A Labor of Love

This week has been a roller coaster of emotions.

Zoe has finally begun use the potty and is nearly completely out of diapers. It’s been a long, messy and frustrating time coming, but I’m so excited to bust out the adorable Hello Kitty panties I bought for her six months ago.

We learned that after two state evaluations, Jack has a severe speech delay and will most likely qualify for speech therapy given by the state. We were actually hoping that he would qualify (we know that he needs it), as our insurance no longer covers the speech therapy that he has been receiving for a year. I never thought I would be so relieved and heartbroken over the same piece of news, but that’s parenting for you.

I went in on Friday morning for my much anticipated fetal echocardiogram. It was a routine test given when the fetus shows an abnormal nuchal screen (more on that here), but that didn’t alleviate my anxiety over it even remotely. The test was given at a special pediatric cardiology office loaded with screaming babies… I sat and chewed my nails for exactly 2 hours before my name was called. Finally after a non-invasive ultrasound, I was told that my baby has a normal heart based on what the doctor could see. More veiled elation and relief flooded through my pores.



Over the past few weeks, Justin has been in clinic upwards of 40 hours a week, on top of the expected 8 hours daily that he is studying for the national board exams. Our lives have been more hectic and harried than usual, leaving our heads constantly buzzing with lists of things that need to be done and bills that need to be paid. We make sure to eat dinner as a family as often as possible, and even occasionally fit in a Saturday breakfast. It’s not ideal but we’re making the most of precious few moments that we have together. It’s hard not to feel like these constant necessaries are robbing us blind of those particular treasures.

Last Monday morning we were instantly reminded of precisely why we must soak up each moment with each other and remember to recharge the battery by which our heart ticks.

On Sunday night, a friend of mine and true force in the food blogging community lost her husband to an unexpected heart attack. He was the father of their two young daughters and the absolute love of Jennie’s life.

Jennifer Perillo is one of those people that exudes passion, love and life and expresses these treasures through her food . Her love for her husband and girls is quite literally palpable, and she shares it so beautifully on her blog-truly a gift to anyone who happens to take a gander. She is incredibly inspiring, not only for her culinary prowess but for the way she lives her life and loves her people.

We gathered on Friday to celebrate Mikey’s life at a cool little restaurant in TriBeCa, surrounded by incredible people, food and music. Jennie sparkled that day, wearing the Manolo’s she picked out to look pretty for her husband. We watched as she danced with her youngest daughter, smiling and shining with a light that was beaming with Mikey’s spirit. As my friend Christy put it, the sun was shining especially beautifully with his approval.

That same day, Jennie asked her friends and readers to bake a pie for their loved ones in honor of Mikey. Together with my babies, we chopped, stirred and whipped our way through the process of making the peanut butter pie, all the while making sure to laugh and sing and simply live in the moment.


Justin, Jack, Zoe and I sat down as a family tonight and thoroughly enjoyed each and every bite of this pie. I especially relished in the smiles and togetherness, keeping Jennie, Mikey and their girls in my mind and heart. Words cannot express the sorrow we feel for their family, but because of them we celebrated life and love, no matter how fleeting the moments together seem.

This community is truly incredible; Take a peek over here to see the ripple effect of Jennie’s #apieformikey. I encourage you all to bake a pie for your loved ones in honor of Mikey, it will fill your bellies with goodness and replenish your soul with gratitude.

Join the Conversation


  • Just started reading your blog today … I am basically new to the blogging world. I have enjoyed looking through your old posts … and have been touched with what you have had to go through. Your children are just beautiful. Have a beautiful journey in your 3rd pregnancy … all my best !

  • So beautiful hon. Xoxo

  • Hi Jessica,
    I have been reading and enjoying your blog for a couple weeks now. I was struck so deeply when I read this post as only an hour or so ago I crafted this status on my FB wall, with a couple friends…and truth be told, myself in mind.
    I wrote: “Savor the flavor of today…tomorrow’s may be more sweet or bitter. These exact moments and opportunities will never, ever be available for your consumption again. Swallow them whole or nibble on bite size pieces, but sit down at the table that is your life and enjoy the meal in front of you instead of wondering from where or if your next will come.”

    Your post about loss, cherishing moments, and sitting together to enjoy the them…and the yummy pie, amidst all the chaos, felt like the universe was really wanting to drive this message home – it has succeeded.

    Thanks so much for what you add!

  • Beautiful, uplifting post. Good luck with your pregnancy. I was very advanced maternal age with my last pregnancy so I went through lots of tests, and worry. Fortunately, we were blessed with a healthy, perfect baby girl, but the specialists had us worried a lot. Best wishes.

  • Beautiful post and a great reminder to cherish, cherish, cherish. My heart aches for her & her family!!

  • I appreciate having a glimpse into that day; for so many of us have been afar, thinking of Jennifer, making pies and yes…loving our friends and family with a new perspective.

    I live near the Rocky Mountains, just 30 minutes from my home and I see them every day. But I don’t really see them, it takes my sister visiting to really open my eyes and appreciate that amazing beauty that we can so often start to take for granted. In Jennifer’s grief she has reminded us to do the same with those we love. To be more present in our love on a daily basis. I hope the messages of love that are floating far and wide with the images of individual pies can last a long time; has helped to open our eyes a bit more. That would be quite a legacy for Mikey. And Jennifer.

  • I love your blog and the pics! Jack and Zoe are so sweet! So much cuteness!

  • kids napping. coffee in hand. read. weep.

    lovely post and while I don’t know Jennifer, I am awed by the love of her friends and community, heartbroken by her story, amazed by her grace.

    early intervention is amazing– my son gets two therapies through them. all will be very well for jack!

    take good care– wb

  • one of my worst fears. i’m so sorry for her loss.

    what you said about your life right now is exactly how my family is as well. we are more busy than we literally have ever been in our lives. it’s crushing and a bit scary, hard to focus on what we are moving toward when i just desperately want time to stop and to play with my children and baby and make out with my husband!

  • My mind and my heart still can’t believe that things like this actually happen in this life, but we all know they do. My heart goes out to her and her family as it does for you and yours everyday. love ya.

  • I’m so glad to hear the baby is OK!

    My eldest, Anna, had a severe speech delay coupled with acute anxiety, but with the proper therapy, she has met and exceeded growth milestones. Stick with it, and don’t let the county, state, or your insurance tell you he’s reached any goals until you know he has.

    I also wanted to say how sorry I am for your friend, Jennie. It’s a tragedy I can’t fathom.

  • Just wanted to send you lots of love for everything you wrote in this post. Cant even begin to express how much it touched me on so many levels. I actually read it last week and it has stayed in my mind ever since. I am so happy to hear about your little babe and the positive news you so deserved to get. We are making our peanut butter pie tonight….

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