Friday, December 31, 2010

To Do List 2011

  1. Be more patient with my kids and be more present in the moment with them.
  2. Be more active -- my husband plays basketball 2 hours a day, takes the kids swimming, sledding, to the playground whenever possible.
  3. Give myself a break. It's ok that I don't like to go sledding, to the playground, and to the freezing pool at the gym, as long as I find other ways to spend QFT. (quality family time)
  4. Do more projects around the house. I am at my best mentally and emotionally when I am bettering my home.
  5. Find a part time job. (maybe)
  6. Try a new recipe every month.
  7. Taste a new food. This year I tried brussel sprouts. Didn't like em, but can't fault me for trying.
  8. Visit the Empire State Building (i've never been) and take the kids on the Staten Island Ferry to the Seaport.
Here is a quote from Maya Angelou, that rings so true to me and my propensity to always find the negative, the difficult, the uncomfortable in so many things; when what I really need to be doing is living my moments, and feeling gratitude for what I have.

"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life." I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Maya Angelou

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Where does the time go?

Fifteen years ago today I met the man of my dreams. Well, actually, it was 15 years ago yesterday when I briefly met him at a rehearsal dinner for a wedding that we were both in. I was too shy and he was too quiet early on, and by the time I got my drink on enough to let down my guard, it was time to leave and I didn't want to turn into a pumpkin, so I left. The next day was the wedding with him in his Coast Guard tux and me in my red poe di soia shoulder padded bridesmaid gown and mandatory french twist and payless red dyed to match shoes. I remember saying to my friend Laura that I finally met the kind of guy that I wanted to marry. I loved that he had glasses and was quiet and wasn't going terribly out of his way to woo me. After a series of 7th grade "go find out if he likes me" back and forths within the bridal party, we were well on our way to get to know each other. We stayed up talking and laughing half the night, and parted ways the next day, after exchanging phone numbers. On the drive home with Laura I pulled his number out of my pocket, only to find my own phone number scrawled on a piece of paper, which means he went home with his own digits in his pocket as well. About a week went by before I used my detective skills and tracked him down in Virginia Beach at (duh) my friend Kenny's apartment. He was roommates with the groom, who I've been friends with since first grade. Long story short, he moved to Texas, we did the long distance thing for a year, I moved down there, we got engaged, and the rest is history.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Luck is a fickle creature. It can show up in one way or another and turn itself around in directions that never seemed possible. Back in June, during the BP Oil Spill, my Coast Guard Reservist husband was deployed for 2 months to the Gulf in Louisiana. We had an idea that he might be called up a few weeks before, and in the beginning they were offering it to volunteers. Knowing that a second round of requests would come through, Tom decided that putting his name in voluntarily might give him a hand in controlling his destiny. Anyone who has been in the military, or has a loved one in the military knows that is a highly unlikely way of things unfolding, but we thought it was worth a shot. Of course it didn't work out the way we planned and we ended up with 72 hours notice before he had to leave. About 40 of those hours were spent dealing with beaurocratic issues such as physicals, id's, etc. So off he went leaving me with the 3 kids ten days before school was out, with a long, hot summer ahead of us.

People were great, all the mom's offered to babysit my kids to give me a break, all the dads offered to take care of our lawn, and to please call if we needed anything. One family that owns a sports camp offered to send Erin for free. To say that I have a hard time accepting help is an understatement. I never called anyone to take my kids, and we paid a teen-aged neighbor to take care of the lawn, because I sure as hell wasn't going to call anyone or do it myself. I do alot of things around the house, but lawn-mowing is not one of them.

I never did call to sign Erin up for that camp. (I come from a background where my mom never had help with her three little kids and a fireman husband who worked a ton of overtime and sidejobs. My dad still doesn't like to use restaurant gift cards, because he likes to pay his own way.) But I'll tell you what was the biggest help. I had a neighbor that refused to take no for an answer, sent me to the mall and told me not to come back until it closed. She fed the kids and toasted marshmallows with them. Her husband did a supermarket fireworks show in the backyard and made Christopher his assistant. A good friend invited us to her son's family birthday party on the Fourth of July. My sisters in law came to babysit on my birthday so I could go to a neighborhood party. Two people brought me cupcakes, everyone sang. Another friend brought me wine and flowers. My neighbor made me a beautiful cake, so that I wouldn't go without. Those two months dragged on and finally he came home and it was amazingly back to normal immediately.

One of the biggest things that came out of his deployment is we were able to save extra money from his time away that afforded us some financial security that we otherwise may not have had. Just enough padding to allow us to do a few extra things around the house that would probably otherwise go undone. I feel terribly lucky for that time looking back, that Tom was able to do something great for our country at a time when people stood around wringing their hands wanting to help. Several people who offered us their help and general good will said it made them feel like they were doing something for the Gulf by helping us out. I'm hoping to pay forward some of the good luck we've had this year, especially now at the holidays. Because not everyone is so lucky, and it can turn on a dime.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 17, 2010

not a great day

today i found out that the little boy who's fundraiser i went to a few weeks back is now diagnosed as terminal. they are saying he may only have 4 weeks left. he's 3. i can't even fathom this. some friends of his are decorating his house for christmas tomorrow while they are doing their make a wish disney trip. i feel helpless. i feel silly in some ways because i feel so invested in this family's story. i knew the dad a a bit in college. were we friends? not necessarily. we ran in the same circles, maybe had a few laughs. he's the last person you would expect to be so strong in all this. that's not fair to say either. no one should have to be that strong. he was a happy go lucky guy, definitely lived in the moment. how does this not change you to the core? they have a baby too, who they still need to be parents for. i don't know how they have the strengh. when i have a little roadblock in my day i'm short with my kids, snippy to my husband, and a woe is me to my friends and sisters. i totally sweat the small stuff, and that's what so much of it is. i also had news of one of the wives of a teacher at my kids' school seems to be losing her battle with cancer. she's 28. a teacher with breast cancer at our school is not coming back this year, because she can't jeopardize her frail immunity by being exposed to sick kids. a friend and a family member who seem to be repeatedly knocked down by waves of financial distress and general unfairness. i've been so lucky. to say that up until now my adult life has been charmed is an understatement. it makes me feel guilty and nervous sometimes. i try to justify it in my head thinking, ok, what bad things have i faced that can keep this playing field even... miscarriage, check. postpartum depression, check.. those are recoverable drop in the bucket scenarios that while i survived them, seem too easy now. i am praying so hard for these people, and need to remember that the next time i pop a tire or have to clean up vomit that "why me?" can actually be something to be thankful for.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


i need some kind of game plan to get through this winter. in the past we've had a disney trip to look forward to, to get us through. it's so cold already, and technically it's not even winter. this is the time of year that i usually pester tom to move us to florida or california. but california's too far, and florida is just too hot in the summer. i lived in south texas for a year and a half, when we were first engaged and it was brutal. and i didn't have to worry about getting the kids outside to play and didn't worry about just lounging in the air conditioning until the sun started to set and we could hang out at the pool. it was actually too hot to even be in the pool during daytime hours in the summer. then we lived in dc for a short while and then massachusetts at the beach. sadly, i didn't take advantage of our time at the beach. i love being near the ocean, but don't particularly like going in. when erin was a baby i had no idea that i could have been whiling away the hours with her playing in the sand. it took me moving to connecticut to really appreciate what we had, and of course now i have kids who absolutely love swimming, playing in the waves and digging in the sand for hours. i guess all kids do. it's hard to think that it will be at least 5 months before we will most likely visit the cape or do a daytrip to scituate. for now i will have to content myself with christmas and then try to set little milestones to look forward to until the sun shines again.


I remember when I was little that insanely excited pre-Christmas feeling, for the weeks leading up to the big day. I mean, even when I was a teenager. My list was itemized by catalog number from the Sears toy catalog, and later J.Crew. I don't know if my kids experience the same mania that we did. They still definitely believe that Santa comes on Christmas Eve, but I think they're not super concerned with him watching in the weeks leading up for naughty or niceness. Christmas lists aren't a major priority around here either. Not sure why. In a way it's good because they don't have the same greedy hunger in their eyes that I think I may have had, but I don't know if it has the same magic either. My oldest is in 4th grade, so there is a chance that this may be her last believing Christmas. I feel like I should amp it up a little, with the sleigh bells and foot stomping on the roof and putting out glittery reindeer food. We'll see. I still need to do one more trip to the mall for a Rapunzel doll exchange for Meghan, some earrings for Erin and one last thing for Christopher. This was a virtually stress free holiday lead up which makes the pessimist in me think that I'm forgetting something.

Monday, December 13, 2010

sew what?

today i am really going to take out the sewing machine and try to make 2 new slipcovers for my couch pillows. i'm going to use fabric that i already have in hopes to keep sprucing up the place without spending any more money. i'm avoiding taking out the machine, because i always have to reteach myself how to rethread the bobbin and i find it intimidating. also on my list is to paint the back stairwell and the back hall (nantucket white for the stairs or more of the revere pewter mix that i made the other day) and get the xmas village up and running. i've got alot on my mind and need to keep busy to try to stay out of my own head.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


     isn't it so cliche how time and perspective can cloud our memories, blurring the lines into something warm and fuzzy? i miss the days of having all 3 of my kids just to me and to the occasional "playdate" which was more like a coffee date with toddlers. i miss the smushy mushy tiny newborn, asleep on my chest or in the crook of my arm all night. we could literally go for weeks without being around anyone but us. some days i want to just wrap us back up in that cocoon, or move somewhere and start all over again.
     it's so easy to forget the sleepless nights, and sore boobs and jangled nerves everytime the baby cried. the feeling of desperate loneliness from not interacting with any other adults for days at a time, except my tired husband getting home at night after working all day and fielding my endless phone calls about how the baby (babies) wouldn't stop crying. missing weddings, reunions, cocktail parties and funerals because my little nuclear family was that all encompassing.
     i feel like there's got to be a happy medium that i've been chasing. i'll let you know if i get there.


today i am grateful for:

having a warm dry home, with a full refridgerator
tickets to see annie with erin at a local community theater
a kind, understanding husband
moments where my children will read to each other, and be excited for each others' successes.
4 active healthy grandparents for my children to get to know

Friday, December 10, 2010

Freshly Painted

I'm getting closer. The wallpaper is down and the pantry is freshly painted with my custom made color that cost me no money, it was all in the basement. Next I need to organize the glassfront cabinets and hang some art. I am going to paint a magnetic chalkboard on the wall and maybe hang a nautical chart of cape cod over what will become the desk and computer area. As for now I am so happy with how bright and fresh it looks in here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

thankful today

in keeping with my goal of being more positive, today i am thankful for:

my children's health (and catching meghan's bronchitis with antibiotics before it went too far)
the best haircut i have had in a long time
discovering "skinny cow" ice cream sandwiches. every bit as good as carvel
my warm boots on this freezing cold day
meghan read her first "i can read" short 'a' book today


Prediction: next year's hot decorating colors will be sage and chocolate brown. The reason I am convinced of this is that I am about to paint my light sage hallway blue, a la Modern Family.

Also pictured, the purse I bought for one red cent at Nordstrom yesterday. I think I am in love.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


erin has her winter concert tonight. i went to the daytime concert with all the elementary school kids this morning so we don't have to bring meg and chris tonight since they've already seen it and meg is on antibiotics for the beginning of bronchitis.
she looks adorable in her shiny white blouse, borrowed black velvet skirt and grey suede flats. she's going with just her dad. she wanted me to come tonight. she gets nervous to be on stage and during this morning's performance she looked a little nervous and didn't look up or smile at all. so instead of building up her confidence i instead brushed her hair and yelled at her when she screamed at me because the brush was getting caught in her hair and kept telling her to tuck in her shirt. noone tucked in their shirt today.  i think i said something about no tv for 2 days and no "teenage tv" shows until 2011.
she was at school at 745 this morning for rehearsal, 930 concert, ccd at 230, saxophone lesson at 530 and back to school at 630 for the second performance of the day. i feel like a jerk. my stomach feels all fluttery because i feel like i ruined her night.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Moment of clarity and self-awareness: Just because I am not getting my own way, does NOT mean that the other person is being disagreeable and stubborn. Trying to work on that.

Monday, December 6, 2010


this makes me proud today:
erin can identify all 50 states on an empty map in 2 minutes.
christopher asked for green beans as a snack on a playdate. (denied, and even though i have a strict rule about asking for snacks at other people's houses, it still made me smile)
meghan did not cry or cling to me when it was time for me to leave her classroom at the end of "centers".

this made me happy today:
i got $60 dollars in free gap bucks in the mail
i got star wars legos on sale at target
leftover chinese for dinner

Sunday, December 5, 2010

the kindergarten way

meg: mommy, which vember begins with "o"?
me: do you mean which month?
meg: yes
me: october

she is in kindergarten and cannot stop writing on everything. i love that stage where they crack the code and realize that language is everywhere. writing all of our names on every imaginable surface (paper only please) spelling things the "kindergarten way" (without help) and the "mommy way." (with help) it's all starting to click into place. i'm so proud of her.

Me: A Work in Progress

2011 New Years Resolutions: First Draft
  1. be more positve, don't let anxiety and negativity win every time.
  2. correct negative thinking, for example, #1 should have just read "be more positive".
  3. learn to knit mittens
  4. sew more
  5. yell less

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Work In Progress

I'm obsessed with finding cheap tin ceiling tiles to tile my pantry backsplash. I found antique ones on ebay (but i wonder if they aren't loaded with centuries of lead paint) and some nice reproduction ones at home depot and lowes. The search is on. The wallpaper is about halfway down. The wall shown below is going to be painted with magnetic chalkboard paint and then I am going to paint over it with one of my custom mixed colors from half used paint cans in the basement. It's going to double as our computer area, so I can get the laptop (and the children) out of my bedroom. If I can get my act together and email the electrician, a new light fixture could probably be installed before xmas.

Friday, December 3, 2010

blue christmas

the wallpaper in the pantry is not coming down so easily. so i got distracted.. and decided to take a break and turn this into a blue xmas, as i've been so inspired by the delicious, decorating blogs that i've been obsessed with. here's a secret: once i commit to a trend, it's probably on it's way out. so, let's just see what next year brings. for now, i love it though. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


i finally started taking down the wallpaper in the butler's pantry. it's red and kind of vera bradley meets asian turkey. i don't love it. also the electrician is coming tomorrow so we can upgrade our ancient electricity, change out our ugly pull chain light fixtures (many of which have had their chains pulled out by my overzealous children) and add a few outlets. we are currently electrically challenged around here. i blowdry my hair at my dresser, right next to the laptop. two things that i don't want to do in my bedroom. there is a rat's nest of wires and constant hairballs in a place where i would really love order and serenity. the pantry will also become a small office space, and i want it to be pretty. that's all.

my finished product will be with beadboard and maybe tin ceiling tile?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The City

There are certain things I love about living out in central Connecticut. I love the cost of living, the scenery (it's alot like upstate NY which I looove), there is never any traffic unless there is construction or an accident. I feel like for the most part, you know what you are going to get up here. When I drove home from the city, I feel like once I pass the first sign on the Merritt for Greenwich I can sigh with relief and relax into the next hour and a half home. The schools are great, the homes are old and charming and you should see the trees in October.

That said, there are things that I miss about living in the "city". ((air quotes)) I grew up on Staten Island and loved it as a kid. I loved the train and the ferry, being from New York City. We lived in a big house with a yard and a pool. We had beaches and parks and ponds. It was a great place to grow up. Real neighborhoods, tree lined streets, and baseball fields. And there was something very special about being a part of something bigger. A self satisfaction and quiet smugness  that came with being from the best place in the world. We had the Yankees, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building. Our class trips were to the Statue of Liberty and the Twin Towers. My 7th grade field trip was to Philadelphia and the Franklin Institute. I can remember thinking, "this is it?"

As I got into high school and college I started to realize that maybe it wasn't for me anymore. The stereotypical guidos, now made famous by shows like Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious, etc. were there, and in your face. I was a Gap sweater-wearing Catholic school girl with my eye on the Martha Stewart lifestyle. To me, all of Connecticut was Westport. Also the locals and the landscape was changing. Native Staten Islanders were moving to Jersey and the Brooklyn and Queens people were heading westward to the Island. Developers were knocking down centuries' old Victorians and putting up Soprano's style duplexes and mini mansions. Pale brick and stucco was the new topography. I met people in college who were from upstate and Westchester and Rockland county. I had always lumped all of "upstate" together and thought they were a bunch of hillbillies. Unsophisticated and rural. I learned the term "downstate" and wore it with pride.

After college I met my husband and moved to Texas, Virginia, Massachusetts, and finally Connecticut. It gave me so much perspective on the country, other people and myself. I had a hard time accepting that I was never going to live in NY again, but still consider myself a New Yorker. This Thanksgiving we went down to my parents' home that I grew up in on Staten Island. The next day we drove into Manhattan to visit my inlaws. I am still awed and amazed that with all the changes New York has gone through over the centuries, so much stayed the same. I love the idea of letting my kids keep a foot in both worlds. To learn to love the city and to gain a sense of culture and history that I feel is a little bit whitewashed out of their everyday.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Suburban Detox

I'm a sucker for marketing. I was at Ocean State Job Lot today and bought the Kinoki Cleansing Detox Foot Cloths. You know, the ones from the commercials, where it pulls all the toxins and heavy metals from your body, and is drawn out into those disgusting foot pads. Regularly $19.99. I got mine for $2.99. I'm giddily excited for my detox to begin. It's totally going to work. I can just tell.

Friday, November 26, 2010


I got a little job. I haven't worked for anyone but my kids for 9 years, and I finally got what appears to be the perfect job for me. I will be logging Legislative Bills into a database for a political consultant. I'm finally putting that masters degree to work by doing data entry. From home. For 1-2 hours a day. And the pay is good. Way more than I would make doing anything else without completely disrupting our day to day. It starts in January, I guess when Congress is in session. I'm a little nervous to give up the freedom I have gotten used to. This is the first year that I have all 3 kids in full day elementary school. I don't mind giving up those few hours. But I've already had to ask for a week in April and just realized today that my husband will need me to drive him to and from his Lasik surgery on January 6th. Ugh. I'm afraid to ask for that day off. It doesn't seem like a big deal, but the work is time sensitive and needs to be done by noon each day. Keeping my fingers crossed that the job doesn't start until the 8th.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Well Rested

I got a great night's sleep last night. A legit nine or so hours. No one woke up, no coughing, no accidents, no little kid noises that wake me up out of a sound sleep. I honestly feel like a different person when I have a full night's sleep. I would have thought that by the time my youngest was in kindergarten I'd be back to normal. Now it's 930. Chris is sneezing, Meg is coughing the kind of cough which will undoubtedly have me lying in my bed listening to her, while she sleeps right through it. I still have to do the nightly bathroom runs before I can turn in. And I haven't put sheets on my bed yet. Shit.


i drove past the old house today. we've been here for a little over 2 years now and almost every day i drive past our previous home. it was SUCH a hard move. my beautiful brick colonial, set back from the road with the long sweeping lawn on the BUSIEST street in my town. that's the house i brought 2 of my babies home to, and put in a ton of sweat equity to make it look and feel exactly the way i wanted. we renovated the kitchen and put in beadboard cabinets and granite countertops. my dad installed everything and helped us out with so many projects.

the closing of that house went very poorly, with the new owner trying to fleece us for every penney we put in escrow, having her lawyer find archaic state laws to screw us over. for example, did you know that in connecticut, if you remove the nails from your walls you are required to repaint the room? i thought i was doing her a favor by not leaving nails all over the walls. she wanted $3K to repaint the entire house. it took me a while to not get sad about the memories of my home and to try not to feel vindictive toward the woman who bought it. and it usually doesn't bother me anymore. she doesn't do a great job with the upkeep, and all of my hydrangeas (one for each mother's day that i lived there) looked overgrown and sloppy this summer. sometimes i make a snarky comment to a friend about the crap that she leaves on the porch and her tacky holiday decorations or feel superior about what a better job i did when it was MY house.

it's definitely harder for me to walk past it, as i did with meghan when we did our red wagon food drive last week, or if i see the woman or her son outside, which is almost never. today her son was hauling leaves in a wheelbarrow down to the curb for leaf vacuuming. i felt a little bitter. i don't know why.

Here's our current home. I love it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Baby Girl

Oh, my Meghan Rose with your tantrums and your Polly Pockets and sparkly eye makeup.... you are a dichotomy of all things little girl. Your crazy hair, which I flatiron (I know... She's only 5 and we only do it on special occasions) and your scratchy baby voice and your hot pink faux fur coat. You pack a wallop when your brother gets in your business and you are the most sensitive little monkey if someone says something marginally hurtful. You get it. You always have. I think that's part of being the youngest of three.

When you were 2, you were pointing at the cd player, getting so frustrated at me asking over and over for "sanna tanna". I popped in about seven different holiday cds thinking you wanted Santa music. You balled up your fists and stomped you feet and finally made it clear to me that you wanted Hannah Montana, not Santa Santa.  Another time when you were about 3, we were at the library where there is a stuffed, life size Big Bird in the children's section. You asked me "Momma, who is that big bird?" "Ummmm. That's Big Bird." Nope, you had no idea, you missed the Sesame Street years, but you were still a baby.

Typical.. you are blowing out your sister's birthday candles.

My Boy

So up til now, I've really only talked about Erin. She's my oldest and alot like me in personality and unfortunately probably the one who will be carrying most of my baggage as an adult. I haven't said much about Christopher. He's 7 and smart and funny and handsome. He started reading when he was 4. He barely had any words until he was 2, but one of the first complete thoughts I remember him having (out loud, aloud, whatever) was when he was 26 months old. It was December and it was supposed to snow. We were looking out our picture window and I commented on how it may not snow after all, since I didn't see any flakes. He replied "aaaand there's no condensation." What?????? We had been watching Magic School Bus alot on tv in those days, but that was more than even I could have gathered from Ms. Frizzle and the gang.

I like to describe him as "fact based." He's a good boy, mostly well behaved at other people's homes. He's been picked to be a "peer mentor" in kindergarten and first grade friendship groups at school. I guess that's a good thing. He's not perfect, loves to toss out a few age appropriate expletives (idiot, pathetic, stupid) which I don't love. He thinks bad breath and stinky armpits are cool. He only wears sweatpants, which posed a problem until I was able to find a pair of elastic waist, lined khakis at the Gap, so at least he won't look like George Costanza on Thanksgiving Day. He loves Legos and Star Wars, and especially when those two worlds collide in Lego Star Wars. He's a great little brother and a marginal big brother. I'm hoping he comes around on that, but he's had more practice with the former than the latter. He takes things personally and carries a wicked grudge. He's funny and has a quick sense of humor. He laughs at his own jokes and sisters call him out on it. I like him as a person. Obviously everyone loves their kids, but I value the fact that I also like him, and think he's turning into a pretty neat kid.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Today I am going to invent a new paint color. I have half a can of Revere Platinum and a few Restoration Hardware samples in the Silver Sage family. Throw in some white primer and voila. I think I will use it to paint my pantry and maybe my back hall. Pictures to follow.

Friday, November 19, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things:

Oprah has her list; here's mine.

  1. Taking my kids to Disney and to Scituate and the Cape.
  2. Fried eggs with sour dough toast. And bacon. Definitely bacon.
  3. Shopping at Whole Foods instead of dealing with regular supermarkets even though it's more expensive and the bread sucks.
  4. Hydrangeas, Black Eyed Susans and Peonies.
  5. Doing Coast Guard Academy stuff with my husband Tom and the kids.
  6. Going back to Staten Island and Oneonta and visiting with the people that shaped my personality. 
  7. Boston and New York. It's a tie. Fortunately now I live right in the middle.
  8. My Uggs.
  9. Charcoal Grey Sweaters and Little Black Shirts.
  10. Sparkly eyeshadow and black liquid eyeliner when wearing LBS.. see above.
  11. Red Shoes.
  12. Gnocchi a la Gorgonzola from Trader Joe's.
  13. Fresh mozzerella with tomatos and pesto.
  14. Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel.
  15. White sheets and all white bedding.
  16. Modern Family, Cougar Town, Parenthood and MTV Challenges.

Grown Up

I spent the morning at Toys R Us getting a gift for my friend's little girl who has been in the hospital with Kawasaki disease. Not to be confused with Coxsackie, or hand, foot, mouth that all of our kids have had. It's a little understood disease that attacks the blood and can ultimately attack the heart. She has been in and out of the hospital for a couple of weeks having blood transfusions and developing other health problems like some kind of auto immune disease that she is also battling. I got her a "surf girl" jewelry making kit and some fun shaped markers and sketch pad, because that's the only way I can help. I don't know how they do it, the parents, that is. We had sinus infections and strep this week and it was more than I can handle.

Last weekend I went into Manhattan for a benefit for the little boy of a guy I knew in college who recently was diagnosed with brain cancer. I don't know if he's even 3 yet. He's had aggressive chemo and surgeries that don't seem to be helping. So I paid my $75 and had a few drinks at the open bar and chatted with some old friends that I haven't seen since college. It was all very light and a lovely evening with one of my best friends.

This shouldn't be happening to my friends' kids. I shouldn't have two good friends with brain tumors. It makes me mad and sad. I don't know if I like this over 35 demographic that I'm in. I remember being a kid and my parents were probably my age. It seemed like they were always going to a wake and/or funeral. I actually had the audacity to ask my mom, rolling my clueless eyes, "don't you have anything more fun to do than go to wakes?" As if that was their nightlife of choice. But their parents were getting old, and their friends parents were getting old and the "grown ups" in their lives were dying.

I don't remember any sick kids really, when I was little. I don't know if we were sheltered from it or if we were just lucky. Because as much as it sucks being a grown up and going to your friends' parents' funerals, watching your friends deal with sick kids is unbearable. So for now I guess I'll buy toys, drop off casseroles and sit down at the open bar and raise a glass to these brave parents who are shouldering their children's pain.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


i feel like a poseur. i remember in college when i was taking my comp 100 and comp 200 classes that i could never read anyone else's material, because it immediately tainted my thought process, and i feared that i would somehow, accidentally copy it. i've started blogging recently and am trying to find my voice. people think i'm funny. i get feedback from people i haven't seen in 15 or 20 years that tell me my facebook posts crack them up. but that's a matter of sentence fragments and thoughts that pop into my head. before i started my blog i thought, i could have a pretty decent, fairly entertaining blog, if i just had a running log of my facebook posts. also, i'm nice to people, and i care what they think. so i have this other blog persona if you will that has her own voice. when i read my friend erin's blog, which is a sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, but always brutally honest voice, i feel like, ok, that's the voice i have running in my head. and then i start to write my stories and they feel forced and trite. that's the word i've always felt about my writing. it's C- material. i don't want to be trite. oh and then good lordy do i find these gorgeous decorating blogs where these people seem to have taken so many  pictures of what i want my home to look like. and instead of just cutting out magazine pictures, and talking about buying paint, or thinking about taking a tiling class at home depot, they do it and the results are amazing. all doable things. the last thing that has been jacking me up with this blog is that i don't use much in the way of capitalization or punctuation. i know how to. i was an english major and i also have a masters degree. but it slows me down. and to be honest i think i speak in lower case too. a modern day ee cummings. so suck it grammar, i'm not letting you slow me down anymore.

Beach House

There are some projects that I need to do around the house. I am totally motivated by a new blog I started reading called Houzz Eye Candy or something cute like that and she's got this Just Beachy themed way of decorating. I love a beach house. We were within inches of buying a beach house at the end of the summer in our beloved Scituate, MA. We had looked at a house 15 years ago on a marsh, with distant,  but unobstructed water views, but it was just out of our budget. It was the first home we looked at and it was perfect. Open floor plan, 3 bedroom,  2 bath ranch with a deck on the back. But it sold and we always kind of considered it "our house", the one that got away.

We ended up buying a much cheaper (I can't even say more affordable because we had to put so much cash into it to make it livible) little cottage that became our first real home. It was .4 miles from the beach, .2 miles from the harbor and a half mile from the downtown. We put in a new Home Depot kitchen, painted the walls a sunny yellow and tiled the kitchen floor ourselves. The best thing about that kitchen was that there was a washer and dryer at the end of the counter. We took out a partial wall in the tiny living/dining area and made more of a great room, if 11x16 can be considered great. We painted it a soothing green "Blarney Bridge" and painted all the trim white. You walk in the front door, BAM! you are in the living room. We had to keep Tom's chest of drawers in the living room as an accent piece because the tiny stairs were too narrow to carry it up. Upstairs was our bedroom. I almost called the master, but had to stop myself. Our queen bed and a tall dresser that I purchased and stained from the unfinished furniture store were all that fit. I constantly had a bruise on my outer thigh from walking into the sleigh bed on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. My dresser was stored in my in-laws garage. You had to pass through our bedroom to use the only full bath in the house, which had a funny little window that sat halfway in the shower. And completing the floor plan was a smallish guest room with a closet that was built in the wall measuring about 3x3 feet square.  The entire place measured 800 square feet. Eventually my husband built a deck outside, giving us a little more space when the weather was nice. But it was all ours. I loved our house and our pretty little beach town. I loved to walk into town on the weekends and walk in the little boutiques and shops, and then we would eat out on the patio at TK O'Malley's, always getting the steak tips sandwich or the buffalo chicken watching the sailboats and fishing boats go by.

But I was always looking elsewhere. I was forever a "grass is always greener" person. My family is in New York, Tom's was in Connecticut. What about Westchester? How about Fairfield? Maybe we should move back to DC? I was never content to just enjoy what I had. I would get angry at Tom for not giving into my constant barrage of requests to move elsewhere. He loved it there. He is an extremely positive person, who makes the best of wherever he is. But he truly loved it in Scituate. And still I pushed. Eventually a job opportunity came up for us in central Connecticut. We were interested, slightly reluctant to leave, but also excited for a new opportunity. So after only 3 and a half years in our little home, we were moving, to start over closer to family, but still not close enough for a casual visit. We love it here now, and this is most likely going to be our forever home, although it's not the first house we bought when we moved here. It's what our realtor called an old lady special. It needed tons of work that we've been doing a little at a time. If we bought that house, we'd be house-poor in every way possible. Stretched too thin to enjoy either one. Or buy groceries for that matter. It's time for me to settle in and make this my Beach House in the middle of Connecticut, 80 miles from the closest beach.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dancing Shoes

I got to thinking the other night about how we as parents often put our mental junk on our kids and how it is like fighting an uphill battle not to. My daughter started Irish dance in September. She's nine, and was in the beginner group; four to seven year olds are generally in this group. But she's petite, so at least she didn't stick out like a sore thumb, and for once she was the oldest in her class. At school, she's always the youngest and smallest. She really excelled compared to the little girls and after only 6 weeks, the teacher pulled me aside and said that she wanted to move her up to the next group. Hooray! She was thrilled and I was so proud.

Then we all got strep, so, since last Wednesday I've had sick kids home. Literally could not leave the house except to take the kids to and from school. On Monday, the day of her first new class, she tested positive for strep. She was beside herself that she would miss the first class, but in spite of my better judgment, I allowed her to go to the class. (she didn't feel sick and had gone to school that day) Unfortunately I never got the chance to go to the dance shoe store and get her the real Irish shoes, Ghillies. She had her black ballet shoes and was feeling a bit nervous, but she sucked it up and went in. I could see how embarrassed she was that she didn't have the right shoes. My heart was breaking for her, because even as an adult wearing the wrong thing feels, well, wrong. I almost discouraged her from going because I knew the shoe thing would be an issue, but I didn't want to squash her enthusiasm and pride for starting in the next group. To make things worse, all of the girls in her class were also starting to wear "hard shoes" for the first time in this class. A little heads up from the teacher would have been great. Now, not only was she the only one wearing ballet shoes, but she was the only one not wearing noisy hard shoes. My stomach was in knots for her, and when I went in to watch the last 5 minutes of the class, my pale streppy girl had 2 big red splotches of embarrassment on her cheeks. The steps were new, the shoes were wrong and she was sick. The trifecta of a bad first experience.

I was wracking my brain, trying to come up with the lesson here. We walked out, with her on the outside of me so the cursed ballet slippers would be less visible to the other dancers, and when we got outside, she leaned into me sobbing. All I could tell her was that she was very brave and would never have to go through that first class again. Next time we would have the right shoes, the right warm up clothes, she would be healthy and she would have a week to practice with her tape to get caught up. In a way we were almost better off  because even if she had the right shoes, and was feeling better, her focus would have been on being the worst (her words) one in the class. In a way we were lucky to have the shoes to blame it on.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I make poor shopping decisions. I can want something so bad for like, 2 years, and never buy it. Just keep talking about it. But weird fabric? I'll take it. I barely sew. Uncomfortable shoes? Several pairs. I have had a problem for years at the Gap buying unflattering clothing off the sale rack.  And rest assured, after months of researching on Ebay, I will undoubtedly pay too much for the wrong size Pottery Barn Kids curtains. I'm also a brand whore, and it's taken me until this year to NOT buy something just because it's from J. Crew.

I have been wanting a good pair of rainboots for a couple of years now. I finally buckled a few years ago and bought myself a kids raincoat for $7. It gets the job done, and you can spot me from a mile away in a sea of oversized golf umbrellas at school pickup. And now onto rainboots. I bought myself a pair of uncomfortable adorable navy blue rainboots for $15. Well, they hurt. And my feet freeze in them. But they are navy blue and have these great little blue whales on them. I pictured myself wearing them at my summer house. Did I mention I don't have a summer house? And that they squeeze my feet? So I have been shopping good boots. Not Hunters, can't spend that kind of money on something that will surely make my feet sweat and paralyze my calves. But a nice, lined cozy pair, Maybe mid calf height. So I've been internet researching, going to Nordstrom, trying to figure it all out.

This morning I woke up, to the pitter patter of freezing rain hitting my window. Oh shit. I never did get those boots. I guess I'll just wear my winter boots to drop off the kids at school. Voila. My feet were dry and cozy. And I was ok with it, because it's November. So here's my issue.. I basically need a pair of October rain boots. But I guess I'll deal with that next year.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Today my baby turns 9. Nine is a big deal. I think my real childhood memories began at nine. Not including the ones that are attached to photos, or stories, or family anecdotes. I remember my 4th grade teacher, the beautiful 28ish year old Mrs. Deborah Penney, (a teacher named Deborah, how very chic) with her Farrah Fawcett wings, blouses with puffy sleeves and high heeled boots. I adored her. She was sweet and kind and patient. I was the classic type A nervous kid. 100s on every spelling and math test. Nail biter. I did that weird nervous blinking thing sometimes. Somewhere in my mom's attic is a polyurethaned certificate I received that my dad made into a plaque that reads "Highest Achievement in Second Grade". You get the idea.

Well, in 4th grade you were able to go from writing in pencil (babies!) to writing in pen. It was probably early November when Mrs. Penney started calling students up row by row, checking notebooks for neatness, erasings, etc. I had this one nailed. My work was pristine. I underlined with a ruler just because I liked the way it looked. Like everything else, this one was mine. Then she called me up and flipped thru my notebook, breezing through the pages. Waiting for the nod, I stood there smiling. My smile slowly turned to an awkward grimace, when I realized what she was saying to me. The bored scribbles and doodles in the front and back of my notebook were preventing me from moving on to pen!! The rest of the memory fades, and I can only assume that I had to either take my notebook home and put a paper bag book cover on it, or sit down with a fat pink eraser and get to work removing the mess from my otherwise perfect notebook. I was floored and humiliated. My confidence dissolved like the etchings of a pencil.

Yesterday I was at my daughter's school. She is in fourth grade. Youngest and smallest in her class. Sometimes I worry about her because some of the kids in her class will start to turn 10 this month, because their parents decided to wait to send them to kindergarten. We were faced with that option 5 (gasp!) years ago, and decided to send her. I never wanted to her to look back on that decision and question that we didn't think she could handle it. So we sent her. And she's been fine. She's always been the middle of the pack, the kid that every teacher has said makes their job easier, but maybe not the strongest reader, or a "mathaholic". She's a hard worker and goal oriented. Yesterday she and 11 other 4th graders (out of maybe 85 kids) were "knighted" in math. That means they memorized and passed 5 minute drills for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and are honored in front of their peers and parents for their hard work. Yesterday was the first knighting ceremony of the year and my kid was up there. She was dubbed Dame Erin with a meter stick, in a purple fur robe. I am so proud of her. I hope she remembers that day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I was all set to write another mom driven sepia fuzzy memory blog today. Instead I am livid and scared and exhausted from finding out that a young woman was raped and assaulted in my neighborhood this morning at 7 am. She was jogging. She jogged through my neighborhood, a half a block from my kids' school and was pulled into the bushes by some creep in front of my daughter's classmate's home. On a main street. In the rain. I am sick over this.
We bought our house in this picture perfect neighborhood, one of the United States top 8 up and coming cities to live in. Our schools are excellent. The cost of living is good. We are less than a mile from Hartford. I want to blame this on living so close to a crime laiden city. But I'm pretty sure the pervert that did this isn't some inner city kid. He's described as a thin, 5'10" man around the age of 40. He's not just a rapist. He's a thief that took so much from that poor girl today. And he has impacted an entire neighborhood of people trying to do the right thing for their families. My kids aren't allowed to ride their bikes without us anymore. I don't want them playing right out in front of my house on the swing hanging from our tree. I'm so sad.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Present

So I have always been one of those people that when I would get an LL Bean or J. Crew catalog, I imagined myself in the rugged outdoors, sipping coffee on a pier, wearing wellies with my kids fishing, swinging their boot clad legs over the side. At least that was before J. Crew went vintage glam, when I owned more rollneck sweaters than I could wear. The truth is, I'm not outdoorsy, or rugged for that matter, and if my kids caught a fish I wouldn't know the first thing to do with it. Let alone, let them sit on the edge of the pier without a lifejacket and a firm hand on their shoulder. I would create these picture montages in my head of how life would be so perfect, if only I had the right setting, and accessories.

I had visions of my wedding pictures playing out like a Martha Stewart magazine. Black and white close-ups of us walking, him holding the train of my dress so it wouldn't drag. A shot of my perfectly pedicured foot in my Kenneth Cole stiletto. The best man's toast. Cut to reality. I have $2000 worth of random (not artsy) candids and the ridiculous 12x12 leather bound album of posed family shots. My bunion didn't fit in the stiletto. They went back to the store and I picked up white "satin" Totes ballet slippers to wear with my dress. And the toast was mostly about basketball and teamwork. I think. I am scowling into my champagne glass in those pictures. But there was one good thing that I remember the best man saying at the end of the toast, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, today is a gift, that's why it's called the present."  At the time I was so wrapped up in the fact that the toast really had nothing to do with me that it took me watching our wedding video to catch it.

Then I had kids. And the disillusionment only grew. Getting the perfect Christmas card, the perfect 1st birthday party, handprint and footprint plates to mark every 3 months of growth. Uh-uh. The thing that noone mentions in all of those baby books and magazines is that reality is messy, and forgetful, and tired, and sometimes throws up on things. The paint your own pottery plates never happened. I have no idea what my 9 year old's first word was. No idea what the 7 and 5 year olds' were either. Baby books? Never happened.

Now I have an inexpensive Kodak EasyShare camera. Best thing I ever bought for myself. I set that jammy on Sepia, and go to town, photographing life as I see it, through my sepia colored glasses. My sisters and I joke whenever I post my sepia pictures. We say that it "tells a story, every time". So I take pictures of my kids walking ahead of me, or squatting at the shoreline, or climbing on rocks. Everyone photographs better, because it's so forgiving, and it gives the illusion that you are looking back in time. Sharing a memory. And then I rush to post it on Facebook. "Look at all of my wonderful memories! What a picture perfect life!"

There was a time this summer, when my husband was deployed by the Coast Guard to Louisiana for 2 months. I was at the Cape with the kids, having a terrible day. I was tired. I missed Tom. I had absolutely had it, and I still had about 5 weeks to go before I would get any kind of break. And there I was, camera set on sepia, trying to get the perfect shot. At one point I put the camera back in my bag because I felt like a sham. Trying to create happy memories, when I was anything but happy. But then I took it back out, took a deep breath and went back to trying to get the kids to stand in the perfect light, casting the perfect shadow. Isn't that what we are all trying to do?