My Real Life

June 12, 2013

Wordless Wednesday – My Heart

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am



June 11, 2013

NYC and My Girls

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Ah…New York City.

If it was possible to marry a place (and if I wasn’t already married to Real Man) I would absolutely marry New York City.

There’s just something about it that brings you back time and time again.

And, for me, part of that draw are my besties (yep, I said ‘besties’ like I’m 14) Kim, Erin and Michaela.

It’s been a long time since the 4 of us were together.

Kim’s wedding back in December, to be exact.

Too long.

So, on Saturday morning, I packed up and headed into NYC.

Erin and I rode in together and when we got there, we headed to Kim’s apartment, dropped our stuff off and then the three of us headed for Bloomingdale’s.

At Bloomingdale’s on Lexington Avenue, they have a restaurant named “40 Carrots.”

40 Carrots has the best fruit salad with a scoop of cottage cheese I have ever eaten.

Kim reminded me, in the cab, that I could probably make my own fruit salad with a scoop of cottage cheese, but then I reminded her that some things taste SO much better when someone else makes them for you.

She had to agree.

Weirdest thing, though.

When we got to 40 Carrots, someone was there reading my book!



So crazy!  Look at how she’s laughing at the hilarity.  She clearly thinks this would be an excellent summer read.

After lunch, we did some browsing through the store.

Then, we started to hit some vintage shops throughout the city.  We were everywhere.

SoHo, uptown, downtown, everywhere.

And, listen to this!

In one of the vintage shops, there was another woman reading my book!



See how she ponders the essay she is reading?  It seems to me as she is thinking what a wonderful shower gift this book would make.

It gets weirder.

We went into a pet shop, because who can resist the lure of the squealing, excited little puppies, and wouldn’t you know it?

A woman was reading the chihuahua puppies MY BOOK!  It lulled those little ones right to sleep!



Must have been the melodic way the prose is written.

So, clearly, this is a book that would be perfect for your nightstand, as well.

(Just click the Amazon link on the right hand side of this page and this book can be yours, too!)

After Bloomie’s and vintage shopping, the girls indulged me in the store Paper Source where I finally found a journal.

I’ve been looking for next year’s journal everywhere.  Normally I purchase my journals in the gift shop of the National Gallery on the 8th grade trip to DC but this year, the selection was slim pickins.

So, when I found two that I like in Paper Source, I bought them both.

We headed up to Columbus Avenue and met Michaela at Cafe Frida for dinner.


People reading the book there, too.



Whose essay were they reading?  I don’t know, but it looks juicy.  You should probably buy the book to find out.

We ate, we relaxed, we talked, we laughed.

It was exactly what this girl needed.

After dinner, we headed to Sugar and Plumm.

Erin and Kim ordered a brownie a’la mode to share.

I was thinking “Ha! Rookies,” and said snarkily to the waitress, “I’ll have a brownie a’la mode just for ME.”

Then it arrived and I wasn’t feeling so snarky any more.



Michaela said it made her teeth hurt just to look at it.

I concur.

I managed about half of it and it was delish, but that was all I could manage.

We headed back to Kim’s, chatted for awhile, Michaela headed back to her apartment and Kim, Erin and I fell fast asleep.

Because I’m like a trained seal, at 5:45 am, I woke up, but there was no way I was getting out of bed to catch the 6:11 train, so I lay there for just a little while longer, enjoying the knowledge that no one was going to ask me to make them breakfast or need a diaper change or ask me to referee a fight about Wii remotes.

And then I started missing everyone at home, so I got out of bed, got dressed, whispered goodbyes and headed for Penn Station.

I love that city and I love those girls.

I am one lucky chica.

June 10, 2013

Book Signing and a Picnic

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

To say I had a busy weekend would be a gross understatement.

I ran from place to place to place and am only just now getting my feet back under me.

The good news is that everything I had to do this weekend was wonderful.

Book Signing

On Friday night, I had a book signing at Bobby’s News and Gifts in Boonton, NJ.



Here you see Amy from Funny is Family, Nicole from Nicole Leigh Shaw, Tyop Artist, Kim from Let Me Start by Saying, and…well, me.

The rain was torrential, so the turnout wasn’t quite what we had hoped, but the people who showed were awesome and very much appreciated.

We signed books, we chatted, we laughed, we read, I sang, there was wine, there was cheese, there was an amazing store in which I wanted to buy every single thing I saw.

Kim wrote a great wrap-up of the evening here.  I encourage you to check it out, particularly because she links you to Bobby’s News and Gifts and Vino, the store that provided the wine for the evening.

Early Saturday morning, I headed into NYC with Kim, Erin and Michaela, but I’ll tell you all about that trip tomorrow.

Family Picnic

On Sunday, I took the early train home from the city to get back for the family picnic for Real Man’s side of the family.

Every year, same weekend, same park, same people, same fun.

It is, without a doubt, Monkey in the Middle’s favorite day of the entire year because he gets to play outside with his cousins, non-stop, all day long.

They play every sport and game imaginable.

We go for short hikes.

We grill.

There is an adults vs kids kickball game.

(We made Tiny prepare the field)


The evening is topped off by s’mores.

Seriously.  It’s hard to beat.

We had special guests this year.

The cicadas.

For my readers in parts of the country/world who don’t get to experience the rise of the cicadas every 17 years, here’s just a small taste of what they sound like:

It’s kinda sorta totally awesome.

I’m one of the few who think their arrival is nothing short of miraculous and am in awe of the “cicada story.”

Anyway, sometimes you spend a busy weekend and you finish it up and your head is spinning and you are thinking “Ugh…I spent the whole damn weekend running around and never got to relax.”

And sometimes you spend a busy weekend and you finish it up and your head is spinning and you are thinking “Best. Weekend. Ever.”

Yeah, this was one of those.

June 6, 2013

Sooner or Later, Everyone Goes to the DMV

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

I had to go to the DMV, or as it is now called, the MVC the other day.

I had to go because something of mine expired.

In January.

So, I finally made the time to go.

I figured that we were in the beginning of the month because all of those slackers who waited until the last minute in May would have been in a few days before.

Yeah, I called them slackers.

My name is Amy, I live in a glass house, and I throw stones.

So, when we pulled into the completely full parking lot, I uttered “Crap” which was followed by Monkey Girl’s “Moooom.  Don’t say that,” to which I responded, “Look at this parking lot.  The appropriate response when you see this parking lot this full is ‘crap,'” to which she responded, “That is never the appropriate response, Mom.”

However, she said “pissed off” the other day, so I think I’m not quite in as much trouble as she was fronting.

Anyway, in we went.

The screener was kind enough not to raise his eyebrows at exactly how expired I was, and he directed us to the end of the line.

The end of the line was us, standing with our backs against the door to the Men’s room.


I really wouldn’t have minded, because it was just Monkey Girl and I and it gave us time to hang out together, but we were behind a 17 year old who was getting her first license.

At first I was thinking, “Aw, how sweet.  I remember how excited I was when I got my license.”

Then I remembered that I don’t actually remember going to the DMV to get my license.

I’m sure I was probably excited, but I don’t remember it at all.

I probably still would have at least pretended to be nostalgic, but it was clear that she wanted everyone in line to know that she was getting her license and that she seemed to believe she was the first person to ever get her license.

“Just think, Mom.  No more needing rides to school.  No more of you needing to take me places.  Did I tell you about how well I did on the driving test?  He said he’d never seen someone parallel park that well.  No more needing rides to school.  No more having to call you to pick me up.  I was the best parallel parker the driving instructor had ever seen, Mom.  Hey, guess what?  You won’t have to take me to school anymore!”

For twenty minutes.

Finally, we got up to the desk where they sort you out and tell you what line you have to stand in, because the line you’ve been standing in for the past twenty minutes isn’t the real line.  It’s the pre-line.

They were happy to see I had all my “points” in order and my check was pre-written and they sent us over to Line A.

Guess who else was in Line A?

I’ll give you a hint:  She’s the best damn parallel parker in the entire state of New Jersey.

I know, I know…cut her some slack.  It’s exciting.  I get it.

But enough already.

So, I needed to tune her out.

(I should mention that, by this point, Monkey Girl had taken herself out of the equation and was building bridges on my iPhone.  Twelve year-olds do not enjoy lines.  Particularly ones with people who keep looking at them disdainfully as if they are little kids while they go on and on about getting their license.  I didn’t blame her.)

So, I started doing what I do best and began people-watching.

The DMV is fascinating, really, because at some point, everyone goes to the DMV.

Young and old, rich and poor.  The DMV makes you come in, yourself, to get the job done.

And they were all there.

There was the woman in her leopard print heels, with leopard print stretch pants and a fuzzy short sleeved sweater (I’m sure there is a fashion name for this, but I have no idea what it is), talking on her iPhone with a (you guessed it) leopard print case.

There was the man wearing ripped jeans, a ripped t-shirt, construction boots and had a braid in his hair so long, he could sit on it.

There were the two preppie boys in their early 20’s who spent their time trying to one-up each other’s stories of frat parties.

There was the pregnant mother with the toddler who kept trying to lift up her mother’s dress and when she was continually thwarted by Mom, decided to ease her pain by showing everyone her underwear.

There was the gross couple with the woman who sneezed all over the forms on the entry table and her husband who had his hand inside his pants for most of the time he was in line, and then touched three or four forms on the table before selecting the one he really needed.

The DMV is people-watching at it’s best because the people are trapped.

We all have to be there and there is no escape.

Finally, it was my turn.

The woman took my paperwork and told me to take off my glasses.


“I said, take off your glasses.”

“Um, I’m legally blind without my glasses.”

“I just need to take your picture for your new license.”

“Without my glasses?”


“Ah…to make sure I’m not wearing a disguise or something?”

She was not amused.

Nor was I when I saw the picture.

“Are you happy with your picture?”

“No, but I don’t think I will ever be happy with my picture.”

She was not amused.

We took it again and I pretended to like this one better.

She processed my paperwork, took my check, ran it through the machine and gave me my receipt.

“It’ll just be a second while we wait for the license to come out.”

So, we stood there, looking at each other.

Then, she took my check and ran it through the machine again and gave me a new receipt.

“Um, you already did this.”

“What do you mean?”

I held up both receipts.  “You ran my check through twice.”

“Aw, shit,” she said, and I looked at Monkey Girl to see if she caught that and was going to lecture DMV lady, but she didn’t even raise an eyebrow.

She called over her supervisor who didn’t understand that she had processed the transaction twice.  He kept telling her it was no big deal that she ran the check through twice, and she kept trying to explain that her cash drawer wouldn’t zero out at closing because she ran the transaction through the computer twice…not just stamping the check in the machine.

When he finally got it, he said he needed to get the instructions on how to void a transaction.

“Can I go?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said.  “No,” she said.

I stayed.

Ten minutes later, we were free to go, and, as it turns out, there was absolutely no reason that I should have had to stand there for the extra ten minutes but for my fear of this woman.

We walked out, got in the car and as we started to drive out of the parking lot, we were almost sideswiped by someone driving a little red car.

Terrible driver.

But I hear she’s an excellent parallel parker.

June 5, 2013

The Cry It Out Diaries

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

A few weeks ago, I wrote about our struggles with Tiny.

After we spent those three days in the hospital, he forgot how to put himself to sleep.

The little guy who used to say “Night Night, Mama” and roll over and go to sleep suddenly had to be put in the crib fast asleep or else no one was sleeping.

I knew what we had to do, but I didn’t want to.

We went to the doctor for a regular check-up and I explained what was going on and she said, “You need to let him cry it out.  He’s a smart boy and he’s a stubborn boy.”

Basically, she said he was playing us.

“Yeah, but he stands there and cries and I think he gets stuck and doesn’t know how to get back to laying down.”

She narrowed her eyes and looked at me.  “Amy…have you ever seen him stand and then sit in the crib?”

“Yes,” I answered, avoiding her gaze.

“He knows how to get down.  He’s choosing not to because he wants you to do things his way.  No 2 year old is going to stand up in his crib all night.  Eventually, he will have enough and he will lay down and go to sleep.”

I got home and told Real Man what she said and he said, “You knew that’s what she was going to say.  So, tonight?”

I agreed.  That night.

So, at bedtime, we went through the normal bedtime routine, and I’ll be damned if that little boy didn’t fall asleep in my arms while I was singing to him.

AND went through the transition from rocker to crib without waking up.

So…plans were postponed until the next night when he did exactly what I thought he’d do.

Snuggled in during singing and then when I put him in the crib, he popped up like a Jack in the Box and said “No, Mama!  No, Mama!”

I said, “Night, night sweetie.  I’ll see you in the morning,” and closed the door.

He. Wasn’t. Having. It.

So, first there were tears.  Tears and tears and tears.

It killed me, but I held strong.

After about four hours, I turned to Real Man and said, “I gotta go get him.”

Real Man said, “Amy…it’s been 7 minutes.”


So, I waited another 23 minutes and then I followed the doctors advice and went to his bedroom door…didn’t open it, just stood outside…and said “Tiny, it’s time for sleeping.  You need to lay down and go to sleep.”

That made him mad.

Tears were gone and now he moved into his best Linda Blair imitation.

“Mama!  Close the door!” (He gets “open” and “close” confused sometimes)  “Mama!  Michael said close the door!”

Let it go for 45 minutes this time, went back to the door, reassured him he was fine and told him to go to sleep.

So, he tried a different tactic.

“Mama?  Mama?  I like the iPad.  Pwease.  I like to play iPad.  Pwease?”

“Mama!  Mama!  Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?”

“Mama?  Mama!  I like-a get dressed now.”

After an hour, I went back to the door and told him it was time to sleep.

So, he started whining and crying, whining and crying.

Every now and then there would be little breaks that would last from 5 to 15 minutes when I knew he had fallen asleep while standing up, but then he would wake up and start calling again.

And extending the interval by 15 minutes each time, every few hours, I would go to the door and remind him that I was there and he was okay and it was time to go to sleep.

He cycled through exorcism, being cute, and crocodile tears throughout the night, never stopping for more than 15 minutes at a time.

Real Man eventually dozed, but I stayed up, listening to every breath, every silence, on pins and needles, all night long.

At 5:30 a.m. I decided to call it.

I got out of bed, walked to his room, opened the door and said “Good morning, sunshine!”

I wasn’t sure what I’d find.

I half expected him to be puffy faced, red-eyed, half-asleep hanging over the crib.

He was none of those.

I walked in, he stood up, clear-eyed, bright smile and said “Good morning, Mama!”

Which let me know that the doctor had been right.  He had been playing me like a baby grand.  My boy was fine.  He just wanted things to be his way.

He is, however, two, and so I was not the least bit surprised when he fell asleep on the two minute drive to his babysitters house.

I told her to let him sleep for a few hours, but he should be up by 11 a.m. otherwise, it was all going to spin out of control.

He had a great day at her house, and a wonderful afternoon at home, and at bedtime, I was geared up for whatever would come.

Real Man and I went through the bedtime routine and after songs, when I put him in the crib, up he popped.

“No Mama!”

I told him I loved him, but it was time for bedtime, and left the room.

He yelled at me through the wall for 20 minutes and then, just stopped.

I heard him lay down and that was that.

Of course, I suffer from the most common of motherhood diseases: silent child paranoia, and so after twenty more minutes, I went into his room to make sure he was okay.

He was fine.  Fast asleep, face was dry, confirming there had been no tears, and sleeping peacefully.

On the third night, as I walked him to his crib and put him down, he said “Night, night, Mama,” and went right to sleep.

And so far, we haven’t looked back.

I know it’s not for everyone.

And believe me, if I had heard real sadness or despair in his voice at any time during the night, I would have gone right in there, scooped him up and rocked that boy to sleep.

But he was fine and even his days seem to be better now that he’s sleeping without any help.

I’m proud of him.  I’m proud of us.

It’s so hard to be a parent and to know what the right thing to do is, and the truth is, at the end of the day, there probably isn’t a “right” thing to do at all.

It’s just a “what works for us” thing.

So, we all keep trying and trying and trying and trying.

And, if we’re lucky…somewhere in there…something will work.

And we’ll get some sleep.

June 3, 2013

Summer is Coming

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:26 am

My Dad called us yesterday afternoon to see if he could take us out to dinner at Friendly’s.

The answer was a resounding yes.

It was a long, hot weekend, and we were all wilting.

I spent most of the weekend in the dog house around here because I have neglected to renew our pool membership yet, and it opened this weekend.

I was in the dog house with even myself, on this one, because the pool would have been fabulous this weekend.

Anyway, we got to Friendly’s at 5 and the place was packed.

Because there were 7 of us, they walked us all the way to the back where the big tables are, and as we passed family after family, the parents and I all made eye contact and gave each other the weary head-nod of summer.

You know the one.

The one that says “Too hot too cook? I get it.”

The one that says “It’s hard to keep up with my kids on a 60 degree day.  It’s nearly impossible on a 90 degree day.”

The head nod that implies “I wish I could have run through the sprinkler instead of doing the laundry and cleaning the house.”

The one that says “We still have a month before school is out, but we’re all on vacation in our minds.”

There are so many signs of summer, but that head nod…the head nod that unites all the parents in the summer on the end of a hot day…that’s the first one.

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