She has red hair. She wears a pink, blue and yellow shirt with gray pants. (Her style leaves something to be desired!) She has blue shoes, and a baby named Zachary.

Gabioli is a new addition to our household.

She just showed up today, apparently ready to play. 

Gabioli is the first of I'm what will I'm sure become many many imaginary friends. Apparently this is the age of whimsy and creativity. I'm pleased to know I've nurtured a child who can manifest a friend!

I'm not sure I ever had an imaginary friend myself. I know I had a pretend dog named Butch that I walked on a pretend leash to school, but I was old enough to know he wasn't real. I was putting on a show for my friend! I knew early on I had a comedic gift!

Not to switch gears too quickly, but as Halloween was yesterday, I have pictures of my sweet ballerina!

There are more, but sadly I do not have those ones yet! They are all on two of my dearest friends cameras. So, they will wait. But, for now you get just this one. Want to know why? Because photographing ballerinas is very difficult. They jump and bounce and twirl everywhere!

See? Blurry! Grr!

I'm sure she'll want to wear this outfit 100 times over the next year!

Well, I pseudo-promise to update this blog more often over the next few months. We aren't very busy, which means there isn't much to post on here!


World Breastfeeding Week

Breastfeeding is one of my most passionate subjects to talk about. I could talk and talk and talk (I know that surprises absolutely every single one of the three people reading this!) about how amazing, how beneficial and how incredibly fulfilling it is.

However, in this post I'll be talking about my very own experiences nursing my precious girl.

Emmie's hasty arrival came as quite the surprise. However, I did the best I could by being as informed as I possibly could. I read blogs, books and asked moms who breastfed. I talked to nurses while I was at doctor's appointments.

The moment they handed my beautiful bundle to me, I felt the urge to nurse. To help her imprint. I just knew I needed to feed this little being, even though my nurse told me she wouldn't be hungry. However, that was next to impossible considering I myself hadn't eaten in three days. Yeah. Three.

The first nursing session went well, by anyone's standards. She latched! Her lips were both out and her jaw was moving instead of her lips! She ate for about five minutes, and then fell asleep. The poor little peanut was exhausted from her travels!

I didn't allow anyone to help me for our first try. I wanted to see if she and I could figure it out on our own. Turns out she and I were a really good fit. We got the hang of it rather quickly. My favorite nurse, Brenda came over and praised us for doing such an amazing job at our first attempt. That was all the accolades I needed to know I was doing my best. I did need some help latching on the right side, because my left arm/hand wasn't used to having such an important job. We finally figured out that the football hold was best for us. Emmie was so little, and my boob was so big...it was the only way I could maneuver everything at once! Even the boppy was a little rough to use, she kept falling into the crack between the pillow and my stomach. I used a pillow instead. (Eventually, she'd grow enough to be able to use the boppy.)

When she wouldn't latch on the left side a day later, the nurse was quick to offer a pump. I politely declined, knowing that once the pump was introduced...bottles couldn't be far behind. I knew my milk hadn't come in, and since she was so tiny my colostrum was plenty for her tiny tummy. Five long days later, at Emmie's two day check up my milk came in. I knew it from the hot and rock hard watermelons that showed up in my bra! One hot shower and two twenty minute nursing sessions later, we were in business! Emmie was content for a little longer, and I was so proud!

I exclusively nursed for six months. Emmie's first bottle of pumped milk was during my first time away from her. She may have had ten bottles of pumped milk in her infancy.

For me, nursing was down time. It was time to sit and relax and gaze lovingly into my sweet girl's eyes. It was time to catch up on bad television, and play guitar hero...which I attribute Emmie's love for music to!

Nursing is complicated, incredible, time consuming, life affirming, exhausting and wonderful.

Even if for six weeks, three months, six months...six years, nursing is something so special between a mother and her child.

This isn't a PSA, this is my story. My lovely memories and my special time with my baby girl.


Buffalo Chicken Macaron and Cheese

I'm a hot mess in the kitchen. No joke. I can cook anything, anytime. However, I'm messy. My mom can't watch me cook without gasping about the gigantic mess I've made at least three times. She's right though, I'm a spiller. I splatter. The hand mixer becomes a weapon of mess destruction in my hands. Some how, the mess becomes a meal. I've discovered casseroles. Any meal baked in a dish with any kind of meat/noodle/veggie/cheese combo was strictly forbidden in my growing up home. Now that I am a single (for the next 46 weeks anyhow) parent, casseroles work nicely since it makes a lot and I can skip making a huge mess for at least two more nights with leftovers!

Not all of the ingredients to make Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Chicken, celery, onions and garlic with the Frank's Red Hot Sauce on top...simmering

Amazing how butter, flour and dry mustard along with 2.5 cups of half and half and 4 cups of cheese along with another half cup of Frank's Red Hot Sauce can become the most amazing cheese sauce in the universe! Whenever I make a roux or bechamel, I always think first of my mom then of my great grandmother. I just feel like doing things the old fashioned way, instead of opening a can or bag puts a little extra lovin' in the dish you prepare. While I wear my cupcake apron (thanks Mom!) and whisk together that flour and butter, I feel like Donna Reed. My supposed chosen profession's unattainable ideal.

L to R, Top to Bottom:
My laptop, necessary for reading recipe! The cheese sauce. Then the chicken mixture and then the pan with macaroni and half of the chicken mixture. The lap top for recipes is awesome.

The pan, with the rest of the chicken and macaroni and cheese sauce poured on top. You can not imagine the amazing sounds macaroni makes when you pour thick creamy cheese sauce on top. Somewhere between angels blowing kisses and hundreds of delicious cheese bubbles sacrificing their very lives for your tastebuds!

With the butter and bread crumb topping. Of course. I think this recipe has seven tablespoons of butter, which is why you share it with friends!

What Food Network recipes can do to a perfectly clean kitchen in just two hours. Amazingly, my kitchen is clean again!

All baked and ready to eat!

My favorite thing to do is serve it up with blue cheese crumbles and a little more hot sauce! Everyone (five adults) had seconds, along with the two toddlers having one serving each and there are still leftovers!
It's so incredible. It's a TON of work, but I it is totally worth it!
Here is the recipe, if you want it.

Buffalo Chicken Mac N Cheese
And, of course this blog wouldn't be complete without a picture of Emmie:

Emmie wanted to "wear" her baby, so my friend Nicole folded her MobyWrap in half length wise and wrapped her up with her baby. Talk about precious! :)



The Whaling Days parade in our town is pretty docile...but when you add in a two year old, along with probably four pieces of parade candy...this is what you get:

Bummed the Navy band passed...

But wait, she hears music...

Is that an itch?


It's a fever!

A dance fever!

I am not sure who taught her how to break dance...

but this chick can move!

She absolutely KILLS me. I love it. She loves parades, we go to every single one we can find within a decent driving distance. She does it up right, waving and shaking hands. It's awesome.


Getting Crafty!

First allow me to paint you a picture! Yay! You like pictures! Pictures make you happy, they tell stories and make things prettier. People buy pictures, take picture and use pictures to decorate their homes! Wheeeeee, pictures!

Having a two and a half year old is much like trying to put a leotard on a Tasmanian devil while your hands are covered in oven mitts that have been olive oiled.

Now, pretend you want to photograph said creature. You grab your camera. (Crap, you forgot to put the SD card in. Grab that out of your laptop and commence.) Take the lens cap off, get the settings correct and *click.* Review the screen, wait. Where is your Tasmanian Devil daughter? Okay. Reset. Coerce the darling thing back to the "set" and ask her to "Look at mommy's camera! Isn't it neat! Watch what's going to happen! I'm gonna take your picture!" *click* Oh great, her eyes are closed. Reset.

Picture painted? Yes. It's hard to take great photos of a two year old, but when you can capture your daughter in the sweetest of times it makes for great and amazing photographs you cherish forever. What? You want to see them? Oh, okay!



Milestones are something most people on the younger side of fifty look forward to. They are something mother's count off among their mommy friends, proud of their children.

I've counted teeth, and how many words Emmie can say. I've spent hours pouring over studies and research about mental, emotional and physical milestones. When is she supposed to jump with two feet off the ground? How old is a toddler before they can reason?

Today (and a few days ago) a new milestone showed up.

Emmie now says "because" to connect two thoughts. These two thoughts don't make sense to me yet, but to her they do and I suppose for now that is all that matters.

"I like babies because boys and girls."

Now, I'm not going to break down the structure or grammar. She's saying because! She has two thoughts she wants to express in one sentence!

My baby is so amazing, so thoughtful, and so not a baby anymore.


My beautiful girl.

Little girls pretend their dolls are their babies.
Many young women contemplate the kind of mother they will become.
Mothers sigh heavily in one moment, and smile with tears in their eyes the next.
Grandmothers reflect back on the times they had with their children.

Every mother has had a moment during her child's life where she had two different thoughts at the same time.
I CAN'T TAKE YOU ANYMORE and not one person could explain to me how much love I would have for you before you were born.
Being a single mother, sucks. It sucks even more because I'm not really a single mother.

I have a husband. A husband who is currently "serving our country" sitting on a ship. A ship that is in dry dock, in another state. Yes, he can drive home in a few hours, however their duty schedule prevents that from happening more than once a month. 

And, as if this wasn't enough. 

Pretty soon, he'll be so far away the flight is more than 18 hours, not including layovers/delays/connections.

Strip away my needs. My need for intimacy, touch and laughter. All of which Paul gives me in spades.

Cut back the extra help he is in chores, like dishes and laundry, mowing the lawn and walking the dog.

Peel away the fact that I am the sole provider for our daughter, kissing every boo boo, nursing every illness and deciding when enough is enough and it's hospital time. 

It's overwhelming at best.

All I can do is take each day, one step at a time. One action at a time.

Every morning, we say good morning and how are you? Did you sleep well? (me)
The answer is always "How are you? I want to bring my blanket." (her)

Every night we stand at the window to the left of our front door and say good night to the day.
"Good night day! We will see you tomorrow, and it will be a great day! Good night trees, cars, grass and birds."
Always said in a whisper.

She already misses her daddy, so much that randomly every day she says "Daddy has to work." 
I agree with her, and she moves on.
Some days, she asks to call his phone and we always do. I'm certain she wants to do it to hear his voice, even if it is just "Paul S*****" that gets played when you reach his voice mail.


62 ingredients

I have never in my life cooked a meal that had 62 ingredients.

Why, oh why on earth is it okay/normal/acceptable for schools to be serving pizza with 62 ingredients to elementary aged children. On Jamie Oliver's new television show "Food Revolution" his cameras pan to six year old children eating (probably) the same pizza for breakfast. 

I'm outraged.

I understand the draw of pizza. Every kid likes it and it reheats well. I remember a time when pizza was a treat. Growing up in my household most pizzas were either on boboli crusts or bagels with fresh mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes, made at home. Delivered pizza was a treat saved for slumber parties, the rare friday night we didn't go out as a family or if mom was sick. Even then, it was usually take and bake pizza. (True story eh mom?)


The link above is an amazing look at real school lunches. "Mrs. Q" (not her real initial) has chosen to eat the lunches served by her school for an entire school year. (Brave Soul)

Mrs. Q is unveiling a very serious problem with our school lunch programs. This food is barely edible by an adult's standards. I realize these kids aren't paying money for this food, but it is costing them dearly.

This could be the only meal for some kids, shouldn't it be as nutritious and fortified as it possibly can be? Shouldn't we be putting all our money and effort into meals that feed our children both physically and mentally? Don't they deserve to feel taken care of, and cared for? Slapping a plastic-y looking cheese sandwich on a tray with broccoli that has been cooked within an inch of it's life (probably devoid of all nutrition it may have once tried to provide) is not serving a child lunch.

I literally remember my school cafeteria lady's name. Theresa. She was tiny, she was Filipino and you didn't mess with her on Chicken Nugget day. I think she would probably appreciate that I remember her. I remember she would always keep a secret tray of nuggets for those of us that volunteered to help serve lunch. Yeah, those were the days. Fifth and sixth graders taken out of class (GASP!) a full fifteen minutes before lunch time, to help get lunch out to their peers. We served our friends. They ate their food, usually all of it. Then we got to eat together in the cafeteria with Theresa. It was a huge honor, bestowed only upon the students whose teachers trusted them to be responsible enough to get the job done.

Do we really have so little faith in our children? Do we put such a small amount of stock in them that we have to result to these novelty foods just to get them their daily nutrition?

On Jamie Oliver's show, he showed some 8-9 year olds how to break down a chicken to get all the real meat off the bones. Then, he took the bones, the cartilage and all the yucky parts and put them in a blender. (I don't recall if he added anything else.) Then, he cut it in to a patty shape and breaded it. A few minutes in the hot oil and it was golden brown. He then asked the kids if they would eat it, even though MOMENTS before they had all been saying "Ew! Yuck! That looks nasty!"

Guess what? They all raised their hands in favor of eating the disgusting offal patty. He had the presence of mind not to serve them chicken bone shards and kidneys.

Oh the frustration.

I'm at a point in my parenthood that I have to figure out how Emmie needs to be educated. This school lunch deal is going to be a big check on the home schooling side of the debate. (Along with all the other lameness that is public schools like 40:1 ratios, no books, violence, teacher and student apathy etc.)

This was exhausting.


My interpretation of 'red'

We really need this camera bag...that way I can continue to document the curliest red hair ever created. That's why I'm entering the contest! :)


Affectionately, a good friend has nicknamed Cooper, "Grandpaw Dog."

Our seven year old Golden Retriever is definitely starting to look his age, which gets Paul and I thinking about mortality and pets. We don't like it, but it's inevitable. Paul has never really had a "family pet." His family had pets growing up, but he never really considered them his. Cooper is Paul's first "in the bed, on the couch, in the car and everywhere" dog.

Cooper is a gorgeous dog, and he wouldn't show his age save for the white fur on his face. I feel like getting some doggy fur dye to help him look younger! 

He's always been a precious boy. He has a total golden retriever temperament, except for his lack of love for other dogs. He'll walk on a leash with other dogs just fine, but he likes his personal space. (Can you blame him, I wouldn't want someone sniffing my nose either.) 
I had the rare opportunity to take pictures of him because Emmie was entertained and Cooper was just laying on the picnic table. 


He always looks forlorn. Kind of like Eeyore. When he's running around like a crazy dog outside he has joy on his face, but he doesn't really like to run all that much. He prefers a steady paced very long walk.

I love his nose the most! It's so perfectly black and has the cutest "Rhett Butler" style mustache underneath it.
Lately Emersen has taken an interest in Cooper, wanting to help me brush him and making sure he's "okay."

Some Emmie-isms I've heard about Cooper lately:

Emmie: "You okay Cooper? You hurt your toes? I kiss it."

Emmie: "Good night Cooper [hug] Mmm"
Emmie to a friend of mine: "My dog is so shiny!"

Emmie holding his chin up with her hand: "You need a snack Cooper? Okay, I get it for you."

Paul and I always look at each other and snicker, because she's already become such a little mama. Taking care of every little thing. This morning, Cooper's nose brushed her face, and it was clear he needed it wiped because it was wet. She grabbed a paper towel and started wiping his nose with it! Completely adorable. I mean, seriously! When I told her his nose was supposed to be wet, she started wiping his feet and his fur. He is so patient with her, never once has he even thought to look at her crosswise.  Even during the "lets crawl all over the dog" phase she and her buddy Jordan went through around 14 months ago!

The same day I took the pictures of Cooper, I took a few of Emmie playing on the playground just outside our home.

I think I caught her mid-sentence!

Here she is marching to the stairs!

She loves to drive the playground! This day, just like the day outside right now is absolutely stunning. The sky is clear and a perfect blue!

She loves going down the slide too. She'll only go down the left side, because the right side is for Jason. I think she's still waiting for him to come back. It's so sad to hear her talk about Jason being in Caro-whine-uh. (South Carolina) She misses him something fierce.

Well, this episode must come to an end. It's about time for me to wake up the kissing baby from her nap and take her on a good walk in the sunshine. 

Happy Sunday!



The Sound Of Music is my absolute favorite movie of all time. 

Wednesday night, Emersen had a tough time going to bed. This happens once every six months or so, when she feels like she needs just a little bit more snuggle time. 

I got her out of bed, because after two attempts per parent...sleep was not being achieved. 

(Without going into a diatribe about any certain parenting style, we do not let her cry in her crib. Her crib is a safe place, where she can fall asleep safely with her zebra and her sleep sheep and her blanket. She has never had to "cry it out" a training tool some parents use to help their children learn to self soothe. We know our daughter, and know she doesn't cry unless something is actually wrong especially in her crib.)

She hadn't eaten much dinner that night and was probably hungry. I got her a milk and sat her in my lap. Paul was in the shower, and I was flipping through the channels on the television for something other than Caillou. We came across The Sound Of Music. Swoon.

 The Lonely Goatherd was on, and it was so awesome to watch her watch it! She was genuinely interested in the puppets and the singing. 

My favorite part was coming on, where Captain Georg* is begged by his children to sing for them (amongst other guests, including his love interest and Maria). He sings Edelweiss. I love the song, I love the lyrics. I sang it softly to Emersen while she lay her head on my chest and sweetly listened. I mean, she was still. (She's two, this does not happen!) 

I have a fear, that netbooks and e-readers and mp3 players will take over the universe and that so many people will have the means to get "their stuff" out there that the truly amazing works will be lost or even worse, unappreciated. 

Sharing this sweet unexpected moment with my daughter, all the frustrations of her not going to bed drifted away. I now understand why my mom pulled me out of school once in a while to go shopping, and spend the day together. It was the best day, and if it had just been another regular routine day we wouldn't have had the moments we did. 

If Emmie had just gone to bed and I had just sat here played on the internet while Paul took a shower, I wouldn't have gotten to experience my daughter watching The Captain (Christopher Plummer) and Maria (Julie Andrews) waltz with each other, and realize they were in love as evidenced by the gaze with which he bestows her, and the ruddy pink her cheeks turn.

It's so easy to get disrupted by an errant blip in the routine. I am still learning to cherish these moments because they are heavenly instants once they come and they as fleeting as they are rare.



What's This Mommy?

Sitting in the bath tub, my inquisitive little girl plays with her foam bath letters.

She's working on her second set, as the last set was handed down and was getting grimy. That set also bore the marks of two mouths with sharp baby teeth exploring what the letter Q tasted like.

I'm kneeling on the floor, scrubbing the toilet thinking "Ah, the joys of having a husband. I get to scrub pee stains off the rim of the toilet, because my husband won't sit down to pee in the middle of the night."

Then, my little WonderKin asks me "What's this Mommy?" I look at her, "That's the letter A."
She replies, "This is the letter A, you're smart Mommy."

I say to her, no she is the smart one and I continue my bathroom cleaning ritual. Scrub the toilet, wet the sponge, wipe the floor perimeter, rinse the sponge, scrub the sink, get the bathroom wiping clothes and wipe the faucet, the counter and the back of the toilet.

All the while, my baby girl is playing with the water and bubbles in her tub.

"Baby, can you find the 'w' for mommy?"

"This is 'W' mommy!" She says, holding the correct letter. "And this is 'O' mommy!"

Yes, I think to myself. Those are W and O. (The feminist in me resists thinking she is trying to spell WOMAN! Because she's going to make an incredible woman, I can feel it in my soul.)

I can't help but wonder if my life had taken a different path, would I be watching my daughter literally learn right before my eyes? Would I know if I was missing it? Would I realize that she, while I was working, was learning and processing and becoming able?

I just love knowing that I can be here with her, helping her become able to do...everything.


Emersen's Closet, First Edition

Welcome to Lifestyles of the Adorable and Cuteness!

In this new segment of TheKissingBaby, I will be featuring Emersen and her most adorable fashions. I would be remiss if I didn't focus at least a few blogs each year on her ever growing wardrobe.

Those of you with daughters know, that dressing a girl is so much fun! Each outfit is carefully hand selected by a select few highly trained fashion experts. (Okay, it's my grandma, my mom and myself.)

This edition of Emersen's Closet will feature our newly acquired pieces thanks to Gymboree's Gymbucks sale.

It is all about spring with the new lines out!

Here is what promises to be her Easter dress:

As you can see from her expression, she absolutely loves it! Flowers really are her deal right now! Of course, she's also trying to bring back the 'fro and I'm not sure it will catch on again!

Here is another look, with the precious sun hat! 

Here is Emersen again, modeling the latest in adorable baby swim wear! As a pale skinned person, with a pale skinned child, I appreciate the 50+ SPF swim suit!

So, that was it for this edition of Emersen's closet. I'll be doing more as her closet begins to take over her room, our home, the neighborhood and the world!



Happy New Year!

Ringing in the New Year with girlfriends was quiet, in like a lamb...hopefully out like it too.

2010 (Two thousand ten, is the only way it should be said...) is going to prove most challenging as Paul and I embark on a marriage separated by thousands of crystal blue ocean miles.

So here's to you 2010, I'm not going to like it but I'm going to live it!

Happy New Year to you and yours

Love, me and mine!
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