact. He returned to the room with a shirt in his hand, "here is the Buffalo Daddy." After rummaging through his draw, he found his yellow shirt with a buffalo on it. Wally and I were both dumbfounded. I also half expected Ben to then say, "here is the buffalo Daddy now can you stop asking me where it is." Just for the record, Ben didn't -- I wouldn't blame him if he did.

My How Life Has Changed

Here is a little quiz for you (multiple choice). Four years ago, if you had to guess where Nadia and I would be on Sunday afternoon where would you say:


a)The Mall at Short Hills


b) Brunch at Grill 73


c) Getting Manis/Pedis


d)Joining the Peace Corps


e)At Funtime Junction in Fairfield

I think we would have gotten more votes for choice (d then we would have for e), but e) is the correct answer.


This Sunday, Chanel glasses and all, we traveled with our two favorite boys to Funtime Junction filled with pint size boys and girls running around in just their socks. While it took a few minutes for Blake to warm up to his surroundings, Benjamin, the older of the two, was off and running and didn't stop for over two hours. Then Blake got in on the action and ran Nadia ragged while our husbands conversed in a corner about sprinklers, surveyed the scene and snapped pictures of the "funtimes."


It was special to see Benjamin acting like a big brother to Blake. "Come on Bake, Come on Bake," could be heard throughout the place house when Benjamin wanted Blake to follow him to the next activity. Benjamin also won him a turtle and was so proud to present it to him.



I hope Benjamin and Blake will grow up to be great buddies like their mommies are (not that they have a choice) but after today I think their life-long friendship has already started.

While it might not have been the Last Call Sale at Neiman Marcus or a delicious poached eggs, I couldn't have imagined spending a better day with friends who are more like family.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Kamienski Family Is Ready For Their Close-Up

The Kamienski Family now has a television station. Well, we don't have one of those fancy TV stations you can find on one of your local cable providers - we aren't that popular yet. However, we do have a You Tube channel that is filled with home movies (about 20 or more videos) of Ben, Wally and me. Imagine The Kamienski Chronicles but imagine them come to life in a shaky video format.
Cue the trumpets....Welcome to the premiere of Kamienski TV....
www.youtube.com/TheKamienskiFamily
Here is a little sneak peek from the channel:


video

Oh Give Me A Home...



Is this really my life? Behold, exhibit A, to the left. If you don't know what Ben and Wally are lounging on that is a buffalo skin rug. No, I am not lying. I wish I was. I didn't realize it up until this point in my life, but this is perhaps my worst nightmare come true. Imagine a big smelly REAL buffalo skin in the middle of your living room and if you can tell from the picture my decor is not Southwestern or Dead Animal Chic. This lovely dead animal is now living in my home courtesy of my mother-in-law-a gift for Wally's birthday.
My problem both Wally and Benjamin love it. Especially, Ben he thinks it is the best thing in the world rolling around naked in animal fur. Wally might as well love that notion, but I pray to God, since he got this thing, that I may never see that imagine. Two year old rolling around naked cute - 39 year old man? - hmmmm, not so cute, but more on the disturbing side.
I do have to thank my wonderful dog. While out for breakfast on Saturday morning, we came home to find flying Buffalo fur. Bruin was punished by Wally, but secretly I gave Bruin a treat because now Wally realizes with Bruin we can't leave it in the living room (YEAH!). However, last night, I came home from a lovely evening out with my husband only to be startled by the buffalo. As I walked into my wardrobe room and turned on the lights, I found the dead animal on the floor of my favorite room in the house.
I want this Buffalo to roam somewhere else far, far away. I woke up this morning and it was still in the closet so it wasn't a dream/nightmare - it is real. Why me? And yes, apparently this really is my life.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Original Post for NJ Moms Blog

Here is my latest post for NJ Moms Blog. Please forgive me for referring to the things that hang off the end of your feet as "tows" instead of "toes". I wrote it at 6 in the morning.
http://svmomblog.typepad.com/new_jersey_moms_blog/2009/01/to-punish-or-no.html
My Mom thinks it was my fault for what happened. What do you think?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Four More Short Stories


I heard from friends and family that they really enjoyed the first four short stories (in general, I usually wax lyrical) about silly, funny, crazy, sweet things Benjamin does, so I decided it was time for four more. P.S. The picture has nothing to do with any of the stories but I just love it.
1. I was sitting on the floor doing sit ups. Benjamin got down next to me and put his hands behind his head and tried to do them too.
2. Last Saturday, Wally and I were both distracted by the frozen water pipe bursting in our basement that we didn't realize we left wine on the table. Benjamin walked into the foyer and was saying, "mmmm" he then ran away from me. When I went to follow him my mouth fell open, he was drinking Wally's glass of red wine. Please don't call child services on us - it was a rough night. I guess everyone need a little bit of wine.
3. Same night, Benjamin decided that instead of kissing me licking me would be much more fun. I hope that doesn't become a habit.
4. And finally, my favorite Ben short story from this week is while watching one of the Inaugural Balls Alicia Keyes was on performing Wally and Benjamin's song "No One." Wally started singing the song to Benjamin. When the chorus came back on, Benjamin sang "no one, no one, no one" to his Daddy. Yes, you can all cry now like I did.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Science Done Right LSC Style

Science was never my best subject in school. However, it wasn't my worst either that was math. On a cold winter's day, the Kamienski Family had an opportunity to get in a few science lessons but this time free of exams and filled with FUN. Liberty Science Center hosted a sciencerific event for NJ Moms Blog, Philly Moms Blog and NY Moms Blog jam packed with educational activities that everyone from the smallest to the tallest could enjoy.
When we first arrived Benjamin was napping, so Wally and I decided to check out the first demonstration, Sub-Zero, while he was snoozing. We were able to relive our third grade science class all over again this time with real live clouds in the room. Check out Ben sleeping in the clouds.


video

After a brush with solids, liquids and gas, Benjamin opened his peepers and we headed to check out some live animals including a snake and a frog. Benjamin was very eager to pet the giant frog (this thing was HUGE and highly poisonous) and when he was told he couldn't, he wanted out of the classroom. So we left the VIF (very important family) area, and headed into the museum to check out I Explore, an exhibit made just for the younger set. I Explore didn't disappoint Ben nor Mom and Dad. We had a blast with the ball machine and rock xylophone and sand box which was actually filled with rice instead (good idea). But Ben's favorite had to be the exhibit that taught the little guys about amplified sound.

video

We ended the day at LSC with a trip to the moon with Elmo, Big Bird and the muppet from China (sorry I can't recall his name) by using our imaginations that and a mini-blow up planetarium that was impossible to get in and out of (wish I had video of 6'5" Wally crawling out of).

After hanging with the stars (i.e. Big Dipper and North), we bundled up ready to brave the cold with a little more knowledge in hand. Thank you Liberty Science Center for a making science fun for all ages.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Bag I Am Carrying Today


Like me, Total Mom Haircut writes for the SVMoms Blog but rather than blogging for NJ she writes for Philly because that's where she lives :). She wrote a great story called 'The Bag' about coveting a Prada but ending up getting another bag. She never revealed the bag but after some harassing she finally did. The bag isn't designer but it suits her purposes and is super sporty and functional. However, after the harassing, she tagged some commenters and asked us to respond to the following questions:
What bag are you carrying? and what do you have in it?: A Tory Burch tote that has everything from my keys to my laptop to tissues in it.
How much did it cost? It was $250 but it is so worth it. It makes me happy even in the winter. I got tons of compliments on it and I use it everyday.
Is there a story behind the bag? Yes, I asked my husband for a trendy computer bag because he hated my Vera Bradley one - he said it so wasn't me - it was too grandma. I got rid of the free Vera bag and got this baby for Christmas last year.
So that is the scoop...Remember no matter what size you are a bag always fits!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Firecracker

I usually don't talk about my clients but I had to share this story. On a recent client call, the client did not realize my colleague was on the phone and I was referred to as a "firecracker." The way I see it is this, that is the nicest possible way someone can call me a b----.
Well on an email today, I finally confronted him on it. He had busted my chops about something so I thought I would return the favor by casually mentioning the firecracker crack.
He knew he had been busted so he said, "You are a firecracker--but a very, very good one. The kind they use to end the shows." To that I say, "BOOM!"

Things That Annoy Me At The Moment...

1. Oprah
2. One Step Ahead
3. Redbook subscriptions
4. Cold Sores
5. The person who answers at the doctor's office

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

No Need To Apply. I've Got This One Wrapped Up!


I think I might apply....Wally and Ben pack your bags!

SYDNEY (AFP) – An Australian state is offering internationally what it calls "the best job in the world" -- earning a top salary for lazing around a beautiful tropical island for six months.
The job pays 150,000 Australian dollars (105,000 US dollars) and includes free airfares from the winner's home country to Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland's state government announced on Tuesday.
In return, the "island caretaker" will be expected to stroll the white sands, snorkel the reef, take care of "a few minor tasks" -- and report to a global audience via weekly blogs, photo diaries and video updates.
The successful applicant, who will stay rent-free in a three-bedroom beach home complete with plunge pool and golf buggy, must be a good swimmer, excellent communicator and be able to speak and write English.
"They'll also have to talk to media from time to time about what they're doing so they can't be too shy and they'll have to love the sea, the sun, the outdoors," said acting state Premier Paul Lucas.
"The fact that they will be paid to explore the islands of the Great Barrier Reef, swim, snorkel and generally live the Queensland lifestyle makes this undoubtedly the best job in the world."
Lucas said the campaign was part of a drive to protect the state's 18 billion Australian dollar a year tourism industry during the tough economic climate caused by the global financial meltdown.
"Traditional tourism advertising just doesn't cut it sometimes and we are thinking outside the box by launching this campaign."
Queensland Tourism Minister Desley Boyle said some people might question whether it was risky to let an unknown person become an unofficial tourism spokesperson for the state.
"I think the biggest risk will be that the successful candidate won't want to go home at the end of the six months," she said.
"This is a legitimate job which is open to anyone and everyone."
Applications are open until February 22. Eleven shortlisted candidates will be flown to Hamilton Island in early May for the final selection process and the six month contract will commence on July 1. Job-seekers can apply online.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Wonder Of It All

I was sitting in the living room with Benjamin and Wally today. I picked up one of Benjamin's WonderPets and I asked Ben who it was. He answered me, "Tuck." I then proceeded to tell him that Bruin was a secret WonderPet. He told me, "no!" I asked if Ben was a WonderPet. He said no to that as well. Then Wally got in on it. He said, "are you sure WonderBen?" He shoke his head and said, "NO!" Wally then asked, "what about WonderMommy?" Ben said "No WonderMommy." That hurt my feelings a bit. But then I asked, "what about WonderDaddy." Ben said, "YES WonderDaddy!" Hmmpf. Well, I guess Daddy can save the day and the baby sea lion next time.

One Hump or Two?


My parents and Mr. and Mrs. Galasso donated a camel for the church's new outdoor manager. With the donation, they were able to provide a dedication on a plaque. Wally's suggestion, "One Hump or Two." They went with "Christmas Blessings. Love, The Baker and Galasso Families."

Happy Birthday Poppa

video

Today is my Dad's birthday and before we headed over to my parents, Wally and I began practicing with Ben to say "Happy Birthday Poppa." With each practice run it became clearer and clearer. As we walked into my parent's house, I said, "Ben do you have anything to say to Poppa?" Without any further cajoling, right on cue, he said, "Happy Birthday Poppa." I thought my Mom and Dad would burst with pride. My Dad's voice was a little shaky when he responded, "thank you Benjamin."

I also had been practicing with Benjamin singing Happy Birthday, but he will only sing it very quietly. So you'll notice, if you watch the video, you'll hear Mrs. Galasso's voice loud and clear but not Ben's voice singing. However, if I let the video go a bit longer you would have heard him singing, "Happy Birthday to Poppa." I swear!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My One Anniversary Request













videoYes my 10 year anniversary was a little over a week ago but I just got back to work and I have been slammed since I walked through the door I haven't had time to capture my anniversary weekend. Ok with the excuses over, here is the story. When Wally and I decided that it would be better to hold off on the BIG anniversary trip, we knew we wanted to spend a romantic few days just the two of us. So Wally asked me what I wanted and I told him, "I just want to ride in a one-horse open sleigh." I got the Jenn "maybe you need to be on some meds" look but I knew Wally would make it happen.

Why this request? Maybe it was hearing and singing Jingle Bells over and over again? But, the truth is that when I thought of something utterly romantic to do, this popped in my head. Now where to make this happen, we tried a few places in New Hampshire and most were booked and others I didn't nor wouldn't want to stay in. We then thought Vermont must have this activity a plenty. In fact, I thought that's probably how people got around in Vermont. We found a wonderfully quaint place to stay called the Yellow Farmhouse Inn (yes, it was Yellow). We stayed in the Stephanie - not sure why the rooms had Jersey Girl names but the room was darling. With our room all booked, Wally started calling around to a few places to arrange our romantic hot chocolate-filled ride and that's when the problem happened.

Apparently, Vermont had experienced a "warm-spell." THIS COULDN'T BE!!! Yes, there wasn't enough snow on the ground the day before our anniversary to go sleigh riding. However, they were expecting some snow during our stay but we would need to play it by ear. Wally in his truly positive nature said, "don't worry it will happen." As we began our drive up there, I was worried there really wasn't snow in Vermont. There was more snow in Jersey -- maybe we could have rented a horse-driven sleigh down King Street. But the miracle happened, just as we were 30 minutes outside of Waitsfield, VT it began to snow -- magical snow. I'm not talking Jersey-snow. I'm talking about snow that looks like feathers floating down from the sky. I'm talking about being able to make out the incredible shape of an individual snowflake. It nearly brought me to tears. After we got settled in the room, we started making phone calls to book this thing. Wally left a lot of messages and got one response, "maybe tomorrow, there still isn't enough snow." My dreams were yet again squashed.

The next morning after a perfect evening with my husband, I woke up to a winter wonderland. The snow was coming down and had covered the entire meadow. I got in Wally's face (who was still sleeping...oops) to say, "IT IS SNOWING!" Wally was like, "that's great Jenn. I need some more sleep." "No Wally you need to get downstairs and start calling a few places to get me that ride!" Why did Wally have to go downstairs and make a call because - 1. Our cells didn't get service in the area 2. There were no phones or TVs in the rooms. Wally eventually got up and made a few calls. Believe it or not, the news wasn't very good. Apparently, the snow was too "light". I can get into the number of reasons but it just aggravates me to think about it. Not giving up, we had our breakfast and packed and headed towards Stowe, VT. They, reportedly, had gotten more "packed" snow then the area that we were staying in because they were on the other side of the mountain. With fingers crossed, I called Gentle Giants Sleigh Rides and I got the news I was looking for, "yes, of course, we have sleigh rides happening today when do you want to come?" We made our appointment for 11:30 am and arrived about ten minutes early. The snow had just fallen and the sun had started to shine on the freshly fallen snow. There was a covered bride and a beautiful meadow -- this was it -- what I had dreamed of!!

Our horse was Justin, a Belgian and the biggest horse on the lot weighing in at 2200 pounds, and our driver was Ted, a man who had lived in Vermont his whole life on a farm except for a few years when the farm couldn't support two families him and his wife toured the country running out of money in Tahoe. From riding under a covered bridged to trotting through a meadow to "laughing all the way, ha, ha, ha", the 25 minute ride was everything I had every dreamed it would be and more. On the ride, we both realized we would need to come back and do it again not because we wanted to experience it again but because we knew that Benjamin would have loved it. We knew it was time to go home and see our boy. Thank you Wally for making my Anniversary dream come true. You are a prince.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Four Quick Ben Stories

The other day Benjamin picked up one of Wally's leather belts and took a long hard sniff. After smelling, he went, "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh." He then continued smelling it. I guess he likes the smell of leather.

Last night, Benjamin did not want to wear the pajamas I put out for him. He only wanted to wear a t-shirt and needed a new pair of pajama pants but the kicker was he insisted on wearing his winter knit cap to bed. I wasn't going to argue.

For Christmas, as mentioned, we got Benjamin a fish tank. The other day he came into my bedroom laughing. I knew he was up to no good. When he left the room again, I followed him to find him putting his hand in the fish tank then licking his hands. I yelled at him. He laughed at me.

Same day, as I was straightening up my closet, I was bending down over my suitcase unpacking. Ben come right up underneath me and started moving the hair out of my face. After he was satisfied that all the hair was out of my face, he planted a kiss right on lips. I love that kid.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Few of Ben's Favorite Things

If you look back on your Christmas mornings, I am sure you will recall some of your favorite Christmas gifts of all time. For me my it was the Barbie Dream House (Childhood Christmas) and the snow scene picture that I pointed out to Wally while in Cape May as we passed a store window which Wally later found and gave it to me our first Christmas together (Adult Christmas). I can also recall friends and family's favorites as well like my brother's had to be the G.I. Joe Aircraft Carrier and recently when my Dad surprised him with a Sony Playstation 3. My friend Fran just told me her favorite was her Barbie Camper (that did rock). And I know, my mother's had to be the diamond wedding band (that she always wears) that was hidden in her stocking one year -- oh yes, and the Ben calendar she got this year :).
This year, Benjamin had a few favorites. In no particular order, here is the list:
"Fishy" - Translation Benjamin's new aquarium
"Pisty Cup" - The Piston Cup Race Track
"Choo Choo Train" - A plethora of Thomas the Train paraphernalia including a train table
"Cars" - A Lighting McQueen Power Wheels
"Cars Show" - A Lighting McQueen TV
Kind of see a trend...I'm sure the are more favorites to come for Benjamin, and when he looks back on his Christmas mornings of past, I hope he will recall a favorite gift from his childhood.



The Phrase Most Often Heard on Christmas


The phrase most often heard on Christmas (and Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas) was "open please." After each gift Benjamin unwrapped, Ben would then want to immediately play with his new toy. Take into account, the child must have received about a hundred gifts (give or take) "open please" was never heard so much in my life or any phrase for that matter. However, it is nice he throws in the "please" for dear ole' Ba Ba. It could have just been "open."

Friday, January 2, 2009

The One


Ten years ago today, I promised to love, honor and cherish for the rest of my life Walter Kamienski and I have never looked back. From the moment I met him, I knew he was "the one." This overwhelming feeling came over me the moment our eyes met. When we shook hands to great each other for the first time, it was like electricity went through my body. I didn't want to believe it at first (especially since he was there with someone else the first night we met) but when you meet your soul mate nothing can stop true love.
How do you know you have found "the one"? For me there are so many reasons. From the little, like covering me with a blanket when I am on the couch to the big like being there to hold my hand and comfort me when Aunt Dot passed from our lives. Wally has stuck by my side through it all - the good and the bad -- because not only did I marry the love of my life but I also married my best friend.
He has a way of making me see life from a different perspective. Sometimes he has to drag me kicking and screaming to see it but I do see it and appreciate him for making the effort like moving the living room around :). He makes me laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh. Even in the most tense moments of life, he can bring a smile to my face. When I was in the hospital after having surgery, I had to get up and walk around. One night when it was just Wally and I, he was walking me around the halls and I had an accident in the hallway (sorry for being graphic but I started to bleed everywhere). It was a pretty horrible situation and I cried. The nurses helped me change and I came out with a new hospital gown. Wally knew how upset I was and I guess he saw a way to make the situation better. The gown had a giant pocket on the front and well I was then known as "pockets." "Hey pockets what are you carrying in there? Some pencils and a notebook? Your money, a lipstick?" He made me forget about the accident and see the humor - the happiness in life. He makes me feel beautiful and special. Every time we are at a formal occasion Wally will whisper in my ear that I am the most beautiful woman there and I believe him when he says it. He makes me feel like there is nothing I can't do. He believes in me. From going on a new adventure like scuba diving to believing in me that I could and would get pregnant one day, his loyalty and encouragement have never wavered. He is my rock.
I've said this before but I think it is worth repeating. On the day I married Wally, I hoped and believed that I was marrying my soul mate but today, ten years later, I know it. Happy Anniversary Wally you are my true love, "the one" and soul mate. Thank you for taking life's journey with me. I love you with all my heart, now and forever.