A year of Mo

7.24.2015

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'S SO SQUISHY!!!!






     

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.


We are enough

5.09.2015

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.


How?

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.


Sister Wives Take NYC

4.22.2015

This? Now, this had been in the works for a looooooong time. I mean, kind of. My girlfriends and  joked about the idea of taking a trip to New York City to commemorate our two years together basically husbandless and stuff. I've never been (I don't count that one day that was a disastrous fail) and neither had Clarissa, so, we put it on the back burner, pretending that maybe we could convince our husbands to let it be a graduation present to ourselves for the sacrifices we had made while they earned their degrees (it's definitely teamwork, is it not? they get the paper degree and the praise + recognition, we get the....?).

Anyway, as our days dwindled, we decided and conquered. Melinda has a sister-in -law (THANK YOU!)  who lives in NYC and it just so happens that they were going to be out of town in April on a weekend that miraculously worked for all of our schedules and our husbands. It was a MIRACLE. SERIOUSLY. The stars aligned. We were SOOOO excited, and basically told our boys that we were leaving a specific weekend and the damn well better make their schedules fit ours for once. no kids (except baby Clara- she was an angel the entire time).  No schedules. It would be the the most epic trip of all trips.

We took the greyhound bus 5 hours into NYC. Guys, I felt like I was in high school again, riding on the bus, eating treats, watching movies, giggling. It was pretty great. I swear I lose about 10 years when I ditch my kids and get around girlfriends. After Clarissa almost missed the bus (haha!), we were on our way, fully intact, all people in our party present.


Then, once we got there, it took us an hour wandering back and forth  the subway terminal with a big stroller, a dirty pillow and touristy suitcases trying to find our way to the apartment. Wow we looked like idiots, kind of.  It took us a long time to get to the apartment, and my feet were dead, but hey! It was only midnight in NYC! Let's get this party started!




DAY 1

But the NEXT MORNING we had big plans to get up early and get a Cronut from the famed Dominque Ansel bakery and luckily we made it early enough to stand in line and win a cronut (I got two). But the best part the bakery was the DKA---basically the most amazing thing I have ever put in my mouth.

We were pretty excited to eat this shiz for breakfast.



We wandered around the city that day, stopping in at some of our must see places listed. I'm not kidding when I say we ate our way through the city. We ate at three bakeries within three hours or something like that. It was kind of ridiculous. We made our way to Chelsea Market and ate lunch there...only the most amazing tacos ever (we missed quality Mexican food in Ithaca). We wandered around the shops, ate more food, and basked in our freedom.



We went to Strand bookstore just because we're cool like that and I bought a book because what better souvenir is there than that?


And since we were SO CLOSE to midtown, we SHOPPED OUR GUTS OUT. it was prrrrrrrrettttty awesome. no shopping like NYC, am I right? We had so much fun and probably spent too much money, but I"m pretty sure our husbands will never find out until it's too late.


We had plans to find the best pizza in NYC, and WE DID! We were debating between Grimaldi's and Juliana's, both in Brooklyn, both famous. We decided on Juliana's based on Yelp ratings and the size of the line at Grimaldis.....and let me tell you, that was the best decision any of us has ever made in our lives. Patsy Grimaldi, the originator of Grimaldi's (not his anymore) and now owns Juliana's. He works at the front of the store, seating guests, starting conversations and calling you things like "doll".  While we were dying from the amazingness of our pizza (IT LITERALLY IS THE BEST PIZZA I HAVE EVER HAD AND I'M NOT EXAGGERATING AT ALLLLLLL!!!), he came to our table and asked how our pizza was, chatted about where we were visiting from and asked to hold Melinda's baby Clara. So of course, we all instantly fell in love with him right then and there, that Baby-holding, cigar-toting, Frank Sinatra-friending pizza genius.

     

We obviously had to document the experience because the guy is a freaking legend. Best Brooklyn accent. Best night of my life. After talking to a group of 50 year old men amazed that all of us were mothers of 2 or 3 kids (you can't be older than 23?!), we walked outside looking to make our way back to the city when Patsy Grimaldi asked us if we needed a ride home. A RIDE HOME! he was just gonna hop in his car and give us a lift back to our place. Unfortunately for us we needed to go to Midtown. So that was a sad night...my only regret. But it made me love Patsy even more and I am forever loyal to Juliana's pizza for the rest of my life. So here's the moral of my story. When given the choice between Grimaldi's and Juliana's.......well. you know. don't make the worst mistake of your life.



After not getting a ride home from Patsy, we walked down the road to get a good look at the city at night....isn't it beautiful? I can't say I've ever been enamored with New York, but this trip changed that for me. Isn't that view amazing?







That day. What a day. Probably one of my favorites. But wait! It gets better.

DAY 2

Since we split up our list of things to do into areas of the city, our next day was dedicated to museums, central park, all the food we wanted to eat in that vicinity, Times Square and Broadway

So. Wafels and Dinges. Obviously. Basically the best waffle you'll have in your life. We unknowingly stumbled upon it right as it was opening, so we ended up being the first in a quickly appearing long line. It was fate. FATE i tell you! the Girls' Trip Gods were smiling down on us this whole time. Perfect weather! Good luck! We couldn't have asked for more.


We walked through the Central Park to the museums and decided to go to the MET. It was pretty amazing. We didn't have as much time as we would have like there, but to see original paintings by Van Gough and Degas and Picasso was more amazing than I could have dreamed.


Clarissa and I had never been to an actual Broadway play, so we decided to buy tickets and go, per Melinda's blessing (baby love). Les Miserables was the winner, so we headed down towards Broadway and Times Square to pick up our tickets and go shopping. THAT was a mistake. NEVER GO SHOPPING AT TIMES SQUARE! I felt like a freaking sardine packed in a TV. Insanity. I don't know if I will ever understand the pull of Times Square. Ever.


Anyway, forget about Times Square. We went to BROADWAY!

We dressed up in our best jumpsuits (also called onesies)(we didn't mean to match), and headed to the show. I love Les Mis, and ever since the movie came out I've been dying to see the original play. It did not disappoint. There were many times that night that I got cold chills or my eyes started tearing up or i was laughing out loud (Master of the House FTW). It was amazing. AMAZING! words don't even do it justice.


And here's something even more crazy. You know that hot guy on Single's Ward? Jonathan Jordan? Did you guys used to watch that when you were little? I had a huge crush on him. His real name is Will Swenson. Anyway....turns out that my Will Swenson was Javert in the play. His voice was amazing and the whole time I'm like...gosh that guy is familiar to me for some reason? But I dismissed it because why would he be? you know? Clarissa finally made the connection for me and I was MIND BLOWN. (geez i'm using a lot of caps here). Anyway. It was amazing, the end.


Afterwards we went to eat dinner (at midnight, YOLO) at Junior's, famed restaurant and cheesecakery. It was ok. But our waiter was hott and gave us free stuff, so yeah, we still got it.

We made it home, brought food for Melinda (i still feel bad for abandoning her all night) and we put on our Girls' Trip shirts that Clarissa's mom had bought for us. They're hideous, right? but so funny and sweet and yeah, I still have mine. Also, so much glitter. Everywhere.




DAY 3

Nothing particularly important happened when we woke up except packing and going to brunch at Sarabeth's, because duh, you have to. It really was so good too. We ate so much good food this trip.


We made it home in one piece and saw that our husbands survived without us and realized we should probably leave them more often. BAM.



I sure love these girls. It was one of the best trips I've ever taken, and most of it was due to the fact that I got to go with them. Sister wives for life, over and out.

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