Saturday, April 30, 2011


We got a mini van.

No, it does not mean I am a soccer mom.

Because I'm not. I am not a soccer mom.

Our mini van is a "previously owned" fully equipped 2009 blue Honda Odyssey. It has the leather seats, DVD players and a navigation system.

But I am not a soccer mom.

It has plenty of room for three car seats, a stroller, an overstuffed diaper bag, lunch boxes, tricycle and scooter. Soon it will probably be adorned with crushed cheerios and stale raisins.

But I am not a soccer mom.

It's big. It's wide. It's hard to park. It has the room we need.

But I'm not a soccer mom.

My kid's don't even like soccer. They prefer T-Ball.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Email to a friend

Dear Friend,

I totally agree, we absolutely need to get the families together ASAP. I know that most of the month of May is out for you because you are traveling and then hosting out of town guests. I suppose I'm having a baby the beginning of June, and that will likely knock me out of commission for the month. Then of course I have my family visiting in July for several weeks to meet our newest addition. August could work, but you did say that you had weddings every other weekend this summer.

Fall? I know that seems awfully far away, but maybe fall would be better? I have to be honest, I doubt I will feel up to hosting anyone those first few months I am back at work. Balancing the the baby, the kids, the job and little sleep-I know that the housework is going to fall to the sidelines, and I will be in no shape for dinner guests. Of course then we get into the holidays and we both know how that goes....

So I am thinking how about a Friday night in 2026? Any Friday night. I think we are available. Think of it this way- we can go out to dinner someplace without a children's menu, we won't have to pay a sitter, and we can probably even sleep in the next morning!

What do you say? Are you free?



Monday, April 25, 2011


I always knew that you would break my heart. It's just that I thought it would happen much later in life.

I assumed that you would fall for a pretty girl. I envisioned what you would look like together. You in a handsome tuxedo, her in a strapless ball gown. I would be left on the sidelines. An observer, someone you knew you had to leave behind.

I didn't think it would happen so soon.

I thought maybe someday, years from now, you might find me overbearing. I understood that there would be a time when you would seek independence and search for your "true self." Perhaps you would fancy a flashy car. You might grow tired of our family life and look to someone else for comfort, I would no longer be enough.

But really now? Right now?

You're only five and a half for Pete's sake! And already you favor someone else? You prefer your daddy all the time? I knew you were a papa's boy from early on, but in my heart I thought you would always come to mommy when you were in need of emotional comfort. Last night as you stood there shivering, naked and hysterical with a small gash under your chin from a slip in the bath you wanted daddy. It had to be daddy who took you to the emergency room. It was daddy who would keep you safe and sound.

While your chin was easily put back together with a little super glue my dear, mommy's heart is busted.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Kvetches & Kvells

Sometimes a picture says it all.

The Bump:


Easter Sunday



Friday, April 22, 2011

Soon Enough

Today was one of those days where I earned my keep as a mommy. It's 6:00 pm and I am so worn out that I don't know if I even have the energy to write about it.

The boys woke us up early, as has been the routine the past few weeks. Each morning we hear a little pitter patter of feet, followed by an explosion of giggles and then a hard thump, as we are clobbered in the head by a toddler and a rowdy five year old who want to "cuddle." Then there is the bickering between boys about who has the most space and who bumped who. We lie there for a few minutes before giving in and getting up. Today was a bit different. Today the kids came into our room and Evan immediately fell into my arms and lay there breathing softly on my neck. At first I was in heaven. How often do I get a hug like that? Then I realized how warm he felt. Hot. He was sick.

And the day began. I canceled my 10am (much needed) haircut and dropped Zack off at school. Evan threw up on me on the way into the building. Lovely.

The rest of the morning was filled with vomit and laundry. The afternoon improved, but I decided that we needed to stay at home, since Evan was not well, which meant entertaining two kiddos when what I really wanted was a nap. We played cards (resulting in an absolute temper tantrum when *somebody* lost), and made Easter cupcakes, which was a huge, albeit messy hit.

And now, I am spent. Exhausted. Afraid. How on earth would I have handled today if I had a fussy newborn to tend to on top of this all? I suppose I will find out soon enough.....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Yelp Restaurant Reviewers: Zack & Evan

Yelp Restaurant Reviews, By Evan & Zachary

Zachary's Subway Review:

Location: Lakeshore Ave, Oakland California

Stars *****


If I could give Subway 100 stars I would. This is my absolute favorite place for a dining out experience! To start with the food is out of this world good. I always order a ham and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread with pickles and a dollop of mayo. Perfect every time! What's better? Subway has a great selection of Cheetos. Crunchy and delicious. Their bottled chocolate milk is also spectacular, smooth going down and sugar forward. The ambiance is classic. Comfortable wooden booths, bright cheerful florescent lighting. With the comforting crumbs and dirt on the floor, it feels just like home.

Evan's Subway Review:

Stars *****


I love the chocolate milky! I want to eat at Subway because they have good chocolate milky.

Zachary's McDonald's Review

Location: Downtown Oakland

Stars: *****


You can't go wrong with McDonald's, and this holds true for the location I visited recently in downtown Oakland. My family and I arrived for dinner on a weeknight and the place was hopping. It was a very vibrant crowd. Lively conversation mixed with some people who found the booths so comfortable they were sleeping in them! Wow! The food is divine. I like the hamburger happy meal, it is such a great deal! The happy meal not only comes with a hamburger, french fries and milk but also a high-quality toy, usually one that lights up or makes noise! A great place for a toy, er I mean meal!

Evan's McDonald's Review

Stars ****


I like McDonald's. I like the toys. Sometimes they break. Then I cry.

Zachary's Kargas Kafe Review

Location: Oakland, CA

Stars *


The location can't be beat because it is right downstairs from my bedroom, however that may be the only thing that Kargas Kafe has going for it. To be fair, breakfast is often acceptable, if not served too late. I enjoy the selection of fine cereals which is often accompanied with fruit topping. Dinner is a lot more miss than hit! Over-cooked hamburgers, bland chicken and vegetables, always served in portions far too large. The food never comes with a prize and the beverage selection is usually limited to milk or water. If the quality of your meal is poor, the cook will not make you a new dinner, don't even bother asking. I often have left my food untouched, that is how bad it is. The service at Kargas Kafe is not as attentive as I would like. I have literally had to scream "napkin!" four or five times before one is presented to me. Give this place a pass.

Evan's Kargas Kafe Review

Stars: **


I like the milky! Lots of milky. The blueberries are my favorite. I don't eat the dinners -YUCKY. I won't eat the dinners! I won't! I won't! I won't! They can't make me!!!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Kvells and Kvetches

I'm going to attempt a special Sunday edition for the next few weeks. I have noticed that a lot of bloggers do "Wordless Wednesdays" or "Thanksgiving Thursdays." I have decided on "Sunday Kvells & Kvetches." This way I can reflect back on the good and the not-so-good of each week. I suspect that some Sundays there may be more kvetching than kvelling, but we shall see. Let's give this little experiment a go.

Kvell: It was a beautiful weekend and for the most part my boys were reasonably well behaved. In fact they got on quite nicely with each other. Saturday the boys and I hit the ever famous Fairyland while daddy shopped for mini-vans. For those of you who do not live in the bay area, let me fill you in on Fairyland. It's a scruffy, old-fashioned kiddie "amusement park" created sometime in the fifties and never renovated. It follows a fairytale/nursery rhyme theme, Alice & Wonderland, Little Miss Muffet, The Three Pigs, etc. It is incredibly low budget and low tech. There are only a small handful of "rides" and many worn out play structures. However, it would be hard to call it anything less than charming. The kids love it. Evan and Zachary had a grand old time and Zachary was the ever helpful big brother, taking Evan on the slides and rides he was too scared to do solo. I was so proud of him.

Kvetch: I am an enormous whale of a person. I am certain that the pregnancy whining has grown quite old and may frustrate readers who feel I should just be thankful, so apologies in advance. I can hardly bend over. I am feeling nauseated at the moment. My clothes don't fit. I consume about 20 Tums on a daily basis. The baby is kicking so hard it hurts. I feel massively unattractive. Boo. Boo. Boo.

Kvell: While touring the hospital last week I visited the gift shop. I purchased each of the boys an"I'm a big brother!" button. My husband was skeptical, he didn't think that the present would go over well. Boy was he wrong! As soon as I presented Zachary with his button he yelled "Just what I have been wanting!" He has worn the button every single day since, and in the evening he keeps it "safe" on his bedside table. How cute is that?

Kvetch: I am a very, very bad Jew. I was already aware of this, however since having children I have made an effort to expose my kids to the culture. We have had Hanukkah parties, attended Purim celebrations and Rosh Hoshana services. Now Passover is here, one of my favorite Jewish holidays. We aren't doing a thing. Nada. Not even a family Seder. I had originally planned on inviting another family and hosting a kid friendly Seder, but bailed because I simply didn't have the energy to get it together. Passover is a big deal. It's cooking and cleaning and in our case planning an actual ritual from scratch. My husband is not Jewish and has never lead a Seder before, and I am also fairly clueless. So we are sadly letting the holiday pass with little acknowledgment. I feel a little guilty and a bit disappointed.

I'll leave it at that. A nice neutral balance of the ups and downs. Let's see what the next week brings....

Friday, April 15, 2011

Baby on the brain

It's Friday evening. I'm still here. I did survive. Somehow or another I made it through the dreaded three hour glucose test. I drank the thick sludge ("berry" flavored this time.) I sat in an uncomfortable chair in the lab for what felt like eternity and endured four blood draws. I'm still standing. I know what your thinking...just how did she do it? Super-power mama strength I suppose.

Now I wait for the results. Wish me luck. My biggest fear is that I'll have gestational diabetes and some well-meaning nutritionist will inform me that my grande decaf mocha's are off the table. How I will mourn. They have been the one pure indulgence of this pregnancy. Without my Starbucks, I got nothin'.

On the bright side only seven weeks to go. Less than two months. I am ready. I have baby on the brain. Last night the husband and I toured the hospital where I will deliver. When making the rounds on the labor and delivery floor I saw women in labor, women wheeling bassinets with brand new babies, and proud new dads on their cell phones. I was overwhelmed with the feeling of.... jealousy. It isn't as if I want the baby to arrive too early, it's just that I would be more than happy to press the fast-forward button and magically transport to my delivery date. I'm ready to hold my newborn in my arms. I'm ready to see the color of his eyes and the shape of his tiny nose. I am ready for those first few tender days in the hospital, the kind nurses bringing me juice and pain killers, everyone smiling and well-wishing. The very beginning of a life. I'm ready.

I admit it. I am also ready to not be pregnant anymore. To kiss the acid reflux and bloody noses goodbye. To sleep on my tummy and have more energy. To have my body back, fit into normal clothes, drink wine and eat raw sushi. Will I miss any of this? I suppose I will miss feeling the baby move inside me. Our special bond, where he is mine and mine alone. I am all that my baby needs. Me. Once I give birth, my son is given to the world and every day that passes I will need to let him go just a little bit more. Zachary is living proof that they grow up fast. Too damn fast.

I decided to take a trip down memory lane and show Zachary our first moments together, for he was once a my newborn too.....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How to torture a pregnant woman in her third trimester

How to torture a pregnant woman in her third trimester:

1) Require pregnant woman (PW), to fast. This means waking up in the morning, feeding the rest of the family breakfast, watching her husband drink coffee and refraining from consuming even a morsel.

2) PW must then report straight to Labcorp for the first of several blood draws. PW may already be feeling grumpy and woozy from lack of nourishment, might as well stick her with a needle and suck some blood out of her.

3) Force PW to drink a thick nauseating "orange flavored" beverage. This beverage will likely cause her to heave and nearly toss the slim contents of her stomach, but she must jug it within five minutes under the watchful eye of a cranky technician who wreaks of tobacco.

4) Make PW stay in drafty lab waiting room for a total of three hours. She must watch a slew of unhappy, unhealthy people pass in and out of the facility coughing and spreading their sick germs. Every so often PW will need to report to the back for another test, more blood sucking. PW is not to eat anything during this time.

5) Dismiss PW and inform her that her results will be back "sometime" soon. Results may determine that she has gestational diabetes and must refrain from eating anything good for the remainder of her pregnancy.

Hurray. I am headed for a three hour glucose blood test on Friday. T-O-R-T-U-R-E. I should probably be concerned for the health of my baby, but honestly I am not worried. My levels were only slightly off, however I am still required to take this test. I am dreading this experience the way some folks might dread a colonoscopy. The more I think about that drink, the more my skin crawls. I know that I am only making it worse. By the time Friday morning rolls around I just may not be able to do it.

Ain't life grand?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Oy, I'm kvelling!

For better or for worse I tend to do a lot of complaining here on getrealmama. Perhaps that's what you love or hate about this site. But today I am going to take a detour from the norm and do a little bit of healthy kvelling. (For those of you who don't know, that's Yiddish for bursting with pride.)

My kids are pretty darn awesome. There I said it.

My oldest? Genius. That's right. The kid is crazy smart. He is definitely reading at levels well above kindergarten. He is incredibly inquisitive and remembers all kinds of ridiculous facts about planets and dinosaurs. I have actually started to wonder if he may be bored in kindergarten. Yeah I may ultimately become one of those parents. The annoying mom at the PTA who is always inquiring about gifted programs. Blech.

Then there is Evan. Sweet as sugar Evan. That kid is so stinking cute he could get away with murder. He is over the top affectionate. He gives out kisses and "I love yous" all day long. This afternoon he barged in on my much needed nap, awakening me from blessed slumber to cuddle. How could I say no? He lay next to me proclaiming "Mommy I love you!" over and over again while planting snotty, wet kisses on my cheek. Damn do I love that kid.

And the baby inside? Let's just say he is going to be a star athlete. The munchkin is strong and throwing out punches and kicks worthy of an infant three times his side. I swear to God.

So there you have it. I'm one proud mama.

Stay tuned, I promise that I will be back soon with more kvetching.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Marlo Thomas, Natasha & my boys

Natasha Zabrina. The most anxiously anticipated prize of my childhood. Chubby cheeks, braided hair, and a tush with an autograph stamped straight across it. My cabbage patch doll. Received at the height of the cabbage patch craze. It came by mail, a gift from one of my mother's friends. It seemed like an impossible dream come true. Everyone wanted one of these ugly babies, many of my school friends already owned one, but at the time they were illusive, difficult to find and far too expensive for the family budget. Yet, cabbage patch twins arrived at our door, one for my sister and one just for me.

For a few months I took Natasha everywhere with me. My mother helped us pick out actual preemie baby clothes at Shopko for our dolls so that there could be frequent wardrobe changes. When we wore pajamas, our dolls wore pajamas. When we dressed in red, white and blue for the Forth of July parade, the "girls" dressed in the same patriotic glory.

I don't know when I lost interest in Natasha, but it was well before my younger sister who went on to collect several other siblings for her doll. Mine was left in my closet until all of these years later when it arrived once again on my doorstep in a box. My mother sent me Natasha and some of her clothes, along with my wedding dress and vale. A girly trip down memory lane. One that, surprisingly my sons were quite interested in. Who knew?

They were particularly interested in my dolly. Okay, I had to do a little persuading at first, but they took the bait, by gosh they did, hook, line and sinker. Before I knew it we were changing "dolly" into her pajamas. Zachary read her a bed time story. We made her a little bed and tucked her in. Evan gave dolly a kiss goodnight. I snapped a picture. I figured we may never, ever play with a doll again in this house. My kids are very stereotypical boys. Trucks, superheros, Captain Underpants. You get the idea. But the next morning? The boys insisted on getting Natasha dressed for the day. Zachary picked out a blue sailor suit and Evan made sure that she had socks. She came down to breakfast with us. My heart sang.

Maybe my life would be a little more Marlo Thomas and "Free To Be You & Me" than I thought. Maybe my boys would become sensitive, compassionate caregivers who like romantic comedies. Maybe this means that our future will hold lots of long meaningful talks about our feelings over tea.


Natasha scores again.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Red lights ahead

Keeping things in perspective, I just read an article in People magazine about a woman who lost all four of her limbs due to a rare, deadly case of strep. This happened just after she gave birth to her third child. Clearly this is terrible misfortune. There are homeless families, people without enough food to eat, a country torn apart by natural disaster.

I get it, I have it good.

And yet.... I complain. Human nature? My nature? What can I say? I suppose we all have our own reality, experiences and feelings. So please forgive me. I know that I am fortunate. I count my blessings.

But I'm in a bit of a funk.

On my drive home from a play date at a Berkeley park it felt as if I caught every single red light. I had two tired, hungry kids in the backseat and I was trying to get them home and fed before a rare dinner date with a friend. But I couldn't get anywhere. Like a bad dream, I got stopped at every traffic light. And I thought to myself, what a metaphor for my life these days.

Take work for example, I am on a stretch of terrible "luck." Nothing seems to go my way. I feel like I hear no about 100 times each day. It's getting annoying and disheartening. I am starting to feel as though I am cursed, even a failure.

My dinner date tonight? I was meeting one of the few good friends that I have made while living in California. She is the kind of person I feel like I can really be myself with. She is fun, and best of all she actually makes time for me. She's moving. Of course she is. I am so discouraged I feel like throwing in the towel. I feel like screaming "Uncle! I give up!" Making a social network and true friendships in a new place is not easy, and my progress seems to be incredibly slow. My friend's move feels like another red light.

I could go on, but it's boring. This is probably one of those posts I should refrain from putting out there, but then again, I have always worn my heart on my sleeve.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll awake with a better attitude. The sun will be shining. I'll feel grateful for what I have. Perhaps I'll even catch a few green lights.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

You know it's your third when....

You know you are expecting your third when:

  • You completely forget what week of pregnancy you are in and have no idea when your next OB appointment is.

  • You refuse to buy Dreft, and haven't pre-washed any of the new baby clothes. Whatever detergent is on sale will do.

  • You understand that you will never get your pre-baby body back (without plastic surgery.)

  • You look forward to your hospital's practically a spa after all.

  • What To Expect is no longer your bible.

  • How your pet will react to the new addition is of no concern to you.

  • You briefly contemplate hiring a professional stylist to do your hair and makeup at the hospital, after all you know those first pictures are going to be all over Facebook.

  • Nesting? What's the point? A well-organized nursery will be destroyed approximately three days after baby comes home.

  • You get jittery anytime someone tells you that they are jealous of your maternity leave, envious of the long "break" you will be getting. You resist the urge to ask them if they have ever had a vacation that involved major surgery, sleep deprivation, dieting and cracked nipples.

  • You are even more excited about the arrival of your newborn than you were with your first. You have been there before, and you know that there is nothing, nothing, more exhilarating than holding your baby for the very first time.