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?