We are enough


I've been having this recurring epiphany happening lately as I go about my days.

Like, big kumbaya moments where I love all the people doing all the things.

It's like this:

I'm 3 years and change into being a mom. A full-time, hardcore, stay home, exhausted, harried mom. I've put my own dreams on hold. I've put my model body on bed rest (insert eye roll). I've left my academic words in the books they came from. What I've become is a master negotiator, a professional multi-tasker, a short-order cook, a sometimes patient and sometimes fun keeper of two mini humans. My sex drive is wilted, my energy level akin to a roller coaster. I have extreme emotions minute to minute, ranging from frustration and SOMUCHANGER to overwhelming joy and fulfillment, like in two seconds flat. It's like I'm a hormonal teenage girl on....extra hormones? I don't even know.

It's called parenting. It ravages you.

With it comes navigating the waters of social setting parenting. You know, like at the park with all the kids and their moms and how little johnny is always beating up on all the other kids but his mom stays oblivious and you nearly bite your tongue off trying to not rip the kid's hand from your kid's hair and still stay civil to her.  You know....navigating THOSE waters. It's enough to drive a girl crazy. You can be friends with anyone, but if your kids don't get a long....well, game over. May as well find a new park to frequent.

Anyway, what I'm saying is this: As women, we don't all get along. We tend to be catty. We tend to be judgmental. We tend to compare ourselves to others, for better or for worse. Sometimes we gossip about how so and so won't shut up about the parenting books she's reading and the advice we garner from it, or the other so and so who thinks her kid walks on water, or heaven forbid we cross the one who doesn't let her kids watch TV because it's of the devil....who wants to be friends with THAT family?

Am I right? Don't tell me you haven't done this. You find your people and you stick with them. You find the ones who have similar parenting to you and then you talk about how the other parenting parents don't do it right. Guilty? Guilty. To some enth degree.

Sometimes I think we get caught up in tearing the women around us down. Focusing on our differences rather than our similarities. Maybe we do it so we feel better about our own failures? Maybe we do it because it's easier to see the failures than look for the successes.

But, we are similar, even if we can't see it. Even those two moms who are in every way the opposite of each other are similar.


Because I can guarantee you this:

Being moms? We all do it differently. But we have something so important in common that it trumps everything else.

We sit up and worry at night, wondering, agonizing over the fact that we don't know what we're doing. Am I enough? Am I ruining my kids? Will he be held back a grade because I let him watch an extra 30 minutes of TV so I could take an extra long shower with the door locked? Will she get cancer because I nuked the hot dog I gave her for lunch in the microwave? will she get cancer because I gave her a hot dog for lunch, period?!

We compare. We guilt ourselves. We don't let ourselves measure up.

We think about all the bad things that could happen to our children. We fear for them. We dread the day when we can't protect them anymore.  We dream about what they could become. We see our children in their basest, simplest form, and we know them. We dream big for them. We dream about giving them the things we had or didn't have. We dream the very best life for them, the very most carefree childhood, the most protected innocence and the biggest chance to get ahead in this world and then we do everything in our power to make that dream a reality.

We love them. We love them so hard our hearts hurt and squeeze and beat in ways we never knew were possible. We cry for them, we cry because of them, we cry about them. We talk about them, we think about them, we are constantly talking to them. We would give anything for them. We would die for them.

They make us ridiculously pissed off and immeasurably happy, sometimes at the same time (HOW?!).

I'm sure we all have collapsed in bed at the end of a really hard day wondering why we do this thankless job at all. We ruminate about all the things our kids did that day that were senseless and destructive. We count how many (too many) times we yelled at them, how many fits they threw, how many times we cleaned up the messes and then gave up, how disgusting the house is as a result. How many times we wanted to cry (or did), and how many times we just wanted to throw in the towel, give up, walk away, go shopping, eat an actual meal while it's still warm, sit in a corner with no one touching or talking or wiping their noses on you for maybe 2 minutes.

And in that chair or bed or floor you collapsed on, you start to remember the funny things they might have done that day. dancing with a bottle of bubbles, putting clips in brother's hair, saying something hilariously mature with a little tiny toddler voice, giving you the biggest hug for no reason, saying you look so beautiful as you walk around in your day-old gym clothes and makeup-less face.

And after all this, after all the desperate wishes for the day to be over, for the chaos of bedtime to be over, for the kids to grow out of this stage, for time to yourself to do what you want, for the time to finally be alone in a quiet house, you creep into their rooms and lean over their little sleeping bodies, softly rustle their hair, kiss their flushed cheeks, whisper that you love them more than anything in the world. Cover them tenderly with their blankets and walk out of their rooms wishing that you could stop time.

To some degree, in some general way, every mom has felt these emotions. Every. Single. One of us. The old lady who harps on you for not buckling your kid in at the grocery store. Your Mother in law who gives you unwarranted advice. Your arch enemy who bugs the crap out of you, that mom who always looks perfectly together, the mom who goes above an beyond with the preschool snack, the one who has a career, the one who stays home, your parenting opposite, your best friend, your neighbor, your own mom. All of us. We are all mothers. We've all done it. We are all in the trenches. We've all felt the gnawing pain of time passing, the knife of guilt and comparison, the lonely gulf of feeling hopelessly lost and alone and incompetent.

And when I think about that, I feel a real love for the mothers around me, the ones whose children are grown and gone, the currents ones, the ones who long to be, the ones who grieve because of the loss it has brought. Even though we may be vastly different in every way, at least in this is the same. We've felt it all. We despair and celebrate and try again and we do this the best way we know how.

So, let's give each other some credit. If nothing else, the divine nature of motherhood brings us together, whether we have children or not. We have felt all the feelings. We can look into the woman's eyes passing us in the store and know her exhaustion because we have felt it too. We can empathize with the harried mom dealing with an ear-splitting tantrum in the aisles of the grocery store. We can sympathize and mourn with those who are fruitlessly waiting or have lost. We know the heartbreak because we have felt the joy.

Motherhood is who we are. It's who we were meant to be. It's more powerful than anything on this earth, because it is God given. It is our eternal right and privilege. Let it bring us together. Let it lift us up.

We are each doing the best we know how, and that is enough.



My babe turned three in March and we partied like rockstars. This year was so fun because she reeeeeeally got excited about it. She had been talking about her "birfday in maaaahch" and she knew she was turning three while holding out three shaky fingers.

Grandma came to town to celebrate with us, and the kids were in heaven. Viv loves my mom, and she's spoiled when she comes. Mickey Mouse and cuddling with grandma are on Viv's top things she loves to do, so that's what happened.

Because her actual birthday fell on a Sunday, we let Viv choose what she wanted to do the day before. Of course, she chose a movie. We headed to Cinderella decked out in her new princess digs from the Disney Store. She was so excited to wear her "pwetty pwetty pwetty shoes and pwincess dress" in public and she twirled and danced and waved her wand everywhere she went. It was pretty adorable, and I totally cried a few times watching her -- I get really emotional on birthdays, it's pretty annoying.

Anyway, this is from the theater after the movie, and although we had plans to eat pizza for dinner afterwards, she really wanted to wander around the mall, darting here and there, touching whatever she wanted and taking as long as she wanted in each store. That's basically her dream since I'm always hurrying her everywhere she goes.

Freakin' cute, right?

For weeks, even months before her birthday, Viv was obsessed with having a PINK PARTY.  A pink Minnie Mouse party, which she talked about constantly. Whenever I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she requested a crown and a pencil (?) and a "big, Big, BIIIIIG Minnie Mouse!!!". When I asked her who she wanted to come to her party, she listed only her four favorite friends and was adamant that Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy, and Pluto all be at her birthday party, no matter how many times I tried to explain to her that they probably wouldn't be able to make it.

Sunday morning Viv woke up to a huge Mickey balloon and all her favorite clubhouse characters in party hats. She was SO EXCITED about the big Mickey balloon. I'm pretty sure I could have just gotten her that and she would have been happy.

 She opened her presents and loved on her big big biiiig minnie mouse. She's been super obsessed with princess dresses, constantly wearing her princess sleeping gowns and dressing up ("wearing my outfit mom!") at the gym every day. She got some pretty dress ups for her birthday and throughout the day changed her outfit a million times. Cutest. Thing. Ever.




After presents were opened, we all had her special birthday breakfast (she requested oatmeal-her very favorite food of all time) and sang happy birthday to her. She loves that song, and she was so happy we were finally singing it to her.


The rest of the day floated by slowly as we waited for her party to start. We invited our Ithaca family to have dinner with us and have a little birthday party for Viv and Clarissa (they have twinner birthdays).  Viv dressed up in her new Minnie Mouse dress and waited excitedly for her friends to arrive.

Waiting is like the worst kind of torture for a three-year-old, so she had all of her friends watch themselves on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while she waited. I was dying when she set this up on her own.

You wouldn't believe how ridiculous it was to try and get a decent picture of these 5. Viv started crying, Everyone was talking, Nobody would look at the camera and Viv kept standing in front of her friends and being a brat. This is the best I could get. Ha!

Finally we broke out the candles and cake, and it took Viv a million times to blow out this tiny thing. Her friend Graham is a little younger than her and kept trying to blow out the candle (and almost succeeded), and at one point I was teasing Viv about spitting all over the cake, and her other little friend took me literally and launched a huge spitwad towards the cake (just trying to be obedient! Hilarious). Viv was getting a little frustrated at the whole thing...

Finally she succeeded with a little help from me and all was well.

Also, Mo. Just happy to be there.


After cake, these two girly girls dressed up in a million different outfits, giggling together. I love that there's at least one girl around here that Viv can be girly with.

The party was exhausting. Little apartments and big parties are not a good mix, so we all conked out afterwards, and that was that.

She had such a fun day, and it made me so happy. I have loved the last three years of my life with this girl. She has filled our lives with so much laughter and silliness, and it's sad to think how fast it's going. Even though birthdays are emotional for me, they really don't get any better with kids. And gosh, don't they grow up to be the most wonderful people on earth?

Happy birthday, sweet Viv. We love you!

My kid the Sour Patch


Do you guys remember these? Sour Patch Kids commercials?

This one?

Maybe this one?

Sour. Sweet.

I remember thinking they were clever and hilarious when I first saw them --- I laughed my head off.

Lately, they've been brought to my memory  in a different way...
In a toddler way.

Because I've come to an unsettling conclusion. My kid? She's a bona fide Sour Patch Kid.



Viv is officially three in a month. And you guuuuuuuuys....I thought 2 year olds were supposed to be bad. but no. THREE! I'm convinced it will be the death of me, for real.

As she gets closer and closer to turning three, the more threenager-y she becomes. (because threenagers are a thing, don't you know?)

Moody. Dramatic. Emotional. Mean. Sweet. Funny. Kind. Considerate. Bratty.

I mean, from one second to the next, we are taking major mood swings over here. She's playing the game, and she's playing it hard.


The other morning we were in our usual rush to get breakfasted, bundled and out to the car to get to the gym on time. I was at the counter making a snack for Viv to take to her class while she sat on the floor doing a Mickey Mouse puzzle. Two times I had asked her to stop doing said puzzle to get her boots and coat on. Exasperated on the 3rd time, I snapped at her and gave her the choice of puzzle in the trash or boots on. At that finality, she glared up at me with her little signature stink face she has going on lately and slowly, deliberately says..."I......hate you.".

I spin around with an incredulous look on my face, asking her to repeat what she had just said.
And she did. "I hate you."

Demanding to know where she heard that, she defiantly says "myself!", and watches for a reaction from me.  Literally, I have no idea where she heard that phrase, but I could tell as she said it that she was unsure what it meant and if it would get her in trouble. So she tested me, and she relished in it.

Anyway, After a talk about feelings and a time out until her little hard wall of pride let down enough for an "I'm sorry", I asked her to get her boots on again. She obediently walked out to the steps outside our door and proceeds to fly into the kitchen, yelling, "Mom!! you bring dees boots for me?! THANK YOU MAMA! You da best evah!!" and she gives my leg a big hug --

Sour. Sweet.

Just as I can't resist Sour Patch Kids, I can't resist this ridiculously, infuriatingly funny stage of sweet, bratty, limit-pushing sass face Viv.

And again:

V: "Mom, I don't like any people" *stink face, mean snort, violent head shake*
M: "Viv,  You don't have to like everyone, but that's not a very nice thing to say."
V: "Oh! Oh! Mama, I just teasing, I wuv evybody. Ok? Ok!"

Lately we've been discussing a lot about how the things we say make other people feel - hurting people's feelings by saying mean things, or making them feel happy when we say nice things....and how it makes us feel when people say certain things to us (and, side note: she has manipulated these lessons severely with any discipline we give her. If we raise our voice at her at all, or if we tell her to do something that she doesn't like/want to do, she dramatically trudges to the other parent with a quivery lip, declaring that "mommy make me feel baaaaad!").

yes. we are definitely winning all the parenting awards over here.

ANYWAY, she's say stuff like:

V: Mom, I say dis a mean way!
M: ok, what's the mean way to say that?
V:  NO!! I DON'T WANT TO! STOP. BUGGING. ME!!! *cue brattiest voice ever*
M: Ya, that's not very nice is it. What's the nice way to say that?
V: *dramatically sweet voice overhaul* oh, no thanks, I don't want to talk right now.

So this, in itself, proves to me that she does in fact know when she's being nice and mean, and that she very much chooses to do one or the other, and not only that, is very aware of the fact that these differing choices have consequences. She knows this! It blows my mind, because DEFIANCE!!

At any injustice or mistake on my part, I get this face:


(let the record show that I do not yell at her as much as it must seem and I definitely don't lock her door...)

And one more winner from today after I told her she couldn't watch her beloved Mickey Mouse Clubhouse movie (but dad told her she could, unbeknownst to me...):

After crying to Dale and him telling her he would talk to me about it, she storms in my room with a bratty glare on her face, nose squished up, eyes squinted, throwing daggers my direction. She says loudly,

I ignore her and keep playing with Mo.

She continues walking towards me, huffing and puffing, glaring all the way until she reaches Mo, and LITERALLY her whole demeanor changes. her eyebrows unknit themselves, a big grin replaces her scowl and she says in her special baby voice she saves especially for her brother,
"Oh Mo! Don't worry. I not mad at you, honey!" Pats cheeks. Gives him a kiss.

Jerks her head towards me, knit eyebrows, glaring eyes, mean face and says, '
"I MAD AT MOMMY." Grunt. Satisfaction. That'll teach her to deny me Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Sour. Sweet.
A Sour Patch Kid.

I wish it wasn't so damn cute, then I might actually want to do something about it.

Florida vacay


As you probably know, we're moving to Florida when we're done with school...
hallelujah and all that jazz! 

So, like the reckless tight-wads we are, we decided to head down for a visit to scout out areas to live and get away from Ithaca for a while since we had been here all Christmas break.

If I'm being honest though, the area hunting excuse was a front for getting the hell out of Ithaca....you know. because of all the snow and stuff.

We stayed in a colorful little motel right across from the beach. The weather was cooler than we would have liked, but we still ran outside in the mornings in shorts while everyone around us were in puffer coats (no joke). We had a little kitchen area and compartmented sleeping areas that made bedtime with kids a dreeeeam, and access to the little patio that looked over the pool and gave us a glimpse of the ocean.

So we went to the beach, we played in the pool, we were lazy. We went running, looked for shells, drove around neighborhoods and looked at mansions along the beach and tried to imagine our lives in the place in just a few short months. It was a perfectly lazy vacation -- just what the doctor ordered.

We celebrated Dale's 29th birthday while we were there by eating pizza and doing whatever the hell we wanted. Dragging around 2 kids is no picnic for a birthday, but the guy handles it with class and sexiness, am I right?

For a few days, Florida treated us with sunny and warm-ish weather before rain storms hit, so we packed up snacks and hit the beach like a couple of tourists. The kids, though, they LOVED it.

Eventually we got rained out and had to take shelter under this building to keep the kids from getting sand-whipped and more whiny than they already were. We waited until the rain cleared before making the walking trek back to our hotel a block away.

Even though it was pretty chilly, I am not complaining, because ITHACA. Obviously. The weather there was like early summer in New York, so we were pretty much in heaven. You can't beat those stretches of white sand and beautiful ocean in comparison to stretches of freezing white snow and stretches of gray slush in every direction...

Also, let's talk about Mo for a second.....THAT KID! Heart eyes for DAYZZZ in his little swim trunks that barely fits him. He was a dream baby this trip. We plopped him down in the sand and he went to town, grabbing and flapping and grabbing some more. He was loving it, and had a little perma-grin on his face the whole time. Case in point:

When we weren't attempting the beach in the cold, most of our time was spent swimming in the motel's heated pool because Viv is a fish. She recently discovered goggles and is obsessed. And this face, you know? I mean, only a mother could love that face...and wow, do I.
Towards the end of our trip, we planned to head over to Disneyworld since it's only an 1 1/2 hours from where we'll be living AND Viv is free until she turns three AND she's in love in love in love with Mickey Mouse and the whole gang. Even though Dale are anti-Disneylanders, we love our kids and wanted to act like we weren't haters for a second (I swear, ALL of our good friends are obsessed with Disneyland and I think they may hate us because we don't....we are in no position to lose friends at this point, so you know....)

So, we braved the crowds and headed to the "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" as Viv so excitedly called it. We met Mickey -- who was freakin' cute, I have to say. And Viv is so obsessed, but gets so shy and won't talk when presented the opportunity. We finally convinced her to smile by telling her NOT to smile.... such is my life right now. Almost-threenagers, I tell ya.

And again, let's talk about Mo. The kid was a freaking' walking attraction. Seriously, I should have made a sign asking for admission to look at his cheeks -- People were doing double takes, stopping in their tracks, leaning over to their friends and commenting/nodding in our direction, always resulting in laughs or heart eyes or oooohs and aaaaahs. I think I could have paid for our park tickets with the money I would have raked in from the attention Mo warranted, and that is not an exaggeration. 

At one point, we were standing in the line of all lines to go on the dumbest ride ever, and as it snaked back and forth over and over and over -- it was the line that never ended -- we kept passing a few different families that would just fall over themselves giggling, cooing and baby talking to him. They'd grab his hands, play peek-a-boo, pat his head, and Mo would always grant them his signature happy, open-mouthed smile and a little arm flap -- it won them over every time. I think this freakish obsession from every.single.person was my favorite part about the trip.

Then there's Viv's signature stink face because she must just feel so obligated to never let us see that she is actually having fun.... (as I'm writing this, I'm realizing there's a striking similarity in attitude to my youngest sister who's seventeen....and I keep thinking that maybe Viv really IS a teenager?? the resemblance is uncanny).

Though Anna was supposed to be one of the stars of the trip for Viv, she hardly even peeked over her mini Minnie Mouse to talk to her....So Mo took action and went for the braids and the face, trying to pull her in to give her a big wet one right on the kisser. That boy is toooooo much like his daddy already.

By the end of the day, we were so extremely Disney-d out....and I swore that if we turned on the radio on in the car and a happy song came on I might hurt someone. Disneyworld is a hard place to stomach for a bunch of happy haters like us. It gave me a headache and I puked my guts out on the ride home -- that one I'm not making up.

Though for the life of me I'll never understand why people freely choose to go back for a 2nd, 3rd or 4th day (or heaven forbid more...),  we had fun and loved seeing Viv so excited about something she loves. Her favorites? Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto in the parades, and the "mean witch" (Maleficent) and her fire breathing dragon. The shows at the castle were the best part, in my opinion, and they were Viv's favorite too.  At the end of the day, we let Viv pick out one thing to buy, and she picked a little Ariel music box and a little package of Ariel jewelry, singing necklace/earrings and all.  The girl was in heaven, It's hard to be a hater of something your kid loves so much, you know?

 (let the record show that I love Disney stuff-- I am a die hard Disney original movie fan and I grew up with them and intend to raise my kids on them -- and Mickey Mouse is one of my very favorites - he's classic and vintage and I love that. The only thing I don't like is Disneyland, because i hate paying a freaking fortune to sweat to death, be crowded by weirdos intent on being lame and waiting in endless lines for two minute rides....my stance on that won't change, amen).

SO. Our last full day in Florida was basically the only nice day weather-wise that we had. We spent it at the beach to soak up as much Vitamin D as we could before being sent back to the hellish frozen tundra of Upstate. I spent the day reading in the sand, Mo killed it in his wife beater, and Dale & Viv found seashells, made sandcastles and chased the waves. It was a beautifully relaxing day, and a perfect end to our trip.



And now I am facing the reality of actually moving to this place. I have a lot of mixed emotions on the subject -- most of them circling around friends I left in California absolutely positive we were coming back in two years...and then not. Leaving wonderful friends I've made in Ithaca to part ways for possibly forever. Facing that big exhausting mountain of making new friends and dating couples and being your very best self so you don't scare off any potentials....and all of it leaves me feeling jealous, depressed, exhausted and homesick. For the most part, I am trying to be positive, trying to be excited, and trying to look forward to new adventures and new people. I keep telling myself that there are good people everywhere. The more I move and leave friends behind, the more I realize that I get very attached to relationships, and that is what makes change so hard for me. I don't like replacing friends. I don't like getting replaced by someone else who is more present in my friends' lives. It is hard for me, but it's the hard truth. Life moves on, so do people. UGH! why can't everyone just move by each other and live there forever?

And so, I ended the trip wishing and praying harder than ever that Heavenly Father knows what he's doing and knows what I need. He told us to move to Florida, so he sure as heck better deliver in the friend department....because that's what soon-to-be friendless losers do is pray for friends who will accept their sex jokes, pessimistic ways, sarcastic remarks and overbearing friendship

Hit me with your best shot.
(and I'll probably cry while you do).


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