Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thirty Thankfuls.

Today is December 1st. Which means I missed the boat on writing my thankfuls for November. I'm making up for it today.

Thirty Thankfuls.

1. I am thankful for the the reflection of my mother that I see in Malone. She may be gone, but I see her everyday when I look at him.

2. I am thankful for life celebrations big and small. Within November I have celebrated with my friends as they've announced a pregnancy, had a child sleep through the night for the first time since that child was born, weaned, had a child, and bought a house.

3. I am thankful for Motherwoman. They are doing inspired work, changing the world one Mother at a time.

4. I am thankful for familiar smells. My Aunt Nancy's house still smells the same way today that it did 25 years ago. The same rings true with the Lutheran Church in my hometown.

5. I am thankful for the library (even if I am terrible at returning my books).

6. I am thankful for outdoor Christmas Lights and getting to be a witness to Malone's first impressions of them. "Oooooooooh la lah. That is ahhh-sum, Mama!"

7. Speaking of Malone- I am thankful for his tiny toddler Boston accent, even though I have no idea where it came from.

8. I am thankful for the freedom of speech and expression.

9. I am even more thankful for those who are respectful (and not judgmental) of other people's right to free speech and expression.

10. I am thankful for my smallish collection cookbooks from my mother, my grandmother, and my great aunt and my great great grandmother. They are worn, dog eared, full of notes, and love.

11. I am thankful for food. Specifically, LOCAL food. It has been such a joy to be able to teach Malone where our food comes from by visiting our farm share and farmers market.

12. I am thankful that the movie Malone is currently obsessed with is a Dan Zanes concert DVD. The music is fun and doesn't cause us to gauge out our eyes.

13. I am thankful for my introvert husband who doesn't seem to mind staying home with Malone while I go out on the town.

14. I am thankful for honest and open communication.

15. I am thankful for Smart Wool socks, flannel comforters, and a really awesome infrared space heater that keep us warm in the winter.

16. I am thankful for beach breezes, ocean waves, and sand beneath my toes. Summer. Cape Cod.

17. I am thankful for silly stories that usher little boys into dream land. And the request for "One. Last. Stoa-wie.".

18. I am thankful for my roots. They are strong and deep in the middle of a tiny town nestled between corn fields in every directions. They are fresh and growing in the Happy Valley.

19. I am thankful for Trader Joe's Sea Salted Caramels. They are the best 220 calories on the planet. Their arrival in the store means that the holiday season is near.

20. I am thankful technology that allows me to keep up with family and friends who live far away- Facebook, Skype, and Facetime.

21. I am thankful for Malone's love of gymnastics. It is so nice to share my passion with him.

22. I am thankful for my job. Not only to to have one, but one where I am treated as a valued employee. I work for an organization where people truly work in a team atmosphere, new ideas are celebrated/encouraged, and the leadership is encouraging.

23. I am thankful for my nephew, Andrew, who is six months younger than Malone.

24. I am thankful for Starbucks.

25. I am thankful for the mothers in my life who have gone before me and the wisdom they have to share.

26. I am thankful for Maria Curtain McKinney. After returning from living in Africa, she single handly started a program for new mothers at my local hospital several years ago. My life was changed because of the people I met while attending.

27. I am thankful for my grandparents dinner time rules- hats off, no politics, no religion.

28. I am thankful for Rescue Remedy.

29. I am thankful for inspiration that strikes at the oddest moments.

30. I am thankful for my husband. He is the yin to my yang. If I were stranded on a deserted island, I'd want him there with me (because he'd totally figure out some way to make coffee)!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I guess the thing about blogging is that if you want to be successful, you actually have to carve out a little bit of time each day to write.

As you can see, I haven't been as faithful to this thing as I originally intended.

But I'm back!

Much has happened this (lack there of) fall. Life and it's changes are happening at a pace faster than can keep up with.

In the last two months....

I turned 30, celebrated with my in laws, and had family portraits taken.

Halloween weekend brought us a freak snowstorm that gave us 15 inches of snow in 12 hours and left us without power for 4 days.

I got a semi promotion that I wasn't expecting at all and am thriving in my new role.

Malone has turned from sweet infant/toddler into an opinionated whiny crazy fun toddler (basically everything that is two).

We drove to IL for Thanksgiving and had a lovely time visiting with my family. The best part of the trip was seeing my 2 year old and my 70 year old grandparents enjoy playing on the Ipad together, watching cousins bond, and seeing Malone interact with my grandparents' dog.

It seems like just yesterday I was on the beach savoring one last weekend of summer. And here tomorrow will be December 1, which begins the sprint that is the holidays.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Blog-In For Democracy

I've had a bit of a blog break. Self imposed, weather imposed, life imposed.

Each day I wake up and think THIS IS THE DAY! I will start my blogging again today. And each night comes and I am too tired, too mopey, too everything.

But this is a game changer. And I am happy and proud to participate. I am inspired.

Dear 2012 Presidential Candidates,

We are your future constituents and we are parents.

We are American mothers and fathers and grandparents and guardians. Our families might be the most diverse in the world. Blended and combined in endless permutations, we represent every major religion, political ideology and ethnic culture that exists. We are made from equal parts biology and choice. Our children come to us in every way possible—including fertility miracles, adoption, and remarriage.

Our very modern families embody the freedom that defines America. We embody America. We are rich in diversity, but we are united in our family values. We come together today, with one voice, to express our grave disappointment in the national political discourse.

The 2012 countdown has barely begun and we are already being bombarded with the warmed-over, hypocritical rhetoric of 2008. We are living in a time where 15.1% of Americans now live in poverty, the unemployment rate stands at 16%, and we are spending close to $170 billion annually between the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan*.

Given the current state of affairs we would expect every candidate to focus on the issues that truly matter: job creation, debt-relief, taxes, education, poverty, and ending the war(s). Instead, it is already clear to us that the conversation has been hijacked, with the goal of further polarizing our nation into a politically motivated and falsely created class-war.

We will not stand for another campaign year in which politicians presume to know what our family values are as they relate to the nation.

To be clear, here are our family values:

  • Affordable health care, including family planning, for all Americans. We will not tolerate any candidate using the shield of “Choice” to blind us from the issues that really matter. When funding is stripped from organizations like Planned Parenthood, access to sliding-scale health care (including yearly pap smears & mammograms), comprehensive sex education, and family planning is blocked from the poorest of the population.
  • Access to education, and the ability to actually use it. We want quality, affordable, federally-funded pre-K programs made available in every State, in order to provide an even starting point for all children enrolled in public schools— regardless of the wealth of the district or town they live in.
  • A reinstatement of regulations for banks issuing mortgages and full prosecution for those who engaged in fraudulent lending practices. We want full accountability —investigation, indictment and prosecution— of those individuals and institutions who engaged in fraudulent lending practices and who helped create the massive foreclosures that left many families homeless or struggling to keep their homes.
  • A return of strict environmental regulations protecting water, air, food, and land that were removed in the last two decades. We want our children to grow up in a world not weighed down by the strains of pollution and global warming. Between BPA in our products, sky-rocketing rates of asthma in kids, questionable hormones in our over-processed food, and more, we need leaders who will put our needs and safety over the desires and profits of large corporations.

Family planning, health care, education, economic solvency and environmental safety: these are our national family values.

Candidates who demonstrate the ability to understand the gravity of these issues, and their impact on our families, and who can provide actual, viable solutions to these problems will garner our support and our votes.

We believe in this democratic system of ours, and we will continue to use our voices and our votes to see that it reaches its fullest potential.

Your future constituents,
The mothers & fathers of America

If you would like to forward this letter to your elected officials, you can find their contact info at the following links:

* Sources for stats:

To see who is participating in Blog-In 2011, please click here:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The grass is greeners.

At this time last year I started working on a plan to leave my stay at home mom days and enter the workforce full time. I went back to work on my own terms and I knew it was the right decision for ME- it was 100% selfish. It wasn't about the extra money, although it is nice. It was about carving out a space in my day that wasn't about diapers, naps, or child development.

My one year anniversary of returning back to work is coming up. I believe in the vision of my company, I am satisfied in my job duties and the work is rewarding and fulfilling.


I am uneasy. I am uncomfortable. I am unsettled.

I know I'm not the only mama who has gone back to work out there that feels this way.

Malone is thriving at daycare and I know it is the right place for him. He comes home happy and excited to share his day with us.

We've got the two working parents thing down pretty well. We each know our strengths and use them in the day to day balance of it all. There is a great rhythm to our day.

I'm having a touch of the grass is greeners. I ache for more time with Malone. Will I look back on this season with regret? I'm not sure.

I am conflicted.

And I've decided that it is okay to feel that way.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Where I'm From - a writing excercise.

I am from my grandfather's garden, from New Kids On The Block, and Indian summer.

I am from the house on the black top just outside of town. A house my grandparents worked and saved for to make their own. A house that is now someone else's home.

I am from the knee high by the 4th of July corn and the sweet perfect cherry tomato picked right off the vine.

I am from Come, Lord Jesus be our guest, meatloaf served at holiday meals, and the greatest stories ever retold, from Hartley and Ralph and Rosemary and JoDee.

I am from the inside joke Christmas gift, a post meal nap, and the Easter Eggs hidden in ridiculous places. From sports teams that get your hopes up and the phrase "wait till next year."

I am from the proud, loyal, and stubborn. The hard working, the savers and sage advice givers.

I am from the your love of reading with take you far, because I said so, don't make me pull this car over, and I always have time to go for a walk with you.

I am from the candle lit Christmas Eve church service and songs so familiar they are written on my heart.

I am from the Midwest via Sweden, Kringla, Cream Of XYZ Soup, and Oreo Dessert.

I am from the Papa who fell off the roof and broke his leg because he thought it was a good idea to stand on a bucket instead of use a ladder, the Nana who said "I told you so", and the Papa who thought it really wasn't that big of deal.

I am gone now and planting my roots somewhere else. But I will always be from a postage stamp between four cornfields. From Tastee Freeze, the swimming pool, and Town & Country Days.

I'm linking this up with Mama Kat, thanks for the awesome writing prompt!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Great Purge Of 2011

Things here are messy.

How we got here, I don't know. Actually, I do know. Increased hours at work for me = less of me to go around. I've been focusing on parenting Malone and connecting with my husband. Together, we've managed to keep up on the laundry, the dishes, and putting food on the table.

I think we've done an excellent job given the circumstances.

Our "mess" is part of a larger problem. We have too many things and everywhere you look the clutter is creeping. It is time to purge and pass things on to others who can use it.

I've got several questions currently running through my head as I prepare for The Great Purge Of 2011.

Maybe you can help me answer them.

What should a toddler's (who goes to daycare) wardrobe look like? I love clothes and dressing Malone. I am the queen of the second hand store and his fall wardrobe is huge. I need to prune it.

I have a whole pile of novels to read. Some of these were purchased from my pre-Malone days. Should I keep a few and pass on the rest? At the rate I'm going, they are all not getting read anytime soon.

How many pairs of shoes does a full time work at home mom need?

Stay tuned for the answers as I work through this. And, if you have any tips or suggestions on decluttering, PLEASE leave them in the comments.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This Magic Moment.....

Everyday is full of magical moments. Life sometimes gives you a big one- a first date, a first kiss, a proposal, a birthday, a new job, a wedding, the birth of a child, etc. Those are moments I will ALWAYS remember.

But the smaller moments are the ones I don't want to forget.

I don't want to forget what it felt like to have Malone follow me around in the supermarket for the first time, pushing his own carriage. He was so excited to choose his own favorites- strawberry milk, granola for Daddy, yogurt, and cheese. Onlookers marveled at how well he listened. I was bursting with love and mama pride as we shopped together.

I don't want to get this face- the face that is perfectly stuck between baby and kid. A toddler who has much to say about the world he lives in.

"I live in Massy-chooo-sets, Papa Grob & Nana B live in Wah-sin-ten, Papa & Nana live in Ellie-noise, Cousin Andrew lives in Pencil-vas-nia."

I don't want to forget this day, when we shared a late afternoon picnic at the beach with extended family. I don't want to forget the way the sun provided a perfect backdrop and how fun it was to throw Malone in the air as high I as I could. I don't want to forget how he laughed and asked for more.

(My sister in law took this picture with my camera, but the idea was mine)

I could go on and on. I could wax poetic about magical moments. I could probably get my friend Tara to write an awesome haiku about them. But instead, I'll stop here and link up with Shell at Things I Can't Say.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Parenting PSA To Myself.

I'm spending the weekend with my extended family. My nephew is six months younger than Malone. My brother in law and sister in law have their own parenting style. It is similar in a lot of ways, but also different.

I care a lot for my brother in law and sister in law, and love my nephew to pieces. It is hard to see them go through some of the same challenges we went through with Malone six month ago. After spending some time reflecting, I realized I've been offering unwanted/asked for advice disguised under the "this is what worked for us" category.

I have always been a "know it all". When I'm speaking with someone and a subject comes up I know something (ANYTHING!) about, I feel an urgent overwhelming desire to share my knowledge with that person. Even if they don't care or didn't ask for my advice. It is an extremely difficult desire for me to reign in.

Unfortunately, this often makes me come across as arrogant. It also makes me seem unlikeable. But the thing is, is that I really am trying to come from a place of love. Really. I am. It just gets lost in translation.

The thing about kids is that they are all different- beautiful, unique, and no two (even twins) are the same. Therefore, a parenting style/advice/tip/whatever that might work for me, might not work for them. After all, my kid is different from theirs.

Lesson learned.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I am...

I am excited.... Today a plan was put this blog in motion in a big way. Exciting things to come!

I am tired.... Working in the insurance industry, post natural disaster lends to longer days into nights. It will get longer before it gets better.

I am nervous... Over something silly. But still... nervous.

I am celebrating.... One of Malone's little friends is hitting milestones in a big way. Exciting times lay ahead for him. Hearing the news from his Mama brought tears to my eyes.

I am purging.... Fall means consignment sale season. Letting go of things is hard, but I am much more happier when they leave.

I am chasing... A new friend. A friend of a friend really in fact. Twice now we've ran into each other in passing, but only had time to wave across the way or shout hello.

I am marveling... Malone's vocabulary and personality are blooming. He is turning into a funny little one.

I am supported... My husband has been a rock star lately at picking up where I am unable. The extra effort has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.

I am missing... My Mama friends and I haven't had a chance to get together lately. The stars haven't aligned for a post bedtime rendezvous since early in the month. I need to see them like I need air to breath. This needs to happen soon.

I am worried.... Hurricane Irene did quite the number on the communities to the west and north. I wonder, will the people ever be okay? Will the landscape ever be what it was? I want to help in a meaningful way. But I'm just not quite sure what that is.

1 am busy... Harvest is almost at its peak. This is the first summer I've attempted to put anything away for the long winter months. I don't have a lot of space, but I'm making the most of what I've got.

I am unmotivated... The house needs a deep cleaning as we transition to fall. I can think of 11 million things I'd rather to first. But I'll make a to do list and start chipping away. If work continues to take up the hours it has this week, I'll consider hiring a cleaning lady/man.

I am juggling... Love, Home, Life, Motherhood, Friendship, Work.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A post for Monday.

Malone has a pretty specific vision of fashion. He likes colorful things and if you ask him, pink is his favorite color.

I don't fight with him about it, most of the time. He is free to express himself so long has there are pants, shoes, and a shirt involved.

He loves live music.

He knows how to be a good audience member. He's smart like that, knowing when to chill.

He is comfortable in his own skin. I am proud of that and will protect those feelings for as long as I can.

We do not live where we live by accident. And we live where we live because we know that here creativity is everywhere, diversity is welcome, and self expression is celebrated.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A day in the life, Irene style.

4:27 am- Little feet come sneaking into my bedroom. The rain is picking up. Malone snuggles in and falls back asleep.

6:03 am- Malone wakes up demanding applesauce. Today is my day to sleep in (Mike gets to sleep in on Saturday). Mike gets up with him.

7:59 am- I smell bacon!

8:03 am- Malone comes in. He's ready for me to be up. Good thing that I'm ready to also be up.

8:30 am- It's raining, but not bad.

9:00 am- Malone asks to go buh byes. This is going to be a long day. I pray Dinosaur Train will distract him for a while. It works for about ten minutes. The rain has picked up.

10:10 am- Malone has my coffee cup and the Splenda. When asked what he's doing he replies "makin my coffee, mama!"

10:15 am- Malone and I have finished cleaning up the great Splenda Blizzard of 2011.

10:30. Time to make cookies.

11:00 am- Cookies are done. It is a bit windy, but not too bad. Malone and I set off to check in on our elderly neighbors, Paul and Judy, with cookies in hand.

11:03 am- We sit on the front porch of Paul and Judy's house watching the wind and the rain. Malone snuggles in to Judy. My heart sings at the mutual affection. They have grandchildren and great grandchildren but do not get to see them often.

11:30 am- Time to go home for some lunch. The storm is now in CT and headed our way. Grilled cheese and soup sounds like the perfect hurricane lunch.

12:00 pm- The wind has picked up, the rain is a bit harder, but there is nothing really exciting going on.

12:15 pm- We've played cars and trains. We've played kitchen. We've done art. Behold, thy cardboard box.

1:00 pm- Malone is getting cranky. It's time for a nap.

1:20 pm- Malone has made it really clear that there will be no napping today. He happily snuggles next to me and we read several books.

1:45 pm- Quiet time is over. We order Rio on demand. News reports state that there is major flooding happening. I see facebook updates with downed tree limbs.

2:00 pm- I take advantage of movie time by sorting through hand me downs. It turns out that I have more than I need of pajamas and causal pants. Malone comes in to help. My piles get mixed together but I don't mind. He tells me that "we're doing it together mama, teamwork!". We've been talking about teamwork and helping a lot lately, but this is the first time he's used the phrase on his own.

2:10 pm- Dinosaur costume found!

2:20 pm- Dinosaur escape attempt. I don't like you being cooped up all day any more than you do buddy....

2:23 pm- Daddy and Malone get involved in the movie some more. I resume going through hand me downs.

3:30 pm- The rain has slowed. The sun is trying to peak out. The worst is passed. We are lucky, but a lot of our neighboring towns are flooding. Daddy and Malone decide to go for a walk to check out the neighborhood.

4:30 pm- They are back. I've used the last hour to finish sorting clothes, catch up on the news, and clean my office.

5:00 pm- Malone is hungry. He goes to the fridge and tries to open it. "I can't do it, so I've gotta use my muscles!". Dinner is served. We keep it classy with left over pizza and peanut butter and jelly. Malone is clearly tired.

5:08 pm-We've always heard about this happening, but it never has for us. Malone has fallen asleep while eating dinner. He's out cold. I brainstorm how to clean him up without waking him up.

5:11 pm- I have successfully gotten Malone semi cleaned up and in bed without him waking up. Irene left lots of nasty gifts as she made her way up the coast today, but she gave me the gift of a free and easy toddler bedtime. I wonder what to do with myself for the next five hours before I go to bed.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Eye of the storm....

Hurricane Irene is projected to still be a hurricane and not a tropical storm when it reaches Massachusetts. Its eye is projected to fall somewhere between Wocester and Boston. We live an hour and a half west of Boston and 45 minutes west of Wocester.Link
My friend Tara wrote an excellent list yesterday that included tips such as hitting up the ATM for cash, making sure you have enough drinking water, and filling up your bath tub with water.

In addition to her list here are also the things we're doing today to get ready.

1. Baking cookies. Everything, including hurricanes, is better with cookies.

2. Laundry. All of it will get done today. Typically, I only wash Malone's daycare linens on the weekend as Monday is "laundry" day.

3. Making extra coffee and storing it in the fridge. You know, because no power = no coffee maker. Not a great combo when Malone is up at the crack of dawn most days. I will hit up Trader Joes for their shelf stable milk as Malone likes to take those in his lunch anyway.

4. Resisting the temptation to go out and buy 100 cans of xyz food. We don't typically eat a lot of canned food. Instead, I plan on getting fruit and veggies, cereal, bread, cheese, hummus, crackers, and some lunch meat from the deli. The lunch meat, hummus, and cheese can hang out in the cooler if things get bad. And if not, those are all things we'll eat anyway.

5. Writing down important phone numbers on pen and paper. I don't have many numbers memorized anymore. We both have iphones and if worse comes to worse, I can use my work cell phone to make a few calls.

6. Backing up pictures and videos onto our photo sharing site.

7. We live on the 2nd floor, so we don't have to worry about flooding (I hope). However, our washer and dryer are in the basement. I'll make sure to get their model number and serial number in case I need them for insurance purposes.

8. Speaking of which, if you haven't done it already take photographs the content items in your house. An overall picture of each rooms and a close up of high value or sentimental items will help in case you have an emergency. Store them away from your home (upload them to the Internet or store at a family or friend's house). Hopefully someday you won't have to thank me.

9. Charging cell phones and our laptops.

10.Brainstorming ideas to keep Malone from going stir crazy. He's the kind of kid that HAS to get out and about everyday. He likes to go, see, and do. Usually, we don't do art projects at home outside of coloring because he gets art 5 days a week at daycare. I'm going to pick up some finger paints, poster board, and shaving cream. Our water table will also come inside from outside. If I need to, I'll fill it with grains (we've got rice, quinoa, oatmeal, and unpopped natural popcorn. He'll dig using the water table like a sensory box. I've also got a few really sweet Christmas presents that I thrifted last weekend at a garage sale. I'm not opposed to pulling a few of those out now. New to him toys are always exciting (I've got a wooden parking garage, wooden firehouse, and two really cool wooden cars).

11. Everyone will shower this afternoon.

12. We're going to pick up our farm share this morning. We usually go on Tuesdays.

13. I've already worked out my backup plan with work. No power or Internet means working from home can't happen. If our sister office has power, I'll go there. If not, I'll let my boss know. If MA is still under a state of emergency Monday, Mike doesn't have to go to work. Which is good, because Malone won't have daycare either.

Bottom line, we've got a lot to do today. But we're ready to weather the storm.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Today, I celebrate!

Sleep has never come easy to Malone. From day one he made it really clear to us that he was going to need a lot of support around his sleep. For the first 4 months of his life, he slept almost exclusively either on our chest or in his swing. From there, we moved on to all other sorts of combination- in our bed, in his swing, in his crib, and so on and so forth.

He never slept through the night. Until we night weaned around 18 months, he woke to nurse. After that, he woke at least once in the night and needed a few minutes of reassurance that we were still right here.

We switched him from the crib to a twin size mattress on the floor during the 22 month sleep regression. I thought that regression was going to be the death of me. We had several nights where Malone woke up and was ready to start his day at 3:00 am. Somehow, we made it through it. And after it was over, Malone's vocabulary and cognitive development exploded with him expanding upon ideas and understanding basic emotions.

However, right after that he hit a growth spurt. This growth spurt manifested with him waking up to eat in the night. We tried to keep it simple with foods we could bring to him in bed. He usually woke to eat a fruit puree (think organic pureed baby food that comes in a Capri Sun style pouch), cheese stick, and a banana. We tried not to let him fully wake up and monitored him very closely while he ate. We didn't want him to wake up because then he'd BE up for the day. And nobody wants that at 3:00 am.

Despite my best efforts to shift him to eating more during the day, the night time wakings to eat lasted about 5 weeks. It was difficult, but manageable. He's now 2 to 3 inches taller and a pound heavier.

During this growth spurt we also hammered out a new bedtime routine. Currently, our routine looks like this: Malone and I watch a few books being read on You Tube (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is #1 right now), we brush teeth, go potty, and then Mike and I each read two books. After that, I kiss him good night and exit. It will be a long time before Malone is confident enough to fall asleep on his own. But we've shifted from Mama staying with him to Daddy. It gives them a little extra special time at night together and me a chance to get a head start on the evening housekeeping or meet friends for a late dinner.

This morning marked day 5 of Malone sleeping through the night. He slept from about 8:30 to 6:30 (give or take 15 minutes). This is a big deal in our house. It means that I too, (after 2 years, 1 month, and 24 days) have slept through the night 5 days in a row!

I knock on wood and pray that it's here to stay. I forgot what it feels like to sleep 8 hours with no interruption. But, I like it.

It's been a long road for us with a fair share of bumps. There were certainly periods of frustration and resentment. Especially since a fair share of his little friends have been sleeping through the night for several months to a year. But I do not regret the way we've parented Malone in the night. The best thing we can do for Malone is to meet him where he's at and support his growth and development in a way that is appropriate FOR HIM.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Miscarriage has been on my mind quite a bit lately.

Now, before you start spreading rumors or making assumptions, I am 100% not pregnant and have never known the pain of experiencing the loss of my child through miscarriage.

The memory of my mother's miscarriage has been coming to the surface a lot these days. I am hoping that by writing it down and releasing it out to the world, something will settle and shift.

When I was five(ish) my mother invited me into bed with her to take a nap. As I crawled up into bed with her, the water of the mattress shifted and moved. I tried my best to lay still and fall asleep, but it wasn't long before the wiggles came out. I flopped onto my back, and then back to my tummy. I shifted horizontally and then vertically. I couldn't get comfortable. And because I couldn't get comfortable, she couldn't either.

"Lay still and go to sleep." I can still hear her voice as she said it (and repeated it).

"Tell Jessica to lay still and go to sleep too." Jessica was my imaginary friend and she was AWESOME.

"Mom, Jessica is already sleeping."

"Great, now lay still and go to sleep so you don't wake her up."

This went on and on, with me wiggling all the live long day. Finally, after a while my mom got out of bed and excused herself to the bathroom. She was in there for a long time and in my five year old world it seemed like days.

Finally, I heard the toilet flush and she came back into the bedroom with tears in her eyes.

"Mommy was pregnant with a baby. There was something wrong and it wasn't able to live inside of me. The baby died and came out while I was in the bathroom going potty."

"Oooooh! A baby, can I see it?!?" I remember rushing down the hall towards the bathroom, running past my bedroom and the toy room. I arrived to the toilet and expecting to see a little baby. When I got there, it was an empty toilet with water in the bowl.

"Where is the baby?" I remember asking.

"I flushed it down the toilet." I remember her saying matter of factly. "Come on, Mommy really needs to nap." And so we did.

I don't know all of the thoughts that were running through my mom's head that day. And since she has passed away, I can't ask her. We never spoke about it again.

She had literally just kicked my dad out and was on her way to divorcing him. Was she relieved in some way?

How hard it must have been for her to juggle that moment of motherhood. We were the only two in the house. I feel a little guilty for being a typical wiggly five year old that day. If only the kid me would have had the insight that the adult me has. I would have laid still and let my mom have her moment.

I appreciate her honesty. She didn't sugarcoat what was happening to her body. That was the thing about my mom, she was always real.

I don't know how long she mourned the loss of that pregnancy. I know she didn't tell my dad. He didn't know about it until a few years ago when I told him. He was shocked. He didn't believe me or the facts of my vivid memory of that day. My Nana confirmed it.

To the best of my knowledge, there wasn't any other time in her life she was pregnant. When I got a little older she and I would play the "what if" game. We decided that if she ever had another baby it would be a girl we'd name Katelyn Paige.

My childhood was surrounded with cousins my own age who were like sisters but not the same. I was very busy with gymnastics, softball, and doing normal kid stuff. I never felt that I missed having a sibling until I got older.

There are times that I miss having a sibling so much. I feel like a a whole piece of me is missing in some way. I especially miss the adult sibling relationship I do not have. I wish there was someway I could make it better. But there isn't. There is no resolution to this, which might be the most upsetting of all.

There is just acceptance.

My Tribe.

In the earliest days of motherhood I found my tribe- a group of women also in their earliest days of motherhood.

We are nursers.

We were formula feeders.

We cloth diaper.

We use disposable diapers.

We cosleep.

We can't stand kiddos in bed with us.

We say no to screen time.

We put tv on so we can pee or shower in peace.

We are stay at home moms.

We work part time.

We work full time.

We are potty training.

We believe the child will let us know when he/she is ready.

When someone is down and out, we RALLY to make sure they are supported and have the tools needed for success.

We are different.

We are the same.

We have walked through this journey called parenting side by side for two years.

We have celebrated the birth of 2nd children, an older child going off to preschool, moves to far away lands, moves to close away lands. We have mourned the loss of a job, a pet, and a parent.

We are quick to ask for child care help when needed. We are even quicker to respond when asked.

We share different views. The diversity of opinion on methods of child raising is respected, held close, and supported.

Our children do not know life without each other in it. They have been together since they were weeks old. In the beginning we drank coffee and worried. Now, we drink coffee and they play together.

Neither one of these babies belongs to the mama who is loving on him.

I could have never dreamed these friendships. I am so blessed. But even more importantly, my kiddo is so blessed.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The million dollar question..... what's for dinner?

After returning to work full time after having Malone, I discovered that cooking ahead several meals for the week on Sunday afternoon was the ideal way to go.

Reasons why I cook ahead:

1. It takes the guess work out of the "what's for dinner?" question. I know what I've got because it's already been planned and prepared in advance. I don't plan that we'll have xzy on abc day but instead make 3-4 side dishes and 3-4 main dishes (meat or casseroles). We mix and match during the week for lunch and dinner.

2. It saves time. During the week I can usually have dinner on the table in five minute or less. Clean up after dinner is also a breeze, since the pots and pans don't have to be washed! A little up front work goes a LONG way. When I'm in the kitchen cooking on Sunday, I can multitask. I typically have several things going at once. If the oven is already going to be on to roast chicken legs, there is no reason why it can't cook a meatloaf too! I try to get the foods that are the most time intensive on first and then spend the time that they are cooking chopping veggies or prepping for dishes that take less time. Less time getting dinner on the table also means that we are done with dinner earlier in our evening- which is great because we have more time to hang out with Malone.

3. It saves money. I have a refrigerator stocked with food that is easily reheated. There is no temptation not to "cook" and to go out instead. Also, it is better for our budget because I can use common ingredients across multiple recipes instead of having to buy new each time.

Here are the following things I have planned for this week. An * denotes that it will be cooked the day of. I have linked or noted the recipe where there was one. Sometimes I make one up on the fly (in that case, there really isn't a recipe).

Side Dishes:

Pasta Salad With Veggies And Feta
Sweet Corn Salad With Black Beans And Tomatoes (Branny Boils Over)
Mayo Free Potato Salad (Branny Boils Over)
Garlic Roasted Summer Squash

Herb Roasted Chicken Drum Sticks (1/2 are Rosemary, 1/2 are Herbs De Provence)
*Cheeseburgers (Grass Fed)
*Crockpot Pulled BBQ Chicken
Turkey Meatloaf ( For this one I used oatmeal in place of bread crumbs. Also, I like to bake these in muffin tins instead of just making a loaf.

This will be a regular feature on my blog. I hope it inspires you with new menu ideas.

If anyone has a witty title for this feature, let me know!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Feels so wrong, feels so good.

This morning, I walked my husband and toddler down to the car, kissed them, and waved goodbye as they left for daycare and work.

I am working a later shift at work today and don't have to be in until 11:00 am. I should have came back inside to do domestic goddess things like mop the kitchen floor, start laundry, and vacuum.

But instead, I too hopped in the car.

I took myself out on a breakfast date. There is a place nearby that is our favorite. It has painted white exposed brick walls and the coffee is self serve. The food is classier than your normal diner food, but the servers are friendly and helpful.

Mike and I have been going to this place since it opened. After Malone was born, we brought him along with us too. It's "our" place.

I sat down at a table with a book in hand. It felt wrong to be there with out them. I felt like I was cheating on them. I missed them more than I expected I would today- especially when a family with a 2 year old came in. I wished my little someone and my big someone were there to share a pancake with me.

But then I observed that this 2 year old was adorable but demanding, just like my two year old.

I watched her parents star in the 3 ring circus that is going out to breakfast with a tot. I'm sure you know the rings- entertain the child, feed the child, feed yourself (aka shot gun a cup of coffee and shove food down your throat as fast as you can while coloring/reading/playing with child).

Instead, I got 45 minutes of breakfast/coffee in peace shared with a excellent book.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Every night from approximately 7:30 pm EST to 8:30 pm EST (If I'm lucky). I am held hostage by a terrorist.

A sweet faced, gentle spirited, outgoing, funny, sleep terrorist.

Sometimes there are weapons of mass destruction involved.

Often he speaks a language of which I do not understand.

He makes impossible demands that I cannot meet.

I am inclined to give into his demands. After an hour of books, songs, cuddling and otherwise pleading for my freedom I will do almost anything to make my escape into that magical hour where my kiddo is a sleep and I can finally answer email, do the dishes, shower, read a book that doesn't rhyme, or GASP pee in piece!

Then I remember that I do not negotiate with terrorists.

So, the stand off begins.

It's an epic war. A classic battle of will power.

He does gymnastics, dances, sings, and performs every cute trick he knows.

I pretend not to be looking. I work hard not to smile and marvel at how charming he really is.

I take mental snapshots for later.

I center myself and begin to ignore him.

More gymnastics.

I wish he came with a power down switch.

Eventually, he grows bored.

He tells me "mama leave".

YES! Progress! These means I'M WINNING!

So I leave. Only I am wise, I shut the door behind me and start the timer.

He begins to freak out, lest he be separated from me at bedtime for more than 2.57 seconds.

He shrieks, he howls, he screams.

My heart tugs to go to him, to rescue him. But I wait.

He howls more.

I pray the neighbors don't think I'm actually neglecting him and call CPS on me.

I come back to him.

He runs towards he bed, lays down, and asks to cuddle.

His breathing grows heavy, his lips open just slightly.

I sneak out, thankful that the littlest piece of my heart is finally asleep. I pray that the sleep terrorist doesn't wake up, lest we have to start all over again.