Archive for the ‘Newlywed Diary…Year 2!’ Category

Tuition for a Two Day Old!

There comes a point in a future mom’s experience when she realizes that life, as she once knew it, is OVER. I’m not saying that’s always a bad thing. I’m just saying that, in all it’s grace and poignancy, the life she will soon lead will be vastly different from the one she is leaving behind!

Perhaps today was an anomaly and I will have moments like this every full moon. But something changes in the final trimester of gestation, and you become a roadrunner on the highway of motherhood. Speeding towards…. Destiny!

Today, I spent several hours researching day cares in the hopes of  finding a good match for our unborn child. I interviewed (and was interviewed by) several program directors for (***). Let me just say that all of my professional experience had not prepared me for the conversation. I wonder if finding a suitable daycare is harder than scoring a nice date on Both require chemistry and a little self promotion. But in some ways, seems like a walk in the park compared to this! 

A year at some large facilities in the Boston area may cost as much as some folks make in that year. I wonder how people can manage all of this?

At least on, you pay as you go, and a friendly girl can make up her monthly subscription fee in free meals and cocktails. In daycare, an infant is in a nursery with 7 others, and one caregiver, and there’s no “free lunch” involved.

I asked about the fee for the program and they gave me the lowdown on the “tuition.” I love that they call it tuition, as if Baby Beluga attends their program and then goes on to Harvard. 

I'd be angry too!


And speaking of Harvard, I just did the calculations and a full year of daycare for a newborn in Boston (at a fully licensed childcare facility) is nearly 40% the cost of tuition and housing for a Harvard freshman. Take note ladies, a Bachelors program is approximately 4 years long, but daycare is FOREVER……

Goodbye acupuncture, goodbye beauty parlor, goodbye steak dinners. That life of disposable income- O.V.E.R.

I’m sorry, but out of sheer folly, I refuse to enroll my child in a program that seems so untouchable. What kind of diversity will he experience in a daycare academy such as this? I am sure there are more realistic alternatives.

Perhaps I have too much on my plate. But I won’t be serving junior with a silver spoon.

Dream House: The Courtship of We

I meet with our realtor today to sign the purchase and sale agreement for our new house! This is the last big step before the closing. The Bear and I have to run to the bank and withdraw our down payment.  I have to say that it is somewhat overwhelming (but terribly exciting).

Last week I decided to meld our bank accounts together, rather than keeping my own private accounts. This might seem like a “given” for someone who has been married two years with a baby on the way, but it was my last vestige of independence. My financial competence. I needed to do merge our finances as a personal acknowledgement that I am part of a WE now.  Sure, there will be time for a “mad money account” later, but now, I need to know we both have access to this in case of an emergency.

I can’t lie here. This was really hard for me to do. When you have been single for so long you are used to being self-reliant. It is hard for me to be vulnerable. To know that family decisions will now override personal ones. But it’s time.

Here are some more pictures of the Dream House. I am still going bonkers with ideas for paint, nursery, and period details. It’s been a pleasant distraction. A real focus on  the future. 

The front of the 1850's colonial


The backyard at dusk


The Beech tree stands vigil.


The long driveway from the road.


Women, Family and Fancy Plates

I lead a mentoring circle for professional women in my company. We meet monthly and share advice and experiences. I have come to realize that gems of wisdom can be found anywhere you look for them. You might think you are the “teacher” on some occasions, but it’s just a ruse. We are all perpetual students.

The women I work with are all beautiful and unique. They are so different from one another, and yet they mesh so well. It’s like music.

Last month we decided to shake things up a bit and let the mentees begin to run the meetings. A name was picked at random from a hat, and that person had to organize, schedule and chair our next event. The first person to be selected was a lovely, vivacious young woman in public relations. She asked each of us to bring some information on a person or event that truly inspired us. We each took our homework very seriously.

It was amazing to see that each of these women, all of whom have such different life stories and experiences, chose to share a story about a close family member. As a mother to be, I was so touched by the legacy that seems to bind these women to the wisdom of their ancestors. I keep thinking about my own future son, and wonder what we endow to him.?What stories will he have to share about us? How can we make an impression on him to become a sensitive, intuitive and empathetic man?

The story I chose to share was about my mother. When my mother was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, the family rallied together to support her. It was a particularly difficult time, as one would imagine. My mother used to work for an oncologist, and she was so skilled at putting the patients and their loved ones at ease that the Doctor changed her job so that she could work directly with the families in the waiting room. My mother would sit out among distraught loved ones and help them through the long wait of outpatient surgery. She truly had a gift with people.

Now it was my mother who was to be in the OR with the Doctor. A few days before her procedure we sat down to a big feast. She wanted to celebrate our family, and the fact that we were all together. Then she said something casually that I will never forget…

“Why do we save the nice plates for special occasions?” she asked. “From now on, I want to eat off of the nice plates every day.”

This might seem like a forgettable comment to some, but I understood the significance of it. I come from a family of “savers”. We covet our special things and take them out for notable occasions. In her own way, my mother was asking us to celebrate every day. To wait no longer, because who really knows what tomorrow will bring?

My mother is doing well now. She has been cancer free for several years and is a real blessing in our family. When the Bear and I married, we registered for “special”plates like the ones my mother spoke about. We eat off them everyday and not a day passes that I don’t think about what she told me.

Savor each moment. Don’t save up for “special occasions” as today is truly a blessing….


Dream House-The mating dance


The Dream House!


I’ve begun to realize that buying a house is not unlike choosing a mate. It’s all about fit and timing. Sometimes, the most beautiful person on the outside, might have some “dark corners” on the inside. Sometimes, people (and houses) can be high maintenance, demanding time and a financial commitment that goes well beyond one’s comfort level. Sometimes, albeit imperfect, things are also just meant to be….

I can say that all of the above are true about our dream house. Once we went inside, we were somewhat surprised by the condition some of the rooms. (It was, after all, built over 100 years ago!) The basement has water damage from an earlier spring flood. The attic is loosing its insulation like an old woman looses her hair. Nonetheless, the house SHINES. It’s big and rambling, with eclectic little built ins and tons of windows and hardwood floors.

But back to my mating dance analogy. The buyer was surprised to get an offer so soon, particularly when he had the house on the market for a year last season. He knew we were the couple stalking him and were interested before (OK, we just wrote him one letter of inquiry, but stalking sounded so much more FUN!). He sat on our offer for the whole weekend, trying to see if he would get a counter offer and ensue a bidding war. I had a feeling, on a rainy 3 day weekend, that there would not be a ton of offers at or above the asking price. I also knew that we should not start “outbidding ourselves” and offer him any more than what he had, which was exactly what he had originally asked for.

Finally, on Monday, he accepted our offer. I was starting to get really turned off before this, and began looking at other prospects to see what was available. After a little conversation with my husband, who suggested that we just look at the photos and “think about it,” I agreed with the Bear that we should move forward!

Had this been a mating dance, it might have seemed less frustrating and more comical. A tired older man has crazy and unrealistic expectations when he begins looking for a partner. He is too demanding, and expects far too much. He gets rejected for a loooong time, so he stops “looking.” He finally puts it out there, and is a little more authentic and real. Immediately,  a BEAUTIFUL woman finds him, WANTS HIM, and starts making immediate overtures his way! Surprised by his immediate success, he awkwardly rejects her, thinking a MORE BEAUTIFUL woman might come along. He waits, and realizes that she is the one, and he’s been stupid to play these games! They fall in love and have a happy relationship for ever after.The end.

Maybe the owner is the tired man, and the beautiful woman is us. Maybe the relationship, in this case, is the house. Hopefully a happy ending!

Dream House- a love story

The Bear just called me to let me know that our Dream house is going back on the market MONDAY. Let me please explain that this house has become our pastoral obsession. We drive by it with forlorn looks, as if approaching an unobtainable lover. We have even stalked the owner and the realtor, sending letters of speculation when it was first taken off the market last year.

It seems that our dream house was purchased by someone at the height of the market several years ago. This man paid top dollar, as was the norm of the time. A few years later , he goes to sell only to find that the market has tanked (a familiar note, unfortunately). He aims high and lists it for far too much, trying to recoup some of his losses. The house sits empty for a year with no one to love it. Eventually the man lowers his price. Still no takers. He finally gives up and gets a renter, leaving the FOR SALE sign in the yard for a few days.

Meanwhile, a couple drives  down a winding road with grand houses and modest New England cottages which are separated from the street by an old stone wall. They spot a red sign about a half acre off the street. Eureka! Beyond it lies a rolling hill and a long driveway that leads to an old Victorian farmhouse. There is a huge old Oak tree out front that seems to be standing sentinel. It appears to be least 100 years old and has a tire swing attached to it. The husband swears that he can hear children playing tag football in the front yard, even though no one is present. The wife envisions sunny rooms, wide plank floors and fireplaces. Maybe even a sunlit nursery for the baby they long to have…one day.

No signs of occupancy, but the house sags longingly as if it wished that it were lived in. It reminds the wife of her vacant womb, waiting ….”It’s just a house” she tells herself. But then she looks over at her husband, who is smiling silently as if deep in thought. “It’s far from the road,” he says. “So kids could play and we wouldn’t have to worry.” KIDS! she thinks.

She loves his hopefulness.

They call the realtor, excited to learn more about this Dream house. They are told it is no longer on the market. That the seller has withdrawn and it will be a year before it is available. That’s when they begin stalking….

Six months pass. The wife tells her husband to move on. “There will be other houses,” she says. She is surprised by his attachment to this place. The pictures and stories he has created in his mind about the Dream house. “It’s only a house!” she tells him. But to the husband, it’s a future. Something once unattainable.

During the course of their house obsession, they discover they are expecting a baby. Ups and downs on the baby making rollercoaster, and this time- it sticks! They find out it’s a boy. They chose a name in honor of her great-grandfather, who came to America as a young man in 1901.(He probably had dreams of a house like this.)

They decide to stay in the city for another year. They work on their small apartment, in the hopes of one day putting it up for sale. They try to appreciate what they do have, and even though their baby will be sleeping in a large closet, they will make it the most lovely closet ever. The wife has dreams of hanging a tree limb above the crib. She has a thing for trees…

Then one day the husband calls the old realtor. He’s not ready to let go of his dream. The realtor says the house is being cleaned, and will be back on the market in FIVE DAYS. The husband calls the wife. The wife (being a type A and seeing too many Sex in the City Episodes) tells him to see if they can get in a few days early.”It’s all about timing!” she says.”And luck!”

Sometimes things happen in your life right out of the blue. One day your womb is empty, and then (after much heartbreak, laughter and tears) it is full. One day you are single, and the next, you have a partner who loves you. One day it can all be taken from you. But today….aaaaaaah today.

Wish us luck… you never know what tomorrow might bring….

Dad’s Pregnant Too!

While standing on the cafeteria line today, a well-meaning friend said to me “Wow! You’ve really POPPED. You are REEEEEALLLY SHOWING.”

I’m only 5 months!

I don’t understand why ANYONE would think that’s a compliment. Sure, I am excited to be “with child,” but I have been working like a dog not to let myself completely go. In fact, I had a double serving of steamed veggies and arugula for lunch, even though I am having a serious food aversion to anything GREEN.

yes it's true!

I know on the outside, pregnancy is a lovely thing. But every day that I do yoga or fitness walking, I feel like there’s a bowling ball bouncing between my pelvic bones (really!). It hurts more after I power walk and sometimes it makes me concerned. I am sure this is all normal, and really I AM APPRECIATIVE for G-d’s little miracle here, but I don’t want to hear that I have POPPED.

So sad!

On a funny note- I am sneaking reads out of my HUSBAND’s BABY BOOK. It’s called “Dad’s Pregnant Too” by Harlan Cohen. In fact I bought it for the Bear because I loved it’s candor and brazen honesty. “Is this what men really think?” I asked myself? I’ve gotten through two hysterical sections. One was called “The Pregnancy Card” which is something SOME pregnant ladies do, to get out of things they don’t feel like doing. My favorite line from the author’s wife to her sleeping husband, “Can you get out of bed and get my cell phone charger from downstairs? I’m so tired and pregnant!” (Never me, I SWEAR. The Bear’s just better at folding the laundry!). The other section was “The First Meeting with Your OB” where the author is awestruck when the Dr. whips out a dildocam for the first ultrasound.

I love this book. It’s like being a fly on the wall in the boys locker room. Maybe now the “boys” are in their 30’s and 40’s, a little UP in years and trying to get their ladies pregnant, rather than preventing it. But boys will be boys, and I truly believe that we are hot-wired differently.

More on this great book later (I’ve got to sneak a few more peeks). But looking around, I found out this guy’s got a cute website  and blog too. Check it out.

Peace and love!


Where the Heart Resides

I am sitting at South Station in Boston, waiting for the commuter rail. I’ve never blogged in public before. It feels kinda naughty. I’m still groggy (It’s 6:55am) and recovering from a mad Easter dinner.

The Bear and I have been together for two years. During our second week of dating, I was invited to join him and his family for Easter. Being  Jewish, the ritual of Easter was somewhat foreign to me. I remember calling all of my Christian girlfriends and asking them to email me a copy of “Grace’ so I could be prepared if a prayer was said. They told me there were many forms of Grace, which left me bewildered.Then I asked if I truly needed a bonnet (as I had seen so often growing up in the South, and then in the area of Brooklyn where I lived after college). No bonnet. Ahhhh, okay. Well, what kind of food should I expect? My girlfriend mentioned something about a meat jello thing, I think it was a mint aspic. Another one said something about yams and mini marshamallows.I remember really wanting to impress the Bear and not be out of sorts when meeting his family. It sounded like I just had to smile and go for it.

That first Easter was truly lovely. His family was very welcoming. I realized that Italians were very much like Jews in their focus on family and ritual. We had Chinese food for Easter lunch, which completely put me at ease.

Yesterday marked my third Easter with my Italian side of the family. It’s so interesting to be welcomed into your partners’ life so fully. His sister is like my second sister. His Auntie spares no inappropriate comment because I am the newcomer. (She swooned at my protruding belly and said I was so big, I looked like I was having twins. TWINS!!!!!!) The kids run around and put flowers in my hair and draw funny pictures of us.

We realize with tender anticipation (and hope) that there will be another one to spoil with chocolate eggs next year.


A string duet has just begun to play in the lobby of the train station. They are in formal attire, and the sounds of Rogers and Hammerstein are amplified by the acoustics of the grand atrium. I love this city. Boston truly is my home. If I look down from the sky, I would see a little light on, atop a historic hill. That’s where my heart resides. So happy.

The Story of the Stone

A friend, whom I adore, asked me this weekend why I call this blog “Romancing the Stone.” I couldn’t answer her at the time, because it wasn’t the right moment. Although I once loved Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas, it really has nothing to do with the film of the same name. 

Many years ago, I was diagnosed with severe fibroid tumors. They were causing my body great distress and sending me to the emergency room on occasion. This came to light at the same time that my sister was due with her first child. I still remember the day that I was painting a mural for my niece-to-be when I had to be rushed to the hospital. If I chose to proceed without surgery, the fibroids would greatly compromise my quality of life and my ability to one day conceive. If I removed them , at the urgent request of my doctors, the scarring they would leave behind might decrease my ability to conceive and increase my chance of miscarriage.

(Fibroids are very common. Some cases are severe while most are mild or can be overlooked. Mine just happened to be pretty bad).

My little sister was bringing this joyful miracle into the world. At the same time I was diagnosed with tennis ball size tumors the size of a 3 month old fetus.

It is still hard for me to speak about this. The decision was truly difficult, and made me realize that I DID long for children one day. Sometimes, it takes a crisis to make us realize what is really in our hearts.

I had a myomectomy, which left a C-section like scar at my bikini line, and a hole in my heart. For years, I worried that nothing would take root in my womb. That it would remain cold and hard as a stone. 

This blog became my plea to that deep part of me to “wake up” and take flower. That is where “Romancing the Stone” came from. A little hope and coaxing every day. A little bit closer to my truth and my hope for my future.

It has been a long journey to get to this place where I stand now. Every day I wonder if something will happen to rock my foundation. But I try to nurture myself and my community of sisters every day, and I feel as if I have come so very far. 

So tomorrow, the Bear and I will see our “little flower” and pay homage to huge miracles that come in small sizes. We visit the doctor for our 18 week ultrasound. I still have my fears and doubts every day. But I remain in hopeful disbelief and pay great respect to the G-d of small miracles.

A stone does not have to stay a stone forever. Rocky soil can often nurture a seed to flower. It may take more time, and sometimes it may not be as you have planned, but trust it. It will happen.

Sending love.

Sunshine, Cupcakes and Giorgio

Why does life seem so much better when it’s sunny out?

Why do cupcakes on St. Patrick’s Day taste BETTER with green icing? Speaking of which, why do cupcakes taste better than cake, when they are really pretty much the same thing, only more cutified?

I’m not sure why I am musing on such things today, but it’s truly exquisite out, and I just want to dance.

Yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of our first date. The Bear and I actually met on : ) and our first outing was to see the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston. I remember that he wore a horrible green sweater on that said IRELAND, and he gave me such a tremendous bear hug that I felt immediately at ease. The parade was insane, but we took refuge from the madness at a local tavern and talked for hours. Throughout our talk, I still had my “beetle skin” on. It’s my career -girl “don’t get too close to me” defense mechanism when a cute guys tries to be too nice to me. Needless to say, we kissed on the doorstep, and there was definitely a second date….

Now our baby-to-be is 18 weeks in the oven, and I can’t believe our good fortune. I never thought I would marry anyone, let alone someone I love so much.

Next week, a few of the designers on my team are going to Milan to work with a famous couturier’ on a collaboration. This designer is truly someone I have idolized my whole adult life. He created a movement in the 80’s and is still an icon today. I think of him every time I put on something silky, or hear the words “power suit”.

I’ve met The Maestro before. He’s a small man, with tanned skin and a shock of white hair. He embodies elegance. When he comes into the room, the people go silent. I love working with his team because they are amazingly gifted and incredibly gorgeous. They have long, sultry names like those you’d find in a romance novel. Plus, their office is in a piazza in the centre of Milan. I guess it used to be the house of a nobleman. Sure puts my cubicle to shame!

I bring all of this up because my team is going to Milan, but I am not. I have chosen not to go – and to try not to fly until A.B. (after baby).As you transition from one stage of life into another , you have to give up a few things to make room for the new ones. This baby is my priority right now. I have been so run down, trying to “do everything” and I think I have been doing him/her a disservice. I don’t worry about the flight to Milan, but I worry about what state I will be in upon my return. Plus, the trip falls on my birthday, and it’s going to be a really precious birthday this year.

Milan will still be there. I keep telling myself. Hopefully, this collaboration will endure and there will be lots of great reasons to travel. Secretly, I have to say, it’s a little painful. Giving up the things you love so much, in place for others you love even more.

I Gotta Have It!

As you enter the world of the newly pregnant, you can be truly astounded by the amount of STUFF that is being marketed and sold to gestating ladies. I think about how simple it must have been 80 years ago (?) when salves and lotions were homemade and there was a community of women around a new mother. Now we get our information from blogs and the internet, and even our Mothers’ cure-all’s seem like old wives’ tales.

I am a designer by trade. Now I lead a team of designers. I work with marketing people every day so I see the “back room” of product creation. Sometimes it’s about responding to the needs of consumers and developing products based on those needs and desires. But occasionally you find products that are NOT USEFUL, and the ad-machine behind it convinces us that we’ve GOTTA HAVE IT.

I try to think of what motivates me to surround myself with the things I do. Sometimes it’s aesthetics – “this _____ is beautiful and it inspires me, so I must have it”. (Maybe you do this with shoes, or smelly things, or fancy silk pillows). Sometimes, it’s about NEED, whether real or  imagined – “this will help me _______ so I must get it”. (Maybe this is the dusty yoga mat in the corner of the living room, or the wii fit that lies dormant under the telly?) Sometimes it is altruistic – validated by a commitment to service, community or the environment – ” Will buying veggies from the local farm help me reduce greenhouse gas, and thus help to save a polar bear somewhere?”

Obviously I have been thinking about this – a lot!

I usually ponder this “consumer impulse” when I see something that appears – to me- ridiculous. Like that Snuggy they show on midnight TV. Or the “On the go” hands free double breast pump for the working (type A) mom.

You CAN have it all!


Check this out! Does she look happy and content? Generating nourishment for her little one at home? I know we are all busy, but sometimes you need to put down the blackberry and drop the email and just be in the moment. It’s hard enough to be a working mom, but why do we feel that we must do everything, ALL of the time?

Then there’s the idea of the decorative nursing bib. At first I have to ask myself, what’s the wearing occasion here? Am I going to prom or a high school reunion? Do I think that donning a  $40 printed tablecloth over my lactating bosom might somehow camouflage what I am doing under there? Instead, what if my nursing bib resembled something more subtile, like a fleshy colored blouse from the latest Armani collection? Something glam and simple (and able to hold a suckling babe without drawing too much attention.)

nursing cover

Urban camo for the discreet mom??


Maybe the quote should read “Noone knows what I am doing under here!!!”

Or, if your feeling really frisky, try the new nursing snuggy…



just joking!

So next time you are out and you pick up something seemingly senseless, just be sure you really NEED it, WANT it, or will derive some kind of PLEASURE from it. You WILL get stretch marks if that is your destiny and heredity. No bit of salve or belly butter can prevent it . But, if you like the scent and if it keeps you from scratching your bump like a leper, go for it lady! Just know what you are doing –  and WHY!