House rules… for the fairies

We have fairies in our backyard… they have been sighted.

Just to make sure all humans and fairies live cohesively… Lily came up with a set of rules.

I found this letter on the coffee table in the formal sitting room while cleaning the house today… because fairies are fancy! 

* we have only two rules in this house – Don’t play on the stairs and don’t catch the spiders – these rules are promptly relayed to any guest staying in this house by Lily. It’s her job! *

Fairies

Fairy House Rools:

  1. Do not leave the house without telling me
  2. Do not make a mess inside
  3. You need to let me borrow pixie dust because I’m letting you live here. 
  4. Do not invite anyone over to the house . Hands and feet to yourself.
  5. But remember to have lots of fun.

This letter makes me so happy! I have believed in fairies all my life and I remember this magical life that I created for my fairies… and now it’s Lily’s turn.

She’s built entire village for them in the back yard and it’s really a magical place!

Oh the wonder of childhood! 

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IAMS SO GOOD – Food for your doggie

My Tuesday morning included Puppies and coffee… i mean how perfect!

So you know I talk about my sweet BEAST Jonah all the time. He is my baby. Jonah means the world to me and is absolutely a very VERY important part of our family.

IAMS so good

We feed him IAMS dog food.

About a year ago – a fab gal named BEV, the community manager for IAMS- came across my little blog and some pictures of Jonah. She immediately reached out and said things like’ oh my goodness that dog is gorgeous, he is so beautiful, he’s the king of the world”...  you get the idea.

Bev and I have been pals ever since. When the little MOTO was born… IAMS send me the sweetest care package… with dog food and dog toys… all for JONAH. This is one brand who really loves their four-legged people.

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SO when they invited me to their launch event in NYC for IAMS SO GOOD… of course I had to go.

IAMS SO GOOD
IAMS SO GOOD is a new product by IAMS for dogs of all sizes. PAWL GRIFFIN the official IAMS boss dog was on hand to give out sweet doggie kisses and get our Tuesday morning started!

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Celebrity chef Art Smith- of Top Chef Masters fame, Chef to OPRAH and Lady Gaga – who by the way has WAAAAAAY too much in common with me- was also part of the launch. He talked about his doggies and cats and how he feeds them IAMS as well. Chef Art Smith and I chatted about the Florida Panhandle… where he has a home.. and also talked about my grandmothers Biryani… was such a delight to meet.

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We feed Jonah IAMS Large Breed dog food and and fed our newfoundland Eukanuba Large Breed… which is also an IAMS product. It’s great to have IAMS SO GOOD – at a lower price point – available for the pups!

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I met this sweet doggie… and when I showed Lily this pic she said, ” MOM you should have brought him home” Even though we have this giant beast of a doggie at home… Lily is itching to have a tiny little pup. Probably not going to happen. We are SUCH giant dog people.

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Our four-legged family members are the best people aren’t they!

Check out IAMS for more info about their dog food.

* This is a sponsored post by She Speaks and IAMS. I was paid for this article. All opinions are my own and we were feeding our doggies IAMS products long before this partnership!*

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Back from Florida

We’re back from our annual trek down south to Florida. Every Summer we take a vacation to visit our families and spend lots of time eating home cooked meals, swimming in bayous, riding in boats, late night fishing and lots of time laughing with our parents.

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This was Thom’s first Florida visit. It was also his baptism. My sweet man.

This summer all our siblings and spouses and kids from both sides of the family were able to make it to Florida for the baptism. Such a special day for all of us.

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Lily – my beach baby. Loved every second of the vacation. She never had a bedtime and woke up whenever her body … or cousins woke her up. I tried really REEAAALLLYYY hard not to be such a “helicopter parent” this summer. I think I did OK. There were a few moments when I had to give myself a pep talk and say… ” let her deal with this on her own” or ” she’s not going to drown or get eaten by an Alligator out in the middle of the bayou as she falls off her skis”… I just took a deep breath and looked away.

Thankfully no gators in the bayou ate Lily or Thom for that matter!

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Thom took to the beach like… sand to the … well beach.

His little toes wriggled in the sand trying to process this funky feeling. The beach was pretty calm one evening so I took him into the water … in the waves and he loved it! A few feet from us, we saw a family of Dolphins swimming around. The tourists thought they were sharks… but my local sense knew… dolphins. Also, they probably thought I was crazy hanging out in the water with a 7month old… so close to sharks – which were actually Dolphins. 20130715-151424.jpg

Lily has a knack for finding her jungle creatures everywhere she goes. And this little fella – Spotty- was a sweet friend who she met one afternoon. She petted Spotty, sang him a sweet song as she does and fed him some grass.

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As we have come to expect… Summers in Florida have their own share of thunderstorms, tornadoes, waterspouts and wacky rainy weather. This summer was no exception. We have quite a few days where we stayed in and watched the rain… only running out on the boat to go skiing or tubing for the 30 mins or so that the rain let up. 20130715-151606.jpg

Thom had to wear his life jacket on the boat. He was not a fan. He kinda sat like this the whole time and stared at me… like… what. do. you. have. me. in. this. time. woman.! 20130715-151623.jpg

There is no shortage of shopping malls in florida… and with shopping malls come… splash playgrounds! 20130715-151702.jpg

This never gets old does it. Lily loves a good splash ground! 20130715-151733.jpg

My sis-in-law has two gorgeous GIANT Great Danes… they make our Jonah beast look like a little medium-sized dog! 20130715-151827.jpg

SInce both of our families live in the same town… we are constantly bouncing from house to house. When we stopped over to visit my mom and g-ma… Thom got his first dose of “life with girls”. DRESS UP! 20130715-151912.jpg

These two. Lily kept an eye on Thom the entire vacation. Even though she was out skiing or tubing or catching fish at the beach… she always came back to give Thom sweet kisses. Such a great bond… I hope it continues when the teen years hit! 20130715-151952.jpgThis is just round 1 of my summer vaca coverage… more coming up about food in the Florida Panhandle!

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Summer Surprise Fund

You know I have this crazy obsession with things with horns… Yep I do.
So how in the world could I pass up this funky Unicorn piggy bank when I saw it at Target – during my daily meditation.
And it was only $7.48 . So I brought him home with me to serve a very special purpose.

New York Mom

This summer we are going to collect all our loose change in our Unicorn Piggy Bank and at the very end of summer, we’ll count out our collection and find something fun to do with it. Maybe an overnight stay at a fun hotel, an ice cream treat, new pair of shoes for mommy ( i can wish).

Last time we did this, Lily dropped half of what we collected in the church offering one Sunday. I was a proud mama. She’s a giver. And i love it!

Lily has already started dreaming up some end of summer surprises… a safari, a trip to india… we’re not dropping gold nuggets in this piggy bank now… so maybe her end of summer plans need to get a reality check.

I think having a Summer Surprise Fund is a great thing to snap you out of the “it’s the end of summer” doldrums. Summer time is a fun time in this house. We have friends to see and family to celebrate with, we have food to eat and road trips to go adventuring on. This summer will be our first by the gorgeous beaches of Long Island… so get ready for some surfing and sand castling stories coming your way!

DO you have a Summer Surprise Fund? Maybe you should start one! Even if it’s enough collected for a lazy summer ice cream night… it’s such fun!

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Springtime in Central Park

Last weekend… I can’t believe it’s been a week already!

So last weekend… we met our siblings in Central Park to celebrate LILY DAY!

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We keep this special day to ourselves.. it’s a day for family and celebrating being a family and what better way to do this than blow bubbles and run among the blossoming cherry blossoms in Central Park!

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My sister made the yummiest peanut butter cups with this icing that was a desert in itself. It was a special LILY DAY treat! They were gobbled up in no time!

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I love Central Park. It’s one of my MOST favorite places on earth. I think if you are a tourist and you skip through Central Park you have failed your vacation. Where else can you be immersed in total nature yet surrounded by the sky line of one the most amazing cities in the WORLD. 20130510-211930.jpg

The Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom and love is in the air. Every corner of the park seems to have a couple folded in each others arms and lip locked.

20130510-212453.jpgSpringtime in Central Park is like walking into a Woody Allen film. 20130510-211952.jpg

These weekends with my siblings are precious. I know I say this all the time. but really they are. Never in a million years did I ever think  – when I moved to New York to become a dancer- that I would be surrounded by my sweetest brother and sister… and now their spouses.. who are practically my brother and sister as well.

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Lily loves the park. Everytime a soft wind would pass by and the cherry blossom petals would go floating by, Lily would say {with absolute delight} “the flowers are dancing” !

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The flowers WERE dancing that day.

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And they showered us with all their flowery well wishes and fragrance and covered our sweet family with moments captured in laughter and conversation. 20130510-212123.jpg

Gosh I wish I were dancing everyday. My lack of dancing these days is like missing a whole part of me and I really pray that I get that back one of these days. 20130510-212146.jpg

So where to go in Central Park? Let me tell you my spots: Last week we entered the park at 86th/ central park west. We set up our picnic on the highest rock right as we entered and had the whole area to ourselves.

20130510-212521.jpgAfter we ate and played we walked up the reservoir a few blocks and parked ourselves beneath the cherry blossoms.

20130510-212718.jpgSee everyone goes to the more popular spots like Sheep Meadow and the area around the fountains. But I like to stay above 86th street. Here’s my LOCAL tip-  If you enter on 101th street and walk through the North Woods… there are waterfalls and caves… yep in central park..and don’t forget the amazing rock climbing. But don’t tell anyone because I love the North Woods and we go all the time and it’s not very crowded.

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You know what the BEST part of this day was… LILY.

She’s 8. it’s a funky age .. 8. Somedays she’s a baby and wants me to do everything for her.. and other days she’s a teen and thinks I am SOOOO uncool – Eye roll is free! But this day in the park… I was asked to climb trees, and run through the dancing flowers and roll in the grass… with her. She asked me to do this. And I happily agreed. I was included in her adventures in Central Park, I picked flowers with her and she laughed at my jokes and let me kiss her and snuggle and when she fell and skinned her knee she let me hold her and cried on my shoulder. THIS IS A GIFT! A GIFT folks. I felt so full of love this day…just being included in Lily’s fun creative world as a partner .. and not her “rule-enforcing-not eating-candy-all-day -sooo-not-cool” mom. Most day’s I am not cool… but this day among the dancing flowers… I was totally cool! New York City

Tis the season folks… pack up your picnic basket and head to the park!

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And call me when you go… I’ll join you!

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5 Months

This little man-man is 5 MONTHS. already! I know!

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A solid 17 pounds!

Gosh my heart just aches when I think about how fast he’s growing up. and Lily too.

the new york mom

Matt and I met Lily for the first time when she was 5 months old. She was {and is} such a special baby. We had an INSTANT connection. I remember meeting her and there was this moment when I knew… I just knew she was meant to be in our family. At 5 Months she would look at me with these telling eyes and just smile and squeeze my cheeks and give me wet drooly kisses. It was meant to be. It was as if Matt and I were waiting for Lily all along and never even knew it. because when she made us a family… we all fit. perfectly. And it could not have been any other way.

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Thom at 5 months is also giving sloppy drooly kisses.. or trying to eat me… i can’t quite tell.

Although 5 months is a relatively short period, having him does feel like forever ago because of all the activity around these parts and I just could not imagine our lives without him.

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Since we skipped all these precious months and years – until age 3- with Lily… all this is a whole new experience for both Matt and myself. Babies are cool folks! I mean just watching them change every single day is such a gift in itself.

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Thom pretty much, eats, smiles, poops, and sleeps. He started saying ‘ MAMMA” 2 days ago and says it on a constant loop. Now yes, i know that he’s just saying this sound not knowing what it means… but man does it ever melt my cold cold heart!

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He’s always happy and smiling and sometimes just stares at me with these gorgeous eyes in serious thought … I think he’s just plotting a takeover.

5 Months is fassssst. Word on the street is that  it only gets faster from here… they do so much more so quickly. It breaks my heart you know… I wish they would stay little just a bit longer.

the new york mom

Even my Lilypie, I notice fun changes in her every week… attitude, personality. She’s such an individual and is already teaching Thom some of her fun tips on life. I can’t wait! I can’t wait to see the two of them in action, Lily teaching Thom how to dig for worms, or how to swim or how to climb trees or where to hide the candy stash all over the house and both cars!

the new york momEvery night she reads books to him, her favorite books and he stops what he’s doing and listens to every word she says. When she’s done with the reading he gives her the gummiest-no-teeth smile you have ever seen and looks at her as if she’s the most beautiful girl in the world.

She is.

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So here we are 5 months… can we freeze frame this please.

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Peanuts and Crackerjacks

We headed over to the METS vs. PHILLIES game last weekend.

And it was such fun… again!

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The METS lost… but whatever… we had a great time being outside in this gorgeous spring sunshine!

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This time I invited my bro and sis and their wonderful spouses. So it was a whole family affair.

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Spending a Sunday afternoon with our siblings and their spouses (family) is so precious. Lily and Thom are SOOOO VERY fortunate to have these memories and moments with them.

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The day was gorgeous and Citifield was all a buzz.

My second time at Citfield… and STILL… amazing service, the employees were so friendly and helpful. And no i did not have a special media pass tag on.

Lily had the best day with her Uncles. My brother – who is a big ole baseball fan- showed Lily all the MUSt do’s at the field. Like going to the very tippy top of the stadium and looking down, the whole go to the dugout after the game to try to get a baseball.

These two… thick as thieves they are!

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Gosh I am just so blessed to have these moments with my family.

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The METS have an exciting day planned for Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12, as the Mets take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1:10p.m.

The Wiggles are coming to Citi Field and will be performing pre-game!

and I have the BEST deal for you… my readers!

Private Meet-&-Greet with The Wiggles from 
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. or 1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. in the Mets Cafe
For $65 per person, package includes:
• One (1) Field Level ticket
• Exclusive photo opportunity with The Wiggles!
To purchase tickets, please visit mets.com/thewiggles
or contact Matt Gulotta at 718-559-3044 or mgulotta@nymets.com
 
*I was not paid for this post. I am a MetsMOM and blog for the METS*
 
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Lily Day

Today we celebrate Lily Day… the most special day of the whole year and one of the most important days of my life.

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5 Years ago on May 2nd Matt and I headed to Florida for the final time to bring back our Lilypie to be with us in New York. Our adoption story is a tough one and I wont share that with you today. It’s Lily’s story.

My sweet Lily. I love you so very much- Your adventurous spirit + your silly songs + your thoughts on life + your kindness and most of all your patience… your patience with me.

You dance through your days with such freedom and abandon and I hope you never lose that. I don’t think you ever will.

I love you to the moon. I love you more than anything nothing left. What would I ever do without you.

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… and we’ll keep running

“At least three people are dead and at least 144 are injured. An 8-year-old boy is among the dead.” CNN

—–*

Lily and I have decided to run a 5K. She came home from school today and it was a gorgeous 60 degrees in New York and I have been meaning to go running anyway to shed some of this baby weight and figured.. let me ask her if she wants to go for a run.

she said yes and off we went.

Of course this was no simple run. before we left the house, Lily whipped up a map… which was given to her by a pirate… who told us to go find the treasure.

Lily is amazing… he sense of wonder and imagination knows no boundaries …. ever.

SO we followed the pirate map directions around the block and into the park nearby. She ran beside me telling me stories of the pirate and the red fairy. she told me about how she thinks she might need an adventurer in the jungle – she’s a jungle girl remember – and maybe , just maybe, if i didn’t have as many rules I could be her partner. ( This is HUGE because lately I’m the last person she wants to hang with)

We ran at a steady pace for a solid 15 minutes. I was following her lead because truthfully my body needed a SLOOOOOW pace today.

Toward the end of our loop around the park, we stopped to talk to the geese. She walked along the lake looking at tadpoles she had dropped in there from our neighbors yard last week. She wondered if the tadpoles has grown into big bull frogs yet. wondered if the geese ate them. She smiled as a group of high school runners looked at the two of us running side by side and said, ” oh how cute – i want to run with my mom”. She looked at me … proud and satisfied.

We had the best 30 minutes today in the sunshine running among the blossoming trees. We chatted and told stories and just ran side by side and decided we are going to run a 5K for sure because running together with a pirate map is really fun.

new york mom

and then we came home and Matt said… did you hear about what happened in Boston.

We didn’t let Lily watch the news, she doesn’t even know anything happened. She went to the study to do her homework while I watched the news in disbelief.

The reports said an 8 year old child died in the bombing.

Lily is 8. I cannot imagine. I just cannot even begin to wrap my mind around what this must feel like. I cannot understand at all how this happened. Why this happened. And I cannot help but think every second about what that family must be going through right now. Did the 8YO have any siblings? The confusion, the utter loss.

I bet he liked looking for frogs in the lake and letting pirates lead him on adventures.

No more pirate stories, no more adventures. My heart just can’t grasp this.

The recent Sandy Hook Elementary shootings were scary and too close to home – for many reasons. But I found a way to block that emotion and block it all out and feel sorrow for the families who lost their innocent children but never relating it to me or thinking… it could have been me.

Maybe my emotions are exhausted and have finally given in.

The news of the 8 year old who died in the Boston bombing has hit home. It could be us. any of us.

I put Lily to bed this evening, made her favorite dinner without onions, the bubbliest bubble bath ever and hugged her so much. She didn’t like the song I sang her for bedtime and asked me to stop… which made me realize even more how precious our run was today. Our run where we shared stories and chatted like friends and had a pirate map dictate our path. Our run where everything I did was right. Our run where the road ahead was filled with adventure and mystery and magic.

A path with no ending… where we could keep running.

new york mom

Hold them close everyone. These moments of storytelling and adventure are fleeting.

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Lil Helper – REVIEW

Sometimes I wish I had a clone… often times I find myself feeding Thom with one hand, snuggling Lily with the other and petting Jonah with my feet while folding laundry with my teeth… Ok the laundry part is not real because I don’t do laundry!

But really, parents… it’s a juggling act right.

So we need a little help every now and then.

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Have you every propped up your babies bottle while he’s feeding? I sometimes prop it with a blanket or a small stuffed animal just to have a free hand.

Lil Helper to the rescue!

Lil Helper is a BPA free baby bottle holder. Created by a multi-tasking Dad, Li’l helper was designed to complement a baby’s natural gripping instinct making it simple for them to grab on to.

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Thoms has really enjoyed using the Lil Helper. He loves the little rattle at the end and since he has JUST started grabbing onto things, he’s kinda loving holding onto his bottle. Almost proud!

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I don’t let him have it all the time because he is really young and I like to hold him while he feeds but when I’m cooking or playing with Lily and I have Thom nearby, I set his bottle on the Lil Helper and he is perfectly happy being with us and I have both hands free to play with Lily… or fold laundry..or eat.. or just be!

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The Lil Helper is also great while I stroll around the mall during this bitter bitter BITTAH cold few months in New York.

The silicone handles make gripping easy for Thoms little tiny hands and little rattles on the edges keep him entertained. You can toss this in your bag and use it at restaurants, parks, anywhere really. Just keep an eye on the kiddo at all times. We have a whole plethera of baby bottles all different sizes and they all fit in this contraption!

One big thing to note – Thom still spazzes out from time to time, his 4 month self doesn’t have full control over his limbs yet. The Lil helper is very light and we sometimes give it to him without the bottle just for him to grip and shake.. occasionally it bonks his head but no harm done. it’s so light that it doesn’t hurt him.

This is a parent MUST HAVE you guys. It really helps me multi task and it’s one of those… ‘why didn’t I think of that’ items. So glad this came by my desk to review!

* I was not paid for this post but was sent product for purposes of this review*

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