Do Goodery

During my second year of college my cat died. I found out when I called my mom to catch up. I was sitting outside of a coffee shop, on the side of the street, and I just started bawling. Most people ignored me, probably assuming it was the polite thing to do; however, an older woman approached me and asked me if I was okay. Before I answered, she handed me a tissue and said, “I don’t know what you are going through right now, but I promise things will get better.” She returned a few minutes later with a chocolate chip cookie from the coffee shop and a big smile. She handed me the cookie and left, without saying a word.

I have no idea who that woman was. I never saw her again, and I will likely never find out who she is. These past few weeks I’ve been thinking about that woman, and what a difference she made in my life that one day years ago.

For weeks now I have wanted to share what my day will be like tomorrow.

I have been in classes, taking tests, writing papers, and completing 180 hours of clinical at a hospital. Life is busy, but for weeks now I have looked forward to tomorrow. It has helped me get through some long, long, days.

Tomorrow I am going to get together with six really amazing women and spend the day doing nice things. We are giving away all sorts of fun stuff with the premise that by doing something good for someone they will then turn around and do something good for someone else. It’s contagious, you know. Small acts of kindness can go a long way, and we plan on spreading a lot of kindness.

Thanks to 77Kids, an American Eagle Brand (did you know they are based in Pittsburgh? Gotta love ’em!), and TheMotherhood we are going to have this amazing opportunity to partake in hours worth of shenanigans.

I am so unbelievably excited to have this opportunity, especially because I get to share it with these lovely ladies:

Michelle of Burgh Baby
Dina of Fries on Top??
Firemom of Stop, Drop and Blog
Gina of My very last nerve’
Laura of With love from Pittsburgh
Virginia of That’s Church

I know you’re jealous. I would be too.

If you are in or around Pittsburgh, we will be at the Carnegie Science Center starting at 11am tomorrow. Come join the fun! Come enjoy being the recipient of some do goodery, and do some goodery of your own. Even if you can’t come, do something good tomorrow. You never know what your one act of kindness can mean to someone.

While I am being compensated for my time, this is not a sponsored post. Plus, I would do it regardless of compensation. 77Kids is awesome, and what could be more fun than spending the day making people happy?

I Almost Created a Monster

I’ve been meaning to get Alex’s haircut for, uh, 2 months? His hair grows really fast, and with how thick and uncooperative it is, the second it has the ability to reach his eyes it won’t be found anywhere else. Brush it to the side? It falls right back into the position it wants to be in.

While I was visiting Sarah two weeks ago, my mom took the liberty of trimming the front of his hair. I would have cared if he wasn’t in dire need of it. And, quite frankly, his hair grows so fast that even if she had buzzed it I probably would have still needed to schedule another haircut in the next few weeks. The hair was out of his eyes, so I went on with my life for another two weeks before finally finding the time (and fourteen bucks) to get it cut professionally.

The only problem with those extra two weeks while I waited to schedule his haircut was what happened with Alex’s look. What once was just messy, outgrown, hair, had become a…a… mullet. Not a full, real, classic Pittsburgher loving mullet, but it was obviously shorter in the front and much longer in the back. My poor kid was turning into such a Pittsburgher. Once I realized that, I scheduled his haircut.

Behold, new and improved Alexander! No mullet!

"Come Over Here, Mommy!"

Kennywood Day

Zach’s office has an annual Kennywood day. I had been looking forward to going for weeks. Between the fact that I haven’t been in at least six years, and the fact that I assumed Alex would enjoy going on rides, Kennywood Day was keeping me going day after day during my stressful last few weeks.

While I wouldn’t say Kennywood Day disappointed, it wasn’t quite what I was hoping. I’m not sure why I thought it would be any different than it was, really. When did I decide that Alex was old enough to behave well for an entire afternoon? When did my mind forget that he was still pretty attached and wouldn’t ever go on a ride without me or Daddy? Why did I think he would sit still and eat his food at a bench, not tied down in any way?

It wasn’t all bad. Alex was quite charming on the drive to Kennywood with a few of Zach’s coworkers. He smiled and waved at numerous people as we were walking around. He loved the pink lemonade that we had an endless supply of, provided by Google and Kennywood.

There were a total of four rides that we could go on with Alex. While he is technically tall enough to go every ride in Kiddie Land (and, in fact, many of the big rides), most of them are for kids only. We went to the little kiddie swings, which I thought would be a good ride for him to do by himself, waited in line and had a long conversation about what was going to happen:

“Do you want to go on the swings?”
“Do you want to go around and around and around?”
“You know Mommy isn’t going to come with you, right?”
“So, you will be going all by yourself?”
“Yeah. No Mommy.”
“I’ll put you down and that nice woman will help you get in your seat okay?”
“Yeah. No Mommy. Ride!”
“Okay. No Mommy. Just Alex.”
“YUP! Ride!”

I put him down, he walked toward a swing, and when the ride attendant woman tried to take his hand and help him? He turned around, looked for me, and ran away from her. (As Zach pointed out: at least now we know he will not just go off with some stranger!) She lifted him over the little tiny fence, sighed as she handed him to me (um, seriously? You are pissy about the fact that a kid isn’t being perfect and you work in Kiddie Land?), and that was that. “No Mommy? No ride.”

Riding with Daddy

So, Zach and I took turns going on the same four rides with him. Again and again. And again. Zach and Alex shared some ice cream, Alex and I shared a Giant Bag of Cotton Candy, and we took some nice long walks around the park. Zach and I looked longingly at the Big Rides, plotting how we are going to get rid of Alex some day and night and go on every single one of them*.

When dinner time rolled in, Alex was nearing the end of his rope. I will spare you the details, but he threw a royal fit. Screaming, kicking, throwing, hitting. It was awesome, let me tell you. I told Alex if he didn’t calm down and stop throwing, kicking, screaming and hitting, we were going to go home. I warned him that if he didn’t stop, he wouldn’t be able to go on any more rides.

And then we had to leave.

There was absolutely no surprise that he fell fast asleep in the car after a minor scream-fit while getting him in his car seat.

Asleep in the car

*And I’m plotting, ferociously, about how when we make it to Kennywood next time I will consume a funnel cake. I will eat that eighty bajillion grams of fat and enjoy every single bite of it (post-gallbladder-removal surgery, of course).

My Little (and Dirty) Scaredy Cat

Alex is such a scaredy cat. There have been the rare occurrences that include him going down a slide, but for the most part slides seem to scare him quite a bit.

Our trip to the Zoo with some lovely Burgh Moms on Saturday was a blast. How could it not be? Four kids between 20 months and just over 3? Awesome.


There were a few meltdowns, but considering how long we were there the kids were fabulous.

And, of course, Alex was the only kid who wouldn’t go anywhere near the slide. When Kelly offered to even go down the slide with him, Alex screamed “NO!” He really, really, didn’t want to go down the slide. But the other kids had a blast climbing up the incline and then going down it, fortunately never managing to kick my likes-to-stand-and-sit-on-the-end-of-the-slide kid in the face. (Or maybe Burgh Baby is right: When he does get kicked in the face he’ll finally learn.)

Instead of playing at the playground by, you know, playing with the playground equipment, Alex decided that the mulch was much more fun. He ended up getting a bit dirty (this picture doesn’t quite show the fact that he not only tried to eat the mulch, but he also made a shampoo out of it). But he was thoroughly enjoying himself, and for the most part was distracted from entering the tunnel maze that I was convinced he was going to get lost in. No way could my smaller-than-it-used-to-be-but-still-big butt fit in there.

Playing with mulch

And what would a day to the zoo with four young kids be without a group shot?

Group Shot

This day made me happy. The cuteness alone was enough, but being able to spend some time with some awesome Burgh Moms made it even better. Even if most of that time we were distracted by chasing our children.

Slides Are Intimidating

Apparently, slides are rather horrifying. At least, they are if you’re my son.

Alex has never really been into slides. Every once in a blue moon he’ll go down a slide, but mostly he will climb to the top and then say “no down.” He doesn’t want to go down it. If I hold his hand he may consider it, but even then it’s a long shot.

I can’t say that I totally blame him. I mean, letting yourself fall down some unknown material that, in theory, will take you down to the ground? No idea how fast? No idea how sturdy? Who came up with this?! Not exactly reassuring. But I loved slides as a kid.

One of our local playgrounds here is often referred to as “The Blue Slide Park.” It is so called because it has, well, a blue slide. A big blue slide, to be precise. I spent many, many, days going down this slide as a kid. In fact, I probably have gone down this slide more times in my life than days I’ve been alive. We would go down in every direction, with cardboard or wax paper under our butt, knees, back, to make us go faster. Every time Alex and I go there I wax nostalgic for those times as I see the scattered cardboard boxes all over the place.

When we went to this park the other day, Alex and I went down the big blue slide together a few times. As long as I am holding on tight (and I mean tight! Kid will yell at me if I don’t have both arms wrapped snuggly around him) he has a great time feeling the air rush by him on our way down. But this day? This day he decided he would try it for himself.

He walked up and up.

Blue Sliding It

And then he stopped, came back down most of the way and decided that close-to-the-bottom was the best place to start his sliding:

Blue Sliding It

Blue Sliding It

Blue Sliding It

Blue Sliding It

One day he’ll go down that slide, all by himself, on cardboard. But until that day I’m happy to see him making progress, and even happier to see that he is still a very cautious child.

This I Believe

I don’t talk much on my blog about my personal beliefs. At least not in a blatant way. But I have posted before about one thing that I truly believe in: equal rights.

Yesterday, Zach, Alex and I joined a small group of Zach’s coworkers at Pittsburgh Pride. We even got to wear fancy schmancy Google Pittsburgh Pride shirts that stated, “We are here.”

Why is this something I care so greatly about? Am I gay? No. Do I have any gay relatives? No. Some of my closest friends are gay, so I suppose that increases my passion. During college, one of my closest friends was transgendered. But I’ve cared about equality long before I met any of them. At least, I cared about in this sense: I thought everyone was equal, so until I came to the harsh realization that everyone was not treated equally I didn’t know to care. I think it was around fifth grade that the bubble of loveliness popped and reality sunk in.

I care about equality for my son. And for you. And your current or future children.

Alex is still a baby. He doesn’t have a sexuality the way that we think of sexuality. He isn’t gay or straight; he isn’t gendered. He is my baby and he deserves to have every single chance at success in this world as the next person. If he is gay as an adult, I don’t want him to suffer because of it. I don’t want him to feel one ounce of shame or guilt because of who he is. And I sure as hell don’t want him to feel the pain of not being able to spend the rest of his life with the person he loves in the same capacity as a heterosexual.

I want Alex to be happy and healthy. He will probably be just like his father: crazy smart, super cute, and heterosexual. But if he isn’t? He shouldn’t have his rights taken away from him.

Pittsburgh Pride

Pittsburgh Pride

Pittsburgh Pride

Pittsburgh Pride

Of course, Alex was very supportive of the cause. He held on to those rainbow balloons like it was his job.

Alex is holding on to the balloons

I promise I didn’t put them there. I wasn’t trying to suffocate my son in the super hot and humid weather. I think he liked the privacy.

Alex is holding on to the balloons

We Came, We Marched, Some of Us Were Cranky

The March of Dimes walk was fabulous. Absolutely, fantastically, beautifully, marvelous. The team I was on raised more than five thousand dollars. Five thousand!

Our group was beyond-words-awesome-fantastic. Beyond the fact that there were so many of us and we raised a lot of money, everyone was very supportive of each other while we walked. You can witness proof of that here, here and here. And you can find all sorts of photos that prove just how fantabulously awesome we are from Burgh Baby.

Our team:

Stolen From Gina

Also? This happened, and was immensely cute:

Stolen From Gina

I mean, seriously. Look at those faces!

They liked eachother

Alex was a bit of terror. He wanted to steal everything that any other child had: sippy cups, crackers, entire wagons. I can’t blame him on the wagons, though. Those are things are pretty awesome. Even with his toddlerhood raging that morning (and my unexpected crankiness that day) it was a wonderful time. Have I used enough positive adjectives? It was awesome. Stunning. Astonishing. Moving. Wondrous.

Pittsburghers are all of those things. And more.

True story.

Gathering by the river before the walk

Marching for Tiny Ones

Something happened.

When Maddie died, things changed. People came together. Her passing brought many tears to my eyes, and the second I saw that there was a Pittsburgh team walking for Maddie and March of Dimes I had to join. Because when that beautiful little girl died, something happened. In all of us.

People who had never heard of Maddie were brought to tears by her death. People who have lost children of their own, people who have children that were born prematurely, people who have never once even babysat a child…all of us were affected.

So now, Pittsburgh is coming together. The Burgh Moms and Dads team has raised over $3,500 now, and I just know we can get to $4,000 by our walk on Saturday.

Can you spare one dollar? Two? Maybe even ten? I have done what I can, and I hope you will too.

Are you in Pittsburgh? Can you join Our Team?

Please, think about donating in this beautiful little girl’s name. Please click here to make a donation through my page, or click here to make a donation through the Pittsburgh Moms and Dads Team.

Think of her:

I’ll be thinking of my own son, who was in the NICU for four days after his birth. We were lucky, and he is perfectly healthy. I’ll be thinking of all of the babies who we have lost, all of the babies we have saved, and all of the babies that we will one day be able to save because of advances in medicine.

My baby? May not have made it if it weren’t for IV fluids and Bili Lights to help his severe jaundice. I’ll be thinking of that. What will you be thinking about this Saturday?

Think about donating. Every little bit helps.

The Adventures Begin

I have been a stay at home mom since Alex was born. From September through December after his birth, I was with him almost nonstop. I would get a break here and there from Zach, who was still a student at the time, and my mom would come over to let me nap or shower during the day.

For many months, he pretty much just slept. He slept most of the day, and when he wasn’t sleeping I was either busy nursing him or trying to get him to go to sleep. There were small periods of time where I would “play” with him: shake rattles, show him books, take him on walks, etc. Then he got older.

He’s much more demanding in some ways now that he is quickly becoming a toddler. Looking back on the baby days, I almost miss them. He would lay on the ground, batting at toys, or sit in his chair looking around. He was fascinated by everything and anything would entertain him.

These days? We are beginning to bore each other. We play the same games every day: chase, tackle, roll balls, stack things, put things in and out of other things, point to body parts… mostly, he just wants me to watch him play. He doesn’t really want to interact with me so much. He knows what I can do, how I can entertain him, but most of the time that is not enough for him. He wants new.

So, instead of him making a mess because he’s bored at home, and me being bored because he won’t really play with me, I’ve decided that we are going to find more things to do.

There are so many opportunities for kids and their parents, but unfortunately most of them cost money. So my choices are limited, but I’m finding that they are not nonexistent. And once the weather is better our options will expand drastically by the simple fact that he can run around a playground.

Yesterday, Alex and I went to the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library. That place is absolutely wonderful! There is every toy you can imagine: slides, things to climb on, blocks upon blocks, balls and more balls, doll houses, large train sets, mini kitchens, and more. He loved it. He ran around playing with everything he could get his hands on. He even, dare I say it, interacted with me. And other kids! (If you asked Alex, every kid he was playing with was a “baby!”)

There are other activities that I have been meaning to try with Alex for a long time. Our local libraries offer story times for babies and toddlers, and as I recently learned on plurk our Children’s Museum has a lot to offer toddlers.

So, Alex and I are going to enjoy this time we have together before he eventually has to start daycare in six or seven months. We won’t be bored any longer. We will go on adventures.

Alex staring into space

Mmm Cookies

The Burgh Mom cookie swap was a huge success. Not that I had any doubt in my mind. How bad could it possibly be? Amazing women and cookies. Oh, and a really cute baby. And a really cute little girl. And a really wonderful 13-year old (they exist! It’s a miracle!). And did I mention lots of cookies? ‘Nuff said.

I made two types of cookies: Peanut butter peanut butter cup cookies and cranberry white chocolate chip cookies. Both pack some serious yum into them. (Although, to be honest, I was disappointed with my peanut butter cookies. They were not their usual “oh-my-god-my-mouth-is-in-heaven” love bites. I blame my probably poor attempt at tripling the recipe.)

I still don’t have a working camera, so I can’t share pictures of the baking processes. Instead, I will simply share the recipes and the iPhone picture of the finished products.

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies:

  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 6 oz craisins (or other sweetened, dried, cranberries)

  • Directions

    1. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
    2. Cream the butter and sugar together, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add vanilla.
    3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture gradually, beating well until blended.
    4. Add white chocolate chips and craisins until blended. (Hint: coat the white chocolate chips and craisins in flour before mixing into the batter so that they don’t all sink the bottom of the cookie.)
    5. Drop cookies onto lightly greased baking sheet.
    6. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.
    7. Let cool on wire racks.
    8. Eat while warm for maximum enjoyment.

    Peanut Butter Peanut Butter Cup Cookies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (or butter flavored crisco; horribly bad for you, but deliciously delicious)
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Reese’s cups, unwrapped

  • Directions

    1. Mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
    2. Cream the butter and both sugars together. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add vanilla.
    3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture gradually, beating well until blended.
    4. Drop cookies onto lightly greased baking sheet.
    5. Bake at 325 for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.
    6. Push unwrapped reese’s cups into cookie immediately upon removal from oven.
    7. Let cool on wire racks.
    8. Eat while warm for maximum enjoyment.