Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

First Day of School photo

This week Alexa started the 3′s program at preschool. And of course, in this new age of social media snapshots fueled by Pinterest creativity, I had to take the requisite first day of school photo. And truth be told, the photo actually says more about me than it does about her (and I am not just saying that because I am an egomaniacal only child who has to make everything about her…) Let me explain…

I don’t think Alexa really grasps the momentous occasion of starting a new school year and all the changes that it will bring (new friends, new experiences, etc.). She definitely sensed that today marked something new- but the more of a big deal I made about it, the more anxious she seemed to become. So, being the perceptive cause-and-effect parent I guess I am (haha) I began downplaying it a bit as the clock inched closer to 8:45am (inching is the best way to describe that sometimes 2 hour before-school stretch of time, right?) But, there was no way I was letting her go to school without taking this photo. You wanna know why?

Because I made the sign. All by myself. On Photoshop. (Refer to this blog post about teaching myself to do things this year to understand why this is such a personal point of pride.) Last year, at this exact same time, I vividly remember trying desperately to fashion a cute sign out of my Sharpie collection with no success- and then turning to Etsy around 1am in a fervent attempt to find an instant download that referenced the first day of the 2′s but had to settle for a more generic “preschool” sign.

Fast forward 365 days.

I found a little tutorial in chalkboard sign making here. Then I used a special font I had chosen (and figured out how to download into my Photoshop program, none the less!) for Alexa’s school logo wear which I am in charge of this year (another reason today was big for me too- for the first time I wasn’t this shy awkward mom tip-toeing into school, but rather I strode in with the confidence that, for me, only comes with having an official purpose).  In an effort to further personalize my little work of art, I altered the color from white to a bright pink. Then I figured out how to resize the image so it could be printed out and placed in the vintage frame I picked up on a recent Goodwill trip for a perfect fit. 

So many things about the paragraph above make me feel majorly grown up, you have no idea…

Oh- and in case you are wondering, after all of Lex’s anxious pleas to stay home with me for the morning, minutes after walking into her class she was happy as can be and waved me out of the room in favor of playing pretend store with her friends. Go figure- the girl tugs at my heart strings for two hours and then, with the wave of a hand, dismisses me completely. And so is motherhood…

Note: I feel like there should be an apostrophe between the “3″ and the “s” however, in the font I used, it wasn’t an option so I improvised. Also, the smudgy part of the sign is actually where I printed the name of Alexa’s school, but thought it smart to delete that from my public blog post. Honestly, for a few minutes I was torn on whether or not to do the whole smudging thing at the detriment of showing off off my  design prowess.  But clearly safety comes first (see how mature I am becoming?!) hence you will have to use your imagination as to the true extent of my Photoshop expertise. 

 

OneLineaDayJournal

Things that keep me up at night: Losing track of all my photos and forgetting all the funny things Alexa does and/or says on any given day. Especially now, with the reality setting in that a second is on the way and Alexa will never remember this time when she was our entire world, I constantly worry that the special every day moments we share will disappear into the ever-eroding abyss of my memory.

I have tried so many different methods of “journaling” over the past few years, and for the most part, after a week of dedication, I inevitably miss a day here and there, berate myself for slacking, and hide the evidence that I ever started it in the first place. The One Line A Day five-year memory book is the first thing that I have found easy to stick with- and here is why:

1- It is pretty. So I don’t mind displaying it on my night table (as evidenced above.) Having it in such close proximity every evening serves as the perfect non-obtrusive reminder to write.
2- The pages have the dates at the top, so it is easy to skip ahead when you miss a few days but still know that those days won’t forever be lost the following year- you will simply have more lines on the page if you so desire to record extra thoughts.
3- As the name clearly suggests, you really only have room for a sentence or two (I can squeeze in 3 if I use the margins and a super fine point pen on days I feel really deserve the extra characters)- so there is nothing daunting about cracking it open to jot down a little anything before bed.

It for sure helps me to sleep more soundly knowing I have, in some capacity, recorded the day for posterity. And in more promising news, I may have discovered a solution for the whole photo stress situation- currently I am in testing mode but if all goes well, I will soon be able to share one more sanity saver, so stay tuned…

Continuing on the theme of “Things Jenn Never Thought She Would Do” (i.e. have a second kid!), I figure its time to share what is likely my most unanticipated suburban passion….Gardening. Yep, gardening.

SelectingLettuce

When we moved into our house, there was a an area along one side deemed too sunny for grass, so my husband conspired with the builder to turn said space into a fenced in area complete with gravel and garden beds. I laughed hysterically upon hearing this news- I mean, what a waste of space! And it sat there, untouched, for almost an entire year, taunting me every time I looked out the window with a whiny chant that sounded (in my head, at least) something like “Haha you can’t even microwave a meal without burning the edges, imagine the disaster that would ensue should you even attempt to plant (gasp!) something living over here!”.

Never one to back down from an (imaginary) challenge, I decided to give the whole gardening thing a go. It seemed like a fun activity to do with Alexa, and a good way to motivate myself to hone my culinary skills- in an effort to not waste the fruits of my labor (should there be any) I had to amass an assortment of recipes centered around whatever I chose to grow.

Full disclosure- I had some help. My “ghost gardener” Michelle Moore taught me the basics- laying out the garden game plan, if you will. She spearheaded the initial planting, and showed me how to best care for the different vegetables so as to maximize my chances of success. Last summer, Alexa and I spent hours every evening tending to our plants and taste testing recipes. It was a great “witching hour” activity to keep her happy between 5-7pm, and I quickly fell in love with the surprisingly Type A aspects of gardening- seeing your harvest grow based on proper pruning techniques, testing different amounts of watering to yield more or less fruit, etc.

This summer, we doubled the size of our garden- adding 4 raised beds and 2 bamboo trellises. Here is the breakdown:
-Bed 1: Herbs (dill, cilantro, horseradish, oregano, thyme, 
rosemary, sage)
-Bed 2: Lettuces
-Bed 3: Squash (yellow, zucchini, Sspaghetti), shishito peppers, assorted hot peppers, marigolds
-Bed 4: Heirloom carrots, artichokes, jalapeño peppers, strawberries, marigolds
-Bed 5: Cherry tomatoes, russian red kale, red peppers, celery, cucumbers (on trellis)
-Bed 6: Assorted heirloom tomatoes, sunflowers (planted by Alexa’s class on the last day of school), scallions, chives
-Bed 7: Assorted tomatoes, hungarian wax peppers, peas (on trellis), cauliflower, beets
-Bed 8: Broccoli, yellow tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, mini pumpkins (on trellis), brussels sprouts, onions
-Containers: Dahlias, zinnias, mint (chocolate, mojito, spearmint)

As with anything, we are having some successes (herbs up the wazoo, delicious cucumbers, the most lovely lettuce) and just as many (if not more) challenges (why won’t ANY of my peppers grow and how did my squash plants end up with some weird white speckled disease?!). And while I do get very frustrated by the unpredictability of it all, I try to remind myself this is sort of an experiment and I just have to go with it.  Some things (the weather, the chipmunks) are beyond my control. 

So now I get it…gardening just may be the best form of therapy. And coming home to a delicious tomato, onion and cucumber salad served beside an herb roasted chicken is for sure preferable to a stack of expensive doctor bills followed by hours spent quarreling with your health insurance provider over coverage.  

EatingaPea

RaisedGardenBed

Zinnias

Jenn Falik Baby Bump

If you follow me on Instagram or happened to catch my Today Show segment last week, you have likely heard my news. If not, here it is…

I’m pregnant. In January 2015, we will officially become a family of four. Gulp.

Yes, I know I am so fortunate, and of course I am  grateful for the gift of a somewhat unexpected pregnancy that will (hopefully!) result in a happy and healthy baby to complete our family. But I would be lying if I claimed to be one of those girls who is glowing with the joy of creating a life, energized by the excitement of meeting our new little bundle of joy, embracing every moment of this ‘special’ time. Because to be perfectly honest, I am kind of a grump.

Luckily, just like my first pregnancy, technically, I feel great. No morning sickness or acid reflux, no weird aches or pains. 

But unlike my first pregnancy, subjectively, I feel gross. Like really, depressingly gross. 

This time around, I went from being in the best shape of my life to huffing, puffing and reaching for my maternity wardrobe within weeks of finding out I was expecting. Last time, I had no expectations. The baby bump, and oohing and ahhing that came with it’s arrival, was new and exciting. The opportunity to eat with no abandon and enjoy the blissful ignorance of now knowing how much weight I should or should not be gaining (or how hard it would eventually be to get it off!) was delightful. Its like my body knew I was on the fence about the whole second kid thing and decided to punish me for not consulting with it more seriously before actually going through with it. All the muscle tone I had worked so hard to achieve, and was so excited to show off in strapless maxi dresses and short shorts, disappeared in an instant. Literally. Looking in the mirror is depressing, to the point that I now have to strategically pick spots in the gym where I can’t catch my reflection because it just makes me mad. 

And sure, when I got pregnant with Alexa (pretty much exactly 5 years ago to the day, weird…) I was 30 years old, living in Manhattan, enjoying a lifestyle that technically was very sexy and very fashionable. But in reality, while yes, the career and the city, and all it had to offer, were quite fabulous, I was burnt out and quite content to work my butt off, come home, watch TV, go to bed early and wake up at the crack of dawn the next morning. So not being able to drink for 9 months wasn’t too big of a deal.

This time around, it is a VERY big deal. Which probably sounds backwards given that I am now 35 and living in a quiet suburb, working for myself and keeping up with a very exhausting 3 1/2 year old little girl. But our life is Westport is a million times more social than our life in New York ever was- in the best way possible. Summer is especially amazing- and I had been looking forward to bottles of wine on the beach and boozy Sundays spent pool side since the sun set on Labor Day 2013. Sure, I could pretend to be all “Oh, I have JUST as much fun being the stone-cold sober person at the party” but truth is, I don’t. I mean, I still have fun, but…I could be having much more.  I have to suppress the urge to hit many of my most favorite friends in the face out of jealousy as I watch them enjoy a glass of wine at the beach during the evening playdates that used to be the highlight of my summer days. Although it is nice to wake up without a hangover. Our yard has never looked more manicured!

In spite of these gripes, there is one wonderful difference between my first pregnancy and my second, and that is having a very excited big-sister-to-be to share it with. When we told Alexa there was a baby in mommy’s belly, she looked up at my husband and I with a priceless expression of wonderment in her eye and just said “Wow!” over and over. When anyone points to my bump and asks Alexa what’s in there, she shrieks with unadulterated joy “A BABY! A BABY!”. Every night before bed she asks to kiss and hug the baby, and talks right into my belly button- repeating over and over again “I love you, your my best friend.” She has watched many of her friends get baby brothers and sisters and waited very patiently for her turn (probably the first thing she has ever waited for patiently, come to think of it) and that helps to make every upper arm jiggle and sober Saturday night just a bit more bearable. 

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