Homesick and Hormonal

You know those intimate, candlelit restaurants that have a random guy in the corner playing an acoustic guitar? We went to one a few weeks ago for our anniversary dinner. It would have been perfect, but I burst into tears when the charming musician played “If I Only had a Brain” by the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz.

I understand that I may literally be the only one to react to that song in such a manner, but I was immediately transported back to my kitchen table in Beachwood, New Jersey. My youngest brother and I sat there together singing through laughter in attempts of preparing him for his very first audition. He got a part and hasn’t gotten off the stage since.

A year ago, the love of my life and I decided to move to Austin, Texas. Since being here, I’ve missed roles and auditions, big and small. I also feel like I’m slacking in my own roles as daughter, granddaughter, sister, and friend. I’d hang out with my family on purpose, and now we rely on group texts. I’m pretty sure it’s because it’s way easier to lie about how you’re doing that way. You can’t hear the shakiness in our voices. Not only do I miss my family and friends, I miss myself. I’ve unraveled a little bit, veered way off track, and have been closer to depression than I ever have been.

Back home, by lunchtime I had already talked to thousands of people–for real–and now I find myself in silence more than I’m comfortable with. In addition to changing careers, the social schedule I was accustomed to vanished. My man is the best, most hardworking, man in New Jersey and Austin combined, and having opposite schedules with him has put into perspective how easy it was to take our time together for granted before we moved. Now, we’re lucky if we cross paths in our own apartment.

Missing birthdays and big occasions has not been easy, but nothing could prepare me for what was coming. To share the news that you’re expecting through the phone and not be able to hug the most important people in your life is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. For the past year, I got through stuff like this with a good cry and some whiskey. Chocolate milk can only do so much.

Circling baby sections solo while sending text blasts of all the cutest items just isn’t the same as waddling around the store with your Mom and Grandmother. My friends and I used to talk about being pregnant together, and now we have to settle for #bumpies on Instagram. As my belly grows, we’re watching babies we love learn to walk on FaceTime. No, this isn’t how I thought it would be, but it is. I’m so fortunate to be in love, to have a healthy child on the way, a new city to continue to explore, and to have a family who’s willing to plan a baby shower from 1,500 miles away.

My little family of 3 is so lucky to be loved by so many, near and far. As I prepare for my biggest role ever–Mother–now is the time to step it up and be stronger than I ever have been. Texas gave us our baby, and a wonderful group of friends, but circling back to The Wizard of Oz, there’s really no place like home.

He Ate the Bagels

After a long day of being tired and hungry, I was exhausted and starving. I’m talking “I can’t be bothered with cooking, and if I could safely swallow food while sleeping I’d never leave the house” type hungry and tired.

Target acquired: Mama wants a cinnamon raisin bagel, maybe even 2, I was no longer in control. I spent my entire drive home longing for cinnamon swirls to dance on my tongue with raisin bombs exploding in a bed of carbs. Sweet baby Simon! I could smell the sweet aroma as if it were a Yankee Candle.

I did the pregnant shuffle as fast as my feet could handle, nearly knocking over my love and Christmas tree in a manic bagel fury.  I’m sure he’d understand after being briefed with a text explaining just how hungry and tired I was earlier. On my way to the pantry, I told him I was going to “make love to every bagel we had in the house.”

His face immediately looked like he ran over a squirrel.

“YOU DIDN’T!” my voice cracked. My reaction mirrored that of when I found out the Jonas Brothers were breaking up. Pitiful, “how could you?!” tears fogged up my glasses.

I could hardly look in his direction as he pleaded his case. Through apologies and promises to take me on a VIP tour of the Thomas’ bread factory, I heard “they weren’t marked with your name!” Those words split through the rest in a violent manner. I think I temporarily blacked out. No, they were not marked. We are not college roommates. There is an unspoken law that no food source in a pregnant woman’s home should be exhausted without being immediately replaced. (If there wasn’t before there certainly is now).

I handled this situation the way almost any lady with a baby would…”I’m not even hungry, I’m going to bed.”

30 minutes later a pizza arrived at my door, hot and fresh and without cinnamon or any raisins.

I love you, babe. Pregnant me just really loves bagels.

P.S. I’m from New Jersey where the bagels taste like kissing an angel. If I can’t have a Thomas’ cinnamon raisin bagel when a craving hits, what do I have left?

P.P.S. Looking back now, he was probably just getting back at me for asking him to sleep on the couch the night before. Apparently in a delusional state I exclaimed that I had “finally found a comfortable position and it requires the entire bed and all his pillows.” I don’t remember saying this, but I did find the poor guy on the couch in the morning.

Scared as a Mutha: “It’s Just One of Those Pregnancy Things”

When you find out you’re pregnant, you sort of expect certain things. Nausea, weight gain, stretch marks and pickle cravings are amongst the most talked about classics, but what about a visible epiglottis? Not sure what an epiglottis is? Well you have one, and I didn’t know that until mine decided to peek out from the depths of my throat. I figured this meant my airway was about to be cut off and I was afraid to fall sleep, so I set an alarm for every 30 minutes to check my vitals. Obvious solution, really. Turns out that this painless, yet freakish, discovery is just “one of those pregnancy things.”

Oh! One time my nipples started to turn white-ish after I peeled off a 6-week-old gel manicure in the tub and I was convinced the baby was allergic. GASP! Did a preggo just say she was in the tub?! And she had her nails did?!  Yup.

Turns out most headaches are not tumors, not every mosquito carries Zika, the grooves in your fingernails are probably just from 16 years of gel manis, and the emergency appointment with the dermatologist might not be as necessary as you think. As a first time Mama, I’ve never been more aware and in the dark about what’s going on with my body. I might be in tune with each sensation, ping and pain, but I have no idea why they’re happening and if they’re normal.  It’s exciting, new and emotionally and physically exhausting.

Does this bump make me look like I have a fever?

After skin cancer scares and calls to the 24/7 Nurse Hotline, I’ve found that once you begin to expect the unexpected, the smoother the ride becomes. (Does the same apply to parenthood? I’m not there yet.) I can’t confidently rule out any future non-emergency emergency appointments, or hours wasted scouring message boards comparing symptoms, but so far, in my experience, almost everything circles back to hormones and the simple fact that your body is stretching and growing.

I’m not a doctor, but I’m definitely comfortable with mine. With every symptom or possible-yet-probably-impossible-scenario, I’ve been able to go to her for answers and reassurance without judgment. I’m grateful for this, but I strongly feel like this should be the norm. If that’s not the case for you, try and do what you can to make some changes that would make you feel more comfortable. First or fourth baby, this is YOUR experience and it’s supposed to be a positive experience that leaves little room for fear or being bullied by the ones who should make us feel safe.

What are some scary-but-probably-normal symptoms you’ve experienced? How about made-up diseases you convinced yourself you had? Girl, I’ve probably been there.

Under 10: DIY Baby Mama Ornament

Growing up, one of my favorite holiday traditions was unpacking all of my family ornaments to hang on the tree. No matter how many years I unwrapped the same ones, I’d always get the same warm feeling as if I was seeing my great grandmother’s crocheted outhouse for the very first time.  An ornament that always stuck out to me was a pregnant Momma bunny (LOL, what?) that my own Momma got when she was pregnant with me. It was so special to hang up every year and I always hoped to find something just like it when I was starting my own family. Of course I couldn’t find any “expecting” ornaments this year, and definitely not a bunny with a baby bump, so I decided to take things into my own puffy hands.

Whether you started decking the halls before Halloween or are skipping the tree altogether and decorating a pineapple instead, there’s room for this sweet little ornament in everyone’s holiday traditions. Not only can you get it done in less than 10 minutes, it’ll cost you less than $10, and your skill set doesn’t need to be anywhere near a level 10.

  • Wooden Ornament-any shape will do just fine! I found this heart that already had the intentions of becoming some type of ornament at Michaels.
  • Paint Marker(s)
  • Mini Cookie Cutters
  • No idea why the scissors are in the picture, didn’t use ’em!

  • Undo the twine or ribbon on your ornament
  • Grab a paint marker, write “Cookie Baking” and the year if you’re feelin’ it…
  • Using the original twine or ribbon, fasten the mini cookie cutter to the wooden ornament

For under $10 in less than 10 minutes, this is a sweet treat you can make for all the expecting bunnies on your list.

P.S. I totally found an ornament in Target as soon as I hung this baby on our tree. Yes, I bought it, and I can’t wait for our son to help hang them both on our family tree for many years to come.



“I’m proud of you, Mama.”

A few seconds after my positive pregnancy test I had my first discussion about vaccines. Nope, it wasn’t with the father of my baby…that would make sense. This person came out of left field. It didn’t matter that they didn’t have children of their own, any personal experience to share, or have anything resembling actual research, they just wanted to make their opinion heard. I quickly found out that this would continue to happen throughout my pregnancy, and no topic was off limits.

Oh, it also doesn’t matter if you asked them for their advice. You’re going to get it anyway.

After dealing with almost two full trimesters of inquiries and clap-backs, I found myself not wanting to share any of my experience, and if I did, I’d immediately brace for impact.

“Ah! I feel the baby moving!”

“Do you really, though? It could be gas. When I was that far along my little one was already qualified for Olympic preliminaries. I’d start a kick count if I were you.”

Oh, ok. I was falling more in love with every tiny movement, but thanks…I’ll go call my OB now.

Birth plan? HA! Whether you’re stripped of all clothes and toxins in a natural spring or opting to be induced to leave the guess work behind you, childbirth should be celebrated in every way. Our bodies may be designed to do this, but no one says we all have to do it the same way. No matter what your personal preference, someone will always be there to tell you you’re wrong.

“You don’t want an epidural? Are you insane?”

I may be a rookie in this league, but I’m fully aware that labor doesn’t mimic the feeling of butterflies fluttering out from your undercarriage. No, I didn’t know that your college bestie’s sister’s sister-in-law had to push for three days in the snow barefoot. I also didn’t ask. What I DO know, and am accepting of, is the fact that every mother is wildly different.

First time mamas, 7x MVP Allstars, no one does this exactly the same. There is enough pressure on us without strangers worrying about how many Tylenols or Tic-Tacs you’ve ingested since your last doctor’s appointment. We’re all in this game together, and we’re fortunate to get the chance to play at all. Let’s celebrate the wins, and learn and lift each other up after the losses…whatever that means to you.

If we could swap unsolicited, and at-times aggressive, advice for a simple “I’m proud of you…” or “you got this,” we’d be an even more unstoppable group of women and mamas.

Hey, I’m proud of you.