Sunday, August 29, 2010


It rained here for days last week, and since then something has shifted. The air has changed. It is not necessarily colder in temperature, although I think the mornings are cooler, but the air is just different. It's crisper. It's not as steamy and humid.

It's almost like...autumn.

I can't believe it's coming. Summer flew by in the blink of my baby's growing eyelashes. And now the season is changing. The strangest part, though, is that I'm kind of excited!

I always enjoy the fall, but I never really look forward to it per say. It always means back to school, back to work, back to schedules, and no more summer sunshine freedom. I always loved school, but never quite wanted summer to end. Until this year. I'm not really dreading it...and I attribute that to my sweet peanut.

I can't wait to show her leaves. And go for walks while they swirl around us. And sit on our hammock in sweaters and jeans. And watch Daddy carve pumpkins. And make her a pureed Thanksgiving dinner. And go apple picking and pumpkin picking and on hayrides. And watch her see her changing world, and learn exponentially as it happens.

To see the trees she knows as green change to brilliant shades. To see the home she knows so well become covered in pumpkins and leaves and harvest decorations. To feel the only air she knows go from hot and sticky to cool and bright.

Hubby and I always have so much fun in the fall. But never as much fun as this year. I'm embracing the season changing this year, rather than wishing it away for a time.

We get to watch the world from new little shining blue eyes. And I can't wait to see what it looks like.

Love & Leaves,

Dirt Road Mama

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Just a Simple Trip to the Dentist

I remember it was last winter, I was pregnant, and I was at the dentist. I was scheduling my next appointment, and excitedly talking with the dental hygienist (who kindly pretended to care) about how next time, I would have a BABY with me! I pictured my little 3 month old sitting quietly in her seat in the corner of the room, as I got my teeth cleaned. Peace and glory.

Then the dental hygienist rudely interrupted my dreams by suggesting that maybe I made the appointment on the same day as my Hubby, so it would be easier. Sure, I thought. Why not? Family trip to the dentist!

Fast forward 5 minutes, and here we are, at the dentist. With our baby. In her brand new pink hoodie and sweats and headband that made her look like she should be in a mirrored room dancing to "She's a Maniac". Which I may or may not have acted out in the bathroom mirror as we got ready. Moving on...

Preface: This is the first day in Reilly's 13 weeks of life that we left the house without her "clean clothes" pouch, which has a change of clothes for every kind of weather. I just forgot it, and thought, "Oh well, what are the chance we'll actually need a change of clothes." Yeah.

We go to the dentist. Baby is angelic in waiting room. Mama goes first, since baby is not hungry at the present moment. Mama gets cleaned and x-rayed. Mama goes back out to waiting room. Daddy says he just changed Baby, she may be getting hungry, and goes in for cleaning. Mama feeds baby. Nurse comes out, Mama needs to go in and get checked by Doctor. Mama and Baby head into room. Nurses coo over baby.

Daddy comes into room, and goes back out to waiting room with still-angelic baby. Mama gets her teeth checked. Mama goes leisurely back out to waiting room, to make next appointments. Approximately 7 nurses say as they pass me, one of the following statements:

"I think your baby is crying."
"Your husband is in the bathroom with your baby."
"Is that your baby that's crying?"
"Excuse me, your baby is crying in the waiting room."

Yes, thank you. I heard, thank you. Oh, thank you, time to eat again! Yes, her dad's got it, thank you. (Walking, walking, walking.)

Arrive at desk...which is next to waiting room...which has bathroom right off of it. In which everyone can hear a crying baby.
Sit down at desk to make next appointment. Woman says, "Are you the one with the baby? She's crying." [Points to the bathroom less than 5 feet away from where we are.]

Yes. I am aware of the crying. However contrary to popular belief in this office, she has 2 parents and is currently being taken care of by one of them. So thank you, but I think she's going to survive.

Mama continues to make appointment quickly, since baby is hungry, presumably. Runs into bathroom to check dates with Hubby. And then I saw it.

The scene that would not even be believed had we been in a "Dad Take Baby to the Dentist" movie. I see my diaper bag torn open in the floor, wipes EVERYWHERE, her onesie and sweatpants strewn about, a dirty diaper open in the floor, her changing mat covered in poop, poop on the floor, an out-of-breath Super Dad, and a baby in his arms in a diaper and her pink hoodie unzipped, who looked at me all shocked as I opened the bathroom door. I could barely keep myself from laughing. Luckily, Hubby was in the same state. We had to laugh at the chaos. I had forgotten why I needed Hubby to begin with. My Hubby said only one thing to me. "Could you zip her hoodie?"

I could only think of one question at the time..."Where are the pants?"

Apparently everything except her hoodie was covered in poop. Swell. So I grabbed baby, Hubby grabbed my water bottle, my bag, her seat, and her various other belongings, and I headed out the door. With little wide-eyed baby in a hoodie and diaper.

The woman at the desk seemed to think I could come over and have a nice little chat about my next appointment. Um...should I just mail you the bill? Yes, yes that would be a good idea.

"Honey, we have so many errands to run! We can't run errands with a pants-less baby!" I said.

But we did. I fed baby, buckled baby, covered her in my zebra-printed breast feeding shawl so she still looked chic, and ran our errands. Luckily, she then fell asleep and no one could tell that she was half naked, it appeared that she was wearing zebra pants. Awesome. Luckily, we're glass-half-full kind of people, so we headed to Dunkin and forged on. And we came home and actually reflected on our outing as being quite successful.

It's amazing how hilariously eventful life becomes.

Love & Dirty Diapers,

Dirt Road Mama

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ellies & Giraffes

Here is Reilly in her room, relaxing on a rainy day!

She has her elephant stuffed animal, and her elephant print above the bed. Elephants are Mama and Reilly's favorite, right babygirl?

Uh, Mama? I think we have to talk...

Sure, what's up Rei? And who's that sitting next to you on the couch?

Well, you see Mama, he is my friend the giraffe.

The giraffe?

Yes. He is just so pretty and pink! Can we love giraffes, too?

Of course we can, Baby! All of the animals are our friends!

Yay! I'm so glad we can all be friends. Wanna snuggle the giraffe, Mama? He's very snuggly.

Sure, sweet pea! Can I snuggle with you, too?

Okay, Mama!

Love & Zoo Animals,

DR Mama

Friday, August 20, 2010

She Said Yes.

You may remember my Sissy, previous posts. If you have not read about her, feel free to laugh your bum off here and here. She is one of a kind, that girl.

And now, she is a BRIDE!!!!!!!!

Yesterday, my sister got engaged to the love of her life, EB. Sissy and EB are perfect for each other. Well, they are just perfect in general. They compliment each other in the most wonderful ways - opposites in some respects, perfect companions in others.Allow me to give you a little glimpse into Sissy and EB's life together.

This is probably the day they met. Luckily, their sister is a stalker and lunatic with the camera, and decided to take paparazzi pictures of them in their early days. They met at training to be Resident Assistant's at our college. We were all RA's - Hubby, Sissy, EB and I. I know, so cute, right?

Anywho, here they are. Don't be fooled - underneath those baggy sweats and chinstrap, is a genius. I'm not kidding, he is so smart. I mean, obviously, look who he chose for a wifey! But seriously, he is a nurse manager at a hospital in New York, and one of the hardest working and most intelligent people I know. Like, knows all the Jeopardy answers and does Thursday crossword puzzles smart.

Which is how one of the ways he is so compatible with "working on my second Master's degree" Sissy. Talk about acing your way through college. Now street smarts, are a bit of a different story - but that's where EB helps her out a bit. And Sissy brings spice to his life - she's always keeping him laughing. And I mean always. They're two peas, I tell ya.

Which bring me to their first day of school together. Look at these little babies! Sissy and her books and fro yo! All ready for class. I don't even think they were exclusively dating yet here...however there was an incident in the Dining Hall where a girl came up to EB and started flirting, and I may have stated that "I'll smack a bitch.", if anyone came near him.

He knew right away that I was protective, I believe. Did I ever mention that most of Sissy's boyfriend's were frightened of me? It's true. Not EB though - we've been his Seester since the beginning. What they had together was always right.

This is from Sissy's twenty-first birthday. Let's just say...EB is holding her hair. Great times, great people. The next day, Hubby and I were there when EB and Sissy first said they loved each other. It was a beautiful moment that the four of us will always carry in our hearts.

It did not take long for EB to become a member of our family, and Sissy a member of his. He is a brother to my Hubby and Matthew, he is a fellow Giants fan - which enhanced the love exponentially. Hubby loves EB - so much that he was a groomsman in our wedding. And he a master of the grill and pool boy for my Mama - reasons of which she will one day build him a shrine.

Lastly, he is already an Uncle. We all know Sissy's obsession (understatement) with this little babygirl...but EB's love for her is quieter. He holds her, and talks to her, and teaches her lessons of music legends and anatomy of the human body. He loves this little girl, which shows me how much he loves my Sissy, and will one day love their little green-eyed beautiful babies.

God has made the timing perfect for these two. They are more in love than I have ever seen them. They golf together, cook together, grow together. Since they have met, I have seen them both grow as selfless, caring individuals, as a part of a loving and understanding couple. I think they were always meant to start their lives together right now - because Reilly can be there to see it.

Sissy and EB - don't listen to those who may tell you otherwise - marriage is amazing. Marriage is beautiful. Marriage is another way that God shows us love, and for us to show God's love to everyone. You two are starting your happiest years.

As for me? Well...I'm an MOH. Matron, that is. Gross word. But I have a few words to share with the world....


Don't worry - engagement pics and ring pics to follow!

Love to my happy bride and groom,

Dirt Road Mama

Ice Cream & Mini Golf

Today we went mini golfing with Reilly. It was her first trip, so naturally, we took pictures and are saving the scorecard.

[Pictures to come - my camera is out of reach and babygirl is sleeping on me]

Anyway, while golfing, there was a hole where you had to hit the ball uphill, and therefore quite hard. I barely tapped it.

Hubby looked at me, as I scampered to retrieve my ball, shouting "Oops, let me do it again, that didn't count! I was distracted thinking about what flavor ice cream I was going to get!"

Hubby promptly replied, "What are you, eleven? You are a mother. With responsibilities. And a child!"

I proceeded to laugh hysterically. I was distracted by ice cream at another one of the 18 holes. And I thought about what he said.

Maybe, the part of me that loves ice cream, is still eleven. A little piece of my heart. Then there is a part that is fifteen and still skips a beat when Hubby leaves me love notes. Then another part is like sixty-five, the part that love "Singin' in the Rain", and "White Christmas". Then another part is twenty-one, and can throw back margaritas with my sissy and mama at any hour of any day. And the largest part, is a twenty-three year old wife and mama. Who loves her hubby and child so fiercely that when she sees them on the couch together in the morning, it is overwhelming. Overwhelmingly blessed.

But I like the eleven year old part. The part that mini golfs and eat ice cream cones. I hope I am always so content in my life that ice cream flavors can be distracting. I know I will always be, though. I have that faith in God. Not saying there will be storms, because there always are. But if you notice, God always provides an ice cream cone. Always. Even during storms.

Just don't go mini golfing during a storm. That could be dangerous.

Love & Ice Cream,

DR Mama

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Strangest Dinner Craving

I haven't had a craving this strange since I was pregnant.

Disclaimer: I am not pregnant.

Anyway, not since I had a pregnant craving for broccoli casserole for dinner, doubled the recipe because I loved it and wanted to much of it, and then had one serving, vomited, and have never eaten again, have I wanted to eat something so much.

The reason why it is strange, is because I am craving a hot dog. Now don't get me wrong, hot dogs are great, very American and all. But I just don't cook them for dinner. I don't know why, they are just perfect for baseball games for me, not my dinner table. I actually found a package of hot dogs hiding in my freezer that have been there for 2 years. That is since we moved in. That is pathetic.

Anyway, this meal reminds me of my childhood. Hot dogs, with cheddar cheese, wrapped in crescent rolls. I'm making them with sweet Pennsylvania corn on the cob. And I am very excited.

P.S. Up until yesterday, I thought my mama invented this meal. Then I saw a kid eating it on a crescent roll commercial. And I was shocked that he crescent people knew about it.

Kind of like the time I thought my Dad invented the concept of a "Zerbot" (a "raspberry" on a child's tummy), and then I saw it on the Cosby show. I called him at the age of 20, quite confused.

I felt the need to share this for some reason. Thank you.

Love & Hot Dogs,

Dirt Road Mama

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


"They called them crazy when they started out.
Said seventeen's too young to know what love's about.
They've been together fifty-eight years now.
Ain't that crazy?"

I was actually 18 here. Hubby had just turned 20.
We had been together for three years at this point.
A three year high school long distance relationship.
We knew we would get married. We always knew.
Most people said we were crazy.
We weren't in love, we didn't know what love was, we were too young to know what love was.

That always made me laugh.
How old do you have to be to know how to love? Who decides the age?

Then came engagement. I was 19 and in college.
Too young to get married! Enjoy your twenties! Don't you want to have fun in college?
That's when I knew it. They didn't know what love was.
I just smiled.
We had fun...together. We would enjoy our twenties...together.
I always told them...God brought us together early so we could experience this love for a longer time.
You may say crazy...I say blessed.

People have different definitions of love.
And being twenty three.
Or seventeen.
But I was in love at seventeen.
I'm in love at twenty three.
And you may call us crazy.

But don't worry about us.
We're living our twenties to the fullest.

And it feels...crazy.

A crazy kind of love.

Love like Crazy,

Dirt Road Mama

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Three months old! I can hardly believe it's true. Weren't you just in my womb? Didn't you just fall out of me? Fastest three months of my whole life. Were they the fastest three months of your life, babygirl?

Here are some changes that I have noticed this month. It was the most changes I've seen yet!!
1. Reilly smiles!! A beautiful, bright, contagious, bashful, dimpley smile. YES she has a dimple! A perfect little dimple on her right cheek. Look at this face...

[Attention. I have no idea why only one snap is snapped on her onesie. This is mortifying to me. I can only guess that it was not me who changed her last diaper? But who would have left her looking so disheveled? I guess it's better than a poop stain. Sorry, baby!]

2. She is a little chunky monk! All my breastmilk is chunking her up, and I love it. Her cheeks are so kissable, and her thighs are rolly polly and delicious.

3. She talks! Well, babbles. She will lay in her crib in the morning and make happy squeely noises until we come in. Then she smiles and squirms around all excited to see us.

4. She laughs!! It started last Tuesday, she starts squeeling and screaming with this huge smile on her face. In the course of the week she started really laughing, and it's the greatest sound in the world. Also, when she is really laughing, she starts hiccuping. How hilarious is that.

5. She kicks up storm! Which is not new. But it never ceases to amaze me how much she kicks. She has been a crazyyyy kicker since the womb. She would kick me in the middle of the night, all day long, starting at 5 am as soon as she heard Brett's alarm. The doctor would ask if I was counting her kicks, and I laughed. I would literally be counting all day. And she's still a little kicky girl! Her legs are blurry in most pictures of her. It's so funny.

6. She found her hands! She always tried to put her fists in her mouth when she was hungry, but now she has discovered them. She holds them up in front of her nose, and twists them around studying them. It's adorable. And she's opening her fists and separating her fingers!

7. She is imitating sounds. If you say "Hi-ee" in a sing song voice, she'll sing it back to you in the same tune. If she's in the mood. Sometimes she just stares at you.

8. She loves reading! She will sit in my lap as I read to her. I just keep reading until she get squirmy, and she sits for like 4 books!

9. Finally...drum roll ...SHE SLEEPS THROUGH THE NIGHT!!! She has slept from 9 pm till 6 am!! Several nights now. It's glorious. I love sleep. And the morning. And my sleepy wonderful babygirl. It's certainly not every night, but now she is capable!! She can do it. When she wakes up, I praise her for about 20 minutes telling her what a good girl she is and proud I am of her, hoping the positive reinforcement works. I wish I could reward her with ice cream or something.

I fall more in love with her every day. And that is probably an understatement for her Daddy. She is so much fun, and just this happy little peanut that comes with us everywhere we go. I am convinced she could make anyone smile. I can't wait to see what next month brings!

Love & Growing Babygirl,

DR Mama

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Summer Dinner Part 2: Zucchini Soup

This soup has become my new favorite deliciousness.

The thing I love about farm fresh seasonal veggies, is that each season there is something amazing to look forward to. For me, summer is zucchini. Autumn is apples and butternut squash. Spring is artichokes.

I will eat zucchini in any way, shape, or form. My favorite summer meal is zucchini sauteed in EVOO with salt and pepp, until browned and golden, and tossed with angel hair pasta. Another meal from my grandma, creator of the best pasta dish you'll ever make.

Anyway, this dish is a close second for zucchini meals. Doesn't look like much, but tastes divine.

Step 1: Peel and slice up 1 zucchini. Saute one large zucchini with 1 medium onion in olive oil (EVOO). (I usually use 2 zucchini because I'm obsessed. It's not a science.)

Add your salt and pepp, and 1 teaspoon of oregano.

Saute on medium-high heat until all goldeny and browny and amazing. If some bits become almost blackened, don't be nervous it's yummy flavor.

Once veggies are done to your liking, add 1 cup of chicken broth and simmer and stir for a bit. Clearly, I am very specific with my directions. I just simmer it for a few minutes, so that it doesn't boil off, but softens the veggies nicely.

I use store brand broth. Let's be honest, you can't really screw up chicken broth.

This is what it should look like right before it gets tossed in the blender. I use the phrase "tossed in the blender" as one would use the term "jump in the shower". You don't really jump. That would just be silly. And consequently, you don't really toss. You very carefully transfer with a ladle so as not to burn yourself. But that takes a long time to say.

So throw it in the blender, and remove that little plastic piece from the top of the blender! When making pureed soups, and you don't have an immersion blender, you must remove this piece in order to let the steam out the stop as you blend. Blend on very low! We don't want eyes getting burned off.

You may have to blend 1/2 the mixture, put into a bowl, and then do the other half so it doesn't spray around your kitchen.

This is what it will look like. Again, you may not look at this soup and think "Wow, I want to eat that right now!" But trust me. It's insane.

Now, here is a tip a just learned about pureed creamy soups!! At this point, you would usually add some cream, half and half, or milk to make it a bit creamier and achieve a nice soup consistency. However, my new discovery is SOUR CREAM! Healthier, flavorful, and always in my fridge! I don't often have heavy cream lying around, but sour cream seems to always be at hand. I love a good heavy cream soup, but sometimes a healthful alternative is necessary and perfect.

Serve with a meal that include crusty bread for dipping, ie: pesto pizza, or as an impressive appetizer in a little cup! Impressive yet simple is my favorite kind of meal.

As always, with every soup ever known to mankind, top with grated pecorino cheese. It makes everything better.

Go make this tonight. And if you are like me, double it and have it for lunch tomorrow too!

Love & Veggies,
DR Mama

Summer Dinner Part 1: Pesto Pizza

Dinner in the summertime is a different breed of cookin'. It just is. It's fresher, greener, colder, lighter, and quicker. This may just be summer meals in my house, but I find it to be very true. I don't want to be roasting and sweating in front of the oven, I want to be roasting and sweating under the sun. Let's get things straight here.

So I bring you, Summer Meal Part 1 of 2. Even though we had both things in one night. I'm separating the recipes to keep things orderly. These meals are easy, I tell ya. Easy and delicious. As in, I would have them once a week. If I was one of those people who had the same meal every Monday or something, this might be a Monday meal.

But I could never be one of those "every Monday is pasta, every Tuesday is meatloaf" people. I fly by the seat of my pants. It's how I was raised. Variety in your diet! Variety and moderation and deliciousness.

So...Pesto Pizza. Begin with your favorite already made dough. If you live near an amazing pizza place, like I used to on Long Island, you would go there and ask them for some dough. Otherwise, your grocery store should have some in your freezer section. I happen to be obsessed with the dough that a market near me has, so I used that.

Work the dough. Knead the dough. Love the dough. The key to pizza making - let the weight of the dough stretch itself out. Once it gets loose, don't keep pulling and tugging. Move the dough from fist to fist, and let it pull itself down.

If you have a pizza stone, use that. I need a pizza stone. Ahem. Hubby. Christmas. Hint. Wink.

Anyway, I used a regular baking sheet, lightly greased.

Lightly brush the dough with EVOO. Very lightly!

Then, spread on a generous amount of pesto sauce. Fresh basil from the garden = heaven.

[Don't know how to make pesto?! Let's learn in 30 seconds. It's so easy. No cooking. GO.
2 cups (or 1 bunch from the store) fresh basil, 1/2 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese, 3 cloves garlic, 3 TBl. pine nuts, 1/4 cups EVOO. Blend in food processor OR blender. That's it!

Don't go crazy with amounts - throw in more oil if you want it less thick, add more cheese if you love it, less garlic if you hate it...roll with the pesto.]

Then, add tomatoes, sliced very thin.

Add fresh mozzarella, also sliced thin. Can use shredded as well.

Throw on some grated Romano as well, for kicks. And because it's heavenly.

Bake at 500 degrees for about 8 minutes. The key to pizza is HIGH oven for SHORT time.

YUMMY. My favorite.

Next up - the soup that could bring about world peace.

Love & Pesto,

DR Mama

While Mama Cleans My Room

Sometimes, while Mama cleans my room up (I'm a messy little chicky sometimes...), I chill out in my crib. I watch my elephant mobile go round and round! Isn't it pretty?

Hi, Mama. Are you done cleaning yet? Me and my elephant friend here are getting bored. We want to read some books.

Love & Crib Chillin',

DR Mama

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Istead of Chores, We Take Pictures

Hi Reilly!

Mama loves taking pictures of you.

"You do Mama?" said Reilly.

Of course!

"How come?" asked Reilly.

Well, because you are so adorable. You stare at me with those big blue eyes, and now you are smiling and talking to me, too! I never want to forget how beautiful you are to me every day.

"Thank you Mama! I think you're pretty, too." said Reilly.

That's not all, Rei! Mama takes pictures to take us away from chores. Remember yesterday, you were smiling at me while I was folding laundry, so we had a photo shoot instead?

"Yes, that was fun Mama! This is the game we play in the mirror when Super Baby flies at me! I like this game." Reilly replied.

But you know why else I take pictures Rei?

Because you are such a miracle, how you grow every day. And how you learn. And I love you so much that I just want to hold onto you each day, and remember exactly how you are, and never let you go.

And I want you to be able to look back and giggle at faces like this:

"Tee hee hee! I'm funny, Mama."

Yes, Reilly you are my funny bunny.

Love & Pictures,

DR Mama

Sunday, August 1, 2010

All Kinds a Pretty

Oh, hi pretty girls!I'm her babygirl

She's holding my babygirl.

She carried me.

I carried her.

We carry each other.

The circle of love.

It's a beautiful thing.

Love & Daughters,

DR Mama