Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What I gained this year

What did I gain this year? Weight. A lot of it. I would guess about fifteen pounds. And I'm not about to lose it.

God, no! I'm not pregnant.

I have made a list of ten things I want to do in 2015. Some vague, some specific. Some professional, some personal. Other just spontaneous and fun. None are to lose weight. I'm OK with that. I actually love it. Yeah, I tried here and there to lose a few pounds. Yes, I got really aggravated when my favorite jeans magically became much tighter over the course of a couple months. But over all I feel good. Even with some added muffin-top!

CONFESSION: My cousin got married in November. I was planning on wearing the same dress that I wore in January for my sister-in-law's wedding. Eleven months between the weddings. No biggie. Two days before flying to my cousin's in Florida, I tried on the dress, forcing the zipper to close. With a sharp pain to exhale, I could feel the zipper rip. Not only rip open but teeth breaking off of it. Obviously, I got overly emotional and upset. Not so much that I had gained weight and just ripped open the zipper of my dress, more that I was to fly out in two days and definitely didn't have time or money to get a new one! So I took it to the tailor's to see if they could fix it. They put on a wider zipper. I widened my dress. This would be depressing to most, but I'm not going to lie, I like it better now than I did in January. I looked damn good! I got an ass that just won't quit!

I am not saying that I plan on gaining more weight in 2015. I do have goals to eat healthier. Because the stack of Oreos I had for dinner last night isn't helping anyone. But to lose weight? No, not a priority. My sister is getting married this coming year. Normally for a wedding, my mentality would be to fast for the next six months and pray that I don't look like a whale in whatever bridesmaid's dress I would have to squeeze my ass into. However, I have the COOLEST sister who is allowing me to pick any dress I like. I don't have to match anyone, pick a certain style, have my whole body wrapped in satin and tulle. I can find a dress that flatters myself and no one else. Her only requirement is that the dress be white. ((Don't worry, Emily. My dream to Pippa Middleton your wedding went out the door with those extra six Oreos I ate last night.))

My favorite thing about my body? First, that it made a human! And a kick-ass one at that! I have 30 extra pounds, stretch marks and bags under my eyes to prove it! I have spent the past three years caring for his little growing body that mine has been on the sidelines. Not to say that it can't be done. Getting back to pre-baby is no longer a priority or necessity for me. I have tons of Facebook friends who post pictures proving that you can work out and be healthy with a kid. The healthy eating thing I have down. I am raising a self-proclaimed vegetarian. Although, like I said before, my own eating could be a bit better. But I love seeing these posts. The ones of friends doing yoga with their kids, becoming certified fitness instructors, posting meal plans and inviting me to join in on all the fun. This is one of the reasons I love Facebook. The sense of community and support is real. People reaching out to help others. It's amazing, and I'm thankful for it.

I am thirty years old. I am five feet tall. I weight about 160 pounds. This year I gained a new decade, no inches, and (possibly) fifteen pounds. Guess what else I gained..

I gained confidence in starting a new soul-healing journey (therapy).
I gained new experiences and failures.
I gained the feeling of accomplishment in many areas of my life.
I gained professional experiences in different fields of work, expanding my own networks.
I gained love, heartache, new friends, new family, and a whole lot of inspiration.

I plan on gaining much more from all of this in 2015. I am excited for what the next year will bring. I am excited for new adventures in all aspects of my life. I am excited to continue to show Vedder the many different sized packages happiness can come in.

Goodbye, 2014. I am so grateful for you.
Hello, 2015! Let's do this!!

((This post was originally written for Page A Day Project))

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

When Oz is Revealed

Over the past few days I have tried to put into words how Robin Williams' passing has affected me. No, I did not know him. I never even met him. But how cool would it have been to meet him?! His smile, comedy, and words however shaped many memories of my child- and young adulthood. Through movies like Aladdin, Hook, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society, we discover themes of friendship, innocence of a child, family reality, life goals, love lost, and finding a voice.  To see all of these things is such an easy way to look at life. Many of us know this but not many of us actually live like this. Because it's easier for Hollywood to show us in an hour and a half these ideals, than for us to change our lives and influences. We all enjoy thought of ideals while the film is rolling, but after it is over go back to real life; actors do the same thing. 

With all of that said, Robin's death hits me so much harder than you could imagine. Not for the man on the screen, but the man behind it. We now all see that the great and mysterious Oz was just a small scared man behind the curtain standing and feeling so alone. That is what the disease of depression is. No money or fame or amount of people surrounding you can change that. 

On social media we throw up photos of all of our lives, the happiest moments at least, and statuses to make others laugh. Behind the screen, we are able to use our words to bring happiness, show our greatness, cast whatever judgement we feel empowered to, and hide other things we wish for the world not to know. People with depression can go through their whole life behind that curtain and no one could know what actual struggles they feel inside. 

I know all this because I have felt all of this. I have felt the sadness that even with my caring husband, beautiful son, amazingly supportive family and friends, there are days when I have felt so absolutely alone. There have been days when walking away from it all seemed like a good answer. Heartache that physically ached my chest. It is not because I do not get enough love and attention. It is not because I am selfish and need more to be fulfilled. It is not because those around me aren't good enough. It is because sometimes I am battling something else, something greater than me.

My happiness and positive attitude isn't a complete coverup for a dark twisted soul either. I am happy. I try to remain as positive about life as I can. I love those in my life with all of my heart. And I try with my whole being to love and appreciate everything in my life. Some days are just easier than others. 

What most people know about me is that I am married to a talk, dark and handsome man and a mom of a very beautiful three year old boy. I live in New York City, but Plymouth will always be the only home for me. I love going on adventures and photographing my whole life. I teach preschool, but get such a buzz from working in theatre. I love and miss my family and close friends from home every day. I am passionate and creative. I do love making people laugh and feel good. And what the world sees on social media is me; it is not a cover up, it just isn't the whole me. 

What most people don't know about me, well until now, is that every Tuesday afternoon I leave work a little early. I head eighteen blocks uptown and ride the elevator to the tenth floor. For one hour a week, I sit in a room and laugh, cry, rhetorically ask questions when I know I'm too afraid to answer, and feel a sense of pride when I find myself using methods I have been learning to find emotional triumph. I see a therapist. I have chosen to seek help. Some weeks I leave understanding myself better, others I leave feeling like a freshly opened wound. As life is every day changing, so is this process. Some days are always better than others. For all of us.

I don't see the loss of Robin Williams just another celebrity death. I also don't see it as a suicide. I see it as a wake up call for mental health, to provide guidance to those struggling their own thoughts and feelings, and a look into what others without depression may not fully understand. He didn't kill himself; he lost his battle with a mental disease that many people struggle with every day. I am in NO way putting my own issues out there for a poor pitiful me. In fact, I am grateful I have found a professional who I trust and can confide in to help me navigate through this part of my life. There are others out there who have already lost all their hope. I am lucky. I have so much hope in my heart. I just hope that others can find that person, medicine, sport, outlet, to help them through the dark days. I hope that the world starts to take action more regarding mental health issues. Instead of judging one another, we should be supporting each other. 

So when Oz is revealed, what do we do? Do we judge them for putting on a facade, blame them for once giving us happiness and hope, shun them and deem them selfish for being afraid and feeling alone and just pretending this whole time? Or do we hold out our hands, help, listen, and offer hope in their own dark times? 

Please be kind, world.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mommies' Night Out

What a perfect excuse to drink. Being a mother. Sign me up! After giving up drinking for nine or so months just to grow and push out the most beautiful, perfect human being, we deserve a drink. Or two. Or three. And thankfully I am friends with many other women who agree.

That is why one mama from daycare decided to establish Mommies' Night Out, a (monthly) event for us mamas to get together, drink and just get out! 

Almost three years ago when I started writing this blog, I wrote a post on The Dating Scene, about play dates. It definitely still applies but it goes into a total different stage. My husband and I met on a blind date six years ago. And I feel like sometimes these parent nights out almost have that same type of anxiety. You get on an email chain of parents, some saying they will be there, others missing out. You maybe know what they look like but really only know the names of their kids. So you sit and wait at the bar, or nervously walk in, looking for who maybe that person or people from the email. An awkward smile, head nod or look let's you know that it's the group. You walk over, shake hands, introduce yourself and order drinks. Then spend the night getting to know one another. Ha! It seems weird but that is literally how it is. The drinks start flowing, you compare potty training tips, complain about pregnancy, laugh sharing moments your kids have embarrassed you, and it gets a little less like a blind date and more like, well, a Mommies' Night Out. 

What I think is most great about this night (besides the obvious drinking part) is that it brings together a bunch of women who really only have motherhood in common. We are all from different places, all different ages, different careers, but all share the same bond of motherhood. We are mothers of sons, mothers of daughters, mothers of twins, and mothers of only children. We are working moms and stay at home. We have different parenting styles, but offer support for each other. We all like to drink and are just trying to figure out this crazy journey parenthood. 

CHEERS to Mommies everywhere!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"I'm gonna bash you"

I'm gonna bash you. 

Welp. It's begun. The rough'n'tough, crash'n'bash part of raising a kid. I definitely didn't think that this stage would already be starting a couple weeks shy of him turning three. And what I didn't expect even more is how I would feel about it.  

No fighting. No guns. No swords. No bad guys. 

WAY easier said then done. 

Actually, now that I have started this new phase in the wide range of WTF-do-I-do phases of parenting, I have found myself to be much more relaxed about the subject. 

This spring, while I was out of the house 16 hours a day, 7 days a week teaching and working on a play, my husband introduced Vedder to He-Man. The boy is obsessed. Hand him a sword or baseball bat or even a stick and he will recite the entire opening to the show. He has even talked about how he will be He-Man for Halloween and dada will be Skeletor. Whether or not he understands the show, it absolutely has sparked his imagination. 

When we went to Disney a few weeks ago, I cried walking down Main Street, watching Vedder in his new Mickey ears sit on Michael's shoulders, taking in everything. In the three years we have been a family, that has been one of my favorite moments. Then a little voice says "where's my sword?" and I'm snapped back into the silly reality that is raising this kid. "I need a sword to be a Mickey musketeer like Donald and Goofy." This kid never ceases to surprise me. 

Did I ever think that his sword fighting and "I'm gonna bash you" language would ever come from those family movie nights of watching old school Disney movies? Ha! Never. But they did. And now that's where his imagination goes to. 

And for now my mumma gut is telling me to let him go there. Are the wrestling matches with dad and the water gun fights with Nani going to really make him a bad kid? I try to remind him when he wants to pretend to "bash" that not everyone likes to play that way so he needs to ask first. And I try to remind him that sometimes being too rough can result in someone getting hurt. But I don't say no. I let him play like that. I let him use those words. Not because he's a boy. Because he's a child. Because he's fending off an evil giant to help bring food and sunshine back to his town. Because he is fighting off villains to save a princess who he loves. Because I don't want to tell him his imagination has to be limited to what is PC. Because he is not hurting anyone. And if one day he slips and makes a mistake or goes too far, that will be another moment for us to learn a lesson. 

But until that day.. I'll let him play. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer Sessions - Part Two: Sensory Boxes and Busy Bags

One GoTo activity that we have in our apartment is the sensory box! Actually we have a few different ones. Some we combine, some we make off a whim. And what's nice is that they are in easy to store boxes. Not only do they keep everything from being scattered all over the place but they store on the shelves nicely so we forget about them and then months later when we come across them again, it's like a whole new toy!! YEAY for short term memories!! 

My all time favorite GoTo sensory bin that we have is our nature one. It includes:
Tree stubs I got from the people who sell us our Xmas tree, Popsicle sticks, scraps of free wool fabric, a while doily, pieces of birch tree bark, a wooden unfinished reindeer ornament, pinecones, a fake flower, sandpaper, and twigs. 

Another one that is a big hit is our "beach box!" This pretty much only has sand and oyster shells in it. Sometimes a dinosaur or truck joins in on the fun. (Or some feathers like in this picture) 

They are very easy to make. What is great is if your child already has a bunch of small toys, knick knacks, etc. you can make a few different ones, and store them. This helps with clutter too! 

Some of our boxes are themed, others just have one or two different types of items. One of V's current favorite has just the tree stumps and Popsicle sticks. Literally that's all that is in the box. Seriously. And he will sit there for 30 minutes fully entertained! 

Along with the sensory boxes, we also have "busy bags." They have different things a like a coloring book and crayons, colored pasta and string, and cut shapes to make pictures. 

Having these types of activities around the house can help with last minute time savers. I also store all the boxes and bags at Vedder's level so he can easy access them on his own time too. 

He likes having options. That's his new thing. "What are my options, mumma?" So storing them on low shelves and drawers makes it easier for him to use them more independently. 

Summer Sessions - Part One: TV is OK

Part One: TV is OK

An old friend and fellow mama wrote to me asking if I would post some ideas for summer fun! During the summer, when it's just too damn hot outside and the chill vibes of the summer relax us a bit too much, we let the old reliable "babysitter" get the best of us and throw on the tv all day. 

Now do not get me wrong. TV is completely allowed in our house. Netflix is our best friend. Yesterday alone was one of those days where I watched tv for hours while Vedder played on the iPad. PARENTS: these days will not kill you or make you a bad parent! They will help you! I repeat. PARENTS, TV IS OUR FRIEND. However, if you find that your child had finished the whole second season of OITNB in two days, well your family may have a problem. 

So to help out a friend, and anyone else interested, I will be writing a few blog posts called "Summer Sessions." These posts will include lessons, activities, links to my favorite blogs, etc. for parents to refer to for any summer help.  

The blog I will be shouting out to in this post is I have on both my Facebook and Instagram already RAVED about this blog. She has created amazing printable activity packets to go along with your child's favorite shows and movies! Make indoor movie days guilt free!

Before leaving for disney we spent every night watching a movie, short film, or disney show. We would draw pictures of them and even act out parts. "WOZOWSKI! You didn't file your paperwork!" Then I stumbled on 1plus1plus1 and saw that she did printables for all the movies and shows Vedder loves! I had the printables in file folders in our "art" drawer so if V wanted he could take one out to trace, color, practice matching, do a letter search or a number chart. He LOVES numbers, so the number chart is what he would often pick.  

This website, along with other blogs I have fallen in love with, my favorite "pins," and V's favorite at home activities, are what I will be filling these Summer Session posts with. If you have a favorite at home indoor activity you and your little ones (any and every age!) like to do when it's just too hot, too rainy, or it just feels like a stay inside type day, please email me at! I would love to feature you in a post!! 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tomorrow is the day!!

I don't know if I have ever been so excited in my entire life for anything like this. My wedding day? Was great, not as exciting. The birth of our son? Excitement comes pretty damn close. But I have had so much excitement all week for this one day that I can't think if any other way to describe it besides excited. Wicked excited! 

Tomorrow night we are jumping on a plane as a family of three for our first big vacation. And where are we flying to? To Orlando. For what are we flying there? To go to DISNEY!!


I remember when I was 13 and my parents took us to Disney for the first time. It was AWESOME! Then eight years later, I packed up a car with my friend Kevin and we drove from Taunton, Massachusetts to Orlando, Florida to become CPs!! Disney has been a childhood memory, a monumental adult experience and now I get to share that all with my son and husband. 

So because I'm a mom and a teacher (and a Leo) I love me some countdowns. So the minute we booked our flights to Florida, I turned to my best friend, Pinterest, and began looking for fun things to do as a count down. Mickey themed paper links that you could rip each day seemed like the cutest idea. Except for one thing.. I was about to start this countdown close to 100 days before we were leaving. That mean the countdown chain would have wrapped around our tiny NYC apartment like 12 times. So I decided to do more research and hold off on beginning the countdown. 

May 31st. Our 30 day countdown begins! And Vedder (and my husband) woke up on a Wednesday morning to our pantry door completely converted to VACATION COUNTDOWN!! 

Thirty bags filled with goodies! Actually most of them were filled with Mickey stickers and tattoos. But every give days came a cool new little trinket that could be put in our "Please behave on the late night plane ride and play with these toys instead of kicking the person's seat in front of us" box. Mini Toy Story finger skateboard. Cars movie mini camera. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse coloring book. Disney markers. And finally came day #1. Today! 

A Monsters University watch!! 

A big hit!!

During our month long countdown we also picked a different Disney movie to watch a few nights a week/weekend. I started this in hopes to get Vedder to watch at least all of the Disney movies we would come across in Magic Kingdom, and some classics. We watched Dumbo, Aristocats, The Adventure of Winnie the Pooh, Toy Story and old school Mickey Mouse shorts. I even had him watch the old classic The Great Mouse Detective. Then one night we watched Monsters Inc and well that was the end of it. Vedder requested to watch "the monsters" every night! He loves it! 

So we sit here now, for our last night home eating Pizza Planet pizza (actually from a local restaurant but V wanted to call it Pizza Planet) and watching Monsters Inc for the hundredth time. 

My parents always told me the few days before vacation were always the best. Now sitting here, all packed, relaxing, excited and waiting, I finally understand what they were talking about. 

Tomorrow will be a great day! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Excuse me? What did you say?

I shouldn't judge any one else's parenting. Obviously I'm not perfect either. Vedder still sleeps with me every night. Every. Night. He eats only bow tie pasta for lunch and dinner every day. Every. Day. And probably 100 other things that I do "wrong" or differently than other parents. So I try really hard not to judge. 

This is so difficult for me. Mainly because I was a teacher before being a mom, so judging parents was like part of the job. Now being a parent I realize, this shit ain't easy. 

However, one way to get me to judge you real fast as a parent is letting me hear the way you speak to your child. I am far from calm and cool all the time. But if ANYTHING, the way I parent can be described in one quote :

"The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice." 

So you can imagine my judgement when I heard a mom say to her maybe ten year old son, "Stop whining. Jeez. You should have been a girl with all the complaining you do." 

Umm what? Mom, you are a woman, which means you were once a girl. So this type of statement is baffling to me. However, the more I thought about it the more infuriated I became. Not only does this statement make your son feel inferior, it makes him feel so because it states that the opposite sex in a way is inferior. In a world where gender identity and equality is still so not equal, I am so confused as to why a parent, especially a mother, would put such a bold and loaded statement like this into her child's brain. Now the whole whining aspect is not what I am concerned about. Do I know women who whine? Plenty! I am a whiner myself. Do I know men that do it as well? Tons! Whining is not the issue here, Dude. 

The issue is that some parents don't realize the extent of what they say and how it may resonate throughout the rest of their child's life. Saying this type of thing to your son will now give him the feeling that he has the right to say this to others. Like other women. Or other men. Continuing the cycle that girls are inferior to boys because they whine and boys that whine aren't men and no one is equal. 

This may seem like a long stretch to some but it is statements like this why we as a society don't see everyone as equal. I have had children in my class refuse to play with toys because they were a certain color. "Pink is for girls. You can't play with that." "I can play with this baby because he has a blue shirt on right? So that means this baby is for boys to play with?" Really. I come across these comments/questions more often than you can imagine. Three and four year olds gender stereotyping toys, and essentially categorizing each other as different instead of equals. Three and four year olds! No child comes to their own conclusion of colors identifying gender at this young of an age. It is all implanted thoughts from their environment. 

We, as parents, are our child's first and most important teacher. The way we live our lives, the way we treat others, the beliefs we have, our children see all of these things and look up to them. The way we talk to our children is the way they will learn to talk to others.  

Like I said, I am far from a perfect parent. There is no such thing. But one thing I vow to do it alway encourage him (and every student that enters my classroom) to express his feeling and himself as he sees fit and for him to always encourage others to do the same. I like to think that one day, kind words, encouragement and acceptance will become the norm and everything else will just seem silly. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Baby on the Go

My son is now seven and a half months. Crawling, pulling himself up on every possible box or shelf or piece of furniture to stand, and tumbling down to the ground with a loud thud. All of this making my heart so excited and extremely nervous. And that is only in our apartment, never mind when we travel!!

I was born and raised in Massachusetts, and since meeting my husband four years ago ((and moving to NYC nine months after meeting him)), I have probably traveled between the two states around thirty times. I have done most of the traveling by bus and car. However, in December 2010, we took Amtrak for the first time and fell in love!! Since Vedder has been born, he has traveled to Massachusetts four times, twice on Amtrak and also loved it.

Just to clarify things, I do not work for Amtrak at all, nor am I getting paid for this blog post. I am just an extremely satisfied customer, and want to get the word out to other families.

The first time Vedder and I took the train from New York Penn Station to South Station Boston was Thanksgiving Day 2011. Now I am not saying that Amtrak completely takes away all the stresses of traveling with a child, especially an infant, but they sure do make it easier. In November, Vedder was almost four months old. I had a huge stroller, carseat, diaper bag, purse ((which for me is a large bag)) and rolling suitcase. My husband brought us to Penn Station to help me with all the luggage. Of course my genius thinking of taking a 2pm train on Thanksgiving Day because it would save me $75 as opposed to traveling the day before or after the holiday didn't quite work out. I did not factor in that Penn Station is also on 34th street like Macy's. Yep. I completely did not factor in at all that while I would be trying to lug my whole life in 3 bags and a stroller, there would be those thousands upon hundreds of people who come to New York this one time of year to see the nations biggest parade. On the same street I needed to catch a train. Like I said, I'm a genius.

However, once we got there the employees of Amtrak were so helpful my very frazzled state was quickly calmed. They even allowed my husband to help get Vedder and me settled on the train even though he was not joining us on the trip. Many times throughout the four hour trip, a train worker approached me to see if I needed anything, even offering to get water from the cafe cart for us. So nice!!

Our second trip to Massachusetts was just a couple weeks ago. And I feel like as my son gets older, my brain gets fried a little more. On this trip, right after leaving Penn Station I realize I didn't print out my ticket from the kiosk. I only had a receipt of purchase email!! After having to purchase another ticket on the train, a worker gave me all the paperwork, explaining how to get a full refund for the previously purchased ticket. And then when leave Boston a few days later, because of said fried brain, we missed our scheduled departure. The man at the ticket booth was so calm and helpful, I didn't even have the chance to worry and freak out before he called a Red Hat over to help me and store my bags until the next train to New York. Phew!!

The designation between cars - cafe, business, quiet, and coach - makes it very easy to not feel like I am that obnoxious person with the child laughing, singing, and yelling on the train. The scenery of the northeast route from NYP to BOS is beautiful. While Vedder naps I am constantly snapping pictures of the gorgeous new England towns as they fly by. Then when he is awake we are either looking out the windows together, playing with toys on the seats, or walking to the cafe car where they have fresh fruit cups that I am able to slice up and share with him.

The only thing I would change, or have Amtrak add to better the experience for traveling families, are changing tables. Traveling with an infant as often as I do four hours is a long time to go without a diaper change. And even though the handicap bathrooms offer enough space for me to put a changing pad on the floor, the sanitary aspect of that is not appealing at all.

The Amtrak train to Boston passes right past our apartment in Queens and over the park we go to weekly. My husband and I are teaching Vedder that this is the train to Nana and Grandad's house. Even though he may not understand what we are saying, he definitely understands the noise of the train and stares up at it as it zooms. U.

Our next trip to Massachusetts is at the end of the month. I am very excited to be seeing my family again so soon and am looking forward to another pleasant experience traveling.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A letter to my best friend and soon-to-be mama

Dear best friend,

You are pregnant! The whole world is excited!! I don't think anyone on this earth deserves to be a parent more than you. Since we were little, you have always had the most compassionate personality. With everything you have been through to bring you to this day, you have conquered it all so gracefully. When it felt like everything was against you, you still smiled and pushed through. My love for you has 26 years of your unconditional friendship behind it and I cannot thank you enough for that. For all of these reasons and so many more, you are going to be an amazing mother. 

Now I know I started this blog writing about some of my aggravations with pregnancy and parenthood. But this letter to you is from one mumma's heart to another. 

First, through these last couple of months, resist the want to punch anyone in the face that tells you "Sleep now because you won't be after baby is born." You won't sleep normally through the last few months of pregnancy, or after he is born, or ever again. And after a couple years you'll get used to it and it will be ok. It'll actually be great. The reason you aren't sleeping is because this little guy you created needs you. He needs your help, your love and your comfort. He will eventually sleep through the night but you still won't. Remember that book our moms used to read to us as kids, I'll Love You Forever? Yeah well you will be that mom that even after he falls asleep, will crawl into his room, hold him just for a couple extra minutes. Why would you do that? Want to sneak into a sleeping child's room, risking the chance that you'll wake him? Because you're sleep deprived and can't think straight. And because you created this little human and it is the best feeling in the world and every chance you can get to give him love, you will.

Another thing, don't be disappointed when labor goes nothing like you had planned. I really wish someone told me this. I ridiculously, but whole heartedly, thought I could actually have control of all of that. And well it killed me that not even the smallest things worked out the way I had wanted. But now two and a half years later I can write this letter to you and say don't waste your time planning any of it. Whenever and however that beautiful newborn gets put into your arms, smile and let everything else go. 

A baby changes your marriage. It does. No one told me this either. You're no longer just husband and wife. You're mama and daddy. This may seem like a pretty obvious thing, but it's a bigger concept than, well, a new parent can wrap her head around. You and your family of two are no stranger to hard work as a couple. You have both defied so many odds that this could be something you both just laugh at. But when sleepless nights get the best of you, or your parenting skills of a little defiant toddler seem to be drastically different, or any part of this journey into parenthood makes you two scared,  it is important to remember you're not in it alone. And it's important to keep reminding yourself that too because sometimes we all forget. 

The heartache from anything you have ever felt in your life with be nothing compared to your child's first big booboo. Oh god. It still hurts. It will hurt you more than him. But you're both get through it. Him sooner than you. 

There is no such thing as a perfect mama. You're going to make mistakes, a lot of them. You're going to sometimes have no clue why your baby is crying and have no way to help him. This is ok, mostly because he probably doesn't know why he is crying either. And when he gets older, you're going to make mistakes too. There are days where you will have 100% energy to be a super mom and take on his crazy little imaginative world and fill him up with even more important emotional tools for life. You will take him places and teach him things. You will show him the many different worlds outside your home. And these days will be beautiful.. but exhausting. And there will be days where you don't have that energy. Where the tv will be on all day and all he has eaten is animal crackers. You've accomplished nothing except maybe showering, and he has watched the same episode of sesame street for past three hours. You need these days. Even though your guilt may overcome you about not being a "good" parent, remember, you need these days. Life is about balance. So is parenting. No day is perfect. We wake up not knowing what it will bring. The same is with being a parent. Part of being a great parent is finding the balance in between all of the days. 

One last thing. This has been my proudest one to conquer (mostly because all of the above that I have written, in one way or another I'm still dealing with).  Don't worry about your body, now or after. Because you're gorgeous. You always have been and always will be. Every boy wanted to be your boyfriend when we were younger and now the two best boys in the world ((well one to be coming into the world soon)) have you!! Even if you never get back to "pre-baby body" it doesn't matter. The one thing I have let go of is that goal of being back to pre-baby. And I couldn't feel better about myself. Dude, I made another human being, I can keep on these few extra 25 pounds. I've earned that! 

So here is my letter to you. Of crazy, emotional, mama things. I think this letter was more for myself than you, but I am so excited to watch you on this journey. The love you have in your heart is no match for what is about to come. Some days it will fill so much it hurts. And some days it will just hurt. These are all good things. I love you so much and cannot wait to be this very lucky baby boy. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Finding my balance

Well it is 6:30 am on a Saturday, and because my mind is on auto alarm for 5:20 am for the week, I am awake now while everyone else is sleeping. So I am deciding to write.  But to be honest, I'd much rather be sleeping. 

So maybe I will start off this "Saturday Morning Insomnia" post with a look into the other person who is on this WTF-am-I-doing ride that we call parenthood.

Michael and I celebrated 4 crazy years of mah-widge (the Princess Bride was to say it is the only way to say it) in December. Four friggen years! It's crazy to me. This may seem like a small feat or even still the honeymoon stage to some but for me, well I have a problem committing to absolutely anything. So, high-five, Hubby! Looks like I am on the right track! But to be honest, he makes it really easy..

A few things about Michael (my husband, not my dad -see other post- now we're back to this weird Freudian thing again):

I am married to a rock'n'roll singing, dish washing, best dad in the world shirt owning, dinner cooking, house cleaning, laundry doing, converse wearing all-star. Seriously. I'm spoiled. 

In my completely right-side-of-the -brain-parenting technique, I cannot be a good mom without completely destroying our apartment. I'm not kidding. I am worse than Vedder. A mom who makes more of a mess than her two year old son. Our lovely dining table is permanently covering in paint from various projects. We are still finding confetti glitter around the apartment from new year eve sensory bottles. I have a half done chalk mural on V's wall in his bedroom ((see earlier comment about not being able to commit to anything)). 

When I come home from work during the week, dinner is always ready. Always. Sometimes when Michael comes home on the weekends, he's lucky if his son has even had one full meal the whole day, nevermind a full dinner being cooked. Not that he always keeps his cool about all the mess, but who would? I even want to punch me in the face sometimes for half the crap I do. However, he does know he married an ADHD self-proclaimed artist who cannot commit to change long enough to make it stick. But I guess that's what made him fall in love with me, right? My beautiful free spirit? The way I can just go with the flow? Or my amazingly creative brain? 

No, it was none of that. We met on a blind date. The reasons he fell in love with me was alcohol and the fact that I have a big butt and nothing else. 

So here's a big THANK YOU! to the man who absolutely and willingly deals with my crazy antics and scattered brain. Thank you for teaching Vedder how to do things like hang up his jacket while I teach him about how we can open the window and take all the snow off of the sill to play with it on the kitchen floor. Thank you for putting us both to bed at night. Thank you for creating such balance in my life. And thank you so much for truly loving me through all of this craziness that you have fully committed to. 

You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The night the Grandad Train came to our home

Twenty years ago, Michael (my dad, not my husband.. but now that I write that, I guess there is some Freudian thing going on) came into my life when he started dating my mom. I began calling him dad soon after and haven't stopped. They married when I was eleven. In the ceremony he also exchanged rings with my sister and me, us taking him as our dad. My brother did the same with a ring from my mom, ceremonially making us siblings. This day solidified our family. When I was thirteen, I changed my last name to his. My dad has always been the rock to our family. I have always been thankful for everything he has done for me (even though it took me years to show it). However, what happened last night is much more than I will ever be able to thank him for.

When Vedder was born, my dad said he wanted to be called "Grandad." We laughed and try to tell him not to give his hopes up. Vedder began to call him "DingDong." We laughed harder. Then not long ago Vedder started saying Grandad and hasn't stopped since. He talks about Grandad and the "Grandad Train" (Amtrak) every day. Last night, all he wanted to do was play trains with Grandad.

This breaks my heart. I live with my husband and son in NYC. When I moved here five years ago, I had no real plans for staying this long. However life happens. Now I am here (with still a hope in my heart that we will one day be back living in Massachusetts). I talk to my family often. I text with my sister almost daily, my brother frequently, and facetime with my parents every weekend. I dream of raising my child in the suburbs with a yard he can run in and I can watch him from the kitchen window.

But for now, a trip up to MA every few months and the everyday advances in technology, help Vedder to have a relationship with Nani, Grandad, Auntie, and Unc.

So back to my story about last night.

While facetiming with Auntie, Vedder kept asking if she talked to Grandad. "Where's Grandad? Do you talk to Grandad? I want to play trains with Grandad." So we hung up with my sister and called my mom. Mom instantly answers the phone. "Hi, Vedder!!" "Ummm, Nani, I want to see Grandad." ((My poor mom and sister. Right now in V's life NO ONE measures up to Grandad.))

As soon as they see each other over the iPad, they laugh hysterically. This happens every time we facetime, and lasts for the first few minutes of the call. Just looking at each other laughing. Warms the heart.

Then after talking a bit, Vedder said "I want to play trains with Grandad." We moved the iPad onto the floor of his room. He showed my dad his train tracks all set up. While Vedder pushed around the trains, my dad said "Chugga Chugga Choo Choo!"

This lasted a few more minutes, but Vedder kept looking at me and saying "I want to play trains with Grandad." Obviously it was getting to the point where having Grandad watch from the iPad wasn't good enough. He wanted him there in person. This confused and longing look on Vedder's face broke my heart. And while my mind began to wallow in self pity for living so far away, something amazing happened.

I looked over at the iPad and noticed my dad. He had his head laying down on the kitchen table, imitating Vedder (he lays down on the floor to play trains). My dad had a small black Brio train in his hand, gliding it back and forth on the table. Vedder saw this and smiled. I saw this and cried. They were really playing trains together. Two hundred and fifty miles apart. My heart was so full it could have burst!

They played like this for a while. And as I became the official "FaceTime iPad Holder" I knew I was no longer needed (well, except to be the FaceTime iPad Holder). They played trains, made choo-choo noises, and watched each other. It was beyond the most perfect moment.

Like April 19th solidified our family years ago, February 5th is the day that solidified Vedder and Grandad's bond. They are best friends, and this moment is something they will have for the rest of their lives.

((SIDENOTE: I would also like to thank my parents. Not every family has the amount of love that ours does and I am so grateful for everything you have taught and shown me. It is because of your love and parenting - and our arguments, my rebellion, and your forgiveness - that has truly molded me into the mom I am today. I would be so lost without your constant love and guidance. Thank you for never giving up and always showing me that family is the strongest bond there is. Blood does not make a family, the people in it do. I am so proud to be your daughter.))