Tuesday, April 29, 2008


A staple on the New York City family scene, Kidville is the place to find lots of the resources that savvy parents and children from birth until age 5 need and want. I've been seeing it mentioned for awhile now in Cookie Magazine, and occasionally mentioned in US Weekly (aka "my newspaper") when different celebs and their kids have stopped by. The company, which has four locations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, is taking the next step by expanding their franchise so that those of us who live outside of NYC can take advantage of their creative classes, kid-friendly facilities, and more.

Kidville is coming to Rockville, Maryland in September 2008. For those of you who are familiar with the area, it will be located in Congressional Plaza, in the space above The Container Store that was formerly occupied by Tower Records. Although their national website doesn't have updated information about the location, the program guide that arrived at my house already has me excited about what it's going to be like.

They are going to have really fun-sounding classes that have gotten great reviews at the NYC locations, including "Ballet Tea Party" (dance), "Construction Junction" (building and creativity), "Savvy Scientists" (experiments), and "Silver Spoons and Plastic Plates" (cooking), plus lots more. The facility will also house a full-service kids' salon and a boutique. Although the classes are a bit pricey, their sessions are long (16 weeks), and come with a free annual membership so that you can take advantage of any special programs they hold, or use their indoor playground for a full year. They also will have Kidville University (pre-school), host birthday parties, and have several different summer camps (think "Superhero Training Camp"!). I personally can't wait to try it, and it will be closer to our new house. If you're in the area, be sure to check it out!

Monday, April 28, 2008


So we are moving. I haven't posted about this yet, as my husband is completely superstitious about it and didn't want me to jinx it or something by writing about it before we went to closing. Something about things going smoothly or whatever.

We found our new house almost by accident. One of our good friends emailed us about a sale that popped up on her neighborhood's listserve, and if I hadn't looked in my spam folder I would have missed it. It was being sold because the couple who lived there were relocating for work and family. It's adorable - a large cape cod that has much more space than it seems from the outside, has 4/5 bedrooms and 4 full baths, has been mainly renovated or updated (and what hasn't been updated is in good shape). The yard is so much bigger than our current house's, with flat land that will be easy on kids and my chair. I can get to all parts of the house, including storage, after we install an elevator (which I am THRILLED about!!!). Steve fell in love with it after we went to see it, and so we were sold. An offer was made, a contract was signed, and that was that! I breathed a huge sigh of relief about not having to live through a renovation here...

Well, as we approach Friday (closing day!!!), things are not as placid as they were when we started this process almost 3 months ago. Living though the stress of waiting for final mortgage approval, changes in the cost of the elevator (one potential contractor seemingly "forgot" to include the reconstruction of an outside stairwell in his initial estimate which is oh, just a piddly little 11-grand more...), packing with a toddler unpacking everything that you put into a box, trying to get this house ready to put on the market, and doing all of the above while Steve is writing his thesis and I'm getting us ready for a trip to Florida for a wedding... Oh, sigh. It's exhausting just thinking about it. Cocktails help. My mom and aunt help. I just can't wait until it's all done and settled and put away. Meanwhile, I am going to go pour myself a glass of wine. I'll keep you posted...

Monday, April 21, 2008


As some of you may have read awhile back, we've been going through the great debate of selecting a new stroller that will fit my changing needs in terms of Caroline's size and my wheelchair. This past weekend, we made our choice.

For the past 20 months, our trusty Bugaboo Chameleon has been fabulous, and I would recommend it to anyone, especially those of us who use wheelchairs. Although it is exorbitantly expensive, it has truly been worth every penny for us, as both Steve and I can push it easily. Although it's big, it comes apart into two pieces so that it's simple for me to put into my car. It has one telescoping handlebar instead of two fixed push handles, which is perfect for someone in a wheelchair who has to repeatedly switch hands to push the chair and the stroller. We were also able to buy an adaptor so that we could snap our infant seat right to it when Caroline was little. Most importantly, it's really sturdy and turns easily, which takes some of the strain off of my wrists - a good thing, since wheelchair users often develop chronic wrist issues (and I already have some pain from time to time). It doesn't hurt that it's a really cute stroller, either!

just three of the several set-up options for the fabulous Bugaboo Chameleon

Sadly, some issues evolved over time for us. The major drawback for the Chameleon from a wheelchair standpoint is its weight - the stroller itself weighs a bit over 20 pounds, which is fine with an infant but begins to get heavy as a baby grows. For me, this meant that, despite coming up with a system that attached the stroller to my chair with some large carabiners from a hiking store, I wasn't able to take Caroline out for walks in our hilly neighborhood in her stroller for too many months before she got too big and I had to begin using my Baby Bjorn with her on my lap. The hills, plus the weight of me, the wheelchair, the stroller, and Caroline, got to be too much for my "little stroller that could."

The Bugaboo still worked amazingly well when we were out and about (and continues to be a favorite purchase of ours), but our needs were changing as Caroline got more mobile. I needed something simple, quick, light, and easy to manage so that she and I wouldn't begin to feel trapped close to home as Caroline wanted to spend less time in her stroller while out running errands. We had to come up with the next solution to the ever-evolving challenge of managing a toddler from a wheelchair.

My hunt for our perfect next solution has been exhaustive. I've been to Buy Buy Baby and Great Beginnings umpteen times to test drive, lift, and collapse different models. I've scoured the internet and watched You-Tube videos of people using their strollers to see how easily they maneuver. I continually referred back to this great comparison chart to look at the features I knew we needed. I also talked to friends who are in wheelchairs and looked at some of the (limited) resources that are out there for adapted types of strollers. It's been a somewhat long and frustrating process, since we have to put even more thought into this kind of purchase than the average parent.

It finally came down to two strollers - the new Bugaboo Bee and the Quinny Zapp. Both strollers come from good brands who know their stuff in terms of building something sturdy and maneuverable, which is what kept bringing me back to them on my test drives. Their turning radiuses are quite tight, meaning that I could zip them around store displays and through crowds easily. They are both lighter than my Chameleon (the Zapp is the lighter of the two), and come with canopies and a small underseat bag.

Bugaboo Bee vs. Quinny Zapp

The major draw of the Bee for me is that it has the same telescoping handlebar as its big sister Chameleon, while the Zapp has two push handles (with a bar that spans between them that I could use to push, although it isn't padded). It also has a fully reclining seat and available adaptors with which to attach our infant carrier. The major draw for the Zapp is that it collapses so easily - just push two buttons on either side of the seat to fold the seat down, and then push a button underneath the seat with your hand or foot and it folds into a very small unit that's easy to handle. The Bee was much trickier for me, requiring more leg strength than I have and being set up to require to0 much contorting of my arms to fold with my hands. The Zapp doesn't officially recline, but sits at a bit of an angle so that if Caroline catnaps, it wouldn't be the end of the world. It's also less expensive. The decision was made.

We picked up our brand-new black Quinny Zapp this weekend and immediately took it out for a test-drive. It did well in the mall and was pretty easy to push up ramps (we'll have to see how it handles an incline on neighborhood walks). It was easy for me to lift Caroline into and out of, and maneuvered exceptionally well. When we collapsed it to put in the trunk of our wagon, we had plenty of room for my wheelchair, which was nice because with the Chameleon, Steve had to play a game of "Tetris" every time he tried to fit the pieces of the chair and stroller in the back of the car. Two drawbacks are that it gets tipsy if you hang too much on the handles, and that the underseat bag isn't too spacious. I ended up carrying stuff on my lap, which wasn't too bad. I'm used to feeling like a pack-mule these days with a toddler in tow.

Check out this video of how the Quinny Zapp works:

**Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page to turn off the music player before playing the video!**

I've also broken down and bought a baby harness for those times when Caroline just wants O-U-T of the stroller so that I can keep tabs on her. Although I hate to put her in it, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, right? I keep it in my bag and will have it when we're out with the stroller. The real stroller test for us will be a trip to Ft. Myer's Beach, Florida for my cousin Brian's wedding in May. I am excited to see how it handles at the airport - it comes with a travel bag that I think we'll pack it into before gate checking it. I will keep everyone posted!

Being in a wheelchair means that you have to constantly be on your toes, thinking about better ways to do the everyday things that many people take for granted. I've gotten used to this over the past almost 19 years that I've been in a chair. While it's not always fun to have to think about this stuff, I am always happy when I feel like I can pass along a new way to do something to others who might be in my situation. Hopefully then, they won't have to reinvent the wheel (no pun intended!). Maybe something I stumble across can help out my walking friends, too!


When I headed to our favorite childrens' shoe store with Caroline last week, I wanted to get these for her:

Instead, this is the kind of stuff was overrunning the shelves:

To be fair, there were some simple styles to be found, but alas, they would not fit my daughter's size-6 EW feet. Our very knowledgeable salesman Bill actually chuckled when I asked him if they carried plain white canvas Keds with the rubber toe like I wore back when I was a toddler - before he explained to me that 1) they weren't big sellers these days, and 2) most shoe companies didn't cater to the extra-wide sized toddler shoe set.

So here's my rant: When you walk into a childrens' shoe store these days, why does it look like someone came in and threw up sequins, blinking lights, velcro, and rhinestones all over the girls' shoe section? While I find the Lelly Kellis that my in-laws bought Caroline and the Crocs my sister Suzy gave her for Christmas to be quite cute (and I know she'll love both of them), she won't be able to wear them day to day, hence the hunt for some very classic, white summer shoes. I have looked everywhere, in every price range, from Nordstrom to Payless, Stride-Rite to Chez Target. No luck. Sigh. Here's what I ended up purchasing at the shoe store:

While they aren't my first choice (the butterfly cut-outs aren't quite how I roll...), they aren't too bad, and most importantly, they fit my little nugget's feet the best. Sadly, even the Keds website doesn't sell the sneakers in her width. Maybe I'll just have to settle for a pair of blinking Dora the Explorer tennies instead - not.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


The other day, I was tagged by Mom x2 , one of my new favorite bloggers, to list some unimportant things about me. Although I haven't finished my "100 things about me" list (which is also full of "unimportant" stuff - I got through #50 last week...), I consider it to be in poor form to let this linger for too long! Hopefully, you guys aren't sick of hearing inconsequential things about me (and if, after this, you are left wanting more, check back next week for the last 50 of my "100 things" list!)...

So here are the rules:

1) you link back to the person who tagged you
2) post these rules on your blog
3) share six unimportant things about yourself
4) tag random people at the end of your entry
5) let the tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blogs

So here goes...

1) While I wouldn't consider myself to be type-A, I do have this one strange quirk about me - I like to arrange things on my desk in right angles. If I have a stack of papers or something sitting there, it has to be laying straight, lined up with the edge of the desk or something. I know, weird.

2) My husband's cousin is Adam Duritz, the lead singer of the Counting Crows. This is unimportant because (sigh) we have never met him, which of course bummed my sisters out when they realized he wasn't going to be at our wedding (read: not going to get up on stage for an impromptu jam session during the reception). It's still kind of cool though, as we love his band's music...

3) I'm not a huge fan of chips, but I could polish off a large bag of Cheetos on my own in one sitting.

4) I'm fascinated by tornadoes. I have seen 3 in my life, which is alot considering I'm from the DC area and we don't get alot of that kind of stuff. I saw them in Florida. If I could talk enough friends into it, I would totally go on one of those storm-chaser vacations out in the mid-West, where they put you a Suburban, give you a camera and some GPS equipment and let you drive around for a week in the hopes of catching one.

5) I've broken my nose multiple times - on my count, it's been around 7. The first few times, it was sports-related. The last few times...well...don't ask. In the interest of saving my parents from a good deal of eye-rolling and perhaps that "cat face" that my mom makes when she is disappointed in us, let's just say there may or may not have been alcohol/elbows/a curb involved and leave it at that.

6) When I was two, I cut my younger sister's hair. She was one at the time, and was supposed to be having her picture taken the next day for a beautiful baby contest or something. That's not the best part, though. I did it on my parents' bed, and then had enough common sense to hide the evidence by pulling up the covers. They obviously saw my sister's hair and knew what had happened, but didn't find the remains until that night when they climbed into their bed, in the dark, and it got stuck to their backs. Here's what I say: serves you right for letting a two-year-old get a hold of scissors. Just kidding, Mom and Dad.

So I'm tagging...

Tickled Pink Talk


Monday, April 14, 2008

100 THINGS ABOUT ME (numbers 1 through 50)

Since this is meant to be as much a journal for myself as it is to put my life out there for the masses, I thought it would be fun to do one of these lists. I figured that, in order to keep you on the edge of your seats and coming back to visit (because I know you are just dying to know more about my fabulous life - hee hee), I will break this up into segments. Here are numbers 1 - 50. Oh, and by the way, these are in no particular order...

  1. I've been married for almost 6 years.

  2. I met my husband at Homecoming our senior year in high school, but we didn't start dating until the summer before we left for college.
  3. We are together because, despite the occasional argument, as Steve says, "We share a brain."

  4. I am the oldest of four girls, and we're all within 6 years of each other.

  5. When I was in high school, I wasn't the best driver and got into 2 accidents within 4 months.

  6. I'm a much better driver now, I promise (but just in case, I drive a Volvo Cross Country)!

  7. Said Cross Country was my dream car from the time I was in college - I know, so uncool.

  8. Before my wagon, I had a green Ford Explorer that I called Myrtle the Turtle. That should be self-explanatory.

  9. In high school, I had an unhealthy obsession with my eyebrows.

  10. I'm a democrat.

  11. I love the summer but hate being hot.

  12. I still sleep with my teddy bear sometimes - his name is Ted E. Bear (I know, really clever, right), and I even brought him to the hospital when I had Caroline.

  13. I love the look of a martini but prefer a Captain and Coke any day.

  14. I took one year of Latin which at the time I thought was lame, but it actually helped me on my SATs.

  15. I just got bangs in January for the first time since I was 7.

  16. I got them because they are cheaper than Botox and I am starting to get some laugh lines on my forehead that I am not very happy about.

  17. It took me 3 months to learn how to actually style said bangs so that they didn't look like I belonged in a Debbie Gibson video (I wore alot of headbands during that time).

  18. I owned what my sisters refer to as a "Debbie Gibson" hat when I was in 8th grade, but interestingly enough I wasn't actually a huge fan of her music.

  19. I love to laugh.

  20. Three movies from my childhood that I will never get sick of are The Parent Trap (the original one, not the one with Lindsay Lohan), Troop Beverly Hills, and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

  21. Three movies from my adolescence that I will never get sick of are Sixteen Candles, What About Bob?, and Better Off Dead.

  22. I have too many favorites from adulthood to list at this time, but I promise I will try to narrow it down.

  23. I prefer fruity candy like Skittles over chocolate most of the time.

  24. I had to wear a uniform in grade and high school, and didn't mind it.

  25. The quality I most hate is close-mindedness.

  26. The quality I most admire is kindness.

  27. I want to learn to sail one day. Have to figure out the whole wheelchair thing, but I'm sure it will be possible somehow.

  28. I am DEFINITELY an eternal optimist.

  29. I believe in second chances.

  30. I am DEFINITELY not a morning person.

  31. I am usually the last one to leave a party because I never want the fun to end.

  32. This drives my husband crazy, and I am working on it. Sort of. :)

  33. I am terrified of public speaking, except in front of children, which is why I did fine as an elementary school teacher.

  34. My maternal grandmother went to law school when women DIDN'T really do that and then stayed home to raise 7 children because at that time, that's what women DID do, and for that, I admire her.

  35. I love jewelry but tend not to wear too much of it - just my engagement/wedding rings and some diamond studs Steve gave me for my 30th birthday/Caroline's birth.
  36. I have a pretty intense fear of flying.
  37. I don't like to be out of control.
  38. I think #35 and #36 are related.
  39. If God forbid I should ever die before the ripe old age of 100, I want "For A Little While" by Tim McGraw played at my funeral.
  40. I think I shouldn't have started thinking about my fear of flying - see where this takes me?
  41. I used to be a ballet dancer for almost 10 years before my spinal cord injury.
  42. I'm hoping that Caroline will at least be willing to try it out at some point in her childhood.
  43. I was Clara for two years in my ballet company's version of "The Nutcracker."
  44. I co-own a stationery company called Penny-Bear Printing with one of my best friends, Christy.
  45. The company allows me to actually get to do things that I love - draw and doodle and be creative.
  46. I am immensely fearful of change, but having Caroline has helped me learn that no matter what, everything will turn out okay.
  47. I say that I am allergic to broccoli. but actually, I just detest it.
  48. I love shellfish but hate "fish" fish, except maybe as pets.
  49. I could eat Italian every day and never get sick of it.
  50. I hope that one day I will be able to walk again, but if I don't, that's okay, because my life is pretty great as it is.


...Caroline let me pull her hair up into a ponytail today! Well, a half-pony, but still an accomplishment! She used to wear bows before she noticed them, and then it became a bit of a battle. As you have probably seen, she often looks like a shaggy dog because her bangs grow quickly! However, getting her to sit still for a haircut is a painful experience for all involved (parents, stylist, other patrons, people outside and down the street...), as she screams and cries the entire time. If I can get her to let me pull her hair back every day, we might just grow it out (and how cute would that be???)!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Spring has sprung in the DC area, and we couldn't be more thrilled to be outside having fun. Flowers are popping, green is everywhere, and we even had our first Spring thunderstorm last night! After a nice weekend and a birthday party for Steve's 90-year-old Aunt Phyllis, this week started off chilly, with a playdate The Little Gym with our cousins (which was inside, but still fun), but for the past 4 days, the weather keeps getting warmer and warmer, which means we're breaking out the bright colors and getting out into the fresh air. Here are some pictures from our week...

Caroline, Josh, and Aunt Melissa had fun playing on the hammock at Jeannie and Michael's, where we had the birthday party

It was great to see Steve's cousin Brett, and finally meet his wife Elif and their kids Gracie and Blake!
Sunday bubble-blowing with Mommy and Daddy
Having fun with the hoola-hoop, bars, and tunnel at The Little Gym
Cousin Cammy's (and our new) friend, Megan
Cammy's a seasoned vet at The Little Gym, and can do a fabulous somersault all by herself!

Picking "flowers" for Mommy while out in our yard

I am beside myself that Caroline can walk this year (last year, she was crawling and dresses were too tricky), because she can now wear girlie stuff like this fabulous madras skort from Tommy Kids. Isn't it too cute with her Crocs from Aunt Suzy?

PINK PLAYS: "In the Mother 'Hood" Season One: Episode 3

Not much going on around here this week - promise to put something fun up soon (maybe some pics???). In the meantime, here's another episode of "In the Mother 'Hood" for your viewing pleasure - it's a good one, I promise.


Friday, April 4, 2008


Read what presidential candidate John McCain said in response to "The Hills" personality Heidi Montag's endorsement...

It's good to know that even the presidential candidates are carving out time from their busy schedules to indulge their own guilty pleasures every Monday night at 10 pm...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Alright, TPT readers, it's time for me to pass along another one of my guilty pleasures for your viewing! "In The Mother 'Hood" is a web-based sitcom that stars Leah Remini; Chelsea Handler (my personal favorite); and in the second season, Jenny McCarthy - three of the funniest women alive (excluding my sisters Suzy and Lulu). The show is based on stories submitted to the website by real mothers, so if you're a parent and have a funny story to share, head to the site and enter it - it may end up as an episode of the show! They've currently stopped accepting submissions for this season, but check back soon for Season Three's deadlines. I'm going to post the past several episodes over the next little bit so that you can get caught up - trust me, even if you aren't a parent, it's worth the roughly 6 minutes per episode!

**NOTE: Remember to scroll down to the bottom of the screen to stop the music player before viewing!!!**


Baby Gap has been offering a very limited selection of bedding for some time now, but this morning, I woke up to find this link in my inbox. They've now expanded considerably their list of offerings to include some stroller and car seat choices, along with a larger range of coordinated bedding, feeding and bathing supplies, nursery accessories, and books and toys. Called "Baby Gap Home," this store is currently available mostly online, athough they've also carved out space in some of their brick-and-mortar locations in CA, NYC, and TX. They plan to add more stores as the concept catches on.
When I went to preview the site before posting, I saw some really cute, modern stuff and trendy, functional brands. One thing that I liked in particular was that the bedding is sold in sets for a comparably reasonable price (I went to Pottery Barn Kids to figure this out, as I would assume that the two stores' target audience is the same), and their sheets are of a highter thread count (300 vs. the typical 200 that you see for most baby bedding). For someone like me who has a kid with very sensitive skin, this is a nice selling point. I also like that they have free returns by mail. So take a look at the site and let me know whether you think this latest Gap venture will take off...