when treasuring the moments is hard


Do you guys ever get in those...those...ruts? a big slashed hole of...just...I don't even know...just being off?

I have days like that...a lot. But in my day-to-day life of mothering, I can usually pull out of it. Most days I can make the "babies don't keep" "the dishes can wait" sayings stick. I can take them to heart and remind myself to treasure all of the stuff: the good stuff, the hard stuff, the dirty stuff, the exhausting stuff, the funny stuff, the so-cute-you-could-die stuff, the so-disgusting-you-could-puke stuff. Alllll the stuff.  Throughout my days, I remind myself to just treasure it all, to soak it all up...Because what is it they say? In the blink of an eye, it will be over. They will be grown and gone. No more smeared handprints on the couch, no more smashed crackers on the floor, no more slobbery, open-mouthed kisses or funny conversations or spilled milk or negotiating with terrorists or big hugs or snuggles in bed or being silly over nothing or dancing in underwear. Over.

On my good days, it's easy to soak it all in and I revel in the grand simpleness of it all. On my bad days it's not that easy, but I usually am brought to tears of gratitude and guilt by bedtime, grateful for my sweet spirits, guilt-ridden that I did such a terrible job of showing how much I loved them that day.
And then there are my really bad days when I can't convince myself to soak it all up. I can't get myself to treasure the moments...and I don't want to. And sometimes my days turn into a few days,  or a week or sometimes more, and I get stuck in a rut of wishing;

Wishing my time away, wishing my kids away away, wishing my mom-ness away, wishing the day away. I use every half-assed trick in the book to not engage with them. I stare at my phone, make excuses as to why I can't jump on the trampoline, why I can't paint with them, why I can't read with them, why I can't watch a movie with them. Time-outs are more frequent, naps are longer than they need to be, my patience about as thin as paper, my temper shorter than an inchworm. I go to bed knowing it won't reset my mood, and I dread getting up in the morning to battle it all out again.

I write this and feel ashamed. But I also feel a little resistant to the shame, and in my head I can hear myself rattling off a million excuses as to why I was a caregiver today, but not a mother. In my head I make rationalizations that I do think are rational. I really do. I give myself a way out, a way to not beat myself up about how short I'm falling to my expectation of myself and my comparisons to others. Can't a girl get a break without breaking her children? Can't a girl just detox all the crap she is going through without taking it out on little people who amass around her constantly? Does a mother really have to love being a mother every second of every day? Can't a girl get some credit for just freaking holding it together all freaking day?!?

I think it stems from....well, I don't know what it stems from. Stress, maybe? Failure? Exhaustion? Maybe all of those? Pushing yourself mentally, physically and emotionally to your complete and utter limit every single day takes its toll on a person.

Maybe it stems from losing the battle to your threenager constantly. These days, I often wonder if this is how it really feels to have an actual teenager, and I shudder with horror -- to have a person really not like you and stare daggers at you and not appreciate anything you do and never being able to do anything right and if there's by some small chance a good moment, it last for about 5 minutes and you're back to being the bad guy again. Sounds just like a real teeenager, right? I'm so afraid.

And I know that it's all in how I react, and that some parenting decision must be made, and consistency is key, and it's just a phase and blah blah blah....but right now, I have no energy to parent. No energy to try. Nothing I do seems to work, no decision I make seems like the right one. I haven't had those rewarding tender mercies that shine through the hard times that remind us why we do the things we do. I think a lot of it is my crappy attitude, but again, I have no energy to fix it. I'm in a rut. And right now, it's proving impossible to get out of. Please tell me this happens to you sometimes.

I daydream frequently of getting out of my body and going in my head somewhere. I imagine the things I could do with my time, things I want to start or finish, the person I want to be, the person I could be. I imagine what it would be like to read a book endlessly into the night, without interruptions or the reality that you have to get up at 7 AM and you can't stay up till 2 AM reading or you'll be a monster the next day. I wonder what it would be like to travel without worrying about schedules or babysitters or packing for two other people that aren't yourself. And I think these things, and a small little voice pushes on my daydream bubble, reminding me that this is my calling. It's a noble one, I'm doing important work, I'm doing better than I think I am.

But on days like today, I don't let that annoying, small voice penetrate my bubble. I don't let it sink it. I push against it with, 'Yeah, buts', and 'that's nice, but I don't see its' and 'that doesn't change what i want' types of thoughts. I play the martyr. Sometimes it feels good.

Tonight, alone with my thoughts and the quite, and being able to look at the day a little more objectively, I realize maybe I'm being pessimistic. Maybe I'm playing devil's advocate to myself. Maybe I'm rebelling as much as my circumstance and conscience will let me, but sometimes, it's the truth. And sometimes, in this life, we really need to stop being ashamed of our truths and air them out. If we don't, I truly believe they fester and turn into something much worse than truth: Bitterness.

And so, yes. I'll say it: today was just a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for me. My kids weren't even that bad. But I was. And I didn't care. And it was hard.

and I just want people to know it's ok. Maybe it was a bad day, or a bad week. Maybe even a bad month (as it's proving to be over here). But I know that eventually it gets better. We dig ourselves out of that rut. In my case, the bitterness and disappointment fades and is replaced by such soul-wrenching happiness that I feel like I might burst, though sometimes, it takes a while.

And when the bitterness comes back, when the disappoint fills my heart, when the bad days never seem to end and the mother I want to be is nowhere to be found, this poem brings hope back to me

You are the trip I did not take,
You are the pearls I could not buy.
You are my blue Italian Lake,
You are my piece of foreign sky.
You are my Honolulu moon,
You are the book I did not write.
You are my heart's unuttered tune,
You are a candle in my night.
You are the flower beneath the snow,
In my dark sky a bit of blue.
Answering disappointment's blow with,
I am happy! I have you!

-Anne Campbell

Tonight, I'm holding onto it as tightly as I can, willing myself to believe it. Tomorrow, I hope I rejoice in its truth.

And I hope I'm not alone in this. I hope you're here sometimes, too.

a little birthday party for a big guy


Well, we're here. In Florida. Alone. I've been ok about it, except that It's MO'S BIRTHDAY! We literally know nobody here. So, his birthday party was small. I feel a little bad because Viv's first birthday party was a big celebration with a lot of friends. Mo's? Well....it was just....us. The best part? HE'LL NEVER REMEMBER IT!

We celebrated Mo's birthday a day early since we had a Tampa bay Rays came slotted for his actual birthday night. To make things less stressful on myself, I changed tradition and celebrated NOT on his real birthday (that was embarrassingly hard for me to do - i'm a tradition/rule girl).

Anyway, it was fun! Viv helped me make the cake with obvious ulterior motives:

We threw some streamers and balloons together, made a little chocolate cake with marshmallow frosting (and sprinkles! per Viv), and I put together party hats to make it feel like I really planned this thing (I didn't). What's the point of planning an extravagant party if no one is there to praise you for it? (ha!)

And yes. The balloons were a big hit. In hind sight, I shouldn't have bought him any presents at all. When will I learn? One year olds DO NOT CARE.

SO, in our highest, most falsetto-y voices, we sang happy birthday to the birthday boy and presented him with what would become his best friend. He didn't have any idea what it was until we showed him it was edible.

Then he was alllll over that.

That kid devoured that cake with two fists, shoveling, squeezing, smashing and throwing. It was his paradise, and his cheeks can attest.


Here's a little video for those who care (me): 

annnnnnd i'm super annoying because I JUST WANTED A PICTURE IN OUR PARTY HATS! it was disastrous. Why would anyone ever want a family picture together? Oh the horror.

Afterwards we did presents....and yeah. He didn't care about those. I told you, balloons. Balloons all the way.

the next day on his REAL birthday, I gave him a waffle with a candle in it to make myself feel like a better mom...because seriously, that's the only thing that indicated it was his birthday that day. Ha! I'm (not) the best!

And we ended the night at the baseball game where he grinned his little heart out, clapped, crawled everywhere and stole our popcorn. Isn't he the sweetest? My heart about burst with all the grins he was giving me that night.

And anyway...who needs friends when you have the coolest little family ever? Not that guy ^^^
Happiest birthday little (big) Mo!

A year of Mo


Oh Mo, you heart stealer, you.

My baby turns one today. I can't say I'm sad....just...surprised at how fast time can go. This last year has really been so fun with my chubby, squishy giggly boy. He's brought so my happiness to me ever since the day he was born - he taught me how wonderful babies can be - how angelic and cuddly and sweet and perfect. He really taught me to slow down and enjoy that baby phase - to not expect too much of myself or my body. He was a liberating experience, and it's been so wonderful because of him. So. To you, Mo Mo. I love you baby cakes.

A little run down of my silly boy:

He has five teeth and crawls around like a little bulldog, hands turned in towards each other, head down and faster than a squirrel. Man that kid is quick! He can walk a few steps but prefers crawling over all else.  It's incredible how much different he is from Viv. She was a tease, and though he does like to tease us, he DESTROYS everything - he has broken several things in my house already. With Viv, I never had to baby proof or keep my eye on her or worry about it if she was being too quiet...but MO..he is a completely different story. If he's quiet, it either means he's choking on something he found on the floor or that he's ruining something important.



He climbs on everything (it's his favorite pastime) and he likes to pull everything out of every container (his other favorite pastime). His favorite way to something isn't around...it's over whatever is in his way. He frequently chooses to clamber over me to get to a book instead of taking the easier route of around me. He wrestles and body slams  and tackles us, playing as rough as he can. Lately he's starting trying to bite us, and we when pop him in the mouth and seriously tell him "NO!', he looks at us, smiles and pretends to do it anyway. He bites down lightly and laughs at himself. He is mischievous and thinks he's hilarious. I can't help but laugh at him, though, he's just to likeable. He's also super into almost walking...so he loves Viv's shopping cart, can back it up, turn it around and go super fast...but somehow figures he can't really walk when he doesn't have something to hold onto.

He loves to throw a ball and play catch - he's actually really good at it, and nothing keeps his attention like that will. He likes to give 5 when you ask, will wave hi and bye if he's in the mood, and will say dada, ba (ball? milk? i have no idea), and occasionally he will say Mama...when he's crying (lucky me). Other than that, he babbles and spits bubbles constantly, giggling at himself and his cleverness. Sometimes i think he tries to blow kisses, but it usually turns into him hitting himself in the face to make us all laugh. Not much makes him happier than being outside. He can play in dirt and sand forever, and anytime he hears the door open, he drops what he's doing and immediately darts for the door to escape, and as soon as he does, he finds a stick and leaves for each hand and clutches them the entire time we're outside.  We go to the beach almost every night after dinner and that boy just wanders, eating fistfuls of sand and shells, crawling chest deep into ocean waves, digging in sand and pointing at the birds.

He is a friendly kid, and it's a good thing too because everyone and their dog stops us in the store.  People stop to pinch his generous cheeks and he gives them the cheesiest grin he can muster -- he really is impossible to ignore. He just has the cutest face (I have it on good authority...from every person that sees him).

A few of his favorite things include swinging at the park, his gray blankie (he's obsessed with it), his little stuffed Mickey Mouse (he constantly stole Viv's so we bought him his own, which he always grabs by the hand and drags around the house). His favorite songs are Paddy cake, Itsy Bitsy Spider (which he does with his fat little fingers - heart melt), and Popcorn Popping (it makes him smile every time). He has recently started loving books and loves to turn the pages and lift flaps. He will eat anything and everything, but if you don't get him his food, and particularly his milk, to him fast enough, he grunts and yells and tells you with his entire body that he WANTS IT NOW. Patience is not his most prominent virtue.

As for Viv and Mo together...they are the best of friends. She is a wonderful helper for me and loves to entertain Mo whenever she can. Mo loves when Viv plays with him. She runs in their shared room when he wakes up and plays with him in his crib until I come get him and it's their favorite thing to do. He's a big tease to her, pulling her hair, poking her and pinching her when she tells him not to. He is such a typical little brother!


Last night I rocked him to sleep, whispering his birth story in his ear as he nodded off with his pointer finger in his mouth. He's too big to just be on my chest these days, so he straddles my leg and lays his head on my shoulder and I love it so much. He's such a little boyfriend.

I'm sure there's much more about my little chunky love that I'm missing (he's been missing way too much this little blog space), but I just want to remember what a joy he is to have around, how happy he makes us all and how excited I am to see what he turns in to. Happy Birthday Mo Mo. We love you more than you know - thanks for keeping us happy and laughing every day.

lasts of ithaca


To mark these our last days, I need to give a little tribute to that which I have dubbed "lasts of Ithaca". all the the last things of this place that I've truly come to love.

Like the time we went to a hockey game, Cornell vs Harvard, and witnessed dead fish be thrown on the ice.

Girls nights/brunch/breakfasts/picnics with these two, this one in particular being our Galentine's Day Date to the Carriage House to stuff our faces.

Cute friends playing dress up constantly at the YMCA

Date nights with our family away from family (this is the one time it actually happened)

Date nights with my love in the snow
 eating snacks while wishing we could be outside

taking walks in Sapsucker woods outside our house.

Watching these friends play together constantly

Riding bikes up and down the sidewalk -- for hours.

Lazy afternoons reading books and eating popcorn together while cuddled in bed

watching this girl love random snow storms so she could eat all the fluff that she wanted.

the random snow storms in April that I hated so much but were undeniably beautiful sometimes.

Baking afternoons with this little sass

breathing a huge sigh of relief when spring actually did come and was showy about it.

relishing in our last warm days together and playing outside after Sage Social on campus

and again (our husbands take terribly unflattering pictures of us)

and again: the sunshine and last days and beautiful people. Give it all back to me!

Warm days reading together outside on a blanket while Mo sleeps, dad sleeps and we girls read

Picking "bwutiful" yellow flowers for me because "yewwo is your favowite, right mom?"

watching young love blossoming even more. Arranging marriages as we speak.

Watching BOCES nursery school graduation and seeing viv be so proud of herself


 Loving her little class and the opportunity she had to go to school with so many of her cute little friends

Seeing Viv love on one of her teachers (Miss Bree, her very favorite person ever)

 Meeting these beautiful women who mostly lived at Winston Court or met through church that weathered this storm of Grad School with me. They are wonderful and I miss them.

Again: arranging marriages. as. we. speak.


watching the kids be wild with childhood, climbing trees, getting dirty, being kids. My favorite part of our stay there.

waiting endlessly for dad to get home from school and running to meet him off the bus.

Viv's last day of nursery school, saying goodbye to her cute high school teachers.


eating meals in our kitchen with the light shining on Mo and making everything seem beautiful

Picnics out in the field with friends while the kids play and the mosquitoes eat us alive.

Watching Viv grow and work so hard at her speech development with one of her favorite people, her Speech Therapist, Lauren. Almost a year working with her, and she was so great and helped so much. We are really really gonna miss having her around.

Sneaking in on this sweet boy napping in his well-lit room while the sounds of kids playing drift through his window.

Eating popsicles on our front steps to beat the heat and enjoy the sunshine and the end of a long day of playing.

Saying goodbye to friends at the YMCA, particularly her teachers Miss Tiffany and her best little friend Tora, who Viv demanded to match with every day, have the same hair style, bring the same snacks and play together constantly. They were adorable and we were so sad to leave the Y.

The beautiful temple in Palmyra and the rich history that goes with the area.

 The beautiful flowers in summer that livened up the green surrounding everything. I'll miss your climate and how beautiful it made everything.

Taking these littles on a last date to see the circus together and buying them allllll the stupid overpriced light up toys.

Saying goodbye to our little apartment where we grew as a family, as a couple, as friends. My apartment that saw lots of parties, kid play dates, messes and dinners and late nights and endless friendships that I'll cherish forever.

And finally....saying a really really tearful goodbye to our apartment at Winston Court and to some of the hardest, best years of my life. Saying goodbye to friends who turned into family, goodbye to inspiring people, a beautiful place and a piece of my heart. I can't even write this without crying from the heartache of missing it. Moving on is so hard. 

Ithaca. I hated your winters. Despised them, really. But I love you. I love your green places, your amazing fall. I miss sitting outside in your constantly damp grass and chatting with friends while the kids play for hours...literally. I'll miss my kids having such great little friends, friends who play together every day, friends they still call their very best and will always remember. I'll miss your wonderful farmer's market, your dedication to all things organic and fresh and local. I"ll miss your college atmosphere and the inspiring, creative people you brought in my life. I'll miss the chances I took here and the person I was challenged to be. I'll miss living close to friends and women and kids in the same situation as us. I'll miss breakfast club and being able to know my friends' pantries and then run to their house to grab it and end up talking in the doorway for 20 minutes. I'll miss going on campus, I'll miss Wegman's. I'll miss the life you gave me for two years that changed who I am, gave me some of the best friends a girl (and her kids) could ask for, and a new appreciation for unexpected changes and the blessings that come from them.

I will never forget you and the place you have in my heart forever.


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