Archive for the 'Misc.' Category

Mother’s Day

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

I felt quite spoiled this year and I loved it. I did ruin Steve’s surprise for me. A Sephora box arrived about a month ago and I opened it without looking at the tag. Who thinks their husband has ordered something from Sephora? And in April? It wasn’t close a gift giving occasion. But he was on the ball and had ordered some perfume I liked but was too cheap to buy for myself. I felt awful for ruining his surprise but I was excited about the perfume. I quit wearing perfume when I was pregnant with Tessa because my nose couldn’t handle it. And after I had her, she squawked if I wore it so I just fell out of the habit.

Then my mother in law arrived. And she spoiled both me and the children at Kohl’s with her much coveted 30% off coupon. Tessa got her summer wardrobe. Sabrina had her supplemented. And I got a bright, shiny new toy for Mother’s Day (I know, we should be spoiling her). It makes me happy every morning.

The only problem is that I’ve gone from drinking 1 or 2 caffeinated beverages a week to at least 2 a day. I’m going to end up with heart palpitations. See why I say spoiled?

I’m still in love with instagrams so my photos are a mix of those and from my camera. Also please forgive any weird edits or coloring in my photos from my camera. I’m trying to learn to use Lightroom and finding the learning curve large.

THEN I was invited to Tessa’s school for Muffins with Mommy. And they did a cute little program which Tessa didn’t participate in because my child doesn’t do anything the she is expected to do. But it was cute and I got my first real made at school mother’s day gift. The stems are her fingers and the flowers are her fingerprints. It is a marigold. How sweet is that?

Because my mother in law was in town, Steve and I even managed a date night. We went to a BBQ joint that was super yummy and so smoky (the hickory kind not the cigarette kind) that I had to wash our clothes after to get the scent off of us.

Over my shoulder, you can see the big smoker with a whole pig in it. I know. We so fancy.

For mother’s day, the girls made me blueberry muffins.

Steve is so much better at letting them actually help than I am. I get all twitchy about the mess they will make. It is one of my great flaws as a mother. You should see me during easter egg dying or painting – GAH!

End result:

Unfortunately, Saturday night just moments after we arrived home from our date, Sabrina threw up all over the bathroom. Then Sunday night, my Mother in law got sick moments after finishing dinner. Monday morning, Tessa threw up 7 times. Monday night, Steve started feeling less than stellar. He is home from work today. I’m the last (wo)man standing.

My poor mother in law – every time we see her, the kids make her sick. She left this morning and seemed to be on the mend but not 100%. Up until the end, we had a great visit.

Stay tuned…I have a giveaway later this week!


The other side of the hill looms

Monday, May 7th, 2012

See that face? I’m going to be 40 in 4 months. I’m not quite sure how that happened. I distinctly remember my mother turning 40 – I can’t quite wrap my brain around it being my turn. I’ve been thinking about working myself up into quite a funk about it but then remembered my 30th birthday. I was all prepared to be dramatic and depressed about turning 30. But it turned out my 30th birthday was the first anniversary of 9/11. How could I be depressed at turning 30 when so many didn’t get that opportunity because of those acts of terrorism? (Stupid terrorists. They ruin everything.) So instead, I went to work as usual. It was the day of the week that I co-facilitated a partial hospitalization group for middle school kids with several behavioral issues. In an attempt to help them build empathy, we all planted a bush to commemorate the day. Then they all “surprised” me with a cake and called me grandma for the rest of the day. Later, my girlfriend took me to our favorite bar and made me drink out of a punch bowl with a straw. All in all – not a bad day.

As 40 looms, I started thinking about how I would like to celebrate this milestone. I’ve told my husband he should take me to Vegas or whisk me away to a beach somewhere – either venue would allow me to drink enough to pretend I’m still 22 like I am in my head. Odds are, neither of those will happen. We have other budgetary priorities this year. I’ve decided that much like my 30th, my 40th birthday might be easier to accept if I focus on something other than myself. In the next 4 months, I will commit 40 random acts of kindness. I will do my best to document them and share them here.

I hate thinking up titles

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

I know it has been quiet around here but for once that doesn’t mean it has been quiet in my world. The cliff notes version? I shared that Steve was told he could work from home full time. About 10 days ago, his company took it back. Last week Steve returned to Pittsburgh. I’ll just let y’all guess how excited we were about that. That is all I have to say about that publicly right now.

Sabrina’s 100th day of school celebration (yes, apparently that is a thing now) required her to have a t-shirt with 100 things on it. No surprise that she chose something sparkly. Tessa wanted to make one too.

In other news, I am co-founding a non-profit. It will be called Small Comforts. We just had our first board of directors meeting last week. We are raising funds to pay for our 501c3 application (the IRS charges $400 to apply to be a non-profit…what a racquet). Small Comforts initial goal (it may expand with time) is to provide a backpack filled with personal items to each child removed from his home and taken to foster care. Many kids leave with nothing but the clothes on their backs…a few others are able to grab a few things and throw them in a Wal-Mart bag. Our bags would give them something of their own – some personal care items, a stuffed animal, some underwear and socks, a book, and hopefully a gift card to Target or a similar store to buy a new outfit. They can then take that bag with them to other placements and know they always have a little something of their own. Once we have the website live, I’ll talk more about what we are doing. I’m very excited to be involved in this – so nice to use my brain for something other than figuring out how to convince Tessa to use the potty.

Yes, at 3 1/2 my child is still in diapers and refuses all potty training attempts. Tessa has come to everything late so I’m trying to be patient. If she isn’t ready, it isn’t worth battling. Child is STUBBORN and isn’t going to do it unless she wants to. I’m just hoping she gets on board soon because after 5 years, this momma is over the diapers. That aside, Tessa is doing well. She finally decided to speak beyond the dozen words she used for a year (see? everything in her own time). Now she rarely stops talking. She will repeat a phrase until you repeat what she said so that she knows you understood her. We’ve counted but have always responded at some point to save our sanity. The highest I’ve counted her repeating is 23 times. She is also a complete instigator with her sister. She ignores rules until she is good and ready to comply. She doesn’t care about time out or having toys taken away – we have yet to truly discover what currency will matter with her. She gets her feelings hurt when we yell and totally manipulates momma because she is my baby. She doesn’t eat a single vegetable voluntarily and only a few fruits. She prefers meat and bread. Not potatoes- all potatoes that aren’t french fries are shunned. She has developed a great face when she doesn’t like the taste or texture of something – I should try and get a photo.  She loves school and is absorbing everything. We’ve decided to send her 3 days a week next year because she enjoys it so much.

Sabrina is doing well in kindergarten. She had a rocky start as she was behind in her letters and letter sounds. But with a little extra help at school and a very patient Daddy, she has improved a great deal. Her writing is still pretty atrocious but that is more being lazy than lack of skill. She is beginning to read which I find amazing. I haven’t loved her teacher this year because she is awful at communicating with the parents. But she was likely exactly what Sabrina needed because she is particularly warm and fuzzy. Sabrina ingratiates herself to all adults she comes into contact with but I don’t think her teacher gets pulled into her act. But everyone else in the school stops us to tell us how much they all love Sabrina. One teacher declared they want to clone her so they can all take her home with them. While I love that she is so well liked, I worry about her tendencies to people please and the lengths she might go in the future to please others. I don’t want her to not be true to herself to make others happy. Outside of school, she is doing well too. We are continually amazed by what a big girl she is – there is not a drop of toddler left. She is a drama queen – every little boo-boo (real and imagined) is cause for major waterworks. And she is the girliest girl you can imagine with everything being purple or glittery or sparkly. She loves all of the trappings of girlhood. She loves crafts and art. She is happiest when she is painting or making a necklace or drawing a picture.

I think I’ll save the other things until they are more official. And I’ll hopefully have some newly painted kitchen walls to show off soon-ish.


Hard wired

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Some things must be hard wired into girls. How else would my kindergartener know about the whole “circle yes or no” notes already? I found this in Sabrina’s backpack a couple of weeks ago and cracked up. I have no idea what German item the poll was about but it is clear that Myah and AnnaRyann are firmly in the yes camp while Isaias is voting no.

Sabrina has also declared she has a boyfriend. Jackson is her boyfriend and she is going to marry him. However, the thought of kissing a boy draws a wrinkled nose and look of disgust (phew) from her. The boys are going quick in kindergarten because AnnaRyann is going to marry Bennet.

I find it hilarious and somewhat comforting that no matter how much the world has changed, in both technology and the human experience, kids still circulate notes instructing other to circle yes or no and kindergarteners still declare marriage intentions.


Friday, December 16th, 2011

Enough. I call uncle. No more.

Since earlier this fall, it seems everyone wants something all the damn time. It started with school supply lists that seemed out of control. Then a fundraiser sent home at the end of the first full week of school. Since then, it seems almost weekly, someone has wanted some small item sent in. A box of graham crackers. A plain white t-shirt to make racially offensive “Indian” shirts. A package of turkey. Twenty dollars for field trips. A bag of marshmallows. A dish for a teacher luncheon. A fundraiser for a dozen different worthy causes that I want to support. None of these items is a big deal individually but taken together it is starting to feel like too much. Add in car maintenance and 2 (count them TWO) furnace repairs in 1 week and a winter wardrobe for my children and now Christmas gifts. I call uncle.

I’m saying right now that if the school sends home one damn request for a MLK party contribution or whatever other reason they can think up, I will scream my damn head off like a fool. Please everyone, no matter how worthy your cause or how fun the school activity, give a momma break for a few weeks in the new year.

We are fortunate to have the ability to give. I know that. I will be the first to tell you how blessed we are. I enjoy giving.

Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Remember that Cinderella song from the 80′s? I was totally cool because the chick who cut my hair the year I lived in NJ was dating one of the guys in Cinderella. That put me way closer than 6 degrees of separation from Jon Bon Jovi, the man I was supposed to marry until he went and married his stupid high school sweetheart. I guess it all turned out okay since I adore my husband but Jon, you don’t know what you missed! My 15 yr old hair would have totally looked awesome next to your 80′s hair.

I’m not even sure how to write this post. It is hard to explain and is such an odd thing. Part of me is embarrassed – I’m a mental health professional so I shouldn’t be so unaware.  And part of me wants to share just because it is one of those things that need to be on our radar so others don’t miss it.

Where to start? Just about every night, I lie in bed promising myself that tomorrow I’ll do better. I won’t yell. I’ll find more patience. I feel like I’m not great at this whole stay at home mom gig a lot of days. I know everyone feels that way and I know we all hold ourselves to higher standards than we do others. But I found myself battling frustration and impatience way more often than seemed “normal”. I thought this was me as a mom who stays home. Before having kids, I never thought of myself as a kid person and never dreamed I would be a stay at home mom. But once becoming a mom, I was lucky enough to make the choice to stay at home for a few years. I love my girls more than I knew was possible but the day to day minutia (topped with solo parenting for 5 months) was hard.

I can’t pinpoint when it started getting harder than seemed “normal”. That bothers me. Have I felt this way for the past 2 years? No, I think it has gotten worse in the past 6 or 8 months.  But I can’t be sure. It happened without my awareness. I certainly had plenty of reasons to be tired and frustrated. My husband has been living in Pittsburgh since May. It was a LONG summer in this house. Constant showings of the house. Children who miss their daddy. Doing it all alone. Missing my best friend and partner. And summer was HOT so it seemed normal to not want to do anything.


Two weeks ago, I ran out of a medication that I’ve been taking for 2+ years. Not a big deal, called my doctor for an appointment to refill it. (Didn’t realize I was out of refills.)  But I noticed something odd. After my first full day without the medication, as I was lying in bed, I didn’t feel bad about the mom I had been that day.  We had a good day. I started thinking the girls must have been exceptionally well behaved but realized they were just their normal selves. No, it had been me. I was more patient and didn’t yell and enjoyed my day with the girls. The next night as I was lying in bed, I realized it had been another good day. I realized that I was feeling hopeful and happy and like myself for the first time in a long time.

I had a sudden light bulb moment. I had been depressed. And it had disappeared within 24 hours of not taking that medication (even though it wasn’t something that you would think would effect mood). Googling commenced. I wasn’t the only one who had experienced depression on this medication. I found thread of people on forums talking about the same thing. I wasn’t crazy and I wasn’t a bad mom. I was suddenly giddy. The absence of depression made me giddy. I had no idea I had been feeling depressed – I just thought it was the drudgery of life getting me down a little. I figured all would be well once we sold the house and lived in the same zip code as Steve again.

I can’t believe I didn’t recognize what I was feeling. I’m angry with myself for missing it. But I’ve never had an issue with depression and it wasn’t a deep dark, slit my wrists kind of place. But it invaded my life. I was lethargic. I was cranky. I didn’t laugh as much. Doing things seemed like way too much effort. And now I feel so much more alive and awake. I feel thankful that I ran out of the medication because I might have continued that way for years without realizing it. I also feel guilty that I robbed my kids of their real mom for however long I was in that funk but all I can do is move forward and show them their real mom isn’t an impatient, frustrated woman most of the time.

The effect of chemicals on the brain and body is an amazingly powerful thing.

Tessa still doesn’t love having her photo taken.

Over the hump?

Friday, September 9th, 2011

I’m knocking on wood as I type this but I think the worst is over.  This isn’t the first time I’ve discovered some parenting secret you all have kept from me.

Why didn’t anyone tell me what assholes kids are the first couple of weeks of school?

Sabrina had what seemed to be a raging case of PMS which started every day about 30 minutes after we walked in the door.  On the days Tessa had school, she became a whiny, cranky, pissed off mess about 10 minutes after we picked up Sabrina. Tuesday and Thursday nights were so miserable the first couple of weeks that I couldn’t even enjoy the 5 blissful hours I got to myself because I was dreading picking up the beasts.  I know they were tired and getting used to a new routine – I cut them some slack because of that but DAY-UM.

This is the end of week 3 and while it is by no means rainbows and unicorns up in here, after school isn’t as bad.  I love listening to Sabrina give me a disjointed accounting of her day over dinner.  And Tessa is so proud of the art and worksheets she brings home.

Our week in random shots

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

After we returned from our trip, Abuela came for a quick visit.

Raising the next generation of geeks (although now I guess it is more normal than geeky)

School shopping (more on that later) confirmed that we have at least 1 very girlie girl in our house.  Sabrina picked out a Princess lunch box and the pinkest, most sparkly back pack ever.  Tessa chose a cute lady bug lunch bag and we haven’t gotten a backpack for her yet (they are as big as she is!).

The girls were incredibly delighted to get close to this fearless butterfly.

Real Deal

Monday, July 11th, 2011

I’m not sure when it happened but at some point I stopped being completely real here in this space. Everything I share is 100% authentic but I hold back a lot. I feel so lucky and blessed in so many ways that it seems really shitty to complain about my first world middle class “problems”. I feel like I have to disclaimer everything by acknowledging that I know I have a great life and I shouldn’t complain – so I just mostly quit doing it.  My blog used to be a real piece of me.  Now? It is cute photos of my kids and occasional recipes with a tiny bit of snarky commentary thrown in.  I’ve decided to say screw it.  I’m tired of being polite and apologetic.

One morning this week, at the ass crack of dawn, we leave.  I am driving the kids 10 hours to Pittsburgh.  We are staying a couple of days then leaving for the beach for a week.  You notice I don’t say “vacation”.  Because let’s be honest, mothers of young children (and maybe older children too – I don’t know, I’m not there yet) don’t get vacations.  We basically have to see into the future and pack up everything that any family member might want for the coming 2 weeks.  Plus Extra! Exciting! Items! to pass the 10 hour car trip (or in our case 10 hours then 12 hours then 12 hours back and then 10 hours back again).  Then we have to try and keep some semblance of a schedule in place so that meltdowns don’t occur every day at 4:12pm while well-meaning relatives feed our children copious amounts of sugar and allow our children to break all of the rules (because they don’t know the rules that keep things from falling apart).  While doing all of this, we must wash laundry daily because the kids wear every freaking outfit every freaking day, cook meals, apply sunscreen 337 times a day, and make sure no one has unsupervised access to a body of water (pool or ocean or hot tub – this makes me tense the entire time – I have nightmares so let’s not discuss).  All of this while building treasured family memories.  THEN when we get home, we have to spend 3 days doing laundry and a week deprogramming the kids by convincing them all previous rules have been reinstated and that they must again learn to entertain themselves because Uncle Pat isn’t here right now to play whammy with you.

None of that screams vacation to me.  My idea of a beach vacation is long, quiet walks on the beach and sitting in a beach chair while reading a trashy novel and admiring the waves.  A cabana boy bringing me fruity adult beverages would also be nice.  Then dinner out somewhere – preferably seafood and cocktails. Maybe a dip in the pool after dinner.  Some drinks and card/board games in the evening (shut up, I’m a dork and would rather do that than hit a club).

The girls love these beach trips.  They get to spend time with family and have so much fun. I love that and enjoy the time I get to spend with my husband, my girls, and my inlaws.  I married into a great family.  I’m looking forward to the trip for a lot of reasons.  Just don’t try and call it a vacation or I might punch you in the face.

Last year:

Here we go…

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Sabrina always accessorizes her football gear with fairy wings.

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