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.