Sunday, March 30, 2008


I am a member of The Paralysis Resource Center, which is an online community that was started by the Christopher Reeve Foundation to help connect people facing paralysis to each other. I have met lots of great people there, and one in particular has become a pretty good long-distance friend - a woman named Cheryl. She and I have alot in common - we're both married, have one child, and want to do this whole parenting-from-a-chair thing in as uncomplicated a manner as possible. We connected before Cheryl got pregnant, as she was looking for someone who had some first-hand experience with having a spinal-cord injury and pregnancy. As I had just been through it, I jumped at the chance to help someone else who was facing a similar situation to mine!

Cheryl and her husband welcomed their first son a few weeks ago, and it's been really nice to have someone to compare notes with! Her husband made some pretty interesting adaptations to some of their nursery gear that I thought I would pass on. The crib, in particular, is pretty clever, and goes to show that a little ingenuity can go a long way! Here's what she sent to me:

Here's what their Pali "West Point" crib
looks like when closed (notice the latches?)

Here's what it looks like when it's opened up so that Cheryl can reach in

Here's their Stokke changing table,
which they adapted by removing a lower shelf
so that Cheryl can roll her wheelchair underneath
Sometime, when I get my pictures organized, I will post about some of the solutions we came up with, as we did things a bit differently than Cheryl and Mathew did. Either way, it's nice to have options, as well as a connection to someone else who may encounter similar obstacles and come up with creative solutions. That way, no one is having to reinvent the wheel!


It's been a few days since I've posted - not much exciting going on. As such, I thought that you might want to try a few of my best-kept secrets (if you haven't already!). Here they are, in no particular order:

1) Burts Bees Apricot Baby Oil - has a delicious scent, and is a fabulously versatile product. I use it to take off my eye makeup, as a really great after-bath moisturizer, and a cuticle conditioner.

2) Udderly Smooth Udder Balm - hands-down, one of the best hand creams I have found. Because of the chair's rubber tires and some medication that I have to take every day, dry skin (especially on my hands) is a constant uphill battle. This stuff is inexpensive, and really moisturizes your hands without leaving them greasy.

3) Creative Nails Solar Oil - a ten-second manicure in a bottle, I swear. I am ashamed to say I haven't gotten a manicure since Caroline was born (almost 20 months ago), but with this stuff in my bag, who needs one? It literally makes the ugliest of nails look like you just had them done.

4) Lily Padz Silicone Breast Pads - meant for nursing mothers, but I've found them really useful beyond that! They don't offer alot of support, but if you put them on, they keep everything looking really smooth - and are especailly great under cute summer tops when you don't want to wear a regular bra. I have raved about these to my friends for awhile - worth the investment (even if you don't have a baby...) I promise!

5) Clean and Clear Oil-Absorbing Sheets - a mini-makeup miracle for the bargain price of under $3.00. Use these little blue sheets to blot your face, and they suck up a rather disgusting amount of oil without taking any of your makeup off. They are a summer staple for me!

Monday, March 24, 2008


Okay, so I don't often post about celebrity stuff, but if you've read my blog, you know that I have this penchant for "The Hills", with all its smarmy catfighting and propensity to provide me with mindless viewing pleasure. I even have gotten Steve to watch it with me on occasion, and though he won't admit it, I think he's hooked too. In fact, the new season begins tonight, and one of the main reasons I am going to tune is because of the two crazy kids pictured above.

Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag are a completely dysfunctional couple with a maturity level not unlike the 16-year-olds who Dr. Phil was trying to talk into getting an annulment for their marriage last week on one of his episodes (just for the record, I don't often have time to watch Dr. Phil during the day - it was on in the background, I promise...). They provide so much fodder for Us Weekly on a, well, weekly basis that I would think the magazine must owe them some sort of royalties at this point. When I saw this picture today, I laughed out loud - I mean, dressing up like bunnies to go to a daytime Easter egg hunt that was most likely meant for children? Although with these two, I wouldn't put anything past them. In previous photos, we've seen Heidi sitting on Spencer in a bikini while he does push-ups, riding in a wheelbarrow while picking pumpkins for Halloween, and eating tacos to promote a world hunger relief organization, among others. They love them some good papparazzi! If you haven't seen "The Hills" yet, catch it tonight at 10 - I promise it will become a show that you love to hate (and yet can't stop watching, kind of like a car accident).

Sunday, March 23, 2008


We had a wonderful Easter Sunday, and we hope you did, too! Since I'm Catholic and Steve is Jewish, I have to give him some pretty big props for pulling it together to not only help get things set for our day, but also to be in the car so early this morning. After 7:30 am mass, we had a nice breakfast for just the three of us, followed by a dinner at our house for 40+ (thankfully with some help from all our guests)! That's how we roll around here... Even though it was 53 degrees outside, it was a gloriously sunny, clear day and the heaters on our deck kept us warm so that it didn't feel too claustrophobic inside (or so we hear...). We also had a quick Easter egg hunt on our lawn for our littlest guests and neighbors - here are some pics from that portion of our day:

Steve starts the hunt with a head-start for the little kids, and cousin Josh finds an egg...
Cousin Camryn and our neighbor Charlie are on the hunt!
The best part about having sisters: cousins Camryn and Morgan pose in their matching dresses!
"Uncle" Marc gives Caroline a ride around the hunt.
Caroline, as always, is on the move - I tried to get a cute pic in her
Tiffany blue and brown dress, but to no avail.
A blue egg for her blue dress... and her "Bunnies by the Bay" coat from Aunt Suzy!
We tried to take a picture of all the kids together, but no such luck. Oh well - there's always next year! No matter what holiday you celebrate, we hope it's as memorable as our was. Happy Easter, and Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Sadly, this isn't a freebie for everyone out there, but if you are a parent who's in the market for a double stroller, this is for you! At Right Start, when you purchase the Phil & Ted's Single Sport Buggy, you get the doubles kit for free (and it's an $89.99 value). The stroller itself is a bit pricey at $399.00, but Phil & Ted are known for making sturdy, versatile equipment that can handle lots of different scenarios and should last through multiple children in a family. With the doubles kit, you can carry an infant and toddler or two toddlers, and it collapses fairly easily to fit in in the trunk of your car. Additionally, since this is set up similar to a jogging stroller, it is only as wide as a single stroller, which is good for navigating doorways when out and about. While it might seem weird to us to ride so low to the ground, something tells me that a little kid would find this to be the coolest spot in the stroller. We have some friends who own the doubles kit and they say it works just fine for their kids (ages 17 months and 3 years old). Unfortunately for us, this stroller won't fit our current need for something that weighs less than our Bugaboo (they are both around 24 pounds), but I just thought I'd pass this good deal along!


Here's Caroline on her first birthday this past Summer -
a seemingly small event to plan. Wait until she gets older
and she actually knows what's going on...

This morning, I got my daily newsletter in my inbox from Urban Baby. They had an article about planning the perfect Easter party for kids, with a great link I wanted to share with you. It's for a party-planning site called Peppers and Pollywogs, which is a place to get all kinds of really fabulous ideas for different kinds of parties - from birthdays for kids of all ages, to christenings, to holiday parties for everyone. The site is particularly great because it's sorted into sections that include "goodie bags," "invitations," and "music suggestions." You also can browse vendors by city (if you are interested in hiring one), or email a request for help to come up with an invitation rhyme (albeit for a fee...). As stationery designers and co-owners of Penny-Bear Printing, my partner Christy and I deal regularly with parents who are planning events for their kids. I think Peppers and Pollywogs is an awesome resource for all of us!

Monday, March 17, 2008



It's St. Patrick's Day, and whether you have a some Irish blood in you (like me) or are an honorary member just for the day, one sure-fire way to avoid getting pinched is to have a little green on you. Here are some fabulous green recommendations from The Pink Totebag...

At J Crew: cafe' capris or a polished cotton baby-doll top

At Vineyard Vines: seersucker shamrock tie or shamrock flip-flops

At Old Navy: Embellished patent t-strap sandals

At Tervis: Insulated tumblers with a shamrock patch (for all that green beer you'll be drinking)


Sunday, March 16, 2008


1) I got to meet my cousin Eileen and her husband's new baby (and my Godson), Nicholas!

2) Saturday afternoon's weather was so fabulous that I joined my other cousins, Mikey and Brian, Brian's fiancee' Kara, and our friend Bob for delicious margaritas on the rooftop patio at Tia Queta - sans baby (she was with Steve's parents). The only thing that would have made it better would have been if Steve could have joined us, but he was working on his thesis - sigh. Later, drinks at our friends' Christy and Mark's house, capped off the night for both of us! A fun day, to be certain!

3) American University (my alma mater) finally made it into the NCAA tournament for the first time in the history of their basketball program! Go Eagles!

4) Caroline's lime green Crocs from Aunt Suzy finally fit - and now she won't take them off. They really are too cute on her.

5) I got to take TWO naps - both Saturday and Sunday (and anyone with kids knows that this IS something to get excited about)!

All in all, it was a good weekend. How was yours?


With the warmer weather finally starting to show up around here in the DC area, we've been spending alot of time outside lately! Here are a few pictures from some recent visits from our friend Madison and cousins Morgan and Camryn (PS - Please excuse the messy deck! It's in need of a good sweep and power-wash...):

Thursday, March 13, 2008


This had me laughing for a good 5 minutes this afternoon. A big thank you to my good friend Tina for passing it along! Happy Almost-Spring (and Easter), everyone!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


It's been a bit since I've posted - so sorry to all of my devoted readers! I promise I haven't abandoned you... just not too much new to report over the past few days.

I decided that this post would be about a really nice visit we had today with one of my favorite people - my Aunt Karen. She's one of my several spunky, fun aunts (I'm lucky to come from a big, fabulous family) who has really been like a second mother to my sisters, me, and pretty much anyone who knows her. She has three sons of her own, a couple of daughters-in-law, and pretty much anyone who has ever met her to call her children. She's just that kind of person. We all adore her, and wouldn't dare say "no" to her - she's one of those people you just can't argue with. She's fun-loving, kind, and one of the most giving people I know. I am so glad that Caroline is having the chance to get to know her the way that we all have.

Every day is a good day when my aunt gets over to visit. You see, my fabulous, fun-loving Aunt Karen is in a big fight right now - against ovarian cancer. Specifically, she has ovarian sarcoma and ovarian epithelial cancer, the former being incredibly rare and both being hard to treat. She's been through surgery and two rounds of chemo, and just keeps on trucking. We've been really lucky so far - aside from a bumpy recovery from surgery, she's been handling the chemo surprisingly well at this point. She's suffered some of the standard side-effects when it comest to this stuff - some joint pain, and her hair has all but fallen out and she's moved on to scarves and wigs. I know all of you readers out there who know Aunt Karen would definitely agree with me when I say that we wouldn't expect anything but feist from Aunt Karen when it comes to fighting this fight, and her spirit is certainly helping all of us to keep our eyes on the ball where her cancer is concerned - it's a fight we will win.

So our fun visit today had a job attached to it - there's always a project when Aunt Karen is around. This time, we were going to have our own little "Glamour Shots" session for Aunt Karen to show off her new wigs. She had already picked out one that looks extremely similar to her natural hair in style and color, but when she attended a "Look Good, Feel Better" program at the nearby National Cancer Institute at NIH a couple of weeks ago, they let her pick out a second, shall we say, dramatic one - it's blonde (not Aunt Karen's color) and as she says, looks alot like Dolly Parton (not Aunt Karen's style)! I guess if there's one time to take a risk and try something daring, this is it! Lots of Aunt Karen's friends have been asking to see what they look like, so we took some pictures to post on her website. I thought I would share them with my readers here, because I want everyone to know that people who have cancer are spending each day living with it rather than dying of it. My aunt is helping everyone she knows to see that we can face the challenges that come our way with the right attitude, a little laughter, and alot of love from family and friends. She is living her life to the fullest, just as she always has, and I consider it a gift to have the chance to learn a little something from her as I join her on her journey. So here's a recap of our photo session...
Aunt Karen and Caroline have a snack in the playhouse before the photo shoot...
Aunt Karen - before "Sun-In" and after "Sun-In"
Caroline - before "Sun-In" and after "Sun-In"!
The two beauties!

Monday, March 3, 2008


This morning, I came across a really well-written, concise summary of the candidates' stances on the issues that are most pressing to families today - including education, health care, and medical leave. As this year's election is already being called historic for many reasons, I'm certain all TPT readers are going to be voting (and some may still have upcoming primaries in their states). I thought this was worth passing along!